Alloy v carbon difference

Discussion in 'General Cycling Discussions' started by Trigger369, 9 Mar 2019.

  1. OP

    Trigger369 Senior Member

    Yea crc and halfords and a few other local shops
  2. OP

    Trigger369 Senior Member

    Budget would be 1500 max as vickster mentioned . So no way top of the range .
  3. ColinJ

    ColinJ It's a puzzle ...

    Ha ha - Globalti and I have met a few times. He rides the same size bikes as me and offered to let me try out one of his carbon fibre bikes but I declined. I really like my 15 year old aluminium Cannondale bike and can't afford to replace it so I didn't want to risk finding out that I strongly preferred his!

    If I ever find myself with a sizeable bike replacement budget though, I might take Gti up on his kind offer.
    JhnBssll likes this.
  4. Shearwater Missile

    Shearwater Missile Well-Known Member

    I went from an aluminium to carbon 4 years ago thinking I needed something lighter. to make life easier. Yes the carbon is lighter and is quicker off the mark and up hills, if I want it to be. The ride is more comfortable but then that also depends upon tyres and size of tyre also. The carbon bike came with 700 x 25 Conti`s and with a carbon seat post so of course it would feel better than 700 x 23 Rubinos. I have since changed the 23`s to 25`s on the alu bike and it feels better, 28`s would be better still. Which bike do I prefer ? Both really. Another thing to remember is the state of our roads so neither bike may feel comfortable on a poor road surface.
    I used to have a steel bike and I did the London to Brighton on that twice (2002/2008) and both times cycled up Ditchling Beacon, not bad on a 5 speed freewheel. That was a comfortable bike but geometry played a big part in that as the bars were virtually level to the saddle. Whatever you buy as long as the fit is right and the geometry suits you, it will be fine and enjoy it.
    Trigger369 likes this.
  5. Will Spin

    Will Spin Senior Member

    2 carbon bikes, 2 aluminium bikes, can't tell any difference, though I like to think that one of the carbon bikes feels much better than the rest because I paid a lot more for that frame!
    SpokeyDokey and Trigger369 like this.
  6. Globalti

    Globalti Legendary Member

    My carbon hooligan bike is fast , light and fun to ride but quite stiff so after 50 miles you feel a bit tired in the shoulders. My carbon endurance bike is heavier and slower but comfortable for 100 miles and more. It's the way they're built.
    Trigger369 likes this.
  7. Shearwater Missile

    Shearwater Missile Well-Known Member

    The one thing in common is the engine that propels them. On a warm summers day cycling is fun on any bike but when you are still in winter and with 24 mile an hour winds it does`nt matter really, as that is not fun. Having said that though, the heavier bike is more stable under those conditions.
    tom73, Trigger369 and JhnBssll like this.
  8. mattobrien

    mattobrien Veteran

    Sunny Suffolk
    Have got one, for a budget of £1,500 I don’t think you could go too far wrong with a CAAD12. It rides much more similarly to my carbon bikes than my other alu bike.

    Out if my two carbon roadies, on one of them if you rode over a coin you could tell if it were heads or tails. On the other I often have to stop to check I don’t have a rear puncture as it is so comfy / compliant. Both are high end frames, but with very different characteristics.
    Trigger369 likes this.
  9. OP

    Trigger369 Senior Member

    So what I'm taking from these last few comments is that the geometry of the frame is going to give me a more comfortable ride ..must remember this when deciding which bike to buy .
  10. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    You need to try them out, don't get fixated on discount or spec until you have a shortlist of test ridden bikes
    Trigger369 likes this.
  11. It’s the ‘tuned’ nature of the Carbon bikes that stands out. It’s much easier to make a Carbon Fiber bike do exactly what you want it to do, when you want it to, than it is to get an alloy frame to do so. Careful selection of the carbon fibre materials used, the formulation of the resin, how the CF ‘mats’are arranged in relation to each other ( the lay up ) all make small differences, which add up to a big difference. That said, unless you’re in the bigger buck range in terms of cost, sometimes there’s bugger all difference. Experience, and mileage will teach you what’s what. There’s a lot of marketing ‘fog’ out there to confuse issues, but again, experience will tell you what’s bluster and what’s important.
  12. Yellow Saddle

    Yellow Saddle Veteran

    Loch side.
    No, I think you've been mislead by fancy words. Geometry.
    It means nothing.
    All bikes for a given purpose - road, utility, MTB, Downhill, etc, have frames with angles within a degree, perhaps two, of each other. Further, the only angle that does matter to the steering (note, not to comfort) is the head tube angle. However, even that has to be coupled with the fork offset before you can make a judgement.
    Now, if you were to decide on a (fictitious) optimum angle with the corresponding "right" fork offset, I wish you good luck in finding your dream bike.

    Further, "comfort" is simply compliance, which in turn is a fancy word for springiness. Frames, thanks to their diamond truss design, are essentially springless. They have to vertical "give" of note. By that, I mean that their flex is less than the rubber in the tyre, nevermind the air in the tyre. The only place where there is some vertical "spring" in a bike is in the steerer tube (fork). Again, that is minimal and we know this because of the longevity of headset bearings. If there was more spring in the fork, the bearing will be pulled out of alignment and fail very quickly.

    Therefore, there is effectively no "comfort" in either carbon, titanium, steel or aluminium bikes. None. Ziltch, Nada.

    Comfort can of course be found in ride position and that's a matter of getting the approximate right size bike and correct stem and seat height. I say approximate frame size only because the new BS "science" of bike fitting has pulled the arse out of the chicken with this one. There is no need for millimeter precision in a fit - Small, Medium and Large is good enough for average body shapes and configurations. The fine tuning comes with saddle and handlebar position.

    In summary:
    Forget about the material. One won't give you more comfort than another.
    Don't overthink this.
    Choose a nice colour.
    Fall in love with the bike and ride it.
  13. ColinJ

    ColinJ It's a puzzle ...

    And ... Inflate the tyres to somewhere between too soft and too hard ... :whistle:
    SpokeyDokey and Trigger369 like this.
  14. Smokin Joe

    Smokin Joe Legendary Member

    99% of what makes a bike feel comfortable as opposed to harsh can be attributed to decent tyres and tubes inflated to the correct pressure. All the stuff about alleged harshness of aluminium and the featherbed ride of steel or carbon is just crap written by magazine testers who get all their "Facts" from the manufacturers brochures.
    SpokeyDokey and ColinJ like this.
  15. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Resistance is futile! Moderator

    I've had bikes made of alloy, steel, carbon, Ti and magnesium. I'm not sure I could tell the difference between the different frame materials.
    Alloy has the distinct advantage that it's a lot cheaper, meaning you can get better wheels or afford a holiday to go and ride your shiny new bike.
    Ride a few bikes and buy the one you :wub:
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