As I dig into the numbers to define my new "steelie" I think I begin to see.
Right now, the standards I have are my LeMond and my Giant.
They're the only bikes I have -or have had- any meaningful hours with.
So, I think of what characteristics I like in each or both of them and I look at the numbers.
Ah, the numbers.
Based on some of the answers I got from y'all and articles I've found in my online research, I put together some numbers that I'd guess had something to do with anything. I used numbers from my bikes, some that I'm interested in, and one mythical standard of the Retro Ideal.
Warning, I probably have ZERO idea what I'm talking about
Materials, and the obvious, aside -the LeMond is aluminium. the Giant is pure carbon- here's what I have:
I like the quick handling and snappy -almost twitchy- responsiveness of the LeMond and the comfort and stability of the Giant. Not that the Giant isn't responsive, it is but it doesn't have that snap.
Even so, the LeMond oddly feels like it has more inertia to overcome when you start off but still responds as quickly but more slowly than the Giant.
I know that doesn't make any sense but that's the only way I can describe it.
Anyway, I ascribe that more to the longer cranks and bigger rings than the Giant.
More torque bur slow developing.
The LeMond is definitely a more jarring ride. The Giant feels rock steady in the downhill twisties at least up to the speeds I'm willing to go which, to date, is 45+ mph. The bike does not waver.
So, what do the numbers say?
The LeMond has a shorter wheelbase and chainstays.
The headtube angle is a full degree more upright on the LeMond (73.5 vs. 72.5)
The front of the LeMond is a bit shorter on the LeMond.
Both have the same BB height but the LeMond has a shorter drop. This might be a measurement error on my part.
So, now I have to figure out what kind of bike I want but the Smoothie looks like a steel Reno while the Smoothie ES looks more like a steel Giant with a longer wheelbase and chainstays. The Smoothie ES with a B-67 and some 32mm tires sounds like an all day sucker for your love. Hm. Will 32s fit? 28s will do fine.