Bicycle Mechanics - Frame Flex
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12-03-01, 07:36 AM
I've seen the topic of frame flex addressed in the endless debate on the best frame material. When is the relative difference in materials most apparent? My experience is limited to a heavy cheap steel followed by a mid range aluminum with a cro-mo fork. I assume there would be a large difference in cornering, or how about rough surfaces. The greater question would be: What is the best frame change/upgrade you have made?
My steel frames span the spectrum from a very flexy/whippy long-wheelbased 1960 road bike to a moderately stiff 1982 Bianchi with a 99cm wheelbase. For sprinting, climbing, and performance riding, I thoroughly enjoy the Bianchi's responsiveness, but my old classic is VERY comfortable on a long road trip. As long as one pedals smoothly, uses low gears, and does not overload it, there is nothing wrong with a flexy frame for the nonracing cyclist.
By the way, today's extremely stiff, close-coupled, aggressive racing frames do not interest me. If I needed a new machine tomorrow, I would include bikes like the Bianchi Eros on my list of prospects.
Well put, John.
A stiffer frame does allow you to shoot more energy into going forward than a flexing frame.
Still, after riding a stiff aluminum frame for awhile and then climbing back onto the old faithful and forgiving steel frame, the word is just "Aaahh..."
Sometimes, comfort just outshines speed.
For comfort you can't beat a long wheelbase touring frame. (18" chainstays is one way to gauge long wheelbase) Any quality Cross/Hybrid frame would serve you well. I don't think brand names are very important. Buy what you can afford.
For several years I went touring on a Huffy. With proper maintanence and care, it took me through several states and parts of Canada before I could afford something better. Again, buy what you can afford.
And the most important rule of all: Get a frame that FITS.
Everything on a bike is upgradable --except the frame.
John E & Mike gave you some good advice and if you'll look back into the forum archives you'll find much more.
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