Carbon or aluminum Enduro SL?

Ok, so, since my last post, I have decided to go with a size “large” Enduro SL. With a laid back seat post, the ride felt just right and it is going to haul balls on the downhill.

My new problem is deciding between either the Expert model (aluminum), or the Carbon Pro Model (not s-works). Because this is coming from insurance, money isn’t too big a factor. What is your opinion about the FACT 9M carbon frame, and do you feel that it is really worth the price premium? Or will the aluminum expert model be the best bang for the buck?

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Hey Adam,

I asked the man himself, Brandon Sloan over at Specialized, what difference a rider would notice:

Hey Lee!!

So the differences that a rider would notice would be weight, stiffness and a feature or two…

Carbon is lighter (I was going to say obviously but some companies actually make heavier carbon frames than the equivalent alloy versions- we do not).
Carbon: 2200g
Alloy: 2480g (painted…lighter if anodized)

The carbon is also going to be stiffer (up to 20% depending how you measure). The extra stiffness is certainly something the rider will feel.

Lastly, the alloy Enduro comes with ISCG mounts where the carbon does not.

The both have to pass the same test standards (our mid-level Enduro testing) but the carbon is actually stronger.


7 replies
  1. Patrick McCarthy says:

    Not sure if this is true or not, but…..doesn’t carbon risk cracking or becoming weaker if it was to be crashed against a rock or something where the top layer of carbon would become chipped? Sorry if this adds confusion to the original question…by the way I own an expert SL and it is the shiznit. Best bike I’ve ever ridden.

  2. leelikesbikes says:

    I’m not an expert, but I’m told carbon parts are way overbuilt, and that you’d have to cut through to the fibers themselves. there’s a lot of epoxy or whatever on top of the fibers.

  3. fred says:

    we have 4 enduro SL’s in our group of riders. a med and lg aluminum pro, and a small carbon pro and med s-works.the med aluminum is absolutly lighter than the small carbon and the s-works not much lighter. with the aluminum being more compliant the light weight rider is not happy about the extra grand spent for a heavier and stiffer bike.
    the frame was supposed .87#’s lighter. have you heard this before?

  4. leelikesbikes says:

    BTW: Stiffer isn’t always better, especially if you’re light and/or gentle. A certain amount of flex is a good thing.

  5. martyn says:

    That’s not one fo the reasons I went for aluminium, I had an aluminium M5 enduro and this years equivelant was the ali pro. Although I like light weight I have never bought into gram counting, just bought light strong components, (not cheap). I sure do lust after that S-Works name though.

  6. leelikesbikes says:

    “When do you or would you reccomend carbon instead of Aluminium, esp. the Enduro Sl. I’m flying on the aluminium version and coming from an older M% aluminium is it worth the extra $.”

    — Martin

    — — —

    I’ve extensively ridden the 2005 M5 S-Works Enduro and the 2007 carbon Enduro SL, and both bikes are amazing.

    – If you want to run an ISCG chain guide (slalom, DJ, Super D, light DH), you need the aluminum verson.

    – If you want the lightest/trickest trail bike, rock the carbon version.

    On rough trail, with flexing cranks, BB, wheels, tires, bars, stem and whatnot, I’m not certain I could tell the difference between carbon and aluminum. You can’t go wrong!

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