Lightweight bike is a trend in 2022, and carbon fiber material is one thing that comes to rider minds if we’re talking about light bikes. That’s why let’s discuss more about carbon fiber mountain bike. Is it really lightweight? Is it worth it? To understand more about it, read the following article!
- Part 1: About Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike
- Part 2: 3 Carbon MTBs that You Can Buy
- Part 3: Why Carbon Fiber MTB Bike
- Part 4: Ways to do Mountain Bike Test
- Part 5: Guide to Buy Carbon Fiber MTB
- Part 6: Conclusion
Part 1: About Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike
Carbon fiber is a long strand material that is made from carbon atoms. The fraction size is almost the same as human hair. Those pieces of ‘hairs’ formed together and transformed into yarn. There are two ways to produce a bike from carbon fiber. It can come from pepregnated tubes and pepregnated sheets. Both methods are not affected on how good or not the frame material is. It all depends on the quality of the material and brands’ ways to produce that carbon fiber frame.
Carbon fiber mountain bicycle identical with lightweight and stiff. Some say that it’s not strong and hard to take care of compared to alloy or steel. Well, it’s a myth. Carbon fiber actually has higher strength to weight than aluminum, and it’s all thanks to the basic material and how it is produced. In some cases, bikers might not have good experience with it, but it could happen because of some factors. Not only the fact that it’s from carbon. It could be the way it is produced, the brand, fake possibilities, and so on.
Part 2: 3 Carbon MTBs That You Can Buy
Carbon fiber Mountain bike can be the choice for anyone who wants to get a light but strong bike. Here are 3 recommendation MTBs for you :
2.1 Intense Sniper Trail
Intense Sniper Trail might be the best choice if you want a carbon short travel bike with price under $4000. Not only included as a mountain bike, this bike is also popular as a cross-country bike. No wonder many bikers say this bike is a down-country bike because it has sturdy components.
Most shops cost this bike for $3500 and it’s quite worth it. With that price, Intense Sniper Trail offers you a carbon fiber frame with 120-millimeter Fox Step-cast 34 that makes the stiffness better and forgiveness up front. This bike also has slightly wider rims which are 27 mm internal and burlier tires, Maxxis Forecasters. Another thing that makes this bike better than mountain bikes on its level is it’s great for climbing. This can be great thanks to the lightness, strong suspension, and long chainstays.
MTB reviewers mostly talk about the good things of this bike rather than the bad sides. The carbon fiber frame makes the bike so light and stiff, so it’s kind of good at accelerating. Stability is also guaranteed from this bike. All thanks to the wide handlebars and short stem which allows the rider to have good control of the bike. Maxxis Forekaster tires that came out from this bike also make the bike do extremely well in wet and muddy terrain. But, the bad thing is this bike has a flexible back end which might upset some riders. The press-fit bottom bracket is also difficult to maintain.
2.2 The Trek Fuel EX 9.7 29
Trek proudly says that Fuel EX 9.7 29 is a versatile full suspension trail bike with great performance from the technologies. This bike isn’t fully carbon MTB, but it has a reason to lower the cost and upgrade it to more advanced components. So, for a bike that cost $4000, Fuel EX 9.7 29 is pretty good. This bike has Bontrager XR4 Team Issue tires with 29 as the size. A lightweight OCLV Mountain Carbon frame and quality FOX suspension makes this bike go faster. Fun mountain biking can be perceived by the good cornering and charging through rock gardens with ease.
The great part of this bike is good at climbing as this bike can also be categorized as a cross-country bike. The solid and beefed up frame allows you to have a ride quality and confidence to play around while mountain biking. But, the long Shimano brake levers somehow kill the feel when riding and the supple rear suspension shows that the fork isn’t really expensive for this bike.
2.3 Giant Trance Advanced 2
Giant released 27.5 wheel bikes that allow you to have a good impression when climbing on mountains with more control. This bike is so good for uphill as it features rear suspension travel with 140 mm as the size and 150 mm up front. It has 27.5 wheels, but it can be said that this bike is versatile because it has an improved frame geometry with shorter chainstays and longer top tube that can make you get through all the terrains.
Trace Advanced 2 in the market costs about $4300, so it’s pretty expensive. But it offers you a great design, lightweight carbon frame, superior suspension, and comfortable geometry in a bike that can be considered a short bike. It’s like this bike packed with all the good components that gonna give you the best experience of biking. If only this bike was available in a variety size range, it would be perfect.
Part 3: Why Carbon Fiber MTB Bike
Is carbon fiber a trend? Not sure if it’s specifically in 2022, but it’s a fact that carbon bike’s popularity is rising. It is proven by the increased number of riders who use carbon MTB each year. Even though they’re not the ‘real’ bike trend in 2022, carbon material itself proves that they’re supporting the trend as it gives you the lightweight.
Mountain bike carbon fibre most likely gives you a lightweight feeling when riding, which it’s a trend right now. Carbon fiber is also easier to form complex shapes which means the bike design can be flexible depending on the bike trend that year. For 2022 itself, the design trend is simpler design with less suspension.
It’s all up to you to follow the trends or not, but better to make sure that the mountain bike you buy really fits you. Trend bikes may not suit you as you probably need more components or less components depending on your riding situation and condition. But out of the trend, a carbon fiber bike is still a great bike.
Why mountain bike carbon fibre over other materials? Most riders are gonna say that it’s because of the weight, but there are other good things that you probably won’t find in steel or aluminum. It’s the stiffness and dampened trail shock. That makes this bike easier to control. Also Repairing carbon fiber is actually easier, and it’s hard to get scratched or get cosmetic damage. The not-so-good thing is it usually needs more money to get a carbon bike. Other than the material, the reason it’s pricey is because the layup was done by hand.
Part 4: Ways to Do Mountain Bike Test
Mountain bike tests are important things to do to understand the bike better before buying it. Here are 4 ways to do it :
4.1 MTB Festival
MTB fans usually know when mountain bike festivals events or festivals will be held. If you still lack information about it, you can follow some MTB accounts on social media or join full carbon fiber mountain bike communities. Make sure to stay informed because MTB festivals usually have a demo facility that can give you comparison between one bike to another. It still costs some money, but it’s cheaper than other methods.
4.2 Bike Shop
Bike shop is the place where you can get plenty of bike choices to buy. To make the buyer more confident about the bike they want, some shops allow visitors to do bike demos. It can be the way for you if you want to do a mountain bike test, but usually the price isn’t really economical. Most shops cost about $100 at most, and then a portion of that often goes toward the purchase of the bike. If you have money and want to be practical, then do it this way. Make sure to prepare it like real biking so it won’t be wasted.
4.3 Brand’s Demo Tour
Some bike brands hold demo tours or exhibitions to promote their brand. To know more about their events, you could follow or subscribe to your favorite brands’ accounts. Their exhibitions usually have a demo facility with free charge, so you can try it there if you want an economical way. Some of the bike brands that often held this event are Yeti Cycles, Rocky Mountain, Santa Cruz/Juliana, Giant/Liv, and Trek.
4.4 Brand’s Company
Any bike brand’s center near your area? If you happen to live close to MTB companies, then you can make use of it. Usually, they’ll hold their own demo on the spot. As for the charge, it depends on the brand itself. Some brands could set a price for it and some brands could be free. Or just give the company a call or check on their website to find out more information about the bike test. If they don’t have that event, they’ll help you find a way to demo the bike. They don’t want to lose consumers, right?
Part 5: Guide to Buy Carbon Fiber MTB
5.1 Bike Purpose
Knowing the purpose of your bike is a must thing to do. It helps you to filter the components and features that you really need from your bike. For example, if you often do mountain riding on up and down hills then it’s better to choose a bike with full suspension. Or maybe you want speed? It’s better to buy bikes with 29 wheels. Again, it’s all back to what your plan for mountain biking and how your habit is.
5.2 Wheel Size
The most popular wheel sizes are 27.5 and 29 wheels. They have their own advantages. 29 wheels is good for riders who want to bike faster. The reason is 29 wheels have a long chain stay which can push your weight slightly further forwards. While 27.5 wheel is a good choice for riders who often bike in trails that need big amounts of suspension. It’s all about preferences, you can choose what really fits you.
5.3 Bicycle Structure
Bicycle structures are important to know so you can ride comfortably. We can know it by understanding the geometry and material aspects. Geometry helps you to know how a bike looks, rides, and handles, and having key figures that suit your body and anatomy. Choose the right geometry that is in line with your body structure, especially height. While for the material, there are four popular materials for bikes that most MTB brands use. Those are titanium, aluminum, carbon, and steel. Carbon fiber mountain bike is the most expensive one because of the lightness yet strong compared to other materials.
5.4 Unisex or Women’s Bike
Brands are trying to produce MTBs that are women- friendly. The ‘women’ things that were included are the geometry ratio and wider saddles. But, some women still prefer unisex bike over women’s bike. So, honestly it’s not really ‘that’ women’s bike. Anyone can use it, but there are some components of the bike that are produced with women’s body anatomy as the idea.
Know the worthiness of your bike. Choose the bike that you really want. For carbon fiber MTB, it’s really worth it. Even though it’s a bit more expensive compared to other types of bikes, carbon fiber bikes offer you a great experience without worrying about cosmetic damage and the heaviness.
Part 6: Conclusion
Trend or not, it’s a fact that carbon fiber mountain bike is getting popular each year. Every rider wants to have or try it at least once in their lifetime. Many advantages that you’ll get by having a carbon bike, but also you probably will find some minor bad things when you ride it. It all depends on how you use it and take care of it. Right bike will be right in the hand of the right rider.