Carbon or alloy for a returning rider?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by Divya Nanjappa, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. Divya Nanjappa

    Divya Nanjappa New Member

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    Good day, everyone.
    I have been out of cycling for a couple of years, and am looking to get back in.
    The cost of carbon frame bikes has come down quite a bit over the past few years, and I am looking to buy one. But also I have read that alloy frames are more durable, won't crack or split (break) as easily if abused.
    When I ride, I split my time between trails and pavement.
    Any thoughts/suggestions?
    Thank in advance.

    - Divya Nanjappa
     
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  2. MMMhills

    MMMhills Active Member

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    This is one of those questions that will get all kinds of answers and opinions.

    My opinion is that Carbon when layed up properly is far superior to any other material. It is lighter, stiffer and takes some of the road vibrations out of the ride. A bad crash will damage any frame. Carbon will cost more so your budget will play a factor. If the budget dictates a choice between components or frame material I would spend the money on better components and get an aluminum frame.

    Most important thing is to get a bike that fits properly. Find a shop that you can trust and have them help you.
     
  3. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    +1. I am a vintage bike junkie so you know that I love my alloy frames, but I am seriously considering purchasing either a CF or Ti frame bike for a little more comfortable ride. I am hoping that the price of a Ti frame drops like the cost of CF frames has. Anyway, if you are going to buy a CF frame and you do your own wrenching, you will need to budget a small amount for a Torque Wrench and the associated bits so that you don't accidentally crack your frame by overtightening a bolt or screw.

    But as MMM Hills mentioned, fit should be the most important factor in you choice of bikes, followed by comfort, budget, and appearence.
     
  4. AlanG

    AlanG Member

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    You say your time is split between trails and pavement. I don't know what kind of trails your are riding or what distances. But are you looking for a road bike, hybrid, cyclocross? A road bike is great on pavement but could have some issues on rough, gravel, or muddy trails.

    I have a CF road bike that I ride on the road and love it. But my commute includes about 6 miles (round trip) of gravel and I ride it on an aluminum cyclcross bike that has a carbon fork. I have ridden this gravel stretch on my road bike a few times and can get though ok generally. But when it is wet or loose the tires really can bog down and things can also get squirelly fast. The cyclocross bike does much better in it and is heavier duty for all of the shaking and bumps that it can get when holes develop in the gravel. I don't really want to subject my CF road bike to this. I also have fenders, rack, and a trunk on my commuting bike and you can't always put these on a road bike or may not want to.

    So I'd say think about what type of bike you want first before you decide carbon or aluminum. Cyclocross bikes are available in carbon fiber too.
     
  5. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Frame material is only one of many factors in how a bike performs, and there is absolutely no indication whatsoever that it is the dominant factor. The important factors for a given frame are frame design, design implementation, construction, and QC. Your best bet is going to be the one that it has always been for bikes: pick some bikes that interest for one reason or another; test ride those bikes, and then buy the one that fits best, rides best, most appeals to your aesthetic pleasure centers, and best fits your budget. Note that nowhere in there is anything about choosing one material over another. Neither carbon fiber, aluminum, titanium, steel, or magnesium are magical materials for frames. All are real. All can produce frames that ride like crap, and all can produce frames that ride so wonderfully, they're fit for a king or queen....or even for the front man for Queen, Freddie Mercury, R.I.P (He really died of awesomeness.).
     
  6. Divya Nanjappa

    Divya Nanjappa New Member

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    Thank you for the suggestions and recommendations, everyone.

    From the answers, I gather the most important part is fit - to my body and riding style.

    Respectfully.
     
  7. schristie11

    schristie11 New Member

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    [SIZE= 10pt]Now days many manufacturers have invented ways to make carbon and aluminum frames to flex or be stiff.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]You can buy a carbon bike that is stiff as a nail or that is very flexible and some carbon frames even have flex joints.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]Also the same is true for aluminum frames, now they have techniques to make them very stiff or very flexible and in-between.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]The questions of which to buy depends on you, the best way is to go to a GOOD local bike store and test them and see how they "feel".[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]The stores that carry the full variety of these frame types can usually give you good practical advice on which frame will suite your wants and needs.[/SIZE]
     
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