At a cycling event, hearing the words “carbon fiber” makes an image of dollar signs flash into the mind. A pretty penny can be spent on a mountain bike. A rider will typically have at least two machines, one for training and the other for racing. A decent race bike can range anywhere between $3,000 and $15,000+.
Mountain bike racing requires a light (carbon fiber most likely), stiff rig around 23-28 pounds. Most of these (depending on which category you race) will have suspension in the front fork but no suspension in the back. These are called “hard tails”. Training bikes will typically be heavier to build muscles. It is also acceptable to have shock absorbers on both ends; this would be classified as a “full suspension” bike. A full suspension bike is like riding in a new Cadillac. Climbing through a rock garden with a FS is much kinder to your back, and your backside, than a hard tail would be.
SES Dunkeld – Copyright Ian Linton. Last outing for the Radon Slide 160
A road bike will be the lightest of bikes, the frame made entirely of carbon fiber. The minimum weight to meet UCI standards is 15 pounds for a road bike. However, road bikes are being manufactured at as little as 12 pounds. Roadies will have zero suspension. This stiffness enables all power exerted from the legs to go straight to the crank and move the wheel.
A decent carbon road bike can range $3,000 all the way to $20,000+. The frame of the bike is commonly speculated as the most expensive aspect of the bike, however, often times the money is actually in the wheels. Having a machine entirely made of carbon is risky business. While carbon fiber is light and thin, it is also extremely prone to cracking and shattering. One wreck can destroy a frame, and the rider’s bank account.