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Old 08-10-08, 06:38 PM   #1
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Carbon vs Alu for FS bike

Other than a bit of weight savings, for a full suspension bike is there any reason to go with a carbon fiber frame?

Given the shocks and fat tires, does the CF actually add anything in terms of ride quality?
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Old 08-10-08, 07:24 PM   #2
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It has been asaid that Carbon will explode on cantact with a trail.
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Old 08-10-08, 07:49 PM   #3
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Little bit more rigid. Go to your fully. put one pedal down while your off the bike and kind of kick down on the pedal. You'll be able to see your BB move to the side a bit. The carbon reduces it a bit.
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Old 08-10-08, 09:02 PM   #4
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Little bit more rigid. Go to your fully. put one pedal down while your off the bike and kind of kick down on the pedal. You'll be able to see your BB move to the side a bit. The carbon reduces it a bit.
I would think that would have more to do with the rear linkages on the bike, or frame design rather than material. but you may be right, I'm not sure.
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Old 08-10-08, 10:57 PM   #5
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does the CF actually add anything in terms of ride quality?
Yes, a very expensive ride quality. And, if you scratch the frame at all, it will catastrophically fail.
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Old 08-10-08, 11:37 PM   #6
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I would think that would have more to do with the rear linkages on the bike, or frame design rather than material.
Somewhat, but most of what he is describing is tire and wheel flex.
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Old 08-11-08, 09:23 AM   #7
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Somewhat, but most of what he is describing is tire and wheel flex.
True dat. The overall design will make a significant difference. Didn't one of the Fisher bikes forego the BB pivot in favour of flexible carbon chainstays?
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Old 08-11-08, 09:27 AM   #8
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Other than a bit of weight savings, for a full suspension bike is there any reason to go with a carbon fiber frame?
On a FS bike .... a difference?

You will feel NO difference - and there will be virtually NO difference. The BIG volume tires alone would negate any difference in feel/ride - let alone the suspension!

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Old 08-11-08, 10:11 AM   #9
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I subscribe to the school of thought that states that a full suspension frame should be as stiff as possible, especially laterally. The "ride quality" should be dictated by the shock, not the frame material.

Either of the materials you've listed can be built to be extremely stiff. I find that the suspension design has as much to do with this as the frame material.
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Old 08-12-08, 02:35 PM   #10
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I guess what I'm thinking is that a good Alu frame with good components is a better value than a CF bike with lesser components at same price point. I love cycling and I'm willing to drop $ on a something worthwhile, but I hate spending money for not much gain.
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Old 08-12-08, 03:28 PM   #11
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It depends on how rugged the bike is. Obviously a CF freeride bike is a big no no. You kinda of have to baby CF bikes so if you are riding 80mm of travel XC type stuff then sure CF is an improvement but in my opinion, having something like a CF enduro is almost silly, although I do trust specialized's design ability.
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Old 08-12-08, 03:44 PM   #12
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Obviously a CF freeride bike is a big no no. . . .
How often is this fallacy going to be regurgitated before it can finally be put to rest?

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Old 08-12-08, 04:01 PM   #13
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How often is this fallacy going to be regurgitated before it can finally be put to rest?


The fact that you usually post a different picture every time is appreciated, however.
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Old 08-12-08, 04:20 PM   #14
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Obviously a CF freeride bike is a big no no.
Nope. Fell into the same trap as me.

CF is plenty strong (they use it in aircraft applications....), but stuff like rocks hitting it will f it up.
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Old 08-12-08, 05:24 PM   #15
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I was more saying that due to the rugged terrain you are around and the type of things that would be scratching/hitting your frame. I know that the CF can take the stress of the big hits, but also I mean look at how much tubing is on the bike that D posted. Not trying to start an argument because you probably know way more than I do, I'm just saying.
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Old 08-12-08, 05:38 PM   #16
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so in the world of Alu FS mtbs, what are the good values? I'd like something that I won't immediately want to upgrade, but I don't want to drop $4K either. Let's say in the $1500-2500 zone (or less if you think that's a stupid amount of money to pay).
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Old 08-12-08, 05:41 PM   #17
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CF is a fine material for such applications, but as others have said, it does not have the normal upside that is often praised about CF - vibration dampening. I do not think it makes a difference in this way for a hardtail either, but some will disagree. With 2" tires running 20psi the material of the frame is not going to make any difference as far as dampening.

Again, I am not anti-CF. It is strong and tough enough for any MTB application. Some will never believe that and that is just fine. No one wants to ride a bike they do not have full trust in.
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Old 08-13-08, 07:22 PM   #18
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I have an alum Rocky Mountain Element, and a carbon Trek Top Fuel. There is no difference in ride quality between the frames. Obviously they handle and climb a little differently, but from a vibration point of view, there is no difference.
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Old 08-15-08, 10:59 AM   #19
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I do not think it makes a difference in this way for a hardtail either, but some will disagree. With 2" tires running 20psi the material of the frame is not going to make any difference as far as dampening.
Yep I disagree. My hardtail does exibit all the ride qualities carbon is noted for. WAy better than an aluminum hardtail. If that statement were true, the "Ti is Fly" and "steel is real" people would have a total meltdown!
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Old 08-15-08, 11:27 AM   #20
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. . . "Ti is Fly" . . .
Fly is fly.

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Old 08-15-08, 01:06 PM   #21
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Old 08-16-08, 06:22 AM   #22
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Yep I disagree. My hardtail does exibit all the ride qualities carbon is noted for. WAy better than an aluminum hardtail. If that statement were true, the "Ti is Fly" and "steel is real" people would have a total meltdown!
Yep, I disagree with you. Steel and Ti both have a great deal more flex to them and you notice that on a hardtail for sure. But that is not dampening, which is what I am talking about. Carbon can be made just as stiff as Alum and the main difference that most will talk about is that carbon takes out a lot of the vibration that comes from riding (mainly road bikes, 120psi and things like chip and seal). With 20psi 2" wide tires none of that type vibration is going to get to the frame to be dampened. It just is not. It goes away on a road bike at 50psi (not that anyone would want to ride at the pressure).

Steel and Ti both will flex in a number of directions and you can feel that for sure. I remember when I went from a steel BMX bike to an alum (PK Ripper as I recall) frame in my youth and I hated how it road, so I agree there is a big difference in that way. But it has nothing to do with vibration dampening.
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Old 08-16-08, 05:24 PM   #23
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Yep, I disagree with you. Steel and Ti both have a great deal more flex to them and you notice that on a hardtail for sure. But that is not dampening, which is what I am talking about. Carbon can be made just as stiff as Alum and the main difference that most will talk about is that carbon takes out a lot of the vibration that comes from riding (mainly road bikes, 120psi and things like chip and seal). With 20psi 2" wide tires none of that type vibration is going to get to the frame to be dampened. It just is not. It goes away on a road bike at 50psi (not that anyone would want to ride at the pressure).

Steel and Ti both will flex in a number of directions and you can feel that for sure. I remember when I went from a steel BMX bike to an alum (PK Ripper as I recall) frame in my youth and I hated how it road, so I agree there is a big difference in that way. But it has nothing to do with vibration dampening.
Sorry your wrong. I ride a carbon hardtail. Tubeless with less than 20 PSI. The dampening properties of the carbon frame is very noticeable.
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Old 08-16-08, 05:30 PM   #24
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so in the world of Alu FS mtbs, what are the good values? I'd like something that I won't immediately want to upgrade, but I don't want to drop $4K either. Let's say in the $1500-2500 zone (or less if you think that's a stupid amount of money to pay).

You've got to give a bit more info. What kind of riding/trails? You wanting some sort of race bike, a general trail bike, something bigger/slacker? What?
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Old 08-16-08, 05:59 PM   #25
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But that is not dampening, which is what I am talking about.
You were talking about getting a bike wet?
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