This is a question that has been tossed back and forth since, well, since the first bicycle was made. Each material used (aluminum, steel, titanium, or carbon) have their advantages and disadvantages whether they be weight, cost, or strength. Most riders, though, seem to prefer one over the other.
In the last 10 years or so carbon fiber frames have gained in popularity beginning with carbon fiber forks being placed on bicycles frames made from metal. Now you can get complete frames made from carbon fiber including additional bicycle parts like seat posts, brake levers, wheel sets, handlebars, cranks, and water bottle cages. The only limitation you have is the size of your wallet.
For those that can’t make the move to a full carbon frame, many manufacturers produce bicycles that use a mix of both carbon fiber and aluminum materials. Typically these are aluminum frames with carbon fiber forks, seat stays and/or chain stays. These types of configurations keep the costs down while letting riders enjoy the benefits or carbon – weight savings, ride dampening, and poseur-ness.
The poseur-ness factor is only fully enjoyed if you also ride in a full team kit and shave your legs. Is there anything wrong with the poseur factor? Heck no. I hope to be able to achieve that level someday. Just not sure about shaving my legs though. We’ll have to see.
The question, as the post title so aptly states, is which bicycle frame material is the best? I expect a lot of different answers here (assuming folks take the time to answer) so don’t hold back. Tell me which is the best and why you think so.