Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby johnncarol » Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:44 pm

Brett,

Don't knock the so called "comfort" frames like the Trek H3 until you have tried them. The bike could be called a race bike as frame geometry is very similar but the longer head tube and slightly shorter top tube give you a very comfortable, more upright ride, even for those of us who are still rding at 70 plus and lack flexibility. If you want to be even more upright, you can add a few spacers like I did on a Trek 6.2. This set up gives me a quick and comfortable carbon frame and a rding position that I can do long distances on.
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby Brettha » Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:09 pm

People are funny. The minute we spend a lot of money on something (like a bike or a computer), we want others to buy the same thing as reinforcement that we made the right purchase decision. I've bought plenty of bikes that don't fit.

Even adding spacers to lengthen the head tube can be difficult since many manufacturers cut the steerer tube so short you have no additional room to add those spacers without buying a new fork. Major bike manufacturers distort the angles on their frames as you get into the smaller size frames. I'm 5' 1/2", I ought to know.

Manufacturers simply manipulate the seat tube angle so that it is very steep, so they can offer a shorter top tube. Then they label them women's specific and tout the fact that you have a great power stroke. That's because you can't spin on those bikes, the only force is downward. If you're under 5'2" I recommend looking at bikes with 650c wheels. However even the women's Trek with 650c wheels didn't fit me because they play that same game of distorting the geometry. I have relatively long legs and a short torso. The Trek didn't fit but it took me six months before I started to develop chronic painful shoulder problems.


After 50 years, I finally have a bike that fits. It's a S3 steel Rodriguez size 1S. It's almost as light as a carbon frame. http://www.rodcycle.com. I have never been happier on my bicycle as I am now.

Proper bike fit trumps any "great deal."
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby vangundy » Sat May 14, 2011 2:06 pm

Testing lots of different bikes should help you find just the right one. I've found each new bike when I wasn't looking for one, just happened across it and it called out to me and test rides felt great :-)

For some good advice and answers to questions you might have, I can recommend a great women's cycling forum for lots of reading:
http://forums.teamestrogen.com/ - membership is about 95% female and all are very nice and helpful. Lots of good topics, including lots of advice on picking the right bike. You can do searches for specific bikes, brands, models, whatever.

Enjoy the search but you should find one soon so you can get in some good training. See you in September!
EVG
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby boldaddy » Mon May 23, 2011 9:02 pm

You asked about material - I'm not a scientist, but here's my take.

The perfect bike is laterally rigid for speed but vertically compliant for comfort and fits you to a tee.

Fit is probably more important that material. I've had a "fit" done at Bike Gallery in Portland and saw huge benefits. This isn't isn't just for comfort, a good fit will help prevent injuries.

Ok, on to materials:

1. Steel - AKA Chrome Molly - Decades ago most every bike was steel. Now, it's sort of rare. Steel provides a very comfortable ride as steel bikes tend to be more flexible - both vertically and laterally. The downside is that they tend to be heavier, and if you're strong or heavy, the lateral flexibility can waste energy climbing.
To get a steel bike you will likely look to a smaller production company - i.e. Gunnar, Salsa, Cielo, IF and perhaps Surly

2. Aluminum - Aluminum is nice and stiff which is great for climbing and terrible for comfort. They all now have carbon forks and the better Aluminum bikes have carbon seatstays to add some comfort by reducing the "Buzz" that aluminum is known for. Aluminum is probably your cheapest option.

3. Carbon Fiber - Fast and light with a lot of variety. Some carbon bikes are really comfortable (look for a taller head tube like the Cervelo RS, Specialized Roubaix, etc.) They can also be super stiff and uncomfortable - think Race Bike. Without getting too technical, you can tell a race bike because the seat is up much higher than the handlebars, allowing the rider to get "aero".
Some say that Carbon has a limited life span. I don't know - I've bought and ridden a used carbon bike with no problems.

4. Titanium - Before Carbon became popular Ti was the rage. It is generally lighter than steel. It is stiffer, but not Buzzy like aluminum. It almost has a "little spring to it's step". If you're sprinting for the line in a race carbon is better. However, for most riding Ti owners will tell you that they are riding the best bike in the world. On the downside, it's quite expensive. As with Carbon, pay attention to the geometry - you can get a race frame or a plush or comfort frame in Ti.

My experience - Last year I rode CO on a steel Lemond. I was one of the few people not complaining about the chipseal surfaces as steel absorbs bumps and vibrations quite well. I also climbed relatively slowly and used my triple chainring.
This year I'm debating what to ride. I have a Ti bike that is a more aggressive geometry. It's nearly as comfortable as the steel. It is much faster when I want to accelerate since it's stiffer. However, I don't have a triple chainring, so I don't have the low gear of my steel bike.

Another point of reference - I ride a steel bike with fenders, disc brakes and a steel fork when I commute. Compared to my Ti bike, it feels like my folks old Volvo wagon. However, when loaded with panniers in the rain, it's stability can't be beat.

Enjoy the ride!
Glen
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby lindyrides2010 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:43 pm

homedespot wrote:I realize as I write this that I am at risk of revealing myself as uncool and uninformed. I am a first-timer, 52 y.o. generally fit woman, registered for CO by her spouse. I don't own a bike! So, what should I be looking for?


I was 49 and felt I was generally fit too. Then I did CO. Wow. I trained May-August, riding after work 3-4 days a week, then rode longer miles on both Saturday and Sunday. I started climbing hills too late in all that. It was a very tough ride for me and I am determined to have a better ride this year. I have a bike I love (a women's specific design Trek Madone 5.2) but I agree with those that said the extra weight some of us cyclists carry on us -- and I am no exception -- will be tougher to haul up the hills than the bike its self. Go for a bike that fits you, that you love, and serves your rider needs. Then get out there and start climbing hills and building up your mileage. It can be a fun little challenge you set for yourself. Make sure you are tackling hills of several miles long and some that are short and steep. Make sure you work in 2-3 days a week of weight training at the gym too. That is very, very important if you want to do well on a week long ride.

Good luck and see you on the rode!

Lindy
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby lindyrides2010 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:43 pm

homedespot wrote:I realize as I write this that I am at risk of revealing myself as uncool and uninformed. I am a first-timer, 52 y.o. generally fit woman, registered for CO by her spouse. I don't own a bike! So, what should I be looking for?


I was 49 and felt I was generally fit too. Then I did CO. Wow. I trained May-August, riding after work 3-4 days a week, then rode longer miles on both Saturday and Sunday. I started climbing hills too late in all that. It was a very tough ride for me and I am determined to have a better ride this year. I have a bike I love (a women's specific design Trek Madone 5.2) but I agree with those that said the extra weight some of us cyclists carry on us -- and I am no exception -- will be tougher to haul up the hills than the bike its self. Go for a bike that fits you, that you love, and serves your rider needs. Then get out there and start climbing hills and building up your mileage. It can be a fun little challenge you set for yourself. Make sure you are tackling hills of several miles long and some that are short and steep. Make sure you work in 2-3 days a week of weight training at the gym too. That is very, very important if you want to do well on a week long ride.

Good luck and see you on the rode!

Lindy
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby johnncarol » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:02 pm

I have never been a big fan of Specialized but today I saw a flyer on a new bike from them that looks really good. It is made for folks like us who ride often, want to be able to go reasonably fast but also want some comfort. It has a longer head tube for a more upright position and the top tube does not attach to the seat tube. It goes on either side of the seat tube and becomes the seat stays. This allows the frame to flex longitudinally for a better ride. It has carbon wheels and solves the braking problem with both front and rear very light disc brakes. The bike is supposed to come in at about 16 pounds. The downside, it is listed at $4500 with Dura Ace. It has not yet been shipped to dealers according to our dealer here in California.
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby dougnlis » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:22 pm

So homedespot, with a month to kick off, may we ask what did you select and how did the months since your post go for you? With advice all over the map both on what to buy and how to choose for yourself what to buy we want to hear how the mating game came out and how things have gone since then.

And if you loved the bike enough to follow through on the ride, we will want to know how that goes as well.
Steel is Real
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby dougnlis » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:22 pm

So homedespot, with a month to kick off, may we ask what did you select and how did the months since your post go for you? With advice all over the map both on what to buy and how to choose for yourself what to buy we want to hear how the mating game came out and how things have gone since then.

And if you loved the bike enough to follow through on the ride, we will want to know how that goes as well.
Steel is Real
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby dougnlis » Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:22 pm

So homedespot, with a month to kick off, may we ask what did you select and how did the months since your post go for you? With advice all over the map both on what to buy and how to choose for yourself what to buy we want to hear how the mating game came out and how things have gone since then.

And if you loved the bike enough to follow through on the ride, we will want to know how that goes as well.
Steel is Real
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Re: Steel Aluminum Carbon Titanium, Oh My!

Postby mytrot » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:38 pm

glad to see I am not the only one with a "Submit" issue!
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