So, for individuals looking for a bike that sacrifices nothing in terms of weight, responsiveness, or performance, carbon fiber is going to be the best overall choice in most circumstances. Most cyclists, however, have no ambitions of becoming national champions or even winning a local event. In this case, a traditional aluminum frame is going to be enough to get you from point A to point B with relative ease and at a price that isn't too far out of reach.
The bottom line is that if you are buying your first bike, wear shoes, want comfort, and aren't overly concerned about having the fastest bike on the block, an aluminum frame bicycle is a good choice. If you are buying your second or third bike, consider how much time you plan to spend training and racing and then choose a model that gives you the best value for your money. Either way, make sure that you check out all the features before you buy so you know what you are getting into upfront.
As a material, there is nothing about carbon fiber that makes it quicker... There are really too many factors at work. This may sound harsh, but the sprint winners would have won them on your Ti bike... 1. They're trained to win races 2. Your other teammates were not up to par 3. The field was not particularly strong 4. The wind was not against you.
Carbon bikes are built for speed. If you want a bike that can keep up with you out on the road, then you need a bike that can get you into racing condition. Carbon bikes are always lighter than their aluminum counterparts, which means they can be used as training wheels and still give you a performance advantage. However, this difference in weight is usually not enough to induce tears of joy in anyone except the first place winner at an amateur race.
The average person who buys a carbon bike does so because they want to show off how fast they can ride. Most likely, they train on their regular bike and supplement its performance with a turbo trainer or spin bike. These tools are great for building muscle mass and getting ready for a race, but they aren't designed to go very fast themselves. A lot of hard work has gone into making your typical carbon frame race-ready, so adding more weight will only slow it down.
However, there are some exceptions.
Carbon fiber material has the advantage of being lightweight and stronger than both conventional steel and aluminum. The expense is undoubtedly a disadvantage. Because it requires more effort and technology, the material is more costly. It has become more inexpensive, although it is still mostly utilized in premium sports vehicles.
The advantages of carbon fiber material are its strength and light weight. The disadvantages are its cost and lack of diversity. There are many types of carbon fibers, but they can be divided into three main groups: prepregs, woven fabrics and filament-wound components.
Prepregs are sheets or mats of carbon fiber that are coated on one side with a resin. They require special equipment to manufacture and are therefore expensive. However they offer great design flexibility because you can cut them to shape and glue them together. We have seen some prepreg furniture made from this material.
Woven fabrics are produced by weaving yarns (or threads) into a fabric. The carbon fibers are then pulled through these threads at right angles, resulting in a mesh structure. These fabrics are low-cost to produce and can be used in large quantities for applications where their price isn't important. However, they cannot be cut or shaped after production and so can only be used in one location.
Filament-wound components consist of a central core surrounded by a layer of fiber that is wound around the core using a machine.
While any material may be used to build a lightweight bike, carbon has a significant weight advantage. It's important to note that not all carbon fiber is created equal, and a low-grade carbon frame may weigh more than a high-end aluminum frame. However, the overall weight of a carbon road bike is less than an aluminum mountain bike.
Carbon frames are more resistant to damage from bumps and cracks, which can extend their life. This is particularly important for aggressive riders who wear their bikes out through abuse. Carbon also benefits from a higher heat tolerance than aluminum, which is good because you don't want your dinner party on your knees at 100 degrees F (38 degrees C).
Finally, carbon is lighter than other materials used in its construction. A typical carbon road frame weighs about 5 pounds (2.3 kg), while a steel frame weighs around 7 pounds (3.2 kg). Some high-end carbon race bikes can go as light as 4 pounds (1.8 kg).
There are two main types of carbon: extruded and infiltrated. Extruded frames are made by melting polymers into thin sheets and then blowing air through them, like sheet metal, creating a strong but light frame. Infiltrated frames are made by mixing carbon fibers with resin, and then molding this mixture into a tube or box shape.
A carbon fiber frame will almost always be lighter than an aluminum counterpart, and carbon fiber bikes are only seen in the pro peloton for this reason. Carbon frames are also more expensive than their aluminum counterparts.
Carbon frames are made of many layers of carbon fibers that are woven together. This creates a strong, light frame that is also very rigid. Because they are usually built from several layers of carbon fiber, they are much stronger than aluminum bikes that are often sold in the consumer market. However, this also makes them heavier than their aluminum counterparts.
Aluminum bikes are generally cheaper than their carbon fiber counterparts. This is because there are no tooling costs when manufacturing an aluminum frame. Anybody with a mill can make an aluminum frame. This means that you can get different parts made from different manufacturers and weld them all together to create a completely new frame. This is not possible with a carbon fiber frame due to its unique design. Also, aluminum bikes tend to be less expensive because they require fewer materials to construct one. They typically use fewer than six, while some carbon frames require as many as twenty-four.
The main advantage of an aluminum frame is its flexibility. An aluminum tube can be shaped into any form without breaking down its strength.