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racing on 853 ?(4 posts)

racing on 853 ?RojoRacer
Oct 23, 2001 4:59 PM
I'm doing the research on a new bike purchase, and am considering a custom built bike using Reynolds 853 (by a local builder).
The reason I'm having reservations is that I would be racing on the bike (RR and Crits) so I'm trying to decide if I'd be better off with a factory made alum bike. (My details: weight ~158 pounds, height ~ 5'9")

Has anyone raced an 853 frame and would like to share their thoughts?

If were just racing roads (ie long rides) I would go the steel, and if I were doing predominantly crits then I would go for alum., but I'm somewhere in between those two race profiles. I guess what I'm really asking is whether a steel framed bike has the potential to be competitive in crits? (ie good acceleration) (I can hear it now: "it depends on the builder of the frame!", so please humour me)

re: racing on 853 ?peloton
Oct 23, 2001 6:09 PM
I wouldn't worry about it.

I weigh about 190, and raced a Reynolds 853 frame to a third for the season in my local ITT series. It worked about the same for me in other types of racing as well. I've owned aluminum as well, and like it too. I don't think it makes much difference in racing though as long as the bike fits, and the engine gets the job done. Agreed, for pro racing everything changes, but I'm not worried about a few seconds over a three week tour. For all around riding, and racing just go with a good builder and a good fit and you should be fine with whatever material you go with. My 2 cents anyway.
Talk to your frame builderNessism
Oct 23, 2001 6:43 PM
Tell him your concerns and ask him what options you have in terms of tube selection. Most tubesets have various options to choose from to taylor the stiffness. In particular ask about down tube choices - this tube is the most important. I have an old 850 tubing catalog and Reynolds lists down tubes employing either .7/.5/.7 or .8/.5/.8 butts. They also have various options in terms of butt lengths. A deceint builder should be able to fit you as long as you make it clear to him what you want. Good luck.
re: racing on 853 ?Leisure
Oct 24, 2001 5:31 AM
The primary argument for racing Al is weight, not efficiency. Here's my speculation: most of the stuff about aluminum being stiff is a matter of the larger tube size and typically harsher resonant decay of impact energy that Al imparts. Leaving out subtle geometric details and figuring that pedaling applies slower impulses that are largely reduced to a compressive load on the chainstays, the amount of flex in the frame is pretty similar, so the energy lost will be similar, and insignificant, for either material. I'm kind of glossing over the details of relative frame weight versus strength per unit mass, but if you think about it that just evens things out further. All that said I'm actually one of those types that yammers on and on about going with what you feel, and I've never felt a significant difference between steel and aluminum frames in regards to pedaling efficiency that could be narrowed down to the materials. Just jump on a couple and see for yourself. Kinda nice when the theory corresponds to what you observe, huh?
BTW, while I don't do races I do know one guy that's been winning a lot of them. He's been racing on a Salsa frame, which is basically the Gunnar's 853 Roadie made by Waterford. You're getting it done custom so you'll undoubtedly get stiffer-than-taxes chainstays on top of that.