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LastPlace 09-17-05 08:47 PM

Hypothetical Question.............
All other things being equal, (which they seldom are), what is the most comfortable
bike riding material?

Given a group of road bikes with the same geometry, no springs or suspension,
'without regard to weight' , what would be smoothest? Would it be steel, carbon,
aluminum, or titanium?

Yes, I understand that the twenty something weight weenies would want the least
flex, most power option, but this is the 'Fifty Plus Forum' so lets presume a bike made
for centuries.

This is not intended to start a pissing match, I'm just sitting around after having
ridden my first fundraising ride and wondering what type of bike material would have
made those 40 miles easier.

Open up another beer and build your dream bike.....just don't expect me to pay for it.


GrannyGear 09-17-05 09:08 PM

A quick're taking us into the realm of differences in feel, performance, and worth that are marginal to some, worth dying for to others, and sometimes so relative and dependent on so many variables that no definitive answer may be possible.

For myself, I ride a Rivendell Romulus lugged steel and the fit/geometry (probably more important than material) works wonderfully for the longish, hilly rides I like to snail around on. Yet I've never ridden any other material except aluminum which seemed "dull" (nice, evocative but meaningless word) to me. To buy and live with a cutting edge material bike would be expensive and maybe result in little noticable improvement. But, I sometimes speculate, it might be worth trying....always hoping for some bike gear miracle that matches the hype. Like you, I remain confused and hesitant.

Pretty long non-answer huh? Hope others can be more satisfying. 8-)

LastPlace 09-17-05 09:31 PM


One of the things that made me ask this question is that I was just looking at
the Rivendell site. They appear to be beautiful bikes but I have yet to see one
here in Columbia, SC.


DnvrFox 09-17-05 09:37 PM

The answer is not in the material but in the expectations of the rider, the weight and build of the rider, the performance, the terrain, the riding style.

The variables and intangibles are so vast that no definitive answer is possible.


GrannyGear 09-17-05 09:56 PM

Last Place,
Go to the Riv site, scroll down the sidebar (News and Events I believe its titled) till you come to a small link to "Rivendell Forum". That's the place to go for questions about the frames, bikes, attitudes, etc. of Riv. Bikes. Rivendell is a niche brand, not for racing, but lovely, long riding highly practical and downright pretty or elegant bikes for people (not specifically racers) who just like to ride a lot. Traditional frames, thoughtful geometries, functional parts choices......sorta retro without being dumbly stubborn. Sometimes they go over the top-- e.g. 650B wheel sizes, etc... but they do offer some sweet alternatives to Trek Madones. I've never heard of a failed frame or lack of customer enthusiasm; they love to answer questions over the phone or email has been my experience.

Mostly they sell bikes mail-order from Walnut Creek, CA. Go to the forums and post any questions. Certainly worth a look if you don't see yourself riding a carbon compact with a 2 oz. saddle and lot of attitude 8-)

For my style of riding, my Romulus is sweet....a cheaper knock-off of their $$ custom frames.

sch 09-17-05 10:09 PM

My Rotator pursuit is way more comfy than the Ti or carbon road frames i also ride.

FarHorizon 09-18-05 12:19 AM

I believe that material matters less than thickness and geometry. A fine century bike can be made of ANY of the materials that you specify. The geometry and thicknesses that are "best" for any one of the materials would be different to achieve the same effect in another. That being the case, the "all other things being equal" premise you specify can't be used.

I've built steel frames in the past, and may do so again in the future. Steel frames can feel any way you want them to if the builder is skilled enough. This statement is probably true for all other materials as well.

Others may disagree with this opinion, but IMHO, I don't think your question can be answered in the form stated.

LastPlace 09-18-05 09:04 AM

Apparently I've just asked, 'How high is up', or 'How do you dig half a hole'?


RabidCyclist 09-18-05 10:50 AM

HHmmm.. What if there were no Hypothetical Questions?

>Faster than the Speed of Dark<

DnvrFox 09-18-05 11:44 AM


Originally Posted by LastPlace
Apparently I've just asked, 'How high is up', or 'How do you dig half a hole'?


We all know that if you ask a hypothetical question, all you are going to get is hypothetical responses! :D

zonatandem 09-18-05 12:02 PM

Being in my 70s and having pedaled over 1/4 million miles and having owned/ridden steel, alu, ti and carbon fiber . . .
. . . my biased and unhypothetical opinion is carbon fiber. Own a custom ariZona c/f single; it's a great handling bike, great frame material!

LastPlace 09-18-05 04:14 PM


Thanks a bunch. I was hoping someone with experience with all bike materials would
respond. Is ariZona a brand?


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