Decent aluminium mtb vs Entry carbon mtb- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Decent aluminium mtb vs Entry carbon mtb

    HI all, I have currently saved up around $2000NZD to buy a new hardtail mtb (29er). I would like to know if I should buy a decent alloy/alu hardtail or save up $800 more to get a carbon hardtail.
    Carbon hardtails I have been looking at (2016 SILVERBACK SYNCRA 3) (Avanti - Competitor C 7.1 - Avantiplus New Zealand) aLU/ALLOYS/ i have looked at: (2017 SILVERBACK SOLA SL) (Scott - Scale 960 - Avantiplus New Zealand) I am also wondering if I should be looking for a bike with 1by or a 2by would be ok. I am open to other suggestions. My main mtb discipline is xc and my height is 1.85m 6"2 and I weigh 70kg.
    Last edited by iiApache; 01-24-2017 at 02:33 AM.

  2. #2
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    Carbon frame with low/mid level components doesn't make sense to me. I'd rather have an alu frame with good quality fork and wheels. A light, stiff wheelset makes for a responsive bike that's easy to accelerate and pop. On 29ers the effect is more profound because of the larger diameter.

    Drivetrain is not that important IMHO, as long as it works and the available gear range matches the terrain. That said, 1x sheds some weight, is very easy to use on trail and super easy to clean. most times there is some compromise in gear range and a bit more wear on components (not too much if you're carefull).

    Number one priority for any bike, but especially for a hardtail is geometry. Even XC HT's are getting slightly slacker now, there's a reason for that. No chance I will ever buy a bike with a 70deg head tube angle again.

  3. #3
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    So should I go for an Alu hardtail? As they are only 1kg heavier than the carbon ones with practically the same components but 800-1000 cheaper. I am also looking at buying a higher end carbon hardtail second hand for chea?p what are your thoughts on this as there is no frame warranty for second hand bikes. Does the scale 960 look ok? Or should I get a different one gfrom evocycles bikebarn or torpedo7. Also what geometry do you think is right for me at 1.85 m (I don't know much about geometry)Thanks

  4. #4
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    I'm curious, is this a shop that's local to you that you can or have test ridden or at least sat on these bikes or is this online only? As Justwanaride said, something more "trail" oriented with a head angle slacker than 70* is a good thing for the avg rider just looking to get out and have some fun who is not racing. If it were me personally now, looking for a HT with that intent in mind, I would definitely be looking at a PLUS bike in whatever brand I was looking at. The bigger tyres give you a much "softer" ride and also add quite a bit of grip/traction, which can add fun and confidence for a new/newer rider.

    As to the original question, I'm not a carbon fan myself, but even if I was I think I'd much rather have better components on an alu frame than lesser on a carbon frame - frame material won't make as much difference as parts hung on the frame, IMHO.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  5. #5
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    I have steel single speed HT frame and a carbon HT frame. I used to ride aluminum bikes, but really don't want to any more. My FS bike is aluminium, but in 5" bike I don't see it as being very important other than weight. I would have gotten a carbon FS bike if I could have, but a good deal came up on the aluminium bike from a friend and I decided to go for it. No regrets as the only downside is bit of weight which I am ok with on that bike.

    So here is deal. Aluminum is perfectly good material, but it rides harsh. It is hard to describe, but it can be felt back to back. It is sort of an undamped stiffness where you don't want it as you can feel trail chatter. Carbon frames vary depending on how they were built just as high end steel is different from cheap steel. In my experience steel has most supple ride of the 3. (never been on a Titanium bike however). There is a stiffness which is good for power transfer, but also damping that helps with chatter and landings on small jumps (6"). Carbon is stiffer and lighter than steel, but is less supple. If I care about speed even speed over distance carbon is the way to go (in large part due to weight savings), but for more casual ride where all out speed is not critical steel is very nice.


    The other thing to consider is how long will you keep the frame and bike? You can get the better frame and less components if you have plans to upgrade the components as time goes on. If you just want to ride it as is then get the components you want. The frame can be the foundation around which you built your dream bike. Or it can be just a step on the way to what you really want.

    BTW.... my Carbon bike has old school 3x9 drive train. mix of XTR and Sram XO components. Works well and is light, but not "trendy" these days. my steel bike is a singlespeed so drive train is just crank and cog. I just got this bike and it has 71 deg head angle with a 100mm fork, but longish top tube 80mm stem. It descends on the steeps similar to my carbon bike with 69 deg head angle, 90mm stem and a 0.5 shorter top tube.

    My FS bike has even longer top tube short 50mm stem and 68 deg head angle with 130 mm fork. That descends really well on the steeps especially using the dropper post. However it really have to work to keep the front end down on steep climbs.

    There more to how bike descends than just head angle.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the help. I have several local shops that I can go in and try bikes at. I race every week with the mtb club and compete in the big mtb events aswell. But I also love going down to my local trails and having some fun. ATM I think an Alu/steel hardtail with good components would be perfect for me (XT/NX) . Should I go for whatever bike is most comfortable? I usually can't test this as the shops usually don't have an xl bike in store.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by iiApache View Post
    (XT/NX)
    XT is ~3 levels above NX.

    Quote Originally Posted by justwan naride View Post
    Carbon frame with low/mid level components doesn't make sense to me. I'd rather have an alu frame with good quality fork and wheels. A light, stiff wheelset makes for a responsive bike that's easy to accelerate and pop. On 29ers the effect is more profound because of the larger diameter.

    Drivetrain is not that important IMHO, as long as it works and the available gear range matches the terrain. That said, 1x sheds some weight, is very easy to use on trail and super easy to clean. most times there is some compromise in gear range and a bit more wear on components (not too much if you're carefull).

    Number one priority for any bike, but especially for a hardtail is geometry. Even XC HT's are getting slightly slacker now, there's a reason for that. No chance I will ever buy a bike with a 70deg head tube angle again.
    This is great advice!





    I'd pay attention to
    1- Geometry
    2- Fork
    3- Everything else is decent


    Looking at geo the quick version is head angle <70* and chainstays <435mm. Anything under there is probably fine.

    Fork you want something with a shimmed rebound circuit. A quick glance and it looks like only one of those bikes comes with that, one bike has a reba.

    1/2x, carbon/aluminum, equivalent sram/shimano... whatever; those won't matter nearly as much and you'll get comfortable with the choices the designer made.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by justwan naride View Post
    Number one priority for any bike, but especially for a hardtail is geometry. Even XC HT's are getting slightly slacker now, there's a reason for that. No chance I will ever buy a bike with a 70deg head tube angle again.
    Hmm. The pure race bikes from Trek, Specialized, Giant (Anthem X 29er), Cannondale and even Kona all still sport between 69-71.5 head angles. Heck the Canyon lux has a 70 degree angle and a longish 450 chain stay. So I wouldn't say optimized XC racers are getting slacker - just the watered down versions that are advertised as between part trail, part race for the weekend warrior who occasionally dabbles in racing. Makes sense from a marketing perspective to widen the customer base.

  9. #9
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    I'm sure marketing guys love versatile bikes, but I think there's actual merit to "watered down" trail/race bikes for the amateur/recreational user. The razor sharp handling that comes with steep head angles can become twitchy and unstable when you're breathing from your ears, maxed out, trying to survive another lap. Personally, something like a carbon kona honzo would be my choice if I was looking for a dual use bike and had the budget.

  10. #10
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    I like the Honzo or even the basic Hei Hei. These seem like some of the best all arounders out there. But still, if I were a serious racer at the expert level, I'm not sure the relatively slack head angle and short chain stays is what I'd want to ride against guys on Top Fuels and Epics unless it was a pretty gnarly XC course.

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