Are carbon components cheaper than aluminium (or aluminum, as our US readers say)? Well of course not, but it’s getting ever so close. This came home to me this week when I bought two new seatpins.
For the last year or so I’ve not been quite “right” on my two hardtails. I’ve been riding but never quite comfortable, getting alot of hip and lower back pain to the point where it’s been really uncomfortable during and after some rides. Whereas riding my full susser has been much better with very little back/hip issues.
Of course I put this down to the rear suspension. Which it undoubtedly does help but at the same time it got me thinking about my position on the bike. As many roadies do, I run my saddle with loads of lay-back on my road bikes and the Trek Fuel is the same.
Looking at the lay-back at the bike harem in the garage it occurred to me that both my hardtails have in-line USE suspension seatposts and are putting me further forward over the BB. So I reckoned that changing seatposts had to be worth a try to see if it helped the back/hip pain.
After a quick trawl of the net I came up with an FSA SLK Carbon SetBack Seatpost 350mm £30 from CRC for my Orange Clockwork. Maybe it’s not the most flash seatpost in the world, with an aluminium clamp, but it’s got a full carbon shaft and very light. Reduced from £55.
I rode the Orange with this new position for a quick spin and found my pedaling a lot smoother and more powerful. Heading out for yesterday evening’s pedal I knew that I wasn’t going to be happy unless I changed the seatpost on my Inbred too.
So heading down to the LBS I bought a basic 400mm setback aluminium seatpost for £21. I know that I could of got it cheaper off the net but I was prepared to pay extra for the LBS convenience as I always am, plus enjoying my ride more was well worth the money. Moles you might have even noticed me going a bit quicker up the climbs than of late?
This has got me thinking about the cost of the wonder material compared to good old aluminium. Looking at CRC, aluminium seatposts range from £7.99 to £107.99 (Thomson Masterpeice layback) and carbon seatposts from £27.99 (Tifosi) to £209.99 (Cinelli Bianca Ram) – note you always pay more for white!
To me the point of this is that there is now a huge overlap between aluminium and carbon prices, with carbon firmly encroaching into all levels of pricing. This has got to be a trend that will continue for most bike parts with volume – except wheel rims which are very difficult to make in carbon – until aluminium maybe becomes the new boutique “steel is real” or the cheapest value parts.
The new On-one carbon frame personifies this trend best. It’s firmly into the price range of mid end steel/aluminium frames.
Is this a good thing? I’m not sure, but it’s progress and it will happen whatever.