Carbon, aluminum, or steel?

  • News
  • technology
Eddy Merckx Bikes offers a range for every cyclist: from high-quality steel bikes for the excellence seeker to aluminum bikes for the durability advocate and carbon bikes for the ambitious speed demon. We summarize the advantages and disadvantages of each material and apply them to a bike from the Eddy Merckx Bikes range. This way, you can ultimately make the right choice!

Carbon, aluminum, and steel are the most common materials used in bikes in the 21st century. Eddy Merckx also chooses these three well-known materials. In addition, we offer titanium bikes, which are handmade in Belgium. You can read more about this later in this blog.

Steel was particularly popular until the end of the 1980s and has recently made a comeback. In the mid-1990s, aluminum bikes gained popularity, and carbon bikes became the new standard at the top around the turn of the century.


Steel has a lot of resilience, making it comfortable to ride. When riding on rough roads, you will experience fewer shocks than with a bike made of other materials. Additionally, steel is also very robust, making a steel bike very durable. Also, it's worth noting that steel bikes produced in large quantities are typically quite affordable.
On the downside of this material is its weight. A steel bike is heavy and will therefore cost you time on climbs. There is also the risk of rust formation.

Steel at Eddy Merckx

On one hand, there is Corsa: the high-end segment with bikes that are handmade in Belgium. On the other hand, there are also the entry-level steel models of our Pévèle and Strasbourg bikes.


Aluminium was very popular during the period from Miguel Indurain's last Tour de France victory (1995) to Lance Armstrong's first victory (in 1999, which was later taken away from him). Aluminium is generally lighter than steel and stronger than carbon. Furthermore, its rigidity is also notable. As a result, carbon is generally considered the more comfortable option. To reduce this difference, many aluminium bikes have a carbon fork. Nowadays, there is also a difference in quality among aluminium bikes due to the use of different tube thicknesses.

In terms of price, aluminium is cheaper than carbon. This is also evident in the aluminium versions of the Pévèle and Strasbourg at Eddy Merckx. The relatively large difference is often an argument in favor of choosing aluminium. Durability is also a major advantage of aluminium. This material can withstand rough treatment, although there is a certain degree of metal fatigue over the long term.

Competitive cyclists often prefer carbon due to its performance-oriented nature. An aluminium bike is heavier than carbon, which costs you a few meters of effort. The lack of comfort can also be a concern. Beginner cyclists generally feel comfortable with an aluminium frame. Aluminium is also popular in off-road disciplines precisely because it is such a sturdy material.


In this century, carbon bicycles, also referred to as carbon fibers, have become the new standard. The great advantage of this material is its lightness. Anyone who has ever lifted a carbon road bike knows how easy it is. Additionally, the general idea is that carbon absorbs vibrations better than aluminum and does not experience metal fatigue. Carbon bikes are perceived as the most comfortable models, although there are differences between carbon road bikes as well.
Quality naturally comes at a price. Carbon is more expensive than aluminum due to higher production costs. A second disadvantage is the vulnerability of the material. With an aluminum frame, you can sustain a dent in a crash and still continue using the bike. With a carbon frame, a small crack can mean that you have to get the frame repaired.

In general, carbon bikes are the most popular in the cycling world. At Eddy Merckx, the 525 and Mendrisio models are only offered in carbon. These bikes are seen as the ideal combination of comfort, low weight, and an aerodynamic character. With these bikes, you can also tackle the classics perfectly. The Pévèle C and Strasbourg C models are also made of carbon.

In summary

In summary, when choosing between steel, aluminum, or carbon, it is important to consider your own priorities. Do you want to go as fast as possible? Are you working with a maximum budget? Is it important that your bike is made from the strongest material? Is it a problem if the bike is a bit heavier? These are all questions you should ask yourself before making a decision. Whether you are looking for a bike for all terrains, challenging off-road trips, or racing, we have it all in our range!
Contact us