Old 03-09-07, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by the beef
Depends on what the manufacturers do with it. It's just a material.
Yes and no. Carbon has all its strength in one direction, and little in any other, metals have strength in all directions equally. It's difficult to make a light and stiff metal frame.
What is unique to carbon is that you can design a frame without compromises, it can be made torsionally stiff (that's the head tube flexing relative to the frame), with a very stiff bottom bracket (axle flex relative to frame), yet allow more vertical compliance (up and down flex for vibration absorption) than metal frames.
If it's done right. The difference is not hype, it's 200-300% and a very real feel difference on the road.

But all this depends on rider size. Light riders can ride just about anything and not worry about flexiness, so they can go to titanium. At larger frames and heavier weights (~200lb), it's a whole different story -steel gets heavy and whippy, as does titanium, aluminum is a better option for stiffness and weight, but it can be just as comfortable. At 58+ sizes, some carbon frames greatly excel over metal for weight, comfort and stiffness.