delaca asked in SportsCycling · 1 decade ago

Aluminum frame vs. Carbon frame road bikes?

I am looking to upgrade from my aluminum frame road bike to a carbon frame road bike. I would like to know the advantages and disadvantages to a carbon frame, other than the fact that it costs more. Also, should I consider one bike maker or brand over another, and why. Do any of the manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on their carbon frames? Thanks.

12 Answers

  • Best Answer

    Wow, a lot of disinformation being posted as fact.

    Let me say this first: There is 'need' and there is 'want'. Unless you are in the top 1% or above in cycling fitness for your age group, buying a carbon fiber frame will not make you any faster. Training will.

    That being said, carbon fiber has taken over the high-end bike frame market and is making huge inroads to the mid-range market too. All for good reason. Carbon fiber can be tuned for each portion of the frame. Without question the lightest and stiffest frames are carbon fiber.

    I am a competitive cyclist who rides over 5000 miles a year and ride a seven year old Look brand (obsolete by today's standards) carbon-tubed bike. My bike weighs a little over 19 lbs with pedals so it is far from the lightest. The frame is aluminum lug with carbon fiber tube construction joined together with an adhisive. I am also 6'4" tall, 195 lbs and can generate well over 1000 watts for a short burst. I have crashed this frame heavily without any damage.

    Carbon fiber is very, very tough. Don't believe all the carbon-haters. The price is coming down every year so if you can't afford one this year, you may be able too next year.

  • 3 years ago

    Aluminum Vs Carbon Bike

  • 3 years ago

    Carbon Vs Aluminum Bike

  • 1 decade ago

    I would really recommend against carbon fiber. The thing is, most people want CF because it is lighter. This is a poor consideration with a frameset in that saving just 10 grams off each wheel (a total of about 2/3 ounce- easily done by choosing lighter tires) has the same performance difference as saving 280 grams (about 10 ounces) off anything else including the frame.

    Warranty on ANY frame has to do with an interpretation of usage. A lifetime warranty assumes that it will basically never be ridden. Warranties cover defects in materials and workmanship, not general failure due to fatiguing of material during use.

    CF has all the problems of aluminum plus additional things...

    - If dented or damaged it requires immediate removal from service;

    - Cannot withstand any type of impact or "crushing" action (like locking the frame in a bike stand);

    -Subject to "sudden catastrophic failure"... failure without warning;

    -High cost and limited life;

    -Minimal weight savings (if any at all)

    -Will absorb moisture and delaminate if scratched and not resealed.

    How about checking out magnesium? Not only lighter and stronger than CF or aluminum it tends to be less expensive too... plus the cool factor of magnesium as an exotic metal will make all your friends envious.

    The only 2 mg framebuilders I know are Paketa and Northstar Mg. A Paketa frame with CF fork is about $2000, while a Northstar Mg frame sells for about $700. I have both and the only difference I have determined between the 2 (so far, after about 1000 miles of riding) is that the Northstar Mg has a better paint job.

    Once you have the frame, go to and get a SRAM Rival build kit. For a nearly custom bike with a Northstar frame you'll spend the same or LESS than a bike from one of the big manufacturers.

    Um, Northstar is small and kind of hard to find, so if you want their email let me know.

    Source(s): 27 years in the industry
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I am not sure where some of these posts came from, but from someone like myself who road cycles 6000 to 8000 miles per year and has a 3 year old carbon fiber frame, I have never had any problems with my frame... I have never heard of any carbon bike "breaking" unless it was in some MAJOR crash... the same crash that would destroy almost any bike (except cromealloy steel)...

    That being said, carbon frames are usually the lightest out there, but they can be pricey. Yes, they can be stiffer, but that is a GOOD thing because the power transfer through the drivetrain is better, especially when you have to get up out of the saddle.

    While riding regularly, especially on the flats, it gives a bit, providing a "plush" ride.

    I love my Specialized Roubaix Pro, pretty much everything on the bike is carbon, from the FSA cranks to the Specialized carbon stem...

    But be prepared to spend at least 3000 bucks to get the bike with good components.

    Ride safe and have fun!

  • Anonymous
    3 years ago

    I have been browsing more than three hours today searching for answer to the same question, but I haven't found a more interesting discussion like this. It is pretty worth enough for me.

  • hello
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    well geez... carbon is more likely to break, and doesn't handle heavy people as well. if it breaks, it cannot be repaired, you have to replace it. if you wreck, there's a good chance it will need replacing.

    it is more forgiving and absorbs bumps better, transfers energy about equally and is lighter overall.

    everyone makes good ones, Trek, Cannondale, Giant, Specialized, Cervelo, they are all good... BUT only 2 or 3 companies actually make their own frames. tthe rest sub them out to specs. i would find which companies (Giant) actaully make their own bikes as they have better 1. knowledge and 2. quality control, to find out which bike to buy.

    here are some other names in carbon, all of which have been in one of the grand tours, so anyone is race capable...

    Jamis, Orbea, Felt, Time, Pinarello, Titus, Bianchi... pick one, or check out several... see what looks good, see what feels good and ride.

    one note, most all of them have lifetime warranties, some won't warrant heavy (over 200 lbs) riders though, so check out their warranty first, and don't just trust your dealer, most are selling premium bikes to heavies and don't know, actually read the warranty prior to purchase.

  • 1 decade ago

    I would personally recommend Titanium frame and fork. Since its light as aluminum and its so tough it is bullet proof. Worth the money for the technology.

    Source(s): Opinion
  • 1 decade ago

    i know trek has a lifetime warranty over all the carbon pieces they make so that could be a good thing to look into

    cervelo also makes amazing bicycles at a slightly higher price for some

    carbon lighter stiffer no flex more power into the pedals

    carbon owns

    to bad i cant afford it yet


  • 1 decade ago

    the wight of carbon is smaller so you can gain more speed, but carbon is more breakable and not flexible at all, the best companies are specialized and giant for road bikes

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