Carbon Fiber Mountain Bikes vs. Aluminum
A mountain bike has to be tough. Its durability and ability to function in rough terrain is the key to its appeal. When you buy a mountain bike you want to be sure it can stand up to whatever abuse that you put it through. This means that you have to have a bike that is made of a strong enough material. Two of the most popular materials on the market for bike frames right now are aluminum and carbon fiber. Here are some of the differences and similarities between aluminum and carbon and which one you should use.
The first thing that needs to be understood about carbon fiber and aluminum bicycles is that they are not simply different materials. They are created through entirely different processes. For example, aluminum bicycles are typically one solid piece. Carbon fiber, on the other hand, is created through use of many different metallic fibers that are woven together. This process yields a bike that is unique compared to other bicycles on the market.
The durability of aluminum and carbon fiber are comparable. The aluminum frame is one solid piece. That comes with an incredible amount of durability that enables a mountain bike to take the kind of abuse that it frequently does. Carbon fiber, on the other hand, tends to be more prone to flexing than aluminum. This has led to some debate as to whether or not carbon fiber is more durable. Some say that the construction and flexing are nothing to worry about, and that the flexing may actually be helping the mountain bike in the long run. Others say that the flexing shows that the bike will receive damage much sooner.
The contest of weight between the aluminum and carbon fiber frame is really no contest at all. Carbon fiber, thanks to the process used to create it, is significantly lighter than that of aluminum. This obviously makes it much easier to transport while you are driving or if you have to pick it up to make repairs. Having said that, there are some who find that the additional heft of aluminum can be a benefit when riding downhill as it helps to create more momentum. However, that is purely a matter of preference.
When it comes to price carbon fiber is definitely outclassed by aluminum. Carbon fiber offers a lot of great benefits and it is certainly the material of the future but that also makes it very expensive. However, if you are one who takes their cycling seriously then it may be worth the additional investment in a carbon fiber bicycle. It all depends on your personal tastes, preferences, and what price you are willing to pay to meet them.
At the end of the day the material that your mountain bike is made of is incredibly important. How long the bike lasts and how much use you are able to get out of it depends on the material. This is why it is so important that you choose wisely.