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Who makes the smoothest frame?(13 posts)

Who makes the smoothest frame?Matno
Jan 8, 2003 11:14 AM
I have been totally happy with my OLD 56cm Schwinn SuperSport frame with its Columbus tubing (especially since I upgraded a few key components like the wheels and the stem), but last week I made a HUGE mistake. I borrowed a buddy's new Cannondale for a quick 20 miler. MAN! What a difference. In spite of having smaller tires (23's - mine are 28's), the ride was SO MUCH smoother, and the bike was lighter. So now I'm thinking a change should be made. Unfortuntately, I have NO budget for this, but in a couple of months...

So my questions are:
1) would getting a more "supple" set of tires make a huge difference? Mine are pretty stiff, heavy Conti's from a few years back.
2) if not, what frames are the best for absorbing vibration? (My current frame vibrates quite a bit, in fact I can give it a little bounce, then hold it off the ground and still feel vibrations resonating through the bike for quite some time!) I don't care if a frame is "flexy" since I don't race and I only weigh 140. Comfort means a lot.
3) does the carbon fork on the C'dale make a big difference? I think the one I rode was an R800 (CAAD4 all 105 components). How about the "S-bend" seat stays? (Mine are straight).

oh man, big can o' worms here!rockbender
Jan 8, 2003 11:39 AM
Lots of elements will contribute to a smooth ride. The easiest cheapest way is to get some tires, as you have suggested. get a nice high thread count 25 or 28.

FWIW, the CAAD4 frame is not necessarily the smoothest frame in the world, so I think the overall feel of the new crisp riding bike is what has won you over. As far as finding a smooth frame, look no further than a nice steel frame that FITS! If the budget allows, ride some titanium bikes. At your weight and purpose, the lower end ti frames may be what you are looking for.

Others will have far better suggestions and complex explanations than I.

good luck and have fun!
Would you like carbon or ti with that?grzy
Jan 8, 2003 11:44 AM
Carbon fiber frames are really very smooth - too the point that they're criticised for feeling "dead". Everything is so damped out that you're not quite in tube with the riding surface. Many riders rave about the virtues of a quality titanium frame and carbon fork, myself included. One must realize that you're entering the subjective land of esoterica. Do you really need to drop in excess of $5,000 on a friggin' bicycle just to enjoy yourself?

A quality carbon fork makes a huge difference on almost any bike - even an aluminum ride which is often criticised for being harsh. Most people run 23 or 25 mm tires - 20 mm are often used in time trials and in triathlons, but they tend to be problematic in road riding - grip, pinch flats and a harsh ride.

In the end many will claim that you can't go wrong with a ti frame from Seven, Moots, Serotta and others, but hey, Ferrari's are nice also. Try to avoid getting caught in the endless upgrade game - it's very expensive to buy a new bike one component at a time at full-pop retail.
Schwinn beach cruiser!Alexx
Jan 8, 2003 11:47 AM
With 35 psig in the tires!
Sir, I take issue with the term "Beach" ...Humma Hah
Jan 8, 2003 1:12 PM
... but the only thing that rides smoother than an old Schwinn cantilever cruiser is maybe an old Schwinn Heavi-Duti Tandem.
re: Who makes the smoothest frame?jtolleson
Jan 8, 2003 11:47 AM
Ditto to the suggestion above that for many, "smoothness" is found in steel or ti. But OCLV riders will tell you different, sooo...

Cannondale's CAAD4 is actually pretty stiff, so I'll ditto the suggestion that there was something about the ride that won you over, but it probably wasn't bump absorption.

Yes, CF forks really do make a difference. I do not believe that S-Bend stays make an iota of difference. They are pretty, with no performance implication, IMO.

Better tires will help ride quality and if your tires are from a few "years back" then you need to ride more! :)
You're absolutely right!Matno
Jan 8, 2003 1:05 PM
That I need to ride more! I've been mainly a mountain biker for the last few years. (I was a roadie long before that though). School has taken it's toll on my schedule too. (Have I really been in college since '91?!)

Anyway, I think tires will be my first move due to budget constraints. Hopefully that will help enough to satisfy me. There's nothing "wrong" with my bike, I just really preferred the bump absorption of that C'dale. I noticed it was different right off the bat when I dropped of a 2 inch drop and hardly felt it. On my bike I would have gotten a jolt. My bike actually is MUCH smoother than it used to be (since I replaced the wheelset and the stem in particular), but if that C'dale with its carbon fork had a "dead" feel, then dead is what I want! I'm probably just dreaming anyway. I'm WAY over budget for bike parts for this year already (and I'm talking about 2003!)
Softride nmDougSloan
Jan 8, 2003 12:44 PM
re: Who makes the smoothest frame?Woof the dog
Jan 8, 2003 1:11 PM
Cannondales have improved over the years, and actually ride softer than some modern specialized frames.


Woof the bitch.
Problem partially solved. Man am I an IDIOT!Matno
Jan 8, 2003 1:54 PM
I just gave my bike a quick once-over to try to isolate some of the vibration. Turns out my headset was really loose. In spite of having used them much longer than the newer kind, I'm still a little clueless when it comes to threaded headsets (which mine is). Tightening it made quite a difference in the "buzz." Once again, I am an idiot. Not that this makes my bike as smooth as a newer one would be, but at least I feel a little better about it... :^)

How about some tire recommendations? I'm leaning toward some Conti GP 3000's or maybe Vittoria Rubino Pros...
Jan 8, 2003 2:03 PM
Well, you can't go wrong with Conti GP 3000s for ride, though I have had the delam problem with mine. The Performance house brand tires (kevlar) seem to be doing me pretty well without putting a big dent in the wallet.

One thing to check... was the tire pressure up to snuff on the C-dale when you rode it? That could affect the ride quality in a big way.
I think...Matno
Jan 8, 2003 2:41 PM
...the tires were the stock Conti's. Not sure which model. However, I pumped them up myself to 110 psi. That's pretty much what I ride my own tires at too.

The main concern I have is vibration. My frame is kind of like a tuning fork. Literally. It will keep vibrating in my hand for as long as 20 seconds after I bounce it off the ground. That can't be the way a good frame reacts...
Caad5 CannondaleLeroy
Jan 8, 2003 7:12 PM
rides plenty smooth, at least mine does. I was as surprised as you when I rode one for the first time. Trust your own experience. I'm glad you got the sense of the ride for yourself. Great wasn't it ?