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How soften ride

Old 07-25-20, 10:23 PM
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btppberk
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How soften ride

I have a 2012 Focus Izalco Pro--everything is stock besides the 25mm tires (which looks about the limit for size). The bike is a bit harsh for the type of cycling I am doing now. Is there anything I can do to improve the ride quality? Would wheels help substantially? Thanks for your help.
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Old 07-25-20, 10:31 PM
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The main thing that you can do is to mess around with your tires.
  • How heavy are you?
  • Brand of Tires?
  • Pressure? Front? Rear?
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Old 07-25-20, 10:37 PM
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Wheels inofthemselves make relatively little difference for road vibration. The only ride quality difference is that tubeless tires may ride very slightly better which may require new wheels. Lowest hanging fruit is to run the widest, most supple tires you can at the lowest pressure that you reasonably can. Running latex or superlight tubes might help a very small amount. Bar tape can also help, and seatposts actually deflect a lot on road bikes and vary pretty considerably in how compliant they are, so that may be worth looking into. Saddles vary a fair amount regarding deflection as well. A carbon handlebar might make a very slight difference as well.

If you want a really compliant riding bike, get something that can run significantly wider tires. They are much more comfortable, are more versatile, and their only concessions regarding speed are pretty much a minor aerodynamic and weight penalty.
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Old 07-25-20, 10:40 PM
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You could mess around with the seatposts a bit if you wish. There are some suspension seat posts, generally used on MTBs. But, there are some more modern road seatposts that also have a little flex. Look at the Specialized Roubaix.



Different seats?

Padded handlebars, or perhasp gel pads for handlebars.

I see you can also purchase Shock Stems.



To me, that would likely be mighty annoying, but I suppose it couldn't hurt to try, perhaps I'd be surprised.

Personally, I like flat topped "aero" handlebars. They are much more comfortable than riding round bars from the tops.

"Ride Light". Avoid big stuff to run over, and stand up when you see something bumpy ahead.
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Old 07-25-20, 11:07 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

I am 150 lbs running a gatorskin on my back wheel. I had a lot of flats my first years with the bike that scared me off to Gatorskins. Tried 80 / 90 psi on front and back.

Thanks for the seat post idea. The shock stem does look annoying.

I am lusting in my heart after a Roubaix or maybe a Argon Krypton but trying to be financial disciplined...
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Old 07-25-20, 11:14 PM
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At your weight, try 70/80 front/rear psi.

also, have you checked the accuracy of your pressure gauge?
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Old 07-25-20, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by btppberk View Post
Thanks for the replies.

I am 150 lbs running a gatorskin on my back wheel. I had a lot of flats my first years with the bike that scared me off to Gatorskins. Tried 80 / 90 psi on front and back.

Thanks for the seat post idea. The shock stem does look annoying.

I am lusting in my heart after a Roubaix or maybe a Argon Krypton but trying to be financial disciplined...
One of the most efficient ways of preventing flats is paying attention to where one is riding - you will get an occasional flat, but, unless you live in a thorn-ridden area, just looking and avoiding road debris goes a long way.

The main reason for mentioning this is because the "puncture resistant" Gatorskin tyres are not among the most comfortable. Continental Grand Prix 4000, 5000, or 4 Seasons are a lot more comfortable (for the same width and similar pressure used, of course).
So, If there's no room for wider tyres, I'd try with some more comfortable ones and see if it helps. Perhaps testing just one, for a start, before spending the money on a pair.

Wrote in more detail about what affects comfort on a bicycle.
Basically - the bicycle you have, like most modern bicycles, has a rather short chainstay ("super responsive, stiff but compliant, bla bla"), so you are practically sitting on the rear wheel, not in the middle, between the two wheels. Hence, more bumps get transferred straight to the rider's back. To make things worse, because of the short chainstays (among other potentially "tight" places on the bike), you aren't able to fit wider tyres, which make a lot of difference when it comes to ride comfort.
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Old 07-25-20, 11:38 PM
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There used to be a ton of glass where I lived before. This area looks better. I should give the tires you recommended a try. I wonder if I can maybe fit 28mm after all. How can I tell? Is the gap between the tire and the seat tube the issue? Is there a recommended distance between the two?

Thanks for the educational article.
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Old 07-26-20, 01:36 AM
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Basically observe the absolute closest place the tire comes to any part of the rest of the bike. Roughly, if you increase the tire width the clearance will decrease by half.

Gatorskins ride relatively rough; try GP 4 Seasons as they are literally the same puncture protection layer with better rubber and casing.

An intermediate cost solution would be tubeless compatible wheels and nice supple tubeless tires like GP5000 TL or Vittoria Corsas (tubeless). Particularly if glass is the issue, you can run way less puncture protection with tubeless because sealant is very effective at sealing small punctures.

Cushier bar tape is pretty cheap, too.
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Old 07-26-20, 07:43 AM
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The ultimate solution is a more suitable bike. A "gravel" bike running wide tires, low pressure would make a big difference and a full suspension MTB would solve the problem completely. Both sacrifice road performance and weight for comfort.
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Old 07-26-20, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by btppberk View Post
I have a 2012 Focus Izalco Pro--everything is stock besides the 25mm tires (which looks about the limit for size). The bike is a bit harsh for the type of cycling I am doing now. Is there anything I can do to improve the ride quality?
Nice supple 25mm tires at an appropriate inflation pressure.

Lots of us like Continental GP4000SII tires as a good balance between ride quality, puncture resistance, and life.

Add your bike and rider weight. Multiply by 0.45 for the front tire loaded weight and 0.55 rear. Lookup an appropriate pressure on the chart. Add more if you don't like the handling or don't want to add air more than once a week.

E.g, a 170 pound bike + rider combination would have 77 pounds on their front tire and 94 rear, suggesting 65psi front and 85 psi rear. I'd go for 75 psi front because 65 feels squishy.



Would wheels help substantially? Thanks for your help.
No. Wheels are very rigid radially and their compliance is negligible compared to tires. Drive side + front 2.0/1.8mm spokes stretch about 0.5 mm between completely slack and full tension, and 2.0/1.5mm 1mm. Non-drive side rear isn't much over half that. Wheels go out of true and collapse on bumps when you completely slacken the spokes.

Carbon fiber handlebars can be made to have more flex than aluminum without failing due to fatigue,

There are suspension road seat posts like the Specialized Cobl Gobl-R, although with even 3mm of seat height making a difference I wouldn't mess with one,

Otherwise only a frame that clears wider tires will help. Most disc brake bikes clear 32mm tires which is the widest Continental GP5000 made. The Trek Domane clears 38mm tires. The OPEN - U.P. combines traditional road geometry, road cranks with low Q factor, and clearance for 55mm tires.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 07-26-20 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 07-26-20, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by cpach View Post
Basically observe the absolute closest place the tire comes to any part of the rest of the bike. Roughly, if you increase the tire width the clearance will decrease by half.

Gatorskins ride relatively rough; try GP 4 Seasons as they are literally the same puncture protection layer with better rubber and casing.

An intermediate cost solution would be tubeless compatible wheels and nice supple tubeless tires like GP5000 TL or Vittoria Corsas (tubeless). Particularly if glass is the issue, you can run way less puncture protection with tubeless because sealant is very effective at sealing small punctures.

Cushier bar tape is pretty cheap, too.
The GP4 Seasons have about 15 Watts more rolling resistance than the GP4000S, don't ride as nice, don't flat appreciably less, and I wore out my pair in half the time.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 07-26-20 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 07-26-20, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by btppberk View Post
Thanks for the replies.

I am 150 lbs running a gatorskin on my back wheel. I had a lot of flats my first years with the bike that scared me off to Gatorskins. Tried 80 / 90 psi on front and back.
Gatorskins are flat resistant tires that don't ride too horribly.

You'll be happier with fast supple tires that aren't too flat prone. Lots of people like the GP4000SII (now GP5000).

Outside the rainy season GP4000s don't flat appreciably more than Gatorskins do for me, and they last just as long.

During the rainy season Gatorskins also pickup @#$$% tire wire, often when the roads are wet and changing flats makes my fingers cold even with nitrile gloves. So I just gave up on them completely.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 07-26-20 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 07-26-20, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by btppberk View Post
There used to be a ton of glass where I lived before. This area looks better. I should give the tires you recommended a try. I wonder if I can maybe fit 28mm after all. How can I tell? Is the gap between the tire and the seat tube the issue? Is there a recommended distance between the two?

Thanks for the educational article.
Different brands are all a bit different. you could buy one 28, and try it on the back. If it doesn't fit, maybe it will fit on the front. so it's not wasted.
The rear brake bridge can also be a tight spot for tires.
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Old 07-26-20, 10:52 AM
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A couple of brands also sell 700x26 tires, although those may fall into the variability range of the 700x25 tires.
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Old 07-26-20, 12:20 PM
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btppberk , this may or may not help your particular problem but I've found that the most comfortable bike is one that fits my anatomy, positioning my bone structure and distributing my weight apropriately to saddle, bars and pedals. I have half a dozen bikes that I regularly ride, they are 1970's and 80's road bikes and all have the same skinny clincher tires pumped to 90-100 psi. On the surface, the variations between them are subtle but I can feel the difference when riding.
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Old 07-26-20, 12:31 PM
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N+1, New Bike with a frame accepting wider tires ... would be a way to make it better, add suspension seat-post & stem if that is not sufficient..

Trek Isospeed feature puts a seat tube damper in the frame, on several models now .. https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/i...trek/isospeed/
Redshift site shows options of several elastomer densities.. harder ones would allow little movement,

I'd think..




..

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Old 07-26-20, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by btppberk View Post
There used to be a ton of glass where I lived before. This area looks better. I should give the tires you recommended a try. I wonder if I can maybe fit 28mm after all. How can I tell? Is the gap between the tire and the seat tube the issue? Is there a recommended distance between the two?

Thanks for the educational article.
I had a FIORI Venezia and it would NOT take a tire larger than 700C 25mm. The issue was the 28mm tire I tried to fit rubbed had against the rear brake bridge or the front fork crown.

If your bike has 27 inch wheels you can swap them for 700C wheels and perhaps a wider tire. You have to make sure that your brake calipers have enough reach to reach the rim of the smaller 700C wheels.

Cheers
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Old 07-26-20, 12:54 PM
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I'm thinking 28mm are out of the question.

Thanks for all the tips about tires, psi, and the like. I'll give the 4000s a try.

I know a frame with larger tire clearance would help, but the wallet is weak.
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Old 07-26-20, 01:51 PM
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Here's a good list of tires with their actual measured mm width. Their measurements may not exactly match with yours mounted on different width rims but adjust accordingly. If you click on the link to each tire it will give you the mounted height as well. https://www.bicyclerollingresistance...d-bike-reviews You could also try moving to a different city since our roads in San Diego are slightly, well.....crap!
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Old 07-26-20, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
Here's a good list of tires with their actual measured mm width. Their measurements may not exactly match with yours mounted on different width rims but adjust accordingly. If you click on the link to each tire it will give you the mounted height as well. https://www.bicyclerollingresistance...d-bike-reviews You could also try moving to a different city since our roads in San Diego are slightly, well.....crap!
I just moved here. So far, there's a lot less glass than my routes in the Bay Area, but I've yet to see the backcountry roads like the GWL.

Isn't it the tire height that's limiting my ability to take larger tires?
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Old 07-26-20, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by btppberk View Post
Isn't it the tire height that's limiting my ability to take larger tires?
Yes it looks that way from the photos and some tires have lower heights per width than others and lighter weight tires have thinner rubber on the tread sometimes giving you another less mm or so in height.
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Old 07-26-20, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by btppberk View Post
I have a 2012 Focus Izalco Pro--everything is stock besides the 25mm tires (which looks about the limit for size). The bike is a bit harsh for the type of cycling I am doing now. Is there anything I can do to improve the ride quality? Would wheels help substantially? Thanks for your help.
If your max is 25mm and that's what you're riding, there's not a lot you can do but drop the air pressure a bit. Going tubeless will help avoid pinch flats at lower pressure. Also, a good "soft" tire like the Vittoria Corsa G+ would help if you're riding a harsher tire.
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Old 07-26-20, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
The GP4 Seasons have about 15 Watts more rolling resistance than the GP4000S, don't ride as nice, don't flat appreciably less, and I wore out my pair in half the time.
This isn't borne out in testing. https://www.bicyclerollingresistance...-4-season-2015 shows about 5.5 watts worse than a GP4000II at 100PSI, though a Gatorskin is really only 2 watts worse. But it scores nearly as good as a Gatorskin in puncture protection tests. A GP4000 has pretty much no active sidewall protection.

I too find a GP4000S to be totally adequate in puncture protection, but I recommend 4 seasons because they definitely feel better than Gatorskins with nearly no downside regarding puncture resistance. I like my current tubeless setup better yet--currently Bontrager R3 TLR, will probably run Speed Corsa 2.0s when these wear out.
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Old 07-26-20, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by cpach View Post
This isn't borne out in testing. https://www.bicyclerollingresistance...-4-season-2015 shows about 5.5 watts worse than a GP4000II at 100PSI, though a Gatorskin is really only 2 watts worse. But it scores nearly as good as a Gatorskin in puncture protection tests. A GP4000 has pretty much no active sidewall protection.
While the GP4000 has little sidewall protection, in 28,000 miles riding them I haven't damaged one. Your mileage may vary.

Per https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/the-test, test measurements are for one tire on a roller at 18 MPH with a 42.5 kg load

Per https://www.bicyclerollingresistance...-4-season-2015

"Dropping air pressure to 100 psi / 6.9 bars results in a rolling resistance of 18.2 watts (GP4000S = 12.9 watts). At a comfortable air pressure of 80 psi / 5.5 bars, rolling resistance is 19.8 watts (GP4000S II = 13.7 watts)."

That's a net difference of 5.3W @ 100 psi, 6.1W @ 80 psi.

Double that for two tires.

On road rolling resistance on good roads is about 10% higher.

Add 11% increasing speed from 18 to 20 MPH.

12.9 - 14.9 W

It's closer to 15W for a pair than 10W.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 07-26-20 at 06:31 PM.
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