opinions on the difference would be appreciated.. worth the cost? real percieved vibration dampening? durability in small travel xc bike?
i know the difference on the road between aluminum and carbon as it is miles apart..
thanks in advance....
i'd like to hear some reports as well. i'm looking to join the 21st century with a full suspension bike and i'm leaning heavily toward the fuel ex 9. the carbon is a huge jump in price and i'm not sure i can justify it, but maybe someone else here can justify it for me?
right now i ride a 22lb ti softtail, which will be my xc race bike. the fuel is going to be my fun/trail/possibly-some-12hr-races bike. i'm looking at the ex 9 because the bang to buck ratio looks to be the highest.
If you are hard on your equipment, then I'd go with the carbon. Some of the older AL fuels would crack on the seattube. I've had a race friend who is super hard on his bike, crack the AL frame. He moved up to the carbon, and hasn't cracked it. I think the carbon gives a little more, and obviously has no fatigue life. You'll pay up for the carbon tho. no question. Possibly the new design is not as easy to crack as well...
EVERYTHING has a fatigue lifespan. most failures occur at the welds. if both bikes are the same in geometry and hardware, then the primary diffrences would be cost and weight. if you race, pay more and weigh less. if your not racing, pay less and have fun!
When riding trails, especially on a full suspension bike the difference in vibration damping will be minimal. Suspension will soak up medium to big bumps and then different tire pressures and volumes can make worlds of difference in damping. Damping properties are much more important on a road bike. Carbon or Al also depend on what you plan on doing. If you are going to race and you have the money I'd say go with the carbon. If you aren't racing then I'd go with aluminum and save a bit. I race XTERRA on a Fuel EX8 and love it. I also ride a alumin rigid ss and a steel ss and the difference in damping when riding off road is not that great.
Just to echo others: If you have the funds and are serious about racing, carbon is the way to go. If you are just out there like most of us, just riding trails, having a great time and taking in all that Mother Nature has to offer, aluminum is a great choice for a bike frame.
I have a carbon fuel and I wouldn't worry about durability; mines a 2003 and has a ton of miles on it, never a problem and I have ridden all types of terrain. As for vibration dampening, I would have to think that the suspension makes this a non issue when comparing FS aluminium frames to carbon frames. Carbon would be more beneficial on a hard tail for vibration dampening. To be honest with you i think the major advantage of carbon is the bling factor
Here's another angle on carbon vs alum. First I would not buy a 3 bar alum. But, imho there is a big difference. I think on the shorter and even longer travel bikes vibration dampening is an important issue. (More useful suspension in the extra little bit of dampening the suspension doesn't have to do.) Some think a stiff, vibration dampening carbon bike tracks better on the front end and on the back with good stiff linkages; it rails and you get more of the suspension on the vertical axis that it was designed for.
If I had my way I would have a light OCLV carbon design with about 4.4 - 5.5 inches of remote controllable travel with shorter chainstays and wheelbase BUT with VPP suspension design as opposed to 3 bar type suspension. (Similar to the Mojo carbon, dw-link) Note I have not tried a new Fuel ex 9.5 since the put in the faux horst link. Also, still love my Top Fuel and ride it all the time and would never trade it for aluminum of the same suspension design.)
Oh yea, I obviously, I need to go ride.
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