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Have you tried a contemporary steel, aluminum or titanium bike?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Have you tried a contemporary steel, aluminum or titanium bike?

Old 05-09-15, 06:24 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by pdedes View Post
custom steel in the lugged frame era for racers isn't that particularly difficult to do. outer diameters of steel tubes were relatively fixed even though internally they could be quite different. cutting and mitring tubes to plug into lugs isn't that hard, neither is the skill to fill the gaps with brass or silver during the brazing process. i would guess the most difficult bit is making sure the frame is square on an alignment table.
Correct. And that is what most custom frame building has been about over the years. Just competently building a frame to size and telling the customer that is was designed especially for them. Not producing a frame that is both crazy stiff at the bottom bracket and head tube and also very light and comfortable. Or any other difficult-to-achieve combination of disparate properties.
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Old 05-09-15, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by pdedes View Post
custom steel in the lugged frame era for racers isn't that particularly difficult to do. outer diameters of steel tubes were relatively fixed even though internally they could be quite different. cutting and mitring tubes to plug into lugs isn't that hard, neither is the skill to fill the gaps with brass or silver during the brazing process. i would guess the most difficult bit is making sure the frame is square on an alignment table.
Right. And custom Ti or CF is pretty much the same. While someone can specify added stiffness or comfort with Ti, it's done by using different diameter tube sets. With CF unless someone wants to pay many thousands of dollars for a new mold, custom CF is just joining tubes the way Parlee, Calfee, Guru and others do.
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Old 05-09-15, 07:56 AM
  #28  
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I forget who did the tubing test where they built identical geometry bikes but with different tubing grades (sl, sp, etc) turns out the subjective testers preferred the ride of SP, the sturdiest grade of columbus tubing used to build race bikes. hmm
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Old 05-09-15, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
Right. And custom Ti or CF is pretty much the same. While someone can specify added stiffness or comfort with Ti, it's done by using different diameter tube sets. With CF unless someone wants to pay many thousands of dollars for a new mold, custom CF is just joining tubes the way Parlee, Calfee, Guru and others do.
With this argument you are ignoring all the metallurgy and manufacturing techniques I mentioned before, which play a big role in the high-end custom bike world and in some advanced mass produced frames. At least with metal, its not just different diameter tubes, its CNC parts and triple butting, hydroforming, tube shaping like bi-ovalizing, 3D printing, specialized welding, etc. Geometry is just a part of it. I assume with carbon you also have different weaves and resins...
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Old 05-09-15, 09:48 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by GuyDebord View Post
With this argument you are ignoring all the metallurgy and manufacturing techniques I mentioned before, which play a big role in the high-end custom bike world and in some advanced mass produced frames. At least with metal, its not just different diameter tubes, its CNC parts and triple butting, hydroforming, tube shaping like bi-ovalizing, 3D printing, specialized welding, etc. Geometry is just a part of it. I assume with carbon you also have different weaves and resins...
Yeah, this thread did get away from your original post. All those things are indeed possible with metal. The question is what builders do that and what is the price? Any metal frame priced more than $3,000 - $4,000 or so painted isn't close to competitive.
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Old 05-09-15, 01:52 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by pdedes View Post
I forget who did the tubing test where they built identical geometry bikes but with different tubing grades (sl, sp, etc) turns out the subjective testers preferred the ride of SP, the sturdiest grade of columbus tubing used to build race bikes. hmm
That would have been Serotta I believe...
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Old 05-09-15, 03:35 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by garysol1 View Post
That would have been Serotta I believe...
Bruce Gordon did a test with identical geometry frames built with Tange Prestige OS and Columbus SL, and the strong majority of folks prefered the Columbus SL
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Old 05-09-15, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by D1andonlyDman View Post
Bruce Gordon did a test with identical geometry frames built with Tange Prestige OS and Columbus SL, and the strong majority of folks prefered the Columbus SL
Interesting. The extra stiffness of the oversize tubes the likely cause of the dislike for the Tange.
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Old 05-09-15, 04:14 PM
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This is a link to the article I alluded to above. Magnificent 7
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Old 02-21-16, 09:55 AM
  #35  
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Contemporary steel: Wraith Fabrications. 16.34 lbs.


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Old 02-21-16, 10:20 AM
  #36  
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Wow, did this thread digress!

So anyway...

2011 Trek Madone 5.9 - CF - H2 geometry yet it beats me up pretty good on my chipped crack sealed roads. For sale right now Ridden with 700 x 25 GP 4000s at 80/90 psi
2009 Scott CR1 Pro - CF -Pretty much the same experience as the Trek despite it's "shock dampening suspension" on the rear. Great climber but selling soon too. Ridden with 700 x 25 GP 4000s at 80/90 psi
2003 Kona Jake the Snake - Aluminum winter/rain bike. Harsh ride but fast. Even running Challenge Bianca Strada 700 x 30 tires at 60/70 it's not a smooth as my steel bikes.
2003 Lemond Toumelet - 853 steel main frame - A joy to ride on the rough roads. It does have a CF fork. You feel the compliance in the rear as you ride over the rough stuff. Ridden with 700 x 25 GP 4000s at 80/90 psi.
2015 Lynsky R265 - Ti - Wow, wow, wow! Rides nicer than my steel over the rough stuff. It does have a CF front fork. Climbed like a dream yesterday but the descent felt less "connected" than I am used to. More comfortable but less in tune with the road is how I would explain it right now. Feels slow to accelerate yet the speed says otherwise. Ridden with 700 x 25 GP 4000s at 80/90 psi
1989 Giordana Antares - Cromor steel - I've only gotten a few rides on this and it seems super smooth. The steel fork seems to float over the rough stuff better than anything else I have. Still, I haven't had this out on many proper rides due to winter road conditions.

Oh, and for the record. I totally believe a good custom builder can make a better bike for an individual. In fact I really can't believe anyone would think otherwise... Now, you define the "better" part.
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Old 02-21-16, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Just taking what the builder give you isn't so attractive.
Right ... whether that builder is building a custom frame, or is a robot in a factory cutting and welding mass-produced frames.

I think the issues can be these: Someone who cannot describe exactly what s/he wants or needs, who has never ridden a custom frame (I have not) and doesn’t really know exactly what geometry s/he wants, and a builder who cannot translate those descriptions into the bike the customer doesn’t even really know s/he wants.

For people who do things like post here “What size do I need?” a custom frame would be unlikely to be really good ... it would be a matter of luck, whereas picking bikes off a rack (so to speak) there is a better chance of getting one pretty close to right ... not that what feels good in the shop will feel good after two or three hours on the road.

On the other hand a rider with a lot of experience who has played around with fit and has ridden various bikes with various geometries, Should be able to tell a custom builder what s/he really does want ... and the builder, by choosing tubing and tube shaping, should be able to build exactly what that rider wants.

I won’t even consider a custom frame, because even though I have ridden a lot of bikes, i still don’t know which would be “best” for me ... I went from really fit to really fat, I rode a bunch of bikes I collected randomly and have no idea what size/geometry they might have been. I couldn’t tell what size I “really” needed (or would need in five years,) and as for geometry, I have Zero clue.

No builder could make the “perfect” bike for me except by sheer luck.

On the other hand, there are a lot of folks out there who have the knowledge and experience to define their desires, and a good builder can shape and assemble tubes to any design ... whether it be a mass-market blueprint or a one-off blueprint.

As with so many BF debates, the terms “better” and "best” and other non-quantifiable terms are lynchpins of the discussion, and logic can only go so far with a discussion based on non-logical, non-quantifiable terms.
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Old 02-21-16, 05:52 PM
  #38  
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2002 Litespeed Ultimate and a similar vintage LeMond Maillot Jaune in Reynolds 853. That might not be right on today's cutting edge but they ride extremely well. Wanted to go "modern" but wanted to stay metallic as it were.

Also can still compare to Reynolds 531. Columbus, Vitus, and that funky hexagonal Columbus Colnago used on their MasterLite series. (I don't get rid of my old bikes).

Like them all but the LS gets the most miles by far.

FWIW.
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Old 02-21-16, 06:03 PM
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My first road bike since a Peugoet PX10le in college was a CAAD 8. It did not have the best ride. I sold it and bought a SuperEvo 6. What a difference. Just as hydroforming has changed automobile design, I was interested in what the CAAD 12 has brought. Be interested to hear from CAAD 12 owners that also have a carbon bike.
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Old 02-21-16, 06:20 PM
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I went from a Domane to a Vamoots CR. The Trek was nice but the Moots feels connected to the road. Just put on some new Vittoria Corsa Graphene + tires in 700x25. It's ready for this ole dog! 

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Old 02-21-16, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
Wow, did this thread digress!


Oh, and for the record. I totally believe a good custom builder can make a better bike for an individual. In fact I really can't believe anyone would think otherwise... Now, you define the "better" part.
Agree, but tangentially to Robert's point, it is higher risk. You (customer) need to know what you want and be able to convey that to the builder. The accuracy of your ability to do that and for the builder to understand that and build it accordingly does make for higher risk.

I have a unique fit issue - long legs, long torso, short arms. I have never had a bike that has fit me as well as the custom frame I have nor had the high ride quality that my current custom stainless frame has. But that was the result of about 8 months of correspondence between the frame builder and as well as careful measurement of my main bike at the time and an evaluation of the fit. From that, I can't find (and haven't been able to find for decades) a bike that fit right and therefore, none of them had as comfortable ride as the bike I have now.

J.
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