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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
29er Review / Comparison: Flash Alloy vs. Flash Carbon

Same fork, same wheels, same tires, same geometry, and nearly the same weight. Saddles are the same even though it's not shown in the photos. Why I ended up with both is a long story. I've sold the Alloy and have only 1 ride on the Carbon, and I raced the Alloy for 1 season.

Flash Alloy: 22.1 lb.
Flash Carbon: 21.7 lb.

Different drivetrain/brakes. Alloy was full XTR, Carbon is pretty much a stock Carbon 2 build (X.7, X.9, Elixir R)

Initial impression: Alloy is stiffer in back, for both pedaling response and ride. Carbon is stiffer up front and holds a line better at speed, but isn't quite as responsive to pedaling. More to come...
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Update:

I now have couple rides in on the Carbon bike, and the differences between the two are surprisingly dramatic.

Frame Design:

Cable Routing- The cable guide under the bottom bracket is a much better design on the carbon. Sounds insignificant, but the one on the Alloy was not so good, it added shift resistance and diminished shift accuracy.

Ride Characteristics:

To be honest, I didn’t think I would notice a difference. Thinking tire pressure probably has more of an affect than frame compliance. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Compliance-The carbon frame dampens trail vibrations better than I thought a frame could. It feels like a soft tail. High frequency trail chatter just doesn’t make it through the frame to your hands, butt, and feet. It almost feels like it’s floating above the trail and only making contact at the high points. To be honest, it makes the frame “feel” soft, but it’s not. The alloy is also very compliant for an aluminum frame. They both offer a great ride, but I may prefer the more direct ride feel of the alloy.

Acceleration/Speed-As I said earlier, Alloy felt faster, I think that since more trail noise made it through to the rider, the increase in speed was more easily perceived. The Carbon feels slow compared to the alloy, it’s not. I rode my normal offroad time trial of 5.4 miles with 1,600ft climbing, and the result was slightly slower on the Carbon than what I rode on the alloy (33:20 vs. 34:03). But I had an 8 lb pack on when riding the carbon, and I’ve only been on a bike a few times over the past 2 months. I think these 2 things more than make up for the 40 second difference. Lots of variables I know, but it’s enough to make me confident I didn’t lose any speed because of the bike. I’ve ridden this route as a time trial a lot, and know pretty well what to expect for a time.

Descending/Handling-The vibration dampening and stiffness of the carbon bike give it a clear advantage, it’s not even close. It corners and holds a line better. I though the alloy was good, the Carbon is better.

Overall impression-I think the alloy is a bit more fun to ride when climbing, simply because it feels faster. The Carbon is more fun descending. I also think that the compliance of the carbon would be a benefit at the end of a long race or ride.

Component notes:

The Sram stuff shifts slightly better and more crisply than the Shimano stuff. But as usual, I prefer the ergonomics of Shimano shifters. The Elixer R Brakes have great power and modulation, hopefully they don’t have the bleeding issues that some people have experienced with some of the higher end Avids. I had a 12-34 cassette on the alloy, and a 11-34 on the Carbon. The 12-34 is better as it closes up the 20-17 tooth jump on the 11-34...it's noticable to me anyway.

I’ve got a 25 hour team race this weekend, I’m confident that Flash Carbon is the right tool for the job.
 

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Thanks Brentos, great feedback, nice to get a direct back to back comparison.
 

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Thanks for your insights , i'm looking at a Flash for next year, still not sure about 29er though.
 

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Awesome! I've been torn between alloy or carbon myself. Gives me some food for thought. Either Flash 1 alloy or Flash 3 carbon. Which would you chose if you could only have one?

The specs are close enough for me, I ride for fun and only race occasionally. There again I do that just for the fun as well. It really comes down to the frame and weather or not the extra $500 is worth it for the carbon frame. I'm curious how much the frames weigh by themselves? A half pound difference is insignificant to me.
 

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Awesome! I've been torn between alloy or carbon myself. Gives me some food for thought. Either Flash 1 alloy or Flash 3 carbon. Which would you chose if you could only have one?

The specs are close enough for me, I ride for fun and only race occasionally. There again I do that just for the fun as well. It really comes down to the frame and weather or not the extra $500 is worth it for the carbon frame. I'm curious how much the frames weigh by themselves? A half pound difference is insignificant to me.
I am also considering either the Flash 1 Alloy or the Flash 3 Carbon.

Personally I would like to add a SAVE post and I think you may have a slightly better range of comfort.

The weights are very similar in fact I think I read 10.65kg and 10.5kg respectively.

29er Flash Alloy 1 23.5lbs
29er Flash Carbon 3 23.2lbs

I found each bike sold out in most of Europe, however I just sourced one in a secret location and have asked to reserve it to pick up in another country 4.5 hrs away! Well worth it as I also found it on sale!!! What a bargain as the price is the same as the Alloy 1 regular price. Prices seem quite fixed as the Cannondale has become the Apple of the bike world for those who like the aesthetics. Fortunately, from all I have heard its also a great bike to ride and if you race.

My summary: go for alloy if you like the direct vibrating feel or go for carbon if you prefer great carbon absorption. Both are so close!
 

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2012 Alloy 1

vs the 2012 Carbon 3 (I have gone for the 3 and hope to pick it up in a few weeks)


Thanks to the posters info as it helped me decide
 

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What is this? I can see that the weldings on the flash 29er 2012 is untreated. This was Cannondales trademark and now it is gone?
 
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