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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 05-12-12, 09:51 AM   #1
Tandem Tom
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A newbie question about different frame material

As a fairly new cyclist 4- 5 years I have a question about frame material. Last year I bought a Giant Hyybrid with an aluminum frame. Have been riding with a club this season for the first time. While every one has CF frames I am able to keep up quite well. I also rebuilt my"vintage" 1980 Schwinn Super Le Tour, which has a lugged steel frame, and have been riding that quite a bit for the last few weeks. I can now feel the difference between these 2 materials.
My question do CF and TI provide a significantly different ride/feel? Also is one material 'faster" than another?
This is my quest for knowledge question for the week!
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Old 05-12-12, 09:55 AM   #2
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A quick search of the various forums will provide you hours of entertaining reading, until you get bored with the repetition. Or just wait another hour and there'll be about three dozen posts here with the same info and same arguments and same religious camps checking in.
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Old 05-12-12, 10:00 AM   #3
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You tested the two bikes with exact same wheels and tires?

The PSI in your tires has a great effect on how a bike feels.

Try dropping the air pressure 5-10 lbs on your aluminum bike and see how it rides.
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Old 05-12-12, 12:00 PM   #4
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Actual frame material is possibly the least important part of the total package. The motor and it's condition is the most important.
Originally Posted by K.A.C
It’s what I tell small children: Just because somebody says something doesn’t make it true. It’s a great lesson for everyone.”
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Old 05-12-12, 12:03 PM   #5
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Riding position makes more of a speed difference than frame material. Geometry makes more of a difference in handling ("responsive" vs. "stable", for example) than frame material.

Go test ride, say, a Specialized Tarmac and Roubaix -- both CF, but pretty different ride feel. Or, if a shop has them, a Cannondale CAAD8 and an alloy Synapse -- both aluminum, but different.
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Old 05-12-12, 12:14 PM   #6
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Start here
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Old 05-12-12, 12:25 PM   #7
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In general, lighter and stiffer frames will be more reponsive. CF usually wins when it comes to being lighter in mass, and they are also quite stiff. That's why CF is primarily used in professional road bike racing.

Last edited by SlimRider; 05-12-12 at 12:28 PM.
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