I am a new cyclist who is on my 2nd year of biking. I bought a cheapo Schwinn MTB at Walmart to start with but now I want a real road bike. I currently have $2k saved up and am looking into a Specialized Secteur Exprt Disc which is aluminum. I did pick up a carbon frame bike at the shop and although it is lighter, not by much. How sturdy are these carbon frames? From what I've read they can crack if you get in a tumble, and at that point you are done. Vs an aluminum frame will more likely than not be OK. I'd have to spend over $1000 more to get a carbon frame and as good components (Shimano 105 or above) so I don't know if its worth it or not. I'm just a casual cyclist who likes to go on long solo rides for fitness/fun.

  • You have some advice to pick other bikes so I wanted to add an answer that the bike you selected looks nice. SECTEUR EXPERT DISC If you want to go on some long solo rides and for fitness/fun that looks like the correct style bike to me. Yes you could save some money used but if that is the bike you want and have saved up then it is certainly not a bad choice. With the clearance you could set the bike up with a range of tires sizes. That bike has a carbon front fork.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 16:54
  • If this is your first road bike make sure you buy from a store that will fit the bike to you. For long rides bike fit is very important. (and just being able to stand over the top tube is not fitting a bike)
    – Gary E
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 22:05
  • Its pretty insane to drop more than a few hundred on your first road bike - I'd probably pick up a 200-400 dollar used road bike, get used to it for a while, see what you like/dislike (for example, you may find you a racier geometry or a relaxed geometry or something), then sell it and buy something nice if you feel its lacking (you may not feel disc brakes are necessary on a road bike, unless you're running a loaded touring bike like a Surly Disc Trucker).
    – Batman
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 4:47

2 Answers 2


There's no reason to worry about carbon fibre durability. I'm riding on a 20 year old Specialized Epic Allez (CF tubes with Al lugs), and it's just as light and stiff as it was when new.

If you have a serious accident CF may break in a non-repairable way, but the same is more-or-less true about aluminium as well, although it may take more of a tumble to break it. (In theory Al can be welded, but you have to be very careful, as the welding will wreck the heat treatment.)

At the same time, CF is more expensive. If I would buy a new bike today I would probably get a decent aluminium frame and instead spend more money on the components, rather than an expensive frame with sub-par groupset.

  • True. A single datapoint is not statistically significant. And the plural of anecdote is not data. But my answer was based on research I have made over the years. I have come to the conclusion that CF is safe, but I can't find any serious studies to back it up here and now.
    – Popup
    Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 8:54
  • At the same time, and through a very ironic coincidence, I'm looking at buying a new bike right now. (My 20 year old CF bike was stolen last night.) And I'm actually looking at some nice Ultegra equipped CF bikes in the $2k range.
    – Popup
    Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 8:59

For a 2k budget, you can get either a mediocre new carbon frame, or a high-quality aluminium frame like a Cannondale CAAD 10.

Newer aluminium frames ride significantly better than their predecessors of even as recently as 5 years ago. The best aluminium frames can rival their carbon counterparts on weight and ride quality, while providing (in most cases) upgraded components.

I'd recommend buying a new aluminium bike over a lower-end carbon bicycle any day.

  • 1
    I'd debate mediocre.. for that budget you can pick up some decent Carbon frames - Evo Supersix for example
    – 7thGalaxy
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 15:52
  • I agree with you. Let me edit the answer to clarify that. Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 16:03
  • OP is not asking for a recommendation on another aluminum frame.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 3:13
  • @Blam, I'm aware of that. I wasn't recommending a specific frame, just providing an example of a high-quality aluminium frame. Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 13:26
  • But the OP refers to an aluminum frame in the question.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 13:45

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