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reality check - could you tell the difference in frames?(17 posts)

reality check - could you tell the difference in frames?pat in cal
Mar 14, 2002 7:14 AM
after riding lots of posts claiming this frame or that frame was better - I started wondering - can anyone really tell the difference in similar frames when riden?
An easy example - if you had 4 sets of 6061 tubing - all alike - butted main - tappered rear - and they were all welded together at the same angles in 4 different factories
(say one in USA, one in Taiwan, one in france, one in italy) and they were left unpainted and unmarked and built with same components -- could ANYONE on earth tell by riding where they were welded together?
Mar 14, 2002 7:37 AM
The only difference would be in potential frame longevity. New out of the box and built the ride would be indiscernable- unless one of the welders (maybe the french?) did a really terrible job.
hey TJgtx
Mar 14, 2002 8:41 AM
did you see my post below? Thought you might have a definitive answer on this... thanks
Of coursepmf1
Mar 14, 2002 7:45 AM
The one from Tiawan would fall apart, we all know Chinese robots can't make good bikes.
The one from France would complain that your road lacks culture and reek of stinky cheese.
The Italian one would be the fastest because we all know bicycles were invented there.
The one from the U.S., hopefully custom made by master craftsmen in a small garage shop in Bungaloo MA, would be the best though. You'd be able to feel the pretty welds.
Mar 14, 2002 8:40 AM
but you forgot about the Russian ti. ;)
re: reality check - could you tell the difference in frames?gregario
Mar 14, 2002 8:04 AM
several years back Road Bike Action magazine did just such a study using, if I recall correctly, Columbus steel tubing, ie. Thron, Max, etc...

There were weight differences between the frames but I think the result was that the testers preferred the ride of what was the cheapest material, Thron(?).

Anyone else remember this?
I recall thatpmf1
Mar 14, 2002 8:18 AM
I liked Road Bike Action (or was it Road Bike Review). I started reading it when Bicycling got silly. I recall they did this study where they had a builder build exactly the same frames from 7 different steel tube sets. They were all painted the same color and their staff did a blind test. I recall Columbus EL-OS being favored although I don't think there was a consensus. This is a bit different than the poster's question where only the place of manufacture changes.

Too bad there isn't a decent cycling magazine around (I don't consider that Brit one decent).
it was Bicycle Guide Feb 96DaveG
Mar 14, 2002 9:12 AM
Good test. Other than weight, more expensive stuff doesn't mean better ride. However with Aluminum there may be more benefit to more expensive frames that use shaping and butting to tune the ride.
Probably not..DINOSAUR
Mar 14, 2002 8:38 AM
I'm a sucker for the best paint job..
Probably not...I'm suspicious of anybody who says he couldcory
Mar 14, 2002 8:38 AM
I'm pretty sure I couldn't tell with a single ride, not under those conditions. It might show up 30,000 miles down the road.
Doesn't mean others couldn't, though. I've done a lot of work around race cars and racing drivers, and I've seen them doing tire tests. They'll run, say, 10 sets of tires that feel identical to me (I'm reasonably accomplished and experienced). Late in the day, if you put a pre-tested set back on, a good driver will do a lap or two and report, "That feels like Set No. 2" or whatever.
No, but that is not what people are talking about because...sprockets2
Mar 14, 2002 9:39 AM
what happens in reality is you can have four bikes made of 6061, but that is where the similarity ends. The tubes are different-in thickness, butting, shaping (especially in, but not limited to, the stays), the angles are different -geometry is very important. The bikes could end up being very different on the road.
I'll play devil's advocate, because someone needs to.Leisure
Mar 14, 2002 9:48 AM
If you were talking about perfectly identically welded frames out of perfectly identical tubing, then obviously not. But, since we're talking about four different factories, the tolerancing that they're capable of comes into question. This would end up having more to do with the quality of the company than it would the nation. You can send them the specs you want and trust them to weld it themselves, in which case you *might* in fact be able to tell the difference, especially if one company is superb and another quite crummy. Or, you may not tell the difference 90% of the time, but 10% of the time the crummy company misses the specs by just enough for you to tell. Or, you could supervise the welding yourself to make sure they're perfectly identical to spec, which would instill a test bias because you the tester would be influencing the quality of work away from what the company would otherwise produce, skewing the results.
You're test as written would probably give nearly identical results that most of the time we would have difficulty discerning between. You can further constrain the test to make it more difficult. Of course, the market doesn't really work this way. Otherwise all these companies wouldn't exist. Unless of course, they all had fabulously different paint jobs. ;-)
Exactly the same , no way I could tellgrandemamou
Mar 14, 2002 9:51 AM
But bikes aren't made that way. Different mfr's use different materials, tube shapes and geometries to produce radically different feels. I have 3 bikes. An AL Binachi, lugged steel Gios and a welded Peugot and they all have very different riding characteristics. Even if you did not own the bikes I'll bet that you could tell the difference if blindfolded. Wait, thats probably not a good idea.
If one is done by Cannondalecyclopathic
Mar 14, 2002 10:21 AM
you could obviously see sanded welds.

no doubt it'll be lighter, stiffer and have that magic Cdale ride ;)

and it would last a whole lot longer too 8-P
hey, grandemamoubianchi
Mar 14, 2002 10:24 AM
Question, since we both have owned aluminum Bianchis and steel Gios bikes. I rode a Bianchi Alloro for 6 months and initially really liked the ride, light weight, etc. However, over time I started noticing the road buzz from this frame more and more -- especially on roads with bumpy uneven surfaces. One 40-mile ride in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, in particular, convinced to go back to a steel frame bike. The pavement in the Smokies is not real smooth and I remember feeling like I had been operating a jack hammer after that ride. I replaced that bike with a steel Gios Compact Pro, which feels much more comfortable to me. That's partly because the Gios geometry fits me better, but I get no "road buzz" at all from the Gios frame, and it actually seems to flex less when climbing out of the saddle than the Bianchi. Now I guess you could attribute the difference in riding characteristics of these frames to the geometry, but I tend to think that the frame material makes a difference as well. Incidentally, both bikes were equipped with Mavic Open Pro wheels and Michi Axial Pro tires and the exact same saddle (Trans Am Max).
It's a small world after allgrandemamou
Mar 14, 2002 11:16 AM
I actualy went the opposite way. I've had my Gios for about 8 years and bought an 01 EV2. Although the Alloro and EV2 are both Al, there are subtle differences in the tubes. The EV2 uses lighter tubing that is more heavily shaped. I wouldn't call the ride plush but I find it every bit as comfortable as my Gios. I rode 4 centuries last year and felt fine on it. The road buzz is still there but not nearly as pronounced as with most AL frames.

It's wicked light (16 lbs flat) and handles like a go-kart. Steering is point and click. If you are a lighter rider and looking for an inexpensive racing frame you can't beat the EV2. My Gios with Chorus/Athena tips the scales at 23 lbs. Believe it or not I made it heavier for training purposes when I bought my Bianchi. It's comfy and tracks straight as an arrow. You could almost fall asleep on the thing.

I still ride both probably pretty much equally. Races,long fast training rides = Bianchi. Recovery rides, LSD = Gios.
It's a small world after allbianchi
Mar 14, 2002 12:03 PM
I'm more into comfort than lightness, but my Gios seems like a decent compromise between the two. My 2001 Compact Pro weighs about 20 lbs w/ a Chorus 10 group and Open Pro wheels. My problems with the Alloro may have been more due to fit -- it was too long across the top and the bars were too low and couldn't be raised any more without buying a new fork, which I didn't want to do.