carbon vs. aluminum

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by Fly1296, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. cyclist54

    cyclist54 New Member

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    I vote for the carbon. I went from a Bianchi with Reynolds 631 Cromaly to a Look with carbon. The frame has a comfort geometry both in configuration as well as special treatments to give flex in the vertical direction without sacrificing stability. Aluminum transmits a lot of road vibration through the frame into you. Just to be fair, I have friends who love their aluminum frames. And for apples to apples sake I will admit that I am 57 and ride 125 to 150 miles per week on California's crappy, poorly maintained streets. So my body takes a lot of bouncing and vibration. I "road" my steel bike, but I am one with my carbon bike. That's been the huge factor in enjoyment and enjoyment spawns more miles.
     


  2. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    From wikapedia:

    Carbon fibre-reinforced carbon (aka carbon–carbon, abbreviated C/C) is a composite material consisting of carbon fibre reinforcement in a matrix of graphite. It was developed for the nose cones of intercontinental ballistic missiles, and is most widely known as the material for the nose cone and wing leading edges of the Space Shuttle.

    I am not going to claim that aircraft composites are all carbon-carbon, but many of the composites used in aircraft do not use the same resins that bicycles use.
     
  3. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    So? Many do.
     
  4. cpurx

    cpurx New Member

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    I had a Giant TCR A1 (carbon spine/aluminum) and didn't enjoy it, I always felt like I was dragging the rear end while climbing. At first I'd look back to see if I had a flat or some. Before that I had a Bianchi XL EV2 (aluminum) and it was magic but I could never get it to fit just right and was tired of sore shoulders all the time. I now ride a steel frame bike with very slack geometry and love it. I'm not suggesting you get a steel bike but rather consider your long-term ownership. As your fitness increases you'll undoubtedly want to test it with a challenging charity event or organized ride with ridiculousness mileage and elevation gain. If the geometry or fit is not right, I don't care if it's carbon, aluminum, steel, TI, whatever, you'll suffer needlessly and not perform to your full potential.

    As far as longevity of materials is concerned, you have nothing to worry about. Average Joe's like us will never generate the wattage necessary to fatigue the materials we ride. If you can produce wattage equal to Cav and ride 25k a year, then you'll want a new bike every couple years. In which case, some team would be giving you a new bike every year anyway.

    Lastly, I ride with a guy who's a retired pro. He rides a CAAD10 and said there's no reason to ride carbon for stiffness, the CAAD10 is the stiffest frame he's ever ridden and that he wouldn't go back. He still races masters and is deadly on it.

    Good luck and enjoy the new ride whatever you pick up.
     
  5. lhphillips

    lhphillips New Member

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    Carbon is not worth the extra $s imho. I researched bikes and component combos for two years and decided to stay with AL. I wound up with the Neuvation F100 frame with the Sram Force groupo. Its an older model of the Cevelo aluminum frame, sweet setup.

    http://www.neuvationcycling.com/F100.html
     
  6. Spinalot

    Spinalot New Member

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    Hey here's my two cents worth. Carbon is such a nice ride over alloy on the rougher roads. The only thing with the lower end carbons is thier live span. I have seen alot of cheaper carbons become much like your best pair of slippers...sloppy but comfortable.
    So for future years and depending on how many miles you do it's worth a thought.
    Saying that if you are only riding socially and for fitness then I would go carbon and upgrade in a few years.
    Sram over 105. I have found 105 gets very sloppy after 12 months were the Sram stays true for that bit longer. Also the cranks on the Sram seem to be a bit stiffer when putting the power down. If you go with the Sram, throw a shimano chain on, makes it a bit smoother.
    Have fun deciding
     
  7. shawea

    shawea New Member

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    One other thing to consider. Since the bikes are relatively comparable. If you are thinking of upgrading in the future, maybe go now with the AL bike so that you have a solid frame and can upgrade components etc yourself at some point. And then when its time to upgrade, you can get NOT an entry level carbon frame, but a much nicer one. This way your arsenal is a bit more diverse and you will still probably find some times to want to ride the older AL frame for specific rides. Better than having 2 carbon frames, one which just outshines the other completely. Just a thought.
     
  8. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    You claimed "CF in use in aerospace is not 100% carbon." I found a reference that you are wrong. That is what is "so?"

    Perhaps you don't realize that graphite is carbon. Perhaps you don't realize that the "matrix" is what most of us would call the "resin." In any case you are wrong. Aerospace composites are not like anything you will find in a bicycle - except in the crudest terms.
     
  9. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Ah, so that's where you're going. How crafty. Carbon-carbon would be a great bike material, especially given how brittle it is and is to fracture or shatter compared to carbon fiber. Way to go. Do you actually know how rare the use of CC is outside of racing brakes for GP machinery, surfaces subject to critical heat on re-entry vehicles, and the like?

    Guess what: solid, machined Ti frames aren't used in bikes either, but they can be used in aerospace. Likewise, the ceramic in the Space Shuttle's tiles is not the same ceramic used in ceramic bearings. Wow. This is fun.
     
  10. headplant

    headplant New Member

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    I'm more curious about the differences between monocoque and wrapped carbon frames. I've heard that monocoque carbon frames lack some of the qualities of stiffness vs. compliance that wrapped carbon construction has.
     
  11. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    People know how to engineer with carbon fiber. Good bikes or bad bikes can be made using either method.

    The nice thing is that you will grow to like or hate whatever you buy. And it has noting to do with how the bike is constructed.
     
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