I currently ride a 4yo Felt F75 which has been a good bike but I feel my riding has advanced to the stage where I should be upgrading. (Well that's how I'm justifying things, anyway!) Also my LBS is getting tired of tweaking the same old problems over and over again and he says GET A NEW BIKE! :-)
The F75 is an alloy frame with carbon forks, a fairly standard setup for a bike of that age and price, and now I'm tempted to go "full carbon".
I've been offered a 2011 model Felt AR3 with SRAM Red groupset for a little over $4k and I'm very tempted. But I'm wary of spending that much money on a machine which might not suit me.
My riding is a mix of the weekly Scuzzi ride (a flat ride on which I seem to spend a fair bit of time leading the group) and a weekend ride either through the hills or along the beach.
My main concern with the AR3 is the level of stiffness: if it's too stiff, it could become uncomfortable on the longer rides (e.g. anything over 100lm).
Does anyone have any first-hand experience who might be able to comment on this?
Does anyone own an AR3 who might be willing to loan it to me for an hour or so?
I do not have a Felt, but my current bike is the first full carbon I have owned.
I have had it for 2ish years now and love it.
I often ride 80-100 k's and have no complaints about the frame being too stiff as to be uncomfortable.
The main issue of comfort i found to be knicks and seat and bike setup.
Get these three things right, and u will never have issues...
The transfer of power and acceleration is out of this world compared to my older alloy bikes...
If your current bike has carbon forks, i would suggest that u won't notice much difference as the roads are far from smooth whatever the frame u ride..
Go on, you know u want to....
Have a chat to the LBS as to whether they have a demo that you can use to get an idea of what it's like...
Yes, asked for a demo at more than one shop, not available.
It really annoys me that the bike distributors as a rule do not make demonstration bikes available. The only exception seems to be Specialized, who have a dedicated promotional van which tours the country from time to time. The Giant store on Hindmarsh Square said they'd allow a short test ride of anything they had in stock, provided the weather is dry.
If you have a look at a few of the store pages in bikeexchange there are a couple that have demo models listed for sale, they'd be my first target when looking for a test ride.
I agree on the stupidity of not allowing a test, you're chucking down a significant amount of coin on these things, why would you make a decision without an idea of whether it's going to suit you?
Hi Jeremy I saw the AR3 the other week at my LBS nice wheels. I own a 2011 Felt F3 with sram red with new dura ace c24 wheels and love riding it, have had mine for a few months. I think Felt are under rated but they are a great bike and I can vouch for mine.
Tweaking old problems time and time again? What kind of problems and why do have to be continually tweaked? Why can't you test ride the bike thats been offered? I think I would shop around, plenty of full carbon around for far less than that though I admit I no nothing about SRAM Red, I've never even seen it?
LBS can’t fix the bike?
Get a new bike mechanic or learn to do it yourself.
Or is he more interested in the $4,000 sale?
If he can’t fix your present bike why will he be able to fix the $4,000 bike?
My thoughts too Don. Nothing wrong with Jeremy wanting a new bike, who could blame him, but a LBS suggesting a new bike because they are fed up of tweaking the same old things should maybe tweak them better the first time ;)
Many things on a bike need to be tweaked, we can't all do it ourselves but it's not a reason to upgrade. However if the OP wants to upgrade for whatever reason then go for it but I'd be finding a LBS that has a bike to test or can get one, I wouldn't be spending $4k without a test ride. Hell I wouldn't even buy a $20 T shirt without trying it first.
I can understand your cynicism that the LBS simply wants to sell me a bike, but I honestly don't think that's the case here.
I like the look of the AR3 (yes I've seen one in the flesh, in a bike shop even) and I want to know what it's like to ride before laying my money down, that's all.
I had a chat with another bike shop owner today and he explained why they're so reluctant to offer "trial rides". The main problem is that the trial bike can not be sold afterwards "as new" and even to offer it as "ex-demonstrator" is difficult. They can't offer any guarantees as to the state of the bike unless they pay for a full X-ray of the frame etc to confirm someone hasn't crashed it badly. Much as I suspected and he agrees it's not an ideal situation that requires customers buy a bike "on spec".
Having said that, he is prepared to let me borrow a couple on the weekend (mainly because of family connections) so I hope to be checking out a couple of Italians on Saturday.
I understand the issue of letting you take the bike for a ride, but my LBS let me ride around the carpark out the back for a good 20 minutes on multiple bikes. I think this should be standard for any LBS. I shopped around and any bike shop that wasn't going to let me ride the bike didn't get my business.
Are carbon frames that fragile that they can break and there is no physical damage to the bike that can be seen?
Sounds like a good reason to never buy one good pothole and you are wondering if the frame needs replacing?
They're definitely stronger now than they were a few years ago, but I've heard of new ones that have broken without warning.
The problem is that while you can see if the bike has been crashed (e.g. because of damage to paintwork) it's much harder to tell if this has compromised the carbon. Metal bikes aren't affected in the same way and a really bad crash is more likely to bend the frame than break it.
As for pot-holes ... it pays to know the quality of the carbon. Some manufactures are better than others.