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  1. #1
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    wide tires vs suspended frame

    So, which is better, Big apples on a rigid frame or Stelvios on an unsuspended frame? After all, what's the point of having pneumatic tires if you're just going to kill the suspension effect with high pressure skinny tires?

    Also, has anyone tried out the 60-406 Big Apples? I thought the 50mm ones were wide, but the 60mm ones are over twice the width of a Stelvio!
    Last edited by makeinu; 11-23-07 at 02:07 PM.

  2. #2
    Old enough to know better Spudmeister's Avatar
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    Personally, I prefer fat tires to suspension. I spend a lot of time out of the saddle & pushing bigger gears than I should, so suspension just bounces me around.

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu View Post
    So, which is better, Big apples on a rigid frame or Stelvios on an unsuspended frame? After all, what's the point of having pneumatic tires if you're just going to kill the suspension effect with high pressure skinny tires?
    "Better" in what respect?

    If you want a cushy ride and are not worried about performance, go for the Big Apples. Marathon Racers might be OK too. If that doesn't do it, sprung Brooks or Thudbuster seatpost is an option, along with different grips for your hands. If that still doesn't cut it, then 20" / 451's are probably not going to work for you.

    If you want performance without feeling like you're riding a boneshaker.... Well, that depends on whether or not you're sensitive to road buzz. For me -- and I consider myself strictly "average" in this respect -- 20" wheels and high-pressure tires start to get unpleasant after about 60 or 70 miles.

    Most suspension systems, especially those for folders, are going to slow you down. I think there's a couple of 20" bikes where it might work out OK - Pacific Reach, Moultons, Dahon Hammerhead.

  4. #4
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    It has been argued that suspension only sets you back if you have poor cycling technique. A good circular spinner who stays in the saddle (many technical sites argue that this is the most efficient way to ride) may be more efficient and comfy on a suspended bike.

    Not sure that any of this extends too far beyond theory. A quick search on proper cycling technique will yield suggestions that staying in the saddle is more efficient than standing, that 90 is the ideal cadence, etc. Whether any of this is true is unproven.

    Likewise, some argue that wide tires have lower rolling resistance than thin unsuspended tires, but that this can be overcome with suspension. No one even knows whether such claims are true, let alone which is superior to the other. I can't imagine Big Apples being efficient tires, but common perceptions do not often jibe with basic physics.

    I find it funny that many people here debunk claims that little wheels are more efficient without providing one shred of contrarian evidence, or even a link to a ghetto back of the envelope experiment. Certainly, the evidence that small wheels are more efficient is weak, but it seems to be the only evidence that has been forwarded. Thus, one is left to conclude that small bets should be made on small wheels if a bet is to be made at all. I'm using more qualified language because its difficult to get a good debate here. I would just like to see a decent head-to-head study besides rolling resistance data (which mostly shows, fat, high pressure tires on 349 wheels are the best way to go).

    I'll try a Bridgestone Moulton and a Pacific Reach in Japan in March. Thus far, I haven't found a bike that rides better than a fully suspended 349, but I'm finding that I'm not a huge fan of massively long seat posts and stems.

    I'm seriously procrastinating, so won't get back to this thread for a while. Those are my 2 cents on this.

  5. #5
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu View Post
    So, which is better, Big apples on a rigid frame or Stelvios on an unsuspended frame? After all, what's the point of having pneumatic tires if you're just going to kill the suspension effect with high pressure skinny tires?

    Also, has anyone tried out the 60-406 Big Apples? I thought the 50mm ones were wide, but the 60mm ones are over twice the width of a Stelvio!
    Neither.

    Stelvios on rigid frame.

    Me like go fast .

  6. #6
    jur
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    Ok, my 2c:

    Suspension in the back will cause bouncing in the saddle, period. All you need to do is to pedal exactly at the suspension's natural boing frequency. Hence the need for rear suspension to be damped.

    The rear suspension may be either a spring-type swiveling system OR a fat tyre. Both have the same effect. If I take my Big Apples and ride them soft, the ride is VERY cushy and comfortable. Bumps simply disappear, in fact better than with a designed suspension system since the unsprung mass for a soft Big Apple is effectively zero.

    Having said that, I bounce on those same pressure Big Apples at particular cadence. (In fact I most often discover punctures on any of my tyres by the ride suddenly becoming bouncy.)

    So I suppose a fat tyre is a better choice because it's

    * cheaper
    * lighter
    * setting the suspension parameter is as simple as choosing a pressure
    * unsprung mass is zero

    It's hard to see how that can be improved.

    Having said THAT, my Swift is better still. I ride Conti GPs at approx 80-100psi. However, any harshness is smoothed out by my long CF seatpost plus Tioga Spyder saddle,and long steering post plus foam grips. My Swift is really remarkable in its smoothness. I often glance down to see if the tyres aren't flat!
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

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    Quote Originally Posted by pm124 View Post
    Thus far, I haven't found a bike that rides better than a fully suspended 349, but I'm finding that I'm not a huge fan of massively long seat posts and stems.
    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    Having said THAT, my Swift is better still. I ride Conti GPs at approx 80-100psi. However, any harshness is smoothed out by my long CF seatpost plus Tioga Spyder saddle,and long steering post plus foam grips. My Swift is really remarkable in its smoothness. I often glance down to see if the tyres aren't flat!
    Interesting how you guys seem to have opposite sentiments about the relative merits of long posts/stems.

  8. #8
    jur
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    Well, those long posts have a large bending moment on them - can lead to failure.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  9. #9
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    Well, those long posts have a large bending moment on them - can lead to failure.
    Here I am again, leaving my work behind.

    Yes, Jur points straight to the problem. I ride fairly hard and snapped a seat off a while back and it has made me cautious. A large triangulated frame, while bulky, unwieldy, and ugly will also be stiffer and lighter than a horizontal bar with two vertical bars sticking out of it at either end.

    With respect to the bobbing versus lower rolling resistance + comfort argument, there seem to be two camps on this. If you read the Moulton propaganda, the suspension will make you faster (by rolling over rough surfaces more efficiently) and give you better form. Most riders seem to agree with Jur that any energy absorbing bobbing will outweigh the other speed advantages. I'm not sure what most engineers would say. But at the end of the day, the elastomer on my very fast Birdy is never warm, let alone hot, so I don't think it's dissipating much wattage. Traditional forms of suspension (big wheels, steel frame, or other flexy bits), tend to dissipate energy laterally so I would think that Moulton is right that a vertical vector flex is better than a horizontal vector of flex. I doubt there is much debate that rock hard triangulated aluminum frames with small stiff wheels and 160 PSI tires would be optimal if we were all riding on glass-like surfaces.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    However, any harshness is smoothed out by my long CF seatpost plus Tioga Spyder saddle,

    ummm ... I see a mod that I don't recall on your particular bike (hint, not the Spyder) ... is there time to elaborate??

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