Who wants carbon?
Some of those lucky enough to have the funds when starting out can bypass the entry level steel and aluminium offerings, going straight for a carbon frame/fork from the off. However for the rest of us mere mortals the natural progression is to upgrade their bike after years of being a beginner. Many riders start with an entry level road bike somewhere in the region of £300-900, which means the bike will be made of steel or aluminium. A carbon road bike is usually the 2nd or 3rd bike that people will own. It is also likely that many of these riders already know what they want and have done their research, spoken to fellow riders or read reviews online/magazines. However for those of you out there that are at the point where you know you want a carbon road bike but don’t know where to start, please find below a great list of products from the top 4 online cycle retailers in the UK.
Carbon road bikes have developed a lot over the past few years and now account for 3% of the total market. The price of forming and molding the carbon bikes has also come down and as such make it more and more affordable to the mass market. Their popularity has increased as the weight of carbon bikes has made them attractive over aluminium to many looking for an edge. The carbon provides more rigidity making the rider more efficient in power transfer from legs to movement forward. Many race bikes for pro riders are made of carbon and is the favoured choice as the carbon frame and forks also offer comfort to riding times of 5+ hours in the saddle.
If you are interested please find a video below that shows how Switch go about creating a carbon fibre road bike frame
What does the market look like?
Despite some publications talking about carbon road bikes for under £1000 there are very few and generally only sale or ex demo bikes fall into this category.
As 2012 is now over it’s bargain time for deal hunters as bike shops sell off their stock from last year.
Let’s have a look at what’s available at time of writing:
Top 5 2012 bargains
Orbea Onix TGG – £999
Cube Agree GTC – £1159
Bianchi Via Nirone 7 – £1250
*Boardman Road Team Carbon – £1299.99
Eddy Merckx EMX1 105 – £1499
* Our pick is the Boardman as you get a great bike with Shimano 105 gearing and braking.
2013 bikes has been trickling onto the market since late last year and not everything is launched yet, but we have looked at the entry level offerings for 2013 currently available.
Of course many of these bikes are the basic spec and most manufacturers will offer 3 or 4 other model upgrades with better components.
Top 5 2013 value entry level bikes
Specialized Roubaix – £1200
Giant TCR Composite 3 Comp – £1248
Norco Valence Carbon 4 – £1250
Giant Defy Composite 2 – £1399
Cannondale Synapse Tiagra – £1499.99
Further viewing fun of what you can do on a carbon road bike (don’t try this at home)