Carbon Fiber Vs. Titanium Mountain Bikes Mountain Bikes

What To Look For

Carbon fiber and titanium are two of the high-end materials that companies make mountain bikes out of (steel and aluminum frames are also made). The chief advantage of carbon fiber is weight. It is the lightest material to make a frame out of. Carbon fiber frames are also stiff and provide a quiet ride. Titanium frames have a little more flex to them and, like carbon fiber, are resistant to rust. Titanium frames are a little heavier than carbon fiber frames and do not ride as quietly. Titanium is durable.

Common Pitfalls

Mountain bike frames often undergo severe stresses in riding. Titanium has an advantage over carbon fiber because titanium can absorb impacts better than carbon fiber. A forceful impact to a carbon fiber frame can dent or chip it, weakening it enough that it will need to be replaced. Titanium will last longer but doesn't absorb shocks as well, and titanium can't be used in dual suspension bikes due to its flex.

Where To Buy

Carbon fiber frames are more common than titanium frames. Local specialty bike retailers are a common option for shopping for a bike because they can answer questions about frame height and construction. Online retailers such as Randall Scott (see Resources) also sell a variety of mountain mikes.


Titanium mountain bike frames are the most expensive. Carbon fiber costs a little less than titanium. Carbon fiber frames like the Yeti 575 can run $2,000 (2010 prices). A high-end titanium frame like the Titus Ftm runs $3,000 (2010 prices). Carbon fiber frames generally run between $1,000 and $2,000, while titanium frames will be $2,000 to $3,000.

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