With the development of economy and technology, modern industrial technology has become more and more advanced. Many different kinds of industrial products are manufactured with a lot of new materials for their excellent performances. For example, there are a few famous bikes like high-end steel road bicycle and carbon fiber road bike, which have the high quality and are well received by the public. So a discussion about the differences between high-end steel road bicycles and carbon fiber bikes is initiated. According to the result, here are the 6 differences you may want to know:
Generally, most of the steel road bicycles frames weigh more than the carbon ones. And a majority of cyclists consider that the lighter one is “better”, although， in terms of pure performance, this is mostly only a factor which influences you to speed when you riding on steep inclines while on flat ground it’s negligible at speed. To be frank, a lighter bike will be faster but the real impact is probably much less than people expect. However, if you are a professional cyclist, it is absolutely necessary to use a lighter for which may decide your speed or even your final result of the race. So the great mass of the bikes used in the professional competitions is carbon fiber bicycles.
Aerodynamic drag is a vital factor which influences the different kinds of bikes, especially for their speeds. Usually, if the aerodynamic drag is higher, then the speed of the bike will be slower. But the bike is not the only the factor that affects the speed.
Every other time, wind resistance is what matters more, and over 90% of that comes from you, the rider, not the bike. You’re shaped like a brick. Your bike is shaped like a pencil. So no matter the high-end steel bicycles or carbon fiber bikes, as long as they are designed into the scientific shapes and structures, their drag can be reduced. Of course, the gestures and the body shapes of the cyclists also influence the speed.
The handling of a bike is something very important for the thrill and safety of the cyclists. The frame of the bike is the key to handling. Handling is somewhat subjective, but a frame that is too flexible, or has the wrong geometry, will not perform as well in corners, or fast descents, or in making sudden maneuvers to avoid obstacles. Steel and carbon can have the same geometry and arguably have similar stiffness in terms of handling. And the handling of the bike also related with the roadies’ strength and balance which can help to control the bike better and easier.
Power Transfer here defined as the force from your feet and hands to the rear wheel propelling you forward, where carbon may have a slight advantage in terms of lateral and torsional “stiffness”. That being said, the most important part of a bike is the rider and how much power they can make for how long. An overly stiff frame make can fatigue a rider which will reduce your power and well-being. A steel bike can be almost as a stiff and almost as light as carbon fiber, but the ride is better in general, especially after a long ride. There are numerous carbon frames designed for comfort that seem to be very good but they probably are not as fast as the pros only use them on cobbles typically.
The objective view of comfort argues that one material will reduce fatigue and muscle or contact-point soreness over a given time period. Both steel and carbon allow for designs that can increase comfort. There’s much anecdotal evidence that well-designed and manufactured steel can reduce stress on the rider, and though many carbon advancements have addressed the issue steel may still have an advantage. Carbon is lighter than steel which can save your power when you are climbing steep inclines so that you can feel more comfort on your body as well as your heart. But sometimes, the steel ones may keep you stable and still in the rain or snow, so that you may be comfortable than the lighter one.
Perception may play a final role in performance—if a frame feels faster (even if only because it looks faster) it may, in fact, go faster because you think you are faster. Steel frames are currently associated more with craftsmanship and nostalgia and beauty, and less with the racing performance that carbon frames have come to dominate. Before you buy the bicycle, you need to have a test ride for about 1 or 2 hours to find out whether you like the feelings of the bike brings to you or not. After all, it is your best partner when you are cycling, and the perception it one of the most significant elements for your cycling trip.
If you’re torn between a carbon bike and a steel bike, your decision is ultimately going to come down to philosophy. Are you just looking for the most effective machine to do the job for the present, or are you more interested in the craftsmanship that goes into creating a high-end steel bike? High-end steel bikes and carbon fiber bicycles are both outstanding bikes for roadies, as for how to choose a right one for yourself, it is better to take more details into consideration. And follow your inside feelings.