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Rubber is Real Not Steel!

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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

Rubber is Real Not Steel!

Old 09-09-18, 01:12 PM
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Rubber is Real Not Steel!

Let me begin by saying I grew up on steel bikes and I have a Fuji touring bike now with a classic 4130 Cromoly frameset. I like steel.

But ...

My CAAD12 is in the shop and the Fuji was to be used by a friend on our ride so I had to borrow a box store ALU hybrid which was actually not a BSO (weighed about 23 pounds, decent cranks and wheelset) but it came with 32 mm tires (at 65psi)

We took a route I've taken hundreds of times before. It's relatively smooth until you come to a section of broken and not well smoothed chip seal.

I braced my filling so they wouldn't leave my teeth, but low and behold, it was really quite remarkable. Not as much road buzz on the chip seal but of course the broken pavement was not plesant but better than expected and better than the Fuji with 25mm tires (at 85PSI). Infact overall the feel of the cheap Alu hybrid frame with 32mm tires (@65PSI) was substantially better than the nice steel frame on 25mm tires (at 85PSI).

I can only imagine its due to the wider tires and a classic steel frameset is no match for a basic ALU frameset but with beefier tires (and lower PSI)

Last edited by raria; 09-10-18 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 09-09-18, 02:35 PM
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Cool.
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Old 09-09-18, 02:43 PM
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Tires are the most important thing for determining comfort. Dunlap realized this and invented the pneumatic tire.

BTW:




(It is hard to be a chemist and see people abbreviate aluminum/aluminium as Alu.)

Now, when you combine steel with nice tires like Compass ... it is the best ride you can experience with your clothes on.
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Old 09-09-18, 03:02 PM
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After 40 years on high-end steel bikes, I switched to aluminum 10 years ago and essentially mothballed the steel bikes. Wish I'd done it earlier.

Steel's fine, of course; I just prefer the predictable handling of aluminum bikes under acceleration. The lighter weight is nice, too. And people talk a lot about steel being "comfy," but I was never able to feel any difference between steel and aluminum in comfort (for a given wheelbase and set of tires, of course).
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Old 09-09-18, 03:17 PM
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Can you please elaborate?

I've not heard of that observation before. Can you please elaborate with some more detail.

Thanks.

Originally Posted by Trakhak
After 40 years on high-end steel bikes, I switched to aluminum 10 years ago and essentially mothballed the steel bikes. Wish I'd done it earlier.

Steel's fine, of course; I just prefer the predictable handling of aluminum bikes under acceleration. The lighter weight is nice, too. And people talk a lot about steel being "comfy," but I was never able to feel any difference between steel and aluminum in comfort (for a given wheelbase and set of tires, of course).
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Old 09-09-18, 04:27 PM
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Well, yeah. The tires are the only thing that actually touches the road. But with everything equal steel is going to be a little smoother.
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Old 09-09-18, 04:39 PM
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If I was going strictly on comfort I'd go with a Fuji Gran Fondo with wide 28-30mm tires. You like Fuji so give that Fuji a shot it's their best bike imo. I was surprised how responsive that bike was and how well it rode in general. The only thing about the Fondo was the weight. It was kind of heavy for a carbon bike but the one I tried was a lower end 105 model with oval wheels I think. It felt heavy when picking up the bike but didn't feel heavy when riding. Felt stiff too, love their oversize BB area. I really like that bike, probably the best endurance bike out there and I've ridden the newest synapse which was very nice too.

If your concern is comfort forget alu/steel and go with that carbon endurance frame. It'll be very comfortable with 28mm tires...you won't need 32mm tires.
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Old 09-09-18, 05:51 PM
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Carbon is Real Crowd?

But aren't you replacing the principle that Steel has this magical property with Carbon Fibre has the magical property?

My point was that tires can do a hell of a lot to dampen road buzz compared to steel (or CF or ALU for tthat matter).

Originally Posted by MyTi
If I was going strictly on comfort I'd go with a Fuji Gran Fondo with wide 28-30mm tires. You like Fuji so give that Fuji a shCaot it's their best bike imo. I was surprised how responsive that bike was and how well it rode in general. The only thing about the Fondo was the weight. It was kind of heavy for a carbon bike but the one I tried was a lower end 105 model with oval wheels I think. It felt heavy when picking up the bike but didn't feel heavy when riding. Felt stiff too, love their oversize BB area. I really like that bike, probably the best endurance bike out there and I've ridden the newest synapse which was very nice too.

If your concern is comfort forget alu/steel and go with that carbon endurance frame. It'll be very comfortable with 28mm tires...you won't need 32mm tires.
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Old 09-09-18, 07:07 PM
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What I glean from this is that you really liked the way 32mm tires felt a lot more than your skinny 25mm racing tires. Which I would say that, yea, no doubt. Not really sure how much the al hybrid frame had anything to do with it. If your Fuji frame can fit 32’s, try them there and see what it feels like. I ride a steel frame originally designed around 25’s. When switched from 25 to 28, it was nothing. But from 28 to 32 and super smooth. A lightweight 35 is even better. A steel frame is going to be more comfortable all else being equal, so I would expect it was mostly the tires.
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Old 09-09-18, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by raria
But aren't you replacing the principle that Steel has this magical property with Carbon Fibre has the magical property?

My point was that tires can do a hell of a lot to dampen road buzz compared to steel (or CF or ALU for tthat matter).
I can definitely say that when I replaced my alu wheels with carbon wheels the ride got whole lot more buzz free it was quite the change. Pavement still dictates however how smooth a ride will be. Of course 32s will be more comfortable but also less efficient and not as fast as 25s or 28s.

To me if you got 32s on it's not a road bike, it's a hybrid.
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Old 09-09-18, 08:02 PM
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I replaced my 28mm Continental GP4000S2 with 38mm Compass tires without any loss in efficiency or speed.
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Old 09-10-18, 08:19 AM
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This is why the current trend, especially with gravel bikes, is towards bigger tires. It's "what's old is what's new again". Back when road bikes were "10-speeds", and people had one bike to do everything, tires were 27"x 1 1/4"- that is, 31.75 mm. An old steel bike with a sport-touring wheelbase and tires that size is a plush ride.
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Old 09-10-18, 04:39 PM
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My sig summarizes my thoughts on this.

EDIT: Oops! I meant my OLD sig... "Frames that cannot clear 32s are now dead to me"
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Old 09-10-18, 05:03 PM
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Fair enough

Do you think the smoothness is just at removing road buzz (i.e. small vibrations) or also lessening the impact from hititng a small hole.

Originally Posted by Lazyass
Well, yeah. The tires are the only thing that actually touches the road. But with everything equal steel is going to be a little smoother.
Originally Posted by seamuis
A steel frame is going to be more comfortable all else being equal, so I would expect it was mostly the tires.
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Old 09-10-18, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by raria
Do you think the smoothness is just at removing road buzz (i.e. small vibrations) or also lessening the impact from hititng a small hole.
Just road vibrations like riding on chipseal or whatever. Not a night and day difference but it's there because steel flexes more. But these modern hydroformed alu frames with flattened and shaped rear stays are pretty nice. Tire pressure is the biggest factor.
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Old 09-10-18, 05:18 PM
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I'm also a fan of 700x32 tires. The downside is it's hard to find a decent upper end road tire, such as the Conti GP 4000 II, in that size. Lots of heavy touring tires in that size though.
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Old 09-10-18, 06:30 PM
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I put 38mm Panaracer Pari-Moto tires on my wife's bike when I converted it to 650B over the winter. With 60psi in the tires, it has the smoothest ride I've ever enjoyed.
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Old 09-11-18, 08:01 AM
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Absolutely loved the 50mm slicks on my old commuter. Roiled great, handled well, and at 70 psi they felt just as efficient as HP 25's.
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Old 09-11-18, 06:05 PM
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This thread is such an endorsement of everything Rivendell Bicycles is all about.

650B forever!

:-)
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Old 10-08-18, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by raria
broken pavement & not well smoothed chip seal on a hybrid w/ softer, wider tires
haha yeah, rode my son's bike a cpl years ago & it got me thinking, there is a whole other bunch of rides I'm missing out on, so I got myself a hybrid bike w wider tires. pretty fun pushing the envelope
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Old 10-08-18, 02:41 PM
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What's the closet thing to GP4000 S II in 31 mm+ (in terms of all around performance)? My 28's measure out to 30.5mm but I can fit up to 40C.
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Old 10-08-18, 06:13 PM
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GP4000S II vs Gravel King tubeless slicks

25mm tire at 90psi, 220g + 110g tube = 330g

32mm tire at 50psi, 270g tubeless + 57g sealant + 15g valve = 342g

A little bit heavier but no flats! Just an estimate because I haven't weighed the valves and sealant. A fatter, lower pressure tire means the rim can be built lighter.

Last edited by Clem von Jones; 10-08-18 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 10-08-18, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott
Tires are the most important thing for determining comfort. Dunlap realized this and invented the pneumatic tire.

BTW:




(It is hard to be a chemist and see people abbreviate aluminum/aluminium as Alu.)

Now, when you combine steel with nice tires like Compass ... it is the best ride you can experience with your clothes on.
Not including Tubulars of course.
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Old 10-10-18, 05:08 PM
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Steel is not all the same. Plain cromoly, and a touring frameset may be built heavier and thus flex less than a light frameset with classic 531 steel or various other newer alloys. The higher strength means they can be built with thinner wall tubing and thus actually flex more.

Of course, not all aluminum is the same either, but food for thought.
and, yes, rubber is real also, but technically it's the real air inside that rubber that makes it ride so well.
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Old 10-10-18, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Caliper
Steel is not all the same. Plain cromoly, and a touring frameset may be built heavier and thus flex less than a light frameset with classic 531 steel or various other newer alloys. The higher strength means they can be built with thinner wall tubing and thus actually flex more.

Of course, not all aluminum is the same either, but food for thought.
and, yes, rubber is real also, but technically it's the real air inside that rubber that makes it ride so well.
Got it.
So a large tube aluminium frame which has the now much sought after large air volume should give a nice plush ride.
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