Carbon or aluminum? It’s probably the question we field most often here at MBA. We’re constantly asked about the benefits of carbon fiber, this seemingly “wonder” material, and simultaneously asked, “Can I get away with the aluminum version?” It’s a question that deserves to be answered. So, we asked some of our
favorite brains in the bike world to weigh in on the subject and tell us once and for all,
what should your next bike or bike part be made from?
What do the smartest designers think?
FOUNDER AND HEAD DESIGNER,
As part of our design process, we
always start with alloy prototype test mules
to vet things out. With our R&D facility in
house, I can easily make frame changes
with alloy. This is nearly impossible with
carbon. Once everything is proven on the
alloy prototypes (geometry, kinematics,
cable routing etc.), we start modeling in
Currently, carbon has displaced alloy at
the high end—and for obvious reasons.
Alloy has moved down to the mid and low
price points. Each has its own ride quality,
and light weight is always associated with
high-end, so carbon naturally will own this
The eternal debate: If you’re
looking at buying a new
bike any time soon, you’ll
be faced with this decision:
should I buy aluminum or
should I go with carbon?
The two materials have
basically edged out nearly
all others, except for a few
holdouts in the hardtail
Jeff Steber at work