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"IMO it wouldnt really be a fair test to pit a "cheap" alloy bike vs a premium carbon offering for the same reason you mention; it would say more about the manufacturing and design than material; apples to oranges."
If your budget is around ~$5000 and looking at non-boutique brands, you're likely faced with the choice of the aluminum frame with better parts or the carbon frame with a lower-end build. That comparison, while somewhat apples and oranges, would be interesting \(e.g. Norco Range C3 vs A1, Specialized Enduro Comp with upgraded wheels vs. Enduro Elite, Giant Reign 1 vs Reign Advanced 1, etc.\).
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