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Is the Madone SLR stiff enough?

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Is the Madone SLR stiff enough?

Old 10-11-19, 10:44 AM
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guadzilla
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Is the Madone SLR stiff enough?

My race bike is almost 10 years old, and it is time for a new one - and i want to splurge a bit and get me a superbike.

I've narrowed down my choices to Cannondale SystemSix and the Madone SLR - not the top-of-the range models but the ones a step down: specifically, with Force eTap groupset.

While i realize that the SystemSix has been rated a little more aero by Tour magazine, I am leaning towards the SLR 7 for the following reasons:
- same frame as the top of the line model, unlike the System6, where i'd have to pay $4k more for the Hi-Mod
- frame is in red and white, and not that hideous color C'dale uses for their Force eTap bike
- good balance of ride comfort and aero that would work well for me

At 180lb, i am not a light rider and am able to put out a respectable amount of torque. For those that own the Madone, are the BB and fork stiff enough? Or are they flexy?

TIA.
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Old 10-11-19, 11:07 AM
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Is the SLR stiff enough....

Are you stronger than this guy?

2015 Milan-San Remo winner John Degenkolb

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Old 10-11-19, 11:30 AM
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Ah yes, i had forgotten how Bikeforums rolls.

There have been plenty of Pro Tour bikes which havent been rated too highly for stiffness, so I am hoping for someone with riding experience, as opposed to merely pointing out that pro riders ride it.

The context of this is that as per Tour magazine results, it seems to have higher flex numbers than some of its competitors. I am wondering to what degree this would affect performance and ride feel, compared to the S5 or the Noah Fast or the C'dale SystemSix.
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Old 10-11-19, 12:13 PM
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I have a SLR, but am a bit lighter than you (135-140lbs). As such, I'm sure I don't have the max power you do.

I had a Propel before the Madone & hated the Propel. It was so very stiff. I didn't want to ride it over 3 hours max. The Madone is much more comfy. Now I don't feel it flex, but it certainly doesn't feel as quick on accelerations. I also have an Emonda & it feels way quicker on accelerations.

I don't know what type of racing you do. But if it's crits, I wouldn't really recommend the Madone. On road courses I think you'd like it a lot.
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Old 10-11-19, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
I am wondering to what degree this would affect performance and ride feel
I'm not aware of any thorough analysis of that being openly available, and it's not obvious that even the big manufacturers have characterized it very precisely. It's definitely clear that reviewers are bad at guessing relative stiffness differences in ride tests.
The marketing flies by the "laterally stiff and vertically compliant" line, but biomechanics are complicated it's not actually clear that maximizing torsional stiffness is optimal for pedaling.

I like how my Emonda ALR pedals, and the ovalized downtube-to-BB junction on that bike really isn't anywhere close to the optimal shape for resisting twisting. I also like how my '79 Fuji America pedals, especially during maximal efforts, and that thing's steel frame is quite whippy.
I wasn't entirely fond of how my friend's Pinarello Paris pedals, and that bike has a tall downtube-to-BB junction which should be very stiff against torsion. I quite dislike how my Campeur pedals, and that bike has considerable torsional stiffness between front and rear triangle because it's designed to stay firm even when you're rocking a heavy rear load around.
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Old 10-11-19, 12:29 PM
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You're looking in the wrong place for stiffness for a medium sized rider. Modern frame carbon layup means even your Deng Fu bikes are plenty stiff for anybody in terms of power transfer. It's freaking 2019. Not 2009. Yes, layup and design have improved THAT much.

Now wheels.......spoke design, spoke count, build, etc........that can matter a lot more if you go with some cheapo junk versus a well built wheel.

While it seems a troll response to post a professional and say "isn't it good enough for them"........the point is still that it's more than good enough if it's from the big few companies. Tech has changed.

Also, rider weight has more to do with road compliance over bumps than it does with power application. Sure, bigger riders might make more power than an untrained skinny guy.........but a skinny guy climbing a short hill at 450w is the same power transfer load as a heavy guy climbing at 450w.

If I were you, I'd test ride them to see how they feel compliance wise. Any of them will be stiff enough for power transfer.

Also, if buying top notch......go Di2, aero bikes with mechanical are a nightmare to re-cable and the LBS often won't do it correctly.

The stories of really heavy riders ripping pawls out of hubs has to with the combo of power and not knowing how to "stutter step" for a half rotation to not apply power into the gear shift and slam the gears. Some of those stories are a bit annoying as the failure mode always sounds mis-informed.
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Old 10-11-19, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
Ah yes, i had forgotten how Bikeforums rolls.

There have been plenty of Pro Tour bikes which havent been rated too highly for stiffness, so I am hoping for someone with riding experience, as opposed to merely pointing out that pro riders ride it.

The context of this is that as per Tour magazine results, it seems to have higher flex numbers than some of its competitors. I am wondering to what degree this would affect performance and ride feel, compared to the S5 or the Noah Fast or the C'dale SystemSix.
My point was, unless you're stronger than a pro rider do you really need the "stiffest" frame. I bet the 10th stiffest would be more than what you need.

I'm 200# and have a Emonda SLR and which its nto the same bike, it is the same level of carbon and i've not seen and need for a stiffer bike.

My 29 year old son is a competitive triathlete and rides a Madone 6.2 and Cervelo P3. He feels my Emonda is stiffer than both.
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Old 10-11-19, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
You're looking in the wrong place for stiffness for a medium sized rider. Modern frame carbon layup means even your Deng Fu bikes are plenty stiff for anybody in terms of power transfer. It's freaking 2019. Not 2009. Yes, layup and design have improved THAT much.

Now wheels.......spoke design, spoke count, build, etc........that can matter a lot more if you go with some cheapo junk versus a well built wheel.

While it seems a troll response to post a professional and say "isn't it good enough for them"........the point is still that it's more than good enough if it's from the big few companies. Tech has changed.
Yeah, at this point, pretty much any top-of-the-line (or even middle-of-the-line) frame is going to be more than stiff enough for 99.99 percent of riders. And I doubt any of us could really tell the stiffness difference between the 10 stiffest frames on the market.
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Old 10-11-19, 02:25 PM
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I have the previous generation Madone, the Madone 9 with 700 series carbon. It's an extremely capable bike, the best I've ever ridden. I love it in crits, and see a lot of others here racing it the same way. It does anything you'd want from a road bike. I can't compare it directly to the Cannondale.

The SLR has a little more relaxed geometry than mine, the H1, and a little more aggressive geometry than the M9 H2s. I had an H2 for a while. I had no complaints about how that bike handled or reacted, I just wasn't used to the position. It wasn't uncomfortable, it just felt a little more like cyclocross. To my mind, the question of geometry and how it fits you is going to be a bigger deal when trying to decide between the SLR and the Cannondale.

I'm sorry I can't be more help answering your question about stiffness. To me, bikes move when I turn the pedals. I have a 2006 Madone that I still ride. The position is exactly the same as the 2017 Madone 9. The frame is less stiff against power, less aero and less compliant in the way that makes it comfortable. But it's still a great ride. It surprises me that both bikes basically disappear.

Anyway, I am sure you can be completely happy with the SLR if it fits you right and you like how it looks. If some lab measured 0.2 mm more deflection under some load, and that turns out to keep you up at night, there are worse things to have occupy your mind.
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Old 10-11-19, 02:38 PM
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Fair enough - as i mentioned earlier, i havent bought a carbon road bike in a decade, and havent even kept up with what is available in the past 5-6 years, so perhaps my worries about "is it stiff enough" are misplaced.

I used to prefer racing TTs but due to life and other things, including riding burnout, have been out of racing for a few years. Am getting back but am likely to go the triathlon route. So the road bike is going to be mainly for soul-crushing group rides and occasional road races. That said, fast acceleration and ability to hold a fast pace are 2 of the attributes i am looking for in the bike, which is what had prompted the question.

Sadly, i wont be able to get an extended enough ride on it in order to make a decision - not in this part of the world.

But from what i gather above, the Madone is not likely to feel inferior to other comparable bikes in this regard - which is great, as i like both the color (side note: when the hell did red get replaced by teal, blue and all these other horrendous colors??) and the specs for the price. And yes, i am definitely going electronic on the bike - preferably Force eTap. I've been spending a lot more time on my Di2 Shiv, and going back to mechanical shifting feels like a letdown.

Thanks for the advice - is appreciated.

Last edited by guadzilla; 10-11-19 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 10-11-19, 02:41 PM
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Weight limit for that bike is 275 lbs or so. You be fine, unless you can put down mutant power.
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Old 10-11-19, 02:46 PM
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You need to contact forum member "my ti." Apparently he was not pleased with the Madone and quickly returned it. IIRC, he was clyde and a half+ so would likely have thoughts about the stiffness.
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Old 10-11-19, 02:58 PM
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i would be more concerned about the terrible BB90 design on the current Madone
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Old 10-11-19, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Chi_Z View Post
i would be more concerned about the terrible BB90 design on the current Madone
Is this in regards to the creaking and what not?
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Old 10-11-19, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Chi_Z View Post
i would be more concerned about the terrible BB90 design on the current Madone
Dude, you cant just put this out there and not say more...
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Old 10-11-19, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Sure, bigger riders might make more power than an untrained skinny guy.........but a skinny guy climbing a short hill at 450w is the same power transfer load as a heavy guy climbing at 450w.
On the other hand, skinny people tend to generally be spinners, and bigger people tend to be mashers, not always but in general. 450w is 450w, but to do it at 110 rpm vs 55, there's going to be a lot more force involved in the latter. If a big guy is worried about a frame being stiff enough, it's not the watts that matter so much.
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Old 10-11-19, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
Is the SLR stiff enough....

Are you stronger than this guy?

2015 Milan-San Remo winner John Degenkolb
Probably. Less powerful for sure, but he looks like he could maybe bench his rear wheel.
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Old 10-11-19, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
Dude, you cant just put this out there and not say more...
BB90 gives you all the issues of BB30 without the benefit of larger bearing and compatibility with 30mm spindle crank. You are also at the mercy of the frame tolerance as the bearing is pushed directly into the frame. BB86 and PF30 at least allows you to glue in a high quality BB shell if the frame tolerance is trash.
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Old 10-11-19, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
On the other hand, skinny people tend to generally be spinners, and bigger people tend to be mashers, not always but in general. 450w is 450w, but to do it at 110 rpm vs 55, there's going to be a lot more force involved in the latter. If a big guy is worried about a frame being stiff enough, it's not the watts that matter so much.
Yeah, this. I definitely notice a difference in responsiveness and burst of bikes when i surge - my Damocles has it in spades, and more so than many other bikes i have ridden/owned. It probably doesnt make a difference in overall performance but it does affect the "smile factor" - and that is why i am getting this bike.

Perhaps stiffness was the wrong term to use - jump/responsiveness/acceleration may have been better.

Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Probably. Less powerful for sure, but he looks like he could maybe bench his rear wheel.
I started with toothpicks and worked my way up to skewers.
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Old 10-11-19, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Chi_Z View Post
BB90 gives you all the issues of BB30 without the benefit of larger bearing and compatibility with 30mm spindle crank. You are also at the mercy of the frame tolerance as the bearing is pushed directly into the frame. BB86 and PF30 at least allows you to glue in a high quality BB shell if the frame tolerance is trash.
Gotcha. Time to go research this.
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Old 10-12-19, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
Yeah, this. I definitely notice a difference in responsiveness and burst of bikes when i surge - my Damocles has it in spades, and more so than many other bikes i have ridden/owned. It probably doesnt make a difference in overall performance but it does affect the "smile factor" - and that is why i am getting this bike.

Perhaps stiffness was the wrong term to use - jump/responsiveness/acceleration may have been better.



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Old 10-12-19, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
Gotcha. Time to go research this.
there is a recent post on bb90 bottom brackets. The person was also looking at a Madone and wanted to know more about bb90.
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Old 10-12-19, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
Gotcha. Time to go research this.
So, about the Madone and the BB90 issues: legit or overblown?


The tolerances and design of the bottom bracket can *really* affect how mushy a bike feels under power. Imagine a bearing that sits in carbon and can be pulled out by hand vs a bearing that sits in a metal shell and needs a press to be removed. One is going to feel better than the other. Generally with press-fit, the people at the center of the normal distribution are fine. But at the tails, you end up with extra friction, creaking, mushiness, bearing failure etc. - all of which will quickly overwhelm almost any difference in carbon layup between top end frames.

I have an allez sprint, considered to be one of the stiffest bikes out there. It might be the stiffest bike specialized makes. I weigh 145lbs and I still noticed a difference going from a praxis thread-together BB to a one-piece BB. The difference between nylon-sleeve pressfit bearings and a one-piece BB would probably have been even greater.
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Old 10-12-19, 08:44 PM
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Damn, now the BB90 issues have me concerned - i generally am not wild about gear that is finicky, needs a lot of care/maintenance, etc. Local ADs dont carry the Madone SLR, so i will have to buy in Singapore - and i am not flying the bike overseas for warranty service.
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Old 10-12-19, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by guadzilla View Post
Damn, now the BB90 issues have me concerned - i generally am not wild about gear that is finicky, needs a lot of care/maintenance, etc. Local ADs dont carry the Madone SLR, so i will have to buy in Singapore - and i am not flying the bike overseas for warranty service.
The rumor is the next generation of Madone will have a T47 bottom bracket. The Warranty part does suck. There are a lot of really great bikes out there that are less finicky.
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