The bike manufacturers are suddenly raving about the wonder called carbon fibre. Ever since Lance Armstrong conquered the Tour de France trail, about seven years in a row, people are suddenly sitting up and taking notice of this brand new entry in the bicycle clan. However, the truth is it not new at all; carbon bicycles were introduced in the late 70s, but never reached mass production because of several problems. So are we now sure that the earlier discarded carbon frames can take the strains of modern day biking. Should we trust our mountain cycle with a carbon frame?
One of the reasons carbon frames are gaining popularity is because they are found to be much lighter. We all know that, when it comes to speed, lighter frames add a huge advantage. Those who say that carbon bicycles are weaker than their aluminium counterparts; I would neither agree nor disagree with them. The truth is, the carbon fibre is pretty tough in itself so it would not be disintegrating beneath you while you are riding if that is what you are afraid of. Some of the engineers believe that it is five times as steel. However, the way it is created, it is pretty much a one-time deal but more about that later.
The second reason the carbon cycle is gaining ground is because since it is flexible, it absorbs a lot of the road shocks to give a more comfortable ride. The fact is, carbon fibre is actually very thin strands of carbon woven together to form a yarn and then coated with stiff resin to give it a permanent shape. This structure helps dampen a lot of road jerks as compared with the rigid aluminium frame. Above all, these kinds of bikes offer a very comfortable ride on the plain road, but as far as mountain cycles go, they are really not a great option.
Remember I told you that the carbon bicycles were a one-time deal? That is because once the thing is broken, it is no better than a scrap. Carbon fibre cannot be hammered, heated and moulded to suit your needs and if you do manage to do it, the resultant product would not be half as strong as the original. Now the serious mountain bikers know that their life is half-dependent on their skill and half on their mountain cycles.
Mountain biking is infamously rough and the cycles are subjected to some brutal torture, something your carbon bicycle might just not survive. Remember, one slip on those high hills and it might as well be your last ride. Besides, they are expensive as well! If you have the money, you may invest in a good carbon road bike, but keep the fibre off your beloved mountain cycles!
Are Carbon Bicycles Good as a Mountain Cycle?