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Old 12-18-12, 08:04 AM   #1
Ronno6
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Cannondale 63cm and the Tarantula Tester

Shorter riders always complained about the harshness (read "stiffness") of Cannondale's original '80's design.
As a Clydesdale, I found the 63cm racing and the 27" ST to be very responsive and not at all harsh.
There have been references that this criticism was leveled against the 3.0 series as well.

I have read (on more than one occasion) about Cannondale's 3.0 frame being the (laterally) stiffest frame tested on Bicycling Magazine's "Tarantula" frame tester. I actually remember reading of these tests when they were first performed. (Seems to me that they had a bit more linear give for a more comfortable ride, but I could be off on that point.)
I have also read that this pertained to a frame size of 56cm.
I have searched the web for any data from these tests and have yet to find any.
Can anyone point me down the proper path?

The question that I have is: did Bicycling Magazine perform the Tarantula tests on a larger size, say 63cm?
If so did they achieve similar results?
What was the stiffest 63cm frame ever produced?

I purchased a 63cm Cannondale 3.0 bike new in 1989.
Having ridden the previous design with the oval seatstays for several years prior, I did not care for the
ride characteristics of the 3.0. I considered it to be less rigid then its predecessor, especially
when out of the saddle. I continue to ride the '86 to '88 design to this day. (I still have the
3.0 frame hanging in the garage. Maybe I should build up and re-try it?)

It is interesting to note that Cannondale never translated this design into its lineup of touring bikes.
Rather, they maintained the late 80's frame and changed the fork in '92. (But, they dropped the
27" Mega Clydesdale size after 1990.) :-(
They stayed with this design until '96, when they called their Touring frames CAD2, although from
the pics in the catalog, they don't appear to have changed (I've not seen one,tho.)

Anyway, point being that the late 80's design must have handled more load (maybe stronger?)
What other reasons would predicated staying with the late 80's design? I do understand that touring frames, being longer wheelbase and more relaxed angles have ride characteristics that differ from those of racing frames. Hence, maybe the beefier design was good for touring applications.

Can anyone shed some light on the topic?
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Old 12-18-12, 10:59 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronno6 View Post
Shorter riders always complained about the harshness (read "stiffness") of Cannondale's original '80's design. As a Clydesdale, I found the 63cm racing and the 27" ST to be very responsive and not at all harsh.
There have been references that this criticism was leveled against the 3.0 series as well. I have read (on more than one occasion) about Cannondale's 3.0 frame being the (laterally) stiffest frame tested on Bicycling Magazine's "Tarantula" frame tester. I actually remember reading of these tests when they were first performed. (Seems to me that they had a bit more linear give for a more comfortable ride, but I could be off on that point.) I have also read that this pertained to a frame size of 56cm.
I have searched the web for any data from these tests and have yet to find any. Can anyone point me down the proper path?

The question that I have is: did Bicycling Magazine perform the Tarantula tests on a larger size, say 63cm? If so did they achieve similar results? What was the stiffest 63cm frame ever produced? I purchased a 63cm Cannondale 3.0 bike new in 1989.
Having ridden the previous design with the oval seatstays for several years prior, I did not care for the ride characteristics of the 3.0. I considered it to be less rigid then its predecessor, especially when out of the saddle. I continue to ride the '86 to '88 design to this day. (I still have the 3.0 frame hanging in the garage. Maybe I should build up and re-try it?) It is interesting to note that Cannondale never translated this design into its lineup of touring bikes. Rather, they maintained the late 80's frame and changed the fork in '92. (But, they dropped the 27" Mega Clydesdale size after 1990.) :-( They stayed with this design until '96, when they called their Touring frames CAD2, although from the pics in the catalog, they don't appear to have changed (I've not seen one,tho.) Anyway, point being that the late 80's design must have handled more load (maybe stronger?) What other reasons would predicated staying with the late 80's design? I do understand that touring frames, being longer wheelbase and more relaxed angles have ride characteristics that differ from those of racing frames. Hence, maybe the beefier design was good for touring applications. Can anyone shed some light on the topic?
Generally as the frame goes up in size it will be more flexible unless the builder has also scaled up the materials and design to make up for that (yes, I know that is hardly profound...), but I have rarely seen where the materials, designs, or methods varied at all from the smallest to largest frame from xxx manufacturer. Since most customers are not going to buy and ride both a small and an xlarge, I am betting most OEMs don't think the issue is worth worrying about. They made have also concluded that the competitive comparision between brands is at the same size level so again, not worth them worrying about as long as their XL frame is as stiff as the other makers XL frame... if that makes sense.

Regarding C-Dales in general; I have ridden a fair number of them in single and in tandems... I generally concluded that they must be an acquired taste. In the end, I never liked one of them enough to buy one after comparing it to a steel or other branded AL bike, but to each his own. I know that the issue of 'feel' fills many volumes on the various forums.
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Old 12-18-12, 02:59 PM   #3
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ksisler wrote: "Generally as the frame goes up in size it will be more flexible unless the builder has also scaled up the materials and design to make up for that"

Agreed. Simple laws of physics.

ksisler wrote:"They made have also concluded that the competitive comparision between brands is at the same size level so again, not worth them worrying about as long as their XL frame is as stiff as the other makers XL frame..."

Agreed also. However I am more interested in a comparison between Cannondale's '86-'88 design and their '89 and later 3.0 series 63cm frame.

ksisler wrote:"Regarding C-Dales in general; I have ridden a fair number of them in single and in tandems... I generally concluded that they must be an acquired taste. In the end, I never liked one of them enough to buy one after comparing it to a steel or other branded AL bike, but to each his own. I know that the issue of 'feel' fills many volumes on the various forums."

I believe that comfort perceived is comfort achieved. However, I am more interested in lateral stiffness as measured by the "Tarantula."
I would consider that to be empirical.
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