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Old Cannondale Stiffness Question

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Old Cannondale Stiffness Question

Old 04-30-22, 12:49 PM
  #26  
pfriedl
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I've got an M800 and love the feel of the frame. I've test ridden a few of the new aluminum frames and honestly, can't see much difference
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Old 05-10-22, 07:46 PM
  #27  
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My first "real" road bike that I purchased after I got back into cycling as a 40 year old was one of the cantilever dropout R series Cannondales. Down tube shaped like a baseball bat, raw aluminum polished to a mirror finish, with 700x23 tires pumped up to the max. So fast, but so punishing...I wanted to love that bike but couldn't get there. Heard stories about mid-80's Treks...found a 1987 Trek 560 and started my love affair with lugged steel.


Fast forward to 2 weeks ago when I found an LL Bean branded 1984 ST-400 for sale locally for cheap. A true barn find with an OG Cannondale rear rack. Stripped off the stem, narrow bars, half-step double and dry rotted 27x1.25's, replaced them with a Nitto Noodle, Tallux Stem, Deore triple and some 700x35 Hutchinson Overrides and I'm in all-conditions heaven.


No harshness at all. I'm doing the Cross New Hampshire Adventure Trail in late June...and this will be my ride.
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Old 05-18-22, 10:54 AM
  #28  
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Iím convinced it was the time period that Cannondale started making frames that started it. Itís the mid 80ís, you want a NEW BIKE!!! And you come across Cannondale, the ďRocket BikeĒ!

So you save your nickels and buy yourself a new whip. You hop off your old bike, likely a slackish 70s boom bike and on to your state of the art Cannondale SR300! WHOA! You feel every bump in the road!! Must be those Coke can tubes!

I think itís just that Road geometry was getting tighter in the 80ís and Crit frames were becoming a thingÖ race geometry of the 70s was pretty close to current touring angles, and having the back wheel tucked up under the seat sends every jolt into your hips and spine. The ST frames with longer chain stays rock the rider forward instead of bumping them straight up. But touring was on itís way out by then. Most companies were cutting back on the touring bike to make way for the racy bikes. So customers were ditching their multi purpose machines for more racing specific designs, and itís the change in design that caused the harsh ride feel more than the change in material.
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Old 05-20-22, 07:33 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Chr0m0ly
Iím convinced it was the time period that Cannondale started making frames that started it. Itís the mid 80ís, you want a NEW BIKE!!! And you come across Cannondale, the ďRocket BikeĒ!

So you save your nickels and buy yourself a new whip. You hop off your old bike, likely a slackish 70s boom bike and on to your state of the art Cannondale SR300! WHOA! You feel every bump in the road!! Must be those Coke can tubes!

I think itís just that Road geometry was getting tighter in the 80ís and Crit frames were becoming a thingÖ race geometry of the 70s was pretty close to current touring angles, and having the back wheel tucked up under the seat sends every jolt into your hips and spine. The ST frames with longer chain stays rock the rider forward instead of bumping them straight up. But touring was on itís way out by then. Most companies were cutting back on the touring bike to make way for the racy bikes. So customers were ditching their multi purpose machines for more racing specific designs, and itís the change in design that caused the harsh ride feel more than the change in material.
Ahh. That's a great theory; in that it might not have been soo much the coke can tube design, but moreso a change-over to steeper angels making it feel stiffer because of the newly felt road vibrations that they previously never felt because their boom bikes had massive fork rakes and longer stays... Interesting. So that's where the super stiff 'feel' might have came from... I see.

How do you think a premium Italian steel frame would feel compared to the coke can frame with the exact same geometry?
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Old 05-20-22, 10:00 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61
I was a steel is real purist until I acquired a battered '86 ST400 with a replacement steel fork and a hodge-podge/dog's breakfast parts mix. I repacked everything and put on some 32 mm Paselas. It is simply magical on those tires, no hint of harshness, and wow is it awesome on mixed road rides!
I've built 2 ST's for others, never rode either one an inch.
Both owners are solid fans; one uses Arabesque on his, the other updated to 2x10.
They were both stripped, powder-coated, re-decaled, and the owners felt they were still bargains.
Both owners have older steel road bikes and newer carbon, which gives them perspective.
I've had Cannondale both harsh and smooth; the build likely made a difference.
I have a Klein that is a better riding frame than my modern aluminum Felt.

Like many bikes, the geometry, seat post, fork, stem, bars, and wheelset can make a huge difference.
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Old 05-20-22, 10:04 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by buddiiee
I meant did Cannondale make their road bike frames more compliant over the years to address any consumer's complaints that it may be a bit too stiff?
Based on my experience, their bikes became smoother because either they listened or something else happened. They definitely improved over time.
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Old 05-20-22, 10:29 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by bamboobike4
I've had Cannondale both harsh and smooth; the build likely made a difference.
Absolutely. I've written a couple of times why it is extremely unlikely from a phsics point of view to notice harshness of the frame, so i wont repeat that, but i have a theory why the idea exists.

People were riding bikes which were equipped with "built" wheels lots of spokes triple-cross lace, maybe even tubular, with a big fat comfy saddle, a Turbo or a Rolls, a 1" shaft fork with a 1" quill stem

They then sat on a Cannondale or Klein, which had Cosmics or Shamals mounted, a new Flite or Ferrari Saddle, and maybe even a 1 1/8 fork with an Ahead stem. Naturally, this felt harder, only the frame is the last one to blame; but everyone looked at those fat tubes and concluded "that must be the reason".
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Old 05-20-22, 11:01 AM
  #33  
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I'm a Cannondale fan, especially of the mid-90s touring frames. Below is my take on the alleged harshness.
Only the third item in the list hasn't been mentioned before, and I'd like to know what y'all think about this.

(i) There is no vertical give in the rear triangle of any frame, aluminum or steel, when compared to the elasticity of the tires. Compressed air vs. solid metal, which one yields first?
(ii) The perception that "every bump is transmitted" is certainly there, depending on the details of the setup, but is mostly a function of tire pressure and frame geometry.
(iii) The aluminum frames sound different than steel, or maybe they "transmit sound" differently than steel does.
Any kind of rattling from the pannier against the rack is mighty loud on my T400, compared to my steel tourer, and it's not a pleasant sound.
Nobody makes bells out of aluminum, bike or church. I wonder if that is what causes people to perceive aluminum as harsh.

cheers -mathias
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Old 05-20-22, 01:45 PM
  #34  
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One of the most consistent things I ever read about aluminum frames was how they "damped road vibration." "Harsh" was not a word I remember reading in old bike reviews of aluminum frames.
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