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So tell me how your aluminum rides(37 posts)

So tell me how your aluminum ridesmlbd
Aug 12, 2002 6:03 AM
I'm still struggling with a new bike decision. I'm looking for something light and stiff (I'm on steel now) because I like climb fast. I want to try aluminum (I'm on steel now) but I'm weary of what it might do to me on those 60, 70, 80 miles rides. I've test ridden Cannondale and Litespeed aluminum and really liked them both, but of course that was on 1 hour test rides. So I'm stuck between aluminum and carbon (Trek, Kestrel or Calfee). I've liked the carbon rides as well, but they're not quite as lively as the Al. I'd be interested to here others' experiences with Al, especially for long rides.
re: So tell me how your aluminum ridesnetso
Aug 12, 2002 6:06 AM
I came from steel too! However, I now ride a Canny r4000si and my wife rides an r2000si. We have ridden rides of 50 to 100 miles with no problem. It is not quite as comfortable as my steel CIOCC, but not by much!
Aluminum rides like a sofa to me.onespeed
Aug 12, 2002 6:07 AM
Check out one of my Meraks posted below. I have done double centuries on them with no problem. Unless you are riding through a boulder field, you wont have any problems.

I have never experienced the AL harshness that everyone always describes here.
In defense of aluminumgs6769
Aug 12, 2002 6:26 AM
Mine's a Klein Quantum. many long rides in complete comfort. The Klein has killed of all but the most rudimentary 'bike lust' impulses. This wasn't quite so with my steel Bianchi, though I love the Bianchi as well.
I think the 'harshness' of alu is overstated. IMO no matter what material is used, a frame can be awesome, total crap or anywhere in between. Steel can be nasty, aluminum great or the other way around A thoughtfully designed, carefully made frame is the key not only to general comfort but to years of joy filled riding no matter the material. My advice is to trust your instincts. It seems like you're looking at quality bikes, all of which would probably give you years of enjoyment. Follow your heart and you won't go wrong.
In defense of carbonfiltersweep
Aug 12, 2002 11:29 AM
Hey, I finally bit the bullet today and ordered a Look through Freewheel. For mostly Dura Ace (except BB and crank) it will cost what a Trek 5200 costs for a closeout 281 with the all carbon fork (which is basically a 381 with a different headset). Granted I could have purchased a closeout Trek for less, but to pick individual components with such ease?

Those evil guys at Freewheel handed me one of those Easton carbon bars... it was like holding an empty soda can- they apparently had spotted a mark and had an easy sell.

They are the coolest bike shop I've ever been to... great to deal with, changing room with shower for my test ride, patient, etc... I didn't know that customizing a build could be so easy and so reasonably priced.

I'll stay out of this argument, except to say that I wanted to upgrade so much more than just the frame... and offer that a custom build may be less expensive than one might think.
re: So tell me how your aluminum ridesJohnG
Aug 12, 2002 6:30 AM
I've owned a Caad5 Dale and my current TCR frame.

The Dale was too harsh for my 150#'s but the TCR is just fine. I've ridden 150 mile rides on the TCR with nary a problem. Great frame as long as you aren't a clyde.

re: So tell me how your aluminum ridesrtyszko
Aug 12, 2002 6:52 AM
I'm 5'11' 154 lbs and I'm riding an older C-dale (CAAD 3) and it sprints, decends, and climbs well but is a bit harsh after 2+ hours in the saddle. I actually ride a Mtn. Saddle (the Flight Trans AM Max) to soften the ride. Of all the people that I've spoken with (including Factory reps) the CAAD 5 and 7 are significantly more comfortable. Either way, I'm not going to buy another aluminum frame (including those with carbon seat stays) because I'm aiming for more comfort and to me that's more important than the "stiffness." Just my 2 cents....

2 Fuji ALs, one new, one older...cabinfever
Aug 12, 2002 6:53 AM
I bought a Fuji Team in 1999. It is a 52cm frame. Light, stiff, but harsh on bumps, cracks, and tar snakes. I just built a new Fuji Team on their 2001 Easton frame. Much different. More compliant and more comfortable. I think some of that is due to the Ouzo Pro fork I used, but the bike is much better. I think the new tapered aluminum tubing helped tremendously. However, a friend has a Trek OCLV and raves about it. I think it is personal preference. It seems that guys with more miles on them complain less about aluminum's harshness than poeple who ride less often.
re: So tell me how your aluminum ridesNo_sprint
Aug 12, 2002 6:57 AM
The harshness of alu is a total myth. If you want stiff and responsive and relatively cheap, alu is your deal. I've had several alu bikes and now prefer my Qpro to all that I have. Centuries have been no problem. The instant acceleration needed for crit racing is absolutely amazing.
here we go againET
Aug 12, 2002 10:18 AM
You keep saying the harshness of alu is a complete myth. Many in this thread say they can tell the difference, although it is in general less pronounced than it used to be, but that hardly makes it a myth.

A female co-worker recently placed second in my state's time trial championship, on a Merlin. She just wrecked that in a crash (car's fault) and just replaced it with a CAAD7. She told me the new bike sure is stiff and performs, but the ride is somewhat harsher, this observed on only a 25-mile ride. No myth there. Didn't ask her yet how the 50+ mile ride this weekend went.

There is no reason why a different metal must be as comfortable as another.
Aug 12, 2002 10:35 AM
stiffer = stiffer
softer = softer

Ti bikes built as stiff as my QPro are no less stiff riding. Ride feel is virtually identical in my opinion.
Aluminum isn't all badlott
Aug 12, 2002 6:57 AM
I have two stock Treks
One, a 2200 Alum with carbon fork.
Two, a 5200 Carbon Fiber.

They're both 54's. Overall, I like the Alum better. I bought the Carbon "thinking" it was a much better ride quality. The 5200 rides a "little" better but the 2200 fits me a little better therefore I like the feel of it better. I think the harshness of Alum. may be a little over-rated. I think you should find the bike that fits you better vs what type of material it may be.
Since you askedgrandemamou
Aug 12, 2002 6:58 AM
I have an EV2 and two steel bikes. I find the AL pretty comfy. No problems getting beat up. The biggest difference is that you feel a little more vibration running through the frame. IMO tires, forks and seats have a much greater impact on comfort than frames. If you want light,stiff, and cheap AL is a pretty good choice.

That said, there is no way to say that one material is better than the other. It is more about the build than the material. I think that you will find that low end AL frames will be less comfortable. By the same token low end steel frames are heavy. It's all about trade offs.
re: So tell me how your aluminum ridestarwheel
Aug 12, 2002 7:01 AM
I rode a '99 Bianchi Alloro for about 8 months and replaced it with a steel frame (Gios). Although the Bianchi felt fine on smooth well-paved roads, the vibration really started bothering me after a while -- particularly on rougher roads. It was not the big jolts that got to me but the small vibrations or road buzz. Lots of cyclists claim that good aluminum frames ride as well as other materials, but not in my admittedly limited experience. My Gios has a stiff frame but rides much smoother on rough roads. My experience riding other aluminum frames is limited, so I will take others at their word that some aluminum frames have smoother rides. But I will never buy another aluminum bike.
re: So tell me how your aluminum ridesGalibier
Aug 12, 2002 7:19 AM
I've owned steel, carbon, and aluminum road bikes, and I've ridden titanium. My current aluminum frame is not harsh; it is lively and responsive, and it handles beautifully.
What kind of frame is it? (nm)jtferraro
Aug 12, 2002 7:33 AM
LeMond Maillot Jaune (nm)Galibier
Aug 12, 2002 9:01 AM
I didn't realize LeMond used to make alu bikes...jtferraro
Aug 12, 2002 10:31 AM
Now they only make steel and titanium, right?

re: So tell me how your aluminum ridesTomS
Aug 12, 2002 7:22 AM
I'm looking at the same decision; currently riding a pretty heavy but comfortable steel bike now, want something lighter and stiffer. I don't think I can get away with having two road bikes, so I'd probably have to sell my current one (a univega modo volare). But I'm also worried about comfort on longer rides...

Have you looked at the Giant line? I've read a bunch of reviews about the TCR's that say they're pretty comfortable. I'm thinking about looking at those, a CAAD5 something-or-other, and the Fuji Team. I've seen the Fuji's marked down to around $1000-1200 (for example, also on ebay), that's with full ultegra, makes me wonder what's wrong with them! I haven't seen any bad reviews of them though, so maybe it's just a model year closeout situation.
Seems like an amazing deal! Now you got me interested! (nm)jtferraro
Aug 12, 2002 7:49 AM
Fuji Team deal...cabinfever
Aug 12, 2002 7:55 AM
I just built a 2001 Team frame with full Dura Ace, King headset, Ouzo Pro fork, Bontrager Race X Lite wheels, Thomson Post, and ITM Millenium bar/stem for $2,100. I almost wish I went for that bikes direct Team instead. I have read the reviews for the Ritchey wheels that come with that stock Team though, and some guys ripped them. I guess what Ritchey does to center the wheel and eliminate the dish offset of the drive side/non-drive side spokes doesn't work too well. Never tried them myself though.
re: So tell me how your aluminum ridesbnlkid
Aug 12, 2002 8:41 AM
I have a Giant TCR 0 and used to own a Colnago Dream Plus. The Giant was far more comfortable. The carbon seatpost helps absorb much of the shock. I was surprised at how comfortable this bike rides. I highly recommend the Giant.
Very differently......Eager Beagle
Aug 12, 2002 7:35 AM
Depending on the build, make, wheels and tyres. Very difficult to generalise. Ride as many as you can, and find one that you like, then stick with it.

And remember, you can make any bike a lot more comfy with a thicker tyre and/or a few psi less.
I ride both al and st...DINOSAUR
Aug 12, 2002 7:41 AM
My new bike is a Colnago Master X-Light, my old bike is a Klein Quantum Race. When I purchased my new ride back in May, the Klein hung in my garage for three months and I think I rode it a total of 4 times, twice when my Colnago was in the shop getting a free tune up. I've sort of rediscovered the Klein, cleaned it up, lubed it and started to ride it a couple a days a week. Having two completely differerent bikes is a good way to prevent burn out. The Klein, for me, climbs better, probably because of the weight and the geometry. The steel Colnago handles and descends like a demon. The main difference I notice between the two bikes is the fork and headset. If I had a nicer fork on the Klein it would ride a lot better. But if I was looking for a bike for long rides or centuries I would go with the Colnago. If I have a bad day the Klein seems to beat the crap out of me. But on good days it screams, and it gives a sensation of speed and quickness. Of course part of it depends on how you build the bike up. The Master X-Light is stiff but has that little springy magic feel that only steel can provide. If you want a good climbing bike you could probably do well with an aluminum bike, but to tell you the truth my times haven't changed between the two bikes. The weight that helps is the weight that comes off your body. The deciding factor, for me, between another al bike and a new steel bike, was it didn't make sense to own two al bikes as I would probably end up riding the new al bike all the time.
re: So tell me how your aluminum ridesbcm119
Aug 12, 2002 8:24 AM
I' d agree with many of the posts that other factors affect the ride more than frame material. I have a Klein that is quite stiff and climbs great; I also have a great carbon fork (Columbus carve) and saddle that eat up alot of vibration. I like this setup because it gives me the responsiveness of the Klein rear triangle for sprints and climbs, yet overall the bike is quite comfortable. I'd rather have some flex in the peripherals than in my frame- especially the rear triangle.
Maybe ignorance is bliss..brurider
Aug 12, 2002 8:31 AM
Have been riding an aluminum Raleigh R-500 for 4 years and have been through 3 centuries and a 178 miler with it. Having gone from an old AMF 10 speed coming in at a scant 44#, to a used Schwinn (Paramount 15 speed I think it was), to this, I feel like I died and went to heaven. I can't relate to the harshness of the ride, of course, maybe I don't know any better having not dropped the bucks like some of the folks here have for higher end products.
re: So tell me how your aluminum ridesakatdog
Aug 12, 2002 8:43 AM
Aluminum GOOD Steel also good. I've spent most of my time on an early 90's Trek 1200 aluminum with a cro-moly fork. The whole feeling "beat up" on long rides is blown way out of proportion. The biggest thing with Aluminum its the hand buzz that comes from textured roads not bouncing all around at every pebble. I just switched over to a 2000 Specialized M4 with a look Hsc3 carbon fork. I love it the fork takes out a lot of the buzz and the the thing is responsive as (H E double hockey sticks). I also ride a steel Paramount series 7 and it feels like glass but no matter how hard I push I feel I can never eek that last 3-4 mph outta it. P.S. I just did a 65 miler in the hills on my M4 and I plan on doing a century on it next month even though I have the steel. Aluminums are just plain fun. It's like comparing a sports car to a caddy, sure the suspensions going to be stiffer but which is more fun on twisting mountain roads.

Ride on
I've got both...julio
Aug 12, 2002 9:27 AM
a steel bike (Gunnar Roadie) and aluminum (Cannondale Criterium) and I don't feel much of a harsh ride on either, I'd say the steel is a little more supple but barely. If you buy a quality frame it shouldn't shake you to death. One thing that I noticed though is that my Cannondale flexes way more in the bottom bracket area where my steel frame is really stiff. You mentioned carbon and you don't seem to have a small budget so I think you should check out one of the Calfees, I have only heard good things about them...
My two current aluminium bikesclintb
Aug 12, 2002 9:45 AM
1993 Cannondale 2.8 frameset: Stiff as all get out. Tells you what's going on with the road at all times. Too stiff at times, but can certainly take a full on sprint without a single whimper.

2001 Giant TCR Zero: Pretty darn stupid light. Much more of a forgiving ride than the 2.8, but with a tiny bit more front end flex. Can be a tiny bit twitchy on rougher roads, but has telepathic handling most times.

Overall, I like the Giant more. My opinion might be swayed if I got a chance to ride a newer Cannondale though.
I recently tested &Marcocyclo
Aug 12, 2002 10:20 AM
purchased a C-d caad7. I am coming from a steel frame/fork and was very impressed with the c7's ride. It was very smooth if the road was smooth to moderately rough, but did notice a good bit of vibration if the road got real rough. Like you I wanted a lighter and stiffer climbing bike. Longest ride has been 55 miles with alot of climbing and I could not complain about the c7.
re: So tell me how your aluminum ridesmbologna
Aug 12, 2002 10:53 AM
I ride a 2002 Klein Quantum. I love the responsiveness of the Klein, especially when you want to accelerate or climb. I don't find it rough at all, though I guess some of that depends on the quality of the roads you are riding on. It seems like people make a lot out of the aluminum versus steel issue, but I think at the quality level you are looking at, it probably just comes down to personal preference. Good luck!
re: So tell me how your aluminum ridesaeon
Aug 12, 2002 11:43 AM
My new aluminum rides plusher than I would have ever imagined. Of course.... it does have 6 inches of travel in the rear... =).
DeRosa Merak ....There is no substitute ...n/tDeRosaOrBust
Aug 12, 2002 11:50 AM
re: So tell me how your aluminum ridesshoalin
Aug 12, 2002 1:06 PM
I have 2 Klein one is Q race and Q carbon pro....They ride identical... Well for the lust of the look I bought Q Carbon Pro but al is good as carbon.
re: So tell me how your aluminum ridesSteve Bailey
Aug 12, 2002 3:30 PM
I go back and forth between a Klein Quantum and a Heron Road.

About as different as you can find. The Klein sports a Kinesis Carbon fork, but other then that, has no other attributes that would make it seemingly a more comfortable ride. It has a 23mm tire in the front, a 25 in the rear, both usually at 120 psi.

The Heron, using identical Open Pro wheels as the Klein, has a set of 26mm wide tires, usually around 115 front, 120 rear. Both have Brooks B17 saddles. The Heron has Cinelli bar tape, which is a bit softer then whatever's on the Klein (not Cinelli).

Other then the fact that the Klein has a narrower h-bar and a totally different geometry and philosophy, there seemingly isn't much difference between them. The Klein seems stiffer when I stomp on the pedals or stand to climb. Maybe a touch quicker to accelerate. Maybe a touch stiffer when hitting bumbs. But I've done numorous centuries on both (the klein is about 6 years old, the Heron has 2 seasons on it) and am alway's amazed before a ride as to how very minor differences in geometry, material, tires, h-bars. etc... can make a bike feel SO different, but also how I never feel after the ride, like "I'm riding my Heron on that road next time", or anything like that.

Steve B.
re: So tell me how your aluminum ridesZerotrek
Aug 12, 2002 3:53 PM
I ride a Serotta Aluminum (1999 I think). After riding a bunch of older Cannondale road and mountain bikes, this one feels special. I do feel the earlier Cannondales were a bit harsh. I loved them none the less for their great power transfer, nothing like it for someone my size (6'2" 235lbs).

Maybe the fit was not right on those I don't know, but I will be looking for a new AL frame shortly as my Serotta has gotten quite old. Based on the opinions I have received in this forum I am going to pass on the carbon frames and go with another AL.

Haven't test rode one yet that rides like my Serotta. Going to try the Cannondale CAAD7 when it comes to my LBS. I really liked what I heard about the ScottUSA, but I don't think they are sold anywhere in the USA.
re: So tell me how your aluminum ridesSoultrain
Aug 12, 2002 5:52 PM
I own a KLEIN quantum race that is a beautiful al ride.
Well tuned,very stiff and fairly light. It's a good race rocket. I also test rode the cad 7, very nice as well.
I found the KLEIN and the Dale to be quite similar as both are well tuned rides and are incredibly stiff.
I get some fatigue from road vibration, on rides over fifty miles, but am hoping that a new Easton ec-90 bar will help ease my mild hand discomfort.
Daniel H.