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New to this, and I'm on the fence which to buy. Will be training for long distance riding soon. I'm looking at buying Giant brand, but not sure which will be better - carbon or aluminum. Thx!

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    You can make great bicycles out of both materials, carbon will usually be lighter and more expensive. Make sure the bicycle fits you, then worry about the material.
    – Michael
    Sep 14, 2015 at 14:25
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    You don't mention the other obvious choice of material - steel, Have you already discounted that? It's just that since you say you;re new to this, I thought I'd ask. Depending on the quality of roads you're going to be riding, a steel frame might be ideal for you in terms of forgiveness.
    – PeteH
    Sep 14, 2015 at 20:12
  • Voted to close as opinion based. Happy for it to stay open if answers are objective.
    – mattnz
    Sep 14, 2015 at 21:16

3 Answers 3

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I own both carbon and aluminum bikes and have ridden them for at least several thousand kilometers, but I think it'd be pretty much depended on what purpose the bike is made for. Even If your is a flagship carbon model and for racing, even used by UCI pro team riders, costs more than 5000 €, it could be a bit too "stiff" for average riders. Likewise, you can get an aluminum framesets that is indeed softer than decent carbon framesets.

So I'd suggest you try some of bikes the manufacturers claim as "endurance" or "comfort" models.

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Carbon is always lighter (thus, requires less effort to move) than aluminum, and more confortable (since it's a bit more flexible).

If you can afford the price difference, hell yeah, go with carbon

That said: if price is an obstacle, aluminum will be just fine, and the weight savings on the frame is not as much as some will tell you (it depends on the actual bike and the type and amount of carbon fibers used)

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    Assuming price is a concern, you can often get a lighter aluminum bike than a carbon. A really light carbon frame might come in a 1.5 pounds. A standard aluminum bike would probably be around 3.5 pounds. So the frame is 2 pounds lighter. But the entire bike will weight 15-20 pounds. You could probably get an aluminum bike spec'ed with Ultegra for a similar price as a Carbon bike spec'ed with Tiagra components, and the Ultegra-Aluminium bike would most likely be lighter, and better performing than the Tiagra-Carbon bike.
    – Kibbee
    Sep 14, 2015 at 12:54
  • @Kibbee i totally agree. I'm a mtb guy so I'm not sure about the ranges in road, but it's basically the same for mtb
    – Jcl
    Sep 14, 2015 at 12:56
  • Thanks so much for the info! This is an investment for me because I love to ride, so I'm willing to spend up to $4000. Less is always better of course, but I do want to spend it wisely if I do reach the higher end of my budget.
    – D.G.
    Sep 14, 2015 at 13:18
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If you are willing to spend up to $4000 then put titanium in the mix.

Opinion on durability of carbon varies. By many measures carbon is stronger and more durable than aluminum. But there are people that feel carbon is fragile and the right answer is I agree.

For race you are going to see a lot of carbon for weight.

Training is a different.

I like the ride (and weight) of a carbon but for my money aluminum.

You don't want to clamp anything on carbon so if you want to maybe mount a rack some day then no carbon.

Titanium is a little lighter than aluminum, more durable, and has nicer ride. Aluminum will fatigue. You can mount a rack to titanium. Could also use the bike for light touring. It would not be called an endurance bike but it would be nice for long distance training.

If you are willing to go up to $4000 then clear the field and don't limit yourself to Giant.

For long distance training you could get a very nice aluminum for $1200. Maybe even consider used. It is going to take some long distance training for you to know what you want in a long distance training bike.

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  • Thanks Frisbee for all great info! I've received such informative replies from serval here, and for this newbie I am SO grateful! Just when I think Im ready to buy, I find something else that I should be considering, and researching. Thanks again!
    – D.G.
    Sep 15, 2015 at 20:10

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