Metal Vs Carbon: Which Bikes Are Better? | GCN Tech Show Ep. 3

Metal Vs Carbon: Which Bikes Are Better? | GCN Tech Show Ep. 3


– This S100 at the Tour Down Under. – [All] Welcome to the GCN Tech Show! – Woo! – And I’m gonna be bringing you the latest and greatest tech
that these guys are using. Go on guys! – And of course having
already got an amazing tan, I’ve stayed back here in
our beloved maintenance set where I’ll be bringing you
this week’s big debate: metal versus carbon. And of course the second induction into the GCN Tech Wall of Fame with a little cameo from Captain Retro. (techno music) – What’s hot in tech this week? Well, for a start, my body
is absolutely scorching. Sadly, though, that is
not tech, far from it. I would just actually like
to thank, on that note, the people of Adelaide for
making us feel so welcome here at the Tour Down Under. Your comments on how much you
love GCN and everything we do has just been absolutely outstanding. And I’d really like to thank you all for coming up to us and telling us. Now time to raise the temperature
just a little bit more as if I need to. How about these? Digital soles, heated
insoles, spotted recently at the Consumer Electronics
Show in Las Vegas. Now the temperature range on these insoles is actually between 30
and 45 degrees centigrade and it’s controlled through
an app on your phone. They also track where you’ve been. Presumably that’s also through the app and not through a GPS unit
inside of the inner sole as that would be a little
bit overkill I think. To charge up the insoles
it’s simply a USB cable. The battery life is
between two to six hours depending on your desired
output of temperature. Weight-wise, they come in at
between 120 and 160 grammes. Finally, the price is $199. I think I’d probably pay that, actually, so I wouldn’t get cold
feet during the winter. Now I wonder if I can get a pair in time for my arrival back at GCN HQ. One thing’s for certain, though, I do not need them right now. In fact, I need ice cold insoles. – Kask, together with team Sky have been working very closely
together to bring you this. This is the brand new Utopia helmet which we just saw launch
a couple days ago. The purpose of it is
to have an aero helmet which is suitable for use even
in hot weather conditions. Believe me, the squat of team
Sky, they’ve been using it down here at the Tour Down Under and the temperature’s been reaching up to 40 degrees centigrade. Now that is hot. According to a test by Kask,
it actually saves six watts over its nearest rival at 50 k an hour. That’s quite a considerable
amount, really, isn’t it? The weight of it is 235
grammes in a size medium. There’s nine ventilation ports on there. I’m gonna have some more tech
for you later on in the show. So stay tuned. – Cheers for that tech round-up, Jon. I’m not gonna lie, the
temperature in Adelaide does sound bloody lovely right now. Although I’m not entirely sure
that sunburn is a stronger. But anyway, while you have been stalking professional cyclists, I have been having great fun
going through the comments that relate to this week’s hot
topic: metal versus carbon. Now as we suspected, there
are some very strong opinions out there including
this one from Dave Ross. “Death to all but metal!” (metal music) And then some still emphatic
but slightly mellow comments like this one from bondles who said, “I dearly love my old Aluminium Trek 1000, “but I hopped on my first
carbon bike last week “and as soon as I touched
the pedals, it took off “like a snake had bitten it. “It is heaps of fun.” I know that feeling, totally. So I think we should probably
start with some facts. If you want the lightest, the stiffest, and the most aerodynamic bike, you have to have one that
is made out of carbon fibre. I’m sorry, but you will. Let’s start with the
weight penalty for a start. The lightest carbon frames
are about 350 grammes lighter than the very lightest aluminium ones. Titanium about the same,
350 grammes heavier. And then steel is even more. That’s about 700 grammes heavier. And that is for the
very, very lightest ones. Stiffness, yeah, metal frames
can be made as stiff as carbon but the weight penalty
would be even greater. Then from an aerodynamics perspective, due to the properties of
carbon, it can be sculpted into the necessary aerodynamic shapes to a far greater extent than a metal one. So on paper, a carbon frame should be faster than a metal one. And as important as that is to some of us, it is still not the be-all and end-all. There’s reliability for a start. As we found out when we went
to the control tech factory back in autumn… I do think it’s interesting that carbon has clearly a greater
resistance to fatigue whereas aluminium clearly has
greater resistance to impact. Metal frames should theoretically have a higher impact
strength than carbon fibre. That could come in really
useful for if the worse happens. Because let’s face it,
your frame is probably the most expensive part of your bike. Jon Burnell agrees in the comments. He says that he’s got a
both carbon and aluminium and whilst he feels his carbon bike is so much faster, more comfortable, the aluminium has had
probably half a dozen crashes including, quite scarily,
a full-on run over by a car in which it mostly survived. Not quite sure what that is. But still runs fine. For that reason alone, he feels more infinity
for the workhorse metal. And also another comment
from Pat Caballero which I agree with in the most part. Only there is one thing
I take exception to and we’ll get onto that in a moment. He said, “Let’s keep it
metal for reliability. “I could not imagine touring
the altiplano on my own on a carbon bike without
a fear of it going wrong.” Agree with that. Then he says, “Besides with the
right brands of metal tubing you can go have the best of both worlds, super reliable and super light.” Now I’m not so sure about that. You see, in my opinion,
when you’re making anything super light, you sacrifice
an element of its reliability simply because there
is less material there. That’s true with carbon and also metal. No matter what the alloy
is or what its properties, there it’s just less of it. And of course a lot relies on the design and the engineering of it. And actually as well,
it’s worth remembering that carbon frames can be repaired, maybe not in the ability of
it now to plant it granted, but modern steels, or
many of them anyways, cannot be repaired and
neither can aluminium no matter where you are. But this whole robustness,
reliability thing does hide a really
important point, I think. And that is that metal bikes
can feel really robust, can feel really reliable to ride. I think that’s part of the reason why I love my aluminium
cyclocross bike so much and also my steel road bike. What about price, though? That really matters. I think it’s here that you get the real feather-in-the-cap metal bikes. They are much less expensive. Again, a gross generalisation. But if you’re looking at a top-end metal bike frame off-the-shelf, you’d be looking at about $1000 perhaps whereas an off-the-shelf carbon frame would be like $2000 and upwards. Actually we got a great
comment here from Chris Hudson who says that in the
2000 to 3000 pound range, I reckon metal bikes have the edge. Mason, Kinesis, Bowman,
three British brands, seem to put so much research into design into unique and interesting
frames at this price point. Hey then says, “It feels “as though larger manufacturer’s
equivalent carbon frames “simply inherit features
from their flagship cousins, “which justifiably, but unfortunately, “cost bum-puckering amounts of money.” And it’s true, carbon manufacture is a much more labour intensive
process than making metal bikes. It’s kind of ironic, really,
seeing as a lot of people seem to think they still
just pop out of the mould like some cheap plastic toy. But the more complicated the
frame and the lighter the frame the more labour intensive it becomes. So it is always gonna be
more costly I would guess. And now, lastly, perhaps
most importantly, aesthetics. Oh, yeah. Now there is undeniably a certain look to a modern carbon bike. Thomas Soto says as much. He says, Steal is real! “I prefer steal but I love
the new looks of carbon.” Who’s to argue? But having said that, there
are no right or wrongs here. I mean, take a look at this. I dare you to disagree. That is an absolute stunner. Steal is real. But then, so is aluminium. Look at this! Wah! And titanium. Man alive! And of course, carbon. All of them can be absolutely amazing. Arguably, carbon is lighter
and faster, as we said. Metal, more robust, certainly
feels like it to ride. But they all scrub up pretty
darn well at the end of the day which is why I sit firmly on the fence. Just like Tyler Curtis, in
fact, in the comments who said that his main bikes
are made out of carbon. But he also has an aluminium
Langster for commuting as well as All City Macho
Kings and Nature Boys made out of Reynolds 853 steel tubing. He then goes on to say that
he loves his carbon bikes when he’s really shredding
on the road, in the trees, or on the cross course, but both materials have
their purposes and places. Now, Tyler, with
equivalent bikes like that, you are truly a lucky man, but you also speak great sense. But we wanna hear from
the rest of you as well. What do you think? Are you a metaller? (metal music) Or are you a carbon-er? Car-boner? Oh, better not say that? Anyway, let us know in the
comment section down below which side of the fence
you sit on and why. Or in fact, are you like
Patrick Pecoraro who says that wood frames are better than
either metal or carbon? I actually don’t know about that. I have no opinion but I hope to rectify that
situation in the coming year. Do make sure you stay tuned as well. Next week’s hot topic is
gonna be whether or not there is actually a
difference in high-end frames that of course as we just talk
about come out of a mould. Is there a difference between
a Cervelo and a Pinarello? Or a Giant and a Specialised? Get involved in the comments section. Wall of Fame! Another thing I’m looking after whilst Mr. Cannings
snoops around Australia. Last week we inducted
our very first product onto the GCN Tech Wall of Fame, the Campanollo Quick Release. This week following the
suggestions of Rbastien, Ben Kickert, Bart Carter,
Alain Victor, James Cycle, and Jarod Bell, to name
but a few, we are going for brake lever mounted
integrated gear shifters. Or more commonly and
conveniently known as STIs. That’s right, Shimano total
integration for it was the big S that launched this amazing bit of tech onto the road cycling world
in 1990 with eight speed, Shimano Dura Ace 7400. But interestingly, and this
took me totally by surprise, the tech actually comes
from mountain biking because the previous year, 1989, Shimano launched Rapid Fire. And with it, they brought
ratchet mechanisms to gear shifters. So one lever pulled cable
and then a second lever released that cable in small increments. Then as I said, it was
the following year, 1990, where they brought that tech
into a much needed place over on the road. To elaborate and tell us
exactly how needed it was we need to hear from
Captain Retro. (snaps) Hello, mate. – Where’s my costume? – Sorry mate, sorry about that. – It’s nice to get a guest
appearance on the Tech Show. But interestedly, Si, if
GCN had been around in 1989, I would’ve blown the lid on
a fantastic scoop for Shimano because although it was released in 1990, STIs were actually used in
a prototype way in 1989. I was riding a race
called the Nissan Classic at the back end of October of that year. And I spotted very famous
rider indeed, Phil Anderson, using prototype STI levers. I must admit mate, it
absolutely blew me away. Because at that time, I wasn’t
even using index shifters. I was basically on
symplex, retro shifters. So it really was a proper
glimpse into the future. And it blew a lot of riders away actually, amazing bit of tech. – It must have genuinely made
a difference to riders’ speed. Overall, that convenience of
shifting from your handlebars. – But I think, yeah,
fundamentally, Phil Anderson, what he said was that
it worked really well, but it was the ability to
shift at the saddle on climbs that made the big difference to him. – Yeah, there we go then. And actually, quite amazingly, STIs didn’t really change
a great deal, did they? It took 20 years actually
for Shimano to get rid of the cable that came out of
the side at the shifters. If anything really was the
lever had ergonomics changed. – It was just a system
that worked really well. And me and you were using
the old-fashioned STI until about 2008, 2009. – Yeah, that’s right. Now Campagnolo meanwhile followed suit quite soon after, didn’t
they, with ErgoPower where they had got rid of the
cables coming out the side. And also they won a lot of fans for brake levers that didn’t move. So Shimano, obviously, you have to move. But some people preferred
a more static brake lever. But I think I’m right
in saying that actually by inventing STIs, Shimano kind
of moved into pole position in the road group set market. – It definitely was just
a little bit more tactile and it took quite a few years for Campagnolo to sort of catch up. Although I like a bit of Campag, again, Shimano was
just, at the feel of it, just that little bit different is far more tactile,
far more instantaneous. I think with that system they basically set the bar that high, it was a long time before other manufacturers
sort of caught up. – I think we might have
just dropped a bombshell into the comments section there,
so we’ll leave it at that. Do make sure you get involved
in the comments section. Go easy on that whole
Shimano Campagnolo thing but tell us what you
would like to see inducted onto the GCN Tech Wall
of Fame for next week. We need product number three. Get thinking about it. But I’d love to hear
what you’d have to say but let’s stop the camera first. – First up, I need a cape.
– Okay. Fair enough. Not like a racing cape,
like a Captain Retro. – Something like that will be okay. – Can we sort him out with a cape, please? – Check out these, hard
to miss, aren’t they? New Specialised S-Works
shoes that we’ve spotted on the feet of Quick-Step
Floors riders this week. Of course they match up with those flashy
helmets that we also see. Information on them is
actually quite sparse. Other than I reckon they’ll
be cool with the S-Works 7. Keep yours eyed peeled, though, and we’ll reveal all once
we know more information. When I saw this Bianchi
Specialised must-see from the other side of the expo, I ran as fast as my
flip flops would take me and I thought it was Marco
Pantani’s double winning bike of this Giro d’Italia and
Tour de Trance back in 1999. Sadly it’s not, but it’s just
a bike to commemorate it. What’s pretty cool about
it is perched on top of that seat post is a saddle
signed by Il Pirata himself, the legend, Marco Pantani. I’ve just come across this pair of wheels whilst having a look around here. These are the Zipp 454 NSWs. They’re pretty unique
as I’m sure you’ll agree due to the saw-tooth profiling
here on the inside of the rim which according to
studies, actually make them more stable in crosswinds,
a pretty important feature. Once that wind starts blowing,
I’m sure you’ll agree. But what makes this pair so special is that you actually can’t buy them. Yep, that’s right. They are the tubular version. I’ve only actually seen
a couple of pairs here. This pair are on the back of Matt Schmidt of Team Katusha-Alpecin. And the other pair are
on that of Nathan Hass who’s the team leader for that squad here at the Tour Down Under. So who knows if we’ll actually see them go into general production for the public. So Quick-Step Floors for 2018 have made a switching cockpit sponsors
to Shimano’s own brand, Pro. It would appear, actually, from looking around at some of the bikes that they’ve not got the
full packages just yet. But, hey, it’s still early in the season and I’m pretty sure that
once back in Europe, all the bikes will be fully
equipped with the Pro range. On the bike here of Nikias Arndt, he’s the team reader this year, of Tour Down Under for Team Sunweb. He’s actually got the
new Shimano power metre. They’ve actually replaced Pioneer who were their last year’s sponsors. I’ll tell you what, that’s a
very neat looking solution. It’s based there just in the spider, then with a sensor on the
inside of the chainstay. I do like the look of that. Bike of the week time. First, though, let’s reveal
last week’s winning bike. We put together two bikes
from the women’s peloton. They were the bike of Canyon Sram. That was the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX. It was up against Trek
Drops and their Trek Emonda. And with a quite outstanding
77% of the votes, the winner was… (snaps) And the winner was the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX of Canyon Sram. I don’t actually have
that one here with me. This one is Tiffany Cromwell’s bike which she very kindly loaned me. I do hope, actually, that those votes, you weren’t swayed by Simon
Richardson’s love for that bike as he described to us last week. – Well, I’m gonna go with
the paint job first, Jon. It’s my favourite colour
scheme in the world. It’s the Canyon Sram Team Bike. – Don’t let it influence you, though, that it’s his favourite. – Well it didn’t work last week, did it? It’s the Canyon CF SLX
Ultimate ridden by the team. – And first up we’ve got this Specialised S-Works Venge ViAS Disc. That is a mouthful, isn’t it? This particular model belongs to Elia Viviani of Quick-Step Floors. Obviously we’ve got ourselves the aerodynamic frame,
aerodynamic cockpit, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
with disc brakes. (gasps) Yep, I hear the gasps
from some of you already. Rover wheels, a Specialised
power metre down there as well, as well as a Specialised toupe saddle with carbon fibre rails. So now you’ve got to
vote for either this… And this, the Factor O2
of Ejedizar Lemondao. Obviously the Factor frame-set, a black ink handle bar stem and seat post, Fizik Aliante carbon-braided saddle, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 group-set, Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimate. Down there the CeramicSpeed
oversized pulley wheel system, and here the SRM power crank. So you know what to do. You need to vote up
here for your favourite and next week we’ll put
another two head-to-head. Right, it’s that time of the week. It’s time for the bike vault where we rate your bike
either nice or super nice. Sadly, I don’t have my super
nice horn with me this week. It was taken away by the
customs officer, of all things. Not to worry, I begged,
borrowed, and I stole, actually I just asked nicely, and I’ve got this
(air blows) from WorldTour Mechanics
here at the Tour Down Under. (air blows) Listen out for that, that’s
the sound of super nice. With no further ado, let’s get started. First up, Barry Herschy,
Leeds, West Yorkshire. We’ve got ourselves a Look 695. Straight away
(air blows) super nice. Then who’s this? We’ve got Gavin Trueman of
Swindon in the UK as well. Kuota leant up against what
looks like a farmyard gate. Uh, little bit of rubbish
in the background, though. So I’m afraid, Gavin, can’t
really give that one super nice. Sorry about that one, mate. Next up, Ian Sheppard of
Jointwitch, he’s got himself a KTM. And he’s got those orange
bottle cages on there. Now those are the corporate colours of KTM so I like what he’s done. He’s actually done a little
bit of matching there. Nice one, in fact, super nice. (air blows) It’s cooling me down at least. Right, Mitja Klavora, of Slovenia. Look at that Specialised S-Works. That is full of bling, isn’t it. Just check it out, look
at the gold detailing. Super nice, no questions. (air blows) I need this, cool me down. Right, finally, Ross McDonald from Mesa in Arizona in the US, look at that Specialised S-Works. I love that paint job, absolutely love it. Stands out a mile,
especially with those logos so super nice. (blows air) (exhales) Right. Now remember to submit your
bike for the bike vault. Email us on the email address
on the screen right now. And also let us know where you come from. It really does help. Right, so, ah, yeah, you’re still here. We’re nearly at the end of the
GCN Tech Show for this week. But don’t worry, there is
more great content coming up in the next week for you. Tomorrow, Si’s gonna be
in the GCN Tech clinic answering one of your problems. Saturday I take a look at
triple world road race champion Peter Sagan’s pro bike. That is one not to be missed. Sunday we take a look at 650b wheels. And on Monday, yep, it’s
Maintenance Monday time. Then next week, we are back again with GCN Tech Show episode number four. Also remember to like and share this video with your friends. Do remember subscribe
to the GCN Tech channel by clicking on the logo
on your screen right now. For two more great videos,
how about clicking down here for some tech from the Tour Down Under and down here for Si’s Orbea pro bike. I’m afraid I have to actually go myself. I’ve got a plane to catch. So all the best and I’ll
see you back in the UK. (light music)