Just 10 years ago, most high-quality bikes sold in the United States were made from aluminum or related alloys. As recently as 2003, our annualBuyer’s Guide featured only a handful of carbon-fiber models. And in the first years of this century, pros rode aluminum race bikes alongside carbon-fiber models at the sport’s most celebrated events.
Then the carbon-composite craze took hold and so commenced the great aluminum disappearing act. High-end road bikes were the first to go. Top-of-the-line hardtail mountain bikes were next, quickly followed by suspension and midpriced bikes. Aluminum’s 20-year run at the pinnacle of the sport ended with shocking abruptness.