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Question about aluminum

Old 11-25-23, 09:07 PM
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Question about aluminum

Was there really an aluminum "breakthrough in processes?" I came across this on ******/cycling. Seems interesting although I hadn't heard about it before.

"There was actually a time through the 80s and into the 90s where aluminum was processed as a very harsh and brittle metal which is where the idea that aluminum has a harsh ride comes from. About the mid 90s or so there was a breakthrough in processes and made a more durable, less brittle aluminum tubing. I want to say it was a Reynolds process but I am not sure on the exacts of it all. Since then aluminum as far as comfort and durability using the same tires at the same pressure has been much better. So there was a definite turning point outside of the tire changes, the tire size changes have simply magnified the effect."


On this ride we swapped bikes for a few miles. The Gary Fisher - maybe 2008 version - rode like a brick. Couldn't wait to get off. On the swap back his comment was, "That bike is too scary." But to be fair, while I was taking the long way around he cut across lawn and gravel. Oh, and I never rode discs before. The first time I hit the brakes I about flew over the bars.

Gary Fisher & RB1 DC National Harbor
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Old 11-25-23, 10:11 PM
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No, there is no new process that makes aluminum ride different.

And to be perfectly clear, "aluminum" doesn't ride harsh. Oversized aluminum rides harsh (Klein, Cannondale), skinny tube aluminum bikes (Vitus) ride soft.

Aluminum is a low density metal, so compared to something like steel, you can decrease weight by increasing the stiffness of the tubing by increasing diameter without making the tube walls too thin for practicality. So making a very light and reasonably stiff bike involves making the tube diameter very large. You can try to do the same with steel, but you end up with dangerously thin tube walls.

Ultimately, the lightest practical bicycle tube is going to be the one that is as wide and thin walled as is possible. Aluminum, magnesium and carbon do this better than titanium or steel. But with the right engineering, all can be very light.


Otherwise, the old aluminum Treks like the 1400 road bike are examples of moderately light, moderately stiff and not harsh riding aluminum bikes. And Cannondale, starting with the 3.0 generation, mixed tube diameters to remove some of the vertical harshness while keeping the drivetrain stiff and light.
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Old 11-25-23, 10:47 PM
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My understanding is that hydroformed aluminum shapes for aluminum frames was the breakthrough over round tubing.

John
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Old 11-25-23, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO
My understanding is that hydroformed aluminum shapes for aluminum frames was the breakthrough over round tubing.

John
Do you know what that breakthrough accomplished?

To this day, round tubes seem to still be the most efficient design for all materials unless you count aerodynamics.
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Old 11-26-23, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
Do you know what that breakthrough accomplished?

To this day, round tubes seem to still be the most efficient design for all materials unless you count aerodynamics.
Specialized “SmartWeld” is a good example, the head lug, for example, is formed from a sheet, that’s been folded back on itself, and also includes stubs of the down and top tubes, kinda like the Electroforged Schwinn frames.
Don’t know if it’s an actual advance, or just a way to make a frame with smooth welds easier than what Cannondale and KLEIN were doing back in the day.

There have been aluminum bikes here and there since the 1940s, but the major breakthrough was the big-diameter, ultra thin-walled tubing that KLEIN and Cannondale deployed in the 1980s, especially with regard to making a very light bike that was also strong. (A Cannondale “2.8” frame clocks almost half a kilo lighter than a same-year Cinelli Supercorsa, the peak steel of the era)

The reputation for early Aluminum bikes being harsh isn’t really due to the material ; but the kind of bike they designed: the 80s breakout bikes for KLEIN and Cannondale, the Quantum and 3.0, respectively, were super-aggressive criterium geometry racing bikes.
The design ethos for high performance bikes of that era was “lighter + stiffer = faster “ and they weren’t much different than their boutique European counterparts, but more accessible, especially in the American market.
Coming from a 70’s sport-tourer to a bike like that would be like trading in your Ford Granada for a Porsche, but instead of a 912, you get a GT3.
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Old 11-26-23, 05:32 AM
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[Editing to point out that Ironfish653 said it all, in fewer words, in his post above this one. I'll leave this post here, though, if only to corroborate his.]

For the nth time:

Read some of the vintage articles that SpeedOfLite has so helpfully posted: specifically, those that assess aluminum bikes, including, among others, road tests of the first-year Cannondale ST-400 and---especially---the comparison of the Trek 570 (steel frame and fork) and Trek 1200 (aluminum frame and steel fork). In both cases, the aluminum bike was praised for its superior comfort.

In fact, the reviewer who compared the Trek aluminum and steel bikes lamented what he saw as the inevitable, more or less rapid and more or less complete disappearance of steel road bikes from bike shop sales floors. Which, of course, is exactly what happened.

I've puzzled over when and how the myth of the uncomfortable aluminum frame originated. My guess:

A significant number of U.S. riders who had started with a Fuji S-10-S or some other sports touring bike in the '70's or early '80's decided to step up to a higher-performance bike in the late '80's. A significant proportion of those riders were attracted to the Cannondale line of bikes. Enthusiastic salespeople (that would have included me at the time) steered them to the latest and greatest: the Cannondale Crit series.

I already owned and raced on a steel Italian criterium-geometry bike, so I was used to the abrupt handling of a super-short-wheelbase bike and loved everything about the Crit series bikes---same handling as the Italian bike, same "comfort" (or lack thereof), but lighter weight.

So (guessing) tens of thousands of riders jumped directly from a sport touring bike with a moderately long wheelbase to what was effectively a track bike with gears and brakes. Of course it was going to feel harsh---exactly as harsh as any steel ultra-short-wheelbase bike.

But while it was true that steel crit bikes rode the same as aluminum crit bikes, only a comparatively tiny number of riders were going to spring for the expensive Italian bike that, in most cases, had to be built from the frame up, usually with an extremely expensive Campagnolo gruppo. And those riders would in almost all cases have been experienced racers, for whom the hard ride was compensated for by the great handling at peloton speeds.

Be that as it may, Cannondale fairly quickly dropped the Crit series from the lineup, no doubt because of complaints from dealers who had fielded complaints from the non-racers who had been suckered into buying those aluminum rockets.

Note that the Italian manufacturers (and the Japanese companies that copied the Italian crit geometry bikes for one or two of their racing models) also quickly dropped the crit-geometry bikes and reverted to their previous designs.

But while no one blamed the steel used in the Italian crit frames for their harsh ride, people whose only exposure to crit geometry was a Cannondale Crit Series bike jumped to the apparently obvious but erroneous conclusion that aluminum bikes ride harshly.

And the myth of harsh-riding aluminum eventually hardened into dogma. It's the bike sideshow among the current black-and-white, us-versus-them, rules/sucks soccer field melees: vinyl versus digital, tubes versus transistors, aluminum versus steel.

Anyway.

There are any number of science-based reconsiderations of the "aluminum frames ride harshly" myth available to read out there, including Sheldon Brown's brisk dismissal of the idea in the page on frames on the Sheldon Brown website. Here's another:

Why It’s Impossible For Steel Frames To Be More Comfortable Than Aluminium

From that article's concluding remarks:

"If you swear black and blue that you can still notice extra comfort in your steel or titanium frame, well, I’m afraid all data suggests it’s just a placebo – which actually isn’t a bad thing if it genuinely works for you!

"When we consider all components that move on a vertical plane, your frame material – be it steel, aluminium, titanium or carbon – will not affect your ride comfort. Not only is frame compliance a small proportion of the overall spring rate, but it also becomes completely insignificant when we calculate out the springs in a series."

Last edited by Trakhak; 11-26-23 at 05:43 AM.
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Old 11-26-23, 06:31 AM
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The idea that aluminum frames are “harsh” is new; throughout the 1980s, one of the main benefits touted for aluminum frames was their comfort and ability to absorb road vibration.
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Old 11-26-23, 06:45 AM
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An interesting point is that aluminium has roughly twice the vibration damping capacity of a carbon-fibre-epoxy composite.

Not that it really matters; were it truly important to any degree, a much better metal for vibration-damping is cast iron and someone would be trying to make money selling frames made of the stuff.
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Old 11-26-23, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
I've puzzled over when and how the myth of the uncomfortable aluminum frame originated.
From the very same vintage articles, just later on in the 1990s which we haven't gotten to yet. Aluminum bikes became significantly stiffer the longer they were in the market as they broke or failed under riders out in the world.

Cannondale itself increased the tubing diameter, and/or changed the butting profile and wall thickness to reduce flexibility of the rear triangle. I don't recall off the top of my head but it was significant - 30%+.

You can see it looking at the catalogs, the 1995 T1000 has significantly larger tubes compared to the 1985 T400. Marginal stiffness exceeding the difference between standard diameter and oversize steel tubing.



This creates what is always the ultimate quandary.

If bicycle magazine editors were correct in praising 1980s aluminum frames for their superior comfort - what are we to make of their notion of the harshness of aluminum bikes after the mid-1990s?
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Old 11-26-23, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
No, there is no new process that makes aluminum ride different.

And to be perfectly clear, "aluminum" doesn't ride harsh. Oversized aluminum rides harsh (Klein, Cannondale), skinny tube aluminum bikes (Vitus) ride soft.

Aluminum is a low density metal, so compared to something like steel, you can decrease weight by increasing the stiffness of the tubing by increasing diameter without making the tube walls too thin for practicality. So making a very light and reasonably stiff bike involves making the tube diameter very large. You can try to do the same with steel, but you end up with dangerously thin tube walls.

Ultimately, the lightest practical bicycle tube is going to be the one that is as wide and thin walled as is possible. Aluminum, magnesium and carbon do this better than titanium or steel. But with the right engineering, all can be very light.


Otherwise, the old aluminum Treks like the 1400 road bike are examples of moderately light, moderately stiff and not harsh riding aluminum bikes. And Cannondale, starting with the 3.0 generation, mixed tube diameters to remove some of the vertical harshness while keeping the drivetrain stiff and light.

I have over 20k miles on a CAAD 3 Cannondale with 23 mm tires.

I currently have over 10k miles on a Trek ALR5, came with 25mm tires.


Both are “fat” tubes. One bike has round tubes, one bike has shaped hydro formed tubes. Geometry is actually fairly close, wheel base is similar.

The ALR hands down, not even close, rides light years better than the Cannondale. It’s smoother, has little or no road buzz, it’s stiff and compliant at the same time. It actually rides better than my 2 CF cyclocross frames and isn’t much worse than my steel Lemond, which is my on 28’s.

On the other hand, the Cannondale was unforgiving, rough, almost brutal ride. But holy crap did it put power to the wheels and handle like it was on rails.

The ALR is now on CF wheels and 28’s - the bike rides and handles very well.

Last edited by Jughed; 11-26-23 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 11-26-23, 07:25 AM
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There's also the issue that for many riders the first experience with an aluminum frame was also their first experience with a 1 1/8" steerer and requisite fork construction. The change in stiffness for forks is well quantified, and often the fork will make the ride as much as the tires. A cyclist buying a steel bike in the early 1990s with 1" steerer, 14mm legs, and then 3-5 years later getting what is essentially an OS aluminum bike with steel fork 1 1/8" steerer, 17mm legs is going to carry a lot of weight to the idea that "wow aluminum is stiff" - when in reality it was more the fork than the frame (material).
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Old 11-26-23, 08:02 AM
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RE: Was there really an aluminum "breakthrough in processes?

Both aluminum and steel use heat treating to make the materials stronger.
As mentioned in an earlier post, wider tubing and shapes allowed thinner tubing and lighter frames.

There is also diff mixes added to the steels to improve
characteristics such as tenacity, fatigue resistance, workability and insensitivity to overheating. https://gravelcycling.wordpress.com/...n-bike-frames/

I can for sure tell the diff between my Italian racer with Dedacci 7003 Heat Treated Aluminum vs my bikes with diff types of steel, TI & carbon. The major diffs are stiffness and road feel (vibration dampening)

YMMV
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Old 11-26-23, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4
The idea that aluminum frames are “harsh” is new; throughout the 1980s, one of the main benefits touted for aluminum frames was their comfort and ability to absorb road vibration.
If by “new” you mean about 1987, I might agree. People have been complaining about the harshness of aluminum for at least 30 years and maybe closer to 40. You are correct that aluminum frames were touted as being batter at absorbing road vibration but the overwhelming opinion of a bunch of loud stick-in-the-muds was that aluminum was harsh, delicate, and would aspolde into a million pieces at the mere touch of the pedals…most of those million pieces are headed towards your eye like heat seeking missiles! You’ll still find that attitude throughout the Bike Forums, although it is mostly confined to here on the Classic and Vintage and in Touring. You can almost hear the gasps of horror when you tell the touring people that you tour on an aluminum bike.

Oddly, the one place where you almost never hear people running down aluminum is in the Mountain Biking section. Mountain bikers accepted aluminum very early on because it was tough and light. Odd that the one aspect of cycling that puts the most strain on the bike frame and the one where the rider is subjected to the most harsh riding conditions doesn’t seem to have a problem with the ride of aluminum.
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Old 11-26-23, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
Do you know what that breakthrough accomplished?

To this day, round tubes seem to still be the most efficient design for all materials unless you count aerodynamics.
I'm not super knowledgeable about this, but I think hydroforming allows makers to use many different shapes. This, in turns, allows each tube to have its individual properties such as resistance to twisting, allowing a tube to be flexible or, on the other hand, allowing a tube to be stiff in a certain direction. I think it can also allow a tube to be stiff in one direction and stiff in another direction. With all this, uh, flexibility in abilities, the bike as a system is possible to design and make in ways that were not previously available. And it strengthens the argument that the material the maker chooses does not predict how a bike rides, if you look at material and only material. The maker has many decisions to make such as tube shape, tube dimensions, and frame geometry. It's the aggregate of these decisions that make a bike act one way or another, and looking at only one factor, frame material, tells a woefully small part of the story.

Aluminum is relatively inexpensive, and that, combined with the many choices that hydroforming offers, allows a maker with a great number of possibilities.

I'm only guessing, but I suspect that aluminum frames are now seeing fewer examples of failure from fatigue because they can be reinforced in areas of stress in ways that were previously unavailable. I hope people here will corroborate or tell me I'm wrong.
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Old 11-26-23, 09:26 AM
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Trakhak said,
"And the myth of harsh-riding aluminum eventually hardened into dogma. It's the bike sideshow among the current black-and-white, us-versus-them, rules/sucks soccer field melees: vinyl versus digital, tubes versus transistors, aluminum versus steel."


As a working musician I have to respond that tubes and solid state in a guitar amp are extremely obvious to the player. Maybe not the audience, but my hands and ears know almost immediately. The rest of this discussion I will simply read and learn.
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Old 11-26-23, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot
From the very same vintage articles, just later on in the 1990s which we haven't gotten to yet. Aluminum bikes became significantly stiffer the longer they were in the market as they broke or failed under riders out in the world.

Cannondale itself increased the tubing diameter, and/or changed the butting profile and wall thickness to reduce flexibility of the rear triangle. I don't recall off the top of my head but it was significant - 30%+.

You can see it looking at the catalogs, the 1995 T1000 has significantly larger tubes compared to the 1985 T400. Marginal stiffness exceeding the difference between standard diameter and oversize steel tubing.
About the rates of failure of different frame materials back then: there's a fascinating ongoing C&V thread where people are reporting their experience with frame failures. So far, the reports seem to be running about 5 or more failed steel frames to each aluminum frame---and the aluminum failures reported include Alan- and Vitus-built small-diameter-tube frames, known for being somewhat failure-prone.

Anecdotal, obviously, but I suspect that the ratio will continue to be roughly the same as the stories continue to roll in. I worked in a couple of the biggest bike stores in the area in the '80's and '90's, and that's about the proportion of damaged frames that I remember.

Cannondale's engineers were working to refine their designs throughout that period: hence the successive CAD---and, later, CAAD---series numbers, prominently labeled on each bike. They'd figured out early on that riding comfort did not decrease with increased structural rigidity and/but that the increased torsional and lateral rigidity did result in improved handling and wheel tracking. And the bikes kept getting lighter!

Originally Posted by Spoonrobot
This creates what is always the ultimate quandary.

If bicycle magazine editors were correct in praising 1980s aluminum frames for their superior comfort - what are we to make of their notion of the harshness of aluminum bikes after the mid-1990s?
One of the articles SpeedOfLite posted was the earliest I've seen where the writer said that a Cannondale racing bike had a particularly hard ride. He blamed the frame but then swapped the tires (23 mm to 25, I think) and said the ride was much improved. Somehow he didn't draw the all-but-obvious conclusion. (The bike under review was a Crit Series, too. See my previous post on that topic.)

There's another little time capsule here: the era when bike tire manufacturers lived and died according to what riders saw in bike magazines. Riders would look at ads, see that, e.g., a Specialized 23-mm tire weighed 50 grams less than another brand's tire of the same dimensions, and buy the Specialized tire. Unbeknownst to that rider, Specialized's tire was 2 or 3 mm narrower than the labeled size.

There's a good chance, in other words, that that Cannondale's 23-mm tires, so-called, were actually 21 mm, 20 mm, or even 19 mm in width.

The bike magazines eventually caught on and began including both the weight and the measured inflated width of tires in their reviews. (I could be wrong, but I seem to remember that Continental was one of the few companies that had labeled their tires accurately all along.)
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Old 11-26-23, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
Do you know what that breakthrough accomplished?

To this day, round tubes seem to still be the most efficient design for all materials unless you count aerodynamics.
I would need to discuss cross-sectional shapes and advantages at different points in a frame design with an actual engineer for more than just a guess.

I do know that someone would be hard pressed to find a modern aluminum frame MTB constructed entirely round tubes. And few people riding upright wide bars on trails give a hoot about aerodynamics.

John
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Old 11-26-23, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I'm not super knowledgeable about this, but I think hydroforming allows makers to use many different shapes. This, in turns, allows each tube to have its individual properties such as resistance to twisting, allowing a tube to be flexible or, on the other hand, allowing a tube to be stiff in a certain direction. I think it can also allow a tube to be stiff in one direction and stiff in another direction. With all this, uh, flexibility in abilities, the bike as a system is possible to design and make in ways that were not previously available. And it strengthens the argument that the material the maker chooses does not predict how a bike rides, if you look at material and only material. The maker has many decisions to make such as tube shape, tube dimensions, and frame geometry. It's the aggregate of these decisions that make a bike act one way or another, and looking at only one factor, frame material, tells a woefully small part of the story.

Aluminum is relatively inexpensive, and that, combined with the many choices that hydroforming offers, allows a maker with a great number of possibilities.

I'm only guessing, but I suspect that aluminum frames are now seeing fewer examples of failure from fatigue because they can be reinforced in areas of stress in ways that were previously unavailable. I hope people here will corroborate or tell me I'm wrong.
hydroforming aluminum elements on a bike frame are often to facilitate suspension pick up points.
‘not all but that shows where it found a exploit.

I was able to test ride at a bike race in the Fall of 1975 - the new Klein. Steel fork at the time. When I dismounted and my opinion was sought, I declared THIS is the future of the criterium bike.
‘not the weight, but the satisfaction that all your work was making it to the road. Stiffest bike I had ever been able to ride. I was not sure that this would be a all day road bike, geometry could be modified but darn it was stiff.
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Old 11-26-23, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO
My understanding is that hydroformed aluminum shapes for aluminum frames was the breakthrough over round tubing.

John
I think this is true. Auto manufacturers use this method to create shapes that are stronger in one plane, more compliant in others. Specialized says they use this process for many aluminum frames. I do know my Spec. Chisel is a very forgiving ride, doesn’t ride at all like old school big round tubed aluminum. .
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Old 11-26-23, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
I have over 20k miles on a CAAD 3 Cannondale with 23 mm tires.

I currently have over 10k miles on a Trek ALR5, came with 25mm tires.


Both are “fat” tubes. One bike has round tubes, one bike has shaped hydro formed tubes. Geometry is actually fairly close, wheel base is similar.

The ALR hands down, not even close, rides light years better than the Cannondale. It’s smoother, has little or no road buzz, it’s stiff and compliant at the same time. It actually rides better than my 2 CF cyclocross frames and isn’t much worse than my steel Lemond, which is my on 28’s.

On the other hand, the Cannondale was unforgiving, rough, almost brutal ride. But holy crap did it put power to the wheels and handle like it was on rails.

The ALR is now on CF wheels and 28’s - the bike rides and handles very well.
Perfect illustration of what I posted earlier: a CAD 3 with criterium geometry is always going to feel less "comfortable" than any bike with a longer wheelbase, regardless of frame material. (And regardless of "hydroforming," etc.)

(In the tests cited in the article I linked earlier, for the vertical load tested, the Cannondale aluminum frame and the titanium frame differed in compliance by an amount equivalent to the thickness of two or three sheets of paper. No one could seriously claim to be able to feel that difference.)

And the crit geometry is also responsible for that the bike will "handle like it was on rails." That's really the thing that I loved about my crit geometry bikes, both steel and aluminum, and what made it worthwhile putting up with the, ahem, "lively" ride.

Bringing the topic of comfort versus frame material and geometry (i.e., wheelbase measurement) up to date, the irony is that by labeling current bike designs "gravel" or "endurance" or the equivalent, the manufacturers get to sell more-comfortable (i.e., longer-wheelbase) bikes---in other words, bikes with 40-year-old sport touring geometry.

Those bikes are also a bit heavier, but a sizable proportion of the aging population buying such bikes tends to be looking for comfort and worrying less about light weight. (Which is great, from the manufacturer's standpoint---other things equal, the heavier the bikes at a given price point, the fewer the warranty claims.)

Last edited by Trakhak; 11-26-23 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 11-26-23, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster
Trakhak said,
"And the myth of harsh-riding aluminum eventually hardened into dogma. It's the bike sideshow among the current black-and-white, us-versus-them, rules/sucks soccer field melees: vinyl versus digital, tubes versus transistors, aluminum versus steel."


As a working musician I have to respond that tubes and solid state in a guitar amp are extremely obvious to the player. Maybe not the audience, but my hands and ears know almost immediately. The rest of this discussion I will simply read and learn.
Agreed, except for (finally!) the current crop of modelers. I have no interest in buying one, but plenty of people who have been playing guitar as long as you and I have are buying them and happily going ampless on stage, using in-ear monitors.

They sometimes even get their drummer to go for an electronic kit. In this era of noise level restrictions being increasingly enforced for live bands (but, often, not for DJs, which is a whole other topic), that's a savvy way to ensure an easy-to-control mix and volume level, which makes club owners happy and increases the likelihood of being booked in the same venue repeatedly.

By the way, if you happened to find yourself playing on Broadway in Nashville in the last year or two and used a house amp, there's a good chance you'd have been playing through a Fender Tonemaster Twin or Deluxe. Fender had had the brilliant idea of designing painstakingly accurate software versions of the amps, and stopping there. Those amps were the result.

No Marshall or Vox models in the same amp, no endless chains of effects. Just the one amp model for each, with the same cosmetics, the same cabinet, and the same control panel responding the same way. Everything the same.

From what I read, the first week or so that the Tonemaster amps were on stage at one venue, someone saw the nameplate and objected. So the stage manager pulled the nameplate off. The same amp was subsequently used by countless guitarists---Nashville guitarists!---who didn't suspect that it had a digital front end.
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Old 11-26-23, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
Perfect illustration of what I posted earlier: a CAD 3 with criterium geometry is always going to feel less "comfortable" than any bike with a longer wheelbase, regardless of frame material. (And regardless of "hydroforming," etc.)

(In the tests cited in the article I linked earlier, for the vertical load tested, the Cannondale aluminum frame and the titanium frame differed in compliance by an amount equivalent to the thickness of two or three sheets of paper. No one could seriously claim to be able to feel that difference.)

And the crit geometry is also responsible for that the bike will "handle like it was on rails." That's really the thing that I loved about my crit geometry bikes, both steel and aluminum, and what made it worthwhile putting up with the, ahem, "lively" ride.

Bringing the topic of comfort versus frame material and geometry (i.e., wheelbase measurement) up to date, the irony is that by labeling current bike designs "gravel" or "endurance" or the equivalent, the manufacturers get to sell more-comfortable (i.e., longer-wheelbase) bikes---in other words, bikes with 40-year-old sport touring geometry.

Those bikes are also a bit heavier, but a sizable proportion of the aging population buying such bikes tends to be looking for comfort and worrying less about light weight. (Which is great, from the manufacturer's standpoint---other things equal, the heavier the bikes at a given price point, the fewer the warranty claims.)
11mm shorter than the Emonda. Only 4.6mm of that is in the frame, the rest is in the fork rake/angle.

Can 4.6mm make that big of a difference in ride quality?
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Old 11-26-23, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
Agreed, except for (finally!) the current crop of modelers. I have no interest in buying one, but plenty of people who have been playing guitar as long as you and I have are buying them and happily going ampless on stage, using in-ear monitors.

They sometimes even get their drummer to go for an electronic kit. In this era of noise level restrictions being increasingly enforced for live bands (but, often, not for DJs, which is a whole other topic), that's a savvy way to ensure an easy-to-control mix and volume level, which makes club owners happy and increases the likelihood of being booked in the same venue repeatedly.

By the way, if you happened to find yourself playing on Broadway in Nashville in the last year or two and used a house amp, there's a good chance you'd have been playing through a Fender Tonemaster Twin or Deluxe. Fender had had the brilliant idea of designing painstakingly accurate software versions of the amps, and stopping there. Those amps were the result.

No Marshall or Vox models in the same amp, no endless chains of effects. Just the one amp model for each, with the same cosmetics, the same cabinet, and the same control panel responding the same way. Everything the same.

From what I read, the first week or so that the Tonemaster amps were on stage at one venue, someone saw the nameplate and objected. So the stage manager pulled the nameplate off. The same amp was subsequently used by countless guitarists---Nashville guitarists!---who didn't suspect that it had a digital front end.
I've played through them. They don't suck, but they don't sing.
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Old 11-26-23, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
11mm shorter than the Emonda. Only 4.6mm of that is in the frame, the rest is in the fork rake/angle.

Can 4.6mm make that big of a difference in ride quality?
Wheelbase is wheelbase; there's no reason to separate the contributions of the frame and the fork to the wheelbase measurement. The frame designer certainly didn't.

And yes, you (and I) can feel that 11-mm difference in wheelbase. That would be the case even if a rider's position were to be reproduced identically and the saddle and handlebars and wheels and tires were identical. All of which is seldom the case for any given rider.

Just measured my fixed-gear bike and my current road bike, which both happen to be sitting nearby. The fixed-gear bike, which handles like a dream and might be my all-time favorite, has a wheelbase of a little over 97 cm. My road bike, which rides well but not quite as well for my taste as the fixed-gear bike, has a 98-cm wheelbase. (Both 54 cm nominal size, both aluminum, with a carbon fork on the road bike and a straight-blade aluminum fork on the fixed-gear bike, FWIW.)

I'm glad this topic came up. I never bothered checking the measurements before.
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Old 11-26-23, 12:07 PM
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My 1991 Cannondale SR600 with 25mm GP5000s at 95 psi is not harsh riding. Nor is my 1986 RS800 with 25mm GP4000s at 95psi.

Don't forget that if you ride aluminum, regularly check for cracks
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