The Great Frame Debate

As a cyclist, I get asked 3 questions all the time

Why do you shave your legs?
Smooth legs feel good in jeans!
Do you ride Seattle to Portland?
No, I spend my weekends racing my bike.
What frame material is the best?
They all have the strengths, let’s have coffee and discuss.

A reader recently sent us a story from composite world on Cannondale’s manufacturing process for their Six13 and a there’s that question again, “what frame is best” Is is the carbaluminum?

Well no. All frames have their unique qualities and depending on what you’re after (touring, racing, blowing all your disposable income), pick a material and either buy one or have it built. During the coffee discussion, I break it down like this: steel is the best, but heavy and requires paint; aluminum works well for mountain bikes cause they got suspension; I ride titanium for my rain and touring bike; carbon is the best all-around racing bike.

What I don’t agree with is slapping a carbon rear triangle on an aluminum frame so it doesn’t beat the crap out of you (or vice versa with a rear aluminum triangle and carbon front). Just buy a nice carbon frame and skip the aluminum unless you’re racing the Iron Man. Granted, marketing 101, is differentiation and “tuning” a carbon/ti bike with specific tubes is some good marketing, you could also spend that money on a great riding Rivendell, Time, Trek, or Litespeed.

What frame material do you recommend or would argue is best?