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Comfortable frames for long rides(17 posts)

Comfortable frames for long ridesflatlander
Jul 1, 2001 11:46 AM
I do longer rides 30 to 100 miles, the bike I've had for the past 6 years beats me up to much its an older 1400 TREK Alu. frame. I don't race, and in "90" I blew a disc in my lower back so comfort is at a premimum. I was thinking abut getting a carbon fiber frame or a SOFTRIDE Solo any thoughts.
I would think that almost anything would be more comfortablebill
Jul 1, 2001 1:48 PM
than what you have. I'm not trying to be flippant, but alu is notoriously harsh, and, while many of the newer (higher-end) alu frames seem to have addressed the compliance issues with design improvements, yours is a mid-level older trek that's bound to be tough. Don't count out titanium or steel, either; people wax poetic over the plush but responsive rides of their steel Waterfords.
re: Comfortable frames for long ridesJohn S.
Jul 1, 2001 5:18 PM
I started riding a Softride several years ago in response to an injury that threatened to keep me off the road. I can say without a doubt that this type of setup can reduce the stress to the back and pelvic region. Before my injury I was riding a Trek carbon fiber frame and the Softride is much more comfortable for me. Check out their web site and arrange for an extended test ride. This may be just what you are looking for.
re: Comfortable frames for long ridesLone Gunman
Jul 1, 2001 6:19 PM
Might look at Lemond Zurich, plush 853 steel, same as on Waterfords and a different geometry.
re: Comfortable frames for long ridesMarkb
Jul 1, 2001 6:29 PM
Do check out the Softride Solo. Same problems with back issues as you, (2 blown disks, 1 herniated, all in lower back) and the Softride is great for me. No road beating whatever. Do check it out, I love mine.

Mark B.
re: Comfortable frames for long ridesMeDotOrg
Jul 1, 2001 6:31 PM
I would agreen that a change in material might help. I certainly wouldn't put the knock on Softride. From what I've heard, people with back problems love them.

Some road bikes with front suspensions and pivotless rear forks:

Merlin Century

VaMoots YBBeat

I think Serotta makes a pivotless suspension model, but I don't know the name. Best of luck...
re: Brookscyclopathic
Jul 1, 2001 11:05 PM
you can get suspended seat /aka 66 or Conquest/ for a fraction of what new bike costs, put 28mm tires.. yes they will slow you down but you don't race right?
Focus more on fit than materialRay Sachs
Jul 2, 2001 6:26 AM
While material may make some difference, I think fit is more important. You might want to talk to a custom builder about what geometry will fit you best, with a bias toward comfort rather than all-out performance. I have mostly steel bikes, with one ti and, while I love the ti bike, two of the steel ones are far more comfortable on longer rides. It isn't the material, but the geometry and my riding position that makes the difference.

re: Comfortable frames for long ridescycleguy
Jul 2, 2001 6:43 AM
I have the same bike a 91 TREK 1420. I't does beat you up over 50 miles, although I did ride many centuries with it. I bought a OCLV last year and there is a big difference. I don't know if there is much you can do to make the 1400 ride much better. I still use mine for comuting and such, but not for much else. Just try and ride as many different types as you can. The softride was one of my choices but never got the chance. I did send a email to them and after soom time recieved a responce from thier rep.
re: Comfortable frames for long ridesJofa
Jul 2, 2001 8:18 AM
The idea that frame material might have any effect on ride at all is, at the least, dubious, and probably the most tenacious of all the cycling myths. No normal 9-tube bikes flex measurably in the vertical plane in use, whatever they're made from. As somebody said, bigger tyres will have a noticeable effect, and will be no slower; if your back has serious problems with road shock, then a suspension seatpost such as the USE will do all that a Softride does but far more simply.
If you want a new bike get one that fits and that you like the look of. Somebody else recommended that you consult a custom builder, and I concur. Another opinion on your bike fit will often cure ills you didn't know you had.
if you want comfortDog
Jul 2, 2001 8:25 AM
If you have problems that are excerbated by road bumps and so forth, I don't think selecting among traditional frames of different materials will make much of a difference.

Right now, I have carbon, steel, and aluminum bikes. They are road racing geometry. I also have an aluiminum "cruiser" type bike, a Bianchi Milano, with 2 inch tires on it. The Milano is far more comfortable as far as taking the bumps, with its longer wheelbase, big fat low pressure tires, and comfy position, even more so than the carbon.

The frame materials seem to make a difference only in what I call "road buzz." It's the feel you get when riding over tread marks in the pavement, chip seal, or just rougher roads. Can't say it makes a darn bit of difference on bigger hits, and I don't know how it could, either. Frankly, I can't tell the difference between the steel and the aluminum, except for weight.

For your back, I imagine two things could contribute to comfort, position and shock absorption. As the others said, position is affected by the geometry and fit of the bike to you for your needs now and the riding you do. Fit can be fine tuned quite a bit with stems, handlebars, seatposts and seat adjustments.

Shock absorption could be important for your back. For this, you have to get a bit more radical to make a difference. While frame design could make some difference, likely you'll get a whole lot more perceptible difference by changing to a Softride, a shock seatpost, a shock fork, shock stem, or larger, lower pressure tires.

If shock absorption is truly the issue, try the Softride. I know several guys who have them, and they swear by them for longer rides on rough roads. Plus, I think they have a 30-45 day money back guarantee. They cost roughly equivalent of a good road frame, but are slightly heavier. I'd give it a shot.

Bottom line: Don't expect a carbon frame to ride like a Cadillac limo. They are a little less buzzy, but that's about it. I doubt your back will tell the difference. I'd go for some real relief.

read this article, tooDog
Jul 2, 2001 8:38 AM

read this article, toomike mcmahon
Jul 2, 2001 6:56 PM
I found the following passage from that article interesting:

"In my evaluation and theory of bike sizing, if you look at the position of the hips and the compression of diaphragm while sitting on the saddle, you will see that the seat tube angles of all racing road and track bikes should be between 74 and 76 degrees. I know what you are saying, "Where the h*** did you come up with that theory?" If you look at the angle of the hips when you are in a riding position, the Quadriceps tendons should come off the bone at an angle as close to 90 degrees as possible. That is the angle where tendon connection to the bone is the strongest, thus, the least likely to develop tendonitis and create a stronger muscle contraction. Along with the correct knee angle of 120 at the crank 3 o'clock position and the least diaphragm compression (so you can get more oxygen in your system), a 74 to 76 degree seat angle looks like the winner. 76 degrees being for smaller riders and 74 degrees being for riders with bikes greater than 56-cm seat tube lengths. With this seat angle and proper positioning, you will be able to develop more power than ever before. The old adage of the more laid back the seat tube the more comfortable the bike is, is just the fact that the rider is not over the front wheel, making all of the road shock translate up the shoulders and down the spine. The shallow angle of 72 to 73 degrees in the laid back seat angle compresses your diaphragm, making it harder to take in a full breath while under exercised induced pressure. Your upper body and legs create a V when you ride a bike and the lower you go to be more aerodynamic, the more closed off the V gets. This stretches out the hamstrings too much, pulls the hips out of position, compresses the diaphragm and makes it so the quadriceps do not work as well as they could. A more laid back seat tube angle may be all right for mountain bikers and weaker riders because they sit up straighter, not putting that compression on their diaphragm, etc. But what I am talking about is road and track bikes for racers."

I don't recall ever having heard anyone arguing that smaller riders should be riding with a STA of 76 and bigger riders with a STA of 74. My bikes have always been from 57 to 59 c-c and I've had STAs between 73 and 74. I never noticed any more "diaphragm compression" with the 73 than I did with the 74. Has anyone heard any other arguments in support of the 74-76 STA? Does anyone even build a stock frame with 76 STA?
not for everyoneDog
Jul 3, 2001 7:41 AM
I think this must be referring to racing only, after studying it a while. You can get those angles, but usually only on a custom or time trial bike. It's interesting to see what he says, but then again, no one person has a monopoly on good information in this area. I don't take anything at full face value anymore.

Leap of faithmike mcmahon
Jul 3, 2001 8:31 AM
This portion of the article definitely seemed geared to racers, but I don't ever recall hearing of any world class or even national class roadie using anything steeper than a 74 or maybe 74.5. I suppose it would take a big leap of faith to have a custom frame built with a 75 or 76 STA.
Thanks for all the good infoflatlander
Jul 2, 2001 5:34 PM
Might look at Atlantis, toocory
Jul 2, 2001 6:10 PM
I imagine a Softride is, well, softer (they don't make 'em in my size, so I've never ridden one far enough to tell). But I've had an Atlantis for about six months, and it's by far the most comfortable bike I've ever owned. First time in years that my distance has been dictated by how long I can keep turning the pedals rather than how long I can stand to stay on the bike.