opinions on carbon seat stays
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  1. #1

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    opinions on carbon seat stays

    I am doing the research into building up my next bike and need some educated opinions concerning carbon seat stays or complete carbon rear triangles. I am going to order a custom made steel frame (probably Dedaccai Zero Uno "Extra") and have the option to have carbon seat stays or even the complete rear triangle in carbon. My first inclination is to go all steel, but I just want to check the facts to see if I am being hasty. LBS has been xlnt and helpful, but I just like to check all the details and sources I can.

    I am 205lbs.,ride MTB 75% of the time, ride lots of canyons and mountains., also most of my road rides are longer rides getting ready for the couple (or more in a good year!) of centuries I do a year. I am currently riding a Chris Chance w/Ouzo Pro and absolutely love the way it performs. I have limited test rides on other frame materials, but steel is the one I have liked best. (lively, quick and comfortable) The new frame will also have a Ouzo Pro, with a small chance I might go with Wound Up fork.

    Finally, I will get to my questions:
    1) In "real world" use, how much of an improvement in ride quality are carbon seat stays over high quality steel?
    2) carbon seat stays over complete rear triangle?
    3) durability issues? I especially have concerns with bonding of seperate materials over a few years of riding. Anyone have longevity issues with their carbon seatstays?
    4) Any suggestions on asking the right questions or advise when talking to LBS/ builder?
    5) Any love/hate experinces you want to share?

    Thanks for all your help in making an informed decision, Tim

  2. #2

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    The first thing I will say is that carbon stays will lighten your bike by about 200 grams and your wallet by an extra $300.

    As far as advice about the ride and durability and all that... ask your builder. They are who is making your bike, not anyone here, so ask them and listen to them. If you have already made the choice of going with a particular builder, than I would hope you have an established trust level with them. Why go outside that trust level and ask someone else to make that decision? Ask your builder. If they have experience with a certain brand of carbon stay, let them use that. If they think it will enhance the ride of the bike they create, let them use it. If they say that the bike they will create will ride better without the carbon stays, trust them and stay all steel.

    If you are paying a builder to custom build you a bike, trust their knowledge and experience and let them do what they do best, and what you are paying them to do.

    Russ

  3. #3
    Juanmoretime
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    My .02

    There may be some benefit although I openly admit I have never ridden or owned a bike with any type of carbon rear except a full carbon bike. I personally believe it's a marketing tool to stimulate bike sales. OK everyone, start throwing stones.
    For my next trick I will now set myself on fire!

  4. #4

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    I went form a Trek 2300 all alum to a Trek 5200 all carbon. I rode the new 2300 and a Coppi carcon/alum before I bought the all carbon 5200. They were good but nothing like the all carbon 5200. I weight 200lbs and ride 100 miles per week in NY so the roads are rough.

  5. #5

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    I can only give an opinion based on aesthetics. I think on steel carbon seat stays or a complete rear triangle take a lot away from the look and perceived quality. The carbon rear will likely end up being some type of ready made kit thing that's slapped onto your actual "handmade" frame.....
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  6. #6
    Non non normal
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    For what it is worth.

    The decision should be made on the following basis

    Do you want to lighten your bike weight?
    Do you want the latest cool factor?

    My opinion is I wouldn't mate carbon with a steel frame. If you are buying a steel bike, weight isn't your top concern, and if the carbon and steel stays are both of equal build quality you shouldn't notice a great difference in ride comfort.

    It is real popular to build bikes with the carbon rears stuck on the frames. I think this makes sense when you are trying to keep the aluminum bike frame viable in the market. Eventually, I think you will only see these mixed material frames because of costing issues after the cool factor wears down. I would buy one of these choices

    All Carbon Frame
    All Steel Frame
    Mixed Aluminum Frame

    Quote Originally Posted by hokeypokey3
    I am doing the research into building up my next bike and need some educated opinions concerning carbon seat stays or complete carbon rear triangles. I am going to order a custom made steel frame (probably Dedaccai Zero Uno "Extra") and have the option to have carbon seat stays or even the complete rear triangle in carbon. My first inclination is to go all steel, but I just want to check the facts to see if I am being hasty. LBS has been xlnt and helpful, but I just like to check all the details and sources I can.

    I am 205lbs.,ride MTB 75% of the time, ride lots of canyons and mountains., also most of my road rides are longer rides getting ready for the couple (or more in a good year!) of centuries I do a year. I am currently riding a Chris Chance w/Ouzo Pro and absolutely love the way it performs. I have limited test rides on other frame materials, but steel is the one I have liked best. (lively, quick and comfortable) The new frame will also have a Ouzo Pro, with a small chance I might go with Wound Up fork.

    Finally, I will get to my questions:
    1) In "real world" use, how much of an improvement in ride quality are carbon seat stays over high quality steel?
    2) carbon seat stays over complete rear triangle?
    3) durability issues? I especially have concerns with bonding of seperate materials over a few years of riding. Anyone have longevity issues with their carbon seatstays?
    4) Any suggestions on asking the right questions or advise when talking to LBS/ builder?
    5) Any love/hate experinces you want to share?

    Thanks for all your help in making an informed decision, Tim
    "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --A. Einstein

  7. #7
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    I may not be able to answer you directly, but I went from a steel (853 Zurich) to a ti/carbon combo (CT1). I don't have much inbetween to compare to, but the ride quality is fantastic. I really loved the steel feel, in fact I still have the Lemond that will soon be my single speed. The jump to this frame set was significant, but not as significant as going from Alum to steel.

    Now, I cannot tell what impact the carbon stays make on the ride, but over all the comfort level is near perfect and I have no reason to question the construction (durability) issue...yet. And some think it looks super-cool...

  8. #8
    eminence grease
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    I have a custom steel bike done by Carl Strong with the Columbus Muscle carbon rear triangle. I also have a steel Opera with carbon stays and one aluminum bike with carbon stays.

    To answer you questions.

    1) In "real world" use, how much of an improvement in ride quality are carbon seat stays over high quality steel?

    None whatsosever. I don't think the carbon has any affect on ride quality at all. I do think that the carbon does make the back end stiffer, something that is noted only when accelerating but even that is subjective since I'm comparing it to other steel bikes built with different steel but without carbon.

    2) carbon seat stays over complete rear triangle?

    The rear triangle looks cooler, but that's just my opinion.

    3) durability issues? I especially have concerns with bonding of seperate materials over a few years of riding. Anyone have longevity issues with their carbon seatstays?

    No problems for me. I think people make this crap up because they don't like the idea of using carbon and can't think of anything bad to say. Bonding is used in all kinds of stressful systems (like airplanes?) and I don't think there is a huge body of evidence to suggest that it is failure prone. Welds break too. But sure, it's something to consider.

    4) Any suggestions on asking the right questions or advise when talking to LBS/ builder?

    No.

    5) Any love/hate experiences you want to share?

    It looks cool and doesn't make a whit of difference to anything but your checkbook. Oh yes, the builder did say in a steel application is makes the bike a bit lighter. I've not yet reaped the benefit of that weight loss.

    Would I do it again? No, but that's because I did it once already. If I didn't already own one, I'd probably still be considering it. It's a sexy bike.

  9. #9
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    I own an Orbea Lobular Carbon. It has the carbon ST's mated to a triple butted (or whatever) triangle. I also own(ed) a Calfee Luna Pro and Tetra Pro.

    I think the carbon rear end is 99% marketing. Almost every one is made in Taiwan and just glued on (not that there's anything wrong with that). As for weight or stiffness, I can't tell the diff between a 16 lb and a 16.5 pound bike. I think how a tube is cut, butted and shaped, and what kind of tire/seat/psi you use has more to do with the big pic than the gimmicky carbon rear end. You can make an aluminum bike ride as "comfy" as a steel bike, and a ti bike ride as harsh as an aluminum bike if the builder knows what they're doing; I had an all alum Teesdale that felt like a good steel frame because Tom knew how to cut, weld (or is it sodder and miter?) and manipulate the tubing for my needs.

    Only reason I have the al/cf bike is due to a good deal a local pro had on a leftover bike. To do it again, I wouldn't spend the money for it. I'd go all carbon fiber or all ti or all steel for a pure race bike. Now if it was for a play or showoff bike, heck, I'd get a Merlin Cielo (had one on order last year but the backorder was so long I backed out and gave it to another local rider).

    As for marketing, I think it's part of the reason so many buy these cf/whatever frames, and why many stay away from vanilla looking bikes such as Habaneros; even Hab went to a Team bike with a cosmetically appealing yet heavier frame to make the fashion conscious happier. Price increase of $100 and a 1/2 pound weight game. Go figure.

  10. #10
    Tig
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    My carbon seat stay observations

    I've ridden a carbon seat stayed Merckx aluminum for the last 2 years, so I have a few observations. In general, many aluminum bikes will have a slightly improved comfort with carbon seat stays vs. not having them. This is achieved without sacrificing rear triangle stiffness in smaller frames, but larger frames and more powerful riders (like the LBS manager who switched from all aluminum to CF seat stays) may not like the increased bottom bracket flex. In this person's view, the new bike can be ridden much longer due to the improved comfort, but it just doesn't accelerate like an all aluminum frame. Still, I think aluminum is the best match for carbon in the stay(s) over already well tuned materials like steel or Ti.

    Frame materials make a difference, but more importantly, what is done with them makes a greater difference. Most modern steel frames may not need carbon to improve them other than a small weight drop. Some are so stiff, they feel like aluminum and could use a dose of vibration dampening in the rear.

    As for full carbon stays, I'd consider the type that Fondriest and Giant uses (wishbone) over the type that the chain stays individually plug into the bottom bracket area. The results create a stiffer bottom bracket using this design.

    Does a well made, well designed steel frame really need carbon in the stays for comfort and performance improvement? I seriously doubt it. My favorite riding bikes have always been all steel. I'd stick to all steel or all carbon for real world uses.

    As a mechanic for the last year, I've only seen one carbon seat stay failure, and that was from a BMX bike getting it's peg caught in the road bike's rear triangle during a family ride. I can't speak of recent Wound Up forks, but they had some failure issues in the past.

    As others have said, work with your builder and let them guide your choices.

    I just retired my carbon seat stayed aluminum bike. Not so much for the ride or other possible issues, but for a better fitting frame (which happens to be full carbon).
    "There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
    -Isaac Asimov

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