Aluminum vs carbon fiber. Which frame is better? (Part 1)
It is the first question that must be solved when buying a mountain bike: aluminum or carbon fiber mountain bike?
We help you solve it by pointing out all the advantages and disadvantages of both materials, so you can make the best decision based on your personal cyclist profile.
Aluminum mountain bike Vs. Carbon fiber mountain bike
We insist: there is no occasion in which you are going to buy a mountain bike in which you or your environment asks you the dreaded question: aluminum or carbon fiber mountain bike? And, really, in most cases there is no clear answer.
The inertia of the sector, normally, makes us want a carbon fiber mountain bike, although often what we can really afford is an aluminum one. This is the first point: aluminum is much cheaper than carbon fiber. And if the economic factor is the main one when buying a bike, this question is decisive.
Solve your question: what mountain bike are you riding now? Is it an aluminum mountain bike? Do you really need to make the jump to carbon fiber? Is the carbon fiber in your frame non-negotiable?
From there, the decision will be easier. But there is a trap. Because there is a second fundamental question: do I prefer an aluminum mountain bike with good components? Or a carbon fiber with worse components? A great debate has been opened on this issue, especially with the great improvements that aluminum has experienced. And there are opinions for all tastes: some think that carbon is non-negotiable; others prefer to assemble high-end components, although the frame is made of aluminum.
And, from all this, the following question is derived: is weight essential for you? Or is it something negotiable? The final weight of your mountain bike will also be determined by the components you ride. But the basis is the weight of your frame. Notes: Carbon fiber weighs less, if it is a high quality carbon fiber, much less. But aluminum has improved a lot. In summary: if the weight matters to you, do not think that you have already closed the debate in favor of carbon fiber. Consider the final weight, with components included.
These are the two main factors that will determine your decision. But there are some more.