Is carbon fiber really the best material?
With more and more manufactures switching to carbon fiber as the material of choice for high end mountain bike frames, especially for the xc side of things, I am beginning to think that by the time I come to replace my current bike (thankfully awhile away) I will have to make my choice based on frame material more than anything else. I was intending when it came to it to replace my frame with the new version of what I currently have but as it's now made out of carbon fiber I will be looking for something else.
To me Carbon fiber for a frame material for a bike that's going to go off road seems stupid. Despite being much more towards the xc side of things, i like my bike to be tight and fast handling, more like a race bike but I still want a bike that I can ride down rocky track without the fear that either a rock is going to fly up and hit the down tube or I'll crash and damage the frame. I realise that a rock hitting the down tube can damage any material but carbon fiber is well know not to 'like' sharp impacts.
I understand the properties and the advantages of Carbon but for a mountain bike frame that it seems daft. Paths like the Corrieyairack Pass in the highlands is a pretty good ride but littered with rocks that would have me constantly worrying the whole time about my frame, thus I would probably never ride it if I had a carbon bike.
I would be interested if anyone else feels the same and is it manufactures just plowing blindly on with something that isn't suitable outside the race circuit, (how many people really have the need and cash for a specific race only bike?) or is it just me being paranoid and there's nothing wrong with carbon fiber?