The Soapbox: Carbon? Not For Me

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It’s going to take lot more than some market spiel about carbon being ‘five times stronger than alloy at half of the weight’ to convince me to ever ride a carbon fibre mountain bike.

Like most riders, I’m on a budget. I have two kids, a mortgage, plus two dogs that eat possessions rather than dog food. But I also love my mountain biking and I’ll work hard to find the cash to treat myself to a new bike every couple of years. This time around was the first occasion I’ve found myself seriously considering a bike with a carbon frame.

It was the weight, and the looks, that got me thinking about it. I read the reviews too, the ones that always talk about how nice carbon bikes feel on the trail. But I’m not going to do it. I simply don’t trust carbon fibre to go the distance.

I’m not saying I don’t believe the tech data that carbon bikes have more resistance to fatigue, or that they are stronger than aluminium when it comes to sheer strength. But until someone can show me a carbon bike that won’t break when I crash it onto a sharp rock, I’ll be sticking with a bike made from alloy. I’ve seen two frames just amongst my local club broken in the past three months from simple crashes that would’ve scratched an aluminium frame, but wouldn’t have meant handing over wads of cash for a new chain stay or main frame.

Maybe these blokes were just unlucky? Maybe they are hacks? Even if that is the case, it’s reason enough for me to stick with an aluminium bike for time being. I need a bike that will let me cock up and crash, or drop it onto a rock, without potentially costing me a thousand dollars. I can’t afford a mistake to cost me. That’s the real world for me, and that’s why I won’t buy carbon.


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