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  1. #1
    Wear One IvyCap's Avatar
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    Stiffer or Softer frame?

    As far as track bikes go, should I be looking for a stiffer frame or something softer? I've been riding steel frames for the longest and I've read up on 6061 vs 7005 which seems to be the main materials for aluminum frames. Does anyone have experience with both? and yes I have considered geometry as well

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    Senior Member BrainInAJar's Avatar
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    I guess it depends how many watts you're putting out on the pedals, but why would you ever want a softer frame on a curated surface ( ie, a track ) ? I have no opinion on the materials otherwise.

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    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrainInAJar View Post
    I guess it depends how many watts you're putting out on the pedals, but why would you ever want a softer frame on a curated surface ( ie, a track ) ? I have no opinion on the materials otherwise.
    If you're riding Kissena you might even want a suspension fork...
    Track - the other off-road
    http://www.lavelodrome.org

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    Wear One IvyCap's Avatar
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    There have been debates that 6061 is softer than 7005 yet there are quite a few track frames out there composed of 6061 and that includes the Look AL 464 P. I really have no experience with aluminum, just steel and carbon frames. So I just need some light shone on the subject from you guys.

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    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    I don't know why kissina is the "rough track" it felt nice to me when i was out there last fall.
    If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Guys who make a lot of torque (sprinter types) tend to not like flex. Their races are relatively short so a comfortable frame isn't a priority as would be for an endurance racer.

  7. #7
    Wear One IvyCap's Avatar
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    Alright, I guess it makes sense to have a stiffer frame in respect to how much wattage is being put out.
    Thanks for the help

  8. #8
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IvyCap View Post
    There have been debates that 6061 is softer than 7005 yet there are quite a few track frames out there composed of 6061 and that includes the Look AL 464 P. I really have no experience with aluminum, just steel and carbon frames. So I just need some light shone on the subject from you guys.
    By the way, Tiemeyer makes his frames (including my sprint frame) out of 6061. It's the stiffest bike that I've ever ridden. In the past, I've tried the Felt TK1 and Dolan DF3 high-end frames as well as numerous mid-range frames and still come back to the Tiemeyer.

    I'm heavier than most which means that I make more torque. Torque is a function of body weight during the standing start. I can't flex it. But, I would attribute that more to the builder and custom specs of the frame than the material itself. Mr Tiemeyer took into account my weight, wattage, and types of events that I ride (Sprints, Team Sprint, Kilo, 500M) which rely heavily on low-end torque during the standing start.

    So, I would choose a frame based on it's reputation (via reviews or whatnot) more so than just it's material. There are plenty of flexy steel/aluminum/carbon frames just as there are very stiff steel/aluminum/carbon frames. It's up to the design.

  9. #9
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    my previous road bike, a Spooky Skeletor, was made out of 6000-series alu, whereas my Felt TK2 is of 7000-series alu.

    7000-series is supposed to be stiffer, but my Skeletor was stiffer than my Felt.

    It's not just the material - it's tubing shapes and other variables that determine stiffness.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  10. #10
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayce View Post
    I don't know why kissina is the "rough track" it felt nice to me when i was out there last fall.
    Some of us are spoiled here in LA. I probably could have substituted Encino for Kissena though... It's got a weird ripple to it since the last resurfacing, and sometimes at high speeds it will make your bike suddenly feel like a noodle. It's also got ruts between the track and the apron that aren't a lot of fun when you're riding a madison.
    Track - the other off-road
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  11. #11
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    So, I would choose a frame based on it's reputation (via reviews or whatnot) more so than just it's material. There are plenty of flexy steel/aluminum/carbon frames just as there are very stiff steel/aluminum/carbon frames. It's up to the design.
    That's a very important thing to note-- it's the design of the bike, not the material that makes a bike stiff or flexy. I've ridden steel bikes that were really flexy, and others that were really stiff. Carbon can also be as flexy as you want it to be, and in whatever directions you want, depending on how you build it up. A lot of CF road bikes are pretty soft, but something like the Look 496 or 596 is stiff as a brick.
    Track - the other off-road
    http://www.lavelodrome.org

  12. #12
    Not actually Tmonk TMonk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Guys who make a lot of torque (sprinter types) tend to not like flex. Their races are relatively short so a comfortable frame isn't a priority as would be for an endurance racer.
    even in the event of an endurance trackie, how important is frame comfort, really?

    I race lots of crits and have separate road bikes for crits and crit style riding and for road races and solo training on the road.

    Comfort is not even a consideration for me when i'm setting up a crit rig, and those races are typically ~50-55min long for me.
    Last edited by TMonk; 08-21-12 at 04:58 PM.
    "Your beauty is an aeroplane;
    so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste

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    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitingduck View Post
    Some of us are spoiled here in LA. I probably could have substituted Encino for Kissena though... It's got a weird ripple to it since the last resurfacing, and sometimes at high speeds it will make your bike suddenly feel like a noodle. It's also got ruts between the track and the apron that aren't a lot of fun when you're riding a madison.
    Come out to St Louis, you will see what a real track feels like(real meaning real bumpy).
    If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

  14. #14
    Wear One IvyCap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    By the way, Tiemeyer makes his frames (including my sprint frame) out of 6061. It's the stiffest bike that I've ever ridden. In the past, I've tried the Felt TK1 and Dolan DF3 high-end frames as well as numerous mid-range frames and still come back to the Tiemeyer.

    I'm heavier than most which means that I make more torque. Torque is a function of body weight during the standing start. I can't flex it. But, I would attribute that more to the builder and custom specs of the frame than the material itself. Mr Tiemeyer took into account my weight, wattage, and types of events that I ride (Sprints, Team Sprint, Kilo, 500M) which rely heavily on low-end torque during the standing start.

    So, I would choose a frame based on it's reputation (via reviews or whatnot) more so than just it's material. There are plenty of flexy steel/aluminum/carbon frames just as there are very stiff steel/aluminum/carbon frames. It's up to the design.
    Awesome! Thanks this is pretty much the type of answer I was looking for.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
    even in the event of an endurance trackie, how important is frame comfort, really?
    I'm an endurance rider on the track, and comfort for me is a good fit. I also like a really stiff light frame, so when you jump on the pedals it goes, and when you need to move it around underneath you it's easy to throw around. Soft is generally not something I look for in a track frame.
    Track - the other off-road
    http://www.lavelodrome.org

  16. #16
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TMonk View Post
    even in the event of an endurance trackie, how important is frame comfort, really?

    I race lots of crits and have separate road bikes for crits and crit style riding and for road races and solo training on the road.

    Comfort is not even a consideration for me when i'm setting up a crit rig, and those races are typically ~50-55min long for me.
    So you're probably going to react similar to a track bike. Which is to say, if you set up a bike for endurance events, you'll set it up so that it works well for endurance events.

    it's worth mentioning that an endurance frame is "comfortable" mostly in setup, and in comparison to a sprint bike or a sprint setup. though also, it gets to the point of hair-splitting. my all-around/enduro bike is set up more like a sprint bike - forward saddle, lots of drop, steel bars - just because that's the way i've always done it, and it's fine. i found a comfortable position and comfortable contact points.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  17. #17
    Member mickey@spooky's Avatar
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    Aluminum alloy is irrelevant in regards to the ride of an aluminum frame. Tube shape, thickness etc. is what matters.
    mickey.spooky
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    That is not true, not at all. It all matters. The alloy, the shape, the construction, and thickness all matter.

    As does the fork, the bars, the wheels, the tires, and the rider.
    If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

  19. #19
    Wear One IvyCap's Avatar
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    Now would you guys say that the aero designs show substantial benefits over the traditional straight round tubing?
    considering they are made from the same grade material

  20. #20
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    Did you just not read what I said?
    If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

  21. #21
    Wear One IvyCap's Avatar
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    I did, but I'm just curious seeing as how today's designs have departed from the traditional designs. That's all.
    But I think I've gotten what I needed from this thread. Thanks to all, again.

  22. #22
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IvyCap View Post
    I did, but I'm just curious seeing as how today's designs have departed from the traditional designs. That's all.
    But I think I've gotten what I needed from this thread. Thanks to all, again.
    Yes, aero tubing makes a difference. I'm not an engineer or frame builder, but I'm sure that someone has quantified it.

    Aero costs/benefits increase with speed. Basically, the faster you go, the more you benefit from aero equipment. If you roll at 15-20mph on your commute to work, you won't feel any difference if you use aero equipment or not. But, as you progress to 25+ mph, the benefits kick in and increase as your speed increases.

    So, for some, it really doesn't (and shouldn't) matter.

    On a related note, Mr. Tiemeyer (http://www.tiemeyercycles.com/about.html) is an engineer that made helicopter blades in his previous career.

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