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50 states in my 50s
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm considering some bikes that have the option for carbon vs aluminum frams for similar spec components. The carbon framed bikes are considerably more expensive. For example:

Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 29 $4100.

Stumpjumper FSR Comp 29 $3000

The carbon framed bike is $1100 more than the aluminum frame for the same components. My question is this; is it worth it?

My next bike will probably be with me for the next 7 to 10 years. With the big sharp jagged rocks we have what is the expected durability of the carbon frame? Would I be wiser just to stick with the aluminum frame and the extra 1 1/2lb (?) of weight, save the money and invest that into better components down the road, like stronger/lighter wheels?

Thanks for some insight!
 

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My leg feels funny
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FWIW you get more than just weight savings from carbon, it also helps dampen a lot of the bumps. For a bike you want to keep for 7 to 10 years I just don't know. At the very least you're taking plastic out into the sun so it can photo-degrade, that alone doesn't sound like something I'd want to rely on for that length of time but I am not a composite engineer.
 

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simple
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My question is this; is it worth it?

Would I be wiser just to stick with the aluminum frame and the extra 1 1/2lb (?) of weight, save the money and invest that into better components down the road, like stronger/lighter wheels?
No. It is not worth the $1000 upgrade.

Yes, I believe money is better spent elsewhere on a mountain bike.

BTW, Steel and Titanium full suspension are only available as custom frames.

liqwid, the damping quality of carbon is often not used on full suspension bikes. The stiffness characteristic is most often used in those applications. Photo-degradation is not an issue.
 

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Carbon has a longer fatigue life than aluminum and should technically last longer without structurally degrading. It also typically is torsionally stiffer than Al with modern manufacturing techniques. However, it is less impact resistant. Anyone who says otherwise is not being honest with themselves and you. There are reasons that carbon bikes all come with integrated downtube and chainstay guards. I've seen rocks kicked up that punched holes in carbon downtubes. I'd be much more afraid watching my expensive carbon bike go ghost riding through a rock garden without me than I would the same frame in Al. They're doing a lot with carbon these days and there are some durable carbon frames, but I guess you have to ask yourself is it worth the risk. I've heard it's also typically harder to get carbon frames warrantied in the event of failure. Just something to think about.
 

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That is sh*tty. Why can't they be satisfied with being one of the largest, if not the largest, bike company on the planet?
They got that way because of BS like this. I won't buy another Special Ed bike again since they sued Stratos out of business over the inertial damper now used in the Brain.

FYI Stratos was making an aftermarket inertial damper for forks not unlike Fox's Terralogic tech. I tried to get one back in the day, but was told I'm a week too late due to litigation.

To Special Ed: yeah, ppl remember $h!t like this.

KerryN,
To the end of looking at other mfgs, have you seen the deal for a Titus FTM carbon?
 

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I'm 210 with out gear and dh my carbon mojo hd on the reg- also ride hall and dbb often- I have never worried about my carbon frame and have never had issues- carbon bikes ride so smooth with our rocky chunky ground- people that harp on carbon often have never owned a good carbon brake
 

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I have to say i love my 2011 spec enduro pro which is carbon, at first i was worried about the impact damage until i took a nice spill, i have more damage on me and my bike was perfect after bouncing off some rocks. Sure i might have gotten lucky but i believe carbon rides and feels so much better, and the stiffness of the frame is a big plus for me.

Jonesy
 

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Oh, So Interesting!
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IMO, it's an economic issue.... if you have the cash go for carbon. They are lighter and stiffer than alum bikes, so it is an upgrade. I'd check to see if the mfg. has a crash replacement policy. When I crashed my alum Trek Remedy into a tree I got a new frame for 30% under wholesale. Still cost a chunk of change but much better than being SOL. If you plan on keeping the bike for a long time, that would also add value to the carbon frame in terms of added fatigue life and the expense being spread over many years.
 

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50 states in my 50s
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Interesting the comments on carbon having a longer fatigue life than aluminum. I must admit that throwing my 16 year old AL frame down trails like SSV does give me pause these days for the strength left in such an old frame. Hence why I would like to retire it to more geriatric duties (ie riding with the kids).

So the plus points I see are:
1) Lighter
2) Stiffer
3) Trail damping effect
4) Longer fatigue life

The negatives:
1) More expensive
2) Low impact resistance (check crash replacement program and look for downtube and chainstay protection on frame)
3) May be tied to a shitty company like Specialized.
 
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