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Old 09-20-09, 09:21 PM   #1
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Frame for potholes?

I've noticed recently on the local craigslist that people are using a line close to "ideal for Denver streets and their potholes" in reference to steel frames, this got me wonder a few things.

First it must be some moron who is going around running into potholes and then thinking, "its okay i've got a steel frame" and second is there much truth to steel being "better" for "bumpy" (I am saying bumpy city streets, not potholes deep chucks) for any real reason?
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Old 09-20-09, 09:29 PM   #2
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Minnesota is the pothole capital of the world. There are rumors of unlucky people venturing into one of these never to be seen or heard from again.
What you describe sounds like advertising ploy. All exaggerating aside, potholes generally damage wheelsets, not frames.
Personally, I find carbon best for road rattle, then steel, lastly aluminum. YMMV......
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Old 09-21-09, 03:00 AM   #3
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It depends on how the frame is constructed, and more importantly: What tires are being used. Fat tires run at lower psi provides the best ride for crappy streets regardless of frame material.

That being said, I agree with experience has been the same.
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Old 09-21-09, 04:07 AM   #4
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If you're hitting the potholes, the best for durability and comfort would be a quality full suspension mountain bike (with carbon frame if you've got an extra kidney.)

Best bike for comfort on crappy roads while avoiding potholes would be a carbon frame with very wide tires.

For a reasonable cost, a steel frame with very wide tires would be the best, again if you're not hitting the potholes.

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Old 09-21-09, 09:06 AM   #5
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I'll add...being from Denver...that the way you ride has more effect on the ride quality than the frame does. If you sit with your butt planted like a ficus, every bump is going to go right through the frame and into

If, on the other hand, you ride like your legs and arms are the best shock absorbers your bike can possess, your ride will be as smooth as can be. You bike will bounce around under you but your body...being a large sprung weight...will float like on a cushion of air.

The order of importance for soft rides is

1. Legs and arms
2. Suspension system
3. Tires
and a very distant 4th: frame material.
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Old 09-21-09, 09:16 AM   #6
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Prioritizing from survival to comfort:

Strong rims and fatter tires to help protecting rims. Decent hubs. Higher number of spokes. Steel or carbon fork. Whatever it takes to take the edge off the impact. The rider will feel the jolt no matter what, and in my experience my wrists tend to take it worse than my butt. It is always possible to post out of the saddle, softening the grip on the handlebars could be iffy at times. That's why I run my front tire about 10-15 psi lower than back one.

Ride safe


P.S. Thank you, cyccommute, for exploring the rider's part of equation. Frame should fit, preferably not weigh a ton, and that's just about it.

Last edited by sci_femme; 09-21-09 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 09-21-09, 10:21 AM   #7
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Denver potholes?

Denver has potholes, sure, but I've ridden in way worse.

An aluminum frame works just fine for for potholes. I ride my aluminum frame in the worst of it through Denver.
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