Steel is still queen in bikes
Posted by: bartc on Dec-16-12 9:04 AM (EST)
King is titanium for weight to strength, and both are very good at absorbing shock. They can be made stiffer where you want power to drive, and flexier where you want vibration absorption. Both of them wear long and hard, unlike aluminum, which isn't too shock absorbant and doesn't last all that long if run hard.
Carbon fiber can be made to do all that and can be laid up more creatively, but manufacturers are still afraid of liability, so they overbuild them making them weigh more than the have to. And as to CF, I would not want it in my bike in the fork. Many manufacturers include warning labels on CF forks that would scare the shit out of you - and they should, IMHO.
As to glass, CF and kevlar in kayaks, I'm reading that the kevlar, lightest of all and usually damn tough, is not as strong in this use as CF, and CF is not as strong as regular fiberglass. But if you watch the guys who do some of the toughest kayaking - whitewater and rock gardening - they almost always go for poly, because it's that much tougher and withstands damages well.
I know well why weight is such a factor (not the only important one, BTW) in bikes. Other than for carrying, I'm not at all sure it's so critical in kayaks, even for long distances. I do understand why it could be for canoes, but that's the same carrying/portaging issue.