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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:00 pm 
Old School Grand Master

Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:55 pm
Posts: 8222
Location: New Forest, UK
I think that the only solution is either to try plenty of bikes - and 6'2" is not so unusual. You might have to travel a way to find a dealer with large enough stock, though. But they are out there.

The alternative is a custom builder you trust.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:19 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:56 pm
Posts: 1032
Location: West Yorkshire
sletti wrote:
Rich34 wrote:
It would be interesting to compare steel and aluminium frames built up with identical components such as bar tape and saddles, so see how that shows up the differences. I've only ever seen comparisons between different bikes, and that involves different geometry, wheels and ancilliaries.


Of course you are right. The front wheel on my steel bike is machine built and radially spoked, and the aluminium bike is 3 cross handbuilt. This has got to make some difference, right? I could always just switch over the front wheels and try...


This surely is the key. You can't possibly draw any meaningful conclusions about frame materials from your riding experiences until you have identical kit on each frame or at least the same wheels, tyres, stem, 'bars and saddle.

I find the difference between my 25 year old steel bike and my modern alu frame/carbon fork bike comes down to this:

Steel: Big shocks at the back end go straight up my spine whereas front end ones are absorbed. Road buzz is fine through the back end but not the front.

Alu/Carbon: Big shocks at the back end are absorbed but not at the front. Road buzz is fine back and front.

Although all wheels are 3x front and back all the contact points are very different between bikes so I've no idea how much of this is down to the frame differences!

Mark.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:29 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:49 pm
Posts: 276
It is noticeable for me, I have a 2008 Ridley Triton-T and a 199? Holdworth Avanti.

Both are close as makes no difference same config (in fact I have just swapped the wheels and groupset off the Ridley onto the Holdsworth and rebuilt the Ridley with 6700 Ultegra)

To my mind, the Ridley is fast, but "buzzy" on the normal UK roads that I ride. The Holdsworth is not as fast, but much more comfortable. the Holdsworth is also not as tough (the Ridley is designed as a pave riding bike) so it only gets ridden on fine summer days (so hasn't been out this year :) ) and the Ridley gets used more.

However if I am doing more mixed riding (on and off road) I prefer to use my InBred 29er as is seems to offer the best of both worlds, but with a weight penalty.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:54 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:31 pm
Posts: 474
Rich34 wrote:
The steel vs aluminium (or carbon) debate will never go away, and rightly so, but for me I suspect one of the biggest attractions to steel is simply that I like the idea of riding a steel-framed bike. ...


+1, I think I am however, being a snob about it and really want to try the cannondale caad 10 to see what the fuss is all about


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:49 pm 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider

Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:33 am
Posts: 3099
Location: Riding my Woodsie.
sletti wrote:
Of course with the exception of carbon fibre; it is the work of Satan. (This is not based on testimony or personal experience; it just pleases me to berate something that these days is applied to anything and everything that need to be portrayed as high tech, so I feel disinclined to follow that particular route.) :lol:



I like your thinking.

And your honesty. :lol:

If you are going custom, or are contemplating it, give each of your shortlist of builders a call and explain to them your thoughts and concerns. I am sure that most (if not all) will answer honestly and their answers will also give you a chance to see if you want them to get a big chunk of your money.

I think you should also test off the shelf alu models that interest you, and again if shops can't give you the service you need (i.e a test ride) then they don't deserve your money.

For me if I was going to spend enough money for a custom, I would want a custom, not an expensive off the shelf.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:54 am 
Newbie

Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:28 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Anglesey
I've got an 87' 531c which is dull to ride and a 77' 531 (standard) which is an absolute pleasure, although my joy is my 95 Columbus Max. The 531's are very much like for like spec wise but a world of difference apart in ride quality.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:46 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Mon May 28, 2012 9:42 pm
Posts: 32
There are a lot of other factors than the frame material to take into consideration. The Aluminium framed bike may come with a seat post, saddle, stem, bars, wheels and tyres that soak up the road impact and compensate for the frame's rigidity. The steel bike may be older with less "friendly" finishing kit. I recently posted about getting back on my 1996 Ribble 753 with Dura Ace, Mavic Sups, Cinnelli Eubios etc and compared it to my 1997 Giant 6061T with Record, Mavic Sups, Cinelli Eubios etc. The point here is that both have the same quality finishing kit and are about the same age.

I ride on Irish roads which is about the closest thing to riding the Paris-Roubaix everyday. The Aluminium frame is stiffer, sprints quicker and flexes less in a climb. It does suffer from a lot of rattling through the rear stays, masses of chatter in the bars and on a very fast decent with bad surface you really need to know how to handle it. The steel frame does not bounce me about so much in the saddle and the front does not snap my wrists. It is more sluggish in a sprint and less inclined to corner (more due to angles than materials) but the bars never snap out of my hands and it is dead smooth at high speed on bad surface.

Ultimately though the difference could just as much be down to the rider, what they like and how attuned to their machine that they are. There are others I ride with that would not know the difference between riding a 10 grand pro machine and an untamed elephant.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:11 am 
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A previous poster hoped that the ride qulaity of a 3X hand built wheel will be better than a machine built radial wheel. Well it depends how you define better, the handbuilt wheel may be a better wheel but the ride quality from a radial stiffness point of view there is no difference that an be deteted in term of comfort.

I like both steel and Alu frame to ride ut prefer the look of steel frames unless it's an old Alan.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:45 am 
Old School Hero

Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:33 pm
Posts: 208
Location: NW Kent
bm0p700f wrote:
A previous poster hoped that the ride qulaity of a 3X hand built wheel will be better than a machine built radial wheel. Well it depends how you define better, the handbuilt wheel may be a better wheel but the ride quality from a radial stiffness point of view there is no difference that an be deteted in term of comfort.

I like both steel and Alu frame to ride ut prefer the look of steel frames unless it's an old Alan.


My comment on the Radial v 3x was only speculative, and merely offered up so that someone my debunk or support it. My personal experience it that I have had better rides from 3x front wheels, but it is not a belief that either is better in terms of comfort. When i first started riding with passion (30 odd years ago) then 3x on steel was the norm. As I have mucked about since then, radial front and aluminium frames have been more common and I tend to find the ride harsher.

This is likely due to the frame properties of course, but it all gets stored the in the "total load of apocryphal bollocks" part of the brain, and whilst I am a reasonably intelligent and rational person, when I am floundering for justification the TLOAB part of the brain starts firing and I become convinced that 3x is comfy, radial is harsh.

This same argument is why I think my steel frame should be forgiving and my aluminium frame punishing, but I find the opposite, and whist I doff my cap to the very rational arguments that one should ignore the material and consider the frame as more than the some of its parts, these days the TLOAB part of my brain muscles itself in more than I would like saying things like:

Fings ain't what they used to be
Mars bars used to be bigger
It's a "marathon", not a "snickers"
Leslie Philips was the finest comic actor of his day
Benny Hill was funny
Steel more comfy than aluminium
3 cross a better ride than Radial

The only way to suppress the TLOAB is with Information (Wisdom, followed by knowledge, followed by testimony). And this thread is doing stirling work in pushing back the darkness (well, my darkness anyway).

As it is, I have to bin my "comfy" aluminium frame as it has a split in the seat tube, so I should have arriving today Andy's old Principia Rex frame so I'll guess by the end of the week I'll know if my appreciation of aluminium is transitory.

And one more thing, I do like the look of skinny steel frames, and that will happen next year when I finally sell my car (weekend exotic plaything that it is).

Thanks all for what has been (and I hope continues to be) a really good discussion

Stig


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:08 am 
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The point I made is more of a theoretial one as ride quality is so subjective and there are so many variables that affect it.

In reality wheel are so stiff that they do not deform radially by any detetable ammount when riding.

I suppose the only real comparison is building two wheels with the same rim one with radial spokes and the other 3x. However there are not many rims you can do that with though. Kinlin XR300 ot Veloity A23 spring to mind. I am not likely to try it out anyway.


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