Old 06-18-10, 06:35 PM
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i agree with the folks who have said the most important thing for comfort on rough roads and security on gravel is larger tires. So whatever frame material, get a frame and brakes with clearance for wide tires. I have outfitted my ALUMINUM commuter (an old, stiff, supposedly very harsh hybrid frame w/ stout, supposedly harsh aluminum fork!) with 32's and they are just NICE. The tires make so much more difference than any frame material. And I'll have to say, they really don't feel slow and aren't according to my commute times. They feel much faster than my 23-25mm road tires (on a modern comfort-oriented carbon road bike frame) on the rough stuff and not appreciably slower (if at all) on the smooth stuff. Much more comfortable, night and day difference.

I didn't put the 32's on for comfort as much as just to deal with the very rough and steep hilled gravel road that is part of every commute. There is no substitute for wide tires on gravel for security. Frame material doesn't matter, it's the tires. (these are "city tires", minimal tread, not knobby off road tires).

But in addition to the security, this supposedly harsh aluminum frame w/ 32s is very comfortable.
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