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Modern Steel Road Bike Appreciation Thread

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Modern Steel Road Bike Appreciation Thread

Old 02-03-16, 10:34 AM
  #601  
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Sloping top tubes are one of the most important improvements in frame design ever.
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Old 02-03-16, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Sloping top tubes are one of the most important improvements in frame design ever.
Certainly from a "fit" point of view, it's massively better than the oppressive testicle compressing flat tube frames of old.

Also I tend to think that the "sloping top tube" ship has sailed and those complaining about them might do better to post about it in C&V.
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Old 02-03-16, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
There should be some kind of rule banning sloping top tubes on steel frames.
People like me with short legs appreciate them. I ride a M frame with zero extra room for standover. With a horizontal TT I'd have to be on a small which with a stupid long stem and setback post.
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Old 02-03-16, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by EnzoRWD View Post
My most modern steel roadie, 2001 or 2003 frameset. Is that modern?
I'd say that, with a threaded steerer and steel fork, it wasn't even modern in '01 or '03, so no, not modern now.
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Old 02-03-16, 11:05 AM
  #605  
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Originally Posted by dmcdam View Post
People like me with short legs appreciate them. I ride a M frame with zero extra room for standover. With a horizontal TT I'd have to be on a small which with a stupid long stem and setback post.
You are right about the stem needing to be longer with a smaller frame due to a horizontal top tube. But you have made a very common error regarding the setback of the seatpost. It doesn't matter whether you get to the saddle height by long seat tube and short seat post extension or vice-versa, the saddle is in the same position. All that affects the saddle setback is the seat tube angle and the total distance from the bottom bracket. As long as the S frame and M frame would have the same STA, then you could use the same seatpost with the saddle rails in exactly the same place in the clamps. For every 1 degree slacker STA, you need to bring the saddle forward (however) by 1 cm (about). For 1 degree steeper STA, you have to move the saddle back about 1 cm. Assuming you want the saddle position relative to the BB to remain unchanged.
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Old 02-03-16, 11:08 AM
  #606  
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Any fit benefits of sloping TTs are completely coincidental to the intent of compact frame design, which was to increase stiffness and responsiveness of frames. After all, sloping TTs have been around a very long time, we just used to call them "mixte." There was nothing to stop builders in the past from spec'ing longer TTs, lower TTs, or anything else, aside from fashion. Compact design was not conceived as an alternate fashion, but as a way to make better race bikes.
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Old 02-03-16, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Any fit benefits of sloping TTs are completely coincidental to the intent of compact frame design, which was to increase stiffness and responsiveness of frames. After all, sloping TTs have been around a very long time, we just used to call them "mixte." There was nothing to stop builders in the past from spec'ing longer TTs, lower TTs, or anything else, aside from fashion. Compact design was not conceived as an alternate fashion, but as a way to make better race bikes.
All true. But I never said that all of the advantages of the sloping top tube revolution were intentional. Bottom line, the fit advantage of the sloping top tube bike is real, whether intended or not. Of course, it is true (and not such an improvement) that sloping top tubes allow fewer sizes in a product line to cover the same range of riders. That, I think, was intentional.

And of course, the taller head tube (reaching above the top tube) with the top tube staying horizontal is another possibility that we see occasionally now. lots of ways to skin the cat.
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Old 02-03-16, 11:23 AM
  #608  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
There should be some kind of rule banning sloping top tubes on steel frames.
Why? Easier to make frame lighter, better step over clearance etc... Looks cooler.

Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Sloping top tubes are one of the most important improvements in frame design ever.
Agree.

J
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Old 02-03-16, 12:26 PM
  #609  
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
All true. But I never said that all of the advantages of the sloping top tube revolution were intentional. Bottom line, the fit advantage of the sloping top tube bike is real, whether intended or not. Of course, it is true (and not such an improvement) that sloping top tubes allow fewer sizes in a product line to cover the same range of riders. That, I think, was intentional.

And of course, the taller head tube (reaching above the top tube) with the top tube staying horizontal is another possibility that we see occasionally now. lots of ways to skin the cat.
I guess my point is that so-called "fit benefits" are not to do with sloping TTs at all, because they don't do anything for fit which couldn't be, and often are, achieved by other means, and so what we're really talking about are "fashion benefits," as some people don't want "stupid long" stems or setback seat posts.

Further, cheering a development which has, in many cases, decreased the range of fit tuning opportunities by decreasing the number of frame variations (e.g. sizes) available in a given model, as a "fit benefit," strikes me as very odd indeed.

To elaborate, whereas now we may have a compact range of S, M, L and XL, that's 4 wheelbase variations at best. In the level TT days, it wasn't uncommon to have 8 or more frame sizes, ranging from 49cm up to 62cm, most offering a multiplicity of size specific variations on wheelbase, HT and ST angles, HT length, and even chainstay and BB drop. There are still producers offering this today.

So from a "fit benefits" perspective, it's very hard for me to see how compact design in general, let alone sloping TTs, have provided any benefits at all.
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Old 02-03-16, 12:29 PM
  #610  
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Sloping top tubes are stupid and ugly. On a steel bike it's worse than ugly. Factual opinion and not debatable.
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Old 02-03-16, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Sloping top tubes are stupid and ugly. On a steel bike it's worse than ugly. Factual opinion and not debatable.
I won't debate they're not ugly-- although as an old MTB dude from back in the golden era, I'm probably more inclined towards the look than old roadies-- but compact design has probably done more to improve the performance of steel bikes than it has for any other material. So stupid? No.
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Old 02-03-16, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Sloping top tubes are stupid and ugly. On a steel bike it's worse than ugly. Factual opinion and not debatable.
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Old 02-03-16, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Look at Masi gettin' in on the game!

I know they've had steel bikes on offer all the while, but USA made, TIG welded, race geo, and pictured with a frame fit...?!?! That's steppin' up to capitalize on what is clearly an identifiable and emerging view of what's cool. I like it!

Out with the old...



in the with the new...

top bike is 10x sexier than bottom bike.
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Old 02-03-16, 01:21 PM
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Unrelated to the bikes - but I've seen other companies use those excessively dark photos for their products. Why obscure it? Am I wrong to assume most people want to see the details of the frame?
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Old 02-03-16, 01:25 PM
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IIRC the trend toward sloping top tubes started with MTBs, and then Giant started designing road bikes with sloping top tubes primarily to reduce distribution inventory by making fewer sizes that fit more people. The fact that there are other benefits like near infinite flexibility in frame angles and stiffer, lighter frames was coincidental to the initial goal of reducing inventory.

Originally Posted by Richard Sachs
i'll get flamed for this, but "compact frame" is the term given to all stepchildren of Giant bicycle's early 90s attempt at a three-sizes-fits-most mentality.
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Old 02-03-16, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
top bike is 10x sexier than bottom bike.
And still available. About $1100 retail, but I know threadless only will kill it for some. I think it looks great with that stem, though.
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Old 02-03-16, 01:30 PM
  #617  
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Actually, both the Masis have sloping top tubes. The old model slopes slightly down in front, the new model slightly down in back. Guess we'd better break out the torches and cut them up for their heresies.
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Old 02-03-16, 01:51 PM
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Can't remember if I posted this one:



I wish they actually built them in Austin though. That's the one off the rack steel bike I would pull the trigger on.

Last edited by Jarrett2; 02-03-16 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 02-03-16, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
I guess my point is that so-called "fit benefits" are not to do with sloping TTs at all, because they don't do anything for fit which couldn't be, and often are, achieved by other means, and so what we're really talking about are "fashion benefits," as some people don't want "stupid long" stems or setback seat posts.

Further, cheering a development which has, in many cases, decreased the range of fit tuning opportunities by decreasing the number of frame variations (e.g. sizes) available in a given model, as a "fit benefit," strikes me as very odd indeed.

To elaborate, whereas now we may have a compact range of S, M, L and XL, that's 4 wheelbase variations at best. In the level TT days, it wasn't uncommon to have 8 or more frame sizes, ranging from 49cm up to 62cm, most offering a multiplicity of size specific variations on wheelbase, HT and ST angles, HT length, and even chainstay and BB drop. There are still producers offering this today.

So from a "fit benefits" perspective, it's very hard for me to see how compact design in general, let alone sloping TTs, have provided any benefits at all.
When you're right, you're right. Not all the fit benefits accrue to the riders. As you point out, some of them accrue to the manufacturer and retailer. And that is not where my interest lies, and not yours either I would guess.

In fairness to Giant, they do offer I think six sizes from XS to XL. Not too bad. Since their M falls right on top of most 54 cm frames in fit, I have no complaints with their offering.
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Old 02-03-16, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
[re: sloping toptube]Looks cooler.
I just threw up a little in my mouth.
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Old 02-03-16, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
I won't debate they're not ugly-- although as an old MTB dude from back in the golden era, I'm probably more inclined towards the look than old roadies-- but compact design has probably done more to improve the performance of steel bikes than it has for any other material. So stupid? No.
I was in my first MTB race in '93 and I still think it's butt ugly on road bikes. With zero performance benefit.
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Old 02-03-16, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Actually, both the Masis have sloping top tubes. The old model slopes slightly down in front
Mmmyeah no it doesn't
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Old 02-03-16, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I was in my first MTB race in '93 and I still think it's butt ugly on road bikes. With zero performance benefit.
I guess we have all read each other's opinions about this by now.
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Old 02-03-16, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Scooper View Post
IIRC the trend toward sloping top tubes started with MTBs, and then Giant started designing road bikes with sloping top tubes primarily to reduce distribution inventory by making fewer sizes that fit more people. The fact that there are other benefits like near infinite flexibility in frame angles and stiffer, lighter frames was coincidental to the initial goal of reducing inventory.



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I think Sachs' iconoclastic perspective suits him, but it really misses the mark. It is true that sloping top tubes and compact geometry had its start in the MTB world, but as a performance enhancer, not a production economizer.

Jacquie Phelan, who takes exception to the oft-repeated claim that Giant invented compact geometry, stakes out the claim that her Charlie Cunningham built bikes had the design elements long before, but without the benefit of a marketing department! But more importantly, she cites it was the performance benefits which inspired Charlie's hand-built, one-off machines, not the notion that they reduced distribution inventory.

Further, Giant introduced production of the compact geo not on their highest volume bikes initially, where of course they had the highest economies to gain where that, in fact, their goal to do so. No, the compact geo was launched first on their top line and pro bikes because of the performance enhancements. That those bikes triggered UCI attempts to ban the design and imposition of weight limits, it hardly makes sense that the goal would have been to reduce inventory when Giant faced the possibility of having nothing but inventory were their bikes kicked out of the pro ranks as threatened.

Anyway, here's a couple of clippings from Bicycle Retailer in '00, and Jacquie's thoughts regarding the benefits of Cunningham's design. It's interesting to read that, even in industry journals, the spin is not "you guys are gonna save a butt-load on inventory," but that these designs are better, stiffer, lighter, and frees design from the constraints fo the past:

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Old 02-03-16, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Actually, both the Masis have sloping top tubes. The old model slopes slightly down in front, the new model slightly down in back. Guess we'd better break out the torches and cut them up for their heresies.
It sure looks level to me. The lines are parallel.

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