Source of objective road bike advice?

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Re: Source of objective road bike advice?

Postby elStado » Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:28 pm

gururug wrote:The reason these forums are so successful is partly due to the bias and misinformation or total lack of information that can be had in the retail bicycle sector.


Agreed. I have on many occasions heard rather ludicrous things being told to unwary 'noob' customers in retail stores. E.g. that a $25 no-name cable lock is more than enough security for a brand new $1000 bike (this was just because they store didn't sell good locks and couldn't be bothered trying to sell a better quality lock anyway - what is it to them if the bike is stolen other than another sale!).
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by BNA » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:45 pm

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Re: Source of objective road bike advice?

Postby UpDownUp » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:45 pm

This makes me think there is a business opportunity for someone with suitable experience offer a 'shopping service', presenting researched + objective options to a prospective buyer. Then again, I guess you would have to trust that such a business isnt receiving hidden kickbacks / commissions.
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Re: Source of objective road bike advice?

Postby __PG__ » Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:33 pm

waramatt wrote:Hi PG

Is there a remote possibility you're over-thinking this whole thing?


Hah! Ya think! :lol: :wink:

I know I'm getting a bit obsessive about the whole thing. I guess half the issue is that my current bike has become a piece of me over the years...its like I'm almost hoping for lightning to strike twice. I guess its like taking another woman to bed and hoping its still as memorable as your first ....
Last edited by __PG__ on Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Source of objective road bike advice?

Postby wombatK » Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:42 pm

__PG__ wrote: guess its like taking another woman to bed and hoping its still as memorable as your first ....

Obvious cure for that : bicycle monogamy :P
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Re: Source of objective road bike advice?

Postby __PG__ » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:59 am

Had an interesting chat to some people at the Cecil Walker (Fitzroy store) over the weekend. I'm rather surprised (amazed) how light modern steel frames are. They have in their window a bike with 58 cm Columbus steel custom frame with Ultegra Di2, Dura Ace wheelset and carbon fork/stem/handlebar. It weighs 7.5 kg.

They said that an unpainted Columbus TIG-welded steel frame can be under 1 kg (depending on tubeset and not including a fork), and it would be easy to get a steel framed bike in my size with SRAM Force (for example) at about 8 kg. Of course it would cost about $1000 more than a Trek Madone 5-series (which they also stock). But I found it interesting that modern steel is so competitive from a weight perspective. The store workers said that moving from a lugged construction (which my Reynolds frame has) to a TIG-welded frame saves about 500g from the outset.
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Re: Source of objective road bike advice?

Postby notwal » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:27 pm

The bane of very light steel frames back in the day was flexibility and early fatigue failure.
I think it would be much the same now.
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Re: Source of objective road bike advice?

Postby rkelsen » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:26 pm

__PG__ wrote:They said that an unpainted Columbus TIG-welded steel frame can be under 1 kg (depending on tubeset and not including a fork)

I'm skeptical. A high-end carbon racing frame weighs more than 1kg.
__PG__ wrote:and it would be easy to get a steel framed bike in my size with SRAM Force (for example) at about 8 kg

I've no doubt of that. But the weight savings won't be in the frame. Modern wheels and groupsets are much lighter than they used to be. It'd be easy enough to build any decent steel racing frame into something weighing less than 8 kegs given the right group and wheels. Note that 8kg is 1.2kg more than minimum race weight. If you're using the same componentry, then where is that 1.2kgs?
__PG__ wrote:The store workers said that moving from a lugged construction (which my Reynolds frame has) to a TIG-welded frame saves about 500g from the outset.

Not sure about that one either.
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Re: Source of objective road bike advice?

Postby human909 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:57 pm

__PG__ wrote: So for all the hoopla, $$$ and marketing...my old steel bike still does the job for recreational cycling. It does almost all I want it to. All I need is a compact crank set and a bit less weight so I can climb some mountains.


EXACTLY. And don't let your number crunching and weight comparisons make you forget that. Old road bikes are essentially 98% as fast as modern ones. But while we are number crunching... Dropping from 10.5kg to 7.5kg will save you 3kg. Which is only 3/85=3.5%. So on steep hills you may be looking at a 3% improving at best. On the flat you'll be lucky to get 0.3% improvement. Compact cranks and a wider range cassette though will make a significant difference

__PG__ wrote:Had an interesting chat to some people at the Cecil Walker (Fitzroy store) over the weekend. I'm rather surprised (amazed) how light modern steel frames are.....


Sounds great. Become a "steel is real" rider!

notwal wrote:The bane of very light steel frames back in the day was flexibility and early fatigue failure.
I think it would be much the same now.

It really depends on tube diameter. A larger tube diameter will result in a stiffer frame so if they can increase tube diameter without problems arising from too thin wall thickness then they can keep the stiffness.


__PG__ wrote:
waramatt wrote:Hi PG

Is there a remote possibility you're over-thinking this whole thing?

I guess its like taking another woman to bed and hoping its still as memorable as your first ....

But the great thing about cycling is that you can have multiple bikes and one bike won't get jealous if you rode the other one yesterday. (Though like women more bikes cost more money.)
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Re: Source of objective road bike advice?

Postby AUbicycles » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:30 pm

Just want to add another take on __PG__'s original post.

With a set budget the aim to to get the best value for money - measured in quality/performance. Cutting out a lot of factors that should be countered in - what is the overall aim or purpose? Sounds like I am asking a silly question though I mean - if a bike is not purchased for high end competitive performance, how much different will there be between two similar bikes that cost $3000 where in terms of value, one is spot-on and the other one is really only worth $2750 for example.

Back to the orginal question again... The higher the price, the more hands on, care and effort is usually put into a bike that will perform in terms of intrinsic quality though for a $3000 I think the strategy for selecting a brand has to be different.

I will go out on a limb and suggest a professional fit first- this sets you up for a bike that is better suited to you and will give you more overall value than the best mechanically built bike for the price range that doesn't perfectly fit. There is hardly a soul out there who has done a professional bike fit and regretted it.

No onto some info that is really what you are after, Giant has been suggested before and this would be a brand where you could say that with the volume they have, they don't want to send out tens of thousands of bikes with a flaw so take the effort in R&D through to production to ensure they have well built bikes. Some brands (as much as I like them) are more experimental and more regularly suffer problems. For this price range, Giant are a relatively safe option.
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Re: Source of objective road bike advice?

Postby __PG__ » Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:45 am

rkelsen wrote:
__PG__ wrote:The store workers said that moving from a lugged construction (which my Reynolds frame has) to a TIG-welded frame saves about 500g from the outset.

Not sure about that one either.

Neither am I to be honest.

Other posters on roadbikereview seem to agree with you w.rt. modern steel weight, i.e a Columbus steel frame with dropouts, seat post clamp, bottle cage bolts etc. will be around 1.5 kg.
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Re: Source of objective road bike advice?

Postby __PG__ » Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:57 am

AUbicycles wrote:I will go out on a limb and suggest a professional fit first- this sets you up for a bike that is better suited to you and will give you more overall value than the best mechanically built bike for the price range that doesn't perfectly fit. There is hardly a soul out there who has done a professional bike fit and regretted it.

My current bike was custom built. At the time I had only been road riding for a few years (on my older brothers Repco 12-speed) but I had a fair idea of what sort of riding I was going to do and they built the bike from that.

I'm still happy with the bike (handlebars excepted*) and the geometry of bike seems to basically be a 'comfortable' race bike. For a 58cm-ish top tube it has short chainstays (about 40.5 cm) and short-ish wheelbase (100 cm or slightly less). So it's always been very responsive under power (well it was compared to the old Repco!). The head tube is quite high (about 20 cm including the external headset). The seat-to-stem drop isn't that great but I don't mind. The bars have a fairly deep drop so I can still feel fairly 'aerodynamic' when I need to be but when I'm on the hoods on the top of the bar I'm fairly upright and relaxed.

That has already given me a ballpark of what sorts of frames are suitable and what aren't.

*back in those days handlebars were all narrower and the idea of flat-topped ergonomic bars blending into flat-topped STi shifters hadn't quite developed yet.
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Re: Source of objective road bike advice?

Postby AUbicycles » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:09 am

Well done, you are a step ahead already then.
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Re: Source of objective road bike advice?

Postby __PG__ » Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:44 pm

I found some interesting articles w.r.t bike geometry, handling, tube shaping and butting.

Finite-Element Structural Analysis: A New Tool for Bicycle Frame Design, Leisha A. Peterson and Kelly J. Londry, 1986.

SImple Finite Element analysis of cycling frames and load cases. Basically explains why your downtube has to be big and strong, and why you can shed weight on your seat stays.

Article from Seven cycles on tube butting and shaping.
Round tubes are still the strongest when dealing in torsion. Ovalising a tube trades off strength in torsion for increased strength in (one plane) of bending.

Article from Habernero cyclines (another Titanium builder) on tube butting and shaping.
Makes similar comments on tube shaping, as well as maintaining that often ovalised tubes are created for ease of assembly/welding as opposed to direct performance benefits.

Have been reading other articles on Carbon fabrication (mainly on weight weenies) and some people comment that 'carbon has yet to really take off in terms of bicycle manufacture', whereas 'steel/titanium/aluminium have hit the wall in terms of development'.

I'd disagree with that, and say that carbon hit the wall when the UCI banned Lotus-style monocoques and enforced the 'two triangle' frame shape. As long as you are essentially joining carbon tubes together (which all the carbon manufacturers) do IMO you aren't really tapping into the real benefits of using carbon from a strength/weight view.

I wonder when a major frame manufacturer is going to bite the bullet and say 'stuff it, we'll just build the best bikes we can'. Unfortunately anyone with an interest in racing (from pros down to club racers) wouldn't be able to race them. Why a single organisation can in the 21st century essentially dictate the way all bicycles in the world can be constructed is quite beyond me, but I guess that's a question for another thread.

Can you imagine a similar organization having the same amount of impact on automotive design?

Of course, I shouldn't just presume that carbon builders are the one who can take advantage of non UCI bike regulations
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