Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

New bowed top tubes, hype?

Notices
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

New bowed top tubes, hype?

Old 10-21-08, 09:13 PM
  #1  
gotcha640
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 78
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
New bowed top tubes, hype?

I have a friend who's started looking for a road bike, and I went along with him to test ride a few. He was looking at a few <$1000 masis, marins, scotts with what I would call "traditional" shapes, straight tubes all over. Then the sales guy came over and pushed a Bianchi Via Nirone, which apart from being the special Pistachio Green, had the curved top tube, as seen on most of the new Specialized, a few Trek, and probably other brands. The sales rep suggested that the curved tube absorbs more vibration and makes for a much smoother ride and less soreness after a long ride, etc etc. I couldn't really say from a parking lot ride.

So my question is, has anyone seen a real life improvement? Is this going to be similar to the minimal improvement from carbon seat stays? I haven't ridden enough different bikes to be able to tell if this is hype or if it may have some truth to it. I realize plenty of people are putting plenty of miles on all aluminum, straight tubed bikes, and I'm plenty comfortable on my old steel bike, just want to point my friend in the right direction. If the technology is good, may as well take advantage of it.
gotcha640 is offline  
Old 10-21-08, 09:21 PM
  #2  
yellowjeep
Senior Member
 
yellowjeep's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Lawrence
Posts: 3,269
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by gotcha640 View Post
Pistachio Green
Celeste

I think the curved top tube is mostly hype. It does look kinda cool though.
yellowjeep is offline  
Old 10-21-08, 09:25 PM
  #3  
AEO
Senior Member
 
AEO's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: A Coffin Called Earth. or Toronto, ON
Posts: 12,258

Bikes: Bianchi, Miyata, Dahon, Rossin

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
vertically compliant yet laterally stiff.
__________________
Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
https://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/arti...ger-photos.htm
AEO is offline  
Old 10-21-08, 09:27 PM
  #4  
kudude
slow up hills
 
kudude's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 4,931

Bikes: Giant TCR, Redline CX, Ritchey Breakaway, Spec S-works epic

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
curved is the new straight and will look pretty dated in 5-10 years, but i would be willing to bet that you couldn't tell what bike you were riding unless you looked down
kudude is offline  
Old 10-21-08, 09:35 PM
  #5  
Sprocket Man
Prefers Aluminum
 
Sprocket Man's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Honolulu
Posts: 2,669

Bikes: Wife: Trek 5200, C'dale Rush Feminine, Vitus 979 Me: Felt S25, Cervelo Soloist, C'dale Killer V500, Miyata Pro (fixie)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
I'm sure you could find straight tubed bikes that are more comfortable, as well as straight tubed bikes that are less comfortable. Whether the curved top tube absorbs more vibration or not depends on what you're comparing it to.
Sprocket Man is offline  
Old 10-22-08, 02:59 AM
  #6  
classic1
Senior Member
 
classic1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,021
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 2 Posts
The theory goes it lessens frontal area or something, making the frame more aero (BT, Dutch Koga's on the track). It could make all the difference between a 28.45km/h average and a 28.5km/h average on your Sunday ride IMO.
classic1 is offline  
Old 10-22-08, 03:43 AM
  #7  
FlashBazbo
Chases Dogs for Sport
 
FlashBazbo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 4,288
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 983 Post(s)
Liked 138 Times in 91 Posts
It's all about styling and marketing hype.

If you want the owners of your old bikes to buy new bikes, you've got to offer them something different. The curved top tube is different.
FlashBazbo is offline  
Old 10-22-08, 04:49 AM
  #8  
mazdaspeed
Senior Member
 
mazdaspeed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: WA state
Posts: 4,823
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
I doubt the top tube makes a big difference in ride quality regardless.
mazdaspeed is offline  
Old 10-22-08, 05:15 AM
  #9  
rjs0702
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Posts: 144

Bikes: Scott SR20

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
never heard of this, ever. I worked at my LBS and they never said anything about it. Only told people about components and frame material (aluminum, carbon, etc..)
rjs0702 is offline  
Old 10-22-08, 05:19 AM
  #10  
NoRacer
Isaias
 
NoRacer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 5,182

Bikes: Ridley X-Fire (carbon, white)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by AEO View Post
vertically compliant yet laterally stiff.
NoRacer is offline  
Old 10-22-08, 09:10 AM
  #11  
NYJayhawk
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 632
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If the bike were made of something more flexible, pre-shaping a bend into the tube would control the direction of the flex if/when the headtube were to be pushed toward the seat tube. Additionally, a straight tube might not flex at all if the compression when in a straight line from the front to the back. So I suppose that somebody might try to sell the idea that by putting an arc into the top tube, and by controlling how they used the carbon, they could very effectively "tune" how much flex the top tube would allow and control HOW it flexed.

Then again, there are probably other ways to accomplish the same thing. My guess is that a.) it looks cool, and b.) because carbon offers designers the ability to create virtually any shape rather easily, so c.) they designed it to look cool.
NYJayhawk is offline  
Old 10-22-08, 10:11 AM
  #12  
rollin
Sua Ku
 
rollin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Hot as hell, Singapore
Posts: 5,705

Bikes: Trek 5200, BMC SLC01, BMC SSX, Specialized FSR, Holdsworth Criterium

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
The top tube curved is ok but bowing the down tube as Bianchi have done on the C2C is hideous.

rollin is offline  
Old 10-22-08, 10:19 AM
  #13  
gotcha640
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 78
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
So the general opinion is not to go out of the way to get a curved top tube. Thanks guys.
gotcha640 is offline  
Old 10-22-08, 10:55 AM
  #14  
geoffvsjeff
sneeuwpret
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: South of Madison
Posts: 198

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by NYJayhawk View Post
If the bike were made of something more flexible, pre-shaping a bend into the tube would control the direction of the flex if/when the headtube were to be pushed toward the seat tube. Additionally, a straight tube might not flex at all if the compression when in a straight line from the front to the back. So I suppose that somebody might try to sell the idea that by putting an arc into the top tube, and by controlling how they used the carbon, they could very effectively "tune" how much flex the top tube would allow and control HOW it flexed.

Then again, there are probably other ways to accomplish the same thing. My guess is that a.) it looks cool, and b.) because carbon offers designers the ability to create virtually any shape rather easily, so c.) they designed it to look cool.
Back in my days selling Bianchis, this is more or less how it was explained to me by both my boss and the rep (all of it - main reason was controlling flex, but even the rep said that a large part of it was appearance for the sake of appearance).

Personally, I totally agree with rollin - I think they look terrible. bowing the downtube against the curve of the wheel looks really dumb (same rep said it performed better in the wind tunnel than a straight tube, but I don't care). However, some people thought they were spectacular. To each their own.
geoffvsjeff is offline  
Old 10-22-08, 11:00 AM
  #15  
jsharr
You Know!? For Kids!
 
jsharr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Just NW of Richardson Bike Mart
Posts: 6,166

Bikes: '05 Trek 1200 / '90 Trek 8000 / '? Falcon Europa

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 9 Posts
yeah, new curved tube stuff will never work. Ask anyone with a 1955 Hetchins how horrible curved tubes are.

https://www.classiclightweights.co.uk...nsmo55-rb.html
__________________
Are you a registered member? Why not? Click here to register. It's free and only takes 27 seconds! Help out the forums, abide by our community guidelines.
Originally Posted by colorider View Post
Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
jsharr is offline  
Old 10-22-08, 11:25 AM
  #16  
geoffvsjeff
sneeuwpret
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: South of Madison
Posts: 198

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
yeah, new curved tube stuff will never work. Ask anyone with a 1955 Hetchins how horrible curved tubes are.

https://www.classiclightweights.co.uk...nsmo55-rb.html
I'm not saying there is anything bad with curved tubes - in fact, I do think there is something to be said for curved stays, and curving to hug wheels certainly improves aerodynamics. However, I am not sure there is a huge benefit to them. And that Hetchins is beautiful.
geoffvsjeff is offline  
Old 10-22-08, 12:06 PM
  #17  
Cdy291
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,753
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
See this bike here. Its new for 2009 and when they ask Look what purpose the curved top tube is for they pretty much just said to look good.


Cdy291 is offline  
Old 10-22-08, 12:08 PM
  #18  
umd
Banned
 
umd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 28,387

Bikes: Specialized Tarmac SL2, Specialized Tarmac SL, Giant TCR Composite, Specialized StumpJumper Expert HT

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
My Tarmac with its curved top tube is more comfortable than my straight-tubed TCR. Both full carbon, same wheels. I wouldn't try to draw any general conclusions from such a limited sample though...
umd is offline  
Old 10-22-08, 12:12 PM
  #19  
mr handy
Living Notoriously Well
 
mr handy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 886

Bikes: 06 Felt F80

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Cdy291 View Post
See this bike here. Its new for 2009 and when they ask Look what purpose the curved top tube is for they pretty much just said to look good.


Looks more broken than good to me.
mr handy is offline  
Old 10-22-08, 12:14 PM
  #20  
gotcha640
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 78
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
UMD, thats the sort of response I'm looking for. If anyone else has ridden a few very similar bikes, with and without curved tubes, I'd be happy to hear.

And that LOOK does NOT look good. To me.
gotcha640 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.