New trend with road frames



ambal

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Oct 15, 2010
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At the TDU this week I noticed a lot of the new road bikes that the pros are using all seem to look very similar. It seems like a lot of brands have moved away from the full aero designs that we've seen in the past, and are now opting for a more traditional look.

Many of the new road bikes on the market seem to resemble the Specialized S-Works Tarmac or the Colnago V4RS. These bikes have a more classic look and feel to them, with clean lines and minimal aerodynamic features.

I'm curious to know what everyone else thinks about this trend. Are you happy to see more traditional-looking road bikes making a comeback? Do you think the move away from full aero designs is a good thing or a bad thing?
 

cobbwheels

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Dec 7, 2022
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At the TDU this week I noticed a lot of the new road bikes that the pros are using all seem to look very similar. It seems like a lot of brands have moved away from the full aero designs that we've seen in the past, and are now opting for a more traditional look.

Many of the new road bikes on the market seem to resemble the Specialized S-Works Tarmac or the Colnago V4RS. These bikes have a more classic look and feel to them, with clean lines and minimal aerodynamic features.

I'm curious to know what everyone else thinks about this trend. Are you happy to see more traditional-looking road bikes making a comeback? Do you think the move away from full aero designs is a good thing or a bad thing?

Colnago V4RS might actually have good aero.

You may not be familiar with "D" shaped airfoil profiles were probably first explored in concept almost 20 years ago to be utilized as blade root for those huge wind turbine blades. The main reasoning for this airfoil design is to have the lowest drag in the thickest airfoil geometry possible, thus, achieving significant reduction in blade weight or improved stiffness at less drag penalty.

The idea behind a "D" airfoil is to 'trip' the air flow around the sharp corners in the "D". Tripping the airflow in this controlled fashion creates a more or less neutral pressure pocket of turbulent airflow behind the airfoil (at the flat section of the "D"). This pressure pocket forming behind a D airfoil is higher compared to the turbulent pocket behind a cylindrical or sometimes even traditional aero bike tubes. The higher the pressure you get behind the airfoil, the less drag the airfoil gets.

Additionally, the rough surface finish of V4RS allows the air to 'stick' better and flow around the bike in a controlled fashion. That plus, the turbulent wake behind a D airfoil can further help air flow tighter around components behind it. We do want the turbulent wake to flow behind bike components in a more or less straight direction behind them, not in a wavy manner. Cylindrical tubes and sometimes even traditional aero tubes with smooth finish is notorious for generating wavy turbulent wake and components behind it won't be able to take advantage of the 'draft' components in front of it makes if the 'draft' is fluctuating. A tight and controlled wake of bike components not only reduce drag of the bike but can also reduce drag of the rider!:D

To put it simply. The size and properties of the airflow wake a bike+rider leaves behind is correlated with its overall aero drag. The smaller and less wavy this wake and the quicker this wake dissipates are good signs of reduced drag.

Another advantage of using D tubes is you can make it stiffer or lighter (at the min UCI weight) compared to a traditional aero tube. So it's definitely a step in the right direction for bikes in aiming for all three factors - aero, stiffness, and lightness.

You may wonder why we don't see it often or not at all in Wind Turbine blades for which they were originally designed for? They make more noise than traditional airfoil shapes. Probably not good for wind farms and it would take a huge expense to upgrade those massive wind turbine blades to D airfoils even if noise isn't a problem.

And why not used in aircraft? Although it's entirely feasible to use a much flatter version of the D airfoil for airplane wings and even the body, D airfoils are not suited for traditional airplane designs. They'd be less efficient and even generate more drag if directly employed in traditional aircraft design. Aircraft designs suitable for D airfoils are pure wings with no body or those with flat lifting bodies with with little or no wings like some space shuttle concepts and indeed some space shuttle concepts have employed D airfoils in one way or another as early as the late 1960's.

It took far too many decades for our bikes to catch up to the tech....but no big deal really as it only makes you marginally faster!
 

Mr. Beanz

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Aug 18, 2015
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Looking at the Colnago listed, doesn't look traditional to me. Looks more like the sloping top tube design.

My idea of traditional ist he straight level top tube.

But I prefer this style vs the overly aero look of today.
 

Fourlegsgood2wheelsbad

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Jul 27, 2022
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I was shopping for a road bike back last year for cheap.
Almost bough an Allez but the sloping top tube was a turn off somehow. As well as the unconventional looking frames where there is nearly no seat tube ect. Perhaps riding those bikes would change my mind . Some the aero frames just not attractive IMHO.
 
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Mr. Beanz

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You know, I was riding straight tubes for the longest. Didn't care for the sloping top tube at all but found a Lemond that fit like a glove. Sadly a sloping but fit better than all the rest I tried. Not because of the sloping but the geometry was great.

So I bought it and actually learned to like it. Got used to it and don't even notice the look any longer.

But I will say, being at a stop like at a signal, is much more comfortable. Big time.
 

cobbwheels

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Dec 7, 2022
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You know, I was riding straight tubes for the longest. Didn't care for the sloping top tube at all but found a Lemond that fit like a glove. Sadly a sloping but fit better than all the rest I tried. Not because of the sloping but the geometry was great.

So I bought it and actually learned to like it. Got used to it and don't even notice the look any longer.

But I will say, being at a stop like at a signal, is much more comfortable. Big time.

Bikes advertised as "compliant" will almost always have sloping top tube which helps in compliance. Compliant means the frame can flex a little bit to help soak the bumps and improve riding comfort especially on aluminum and carbon frames.

Classic steel bikes are naturally compliant and many modern chro-mo steel frame bikes still use straight top tubes. Sloping top tubes have negligible effect on aero drag, just FYI.
 

Mr. Beanz

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I disagree. Sloping top tubes were introduced to cycling in order to make the frame stiffer. Smaller triangles in the frame. Some use the same principle in the rear triangle as well. All to increase stiffness of the frame ending up with more responsive ride.
 

cobbwheels

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Dec 7, 2022
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I disagree. Sloping top tubes were introduced to cycling in order to make the frame stiffer. Smaller triangles in the frame. Some use the same principle in the rear triangle as well. All to increase stiffness of the frame ending up with more responsive ride.

I definitely misunderstood you. I was also thinking about the arched top tube which I first saw in gravel, cx, and MTB's.

Anyway, I agree with you about about better frame stiffness of sloping top tube. However, they are still advertised as delivering improved comfort, primarily to more seatpost or collar+seatpost exposed. Allowing seatpost or seatpost+collar to flex more to help soak even bigger bumps.

At least that was my experience with short seat tube frames with a large top tube slope. Even with stiff 7075 aluminum seatpost, the seatpost flexed quite a bit, it almost felt like I'm using suspension seatpost. It really gave a pleasant ride despite the bumpy roads or even gravel. I actually gave that bike away as it was way too small for me and not comfortable on >2 hr rides. My bike after that still had sloping tube but not as big slope as the previous one. Now, I'm looking for replacement frame with more slope and short seat tube, I may even consider hardtail MTB frame if I can't find with short enough seat tube for my gravel bike.
 
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Mr. Beanz

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My wife has a steel Bianchi that she loves. Didn't like sloping top tube looks either but once she rode her sloping for a while she prefers it, control and safety.
082614C.jpg
 

Vikash420

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Feb 1, 2023
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At the TDU this week I noticed a lot of the new road bikes that the pros are using all seem to look very similar. It seems like a lot of brands have moved away from the full aero designs that we've seen in the past, and are now opting for a more traditional look.

Many of the new road bikes on the market seem to resemble the Specialized S-Works Tarmac or the Colnago V4RS. These bikes have a more classic look and feel to them, with clean lines and minimal aerodynamic features.

I'm curious to know what everyone else thinks about this trend. Are you happy to see more traditional-looking road bikes making a comeback? Do you think the move away from full aero designs is a good thing or a bad thing?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mr. Beanz

Mr. Beanz

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Aug 18, 2015
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I like the traditional look. Frames and helmets as well. Just can't get myself to admire that overly aero look.

I would not buy a new bike with the aero look. Worried once it goes out of fashion, I'd look strange on it.

I do have a bud who ides a very aero bike. Super fast strong rider but riding in a cycling haven Socal beach he looks out of place.