Compact Aluminum Frames BAD???



I am the original poster of the Aluminum Composite vs Steel Standard
message today, and I am in Seattle (someone was wondering).

So the Fuji League that I am looking it at is a compact frame, 50cm.
The size below is 44cm, and the size above is 56cm.

I have been sized at 52cm. Will the compact frame 50cm Fuji League be
able to accomodate me? I have ridden the bike, and it feels all right.
I like the downtube shifters, and the cheaper component set (mainly due
to the CHEAP replacement cost, I am very bike accident prone).

Eeek! What do I do? I will be making a lot more money in about a year,
so I can get a better bike then. For the time being I am thinking I
should just buy the cheapo Fuji League and roll with it?

Anyone out there buy a bike a bit smaller than their ideal size? Does
it work out OK with the seat and handlebar adjustments?
 
oops i meant to post my last post (above) as a new topic, Aluminum
Frames Continued... Sorry if the message is posted twice. I am new to
this whole newsgroups thing.
 
abrown360 wrote:
> I am the original poster of the Aluminum Composite vs Steel Standard
> message today, and I am in Seattle (someone was wondering).
>
> So the Fuji League that I am looking it at is a compact frame, 50cm.
> The size below is 44cm, and the size above is 56cm.
>
> I have been sized at 52cm. Will the compact frame 50cm Fuji League be
> able to accomodate me?


Probably. As you see, with compact frames, the manufacturer has far
fewer sizes, and makes them fit more different sized people by various
adjustments to the seat height, handlebar height, and reach. A big
savings for the manufacturer, but not so good for you.

> I have ridden the bike, and it feels all right.
> I like the downtube shifters, and the cheaper component set (mainly due
> to the CHEAP replacement cost, I am very bike accident prone).
>
> Eeek! What do I do? I will be making a lot more money in about a year,
> so I can get a better bike then. For the time being I am thinking I
> should just buy the cheapo Fuji League and roll with it?


Personally, I tend to not cheap out, because it usually ends up costing
more in the end. While I don't like bar end shifters, the integrated
brake/shifters, I do like.

The 2004 Fuji League would have been ideal for you, it's too bad Fuji
wrecked it for 2005. You can see the appeal in what they did, going to 3
sizes from 7 sizes, and going to a cheaper frame material.

> Anyone out there buy a bike a bit smaller than their ideal size? Does
> it work out OK with the seat and handlebar adjustments?


I suggest that you read "http://rivbike.com/html/bikes_framesize.html"

I would not buy the 2005 Fuji League.

Look at the Motobecane Mirage (2004) at
"http://bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/mirage.htm" Downtube
shifters, Chromoly frame, and threaded headset, for $325.
 
On Thu, 02 Jun 2005 20:07:49 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>"jj" <[email protected]> wrote in message
>news:[email protected]...
>> On 2 Jun 2005 11:56:19 -0700, "abrown360" <[email protected]> wrote:
>>
>> >thank you for this reply rich. it was very informative.

>>
>> The important thing your fit on the bike. This is more important than
>> almost anything else. If you're a beginning rider you might not know what
>> good fit is, but the more bikes you test ride the better you will be able
>> to judge.

>
>I question this. The test ride is not of sufficient duration, or under
>enough different conditions, to allow you to know if the fit is good (though
>it may let you know if it is really bad).


I agree with you. I was going to add a comment like 'see if you can take
the bike that seems ok home over night, keep clean, etc.' Performance bikes
will let you do this, but through their very liberal 'return policy'. I
even had them change a couple things and they still took it back. Wow. I
had to it hurt my right knee and no other bike has ever hurt my knees.
Rather than try to tweak I just said 'fergedaboudit'. ;-)

I've missed things riding around in parking lot that show up the -moment- I
get home and ride 200yds on my route (a couple repair job problems, and
this bike among the handful of things. Parking lot testing sucks.). (d'oh)

Thanks for clearing that up!

jj


>
>Go to a shop that carries a variety of products from different
>manufacturers, and that has knowlegable sales people, and that will do a
>proper fitting (even if you have to pay for a fitting on a fit kit).
>Otherwise you'll end up being sold what the shop wants to sell you, rather
>than what is best for you.
>
>If the original poster says where he is, then people can recommend shops in
>his area.
>
>The recommendation for the Bianchi Brava has been made often, and not just
>by me. It has a very good range of frame sizes, all the way down to 44cm.
>The adjustable stem, chromolloy frame, and non-compact geometry, are not
>easy to find in a road bicycle under $1500. http://www.bianchiusa.com/brava
>. The compromises are that the component group is a lower end one, but is
>still fine. The frame is 520 rather than 831, which adds a little weight.
>
>Steve
>http://bicycleshortlist.com
>
>
 
Steven M. Scharf wrote:
>
> Compact frames should be avoided, for most people. They were created solely
> to enable bicycle manufacturers to have less different sizes of frames,
> though some companies market them as if they have some advantage to the
> rider--they rarely do.


That's a gross oversimplification. It matters not at all whether a
manufacturer makes four sizes or twelve-- either they have a size that
fits you, or they don't. In the bad old days, you were likely to be
able to buy lugged steel frames in 2cm increments between 52cm and
66cm, but all with the same top tube length. That's a far worse
situation than you face these days with S/M/L/XL sizing, even though it
was an abundance of sizes.

I've had both sloping and level top tube bikes since the late '80s, and
while both kinds have worked well for me, the only advantage I have
found in a level top tube bike is that I can use a shorter, weaker
seatpost without bending it.

One clear advantage to using a sloping top tube frame that allows a
long extension on the seatpost is the natural springing action imparted
to the saddle. This has a far greater effect on comfort than switching
frame materials or using gimmicky shaped seatstays. Another advantage
is better standover clearance on uneven or sloping surfaces. Yet
another is the ease of fitting a disassembled bike into a box or the
trunk of a car. Maybe none of these advantages would be enough to
compel you to buy one bike over another, but they are still advantages.


> With a smaller frame, but more adjustability range of
> handlebars and seats, you can fit more people onto a smaller number of frame
> sizes, but of course they don't fit real well!


You seem to make the asssumption that there is basically one right way
to fit on a bicycle, but that's not true. Lots of riders want or need
their handlebars to be substantially higher than their saddles, for
instance. There are ways to accomplish this without a sloping top
tube, but they are structurally and ergonomically inferior to doing it
with a sloping top tube.

Any given rider will be best served by a particular geometrical
relationship of bars, saddle, and pedals. These can be had with either
a sloping top tube or a level top tube. There is no consensus about
what constitutes "best" F/R weight distribution, wheelbase to height
ratio, stem length, chainstay length, etc., so it's fair to say that
those factors are a matter of taste. And just because a bike frame has
a level top tube or comes in eight sizes does not make it significantly
more likely to have the features that suit your taste.

For instance, my first really good bike was an early Cannondale MTB
that had a sloping top tube. It was available in (I think) four frame
sizes. But because it had 18" chainstays and a 13" bottom bracket
height, it was a far better choice for me than any other commercially
available frame at the time. It didn't matter if I could get a
Fettucinioni frame in fourteen sizes-- because such a frame would have
had too-short chainstays and too low a BB, and more than likely too
short a top tube to boot.

> "Sizing and Fitting a customer properly to a road bike has also become a
> lost art.


No, it has become a subject of lore and myth. The idea that there is a
predetermined right way to fit a bike is more about marketing "expert"
bike shops than it is about getting a comfortable and effective fit.
For instance, if I were forced to ride a bike as recommended for me by
Fit Kit, I would have to give up cycling. It just doesn't work for me.


Getting back to the bad old days-- there was a sort of conventional
wisdom for sizing and fitting a bike back then, too. You got the
tallest frame you could stand over, set it up with a "fistful" of
exposed seatpost, and installed a stem that put the top of a drop bar
at your fingertips when your elbow was on the nose of the saddle.
While that is a goofy way to fit a bike, it probably worked as well
then as Fit Kit does now.

> COMPACT frame geometry makes it easier to sell someone the correct
> size COMPACT BIKE.but this is more about guesswork than a full working
> knowledge of how a rider is supposed to fit onto his or her bicycle."


Getting a good fit on a bike is all about guesswork and trial & error.
But that was true even before sloping top tubes came into fashion.

> If you buy a model with a threadless headset, be especially careful that the
> shop, or the manufacturer, did not cut the steer tube too short (this is a
> very, very, common problem).


This is true. But forks are replaceable. A new one is probably
cheaper than the custom quill stem that is likely to be required to get
equivalent fit from a threaded-headset bike.

> In summary, don't worry a lot about aluminum, it's not the optimal frame
> material, but it's cheap and light, and durable enough.


There is no optimal frame material. All of them have benefits and
drawbacks that are exploited or mitigated to different degrees by
different manufacturers. But the frames that have been closest to
ideal for me have been made of aluminum, and plenty of it.

Chalo Colina
 
jj wrote:

> On Thu, 02 Jun 2005 20:07:49 GMT, "Steven M. Scharf"
> <[email protected]> wrote:


>>I question this. The test ride is not of sufficient duration, or under
>>enough different conditions, to allow you to know if the fit is good (though
>>it may let you know if it is really bad).

>
>
> I agree with you. I was going to add a comment like 'see if you can take
> the bike that seems ok home over night, keep clean, etc.' Performance bikes
> will let you do this, but through their very liberal 'return policy'. I
> even had them change a couple things and they still took it back. Wow. I
> had to it hurt my right knee and no other bike has ever hurt my knees.
> Rather than try to tweak I just said 'fergedaboudit'. ;-)


It's amazing how Performance has become a really good shop in the last
few years (maybe depending on location, but the ones in my area are very
good).

Besides the liberal return policy, they now have a very wide selection
of bikes from a bunch of different manufacturers. REI has also greatly
improved their bicycle selection, with more than just their house brand
which was all they carried for many years.

One other good thing about both of these shops is the store hours. I
went bike shopping with my sister-in-law, and wanted to go to a bike
shop that was down the street from Performance (wanting to patronize the
locally owned shop), but it was Sunday, and it was closed, so she ended
up buying a bike at Performance. If I owned a bike shop, I'd close the
retail store-front on Tue-Wed, and stay open Thu-Sun; most people shop
for bicycles on the weekend.
 
Steven M. Scharf <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> One other good thing about both of these shops is the store hours. I
> went bike shopping with my sister-in-law, and wanted to go to a bike
> shop that was down the street from Performance (wanting to patronize the
> locally owned shop), but it was Sunday, and it was closed, so she ended
> up buying a bike at Performance. If I owned a bike shop, I'd close the
> retail store-front on Tue-Wed, and stay open Thu-Sun; most people shop
> for bicycles on the weekend.


I've always been puzzled by that. For example, there was a bike shop
near my house that was closed on Sundays. I would be down there on
the weekend going to some places nearby, and always try and drop in.
I always forgot it was closed on Sundays and it also had short weekday
hours, so I never managed to actually stop in the door. It's closed now
forever, which shouldn't come as a surprise I suppose.

I'd rather it had the hours that an eccentric little bookstore I
frequented had. It was open Saturday and Sunday only from 11am-3pm.
Just eight hours in the week. When I took oe of my friends there she
was recognized by the owner as he was her former high school math
teacher...

--
Dane Jackson - z u v e m b i @ u n i x b i g o t s . o r g
That money talks,
I'll not deny,
I heard it once,
It said "Good-bye.
-- Richard Armour
 
Dane Jackson wrote:

<snip>


> I'd rather it had the hours that an eccentric little bookstore I
> frequented had. It was open Saturday and Sunday only from 11am-3pm.
> Just eight hours in the week. When I took oe of my friends there she
> was recognized by the owner as he was her former high school math
> teacher...


There is a high end plumbing fixture store near me that keeps bankers
hours (even worse, since banks are open on Saturdays). I could never get
there when they were open, and ended up buying stuff either on-line, or
down the street in the next town, at a store that was open from 9-3 on
Saturdays, and was always packed. We were buying thousands of dollars of
plumbing fixtures, while remodeling three bathrooms and the kitchen; the
local store got none of the money. I often see people parking by the
local store on Saturday, and pulling on the door to go in, before they
look at the store hours in amazement, and leave.
 
In article <[email protected]>,
abrown360 <[email protected]> wrote:

> So I am shopping for a cheap road bike, and I came across a site that
> basically says that Aluminum Compact bike frames suck.
> http://www.nordicgroup.us/bikerec/


Consider this..

Aluminum is used for many bicycle components, including cranks, seat
posts, stems, hubs, rims, and brake calipers. In most cases, this is
not an issue because these components are either not stressed in a way
that would cause fatigue and failure, or because they are so
over-specified that they do not experience sufficient flexing to cause
fatigue. If one of these components does fail, it is an inexpensive
repair, though some of the failures are very dangerous.

My response:

It's only fair to mention this..

Here's the infamous recall of the cranks..
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml97/97149.html

Every manufacturer posts recall for their products probably due to
flawed workmanship during the process of production or assembly of the
product. It doesn't mean a whole squat about whether the material is
was made of is weak to start with and can not withstand the stress
factor.

Just because a recall is issued does not mean that the material used by
the recalled product is at fault. If that is the case, then all
materials mined or cultivated on earth are all defective then. That is
because, many products made by these materials have one time or another
been recalled.

> The site then goes on to recommend the older (pre 2005) Fuji League,
> Bianchi Brava, and a couple of other cheaper Chro-Moly steel framed
> bikes.
>
> I do not want to spend more than 600 bucks on a bike, and I prefer
> downtube shifters. However, I cannot find any Fuji Leagues from before
> this year.
>
> What do you people think about this whole Compact Aluminum business?
> Should I really be worried about it? Why would someone say Aluminum
> sucks if it is what most bikes today are made out of? What is the
> deal???
>


This is a quote that I use from a respectable triathlon site.

Compact geometry refers to the rearward sloping, reduced rear triangle
configuration that became popular a few years ago. It is an attempt to
reduce weight, increase stiffness and, for some companies, simplify
fit. Compact geometry started largely as an idea (or was popularized)
by Giant Bicycles as a design by Mike Burroughs. Some of the concepts
used in mountain bike frame design were translated to the road and
compact geometry was born. Compact Geometry has its advantages: If you
have a super long torso and never get enough stand over height then
compact geometry may work for you. But beware, it isn't for everyone.

It also has drawbacks. It can be too light on the back wheel, which
can be lifted off the ground way too easily during accelerations. The
bike really wasn't any lighter than a standard bike and the long top
tube was nice but the corresponding wheelbase was way too long and the
thing handled like a soggy log. An enormous amount of seatpost
protruding above the top tube made the bike feel like a turd, super
flexy during hard jams on the flats in the monster gears.

Having said that, when this idea is executed "properly", compact
geometry bikes are simply the best for some people.

Only a few companies do this well though. Cervelo, Orbea, Litespeed
and maybe Quintana Roo and possibly others. Many of these refinements
had went on to the latest generation of tri bikes -- tri means
triathlon.


> Are there any low-end steel frame road bikes out there any more? With
> non-compact geometry?
>


It's a classic case of fear mongering -- to justify the case that steel
is still better than anything else arguement.
 

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