Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What’s Your Take on Aluminum vs. Carbon?

One of my friends asked me this the other day. It's hard to say since I haven't had much time on Carbon bikes. The Carbon bikes I did ride I never noticed anything about the frame that set it apart. I guess I really didn't even think about it...which might speak volumes. Usually if something is working well, you don't usually notice it. I wasn't concentrating on the frames at all and was more concerned with bike fit, cockpit feel, and pedaling and suspension characteristics. I guess if I had more time to ride them maybe I would have noticed something different. I think the fact that I don’t even think about it means I love it. One less thing to think about, getting me closer to that feeling of just me and the trail. Isn't that the end goal? Improving the rider experience? Probably not but it should be. That’s why I also ride a singlespeed; simple, light, and quiet. Really lets you focus on the trail.

My Soul Cycles Hooligan. I've since upgraded the rigid fork with a suspension fork and the Aluminum riser bar with a Carbon flat far I am loving the Carbon flat bar...wider is better.

I did get a chance to ride a full Carbon Rocky Mountain Altitude at NEMBAfest this year. My first impressions were good and I really liked it although spending an hour or so on a bike just doesn't give you a very good feel for how it performs. I think if I could afford it I would totally get a Carbon bike as long as it has a threaded Aluminum BB, which the Altitude does not have. I've heard horror stories about press fit BB’s into carbon frames coming loose on some bikes and frankly it just doesn't sound like a good idea. Integrated cable routing is also a good idea on Carbon frames, which the Altitude did have. The last thing you want is cable rub ruining you $5000 bike.

Rocky Mountain Altitude. I rode this bike at NEMBAfest this year, only difference was it had the Raceface bits which I prefer. I really liked it although the cockpit was a bit cramped for me.

So what are you're thoughts? Do you have a Carbon bike? How about an Aluminum one? Or are you in the Steel is real camp of thought? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.