There are a whole number of reasons companies would eschew carbon frames – cost, environmental impact, difficulty to produce – but all we care about is that there’s a great selection of bikes in both aluminium and carbon.
There’s something to be said for cold, hard aluminium though. It’s the metal that modern mountain biking was built on and there are aluminium bikes still destroying at the top of the sport in both the downhill World Cup and Enduro World Series.
Carbon may have the curves but, in our opinion, an aluminium bike can look sexy in its own right. Straight tubing, clean welds and a reassuring thunk on the trail will always grab our attention. On top of this, shorter production times and cheaper processes mean aluminium bikes can be updated year-on-year to stay bang on trend.
Most companies produce aluminium versions of their carbon bikes and they will often share a lot of the characteristics of the carbon version but at a cheaper price. In the past we’ve actually preferred the feeling of an aluminium version of a carbon frame but this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule.
So, in no particular order, here are a handful of aluminium enduro mountain bikes that are more metal than Ozzy Osbourne standing on a Marshall amp at Donnington Park, picked from the Dirt 100.
Orange Alpine Six Factory
Everytime we swing a leg over a new Alpine we always wonder how they can make it any better… They always do.
We’re looking at a very well regarded, UK designed long travel bike with the Alpine, a machine capable of anything from uplifting technical DH tracks, enduro racing to big mountain multi-day trips. The Alpine, as its name suggests, can handle itself in most terrain and the spec choices needs to match this attitude too.
We’ve been running the Alpine for a year and feel like the slashed weight and hard look at the latest hub, wheel and tyre standards have only added to its appeal – a whole bundle of small changes but they all add up for a significant improvement on what was already a very accomplished design.