Q. I want to upgrade my Scott S2 frame to a carbon frame, but am confused. There seem to be so many carbon frames on the market, all offering the Holy Grail of performance: light weight, increased stiffness and efficiency, while being more comfortable. I want to upgrade my bike for competing in duathlons and fast training at the weekends (but I don't want a tri bike).
Generally my rides are less than two hours long, so although comfort is not my main concern I do want something more forgiving than my Scott. I have two main questions: is it worth buying a separate frame such as the Kinesis 810 or Raleigh Pro Carbon over a full bike such as the Scott CR1 Team? And which carbon frame, for about a grand, would best suit my needs?
Dave Woodward, email
A. Buying a 'separates' frame and building a bike yourself can be fun and with time you could assemble a bargain ride out of ex-stock items. Saying that, times have changed significantly in the past decade and it's hard to beat a complete bike package.
I would advise against going for a sportive-specific frame design like the Specialized Roubaix because the upright riding position is unsuitable for duathlon, and, while both the Scott CR1 and Raleigh Pro Carbon are excellent race bikes, you'll find their ruthlessly efficient ride uncomfortable.
The Viner Gladius carbon Veloce costing £1,349, or the PBK Team carbon Dura-Ace costing £1,499 both have a balance of stiffness and comfort that will suit your needs. Their relatively low riding positions will allow you to adopt a sleek, aerodynamic riding position - a significant factor for your success in competition.
You should also consider the Specialized Roubaix S-Works 25mm tyres as they can be run down to comfortable 90psi without being detrimental to rolling resistance and the exceptionally supple ride justifies the £100 per pair price tag.