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Advantages of Different Seatstay Designs on CF Road Race Bikes?

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Advantages of Different Seatstay Designs on CF Road Race Bikes?

Old 05-15-24, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Sapper69
The question of what's superior/inferior isn't just about optimal design and materials. We could argue all day about what 'significant' torsional loads are, but even if we agreed on an 'optimal' design, then there would be questions about affordability, durability and so on. UCI or no UCI, 99% of cyclists will be riding bicycles with seat stays for the foreseeable future.
Agreed. My point was simply that seat stays are no longer an indispensable feature of diamond frames the way they were when steel bikes were the only practical choice.
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Old 05-15-24, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
Agreed. My point was simply that seat stays are no longer an indispensable feature of diamond frames the way they were when steel bikes were the only practical choice.
I think in practical terms, for most cyclists, they basically are indispensable.
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Old 05-15-24, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Sapper69
I think in practical terms, for most cyclists, they basically are indispensable.
For non-carbon frames and carbon frames that weren't designed to lack seat stays, sure. We agree.
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Old 05-16-24, 04:05 AM
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I think if it wasnít for the UCI regulations we would see a lot more high-end road bikes today without seatstays or traditional front triangles. We see more design variation in tri-bikes (eg Cervelo P3X) for this reason.

Full length, dropped or no seat stays are all viable structural design solutions. Torsional rigidity should not be a concern with any of these choices if implemented properly. The typical dropped stays we see on the current crop of world tour road bikes are all plenty stiff enough.

Full length stays are clearly at an aero disadvantage, which is why dropped stays are now pretty much the standard for all aero road bikes. I donít believe there is any compromise in dropping the seat stays other than subjective aesthetics.
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Old 05-16-24, 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
I think if it wasnít for the UCI regulations we would see a lot more high-end road bikes today without seatstays or traditional front triangles. We see more design variation in tri-bikes (eg Cervelo P3X) for this reason.

Full length, dropped or no seat stays are all viable structural design solutions. Torsional rigidity should not be a concern with any of these choices if implemented properly. The typical dropped stays we see on the current crop of world tour road bikes are all plenty stiff enough.

Full length stays are clearly at an aero disadvantage, which is why dropped stays are now pretty much the standard for all aero road bikes. I donít believe there is any compromise in dropping the seat stays other than subjective aesthetics.
I think you're probably right, but I'd question just how affordable, durable and accessible those bikes would be for every day cyclists. The prices of many of the higher end bikes are ridiculous already these days, an order of magnitude more expensive than equivalent models were say 15 years ago. I do find the cutting edge technological advances interesting (same as I do for motorsports etc) and it's inevitable some of these will always trickle down to the typical road cyclist. Again I'm not defending the UCI, but one thing I would definitely like to see is for the pro tour to be something like production car formula/homologation racing. I think that would be good for the sport and for enthusiasts alike. Still have high end bikes for sure, but it's becoming insane the amount of money up and coming cyclists need to fork out to be competitive.
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Old 05-16-24, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Sapper69
I think you're probably right, but I'd question just how affordable, durable and accessible those bikes would be for every day cyclists. The prices of many of the higher end bikes are ridiculous already these days, an order of magnitude more expensive than equivalent models were say 15 years ago. I do find the cutting edge technological advances interesting (same as I do for motorsports etc) and it's inevitable some of these will always trickle down to the typical road cyclist. Again I'm not defending the UCI, but one thing I would definitely like to see is for the pro tour to be something like production car formula/homologation racing. I think that would be good for the sport and for enthusiasts alike. Still have high end bikes for sure, but it's becoming insane the amount of money up and coming cyclists need to fork out to be competitive.
All great points. I'm hoping that PeteHski posts a reply, since he has had extensive experience in the motor sport world.

Hadn't heard of the Cervelo P3X. Wow - no seat stays, no seat tube. Sells for around $9,000, or it did back when Triathlon magazine reviewed it, in 2019.

The UCI gets a lot of criticism, which explains why you felt the need to say that you weren't defending them. but homologation is precisely their intent in regulating what is and what is not acceptable with respect to designs for bike frames and components (and, e.g., clothing). I've been annoyed/outraged by some of their bans in the past:




But I notice that I tend to be outraged when they ban stuff I can afford (e.g., the Spinaci bars) but indifferent about the bikes and equipment that are priced beyond what I'd consider paying (that Cervelo C3X, for instance).

By "everyday cyclists," you probably mean amateur racers. At that level, racing bikes in the range of $3,000 to $4,000, and arguably less, are capable enough that a strong rider would not be significantly disadvantaged while racing against riders of similar strength who are on $10,000 bikes. They might covet the pricier bike, but at the amateur level, talent will out. It's at the pro level that tiny differences can result in significant outcomes.

Maybe. Pogačar is making the hand-wringing over ultra-expensive equipment and the resulting marginal gains look ridiculous.
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Old 05-16-24, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Sapper69
I think you're probably right, but I'd question just how affordable, durable and accessible those bikes would be for every day cyclists. The prices of many of the higher end bikes are ridiculous already these days, an order of magnitude more expensive than equivalent models were say 15 years ago. I do find the cutting edge technological advances interesting (same as I do for motorsports etc) and it's inevitable some of these will always trickle down to the typical road cyclist. Again I'm not defending the UCI, but one thing I would definitely like to see is for the pro tour to be something like production car formula/homologation racing. I think that would be good for the sport and for enthusiasts alike. Still have high end bikes for sure, but it's becoming insane the amount of money up and coming cyclists need to fork out to be competitive.
I donít disagree that costs are high, but I do think thereís a bit of hyperbole going on here. Inflation is a thing, and at ~3% year, over 15 years, thatís like 45%. Iím not sure of the rate exactly, but itís around there. The top Specialized Tarmac was $10k in 2010 (using Wayback Machine) and is $15k today. Thatís just about right on, and not an ďorder of magnitude moreĒ nor out of sync with the decrease in the value of the dollar. Now, my income has not gone up 50% over the past 15 years, so yeah, the cost of a top tier bike is even more unreachable to me today than it was then, but this is a basic fault of our economic system, not something specific to bikes.

The other notion Iíd challenge is the idea that innovate, UCI-illegal designs would cost more than conventional double diamond designs. Primarily thatís simply a cost of manufacturing question, and if the industry had shifted to another design, I donít think thereís any reason to presume the industry wouldnít achieve similar efficiencies to what we have today. Particularly, if you look at CF construction, and look at a bike like the Giant MCR (which I posted a pic of upthread), what you see is a much simplified, less complex design compared to a double-diamond frame. In such a case, itís easy to imagine that construction would be simplified, too, if weíre using the hand-laid process for CF which was used in 1997 and remains in common use today. And thatís exclusive of more modern production techniques like mandrel winding or unknown methods which might have been adopted had the industry focused on those forms.

In the short term, price increases attend innovation, but in the long term, standardization decreases cost, so itís hard to project out to a what-might-have-been scenario. One thing for sure is that the value of money is going to decrease over time, either in spite of or because of deflationary periods.
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Old 05-16-24, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster
I donít disagree that costs are high, but I do think thereís a bit of hyperbole going on here. Inflation is a thing, and at ~3% year, over 15 years, thatís like 45%. Iím not sure of the rate exactly, but itís around there. The top Specialized Tarmac was $10k in 2010 (using Wayback Machine) and is $15k today. Thatís just about right on, and not an ďorder of magnitude moreĒ nor out of sync with the decrease in the value of the dollar. Now, my income has not gone up 50% over the past 15 years, so yeah, the cost of a top tier bike is even more unreachable to me today than it was then, but this is a basic fault of our economic system, not something specific to bikes.

The other notion Iíd challenge is the idea that innovate, UCI-illegal designs would cost more than conventional double diamond designs. Primarily thatís simply a cost of manufacturing question, and if the industry had shifted to another design, I donít think thereís any reason to presume the industry wouldnít achieve similar efficiencies to what we have today. Particularly, if you look at CF construction, and look at a bike like the Giant MCR (which I posted a pic of upthread), what you see is a much simplified, less complex design compared to a double-diamond frame. In such a case, itís easy to imagine that construction would be simplified, too, if weíre using the hand-laid process for CF which was used in 1997 and remains in common use today. And thatís exclusive of more modern production techniques like mandrel winding or unknown methods which might have been adopted had the industry focused on those forms.

In the short term, price increases attend innovation, but in the long term, standardization decreases cost, so itís hard to project out to a what-might-have-been scenario. One thing for sure is that the value of money is going to decrease over time, either in spite of or because of deflationary periods.
Great post.
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Old 05-16-24, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster
I donít disagree that costs are high, but I do think thereís a bit of hyperbole going on here. Inflation is a thing, and at ~3% year, over 15 years, thatís like 45%. Iím not sure of the rate exactly, but itís around there. The top Specialized Tarmac was $10k in 2010 (using Wayback Machine) and is $15k today. Thatís just about right on, and not an ďorder of magnitude moreĒ nor out of sync with the decrease in the value of the dollar. Now, my income has not gone up 50% over the past 15 years, so yeah, the cost of a top tier bike is even more unreachable to me today than it was then, but this is a basic fault of our economic system, not something specific to bikes.

The other notion Iíd challenge is the idea that innovate, UCI-illegal designs would cost more than conventional double diamond designs. Primarily thatís simply a cost of manufacturing question, and if the industry had shifted to another design, I donít think thereís any reason to presume the industry wouldnít achieve similar efficiencies to what we have today. Particularly, if you look at CF construction, and look at a bike like the Giant MCR (which I posted a pic of upthread), what you see is a much simplified, less complex design compared to a double-diamond frame. In such a case, itís easy to imagine that construction would be simplified, too, if weíre using the hand-laid process for CF which was used in 1997 and remains in common use today. And thatís exclusive of more modern production techniques like mandrel winding or unknown methods which might have been adopted had the industry focused on those forms.

In the short term, price increases attend innovation, but in the long term, standardization decreases cost, so itís hard to project out to a what-might-have-been scenario. One thing for sure is that the value of money is going to decrease over time, either in spite of or because of deflationary periods.
I agree with a lot of what you're saying and this is an interesting discussion but it's getting a little off topic from the OP so perhaps we should start another thread?

Just for the sake of responding to the hyperbole comment though, here's some actual numbers:

2009 Trek Madone MSRP US$7,699.99 vs 2024 Trek Madone SLR 9 AXS MSRP US$23,199.99, just over triple the price.

2009 US$7,699.99 adjusted for inflation to 2024 would be US$11,253.61, just under a 1.5 x increase

2009 real median household income US$65,850 vs say $75,000 (CPI adjusted) and that's total income before we even consider disposable income, i.e. the discretionary dollars people use to buy things like nice road bikes.


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Old 05-16-24, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
The UCI gets a lot of criticism, which explains why you felt the need to say that you weren't defending them. but homologation is precisely their intent in regulating what is and what is not acceptable with respect to designs for bike frames and components (and, e.g., clothing). I've been annoyed/outraged by some of their bans in the past:
I think a lot of the criticism of the UCI is well justified. They make some weird or even stupid decisions at times. However there shouldn't be a free-for-all either. So it's really a question of balance and this is where there's always going to be subjective arguments and value judgments. I totally agree the sport should not only allow but encourage technological advancement, but I also strongly believe the sport should remain approachable. If it becomes too elitist it will lose popularity with the young cyclists and their parents who we should be actively encouraging to join the sport.
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Old 05-16-24, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Sapper69
Just for the sake of responding to the hyperbole comment though, here's some actual numbers:

2009 Trek Madone MSRP US$7,699.99 vs 2024 Trek Madone SLR 9 AXS MSRP US$23,199.99, just over triple the price.
Hmm...Wayback Machine is showing Madone 6 Series with DA was $8,609.99 MSRP on Trek's Sept.18, '09 site (https://web.archive.org/web/20090918...ld_your_madone) and the current Trek site shows Madone SLR 9 Gen 7 with DA at $12,749.99 (https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...?colorCode=red). Maybe there's something going on with conversions from USD to AUD on your end?

The Specialized prices I posted were actual, too, and if my above price citations are correct, Trek's price increase is right in line with Specialized, so I dunno how we can work with your numbers of $7.6k and $23K.

Also, irrespective of whether or not that +2x increase over adjusted cost for the new Madone your numbers show is real (of '$23k vs. $11.2k), there's the question of whether 2x would be an "order of magnitude" increase. I thought, commonly, order of magnitude meant a 10x increase, which would be clearly hyperbolic in this case no matter whose numbers we use.
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Old 05-16-24, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster
Maybe there's something going on with conversions from USD to AUD on your end?
No, I used US$ MSRPs from bike reviews on those models published in the relevant year.
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Old 05-16-24, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Sapper69
No, I used US$ MSRPs from bike reviews on those models published in the relevant year.
Looks like you got some bad MSRP numbers, then.

I provided links to Trek's actual pages above, and here's the 2024 Trek Madone SLR 9 with Red AXS, the on you referenced, on Trek's site right now on sale at $9,999 instead of the regular $13.2k:
https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...MaAuFyEALw_wcB
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Old 05-16-24, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster
Hmm...Wayback Machine is showing Madone 6 Series with DA was $8,609.99 MSRP on Trek's Sept.18, '09 site (https://web.archive.org/web/20090918...ld_your_madone) and the current Trek site shows Madone SLR 9 Gen 7 with DA at $12,749.99 (https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b...?colorCode=red). Maybe there's something going on with conversions from USD to AUD on your end?

The Specialized prices I posted were actual, too, and if my above price citations are correct, Trek's price increase is right in line with Specialized, so I dunno how we can work with your numbers of $7.6k and $23K.

Also, irrespective of whether or not that +2x increase over adjusted cost for the new Madone your numbers show is real (of '$23k vs. $11.2k), there's the question of whether 2x would be an "order of magnitude" increase. I thought, commonly, order of magnitude meant a 10x increase, which would be clearly hyperbolic in this case no matter whose numbers we use.
And those actual prices track with or just above the rate of inflation since 2009. Given how much the tech in those bikes has progressed in the intervening 15 years, it seems clear that you get a better bike for the money now, too. Thus, the claim that bikes are outrageously more expensive can be laid to rest.

And for the everyday cyclist who wants a high-zoot racing bike but doesn't want to spring for the top of the line, the Trek Madone SLR 7 Gen 7, with wireless Ultegra, carbon frame, and carbon wheels, has a MSRP of $9,049.99.

And a Madone SL 6 Gen 7 (wired 105 Di2, carbon frame and wheels) is $5,499.99.

And so on down the line, for Trek and their competitors.

What with having had no interest in new racing bikes since I bought my last one in 2005, I had no idea how affordable current carbon bikes with new tech were until I started poking around the Trek site today. I'm glad Sapper69 and chaadster went off on this tangent.
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Old 05-16-24, 01:01 PM
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$9k gets you a top tier Canyon Aeroad CFR. Or you could spend half that and still get very close on performance by dropping down a couple of build tier levels. You donít need DuraAce or Red to be competitive.
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