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Old 02-08-11, 12:05 PM   #1
Elantr025
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Which steel tubing for smoothest, comfortable ride?

Hi,

I am wondering which steel tubing tends to provide the more smooth, comfortable ride....
Reynolds, Columbus, OX Platinum, etc....or is there on difference at all?

Thanks
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Old 02-08-11, 12:09 PM   #2
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I've had several steel bikes and test road a lot of others as well. I found no noticable differences other than over-size (wider diameter) makes for a stiffer ride.
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Old 02-08-11, 02:05 PM   #3
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There will be a difference on the tubing- but the build of the frame can denote how stiff it is going to be aswell.

And I have frames that I can alter the ride feel by just one simple thing. Change the wheels and I get a different ride. I have a Race geometry bike in Aluminium that is stiff. With the Ultegra wheels it is stiff but not uncomfortable- Put the handbuilts on and it is fine for Century rides with less buzz getting through to me. Put the Aksiums on and it is virtually unridable.
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Old 02-08-11, 04:55 PM   #4
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Outside Diameter and wall thickness matters more than the brand of steel used,
to have those features.
Consult with the frame builder and state your planned uses and they will build
to suit.

Off the shelf bikes , you need that data supplied to know , brand sticker is not enough.
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Old 02-08-11, 11:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elantr025 View Post
Hi,

I am wondering which steel tubing tends to provide the more smooth, comfortable ride....
Reynolds, Columbus, OX Platinum, etc....or is there on difference at all?

Thanks
There's probably a difference, but you can make any bike ride smoother by putting on wider tires pumped to a lower pressure. Depending on your tire choice, you might not change your rolling resistance.

Long ago, Bicycle Guide magazine tested 4 identical frames made by the same builder, equipped with the same components, running the same wheels and tires. The only variable was the tubeset that was used to build the frame. The riders unanimously chose the bike with the cheapest tubes. I wish I could find the article.
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Old 02-09-11, 06:09 PM   #6
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I have bikes with 531, Magny, Columbus Tenax, Tange 1 and 2, Vitus 171, OX. Frame geometry and tires are the biggest variables for ride quality in my limited experience
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Old 02-09-11, 07:07 PM   #7
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all you need is a Columbus MAX frame and some good 39h box section tubulars. all other steel will seem like cooked pasta after you ride a MAX frame
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Old 02-09-11, 11:42 PM   #8
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I tend to think that frame material has little to do with the comfort, at least between any steel or any aluminum tubing. Both materials are very strong in compression and will transfer a lot of vibration to the rider no matter what.

Composite tubes would ride a lot softer, since composite tubes' compressive strength is limited to the base material, which is just plastic.

Ideally I'd think a [road] bicycle with full suspension would do best towards increasing comfort. You don't need massive-travel, oil-damped anythings here. The Moulton folding bikes are a good example--very small elastomeric urethane dampers (lightweight, no maintenance) that only allow a fraction of an inch of travel, could still provide a HUGE increase in rider comfort. If you used Sorbothane you'd get real, actual vibration dampening.
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Old 02-10-11, 12:21 AM   #9
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Right geometry and tire size and the tubing material doesn't matter.
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Old 02-10-11, 02:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Elantr025 View Post
Hi,

I am wondering which steel tubing tends to provide the more smooth, comfortable ride....
Reynolds, Columbus, OX Platinum, etc....or is there on difference at all?

Thanks
IMO it is the steel that "rings" the best that will give the best ride.

All steel bikes will ring (vibrate) going down the road converting road vibration into low amplitude sound. By "ringing" the tubes dampen road vibration quite a bit.

This means that a softer thicker steel will dampen best but at a weight penalty. Softer thicker steel is used in the building of the old fashioned Cruisers since they are all about a smoooooth ride so the extra weight don't matter as much. Bikes built for speed will need thinner harder steel tubing with really lets a lot vibration reach the rider.
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 02-10-11, 06:42 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
IMO it is the steel that "rings" the best that will give the best ride.

All steel bikes will ring (vibrate) going down the road converting road vibration into low amplitude sound. By "ringing" the tubes dampen road vibration quite a bit.

This means that a softer thicker steel will dampen best but at a weight penalty. Softer thicker steel is used in the building of the old fashioned Cruisers since they are all about a smoooooth ride so the extra weight don't matter as much. Bikes built for speed will need thinner harder steel tubing with really lets a lot vibration reach the rider.
Old cruisers have 2" wide tires. Try riding one after installing 1" wide high-pressure tires and see what that "softer thicker steel" really means to the ride.
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Old 02-10-11, 09:19 PM   #12
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Old cruisers have 2" wide tires. Try riding one after installing 1" wide high-pressure tires and see what that "softer thicker steel" really means to the ride.
When you change any feature ,or features, of a design the whole design will behave in unexpected, and unpredictable, ways.
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 02-11-11, 06:35 AM   #13
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http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-materials.html
http://www.adventurecycling.org/reso...SIRX_Heine.pdf

just some reference info...
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