Most Comfortable frame material

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by cyclenerd, Aug 22, 2003.

  1. cyclenerd

    cyclenerd New Member

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    I am looking to buy a new road bike and my number 1 priority is a comfortable, butt pain free, ride for long distance riding. Oh, and the frame has to support a rack because I usually ride with panniers. I've been doing a lot of reading mostly on the web about different frame materials and I'm confused.

    So, I would like to hear your answer to the following question and feel free to be verbose:

    All other things being equal (meaning that assuming the bike fits perfectly, the same geometry, cost is not an issue), what frame material would you most like to be riding on mile 90 of a century?

    I would especially like to hear from those who have owned or significantly ridden a variety of different materials such as carbon, titanium and steel.

    I really appreciate your opinion, and you'll help me settle on my new dream machine!
     
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  2. jon

    jon New Member

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    Carbon fiber, hands down in MHO.
     
  3. tt66

    tt66 New Member

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    Well I would strongly recommend avoiding 100% Aluminum bikes. I tried a Carbon Fiber but for me it flexed too much. I am 6'6" and 205 lbs. Tested a Trek 5200 (62cm).
    I would think steel or titanium would be your best bets to handle the panniers. I tested a steel Lemond Zurich and it seemed to have a nice ride. Even better, IMHO than the Trek 5200.
    Tall Tom
     
  4. old&slow

    old&slow New Member

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    Sorry, but can't agree with Jon. I've ridden many thousands of kilos on each of steel, aluminium and carbon - steel wins the comfort argument by a veerrry long way. Remember that your wheel, fork and seat choice can make a very big difference. Ignore the bull about carbon seat posts being a miracle fix. If butt comfort is really important have a look at some of the rubber elastomer type suspension seatposts out there. If you stick the right accessories on it you could use a frame made out of anything and get a soft all day ride !
     
  5. king_matt87

    king_matt87 New Member

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    I have rideen many bike and overall carbon with alloy lugs gtes 10/10
     
  6. justcook

    justcook New Member

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    I'm a newbie here, but I've been riding for 15 years or so. I've done centuries, raced both road and off-road, etc.

    I don't understand the people on this board raving about aluminum. I road an aluminum road bike for 6 or 7 years. I still own an aluminum mountain bike. It is definitely NOT comfortable. I was in my early to mid-twenties when I had the aluminum road bikeat the time, and I weighed 190+ lbs., so that helped. If you're older than that or if weigh less than that, aluminum is just too rigid for serious riding of any kind. Looking over this board a bit, it seems like the people who rave about aluminum have never ridden anything else.

    I agree with everyone that says steel is best for comfort and price. I've never ridden carbon fiber, so I can't comment on that. I'm sure it's cool. I will rave about titanium though. You get the flexibility and comfort of steel with even better energy transfer than you get with aluminum. I've been riding a titaniun frame (a low-end one at that) for 6 years or so and I never experience pain and soreness like I used too. Hills, no problem. Centuries, no problem. Early season kinks and backpain are a thing of the past. I'm not sure why you didn't ask about titanium. There are some decent frames out there for a fair price. And the frame will last you for many years to come. Aluminum is not built to last. Anybody who tells you otherwise didn't do their homework.
     
  7. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    Keep in mind that the frame is not the only determining factor in ride comfort.

    I put together a carbon beam framed bike last year, which should be quite comfortable. And so it was, for my posterior. Trouble is, after two hours my hands were going numb from road shock. Problem was traced to two sources: the Rolf Vector Pro wheels that are brutally stiff, and the Cinelli Integralter handlebars, also very stiff.

    I have since tamed down the ride with a set of Campy Zonda wheels, which are like Rolfs without the attitude, and some pricey Deda Synapsi carbon bars. Much better - I put in 4 hours with no gloves last weekend, and no serious numbness in the hands.

    So remember that simply getting a steel, TI, or carbon frame doesn't guarantee you a smooth or comfortable ride. Look at the wheels and bars, too.

    Don't know about aluminum not lasting - my wife and I ride a 1992 Cannondale tandem with aluminum frame, and it's still going strong. Curiously enough, the 'Dale has a very smooth ride, but that's probably the 40 spoke/4 cross laced tandem wheels soaking up road shock.
     
  8. tt66

    tt66 New Member

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    I have changed my view of Aluminum somewhat after riding a Klein Q-Carbon Pro. This bike had Aluminum frame with Carbon Fork and Rear seat Stays. Amazing difference over aluminum stays. Enough so that I decided to buy one over a steel frame.
     
  9. fenisle

    fenisle New Member

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    TT66 any info you could provide on the ride and handling of your bike i would appreciate. I am serioulsy condsiereding one. A q pro carbon. I have researced and test ridden and looke dat this bike for 6 months. I have to stop tortuing myslef and buy it. THe only other bike i considered has been a trek 5200.

    Thanks
     
  10. vvonvon

    vvonvon New Member

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    Titanium frame with carbon fiber rim
     
  11. DiabloScott

    DiabloScott New Member

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    Cyclenerd - any bike you buy that's designed for loaded touring is going to be pretty comfy due to the hammock effect of the long wheel base. If it's got all the "braze ons" for panniers it'll probably have the long wheel base and that will make way more difference in comfort than the frame material.

    Fenisle - Kleins Rule. You won't be sorry.
     
  12. fenisle

    fenisle New Member

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    tHANKS, a also read how u acquired the bike. It sounds great. All the info has been so positive. I am going to order on Tues.

    Thanks
     
  13. ProfTournesol

    ProfTournesol New Member

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    I must say that I've always had more improvement out of a good setup than out of a change of materials.
     
  14. prestonjb

    prestonjb New Member

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    I agree with the setup. I ride a Litespeed Catalyst on 100-130-160 mile rides and if it were not for the comfy saddle, cutting my own fork steerer at *MY* desired height, Profile Z aero bars (allows better adjustment of width of bars/pads), egg-beaters and Garne King shoes... I would be hurtin...

    Secondly, the Ti frame, carbon fork and carbon spoked Topolino wheels help to improve an already well tuned setup...

    Personally I love the feel of the Ti frame as well as the don't care or worry free of the Ti.

    My only problem with my litespeed is it is only a two-day tripper. Beyond that it's a hassle or I need a support wagon for fresh clothes.

    I'm considering the Airborne Carpe Diem for my long-haul bike ( > 3 days unsupported) because it has eyelets for racks and cantilever bosses and so on... Not as long as most tourers with only 42.5cm chain stays (compared to 45cm) but I think it will fit with my style of riding...
     
  15. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Have to disagree on the wheelbase factor, based on my two Raleighs. Both bikes are Reynolds 531. My old '74 Gran Sport has a 1060 mm wheelbase, one of the longest I've seen, and my '92 RT600 is only 980. When I ride them back to back, the RT is not as harsh. The old bike is about 25 lbs, or 3 lbs heavier than the RT, with larger diameter seatstays, which probably accounts for the increased stiffness.

    Dan
     
  16. mlt0426

    mlt0426 New Member

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    Hi Tall Tom,

    I am 6'4" myself, and ride a 61cm LeMond. At your height, I was just curious as to what you rode.....
     
  17. mlt0426

    mlt0426 New Member

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    Hi Tall Tom,

    I am 6'4" myself, and ride a 61cm LeMond. At your height, I was just curious as to what you rode.....
     
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