Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Where has all the carbon gone...

...should I "mourn its passing" me by?  I see lots of carbon 29er hardtails on the horizon and ready to roll down the trail....with gears on them.  How about the pure singlespeed versions?

Personally I have little use for a geared hardtail.  I have said it before that if I am going to bring all that spinning shifty stuff with me, I might as well bring a rear shock too.  But an SS is another thing altogether.  There I find the hardtail matched to an 80mm fork the real deal.

I have no real issue with steel SS frames and I am likely to stay in that camp for a long time to come. They can ride really nicely, but are heavy in the moderate $$ price ranges.  Ti calls to me with soft syllables of seductively spoken stuff but needs to be pretty expensive to have a tubeset that is worthy of SS use.  Alu is making big strides but so far has been a bit harsh riding and/or flexy.

Carbon faces the same stiffness VS. value challenge as carbon is usually noodly.  But a distant ride on the Specialized Stumpjumper Expert Carbon geared hardtail left an impression on me that still beings to mind a stout BB, very decent ride, good trail manners, and light weight.  I think the unique properties of a carbon lay-up can produce the ultimate SS frame.

I wonder who will come up with the first carbon frame that is not trying to be the lightest thing on the planet that rolls in the dirt (Superfly), is durable enough to be taken seriously by someone like me, tapered HT, BB30, some kind of tensioner like the Hey Swinger/Alternator set-up or a split shell BB, and cost in the range of a high end steel frame....maybe it exists now and I just missed it.

It seems that carbon 29er frame costs can come down in time.  Just look at carbon road frames.  Maybe the numbers that will come from Europe when they get their collective heads out of the sand will make that feasible.

Meanwhile, still waiting.

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