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Climbing out of the saddle?

Old 07-01-18, 05:34 PM
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Climbing out of the saddle?

any tricks here? I built up my first touring rig with front and rear racks. I went out with about 20lbs of crap strapped to the back rack to see how things would go. Ive built up an old mtb for the job...full fenders and all. I love it. I have a triple on the front and a 12/32 rear right now.

I typically ride my road bike ss or my geared road bike and i am out of the saddle a lot on climbs and to give my ass a rest. I throw the bike around quite a bit and that is what am used to. I found that you cant do that on bike bike with weight on it or it throws you around. Perhaps the trick is to build some upperbody and core muscle to help. Any tricks here? I have to imagine ppl still get out of the saddle for a change if nothing else....while climbing while in the hard stuff.

Perhaps it is just a matter of getting used to it.
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Old 07-01-18, 05:58 PM
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You can throw the bike around with quite a lot of weight on it, but that weight cannot be anywhere near the back of the bike. The further back it is, the more leverage it has over your handlebars and the harder it is to control with your wrists. Put that weight in LowRider panniers and you will find it has almost zero effect on the bike or your hands when you rack it out of the saddle.

When I tour, all compact heavy stuff goes up front. Bulky stuff in back, (I have toured with four front panniers, no large ones.)

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Old 07-01-18, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by scale
any tricks here? I built up my first touring rig with front and rear racks. I went out with about 20lbs of crap strapped to the back rack to see how things would go. Ive built up an old mtb for the job...full fenders and all. I love it. I have a triple on the front and a 12/32 rear right now.

I typically ride my road bike ss or my geared road bike and i am out of the saddle a lot on climbs and to give my ass a rest. I throw the bike around quite a bit and that is what am used to. I found that you cant do that on bike bike with weight on it or it throws you around. Perhaps the trick is to build some upperbody and core muscle to help. Any tricks here? I have to imagine ppl still get out of the saddle for a change if nothing else....while climbing while in the hard stuff.

Perhaps it is just a matter of getting used to it.
Wait a minute...I have to get on the fire suit.

Go with an aluminum bike. One of the things I found when I got my Cannondale in 2003 was that I could ride out of the saddle with a touring load. It was about the first thing I noticed. I could never climb on my old steel touring bike that way. The frame would wiggle around and wander all over the road. If I did manage to stand and pedal, I had to do it by pedaling straight up and down without throwing the bike from side to side like you would an unloaded bike. I detail my first impressions with the Cannondale under load in Solo Without Pie: First Ride, in my sig line. I'm still very glad I went to an aluminum touring bike instead of sticking with a steel one.
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Old 07-01-18, 07:17 PM
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I agree.
I've had two aluminum tour bikes. Now I have a steel frame and it wiggles noticeably. in comparison.
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Old 07-01-18, 07:32 PM
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My 64 year old knees would strongly protest if I stood on the pedals to accelerate from a stop light, or to power up a hill like I used to. Years ago I finally decided to gear down and stay in the saddle, my knees rarely protest like they used to. But if you are young and have not blown out your knees yet, keep trying to win the race by gaining a few seconds here and a few seconds there.
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Old 07-01-18, 08:07 PM
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I get out of the saddle a lot for multiple reasons. One is to give my knees and legs a break which seems to be the opposite advice from others. Oh well, works for me. My loaded riding is much more in the back. Heavy dense stuff goes in my medium handlebar bag but still no match. The first times I get up it feels different but I get used to it right away. On the flip side.. the first time I switch back to regular ride mode without bags and stand up I flop and wobble too. I compensate for something that isn't there now. Go figure. My bars are 440 24° flared so relatively wide but not MTB wide. For no particular reason but chance I haven't been on anything but an AL bike for many years to compare. My "touring" bike is not special purpose and it's my everything bike. An average gravel bike with a cheap relatively heavy frame with rear mounts but it works for what I do.

Staying on topic.. My difference in loaded and unloaded feeling seems to be me taking a little time to adapt and compensate, not the bike itself. I guess I've avoided noodlers or just adapt.

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Old 07-02-18, 01:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
My 64 year old knees would strongly protest if I stood on the pedals to accelerate from a stop light, or to power up a hill like I used to. Years ago I finally decided to gear down and stay in the saddle, my knees rarely protest like they used to. But if you are young and have not blown out your knees yet, keep trying to win the race by gaining a few seconds here and a few seconds there.
Getting out of the saddle is not always about bursts of speed. It is also about torque to get up really steep inclines, give your tushy a rest, syretch out leg muscles, and to keep your balance over rough patches. And while good knees is a pre-requite, it is not enough. Torso strength is also implicated. But you already know this...
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Old 07-02-18, 02:42 AM
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Nope. I never liked standing up to pedal. At 65, I agree with Tourist in MSN. Lower gearing is my solution. I love climbing but I only stand when I stop to pee.
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Old 07-02-18, 03:43 AM
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Exactly what they said, OP.

No need for the fire suit here. I much prefer aluminum for a touring bike too. Steel really is squirmy with a load. Some is better than others, but aluminum significantly is better. I plan to have a custom bike built in a couple years and am specifically keeping an eye out for builders who work in aluminum. I very regularly stand when riding, but my original early 90s Trek touring bike flexed so badly it kept me seated much of the time when climbing, accelerating, or descending quickly on winding roads. I got an aluminum frame-set and it was a night and day difference. It handled a lot better and felt more stable in general, presumably partially due to not flexing so much. There are a lot of 90s aluminum mountain bikes out there for cheap that everything from the current build could be swapped onto. Just a thought

The weight being low and forward advice is spot on too. Stand all you want, it’s no big deal. Put the weight up on a rack hanging out the back of the bike and it’ll toss you all over in comparison.
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Old 07-02-18, 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Wait a minute...I have to get on the fire suit.

Go with an aluminum bike. One of the things I found when I got my Cannondale in 2003 was that I could ride out of the saddle with a touring load. It was about the first thing I noticed. I could never climb on my old steel touring bike that way. The frame would wiggle around and wander all over the road. If I did manage to stand and pedal, I had to do it by pedaling straight up and down without throwing the bike from side to side like you would an unloaded bike. I detail my first impressions with the Cannondale under load in Solo Without Pie: First Ride, in my sig line. I'm still very glad I went to an aluminum touring bike instead of sticking with a steel one.
Steel is about three times stiffer than aluminum. It's also around three times heavier. Those are about the only acceptable objective facts that can be said in this flame war that you're trying to start. When it comes to bike frames it comes more down to design than material choice. Steel frames can be made stiff and aluminum frames can be made noodly. With modern manufacturing processes and tubing choices manufacturers have a relatively easy job of choosing which type of bike frame they want to create.

It also needs to be kept in mind that the generalizations and wisdoms of ye olden days do not apply to modern frames since nowdays we have hydro forming, CNC's, oversized tubing and a myriad of other bike related standards / technologies to allow manufacturers to achieve either stiff or noodly frames. It stands however that noodly frames seem to be a thing of the past except with maybe smaller boutique manufacturers since all bicycle frames sold in the EU need to pass EU bicycle stiffness regulations, which are pretty strict. This applies globally since bike manufacturers are not likely going to start making different product lines for different continents just because they can vary stiffness levels. More likely is that they'll accept whatever regulations are in place and go with that.

Now as to not being able to pedal standing up, that can happen if the frame in question is in fact noodly. With any modern touring bike flexes or wobbles should not happen when doing that. It certainly does not happen with my 240lbs of body weight, 60lbs of gear and my puny 62cm steel LHT. It did happen with my late Trek FX 7.3 which was aluminum. It wasn't however a touring bike and wasn't designed to carry such loads comfortably.

As to OP's question, he did not want to buy a new bike, he wanted to know how to manage with his current one. Since it's a old MTB it's likely it's made of relatively low diameter steel tubing which can in fact be quite flexy and thus difficult to handle with heavy touring loads. If OP did want to buy a new frame, the material should be least of his concerns since every well designed modern touring bike will achieve sufficient stiffness to climb out of the saddle / throw the bike around even when heavily loaded regardless of frame material.
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Old 07-02-18, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by elcruxio
Steel is about three times stiffer than aluminum. It's also around three times heavier. Those are about the only acceptable objective facts that can be said in this flame war that you're trying to start. When it comes to bike frames it comes more down to design than material choice. Steel frames can be made stiff and aluminum frames can be made noodly. With modern manufacturing processes and tubing choices manufacturers have a relatively easy job of choosing which type of bike frame they want to create.
I'm not trying to start a flame war. I just know from lots of past experience...about 15 years worth now...that the mere mention of aluminum for touring will get someone's knickers in a knot.

That said, let's address your "only acceptable objective facts" statement. Yes, steel is stiffer than aluminum and aluminum is lighter. But those aren't the only "facts" about the material. You stated right there another "acceptable, objective fact". It's the way the material is used. Steel can be used to make a stiff frame but it isn't because that's not what people are looking for in a touring frame. They want that soft, noodly ride because it feels good in a parking lot. They get used to it when they put a load on the bike but the bike suffers from the same problems as scale is finding. In other words, the bike is not stiff enough to ride out of the saddle without the frame flexing.

Originally Posted by elcruxio
It also needs to be kept in mind that the generalizations and wisdoms of ye olden days do not apply to modern frames since nowdays we have hydro forming, CNC's, oversized tubing and a myriad of other bike related standards / technologies to allow manufacturers to achieve either stiff or noodly frames. It stands however that noodly frames seem to be a thing of the past except with maybe smaller boutique manufacturers since all bicycle frames sold in the EU need to pass EU bicycle stiffness regulations, which are pretty strict. This applies globally since bike manufacturers are not likely going to start making different product lines for different continents just because they can vary stiffness levels. More likely is that they'll accept whatever regulations are in place and go with that.
I agree that modern frames are using all kinds of technologies and techniques to make the ride more tuned. The problem is that all of those technologies and techniques are being applied to aluminum but not steel. A steel touring bike made today hasn't changed from a steel touring bike made 40 years ago. They are still being made with the same round tube sets of the same diameters and same butting as those made in 1983.

And that ride from 1983 is what everyone seems to want in touring bikes. They want a frame that provides a nice "springy" ride. "Springy" and "comfortable" are the opposite of stiff and, as you pointed out above, are the result of design and use of the materials. Because of the use of small diameter tubing, the bikes aren't stiff enough to stand up to out of the saddle pedaling.

Originally Posted by elcruxio
Now as to not being able to pedal standing up, that can happen if the frame in question is in fact noodly. With any modern touring bike flexes or wobbles should not happen when doing that. It certainly does not happen with my 240lbs of body weight, 60lbs of gear and my puny 62cm steel LHT. It did happen with my late Trek FX 7.3 which was aluminum. It wasn't however a touring bike and wasn't designed to carry such loads comfortably.
I beg to differ. I agree that a bike should flex and wobble but they do. I've tested an LHT. I found the ride without a load to be exactly the same as the ride given to me by my 1984 Miyata 610. That's the reason I went with the Cannondale when I decided to buy a new touring bike. The Cannodale was stiffer in the parking lot and, as a result, stiffer when loaded because the bike has frame that is designed to be stiffer.

Originally Posted by elcruxio
As to OP's question, he did not want to buy a new bike, he wanted to know how to manage with his current one. Since it's a old MTB it's likely it's made of relatively low diameter steel tubing which can in fact be quite flexy and thus difficult to handle with heavy touring loads. If OP did want to buy a new frame, the material should be least of his concerns since every well designed modern touring bike will achieve sufficient stiffness to climb out of the saddle / throw the bike around even when heavily loaded regardless of frame material.
First, old mountain bikes used larger diameter tubing from the beginning than road tubing. The bikes were designed to do something entirely different from what road bikes of the era were supposed to do so they made them beefier and stiffer than comparable road bikes of the era. However, they didn't make them all that stiff. Load them up with stuff and they will suffer the same problem as old (and new) steel touring frames which were beefier than road bikes as well.

Frankly, there's not a lot you can do to this bike to make it any better for riding out of the saddle. There is very little scale can do to "manage" the ride. It is still going to be flexy when riding out of the saddle. If 20 lbs makes it hard to handle, adding more weight won't improve it. The choices are to not climb out of the saddle or to adopt a out of saddle climbing style that requires very little body movement while standing. Riding without moving your body is awkward and requires more effort than just plugging away in the saddle.
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Old 07-02-18, 08:41 AM
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I ride out of the saddle more than in the saddle it seems like. 30 pounds on the rear only, equally balanced on both sides(key point here), and I notice no problems at all with side to side swing. The only difference I ever notice is going between loaded and unloaded, it does change the flow of the bike for a few seconds until the brain rings in and reminds that I have changed the situation under which I'm riding. The time you spend doing it will make you get use to the new 'pattern' of riding/handling.
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Old 07-02-18, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
I'm not trying to start a flame war. I just know from lots of past experience...about 15 years worth now...that the mere mention of aluminum for touring will get someone's knickers in a knot.
15 years of forum experience? I had assumed you'd have more in cycling experience.

That said, let's address your "only acceptable objective facts" statement. Yes, steel is stiffer than aluminum and aluminum is lighter. But those aren't the only "facts" about the material. You stated right there another "acceptable, objective fact". It's the way the material is used. Steel can be used to make a stiff frame but it isn't because that's not what people are looking for in a touring frame. They want that soft, noodly ride because it feels good in a parking lot. They get used to it when they put a load on the bike but the bike suffers from the same problems as scale is finding. In other words, the bike is not stiff enough to ride out of the saddle without the frame flexing.
You got the fact that steel can be used in a certain way correct. After that it's just objective views based on pretty much nothing. Frame manufacturers do not make bikes feel a certain way because they to feel good in a parking lot. They put in a certain set of parameters that need to be met and use the tools and materials in their disposal to achieve those parameters. I'm going out on a limb here, but I am almost 100% certain that a parking lot blind test is not a deciding criteria for any bike company on how they design their frames.
I don't know what kinds of people you know, but the people I know and a lot of people I've discussed this online with aren't looking for a flexy noodly frame when they are buying a touring bike. Instead they look for something sturdy and stiff. Most touring frame manufacturers offer these and depending on the manufacturer choice the bikes can be steel or aluminum. For whatever reason steel seems to be the material of choice more often than not.

I've only owned one proper touring bike, the LHT and while I do like how it rides even when it's unloaded (I kinda have to, it's my main driver atm) I still dream of a bike that's more supple and better for light riding. It's easier on my hands and butt than the specialized crux I used to have (which was an insanely stiff frame if I may add) but that is as much a tire issue as it is a frame issue. The LHT isn't exactly a fine tuned fine riding road bike when on the other side you have carbon fiber etc.

I have however noticed that noodly frames wobble. The trek I had wobbled something crazy. The LHT is rock solid no matter how heavy the load gets. It's just a great touring bike.



I agree that modern frames are using all kinds of technologies and techniques to make the ride more tuned. The problem is that all of those technologies and techniques are being applied to aluminum but not steel. A steel touring bike made today hasn't changed from a steel touring bike made 40 years ago. They are still being made with the same round tube sets of the same diameters and same butting as those made in 1983.
You are simplifying matters too much. Just because both are made of tubes with same techniques does not mean they are the same. Yes, today butted tubes are still used, but they are almost solely oversized or ultra oversized in terms of touring bikes. Today we also have wider rear wheel spacing, compact frame geometries, more shaped seat and chain stays, machined rear cluster areas, strengthened disc brake areas, new head tube size standards, some of which are positively massive, thicker and wider fork blades etc. All of these add into the stiffness of the frame. Components today are also stiffer since we have aheadsets, outboard BB's, better bars etc.

And that ride from 1983 is what everyone seems to want in touring bikes. They want a frame that provides a nice "springy" ride. "Springy" and "comfortable" are the opposite of stiff and, as you pointed out above, are the result of design and use of the materials. Because of the use of small diameter tubing, the bikes aren't stiff enough to stand up to out of the saddle pedaling.
If only you had a way of proving any of this. As soon as you provide the evidence that "everyone wants" a springy ride for a touring bike, I'll be all ears. But as long as you do, all of that simply isn't true. Also OS tubing is the norm these days.

I beg to differ. I agree that a bike should flex and wobble but they do. I've tested an LHT. I found the ride without a load to be exactly the same as the ride given to me by my 1984 Miyata 610. That's the reason I went with the Cannondale when I decided to buy a new touring bike. The Cannodale was stiffer in the parking lot and, as a result, stiffer when loaded because the bike has frame that is designed to be stiffer.
No if you look at the miyata, it's lugged right? Standard diameter tubing instead of OS. Also super thin fork blades as well as really thin chainstays / seatstays. Also a super thin head tube since it's the old type of threaded headset. And to add to that you are not a stiffness testing machine so your view was very likely biased and thus affected your judgement. And humans as testing instruments usually tend to not be very accurate in any case. And did you use the same tires, same tubes and same pressures with all the aforementioned bikes? I'm being pedantic, because for a person touting science in every thread, you sure disregard it a lot when you make these assesments or opinions.
Another matter that may affect this is that a few years back Surly did in fact change the design of their LHT to make it stiffer. Before that there actually were complaints that it was too noodly, but those complaints have since ceased. Personally I think it was due to the EU bicycle regulation coming to force since it was around the same time. If you were riding the old LHT it's possible you may have gotten a slightly springier feel than what you'd get from a modern one. However even the old one was a lot more beefy than the Miyata.


First, old mountain bikes used larger diameter tubing from the beginning than road tubing. The bikes were designed to do something entirely different from what road bikes of the era were supposed to do so they made them beefier and stiffer than comparable road bikes of the era. However, they didn't make them all that stiff. Load them up with stuff and they will suffer the same problem as old (and new) steel touring frames which were beefier than road bikes as well.
The old mountain bikes I've seen still had pretty thin chainstays and seat stays even if the main tubes were OS.

EDIT: OH, almost forgot! Modern stems, bars and wider steerer tubes make touring bikes easier to handle when pedaling from the saddle since the bar / stem combo isn't flexing every which way all the time. I have a Nitto stem and dang that thing is like trying to hold on to a snake when my drunk bike is loaded.

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Old 07-02-18, 09:36 AM
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Cannondale wins again. 😎 Honestly, I don't ever feel the need to stand, just pedaling steady gets me up most hills just fine. I like standing up on the downhills though, to aerate. 😉
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Old 07-02-18, 09:42 AM
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Old 07-02-18, 09:52 AM
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Making a diversion back to the O.P. ...

Riding out of the saddle is still possible, but if you're riding with a load you don't want to throw the bike from side to side as much as you would without the load. After all, your 18 pound road bike has been replaced with perhaps 60 pounds of bike + load. At the easy end of the change spectrum, try to keep the bike a bit closer to vertical. That may require a bit more upper body strength, or maybe it's just a question of how far you lean the bike before you start limiting the lean. At the extreme end, pull the loaded bike slightly to the opposite side, so your weight on the pedal is closer to centered over the tires. With a bit of practice, this new skill will find you ready to start weighting the opposite pedal when the bike is leaning toward the pedal that's now at the bottom of the stroke.
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Old 07-02-18, 12:02 PM
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I never climb out of the saddle. If I need a butt break I will either take one while coasting or climb off the saddle.
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Old 07-02-18, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
Making a diversion back to the O.P. ...

Riding out of the saddle is still possible, but if you're riding with a load you don't want to throw the bike from side to side as much as you would without the load. After all, your 18 pound road bike has been replaced with perhaps 60 pounds of bike + load. At the easy end of the change spectrum, try to keep the bike a bit closer to vertical. That may require a bit more upper body strength, or maybe it's just a question of how far you lean the bike before you start limiting the lean. At the extreme end, pull the loaded bike slightly to the opposite side, so your weight on the pedal is closer to centered over the tires. With a bit of practice, this new skill will find you ready to start weighting the opposite pedal when the bike is leaning toward the pedal that's now at the bottom of the stroke.
That's pretty much how you have to do it but it never feels anything but awkward. Most of the time I just ended up not bothering and remained seated on climbs.

Originally Posted by elcruxio
15 years of forum experience? I had assumed you'd have more in cycling experience.
Huh? I said 15 years of experience with being flamed for using and suggesting an aluminum touring bike. It has nothing to do with my cycling experience which goes back much, much further...at least 40 years of riding bikes that weren't bought at some Big Box Store.

People don't generally actually "flame" me in face to face conversations but, with few exceptions, even then they ask "how can you tour on aluminum?"

Originally Posted by elcruxio
You got the fact that steel can be used in a certain way correct. After that it's just objective views based on pretty much nothing. Frame manufacturers do not make bikes feel a certain way because they to feel good in a parking lot. They put in a certain set of parameters that need to be met and use the tools and materials in their disposal to achieve those parameters. I'm going out on a limb here, but I am almost 100% certain that a parking lot blind test is not a deciding criteria for any bike company on how they design their frames.
I don't know what kinds of people you know, but the people I know and a lot of people I've discussed this online with aren't looking for a flexy noodly frame when they are buying a touring bike. Instead they look for something sturdy and stiff. Most touring frame manufacturers offer these and depending on the manufacturer choice the bikes can be steel or aluminum. For whatever reason steel seems to be the material of choice more often than not.
You are giving frame manufacturers too much credit. Most of them...especially the ones who are jumping onto a new fad...build touring bikes based on the available materials and they tend to either copy existing designs (if you are lucky) or go way out on a limb and just throw something together that they label as a "touring bike". A few...Cannondale, Trek and Surly...actually have put some effort in the past into design and selection of materials.

As for the choice of which material to use, the vast majority of actual "touring bike" have been steel because that is all that people will buy. The consumer is afraid that aluminum is too delicate and will break on them while completely ignoring roughly 2 decades of mountain bikes being made of the same material and being subjected to more abuse than any touring bike experiences. There are several steel touring bikes offered by a number of different manufacturers but only a few aluminum touring bikes.

And people don't buy aluminum touring bikes because of the "village smithy" myth.

Originally Posted by elcruxio
I've only owned one proper touring bike, the LHT and while I do like how it rides even when it's unloaded (I kinda have to, it's my main driver atm) I still dream of a bike that's more supple and better for light riding. It's easier on my hands and butt than the specialized crux I used to have (which was an insanely stiff frame if I may add) but that is as much a tire issue as it is a frame issue. The LHT isn't exactly a fine tuned fine riding road bike when on the other side you have carbon fiber etc.[

I have however noticed that noodly frames wobble. The trek I had wobbled something crazy. The LHT is rock solid no matter how heavy the load gets. It's just a great touring bike.
I've owned 5 touring bikes. Two aluminum Cannondales (a 2003 and 2010 and I still have the 2003 frame as a spare) and 3 steel ones. Two of the steel bikes were "sport tour" bikes which fit into that category of poorly designed touring bikes and one of the touring bikes was the steel Miyata 610. The 610 had its problems but it was way better than at least one of the sport tour bikes. I've ridden a few other touring bikes before choosing the Cannondale and was not impressed.

Originally Posted by elcruxio
You are simplifying matters too much. Just because both are made of tubes with same techniques does not mean they are the same. Yes, today butted tubes are still used, but they are almost solely oversized or ultra oversized in terms of touring bikes. Today we also have wider rear wheel spacing, compact frame geometries, more shaped seat and chain stays, machined rear cluster areas, strengthened disc brake areas, new head tube size standards, some of which are positively massive, thicker and wider fork blades etc. All of these add into the stiffness of the frame. Components today are also stiffer since we have aheadsets, outboard BB's, better bars etc.
I think you are confused about the diameter of the tubing being used today. It may be slightly larger sized but I haven't seen any touring bikes with "ultra oversized" tubes in steel. Steel bikes still use tubing that is only marginally larger in diameter than bikes from 40 years ago. Aluminum bikes use oversized tubing but not steel.


Originally Posted by elcruxio
If only you had a way of proving any of this. As soon as you provide the evidence that "everyone wants" a springy ride for a touring bike, I'll be all ears. But as long as you do, all of that simply isn't true. Also OS tubing is the norm these days.
All you have to do is listen to everyone gush about their steel bikes. "Touring bikes are generally made of steel, ideally placed thanks to the springy ride and durability it provides." ..."And is renowned for giving a lively, almost springy ride." "Cycle tourists like its springy resilience..." That's only a few. I've been hearing it for a very long time.

There's also a tradition element to touring bikes: "If you want to know my personal take on the steel versus aluminium debate, it’s this: the main reason people buy steel-framed bikes for long-term touring is simply because most long-term touring bikes are made of steel." Which is what I've experienced.

Originally Posted by elcruxio
No if you look at the miyata, it's lugged right? Standard diameter tubing instead of OS. Also super thin fork blades as well as really thin chainstays / seatstays. Also a super thin head tube since it's the old type of threaded headset. And to add to that you are not a stiffness testing machine so your view was very likely biased and thus affected your judgement. And humans as testing instruments usually tend to not be very accurate in any case. And did you use the same tires, same tubes and same pressures with all the aforementioned bikes? I'm being pedantic, because for a person touting science in every thread, you sure disregard it a lot when you make these assesments or opinions.
Another matter that may affect this is that a few years back Surly did in fact change the design of their LHT to make it stiffer. Before that there actually were complaints that it was too noodly, but those complaints have since ceased. Personally I think it was due to the EU bicycle regulation coming to force since it was around the same time. If you were riding the old LHT it's possible you may have gotten a slightly springier feel than what you'd get from a modern one. However even the old one was a lot more beefy than the Miyata.
Yes, it was standard tubing but, again, that's not that much smaller than the tubing you see on modern steel bikes. "A few years back" suggests that Surly's bikes weren't as stiff as you have implied they all are. The last time I road a Surly touring bike was 15 years ago. That's more than a "few years back".

But scale hasn't provided us with any information on what his bike is. We have no idea how old it is. Since it is steel, it is unlikely to be very new since steel mountain bikes went out of fashion in the early to mid 90s.

Originally Posted by elcruxio
The old mountain bikes I've seen still had pretty thin chainstays and seat stays even if the main tubes were OS.
Not the ones I see on a regular basis at my local co-op. The mountain bike frame from its inception used larger tubing than road bikes since they want some longevity out of the frame. But, even with those larger tubes, scale's bike is still not as stiff as aluminum touring bikes are.
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Old 07-02-18, 01:15 PM
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Now I'll get my flame suit on by suggesting that all this talk about frame stiffness is a red herring when one fails to consider the load being offset on a rack connected by four flimsy attachment points, particularly the two near the top of the seat stays.Those are far more likely to wag the dog when standing and throwing the bike back and forth to crank than the frame itself.

wanna see now much? Just secure the front tire to the downtube, stand the bike up, grab the back of the rack and throw the bike back and forth. If the rack flexs that is what will throw you off when standing and torquing side to side with a load on.

plus yes... you just have to get used to it. No heavily loaded tour bike is going to handle like an unloaded road bike.

Low gears are good for going up hills. Standing and cranking has its place for stretching, butt breaks and air flow but if you want to tour loaded it's far better to use gearing as the default technique. I've never heard anyone complain about having a low granny gear bit have heard some about not having one.

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Old 07-02-18, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by boomhauer
I agree.
I've had two aluminum tour bikes. Now I have a steel frame and it wiggles noticeably. in comparison.
I had a shiny new steel frame, and it wiggled as well. It looks disconcerting. Get some more gears!
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Old 07-02-18, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by bikenh
I ride out of the saddle more than in the saddle it seems like. 30 pounds on the rear only, equally balanced on both sides(key point here), and I notice no problems at all with side to side swing. The only difference I ever notice is going between loaded and unloaded, it does change the flow of the bike for a few seconds until the brain rings in and reminds that I have changed the situation under which I'm riding. The time you spend doing it will make you get use to the new 'pattern' of riding/handling.
Generally agree. There is a certain amount of muscle memory that needs to readjust. Also I think developed bike handling skills over many years helps
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Old 07-02-18, 02:54 PM
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I used to think that most of the weight belongs on the back of the bike, because weight in the front will make steering hard. Well, I was wrong. I got a front rack and put panniers on it, not even low riders. Aha, now I get it. As I pedal out of the saddle and pull on the handlebars, I'm pulling the weight up directly rather than twisting the bike. Having weight in the front does slow the steering down, but it doesn't make the bike wily.

I hear the point about aluminum frames. Most of them are built with more stiffness than steel frames, which is funny because steel is an intrinsically stiffer material. But aluminum frames are usually made with larger diameter tubes which compensates for that and more. I've ridden Cannondales but not toured on one. I imagine it would be a nice machine for touring.
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Old 07-02-18, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by biker222
Generally agree. There is a certain amount of muscle memory that needs to readjust. Also I think developed bike handling skills over many years helps
And I agree with this as well. I also think that proper fit of stack height and reach play a significant part of bike handling. Riding with a frame too large for you can also bugger up handling. People have come to my shop with bikes that are waaay to big for them, such as this one guy who was riding a mid-90s Fuji 60cm frame, when he should have been riding a 56 or even a 54, with 165mm cranks instead of 175. The seat was slammed down as low as it could go, and get couldn't even get flat-footed on one side at a stop without the bike leaning at 45 degrees. He complained about the bike being unruly, and scary on downhills. I transferred all his components and wheels to a nice older 56cm Miyata frame, and ever since then he's been happy as a clam at high tide.
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Old 07-02-18, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet
...Low gears are good for going up hills. Standing and cranking has its place for stretching, butt breaks and air flow but if you want to tour loaded it's far better to use gearing as the default technique...
another excellent technique for stretching, butt breaks and air flow is to get off the bike. for many, the point of touring is to travel, see stuff, experience new experiences.

nothing wrong with taking a break for half an hour - walk around, visit a temple, take some photos, eat some snacks....
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Old 07-03-18, 12:50 AM
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[QUOTE=cyccommute;20424596]

You are giving frame manufacturers too much credit. Most of them...especially the ones who are jumping onto a new fad...build touring bikes based on the available materials and they tend to either copy existing designs (if you are lucky) or go way out on a limb and just throw something together that they label as a "touring bike". A few...Cannondale, Trek and Surly...actually have put some effort in the past into design and selection of materials.
I honestly would not put trek into that category. The 520 they make is a neat frame, but almost everything else about it is garbage. The wheels are by far some of the worst I've ever seen with a build quality more akin to department store bikes than a quality tourer. I really need to build whole new wheels for that one soon since I don't think they'll last much longer. So many of the nipples have been rounded off that truing them is becoming difficult. Trek also had this great notion of cutting the steerer really short making the de fact riding position extremely low especially for a person who has long legs. Had to put a steerer extender on there to make the bike fit my wife.

Cannondales current offerings are way expensive for what they are even if they are quality bikes.

As for the choice of which material to use, the vast majority of actual "touring bike" have been steel because that is all that people will buy. The consumer is afraid that aluminum is too delicate and will break on them while completely ignoring roughly 2 decades of mountain bikes being made of the same material and being subjected to more abuse than any touring bike experiences. There are several steel touring bikes offered by a number of different manufacturers but only a few aluminum touring bikes.

And people don't buy aluminum touring bikes because of the "village smithy" myth.
I'm sure you've heard of Koga? The leading premium touring bike manufacturer in Europe. That builds 90% of their bikes out of aluminum. I think they only have one steel bike...

The village smithy thing also isn't that much of a myth as has been shown on these forums multiple times. You just need to find someone who knows how to tig weld thin walled tube, which in today's world isn't all that difficult. You can repair aluminum, but the frame needs to be heat treated afterwards whereas steel does not. Whether one wants to repair a frame is another matter entirely. I'd warranty it and get a new one sent via DHL.


I think you are confused about the diameter of the tubing being used today. It may be slightly larger sized but I haven't seen any touring bikes with "ultra oversized" tubes in steel. Steel bikes still use tubing that is only marginally larger in diameter than bikes from 40 years ago. Aluminum bikes use oversized tubing but not steel.
Stiffness increase is quadruple when diameter increases vs. wall thickness increases. The tubes used today are significantly bigger in diameter when compared to the tiny 25mm tubes used back in the day. The LHT has 32mm tubes and other touring bikes have even larger ultra oversized tubes as enabled by the Z44 headtube standard. When you combine that with the compact geometry frames = significantly shorter tubes you should start seeing again, significant increase in stiffness. Though the LHT is only semi compact since the top tube is pretty level. Still stiff though.
Oversize tubing means that it's bigger than what could be fit into lugs back in the day so larger than 25mm or even 28mm. Though I think 28mm is already in the realm of oversize. Ultra oversize is then larger than 32mm I think.

All you have to do is listen to everyone gush about their steel bikes. "Touring bikes are generally made of steel, ideally placed thanks to the springy ride and durability it provides." ..."And is renowned for giving a lively, almost springy ride." "Cycle tourists like its springy resilience..." That's only a few. I've been hearing it for a very long time.
I don't consider articles manufactured to repeat manufacturer buzzwords and sell products as representative of "everyone"

Tradition can also be borne out of the fact that there's nothing wrong in steel as a touring bike material. It's tough, resists dings and bangs, resilient, repairable (if need be, honestly DHL is your friend), and today more than stiff enough to handle touring loads.
Also it's not like a touring bike needs to have a feel that it's made of solid concrete. Even the biggest loads put on touring bikes are mostly really small when compared to the rider. What has been mentioned in this thread already and what matters a lot in the whole wiggly bike thing is quality racks and how they support the luggage. If a rack sways from side to side there's no amount of frame stiffness that can remedy that. Hence, tubus racks, which are made of steel and are also crazy stiff. Combine that with a good frame and there'll be no unwanted flex.

Yes, it was standard tubing but, again, that's not that much smaller than the tubing you see on modern steel bikes. "A few years back" suggests that Surly's bikes weren't as stiff as you have implied they all are. The last time I road a Surly touring bike was 15 years ago. That's more than a "few years back".
Again, the difference is significant much to the same effect the energy difference required to go 15mph and 20mph is significant even though the actual speed difference is "not that big".
Oh I haven't implied all surly bikes are stiff. I wonder where you got that from. I've implied that their LHT's after the year 2012 or 2013 (EU regulation, I mentioned that many times) are more than stiff enough for touring since that's around the time they revised the design of the LHT. Not all surly bikes are touring bikes. You knew that right?

Not the ones I see on a regular basis at my local co-op. The mountain bike frame from its inception used larger tubing than road bikes since they want some longevity out of the frame. But, even with those larger tubes, scale's bike is still not as stiff as aluminum touring bikes are.
Could also be because his bike is not a touring bike but a mountain bike... Hint is in the type of the bike
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