Carbon fiber bike frames are expensive. The highest-level aero carbon frames from top brands like Specialized and Trek can cost you upwards of $5000. They are great bikes, but the price just isn’t right for most people.
But great carbon bikes don’t have to be that expensive. If you look at the far eastern part of the world, you can often find equally impressive bike frames at a third of the price.
Among the top aero carbon fiber bike frames from the east, there are the Seka Exceed and Winspace T1500. These bikes are lightweight, versatile, and rugged, making them a good choice for competitive cyclists.
But how do they match up with each other?
In the geometry department, both bikes are similar. They have aerodynamic considerations foremost in their designs. The Seka Exceed leans more toward an all-rounded-shaped top tube while the T1500 looks more like a dedicated aero bike.
The two both come in five sizes.
The Seka Exceed has a shorter reach in every size – by up to 15mm on the largest size – and a greater stack, making the Seka Exceed a more relaxed frame than the Winspace T1500. Seka Exceed will fit better for people with short torsos and long legs, and the Winspace T1500 will appeal to those with long torsos and short legs.
Because of the very short reach compared to most racing bikes, you will probably need a 1-2 cm longer stem on Seka Exceed if you decided to get one.
Here’s the full geometry chart for each bike:
The Winspace frameset has a bigger trail and wheelbase making its steering more stable at high speed. Seka Exceed’s smaller trail number will make it an agile and livelier-feeling bike. Neither is absolutely better than the other, it’s up to your preference.
Tier-1 aero bikes don’t come cheap. A top-tier aero bike from top brands will typically come in around $5000, since they’re often made of highly weight-optimized carbon fiber grade, and they have a high budget in R&D and marketing.
Seka and Winspace don’t likely spend as much in the latter two, so you can expect a big cost reduction compared to western brands.
The Winspace T1500 frameset comes with an MSRP online as low as US$ 1,480 to 1,580. Even compared to Specialized’s second-tier carbon frame, it’s still less than half the price. At this price range, the T1500 is an incredible deal.
The newer Winspace T1550 is $200 more expensive at $1,680 to $1,780. There’s no difference between the T1500 and T1550 in terms of shape and geometry, but the T1550 allows for hidden cable even with mechanical groupsets.
The Seka Exceed is roughly comparable to the T1500, running at approximately US$ 1,300 to 1,700.
The Seka Exceed is not their highest grade frame, though. The title goes to Seka Exceed RDC. The Seka Exceed RDC runs closer to $2,000 to $2,200 in total. Significantly more expensive than the normal Exceed and the T1500, but it’s still an incredible deal against other bikes if you compare them by price per weight.
Keep in mind, though, that Seka is newer to the market and Winspace has been a big player for a long time. The Seka Exceed is a little more expensive compared to the T1500 on the high end, but on the low end, it is a bit less expensive.
The Winspace T1500/T1550 frame is the heaviest of the two, at a weight of 1050g size M unpainted. Seka Exceed is only 97 grams lighter at 953g unpainted. The Exceed RDC is about 10% lighter than the Exceed, coming in at 775g unpainted.
As you can see, the RDC is a much lighter bike. The weight is comparable or even lighter to some of the highest-level all-around bikes from top western brands. For example, the Factor Ostro VAM which looks very similar to the Seka Exceed RDC weighs 780g and costs $5500. Now you can see how much of a better value the Seka Exceed RDC is.
Bottom Bracket Type
The BB86 press-fit bottom bracket on the Winspace T1500 is an industry-standard bracket. Creaking problems are especially a problem with a press-fit bracket if the quality control isn’t the best. However, Winspace has a well-deserved reputation for good quality control and you are no more likely to see a bracket problem with this frame than on other frames of the same type. Though, with a press-fit-type bracket, there’s always a chance of creaking
The Seka Exceed and Seka Exceed RDC framesets both use threaded brackets, the T47. The T47 threaded bottom bracket was launched in 2015, looking to be a cure for the creaky bottom brackets that were often a complaint of press-fit systems.
The downside of the T47 type is that it’s heavier than the press-fit brackets, though note that even with that, the Seka frame is still lighter than its Winspace counterpart.
Even with the additional weight from the threaded brackets, the T47-equipped Seka Exceed is nearly 100 grams lighter than the BB86-equipped Winspace, and the Exceed RDC is lighter still.
Everything else being equal, the threaded T47 bracket is theoretically less stiff than the BB86 press-fit. Combined with the lower weight, the Seka Exceed and Exceed RDC may be less stiff compared to the Winspace T1500.
Frame and Component Options
The Winspace T1500 is available in both rim brake and disc brake frame types, while the Seka Exceed is only compatible with disc brakes. Since disc brake components are more expensive than rim brake, a complete T1500 rim brake bike might be cheaper overall than a complete Seka Exceed bike with disc brakes.
The seat post on the Seka Exceed is available in both straight and 15 mm setbacks. The Winspace T1500 has only one option, a setback seat post. It’s not a big problem for most people, but some people might need to push their saddle much farther forward with Winspace T1500.
Both of the Seka Exceeds’ standard prices include the integrated handlebar system. The Winspace T1500 does not come with a handlebar, which you must buy separately; purchasing a carbon fiber handlebar will increase the overall price of the frame.
Overall, the feature set of the Seka Exceed, well, exceeds that of the Winspace T1500. Unless you want a rim brake frame.
The Seka bikes have a lifetime warranty on the frame, 5 years on their fork, and 2 years on their handlebars. They also give you 25% off of a new frame if you break your old one in an accident. By comparison, the T1500 frameset has only a 3-year warranty on the frameset. There is a 2-year warranty on Winspace wheelsets and 1 year for accessories, but those are separate topics.
If you’re looking for more affordable carbon road bike frame options from the East, check out this article.