/ Comparing Carbon frames.

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Indy - on 16 Oct 2016
How do you compare 2 (pretty much) identically spec'd bikes where the only difference is the carbon frame and a 50% price difference?

So far I've got a Fact10r/11r frame with a Giant TCR advanced pro frame described only as "Advanced-Grade Composite"
balmybaldwin - on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to Indy:

To really understand it you need to do a lot of research.

There are many different weaves of Carbon Fibre, and these have different strength and weight properties.

Then there's the skill/design in the carbon lay-up that in itself can add strength/flexibility where needed or weaknesses and points of failure if done poorly.

There are some standards as to the weaves which are often donated as 12K, 18K etc, but the layup and modelling not so much.

It is fairly reasonable to have 2 frames that are seemingly identical, but perform completely differently
wbo - on 16 Oct 2016
In reply to Indy: it's tricky. Sometimes. It's easy, if you're comparing something 'nice' with something much cheaper the differences will be obvious in tube forming, finishing, general quality. But I think you're comparing S with Giant? Two extremely competent manufacturers with good qc and reputations? Guess you're down to claimed weights, reviews and test rides.

FWIW I can think of bikes from both I would very much like to own. I guess the giant is cheaper, which is not a surprise as you're removing a layer of resale

nniff - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to Indy:

If you want a better insight into carbon frames, manufacturers and what's what, here's an article from bikebiz that sets it all out. You might not be any closer to making a decision, but at least you'll have more to go on.

neilh - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

12 K, 18K is not a standard. It indicates the " tow" in the carbon which is the no of filaments. so there are 12,000 in 12K, 18,000 in 18k and so on. Basically it means one is thicker than the other.

Best comparsion is with denier.

Indy - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to nniff:

To be honest I don't really need to know anything about the frame other is it worth x more or less than than another frame.

The retailer of the cheaper bike is saying that your just paying for the name and a huge profit margin with the more expensive bike while the other retailer is saying you get what you pay for and that the reason that they won't give any details on the frame etc.

I'm sort of stuck in the middle.
gethin_allen on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to Indy:
I think the real answer to this question is to have a test ride of both. If the expensive one feels better then you have to decide if it's £x better. If you can't tell the difference then get the cheap one and buy some new toys with the change.
I'm not sure if Giant wheels have improved in the last few years but my experience of their wheels is poor and they either need immediate tightening/tuning or replacing so here's something to spend the difference on if you buy the Giant.
Post edited at 21:36
balmybaldwin - on 17 Oct 2016
In reply to Indy:
Now having been intrigued and looked up the Fact10r - it seems to be Specialized branded?

In which case they are both "Big Name" brands with equally expensive distribution models and advertising budgets. In which case I Suspect you will be getting a superior frame with the increase in £ (of course whether the improvement is worth the £ only you can say by riding them) as Gethin said you may get more bang for your buck with fancy wheels, bars and a good bike fit

As I hadn't heard of the Fact 10r frame (but had many of the builds they offer with it e.g. the Tarmac) I assumed it was a low marketing direct sales model like Ribble, YT industries, Planet X (or Canyon used to be before they went sponsorship mad) in which case it can be much harder to tell without being a carbon expert

P.s. if it was me Specialized every time (not that any of my current 4 bikes are Spesh but I remember their M2 Stumpjumper very fondly from my youth, and I did like their roadies but plumped for a Pinarello - Specialized know bike geometry and have always made frames I've enjoyed riding (both MTB and Road). Giant, on the other hand, I've never got on with (among a few other big brands)
Post edited at 23:01
Indy - on 18 Oct 2016
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Yup, the Specialized is my first choice but they're making it as difficult to make a purchase as they can.... then again none of the other brands are making the experience particularly pleasant either
radar - on 18 Oct 2016
In reply to Indy:

Giant grew out of a production facility that made frames for many of the big manufacturers. In truth many frames from different manufacturers still often come out of the same production facility.

A mate (in the trade, ex pro) told me about his visits to these factories, some of the stories were quite worrying to say the least. His advice? Have a look inside the frame, down the seat tube. If it is well finished on the inside it is usually the sign of a good quality frame. If it is a little rough and ready on the inside, not so. The size of the price tag is not always an indication of frame quality. Nor is the name on the frame always an indication of quality either.

Obviously this doesn't take into effect the weave, or geometry have on the suitably of a frame for your riding style. But it does tell you if a frame should be considered.

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