Carbon or Aluminum frames...?

Hi, just wondering, what are the major advantages and disadvantages does carbon have over aluminum frames? Stiffness, weight, durability?

Thanks.

Update:

For road race, not mountain biking...

2 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Carbon frames have a big weight advantage over aluminum frames. Carbon is stiffer. Stiffness is the key to a road bike because it prevents lateral movement or bends in the frame that can loose power efficiency.

    Depending on what type of manufacturer, aluminum frames have gotten a lot better over the years. They are becoming more stiffer and lighter.

    You compare a carbon frame to a aluminum frame, there might not even be a big advantage. A lot of manufactures are making mediocre carbon frames that just aren't that great for twice the price of a aluminum frame.

    There are also Carbon/Alloy frames where the alloy frame can have a carbon rear seatstay and/or chainstay. Those features help dampen the road vibrations and loose weight.

    If you are into a lot of racing, a carbon frame would likely to fit your preference. If you are more of a recreational speedy rider, an aluminum frame bike is more preferable.

  • Carbon is a lot lighter than aluminium and also much stiffer and harder.

    In terms of weight, carbon frames can be up to half the weight of aluminium frames. In terms of stiffness, aluminium frames can be relatively stiff, but it helps to have carbon forks if you are looking for stiff frames. As for durability carbon is much stronger than aluminium, however aluminium is still quite a durable material.

    As for price, however, aluminium frames with carbon forks are a great cheaper alternative to carbon frames and will serve you well.

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