Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

December 11, 2017
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Carbon comfort

Cyclists are obsessed with weight – and why not? The lighter the bike, the faster and more comfortable your ride. And the easier it is to carry your riding machine over your shoulder. Enter carbon-fibre frames, the latest must-haves in riding. Carbon-fibre bikes are light, sleek and do an excellent job absorbing shocks.

Yet, like their high-end cousins in titanium, carbon-fibre bikes are expensive. Which is where Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) comes in. The Vancouver-based company has been in the bike business only since 2008. Fast-forward to today and you’ll find 17 different MEC models, two of which are full-carbon unisex bikes.

The Attack is considered the best option if you’re looking for a solid starter carbon-fibre bike. It costs $1965 – apparently not a lot for this carbon fibre — weighs 8.25 kilograms and, for those who understand bike terminology, has oversized headtubes, a BB30 bottom bracket system and carbon-fibre dropouts.

A step up from the Attack is the Etape at $2900. It has the same light carbon frame as the Attack, but also more sophisticated components – namely Shimano Ultegra components versus the Attack’s Shimano 105 — producing a lighter 7.3-kilogram bike and better durability.

Then there’s the discussion of which offers the most bang for the big bucks: titanium or carbon-fibre. So which you should consider if you’re planning to spend this kind of money? Well, that depends on the rider you ask. If you were to make a generalization, you could say titanium costs more and lasts longer, while carbon fibre has a better strength-to-weight ratio and is lighter.

Which absorbs more shock? Depends on the individual bike. MEC doesn’t have any titanium styles on its roster just yet, but show up with a government-issue ID and they’ll let you take either the Attack or Etape out for a 15-minute test ride. From there, go to a shop that sells titanium bikes and demand to do the same. The best bike for you is really an individual thing. For MEC locations: mec.ca.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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