Old school steel bikes Vs. "New" school bikes

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Bill K., Apr 30, 2003.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Bill K.

    Bill K. Guest

    This is a first time question, so take it easy on me. Like aluminum, steel tubes seem to be getting
    larger and larger. Old school bikes seemed to have 1" top tubes and 1 1/8 down and seat tubes as a
    general rule. Many of the cutting edge steel bikes out there now have 1 1/4 top and down tubes. I
    know that the larger diameter tubes will make the frame stiffer, but these same tubes are much
    thinner than the old school bikes. It seems to me, that these thinner tubes will take away some of
    this stiffness. Is this correct, or is my thinking faulty ? I've got both an old school and a
    modern steel bike, and the new one "seems" to handle better at high speed. Part (or all) of the
    problem could be the fact that I was 20 pounds lighter when the old steel bike handled great. The
    new bike doesn't seem to mind that I've gone up a shorts size. My last question is about the "beer
    can" effect on steel tubes. Are there any guesses on what the limit is for tube thickness for steel
    bikes ? My old frame is Columbus TSX UL, and the new one is True Temper OX platinum.
    Thanks............ Bill
     
    Tags:


  2. A Muzi

    A Muzi Guest

    "Bill K." <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > This is a first time question, so take it easy on me. Like aluminum, steel tubes seem to be
    > getting larger and larger. Old school bikes seemed to have 1" top tubes and 1 1/8 down and seat
    > tubes as a general rule. Many of the cutting edge steel bikes out there now have 1 1/4 top and
    > down tubes. I know that the larger diameter tubes will make the frame stiffer, but these same
    > tubes are much thinner than the old school bikes. It seems to me, that these thinner tubes will
    > take away some of this stiffness. Is this correct, or is my thinking faulty ? I've got both an old
    > school and a modern steel bike, and the new one "seems" to handle better at high speed. Part (or
    > all) of the problem could be the fact that I was 20 pounds lighter when the old steel bike handled
    > great. The new bike doesn't seem to mind that I've gone up a shorts size. My last question is
    > about the "beer can" effect on steel tubes. Are there any guesses on what the limit is for tube
    > thickness for steel bikes ? My old frame is Columbus TSX UL, and the new one is True Temper OX
    > platinum.

    I have seen the superfluous use of "school" with "old" once before. Do you think is clarifies better
    than simply stating the year? It didn't help me to undertsand your particular question.

    And no, I do not think that tube outer diameter in and of itself is noticeable in a bicycle frame.
    Stiffness variance among things you mention are IMHO below what a rider can feel.

    Often when riders claim a frame has "gone soft" what they mean is " my new bicycle is too damn short
    and feels harsh" or ocasionally they mean "these stupid 20mm tires are too skinny" in relation to
    their older gear. The classic style frame is of course faulted as a way of justifying the new
    bicycle, comfort be damned. Are the wheels being swapped between bikes? That's a big variable in
    "feel" - much more than frames I think.

    --
    Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
     
  3. In article <[email protected]>, Bill K. <[email protected]> wrote:
    >This is a first time question, so take it easy on me. Like aluminum, steel tubes seem to be getting
    >larger and larger. Old school bikes seemed to have 1" top tubes and 1 1/8 down and seat tubes as a
    >general rule. Many of the cutting edge steel bikes out there now have 1 1/4 top and down tubes. I
    >know that the larger diameter tubes will make the frame stiffer, but these same tubes are much
    >thinner than the old school bikes. It seems to me, that these thinner tubes will take away some of
    >this stiffness. Is this correct, or is my thinking faulty ?

    Faulty! Bigger tubes are stiffer even when thinner. I have one of those fat-tube steel bikes
    (Dedacciai Zero tubing) and it is super stiff even in 62cm.

    > I've got both an old school and a modern steel bike, and the new one "seems" to handle better at
    > high speed. Part (or all) of the problem could be the fact that I was 20 pounds lighter when the
    > old steel bike handled great.

    Stiffness can affect high speed handling but the frame geometry and how you fit on the bike are also
    significant factors that will probably not be the same between your old & new bikes.

    >The new bike doesn't seem to mind that I've gone up a shorts size. My last question is about the
    >"beer can" effect on steel tubes. Are there any guesses on what the limit is for tube thickness for
    >steel bikes ?

    No idea.

    > My old frame is Columbus TSX UL, and the new one is True Temper OX platinum.
     
  4. Amit

    Amit Guest

    "A Muzi" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >
    > And no, I do not think that tube outer diameter in and of itself is noticeable in a bicycle frame.
    > Stiffness variance among things you mention are IMHO below what a rider can feel.
    >

    That's not true. Though what you feel is the entire bicycle, not just the frame. You can certainly
    see and hear (noises from rubbing) when your bike flexes and feel the effect on handling.

    Newer bikes seem to be better designed with respect to geometry. I have seen some older bikes with
    very strange geometry and poor handling.

    > The classic style frame is of course faulted as a way of justifying the new bicycle, comfort
    > be damned.

    With regards to a bike frame I think stiffer is better, esp. with regards to handling and it doesn't
    have anything to do with comfort. Comfort comes from the position, tires, seat, possibly suspension,
    etc. I don't see an advantage to less stiffness.

    -Amit
     
  5. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Paul Southworth" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:1k0sa.34868$A%[email protected]...

    > In article
    <[email protected]>,
    > Bill K. <[email protected]> wrote:

    > >This is a first time question, so take it easy on me. Like aluminum, steel tubes seem to be
    > >getting larger and
    larger. Old
    > >school bikes seemed to have 1" top tubes and 1 1/8 down
    and seat tubes
    > >as a general rule. Many of the cutting edge steel bikes
    out there now
    > >have 1 1/4 top and down tubes. I know that the larger diameter tubes will make the frame
    stiffer, but
    > >these same tubes are much thinner than the old school
    bikes. It seems
    > >to me, that these thinner tubes will take away some of
    this stiffness.
    > >Is this correct, or is my thinking faulty ?

    > Faulty! Bigger tubes are stiffer even when thinner. I
    have one
    > of those fat-tube steel bikes (Dedacciai Zero tubing) and
    it
    > is super stiff even in 62cm.
    >
    > > I've got both an old school and a modern steel bike, and the new one "seems"
    to handle
    > >better at high speed. Part (or all) of the problem could
    be the fact
    > >that I was 20 pounds lighter when the old steel bike
    handled great.
    >
    > Stiffness can affect high speed handling but the frame
    geometry and
    > how you fit on the bike are also significant factors that
    will
    > probably not be the same between your old & new bikes.
    >
    > >The new bike doesn't seem to mind that I've gone up a
    shorts size.
    > >My last question is about the "beer can" effect on steel
    tubes. Are
    > >there any guesses on what the limit is for tube thickness
    for steel
    > >bikes ?
    >
    > No idea.

    Tubes can be very thin indeed and still stand up to the loads of riding. But there's certainly a
    prudent limit. Some Klein (Adroit?) frames are so thin you can flex the tubes with your hand, like a
    beer can. I shudder to think about crashing one of these bikes on a pile of rocks. Road bikes aren't
    as susceptible to such damage, especially racing bikes which are not workhorses. However, many
    touring bikes still have old tube sets like Reynolds 531, because of its resistance to denting.
    Touring bikes are more apt to be knocked over with bags full of gear, leaned against poles, etc.,
    which could dent a really thin tube, whatever it's made of.

    Matt O.
     
  6. Jay Beattie

    Jay Beattie Guest

    "Amit" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "A Muzi" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > >
    > > And no, I do not think that tube outer diameter in and of itself is noticeable in a bicycle
    > > frame. Stiffness variance among things you mention are IMHO below what a
    rider can
    > > feel.
    > >
    >
    > That's not true. Though what you feel is the entire bicycle, not just the frame. You can certainly
    > see and hear (noises from rubbing) when your bike flexes and feel the effect on handling.
    >
    > Newer bikes seem to be better designed with respect to geometry. I have seen some older bikes with
    > very strange geometry and poor handling.

    I have seen many newer bikes with strange geometry and poor handling. The whole "compact frame" is a
    joke for anyone over about 5'10." Super-short wheel bases are also unnecessary and make for a poor
    climbing bike if you are an out-of-the-saddle climber like me. Current geometry is very strange for
    most people. Like I'm going to pay +$1,500 for a TIG welded frame marked "XL"?

    Anyway, my old custom SP frame from 1977 probably is as stiff as any steel frame currently on the
    market, and I bet a stock Ron Cooper of 1975 (made of Reynolds 531) probably is too. IIRC, the
    Cooper was very stiff for a '70s frame. These "old school" frames were relatively heavy, though.
    Modern OS shaped tubing is lighter and as stiff, but it is not as resistant to mechanical injury and
    is fussier to join. That is what you get for three to ten times the price of a mid-70s steel frame
    -- lighter weight, TIG welding, threadless stems, too-short wheelbases and compact geometry. With
    shaped OS tubing, you can also end up with flexibility in odd places like the TT/HT junction. Seems
    like a step backwards to me -- except for the weight part. -- Jay Beattie.
     
  7. A Muzi

    A Muzi Guest

    > "A Muzi" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > > And no, I do not think that tube outer diameter in and of itself is noticeable in a bicycle
    > > frame. Stiffness variance among things you mention are IMHO below what a rider
    can
    > > feel.

    "Amit" <[email protected]> makes some good points in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > That's not true. Though what you feel is the entire bicycle, not just the frame. You can certainly
    > see and hear (noises from rubbing) when your bike flexes and feel the effect on handling.
    >
    > Newer bikes seem to be better designed with respect to geometry. I have seen some older bikes with
    > very strange geometry and poor handling.

    (am)> > The
    > > classic style frame is of course faulted as a way of justifying the new bicycle, comfort be
    > > damned.

    (more Amit)> With regards to a bike frame I think stiffer is better, esp. with
    > regards to handling and it doesn't have anything to do with comfort. Comfort comes from the
    > position, tires, seat, possibly suspension, etc. I don't see an advantage to less stiffness.

    Sorry to be unclear. I agree with Amit that frame stiffness is a good thing. It has no downside.

    The concomitant changes in modern bikes like agressively short upright geometry and skinny tires
    just get under my skin. Do you think you can feel small changes in frame stiffness among reasonable
    frames, i.e., frames which do not rub the chainrings on the front changer when you stand up? I don't
    think I can feel that. I do notice very high angles on short wheelbases with skinny tires and i do
    not like that style a bit. There is a lot of noise in a bicycle test ride - everything right down to
    tire pressure has some effect - I just don't happen to think frame material diamter and it's related
    stiffness within a narrow range of product is all that noticeable unless it's grossly deficient.

    --
    Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
     
  8. "A Muzi" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Often when riders claim a frame has "gone soft" what they mean is " my new bicycle is too damn
    > short and feels harsh" or ocasionally they mean ...

    I questioned this until I heard rowers say the same thing about singles - that they go soft after a
    few seasons.

    >I agree with Amit that frame stiffness is a good thing. It has no downside.

    Maybe there will be in the future. The Honda CR250 went to an aluminum frame in 97 and it was too
    stiff and thus hard to ride (for better riders than me anyway). I read that streetbikes had already
    gone through the same thing.

    > Stiffness variance among things you mention are IMHO below what a rider can feel. Do you think you
    > can feel small changes in frame stiffness among reasonable frames .. ?

    I haven't had very many roadbikes but when I got my third and then rode the second again I couldn't
    believe how willowy it was. First bike was a miyata 912 (914?) which I broke the frame of after 6K
    miles. So I picked up a bridgestone RB-2 which I noticed was significantly lighter. I rode it for a
    few thousand miles and then bought a bontrager road lite, partly attracted by the ad which claimed
    "you won't break -this- frame". I let my LBS talk me into a high-dollar carbon fork.

    The first time I rode the bontrager down my local mountain, as I leaned into the first turn I
    thought something was wrong. Then I realized that for the first time nothing was wrong. The bike was
    keeping it's shape which I wasn't used to. After a few rides I rode the RB-2 down the mountain
    again. It didn't want to turn. I had to lean it more and more and still I drifted towards the double
    yellow line and wondered if the bike would make the turn.

    After riding the RB-2 again many times down the mountain, I am quite used to the feeling now: after
    I reach my maximum lean angle, the bike settles into a stable twist. The front wheel goes one way
    and the rear goes the other, and I feel the whole bike settle into a stable position, wherein a
    slight bump or twitch gets absorbed by a self-maintaining equilibrium.

    Anybody else notice this?

    Doug
     
  9. You're thinking faulty. The larger diameters allow the tube to be both stiffer and stronger without
    the need for as much metal.

    Their strength lies in their design, not their mass (or lack of it). Just about all bike tubes have
    larger diameters now, regardless of what they're made of for this very reason.

    May you have the wind at your back. And a really low gear for the hills! Chris

    Chris'Z Corner "The Website for the Common Bicyclist": http://www.geocities.com/czcorner
     
  10. Mark Hickey

    Mark Hickey Guest

    [email protected] (Chris Zacho "The Wheelman") wrote:

    >You're thinking faulty. The larger diameters allow the tube to be both stiffer and stronger without
    >the need for as much metal.

    Stiffer, yes - "stronger" depends on the definition you use. As the tube gets larger in diameter, it
    actually gets much easier to damage even if the wall thickness remains the same. Make that wall even
    thinner to save weight, and you end up with down tubes you can dent with a firm grip (yes, they're
    out there). Whether or not these can be built into "stronger bikes" is a complex problem, and one
    rife with multiple and sometimes contradictory definitions.

    Mark Hickey Habanero Cycles http://www.habcycles.com Home of the $695 ti frame
     
  11. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    > >You're thinking faulty. The larger diameters allow the tube to be both stiffer and stronger
    > >without the need for as much metal.
    >
    > Stiffer, yes - "stronger" depends on the definition you use. As the tube gets larger in diameter,
    > it actually gets much easier to damage even if the wall thickness remains the same. Make that wall
    > even thinner to save weight, and you end up with down tubes you can dent with a firm grip (yes,
    > they're out there). Whether or not these can be built into "stronger bikes" is a complex problem,
    > and one rife with multiple and sometimes contradictory definitions.

    ...as evidenced by the arguments that I got into over on rec.bicycles.misc...

    Mike
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Loading...