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Old 05-25-11, 05:27 PM   #1
xypex982
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How to make my aluminum Trek 1500 feel less, aluminum.

I have an early 90s or late 80s trek 1500 That is all aluminum including the fork and absolutly love it. I knew that aluminum and skinny 700c tires would feel much stiffer than my previous gaspipe Windsor with 27 1/4 tires. The thing is on rides I go on through downtown Riverside I sometimes wish I could make it a little softer as road conditions are not always pristine which is echoed by the fact I am a Clyde. I was thinking I could soften the ride of course by getting a bit wider of tires. Now I am also considering a cheap nashbar carbon fork, and my question is, would a carbon fork really smooth out the ride as much as the user reviews on Nashbar say they do?
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Old 05-25-11, 05:38 PM   #2
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put some challenge pariqi roubaix tires on the thing and see how that does before you go the route of a carbon fork...
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Old 05-25-11, 05:42 PM   #3
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Carbon forks are more marketed as such, they don't actually soak up road vibrations, a cheap carbon fork might be sorta flexy kinda giving the impression though.. steel fork would do more for you than the carbon, if you don't mind the extra weight. Frame clearance will probably take a max of 28c tires, after that I dont know.. what bar tape are you using?
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Old 05-25-11, 05:44 PM   #4
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I dunno, but the Vitus 979 Al fork on my Vitus Carbone seems to feel very plush (even seems more comfortable than the Supervitus 980 fork on my PSV) when I ride it, unless that just the way Vitus forks are and other brand Al forks are much stiffer riding.

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Old 05-25-11, 05:49 PM   #5
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Tires will make a bigger difference than a carbon fork. Use the widest tires possible and inflate to the minimum PSI on the sidewall.
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Old 05-25-11, 06:14 PM   #6
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My Trek 1420 was very similar to your bike. The previous owner had replaced the aluminum fork with a chrome Tange fork. I thought it looked nice and I never had any negative impressions about the ride.

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Old 05-25-11, 06:16 PM   #7
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How to make my aluminum Trek 1500 feel less, aluminum.
Alchemy.



(yes I changed the elements )
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Old 05-25-11, 10:31 PM   #8
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Put a fork from a Raleigh Sports on it. You'll pick up about 7 ounces in weight and gain plushness, stability, and toeverlap clearance.
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Old 05-26-11, 06:20 AM   #9
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1-Tire change to 25's or 28's if you have clearance. No, they are not slower; good ones, anyway.

2-Fork change to a steel or maybe carbon. I've not found the Performance or nashbar 1" threaded fork to be much different than the OEM.
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Old 05-26-11, 06:28 AM   #10
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Alchemy.



(yes I changed the elements )
How to fix an Al Bike:
  1. Remove Pedals
  2. Buy Steel-framed bike.
  3. Install pedals on new bike.
  4. Throw Al bike in the Al scrap pile.
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Old 05-26-11, 06:32 AM   #11
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I used to own an aluminum Trek of that same era. Notice I say "used to own".

I found that the ride of those early aluminum bikes was not for me. Every time I rode that bike, I felt like it was going to jar the fillings out of my teeth! And we have great roads down here in Georgia.

I hope that you're not expecting to magically transform the ride of that bike with a change of fork and tires. Yes... it will make the bike ride smoother, but I'll wager that you won't be totally satisfied. Instead of spending money to "patch up" that bike, I'd get a steel bike from that same era to replace it.

And people tend to think that aluminum bikes are better than steel ones, so you can probably CL your current bike... buy a good steel bike... and put a couple of dollars in your pocket.
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Old 05-26-11, 06:47 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Amesja View Post
How to fix an Al Bike:
  1. Remove Pedals
  2. Buy Steel-framed bike.
  3. Install pedals on new bike.
  4. Throw Al bike in the Al scrap pile.
+1
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Old 05-26-11, 06:58 AM   #13
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All the aluminum haters can send me their frames... tires are 90% of the ride anyway (see anyone can make this stuff up! ) As a fellow clyde myself I was out on a bike with 25s yesterday and noticed the road a lot more -- and this was an all steel bike. Usually I ride an aluminum bike with 28s at higher pressures. There are some things that are a fact of life and I've accepted that as a big dude on a skinny tired road bike it won't always be a smooth ride. I try and put wider tires on my bikes these days... moving over to 32 where it'll fit. I'd swap tires before a fork any day of the week.
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Old 05-26-11, 09:16 AM   #14
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All the aluminum haters can send me their frames... tires are 90% of the ride anyway (see anyone can make this stuff up! ) As a fellow clyde myself I was out on a bike with 25s yesterday and noticed the road a lot more -- and this was an all steel bike. Usually I ride an aluminum bike with 28s at higher pressures. There are some things that are a fact of life and I've accepted that as a big dude on a skinny tired road bike it won't always be a smooth ride. I try and put wider tires on my bikes these days... moving over to 32 where it'll fit. I'd swap tires before a fork any day of the week.
Not intended to be a factual statement.
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Old 05-26-11, 09:18 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Amesja View Post
How to fix an Al Bike:
  1. Remove Pedals
  2. Buy Steel-framed bike.
  3. Install pedals on new bike.
  4. Throw Al bike in the Al scrap pile.
Nah, ya don't need to be THAT drastic. Just buy a nice steel frame, put the parts off the Al bike on it, and toss the Al frame in the recycle bin.

Fe > Al

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Bend, OR
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Old 05-26-11, 09:38 AM   #16
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First, I am a fan of the early series Trek aluminums. Like the Cannondales from that era, and before the advent of computer modeling to refine tubing thicknesses, they were overbuilt (in a good way) and bullet proof. I find my 87 Cannondale with 23/160 tires to be an invigorating, but not harsh, ride. However, it does have a steel fork.

Take the good advice above (sorted out of all of the poo). Try tires first. Going from 23 to 28 makes a huge difference in smoothing out the road. Then consider a carbon fork. I'm with Robbie on this one.
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Old 06-24-11, 05:31 PM   #17
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I did my longest ride ever yesterday, sixty miles. Made it, but my lower to mid back was killing me and my hands started going numb randomly. As a cylde (230lbs, thanks to 24hr fitness and cycling) I felt accomplished and will be doing it again.

The bar tape is absolute crap, in fact it very well may be the stock white stuff as my friend just got a trek tri series with the same tape.

I think I may have to just get rid of it. I hopped on my friends 54cm Tri-Series for a ride around the block and LOVED IT. The smoothness, the easy of mounting and dismounting, and the riding position. I think the geometry of the 1500 and its size is off. I'm not sure of what geometry I should be looking for, but I am leaning towards triathlete/touring.

So in all for now I think I am going to replace the bar tape and try to set up a more upright sitting position by sliding the seat. How else can I adjust my sitting position to a more upright one. I would like ot make these changes before I do the ride again.
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Old 06-24-11, 05:33 PM   #18
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650B conversion. Put 42mm Grand Bois Hetres on and be done with it.
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Old 06-24-11, 05:34 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
1-Tire change to 25's or 28's if you have clearance. No, they are not slower; good ones, anyway.

2-Fork change to a steel or maybe carbon. I've not found the Performance or nashbar 1" threaded fork to be much different than the OEM.
I also recommend the Nashbar fork.
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Old 06-24-11, 05:36 PM   #20
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Carbon fork, end of discussion.
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Old 06-24-11, 06:32 PM   #21
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+10. Sell and replace with a steel bike. I've sold my last Al bike.

Or just go N+1.
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Old 06-24-11, 06:49 PM   #22
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I rode a 1500 for a long time and once I rode a reynolds 531 frame I thought my tires were low because of the "plushness". Not sure about adding a steel fork but could be a solution. I'd recommend carbon fork, carbon seatpost and possibly carbon bars from what I've heard. Little more damping but its really not going to be that much. For the cost, not worth it.

Tires are cheap so go with supple 25s (not sure anything larger will fit) and run them at 80-90psi, no more. Best bang for buck. I think those bikes are fine and liked mine, lightweight and responsive.may also think of a different wheelset, they can give a change in ride too.

I'm in riverside all the time and dont notice the roads being that terrible but YMMV. I do commute on 700x28 schwalbe marathons.
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Old 06-24-11, 06:50 PM   #23
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Sounds like you have more fit issues than metallurgy ones.

Your saddles needs to be where your rump is when you are pedaling... don't mess with it to fix reach issues. You'll need to move/swap the stem and bars if not get another bike.
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Old 06-24-11, 06:58 PM   #24
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I happen to have a 90s Cannondale catalog that brags about the "light weight" and "unbeatable comfort" of its aluminum fork. Marketing never changes....

If all you want is a little more comfort:

The aforementioned wider tires, at a slightly lower PSI.
Slightly cushier saddle, preferably leather (e.g. Brooks).
Pad the handlebars with bar gels and good bar tape (leather, Fizik etc)

These are all fairly cheap tricks. If it's still not enough, then I'd swap out the frame. Just doing the fork probably won't cover it.
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Old 06-24-11, 07:01 PM   #25
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My 1.5 has a carbon fork, and quite frankly, its as stiff a ride as the old 1000 it replaced. YMMV.
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