I just went out and dropped two large on an 05 Cannondale Six-13. In order to get used to the bike I thought I would spend the first few days whirling around Lake Merritt. My question is that for about a one mile stretch on the southern and western sides of the lake the pavement is pretty bad, i.e. lots of cracks and rough surface. Is this okay for my bike? I know I cannot go barrelling over potholes and large craters, but will this surface do any damage to my bike and/ or wheel set? I will have a hard time explaining to my wife if I need new wheels in the next six months, and knowing the roads around the East Bay I am going to be hitting lots of these cracks and rough spots.
BTW I just started riding, and it almost seems as if riding over the painted lines jars the bike. Am I being to sensitive?
That is a very stiff frame and it will transmit road irregularities more than a more compliant frame. The addition of carbon forks and rear triangles, which I presume your bike has (all road bikes above $1000 or so have CF forks these days) has mitigated aluminum frame harshness but not completely gotten rid of it.
Tire pressure has a lot to do with harshness of rides and unless you are very heavy (above 190-200#) a tire pressure in the 110# range is noticebly more comfortable than pressures of 120 or above. Below 100# unless you are in the weight range of 100-110# yourself you increase the risk of pinch flats where the tire pinches the tube against the rim edge and cuts it on hitting a sharp edged bump. As to whether it will damage the frame, not directly, frame is designed to handle a lot worse. In theory Al frames have a limited number of bumps they can absorb, Al does not handle flexion-extension cycling as well as steel, CF or Ti frames, but subbing CF for the fork and rear triangle helps. In practice what that means is that Al frames have a tendency to crack, usually at welds, as a failure mode. For most riders this translates into a life span for the frame of 5-15yrs, assuming regular riding (say 3000-8000mi/yr). Basically it is not something to worry about, either the smoothness of the street or using up the frame from the frame point of view. Bumps bad enough to be a problem will demolish the wheels first, or toss you off the bike, or cause you to seek a more comfortable route.
Thanks Steve. I was having a problem getting the chain to jump up to the large chainring and had to head back to the shop, so I asked the techies the same question. They did not go as in depth as you, but they told me no worries. Thanks especially for the last sentence in your advice.