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Carbon vs Aluminum Mountain Bike

Carbon and aluminum bicycles are both popular choices with those who are getting involved with the hobby and sport of biking. Check out the differences between the two to learn which one is right for you!

A man lifting his mountain bike and sunset.

One has to seriously ask themselves what their thoughts are about carbon vs. aluminum bikes if they decide that these bikes are the right choice for them.

There is a chance that they will select one bike or the other based upon the specific details that they know about the characteristics of each bike, and it only makes sense that those who are best equipped with the knowledge of how each bike performs are going to be the ones who are most able to select the bike that they actually want to use in their life.

Therefore, we seek to explore some of the defining questions about both of these types of bikes so you can make an informed decision for yourself. 

Features

Let’s take a moment to talk about some of the features that each type of bike brings to the table. We first want to look at carbon bikes as they are generally more expensive. People want to know, what is it that they are paying for when they get such a bike. 

Carbon Bike

A man with sun glasses on his mountain bike.

This type of bike tends to provide its rider with a more comfortable and more shock-absorbent ride than an aluminum bike does.

They are built under a very labor-intensive process, and this does add to the cost of this bike, but many people believe that it is worthwhile because they can see how the bike clearly performs better for them than anything that they can get from an aluminum bike.

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Does it mean that you should necessarily run out and purchase the first carbon bike that you can find? Not necessarily, but it does mean that you will see additional value from a carbon bike that simply wouldn’t be present in some aluminum bikes.

You do need to take that into consideration for the simple fact that you may have a more enjoyable biking experience if you decide to go with a carbon bike. 

The ride quality that you get with a carbon bike can differ depending on how the frame is designed, so it makes sense that you would want to check in on every aspect of the bike that you ultimately select before committing to one or another. 

Aluminum Bike

A mountain bike park under a tree.

You can certainly save some money if you choose an aluminum bike, and it might be worthwhile for you to do so depending on what you are trying to get out of your riding experience. Aluminum bikes are known to be fairly strong given their weight.

They are also corrosion-resistant which is important for any kind of bike. The bike is likely to last a lot longer when it has these types of properties, and you will get more life out of your bicycle when you know that it is corrosion-resistant on top of everything else. 

What this all boils down to is the fact that an aluminum bike can provide you with a high-quality bicycle experience without the higher price tag that a carbon bike may come with. As such, there are many scenarios where it makes sense to go with an aluminum bike over a carbon bike depending on what you are trying to get out of the experience. 

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Durability

A man biking on a rough mountain terrain.

Is each type of bike built to last? Well, there are certainly designed to provide their owners with some value, but the carbon bicycle is undoubtedly better at lasting longer no matter the conditions.

They are specifically created to withstand anything that is thrown at them. Those who indeed to take their bikes off-trail or in dangerous areas where there may be a lot of natural elements to contend with may want to give some consideration to getting a carbon bike instead of an aluminum one in order to see the longest-lasting results that they possibly can from their bikes.

When people think about durability in their bicycles they need to remember that they are making a major investment into the bikes in the first place. They should never take a chance on something that seems likely that it won’t produce for them the way that they need it to.

Sadly, there are many people who care more about paying the lowest price today without giving proper consideration to how this might impact their ride in the future. What you really need to think about as a bicycle rider is how you can protect your investment for the long haul so you aren’t just throwing money at something time after time.

You deserve to have a great ride, but the only way that this happens is if you take care to properly invest your money into the proper materials that you need today. Make sure you give that its due consideration before purchasing something that is sub-par for your needs.

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Price Ranges

Mountain bike display on a bike store.

People always want to know what they are going to be expected to pay for a bicycle these days. They need this information before they can determine what they can reasonably afford to get.

The price ranges for aluminum bikes have widened considerably in recent times as the price of aluminum has been on a run in the various markets where it is traded. A quick scan of aluminum bikes yielded a price range of: 

  • $300-$3,200 depending on the specifics of the bike 

This is obviously a very wide range for bikes, but it is because you have to fact in all of the different types of mechanics that may go into creating a specific bike. Most of the models are towards the lower to mid point of that range, but there are some that can climb over $3,000 if they are special bikes. 

A carbon bicycle is another story altogether. The price range of those types of bikes is between: 

  • $700 – $14,000

Again, the bikes on the extreme end of this are incredibly specialized bikes that are typically only used by professional athletes, but they do exist. You can see that the cost of a carbon bicycle is considerably higher than that of an aluminum bicycle no matter how you dice it.

Thus, it is important to give this its due consideration when looking for a bicycle experience that will work well for you. There is a chance that the right bike is out there for you, but you need to be sure you don’t overextend yourself as far as how much you are able to afford. 

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Which Bicycle Should You Choose? 

A sales person on a bike store.

Much of your choice will come down to your budget. If you have the flexibility to purchase a carbon bicycle and want to do so, then you should go for it. However, most people have a budget that is somewhat more constrained than that, and they will often opt for an aluminum bicycle for this reason.

There is nothing wrong with that as they are designed to get the job done for you as well. Just make sure you take the time to do some comparison shopping before settling in on one or the other. You want to be comfortable with your choice, and the only way to get there is to make sure you give your bicycle shopping experience plenty of time.