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Recommendation sought: good frame/bike for CLIMBING(4 posts)

Recommendation sought: good frame/bike for CLIMBINGNorthgate
Jul 18, 2002 3:25 PM
Hey all,

Until recently I've considered myself mainly to be a mountain biker, but in the last year or so I've had more opportunity to do road riding, and find that I love it, the climbing in particular.

What I've been using for my road riding is a circa 1994 steel Kona mountain bike (hardtail, w/ rigid fork) outfitted with 1.5" slick street tires, maybe 27 lbs overall. The main part of my weekly or twice-weekly solo ride involves a 3500-foot climb on mainly smooth asphalt. The bike gets the job done, but I have a feeling that a dedicated road bike might be in order, because I want to begin riding with other people and maybe even try out some races and, when riding solo, I'd basically like to go as far or high as my fitness and time constraints allow. Also might want to do some centuries.

My main interest is rides that involve a good dose of, if not exclusively, climbing. I know that a rider's fitness is way more important than the particular sled he's using, but since I have to choose SOME bike, I want to get one that excels at climbing. I've read numerous comments on steel vs. aluminum vs. ti vs. carbon, but these don't seem to really help choose a particular bike or frame. It seems like other variables, such as rider size and weight, frame and tube geometry, etc. enter into the equation, and that choosing something based on frame material alone is an oversimplification.

I am 38 years old, 6' 0" tall, 31" inseam, 145 lbs, slender, and given this body type, of course prefer spinning in lower gears as opposed to power riding. I've never had any problems with frame flexing while mtb-ing on aluminum and steel mtb frames. I'm wondering if a frame that clydesdales or sprinters criticize as being too flexy might be OK for me.

I'd prefer not to spend over $3K (preferably somewhere between $1.5 and $2K), and would be willing to make some degree of compromise in frame design to allow for more comfort or durability.

If you have any specific frame (or full bike) recommendations, or any general recommendations, I'd love to hear them. Especially if you've ridden numerous different frames and can make comparisons based on actual experience.

Here's one more issue: It seems like aluminum is generally considered to give a harsh ride. This would be an issue on longer rides. But how about just slapping on a suspension seatpost for the longer rides? Alu frames seem light enough that the extra weight of this kind of seatpost would be cancelled out by the lighter frame (compared to, say, Ti or Steel), and when ride comfort isn't a big issue, you could just put a regular seatpost on. Am I right or wrong? There's a lot of talk about the vibration-absorbing qualities of Ti and carbon, but wouldn't a suspension post and careful fork choice render an aluminum frame comfortable to ride?

Thanks, and good riding,

Tom S.
Bay Area
anything will do, fit might be the problem....C-40
Jul 18, 2002 3:53 PM
At your weight, you aren't going to put much stress on any frame. Rigidity would should be the least of your concerns. Just about any aluminum frame will be plenty rigid; but yes, they don't ride as nice as other materials. I also wouldn't put a lot of emphsis on the fraction of a pound of wieght that can be saved with aluminum. You have a substantial weight advantage already. Concentrate on getting a bike the fits and has a decent ride.

I would assume that the 31" inseam that you posted is your pants inseam and not your cycling inseam. See how to measure you cycling inseam at coloradocyclist.com. I would expect that your cycling inseam is at least 33". If not, you've got damn short legs for you height, and getting a bike with enough top tube length may be a problem.

Get the right dimensions and post again to avoid suggestions for frames that won't fit.
You're right...Northgate
Jul 22, 2002 7:58 AM
According to the procedure of Colorado Cyclist, my cycling inseam is 33", as you guessed. Thanks for the referral to their site.
re: Recommendation sought: good frame/bike for CLIMBINGR-I-D-E
Jul 19, 2002 11:04 PM
Hey Tom,

Fellow Bay Area guy here myself. Fit is the first and foremost important factor in determining your new bike. Typically, the lighter the bike, the better it climbs. That being said, the lighter the bike, the more expensive it is.

As for aluminum, a very good aluminum frame will be stiff (like it should) light, but ride very nicely. No it won't feel like a soft ti bike, but with the propper choices in wheels, seatpost, stem, handlebar, and tires, you can tune the ride of any bike.

If you have any more questions, feel free to email me direct. rideamountain@attbi.com

Good luck,

RIDE