Why Pros Ride Aluminium

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Riders around the world spend up big on new equipment in the pursuit of speed. Lighter, faster, stiffer, seem to be the main drivers. But are the more expensive carbon components worth the money?

Over ten years ago, the most high-quality bikes sold in the US are made out of aluminium.

But then, carbon bikes came out and took over the scene. Truly, carbon bikes have had the advantage of being the lightest, strongest, and stiffest material with the best shock absorption, thus the shift. A lot of high-end road bikes made out of aluminium were mostly gone out of the picture fast and were replaced by these expensive carbon bikes.

But some custom bike riders have stuck with aluminium and it seems like they were doing it right. As aluminium bikes are making a comeback, let us explore why pros ride aluminium:

  1. Unique and personal. Custom bike makers like Craig Gaulzetti, who started producing frames in 2008, have continued using aluminium since it easier to customize. “I made custom racing bikes out of aluminum because I wasn’t getting the ride quality I wanted from stock carbon race bikes,” says Gaulzetti. This is a quality a lot of bikers are looking for: that unique and personal touch that adds to their riding experience.
  2. Security after a crash. Carbon bikes are generally more durable. But here’s the problem: it is difficult to tell when they’re damaged. Since it breaks under the surface, it is harder to know when to repair your bike. And that’s why aluminium is more preferable. It is easier to see the propagation of the crack with aluminium bikes, meaning you can attend to that damage as soon as it happens.
  3. Less expensive but can achieve same quality as carbon. One of the said advantages of carbon bike is that it is stiffer than aluminium. But what aluminium lacks in inherent stiffness can be made up by forming the tubes into stronger structures. There are also recent innovations in manufacturing techniques that allow brands to build lower-cost aluminum bikes that have a ride quality similar to carbon models, such as hydroforming, says Chuck Teixeira, a 28-year veteran of Easton Cycling’s materials department. This process allows builders to create light, stiff, and strong frames but paying only half the price compared to carbon bikes.

Here’s something to remember: “Buying a carbon fiber frame will not make you any faster, training will.” You should choose a bike not only based from what it’s made from, but on how good it feels when you ride it. If you can achieve this without going broke, do so. A lot of pros ride aluminium for this reason.

I run Aluminium stem and bars on both my Sworks Tarmac and Sworks Venge. Although an act of generosity by Specialized recently sure my Tarmac changed to carbon Sworks bars.

 

References:

http://www.over40cyclist.com/carbon-fiber-bikes-vs-aluminum-bikes/

What should your next bike be made from? Carbon vs steel vs aluminium vs titanium

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/general-cycling-discussion/anyone-still-prefer-aluminum-frames-62965.html

http://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/trends/aluminum-frames-are-back-and-better-ever

http://www.ilovebicycling.com/carbon-fiber-vs-aluminum-vs-steel-vs-titanium

 

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