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How do YOU define the "ride" of a bicycle?(22 posts)

How do YOU define the "ride" of a bicycle?MShaw
Jul 25, 2003 9:20 AM
I've gotten into a few discussions over the years with engineers and others.

Some tell me that the material a bicycle is made of does not affect the way a bicycle rides.

Some tell me that SL and SLX ride the same even though I've owned one of each and they don't.

I'm just curious how people define how their bike(s) ride(s). I know I can tell the difference between my S-Works and my Road Light...

"comfortable" or "not". nm.Steve_0
Jul 25, 2003 9:23 AM
I define it by it's stiffness...Dwayne Barry
Jul 25, 2003 9:28 AM
that seems to be the biggest difference I can tell between bikes (or even different wheels on the same bike).
Or even different tire pressures on same wheel (nm)hrv
Jul 25, 2003 9:55 AM
I define it by it's stiffness...gtx
Jul 25, 2003 10:06 AM
In a Richard Sachs interview in the latest Rivendell reader when asked about stiffnes he said "I don't even know what that means."
I've owned two bikes that were on opposite ends of the scaleDave Hickey
Jul 25, 2003 10:40 AM
The first was a Cannondale 2.8. It had a bone crushing ride. The second was a TVT carbon with a TVT carbon fork. I could literally watch the fork flex when I got out of the saddle
Yeah but I do! (nm)Dwayne Barry
Jul 25, 2003 12:29 PM
Jul 25, 2003 9:33 AM
Potential terms:

small/large (long/short)
tracks well

If only we had the vocabularly of wine experts.

I ask: "How does this compare with Reynolds 531?"OldEdScott
Jul 25, 2003 9:42 AM
I ask: "How does this compare with Reynolds 531?"Fredrico
Jul 25, 2003 10:44 AM
That's one I can relate to. Reynolds 531 was generally agreed to be slightly more resilient than Columbus SL. Tourers loved 531 and racers liked SL. Speculation was that the chromium in the SL made it a little stiffer.
Goes from point A to B without breaking!hrv
Jul 25, 2003 9:53 AM
Got into cycling 2 years ago and it's the first road bike I've owned since 1976, and that was a $100 used bargain basement model at that. I ride in the rain, a little snow, centuries, race, you name it, it gets me through just fine. I guess I'll have to wait until the next bike to have some comparative attributes to speak of. Until then, it's still performing the same it did on day one. I've just developed better skills and really am testing its boundaries now. So for now I don't ask things like "does it descend well?";instead, "do I descend well?". More of a "it's not about the bike" attitude.

In some ways I'm not looking forward to the next bike decision: I spend so much time deciding on a pair of shoes I can't imagine what it's going to take for a bike!

Stable vs. squirrely ...Humma Hah
Jul 25, 2003 9:53 AM
Having ridden cruisers (one in particular) about 98% of the time for the last 45 years or so, I like a bike that tracks a straight line without a lot of concentration, and turns predictably, even no-hands.

My MTB drives me nuts ... it takes full concentration to hold a line. My vintage Schwinn roadbike handles more like the cruiser.

I also tend to like the feel of a massive bike, as long as I'm not facing a big, steep hill.
re: How do YOU define the "ride" of a bicycle?gtx
Jul 25, 2003 9:55 AM
"Some tell me that SL and SLX ride the same even though I've owned one of each and they don't."

Were they identical in every other respect? Most people I talked to (including framebuilders) considered SLX a gimmick. So when I got my custom frame built in 1989 I went with SL to save a bit of money, but went with a heavier SP downtube to make the bike extra stiff. My preivious (Italian) SLX bike was much flexier, but ultimately the difference between the "ride" of the two bikes came down to the design/geometry and the superior build quality of my custom frame. My custom frame (which also has beefy c-stays and a very beefy fork) isn't harsh or uncomfortable--I don't think the added stiffness tranlates to a less comfy ride. It's probably more comfy owing to a slighly longer wheelbase and more relaxed geomety. It is also much more solid feeling at speed, and behaves very well under heavy braking (unlike my previous SLX frame, with had a cheesy fork crown and was probably misaligned).
I agree here, and might add...rwbadley
Jul 25, 2003 11:50 PM
Re: SLX vs SL vs SL/SP; even going further to Columbus Genius, Tange, Reynolds. These are all steel bikes. I have ridden one (owned) of each, and the fact is they were all a bit different due to geometry, wheels, tires and even gearing. . That does make it difficult to know what factor influenced the ride (or character) most.

That all being said, the thing I noticed that made a big difference in the ride of several of these steel bikes was when a direct change from steel to a carbon fork was made. Same wheel/tire and same geometry, the fork change made a noticeable (positive, to me)difference in the front end ride. These were high quality steel forks being swapped to high carbon quality. I found a carbon seatstay on one of the bikes (foco shaped steel main frame and chainstays)) also made an interesting difference.

I am not able to comment on an all carbon/aluminum/ titanium bike as I have to this point ridden a few but never lived with one long enough to make a complete assessement. My inital impression was the titanium/carbon fork had a higher frequency resonance (than steel, carbon fork) the Al a much higher resonance, and the carbon a lower resonance to the point of a rather insular feel from the road. These impressions could change due to other factors of build character, wheels/ tires and time living with the bike etc...

I think Doug's assessement that there is no real uniform descriptor list for ride quality is valid. It seems nebulous from the standpoint that we can say "stiff, soft, responsive, relaxed, noodley, harsh, etc.." and get an idea; but it doesn't seem to be as well defined as the definitive terms of " Horse blanket, leathery, sulfery, spicy, herbal, vegetal, apple, pear, cherry, berry, phenolic, etc"

Unless, of course you have the background to know what these concepts imply.

Ride as many bikes as you can lay your hands on, form a background experience for ride character that allows you to have a basis for comparison, then the descriptors will mean something...


re: How do YOU define the "ride" of a bicycle?PEDDLEFOOT
Jul 25, 2003 10:19 AM
Although not having alot of experience with different materials my impression of a bikes ride consists of a balance of several factors.First off for me it must be able to absorb road vibrationso it doesn't feel like I was just beat up after a 5 hour ride.Second it should feel well balnced and not as though I have to constantly readjust myself to feel centered and stable.Lastly it should turn or handle smoothly without the feeling of oversteering when I go into a corner or turn at an intersection.Comfort,balance and responsive handling.It should feel like steel.
By it's "smugness"MR_GRUMPY
Jul 25, 2003 10:23 AM
The more expensive a bike is, the less you will notice the crappy ride.

The more "common" a bike is, the more you will think that you NEED a new bike.
It's what makes me want to ride one bike more than another. nmdzrider
Jul 25, 2003 10:28 AM how many positive comments you get on it =)funknuggets
Jul 25, 2003 12:19 PM
Weight, materials, and componentry make a huge difference, along with wheels. My new Look 381i with DA, makes my Aluminum Fondriest with Ultegra feel like a turd. Dont know what it is... price tag? I dont know, but I feel really FASSSSSST on the Look, and that IS what is important... right, regardless of whether it is true. Ha Ha.

So sayeth the funk.
when it's right it disappears underneath you. ntTom C
Jul 25, 2003 12:32 PM
How it jumps/accelerates. Some are sluggish, some have magicBIG RING
Jul 25, 2003 1:57 PM
Mmmmm ... magic ...Humma Hah
Jul 25, 2003 2:16 PM
... but magic is different things to different people. In my case, of two bikes, one half the weight of the other, I get the magic in the heavy one. It doesn't FEEL heavy to me. When I accelerate on it, it feels powerful, smooth, in control, but not heavy. It is the bike with the magic ... the one that begs me to ride it, the one that makes me do my best.

It usually out-accelerates roadbikes from a standing start, too, getting the jump on them by 20 yards or so at the typical traffic light. The notable exception was the day I had it on a velodrome with some of Eddie B's pupils. Quite humbling.
re: How do YOU define the "ride" of a bicycle?Mr Wolfe
Jul 28, 2003 1:17 PM
by the size and length of the orgasism obtained from each ride...