Paceline Podcast 198

Paceline Podcast 198

With the massive increase in bike sales due to shelter in place requirements, there is a lot of curiosity about how that is playing out in terms of kids bike sales, adult bike sales, ebike sales, trail usage and more. Selene answers a reader question about just what sorts of statistics have been compiled and what that tells us about who is actually on the road or trail.

“Vertically compliant but torsionally stiff” has become such a bike review cliche that some people no longer give much thought to how or where a bike should be stiff. This winter Patrick began encountering a surprising and odd phenomenon while descending on gravel bikes. In talking to some experts he came to a surprising conclusion.



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Allied Alfa Allroad

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  1. James

    I would love to here a friendly debate between you and Jan Hein talking about frame stiffness. As you probably know, he advocates the opposite of what you find desirable in a frame. He likes his bikes to “plane” and ride “lively”. Some of his bikes are built with standard diameter steel tubes (1″ top, 11/8″down) with very thin wall thickness, 7-4-7 I believe. His fork blades are built with thin diameter tubes as well.
    There are lots of people who drink this Cool-Aid and really like the characteristics of a flexible frame.
    Years ago, I had a custom steel frame and fork made for myself that was constructed with 7-4-7 11/8-11/4 top and down tube respectively and a lighter gauge steel fork. It was really beautiful, but its ride was anything but confidence inspiring. It was fine, actually really nice, if you were just cruising along at love pace, but if you were trying to put the power down, or push it through some tight twisties, it really sucked. i never felt in sync with it and so it got sold off. Conversly, I just took delivery of a custom steel Hampsten built with Columbus Max tubing. Yes it is stiff, but over the top stiff, no. It doesn’t chatter over rough pavement, it actually feels pretty darn good over the rough stuff and it tracks ever so nice when descending or taking a hard corner. It has Vittoria Corsa 30mm run at less pressure than recommended. I personally think this is the magic key here, make the frame stiff, but not over the top stiff, and have a little spring to it, and run bigger, quality tires an lower pressure.

    1. Author

      A debate could be good fun, but I suspect that Jan and I are invested enough in our positions that nothing would change at the end. To Jan’s preferences, a bike like that, with “standard” (old school) tube diameters in a wall thickness that was just introduced as steel tubing was going oversized can have a very pleasant (read: comfortable) ride. The rest of this is, given a few other questions I’ve gotten, fodder for a fresh post.

  2. Neil Winkelmann

    I’m going to be “that guy”. Cheap gas prices are no reason to celebrate. For a whole load of reasons.

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