Carbon v Aluminum

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Poshgill
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Carbon v Aluminum

Postby Poshgill » 22 Oct 2011, 9:09am

I'm just about to purchase a new bike and I can't make my mind if I would like a carbon or aluminum frame.

Can anybody give me a steer of why I should pay about £300 more for the same bike with a carbon frame then I would for the sane bike with an aluminum frame. The spec is exactly the same for both bikes, just the frame is different.

PS. I currently ride a steel frame (Dawes Super Galaxy)

Cheers

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Carbon v Aluminum

Postby [XAP]Bob » 22 Oct 2011, 9:36am

lightness?
stiffness?
comfort?
style?
posing? ;)

Having not ridden a CF frame I can't comment on comfort, but lightness is outweighed by a carried mars bar - or a full bladder.


Not sure what CF is like in terms of fatigue - but assuming you aren't buying an actual TdF bike then it will probably have a good number of years of service, so long as it doesn't get knocked in the wrong direction*.


Bob


* Think about F1 suspension struts - stupidly strong in one direction, but you could snap them with a smart blow from a fist or foot in another direction. I don't know how much strength bike frames are given in "non-strong" directions.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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squeaker
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Re: Carbon v Aluminum

Postby squeaker » 22 Oct 2011, 9:37am

All other things being equal (but they never are) carbon fibre composite construction should be stiffer for a given weight than aluminium. (One reason why aircraft manufacture is moving in that direction.)
Whether a bike frame needs to be that stiff is another question entirely :wink:
"42"

Ontherivet77
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Re: Carbon v Aluminum

Postby Ontherivet77 » 22 Oct 2011, 11:42am

I've got a carbon road bike and I would say it is a much better bike than the aluminium bikes I've owned. The bike handles road buzz better and gear changes seem slicker, it's also lighter. However, there is not a massive difference these are subtle differences I've noticed overtime and if money is at a premium then aluminium will do the job. Although some bigger name manufacturers price their higher end alu frames in the same bracket as Focus/RIbble carbon frames.

JohnW
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Re: Carbon v Aluminum

Postby JohnW » 22 Oct 2011, 12:16pm

Question : Carbon or Aluminium?

Answer : Steel.

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Audax67
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Re: Carbon v Aluminum

Postby Audax67 » 22 Oct 2011, 1:28pm

JohnW wrote:Question : Carbon or Aluminium?

Answer : Steel.


+1. Friend of mine recently switched from a steel Bianchi to a snazzy carbon gadget and has no way of clamping any luggage onto it. All that glisters is not gold.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

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McVouty
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Re: Carbon v Aluminum

Postby McVouty » 22 Oct 2011, 6:30pm

Ontherivet77 wrote:I've got a carbon road bike and I would say it is a much better bike than the aluminium bikes I've owned. The bike handles road buzz better and gear changes seem slicker, it's also lighter. However, there is not a massive difference these are subtle differences I've noticed overtime and if money is at a premium then aluminium will do the job. Although some bigger name manufacturers price their higher end alu frames in the same bracket as Focus/RIbble carbon frames.

+1 but it depends what you want from the bike. Touring? Steel. Commuting? Steel. Fitness training? CF if you can afford it. Racing? CF.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Carbon v Aluminum

Postby [XAP]Bob » 22 Oct 2011, 6:53pm

McVouty wrote:
Ontherivet77 wrote:I've got a carbon road bike and I would say it is a much better bike than the aluminium bikes I've owned. The bike handles road buzz better and gear changes seem slicker, it's also lighter. However, there is not a massive difference these are subtle differences I've noticed overtime and if money is at a premium then aluminium will do the job. Although some bigger name manufacturers price their higher end alu frames in the same bracket as Focus/RIbble carbon frames.

+1 but it depends what you want from the bike. Touring? Steel. Commuting? Steel. Fitness training? CF if you can afford it. Racing? CF.

Surely training should involve a trailer full of concrete blocks...
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

BigFoz
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Re: Carbon v Aluminum

Postby BigFoz » 22 Oct 2011, 7:53pm

Answer:
Steel or Titanium.

JohnW
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Re: Carbon v Aluminum

Postby JohnW » 22 Oct 2011, 7:59pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:Surely training should involve a trailer full of concrete blocks...

I remember an article about 25 years (or more) ago, in Cycling Weekly, about Ian Cammish, who had then set the 100 mile competition TT record record at 3hrs 32mins - he rode to and from work, which I think was about 20miles each way (correct me here someone if I'm wrong) and carried two bricks in his saddlebag on the basis that it made the Sunday competition event seem that much easier - without even a saddlebag.

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Mick F
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Re: Carbon v Aluminum

Postby Mick F » 22 Oct 2011, 8:10pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:Surely training should involve a trailer full of concrete blocks...
Are you suggesting me?
:D
109_Block_1.jpg
Mick F. Cornwall

JohnW
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Re: Carbon v Aluminum

Postby JohnW » 22 Oct 2011, 10:52pm

Mick - you'd do that to a MERCIAN?

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Carbon v Aluminum

Postby [XAP]Bob » 23 Oct 2011, 7:59am

Whilst you inspired the somment I do generally think that most training should be at increased resistance.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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iow
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Re: Carbon v Aluminum

Postby iow » 23 Oct 2011, 9:51am

never really understood why you would want to add weight to train? why would any one want to get used to riding a poorly balanced bike and braking too early etc?
if you want more 'resistance', change up a gear - train fast, ride fast.
mark

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Mick F
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Re: Carbon v Aluminum

Postby Mick F » 23 Oct 2011, 10:24am

Yes, I do that to my Mercian, and why not?
It's made of steel, it is strong, light, springy and comfortable. Steel is the only bike material to have.

Training with towing a concrete block is good training because it gives such a retarding factor up hills. It makes hills harder, and it makes accelerating more difficult. It promotes strong leg muscles and is a good preparation for a loaded tour.

Road buzz? What is that?
Is it something that you suffer from with an alu bike?
Having never ridden one, I wouldn't know, but I reckon alu bikes are stiff with no shock absorption.
Mick F. Cornwall