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Old 09-17-10, 03:10 PM   #1
Sundance89
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New frame break-in or settling... Real or imagined?

I bought a new Cyclocross bike about 6 months ago and it seems to ride significantly smoother now than when it was brand new. Would you attribute that to the frame settling or breaking in, or is this just a case of my body adapting to the bike vs. the bike adapting to me?

I ride about 600 miles a month.
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Old 09-17-10, 03:18 PM   #2
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I should note also that I weigh 250 pounds. This is my commuter bike as well as my training bike. Actually lately I've logged over 800 miles a month as I prepare for the Tour de Scottsdale.
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Old 09-17-10, 03:19 PM   #3
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Strictly your own adaptation. If the frame actually did settle or break in then that would imply that fatigue forces were at work altering the makeup and spring constants of the frame materials. Once that starts it's a downhill road to ruin.
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Old 09-17-10, 03:19 PM   #4
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You adapting to the bike.
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Old 09-17-10, 03:35 PM   #5
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Interesting. Yes, that's pretty logical. I tell you, I sure am enjoying the outcome. It's a completely different experience vs when I first rode it.

In so many other arenas, there is a valid break-in factor and thereafter improvement. This is even an often discussed (and debated) topic for high end stereo and speakers. They say never evaluate until after 200 hours burn in, etc. But I guess it's safe to say a bike frame aint no stereo or mattress.
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Old 09-17-10, 03:37 PM   #6
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In spring I trained for a double metric and spent a good amount of time on my bike. My body got so used to the bike that for weeks I swear the bike was more comfortable than my couch.

600 miles a month will do that to you. I figure a good percentage of the fit complaints could be fixed by the rider spending more time on the bike getting his/her body used to it.
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Old 09-17-10, 06:46 PM   #7
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Bike frames do not "break in" or "soften" with use. They maintain the same physical properties throughout their lifetime. If they do actually soften, what you are experiencing is a crack, joint failure or other catastrophic failure about to occur.

BTW, the claim that a frame has gotten soft or lost it's stiffness is a wonderful ploy to justify getting a new bike but it only works on the unknowing.
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Old 09-17-10, 07:38 PM   #8
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BTW, the claim that a frame has gotten soft or lost it's stiffness is a wonderful ploy to justify getting a new bike but it only works on the unknowing.
For goodness sake edit that to remove this part. You want the riders that used this story on their SO's to get found out? One of them may be reading over the rider's shoulder! ! ! !

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Old 09-17-10, 08:38 PM   #9
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It's common knowledge that when the frame has softened up that it is time to get a new, higher quality bike, or at least a new frameset.
A softened frame is perfectly OK for a backup bike, though.
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Old 09-17-10, 11:05 PM   #10
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Well, with the clarity arrived from these posts , the only part of the bicycle that could even in the smallest way be contributing to that feeling of being broken in would be the saddle. The rest would be my body and conditioning adapting. Very cool, as I said, the smoothness or comfort of the ride is totally different - as is my conditioning.

Easy to apply the wrong principle. In a reverse cycling universe, I have a Jeep Wrangler and years ago I had a lift kit put on it. Common knowledge with a new lift is to wait a couple of months for the suspension to "settle" because initially it will be hard as a rock. Every speed bump you go airborne and then finally after a couple of months it starts to settle and the ride gets much more comfortable.

I know my lift kit has shocks, coil springs, etc. designed to flex, not quite the same as a bike frame, but the outcome of a smoother ride was the same and very welcomed.

Thanks for the explanation.
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Old 09-18-10, 01:03 AM   #11
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Well, it does take your butt about a month to get used to a new saddle. Also the biggest difference one can make to adjust a bike's ride is air-pressure as the tyres flex the most out of any component. It's analogous to all the suspension components on a car.

Yeah, cars are different. There are numerous parts that "wear-in" as they age. Bushings, pivot-pins, damper-seals, damper-valving, spring-pads, etc.
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Old 09-18-10, 01:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundance89 View Post
I bought a new Cyclocross bike about 6 months ago and it seems to ride significantly smoother now than when it was brand new. Would you attribute that to the frame settling or breaking in, or is this just a case of my body adapting to the bike vs. the bike adapting to me?

I ride about 600 miles a month.
The tires are soft.
It is good practice to check the air in your tires at least a couple times a week and/or before each ride.
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