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SoftRide or Zipp(9 posts)

SoftRide or ZippImprovingRider
Aug 12, 2001 9:51 PM
I'm an improving rider who has switched from mountain biking to the road. I live in a very hilly area and am always riding the hills (steep ones). I'm accustomed to a suspended bike and am considering a suspended road bike. I have the opportunity to purchase either a 2001 Zipp carbon fiber or a 2001 SoftRide Road Wing.Can anyone tell me what these bikes are like and whether one is better than the other? And why are they often refered to as TriBikes and not just road bikes?
re: SoftRide or ZippAvanti Guy
Aug 13, 2001 12:37 AM
"And why are they often refered to as TriBikes and not just road bikes?"

Because UCI rules dont allow that type of frame design to be used in competition road competition. Or so I have been led to believe :)...
re: SoftRide or ZippDuane Gran
Aug 13, 2001 4:34 AM
I don't have any direct comparison info to offer, however I have heard from people that these style of bikes aren't ideal for climbing. I'm told that a traditional frame geometry is better for climbing as there is less "spring". This distinction is really a performance issue that may only apply in a racing situation, but as another person has pointed out, these bikes aren't USCF legal for racing. That is another can of worms there.

Most people who opt for suspension road bikes do so in order to reduce stress to the back. I'm told these are much more comfortable. I would test ride both of them and go with what feels the best to you, but by the same token I wouldn't pass up the more traditional road bikes too.
Aug 13, 2001 5:55 AM

No, they aren't **UCI** legal for racing - that's a really different can of worms.

If you were at the start of the Saturn Classic on Saturday, you would have seen 2 Zipp beam bikes among the starters. They're USCF legal.
Yup, they ARE legalDog
Aug 13, 2001 6:21 AM
All these bikes are USCF legal. In fact, just about everything short of a 'bent or pure tri-bike (aerobars) are USCF legal. Only the UCI has strict regulations, and if you are racing a UCI event, someone will be supplying your bike for free (i.e., you'll be a pro).

Here are the rules:

1J. Bicycles
1J1. Bicycles used in competition must be propelled solely by the rider's legs and shall have the following
(a) Dimensions. Bicycles may be no more than 2 meters long and 75 cm wide, except that tandems may
be up to 3 meters long
(b) There may be no protective shield, fairing, or other device on any part of the bicycle, which has the
effect of reducing air resistance except that spoke covers may be used
(c) Wheels may be made with spokes or solid construction. No wheel may contain special mechanisms to
store and release energy
(d) The handlebars ends shall be solidly plugged and attachments thereto shall be fashioned in such a
way as to minimize danger without impairing steering. Handlebars used for steering with ends that point
forward or upward or that provide support for the rider's forearms are permitted only in time trial and
pursuit events (not in Olympic Sprint); however, attachments that point upward on the brakehoods of road
bicycles are allowed if the distance between them is greater than 25 cm (9.8 inches). [disqualification]
1J2. Riders are responsible for their selection of competition equipment and for taking reasonable
precautions to insure that its condition is adequate and safe for use in competition.
(a) To maintain compliance with these regulations, the equipment and uniform of one or more riders may
be examined at any time to discover the use of items which are not allowed or which are obviously
improperly adjusted, insecurely fastened, or which may present a danger to the rider(s). The chief referee
shall prohibit the use of any such items discovered during the examination. Such examinations are
conducted at the discretion of the chief referee. An examination of every rider's equipment is not required.
(b) The Federation and any race organizer or sponsor, and their respective agents, officials, employees
and volunteers, shall not be liable for any damages or injuries arising from or connected in any way with
the condition or adequacy of any rider's competition equipment or uniform, regardless of whether or not
such competition equipment or uniform was examined or was not determined to be in violation of the rules.
1J3. For track races, only a bicycle with a single cog fixed wheel and without derailleurs may be used;
brakes, freewheels, quick releases, and wing nuts may be used only in time trial and pursuit events. For
road races, only a bicycle with a freewheel and one working brake on each wheel shall be used, except as
allowed elsewhere in these rules.
1J4. In roller races, either road or track bicycles may be used. All classes are restricted to a development
of 7.69 meters (25 feet 3 inches) and cranks must be at least 165 mm. long.
1J5. A handcycle is a 3-wheeled cycle with standard bicycle drivetrain and standard bicycle crankarms.
The cycle must be operated by pedaling and shifting using only the upper body to perform said functions.
The maximum wheelbase for a handcycle is 72 inches. Handcycles must have a chainring guard to protect
the rider from the drivetrain. As of January 1, 2000, all handcycles must have 2 separate working brake
calipers (or discs) and a fully-functional lever for each.
I stand corrected. Thank you.Duane Gran
Aug 13, 2001 8:35 AM
re: SoftRide or Zippadam_s
Aug 13, 2001 8:31 AM
don't waste your money. if you want a soft riding yet responsive road bike, get a steel frame. you can find a light one, too, for the same amount or less than you would spend on the softride or zipp. it will climb like a champ. hopefully you will, too.

they are referred to as tri-bikes because only a triathlete would ever think of riding one.
re: SoftRide or ZippBirddog
Aug 13, 2001 4:04 PM
I had a Softride Qualifier for two years before it was stolen. It was set up for Triathlon as I was doing them at the time. Here's the skinny from someone who has ridden steel for 11 years and a Softride for two.
They do not sacrifice anything when climbing, mine was extremely quick, although it had 650 wheels. After a long ride, you can instantly walk erect like the rest of Homo Sapiens. They really do cut down on ride fatigue. They are not light, mine weighed well over 20 lbs. Your back will not hurt as much as with a conventional bike after a long ride, they do ease the bumps.. They will make you a much more efficient pedaler (circles) or else you will pogo all over the place. They also help you to select the right gear because when you are in the wrong one, you will start to bounce a little. I did a century at high altitude 6,900 feet to 10,500 feet with over 5,000 feet of climbing in under 5 hours. I haven't been within a half hour before or since. I set a PR in a Duathlon and finished top ten in a field of 70 (6th) and I was over 50 at the time. If you are a Tri head or duathlete, they are wonderful, because you can instantly start the run portion without the feeling of "running on someone elses legs". Bottom Line, I'd buy another beam bike in a second. Mine had an aluminum fork, and that was the only thing that I'd change. I'd slap on an Ouzo Pro, lighten the bike, and have a very responsive ride. Oh yeah, they corner and handle steep, curvy descents well too. They turn like they are on a rail. I really want to get a Titan Flex, next time, they can go under 17 lbs with the right components. Hope this helps.
re: SoftRide or ZippJohn S.
Aug 13, 2001 6:06 PM
I don't know about Zipp but I do ride a Softride. Check out their web site for more more info.
These frames are not for everyone but they are serious performers. I find it amazing when someone that has probably spent no time riding one says that they are junk.There is no one frame material or style that is right for all.

I think they are often refered to as tribike because they have a history of being very popoular with triathletes. Years ago before there were many frames with geometry that better suited the aero position Softride was a popular frame because you could slide the seat clamp forward and assume a very comfortable position on aero bars. Also the comfort factor can be a great advantage when you are stressing your entire body to the max. Softride also found a nice market nich and built many bikes that really are more suited to the triathlete. The Roadwing is not designed as a tribike but more along the geometric lines of a road machine. Give one a fair test ride and you may be very surprised.

One final thought. I ride with a friend that recently purchased a new Trek Postal model bike. We ride together often and know each other's abilities very well. Even though his new bike is 5 lbs. lighter than his old bike his performance did not increase that much. He was very frustrated at first but is improving quickly now because he is riding a more comfortable bike and is putting in more miles.