Attention public: Brit doc says carbon no faster than steel

Byron emailed me to point out this article in the Bike Biz, explaining about the British doctor who has been widely quoted within online media that carbon bikes are no faster than steel. Carlton Reid makes an effort to explain that the “study” was meant as more of a humour piece than a rigourous analysis of frame materials. Yet I fear that some people I might encounter in the future might still be misinformed about the article in question, so here is my very unambiguous explanation:

Ok, so an anesthesiologist (not a sport science PhD) owns exactly 2 bikes and timed himself as he rode them to work and then subjectively evaluated the experience. The geezer wrote the piece as a lark for a bit of humour in a medical journal, and then suddenly cycling media are all, “Oooh, doctors say carbon no faster than steel.” It’s a joke, not even remotely a scientific study; only the general public just might be too dense to get it. I don’t blame the anesthesiologist; I blame the public’s insatiable appetite for tabloid-style journalism and media’s eagerness to oblige.

Personally, I think the anesthesiologist’s write-up is actually funny, though I am kinda over the cult of steel. But the moment you want to talk to me about that article as evidence to back up any side of a “rational” argument, you’re stupid, and I refuse to talk to you anymore. Feel free to wiki the terms “scientific method” and “statistical significance”.

This public service message has been brought to you by Mark V.



4 Comments

The reason I love my Ti bike is that on rough road, big hits, I float and continue to apply pressure to the pedals. On Carbon, shutter and big hits. That’s the test to do is compare ti to Carbon, with Ti getting close on weight and carbon at it’s limit. Aluminum is relegated to the dirt, where it does really well.

I heard this on the Spokesmen podcast.  Seemed pretty tongue in cheek.

It was, but always good to bring back the “best frame material” debate.

Got two bikes. One Alu one Carbon. Winter and bad weather I take the aluminium crosser. Better conditions are for carbon racer.
So I’m faster on the Carbon RedBull but wouldn’t wanna come to the conclusion that it is the frame material that makes it faster rather than the circumstances I ride in…

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