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Old 12-08-2021, 10:28 AM
RyanH RyanH is offline
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The Search for a Carbon Bike that Feels like a Metal Bike

I've had a lot of bikes over the last 6 years or so but one of my first was a Ti bike and since then, it's been my preferred material. Part of the reason I've had so many bikes is because I want to see if carbon is there yet in replicating the feel of a good metal bike and usually I'm disappointed. For me, there are two aspects of a good metal bike that carbon seems to struggle to replicate: springiness/liveliness when pedaling and smoothness, particularly felt through the feet.

My current bike I'm dabbling with is the new 2022 Crux which I have setup in road mode. It's a stellar bike and probably the best descending bike I've ever had. It has that liveliness when pedaling but I keep getting the sense that I'm more beat up after a long ride on that bike than my Litespeed. The two bikes have the same contact points (same bars, saddle) and the Crux has an advantage since it's running 29.5mm actual (28 label) Turbo Cottons while the Litespeed has size 25 Turbo Cottons (27.5 measured).

The thing I noticed last weekend is that over rough tarmac, while the Crux does a good job muting jarring hits in the rear (butt) and front (hands), my feet physically hurt when the impacts come. This adds up over the course of a 60 mile ride and I just feel beat up at the end. I think it's taken me all this time to realize this but it's that jarring through the feet that keeps me going back to Ti. I paid attention to how the Litespeed reacts over broken pavement since then and the impacts feel muted, none of them result in pain in the feet. My hands or ass will feel a sharp pain from a sudden jolt but the feedback through the pedals is always significantly reduced.

My question to you all that ride metal bikes, do you know what I'm talking about and have you ridden any carbon bikes that do have that smoothness?

For those curious why I'm asking or even trying to go away from Ti if I like it so much, the short answer is that I want a new bike that descends like the Crux, is disc and sub 6.8kg. It'll be a tall task getting a metal disc bike light whereas an Aethos is literally half the weight of a Ti disc frame and could possibly check all those boxes.
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Old 12-08-2021, 10:38 AM
fredd fredd is offline
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Not what OP is asking for, but I'd say the simplest solution would be getting some less rigid shoes. I know the thought of it is scary as road riders, but you'll probably lose very little if any efficiency, and gain a lot of comfort in the feet.
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Old 12-08-2021, 10:43 AM
RyanH RyanH is offline
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That's a fair point. I'm running Bont Vaypors which are thin carbon and my insoles are fairly rigid. I feel it most in the front of the foot so I don't know if a less rigid shoe would help BUT a better insole would probably. Any suggestions?
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Old 12-08-2021, 10:46 AM
Kirk007 Kirk007 is offline
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I think the Aethos was the closest I've come to a metal bike feel (probably would have kept it if the aesthetics required to make it fit were better). I don't notice my feet taking a beating so I'm probably not the best respondent to your question other than to say that almost everytime I buy a carbon bike it doesn't stick around long and I keep acquiring lovely smooth and lively steel bikes. I also remember describing a Calfee (over 10 years ago) as riding like a nice steel bike only lighter, and a C50 I had also had a lovely ride to it.
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Old 12-08-2021, 10:48 AM
mtechnica mtechnica is offline
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I know what you're talking about and the closest I've come to a carbon bike that feels like a metal bike was my old calfee tetra pro. One of the old ones with the Italian BB. I put on a threadless 1" carbon fork. By a lot of peoples standards it would be considered noodly but it still felt efficient when climbing and you could put good power through it without it feeling like it was going to waste. Probably a lot of the magic was the small diameter tubes. This frame however was nowhere near as light as a lot of new stuff, but with the right build I'm sure you could get a tetra pro down to a competitive weight.

I did sell it though because I found other bikes suit my riding style better (often aggressive) and I generally don't have comfort issues on any carbon frames so the smoothness was kind of redundant.

As far as the crux I haven't ridden one but I'm 100% sure you can find a road bike that rides smoother. The carbon gravel bikes all seem pretty stiff, I think they kind of have to be to not fold under big guys using them as a MTB. Even my Hakka MX is stiff and it's "old" now - although I did find it comfortable when I had the 32mm GP5000 on it.

Last comment is have you considered that you may be able to go faster and feel better on a heavier bike?
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Old 12-08-2021, 10:53 AM
prototoast prototoast is offline
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A lot of the feet of a bike comes from the shapes of the tubes, more than the material of the tubes.

Look for carbon bikes with skinny round tubes.

Certainly any custom builder could build you something like that.

If you're looking for something new and mass-produced, check out the Ritchey Breakaway Carbon.

If you're looking for something used, look for something like the Look 585 or Time VX.
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Old 12-08-2021, 10:55 AM
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Maybe look at getting a Ti/Carbon bike a la Seven 622 XX or Holland Exogrid? I am sure there are others, but those come to mind...

Maybe not what you are looking for (100% CF?) but might be worth exploring....

I have a Seven (previous version of the XX) and it is super smooth...

If you are 6'2"+, there is a Serotta Ottrott in the classifieds....
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Old 12-08-2021, 10:59 AM
marciero marciero is offline
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As a test, you might decrease tire pressure a little-not permanently but just as a check. That will make much more of a difference than frame material, even a few pounds on a 25mm tire. If pain does not go away then frame material will not fix and suggests there may be something else going on. My guess is that that is the case. I'm not sure that a less rigid shoe would address it. It could, or could make it worse. I'd advocate stiff soles with proper, perhaps custom footbed.
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Old 12-08-2021, 11:16 AM
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Elefantino Elefantino is offline
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Get some gel insoles and a Look 585, not necessarily in that order. I have numb feet and the insoles help tremendously with road vibration. The 585 takes care of the rest.
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Old 12-08-2021, 11:22 AM
KarlC KarlC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozz View Post
Maybe look at getting a Ti/Carbon bike a la Seven 622 XX or Holland Exogrid? I am sure there are others, but those come to mind...

Maybe not what you are looking for (100% CF?) but might be worth exploring....

I have a Seven (previous version of the XX) and it is super smooth...

If you are 6'2"+, there is a Serotta Ottrott in the classifieds....
Im thinking that Ti/Carbon bikes will feel pretty dull/muted, and not have the springiness/liveliness that Ryan is looking for. Thats one of the reasons I sold my Seven 622, it did its job to well of smoothing out the rough roads, so much so that it was boring to ride.

I dont think Ryan is just trying to dull out foot pain here, he is also looking for that springiness/liveliness that we all love.

My old Speedvagen is by far the most springiness/liveliness of any frame I have owned, just like Ryan is talking about. It seams hard to replicate this, that's one of the reasons I still have it, its just a joy to ride.

.
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Last edited by KarlC; 12-08-2021 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 12-08-2021, 11:25 AM
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mistermo mistermo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozz View Post
Maybe look at getting a Ti/Carbon bike a la Seven 622 XX or Holland Exogrid
I believe the Exogrid is a thing of yore.

What size is your Crux?
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Old 12-08-2021, 11:26 AM
tomato coupe tomato coupe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanH View Post
Part of the reason I've had so many bikes is because I want to see if carbon is there yet in replicating the feel of a good metal bike and usually I'm disappointed.
Prepare to remain disappointed, because mimicking metal with carbon fiber probably isn’t very high on anyone’s To Do list.
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Old 12-08-2021, 11:33 AM
mtechnica mtechnica is offline
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Prepare to remain disappointed, because mimicking metal with carbon fiber probably isn’t very high on anyone’s To Do list.
Maybe. it sounds like he just needs a carbon frame that isn't built like a brick S house like 99% of them are. How much you wanna bet he won't be interested at all in a calfee - because reasons? lol...
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Old 12-08-2021, 11:39 AM
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sparky33 sparky33 is offline
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Maybe check out Open.
The WIDE I’m riding is smooth and has a great pedaling feedback…probably owing to the carbon cocktail. My guess is that the UP and MIND share the same dna in ride quality.
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Old 12-08-2021, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlC View Post
.... Thats one of the reasons I sold my Seven 622, it did its job to well of smoothing out the rough roads, so much so that it was boring to ride.

I dont think Ryan is just trying to dull out foot pain here, he is also looking for that springiness/liveliness that we all love.

My old Speedvagen is by far the most springiness/liveliness of any frame I have owned, just like Ryan is talking about. It seams hard to replicate this, that's one of the reasons I still have it, its just a joy to ride.

.
Hah! Good point....my 622 is super smooth, but I never thought of it as boring. The miles just go by and I don't feel beat up at the end of a ride.

That said, I've always thought my CSI was the liveliest, and frankly best "climbing" bike I have despite being the heaviest!
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