Photo © Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us, bike courtesy of http://www.neilprydebikes.com/
We’ve teamed up with Marilyn Trout, certified USA Cycling Elite Coach to answer Voler Newsletter List members’ training questions. You can view her coach profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/mountainpedalscoaching80903 Send your cycling inquiries to Marilyn, and for a limited time, if yours is selected to be answered in our Training column, Voler will send you a $20 gift certificate that can be used towards any purchase from the Voler Store at http://www.voler.com. To submit your inquiry, e-mail her at Marilyn@MountainPedals.net, and type “Voler Training Question” in the subject line of the e-mail.
The following question was answered by Peg Labiuk (nee Peggy Maass), a colleague of Marilyn Trout, and a certified NCCP level 3 coach with a career in international road and track racing. She is a World Championship medalist, World Record holder, U.S. Olympic Team member, former British national team coach and Kreb's Cycle co-founder (British Columbia, Canada).
Carbon Frames: A Choice For Touring?
I remember a comment Marilyn made about people thinking the bike makes them fast, when it's them that make the bike fast. And rather than buying a new bike, better wheels are better start. What is your experience with Carbon bikes, (can't carry much on them, not like a columbus chromor bicycle or Ti frame)?
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Yes, Marilyn knows that the rider makes the bike go fast. However, a friend reminded me that sure, the bike can’t win you a race, but it can lose it for you. It’s about making suitable choices in your equipment. If you are considering a new bike, first establish the main purpose for it. For example, I acquired a new carbon frame in the fall and was hoping to upgrade to use it as a winter bike. The trouble was I couldn’t fit fenders on it. My next thought was, ok now I have a Time Trial bike. It is definitely good for that, but I am thinking of modifying, replacing the carbon handlebars with aluminum so I can clamp on time trial bars without worrying about damaging the carbon bars. Some may disagree and go ahead with the carbon bars, but they are pricey enough that I don’t want to chance ruining a pair. Plus, I won’t be using the drops as much as riding in the time trial extenders so I won’t need the carbon there as much.
When you mention how much you can carry on a bike, I picture touring and carrying racks and panniers. You will be considering clamping onto the frame, so carbon might not be the choice for you. I love the “dampening” effect I get from my carbon frames; they relieve so much road jarring. The lightness of carbon is the next bonus. The frames are still new enough that I don’t know the test of time yet, but I do know a number of people who have cracked carbon frames, so I’d choose a carbon frame with a really good warranty program. John Allen notes that “Nobody's making carbon fiber touring bikes as far as I know, yet… Carbon fiber has great potential, but contemporary carbon fiber frames have not demonstrated the level of reliability and durability that are desired for heavy-duty touring use…Titanium, while costly, is generally the most durable material choice, but aluminum and steel are excellent.” To compare other materials for a touring frame, read more at http://sheldonbrown.com/frame-materials.html