Manufacturing a carbon fiber bicycle frame is a complicated process that requires careful attention to detail and method. An especially cheap carbon fiber bicycle can be a great way to shed weight from your racing setup without lightening your wallet. Some entry-level carbon fiber bikes can fit the bill for a rider looking to save money, but purchasing a used or older model bicycle can reduce the price of carbon fiber dramatically.
Good Source of Fiber
Carbon fiber bicycles are hand-manufactured using carbon fiber and glue. Individual strands of carbon fiber are woven together into sheets and sandwiched together with glue to form plies. These plies are then shaped into an aerodynamic and lightweight bicycle frame. The cost of materials and workmanship is what drives the price of carbon fiber so high; these frames can last thousands of miles and withstand all types of abuse without failing.
It's All Coming Together
On a bargain carbon fiber bike, you'll likely have rims and other components made from aluminum rather than carbon fiber to save money. These components won't be top of the line, but with regular maintenance, they should perform admirably and let you get the most out of your lightweight carbon fiber frame. Bargain carbon bikes are usually heavier than the top models, because the weight of lower level components adds up. This shouldn't keep you from competing with the top carbon bikes, however; racing is more about the rider than the bicycle.