Some of it is the ride. For example, when I went looking for my last bike there was still no aluminum ride that had the feeling I liked from steel, and the carbon fiber bikes were all over the ball park in that area. I got steel, the only change I would have made a couple of years later would have been to go for titanium.
Racers would not have any use for the bike I got - frame angles all wrong for a sprint and too heavy. But compared to what it replaced, a decent bike in its own right that the local bike rescue group has made good use of, it was super light and responsive. It took me a few rides before I was no longer veering towards a tree at every turn because the balance was lighter towards the front end.
AS to kayaks - the balance point is between time to repair and material. Someone who regularly beats the heck out of their boat on rocks is going to tolerate a different choice in materials than someone who paddles areas that are easy on the boat to start with.
The Kayak Wing
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