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BUYER'S GUIDE

Best aluminium road bikes 2024 — affordable alternatives to carbon fibre (and the ride quality is better than ever)

Bikes with aluminium frames are an increasingly popular choice for riders seeking performance at a lower price point, and modern construction methods mean the ride is no longer tooth-rattling

This article contains links to retailers. Purchases made after clicking on those links may help support road.cc by earning us a commission but all of our reviews are fully independent. Find out more about road.cc buyer's guides.

Aluminium stands out as an ideal material for road bikes due to its cost-effectiveness, lightweight nature, and its potential to be crafted into high-performance machines in the hands of skilled makers. While carbon fibre road bikes dominate the pro peloton, aluminium bikes are increasingly popular amongst riders seeking a more affordable bike without compromising too much (or arguably anything at all) on performance.


In the past, aluminium road bikes were notorious for their harsher ride quality, and became unpopular with some cyclists who demanded a smoother experience; however, this perception has faded over time as the construction methods have improved drastically. The frames are designed so that just the right amount of metal is strategically placed to maintain frame rigidity without causing discomfort.

The technological breakthrough of hydroforming, where aluminium tubes are shaped under immense pressure, played a crucial role in the renaissance of aluminium in the last decade. Modern aluminium road bikes not only benefit from design advancements, but also offer a smoother ride by accommodating fatter tyres. Opting for the widest tyres helps mitigate the harshness often associated with aluminium bikes.

It’s a long time since the rider of an aluminium bike won the Tour de France, with Marco Pantani the last to bag a yellow jersey riding alloy when he propelled his Bianchi Mega Pro XL to success. These days it’s all about carbon fibre in the professional racing circuit, but despite its dominance, aluminium refuses to disappear. Away from the pro ranks, it is highly regarded and a very good material to make a bicycle from.

Aluminium is enjoying a resurgence of interest at the moment. While traditionally an amateur rider might ride a carbon fibre frame as their 'best' bike and purchase a cheaper alloy one for riding in winter and muckier conditions, some manufacturers have been pushing the material so their bikes are more than worthy of being the best bike in your stable. Smart consumers realise that you get a lot of performance and equipment, and in terms of value for money, aluminium is tough to beat.

With aluminium alive and kicking, here are some of the best aluminium road bikes currently available. If you are looking beyond alloy, you can of course check out our guide to the best road bikes that covers a wide range of frame materials and price points. If you want to narrow your search down to budget options, head over to our guide to the best road bikes under £1,000

The best aluminium road bikes: our top picks

Cannondale CAAD13

Cannondale CAAD13 Disc 105

9
Best overall aluminium road bike
Buy now for £1599 from Cycle Revolution
Smooth ride
Aero features
Mudguard eyelets
Some people just want carbon

The Cannondale CAAD13 is the latest aluminium road bike from the company that was in the vanguard of developing and popularising aluminium right through the 1980s and '90s, The previous CAAD12, and the CAAD10 before it, were highly regarded aluminium frames, light and stiff enough for racing and comfortable enough for the long jaunt, and did a lot to promote the virtue of aluminium frames over more expensive carbon rivals. 

With the CAAD13 Cannondale hasn't focused on shedding grams, but on ride quality, and the CAAD13 weighs about the same as a CAAD12. Tester Mat says, "Drag has been reduced, versatility has increased and the ride is more comfortable than ever. This is a really impressive revamp and an excellent alternative to carbon." He concludes that the CAAD13 is an "aero-tuned aluminium road bike that proves carbon isn't the only option for a smooth ride". 

The CAAD13 range is now only available with disc brakes accommodating 30mm rubber, starting with the Shimano 105 model above with an RRP of £2,250 and topping out with SRAM Rival for £3,400. 

Merida Speeder 20D 2024

Merida Speeder 20D

8
Best budget flat bar aluminium road bike
Buy now for £525 from Tredz
Hydraulic disc brakes
Wide spread of gears
Great value
A mishmash of components
Quite heavy

 Merida's Speeder 20D bike is a UK-specific frame and model that's an ideal everyday commuting or leisure bike. Looking at the market as a whole, the Merida Speeder 20D offers very good value. It's a bit of a cliché, but you get a lot of bike for your money here.

The Speeder 20D's components are a real mix 'n' match featuring a Shimano TY301 triple chainset with a wide range of gears to cope with just about any situation that's likely to come your way, which is from the 'lifestyle' Tourney groupset, Tourney front derailleur, Acera rear derailleur, and Sunrace cassette and chain. The hydraulic brakes are Power DS-100HT and the shifters are from Microsoft. It's a real mishmash but it all works together really well. 

The wheels are made up of Merida's own Comp TK aluminium rims and Kenda Kwik Roller Sport Tyres in a 32mm width. Yes, the Speeder 20D is a little heavy but you get hydraulic disc brakes, a wide spread of gears at your fingertips, and plenty of practicality courtesy of mudguard and rack mounts. For this kind of money, it's a very good buy.

Vitus Razor Disc Claris

Vitus Razor Disc Claris

8
Best entry-level aluminium road bike
Buy now for £699.99 from Vitus
Great ride quality
Balanced geometry gives confidence
Full mudguard mounts
Mudguard stays will need tweaking to fit
Tyres are a bit 'dead' feeling

If you're looking to get into road riding and want a bike that can grow with you in terms of ability and performance, then the Vitus Razor is a great buy. The reason for this is the high quality of the frameset, which is ready to be upgraded as and when you feel the need. Tester Stu was impressed with the ride quality of the frameset, writing, "The frame and fork feel as though they could hold their own on a better-specced bike at twice the price – if not three times". 

The geometry of the Razor Disc offers a more relaxed feel than a race bike without compromising on agility. The front end maintains a reasonably aggressive stance for precise steering on technical downhills, and the bike's wheelbase just exceeds a metre, providing nimbleness while accommodating full-length mudguards. The taller head tube ensures a less aggressive riding position, enhancing comfort during longer rides.

At this price, it's no surprise to see cable-operated discs rather than hydraulic units. But the Tektro MD-C310 callipers perform well enough. The Razor is available in a few build options, with this Shimano Claris model being the cheapest at £699.99, and also available with rim brakes. 

Boardman SLR 8.8

Boardman SLR 8.8

8
Best value aluminium road bike
Buy now for £875 from Boardman bikes
Great value for money
Decent spec list
Easy-to-control handling
A bit weighty

Boardman's SLR 8.8 rides really well, offering a comfortable, no-nonsense frame and fork with well-balanced handling to suit beginners or those who want to exploit its all-weather capabilities with the ability to take full mudguards and a rear rack.

While many mid to top-end aluminium alloy frames show excellent ride qualities thanks to clever design and development of the tubing, some of the cheapest and most basic can still feel a little unforgiving in their feedback and be a bit harsh on certain surfaces. However, with things like triple butting and slender tube profiles where it matters, the SLR 8.8 gives a great ride feel. 

As expected on a bike of this price, the finishing kit is own branded and basic but there's nothing wrong with that. Tester Stu said, "The standard wheels and tyres are comfortable, as is the rest of the finishing kit." The wheels aren't off the shelf either but they are tubeless-ready ready which is great. 

The SLR 8.8 primarily uses a Shimano Tiagra groupset, which is based around a 10-speed system. You get the STi levers, front mech and rear mech, plus a Shimano HG500 cassette, but then things deviate a little. There is an FSA Vero Compact chainset, which requires an old school square taper bottom bracket, driven by a KMC chain and for the brakes, we switch over to Tektro and its MD-C511 mechanically operated, flat mount disc brake callipers and 160mm rotors.

Tifosi Rostra Disc Tiagra bike ridden by a man in cycling shorts

Tifosi Rostra Disc Tiagra

8
Best versatile aluminium road bike
Buy now for £1169 from Fawkes Cycles
Mounts for all the essentials
Good ride quality
Polished finish looks cool
Roadie gearing might be a little high for off-road riding
External hose routing on the fork looks a little old school

The Tifosi Rostra Disc Hydraulic Tiagra fills the gap between the road bike and gravel bike market with tester Stu finding it a pleasing bike to ride, and versatile enough to take on a range of surfaces meaning it isn't just limited to the road. 

Coming with a set of knobbly tyres fitted, it's easy to look at our test model and think that the Rostra is a gravel bike, but it's not. The geometry is very much road-inspired and has a maximum tyre clearance of 35mm. 

The Rostra is available in a couple of builds and as a frameset only, but this one is based around the majority of a hydraulic Shimano Tiagra groupset. The gearing is road-centric with a 50/34T FSA Omega MX chainset and a 10-speed 11-34T cassette. 

Apart from the Selle Italia Model X saddle, which is pleasant enough, the rest of the finish kit is Tifosi branded. The Vision Team 30 wheels aren't light but they are durable, and that's what you want on a versatile bike like this. They are tubeless ready too, should you want to go down that route.

Specialized Allez Sport 2023

Specialized Allez Sport

8
Best aluminium road bike to upgrade
Buy now for £1274 from Cycle Store
Geometry is well balanced
Decent spec for the money
Impressive comfort
Tyres are quite 'dead' feeling

The Allez was the first performance road bike created by Specialized in 1981, and back then it was a steel race bike, with the first alloy version seen in 1994. With the lack of those rim-braked models, the Allez range doesn't look quite as 'entry-level' as it once did, but on a model-to-model basis they are still well priced against the opposition and it is still as upgradeable as previous versions, which makes it the ideal bike for the beginner looking to progress. 

The latest version of Specialized's Allez Sport is a lot of fun to ride thanks to geometry that flatters your skills and an aluminium alloy frame that hasn't even heard of the word harsh. There's little to complain about in terms of comfort, either. Specialized has always delivered when it comes to its alumininum frames, and this one is no different. Geometry-wise, the Allez is available in a total of seven sizes which equates to effective top tube lengths of 493mm up to 586mm, a better spread than some brands offer.

This Sport model comes with a Tiagra 10-speed mechanical groupset, albeit with a Praxis Alba chainset and Sunrace cassette. Shifting-wise, this mix of kit has no issues in terms of performance, and you get a decent spread of ratios with 50/34-tooth chainrings and an 11-32 cassette.

Kinesis R2

Kinesis R2

8
Best all-rounder aluminium road bike
Buy now for £1680 from Kinesis Bikes
Practical
Comfortable
Pacy
A little heavy

The R2 sits alongside the R1 in Kinesis' range. The two bikes use essentially the same frame but the R1 is 1x (it's designed for bikes with single chainrings) while the new R2 is for double chainsets.

The Kinesis R2 is a no-nonsense aluminium road bike that'll take fairly large tyres for grip and comfort and comes with eyelets for fitting mudguards and a rack, so it's a practical choice as an all-rounder for typical UK conditions. It's designed to be functional and easy to live with, and you'll appreciate that in the long term. 

You can buy the R2 as a frameset (£650, including fork, headset, seat clamp, front and rear thru-axles, and cable guides) or as this complete bike built up with a Shimano Tiagra groupset for £1,680.  The stem, handlebar and seatpost are Kinesis' own, all made from 6061 alloy and doing their jobs just fine. 

Trek Emonda ALR 5

Trek Émonda ALR 5

8
Best aluminium road bike with carbon-like looks
Buy now for £1549 from Sigma Sports
Excellent ride feel
Smooth and clean look
Geometry is a good balance between aero and comfort
Not the lightest build
Deserves better wheels & tyres

The Trek Emonda ALR 5 uses the latest aluminium alloy Emonda frameset, with aero tweaks and a geometry that matches other high-end performance bikes in Trek’s line-up. It showcases the fact that this material still has a place on the racing scene, offering up the sort of stiffness and ride comfort found with carbon, although this build is far from light.

Trek says that this third-generation Émonda ALR is both lightweight – our ALR 5 in a 56cm size tipped the scales at 9.08kg – and strong. The ride quality and geometry of the ALR 5 makes it a bike I'd highly recommend if you want to race but don't have a massive budget, or you just want a bike you can ride fast without getting beaten up, even on long rides. It's priced in line with key competition like the CAAD13 and is cheaper than the Allez Sprint Comp by quite a long way. 

> Specialized Allez Sprint vs Trek Emonda ALR — which aluminium race bike will win this epic showdown?

This model has a mechanical Shimano 105 groupset, Trek's in-house component and accessories brand, Bontrager, supplies all of the finishing kit found on the ALR, and a tyre clearance of up to 28mm. 

Specialized Allez Sprint Comp

Specialized Allez Sprint Comp

8
Best aluminium road bike for racers
Buy now for £2600 from Tredz
Fast
Brilliant handling
Quite weighty
Price

The original Allez Sprint was designed as a bike for racing the short and twisty courses of the town centre criterium. The geometry made the original very nimble and an absolute blast to ride, but the handling could, for some, be a little nervous. The ride on this new version has been tamed just a little, with geometry identical to that of the Tarmac SL7, and this translates to a bike that is perfectly suited to faster road rides.

This Specialized Allez Sprint Comp is a very fast aluminium road bike that handles brilliantly. The frame is stiff enough to cope with sprints, but it won't beat you up on a long ride. The Allez Sprint has disc brakes on an aluminium frame made with what Specialized calls the D'Alusio SmartWeld process. This uses hydroforming at the joints to increase strength and stiffness so the tube spans can be lighter.

The Allez Sprint also boasts fully hidden cable routing which can, with a decent routing job, create a very clean-looking bike. Specialized has also been sensible and given it a threaded bottom bracket rather than press-fit, for easier servicing and, hopefully, a quieter life.

This £2,600 model gets a Shimano 105 groupset with DT Swiss R470 wheels and a Body Geometry Power Sport saddle.

Ribble Endurance AL e Enthusiast Shimano 105

Ribble Endurance AL e Enthusiast Shimano 105

8
Best aluminium e-bike
Buy now for £1999 from Ribble Cycles
Well-balanced geometry
Versatile road bike
Easy-to-use motor system
25mm tyre limit with mudguards
Can feel weighty when just above the motor limit

If you are looking for an e-bike that'll give you the feeling of riding a standard road bike with just the subtlest of assistance, then the Ribble Endurance AL e Enthusiast is a very good choice. it carries over all of the fun, versatility and easy-to-live-with attributes of the AL, but with the added va va voom of a motor. Even with the addition of the hub motor, internal wiring, battery and charging point, the geometry has stayed the same.

The Mahle Ebikemotion X35+ gives you a 40Nm boost from the 250 watt-hour battery/motor combination when using full power, which on any climb where you are going slow enough for it to kick in makes a real difference. Tester Stu writes, "What I like most about the X35+ is the smoothness of its delivery. When you aren't using it there is no noticeable resistance from the motor, and as the speed drops below 25kph it just gives you a gentle nudge as if you've got a rather nice tailwind." 

Ribble's Bikebuilder means you can, within reason, build your AL e up however you like, starting at £1,999. 

2022 Mason Definition Chorus

Mason Definition Chorus

9
Best money-no-object aluminium road bike
Buy now for £3665 from Mason Cycles
Excellent attention to detail
Ride quality is second to none
Fun to ride regardless of speed

Mason Cycles exploded on to the scene in 2015 with two eagerly-awaited bikes, the aluminium Definition and the steel-framed Resolution. Former Kinesis UK designer Dom Mason didn't disappoint. The original Definition was so good we struggled to get into words just how a handful of alloy sticks welded together can leave you feeling so excited.

The Mason Definition Chorus is the definitive all-round road bike, offering a great ride quality and a geometry that works both at speed and when cruising along. This is a jack of all trades that manages to be a master of them all. The build quality and finish are flawless too. Tester Stu writes, "Phenomenal – that's the only word I can really think of to describe the Definition as a package. Just looking at the build quality and impeccable paint finish, I could easily forgive the Mason if it rode like a garden gate. Thankfully though, it doesn't. The ride is sublime."

The Definition is available in eight sizes - the smallest frame is 48cm, and the largest is a 62cm. The Definition lineup is available in a range of builds, with SRAM, Shimano and Campagnolo offering both electronic and mechanical shifting, and even 1x in the case of Campag's Ekar. There is also a 'rolling chassis' option including frameset and wheels, plus a frameset-only option.

How to choose from the best aluminium road bikes

faq-icon
What are the benefits of aluminium bikes?

Aluminium stands out as an ideal material for road bikes due to its cost-effectiveness, lightweight nature, and its potential to be crafted into high-performance machines. 

Aluminium is a more cost-effective material compared to carbon fibre, which makes aluminium bikes a great option for riders on a budget, or those looking for a high-performance bike without the premium price tag. Aluminium road bikes are also a great choice as an entry-level road bike, as new cyclists can access high-quality bikes that offer a balance of performance and affordability.

Aluminium frames are also durable, corrosion-resistant and versatile.

faq-icon
What are the disadvantages of aluminium bike frames?

While aluminium has lightweight properties, carbon fibre frames may be more suitable for riders who require ultra-light frames. Additionally, aluminium frames are typically welded which can be a disadvantage from an aesthetic point of view. 

Aluminium has also gained a bit of a reputation for harsh ride quality but this perception has evolved with designers strategically placing just the right amount of metal to maintain frame rigidity without causing discomfort. While aluminium bike frames may not offer the same level of compliance as carbon road bikes, there have been notable improvements in recent designs.

faq-icon
Is a carbon or aluminium bike better?

Both carbon and aluminium bikes can provide an excellent riding experience, so it depends on your riding preferences, intended use and budget. 

Carbon fibre is lighter than aluminium, which can contribute to a lighter overall bike weight. This is advantageous in situations where weight is a critical factor, such as hill climbing or racing. Carbon frames give designers more flexibility and they can be moulded into more aerodynamic shapes, making them a preferred choice for those focused on maximising speed and efficiency, especially in racing.

Aluminium bikes are generally more affordable than carbon fibre bikes, and can offer a good balance of performance and cost. Aluminium is also known for its durability and resistance to corrosion so is less prone to damage from external elements.

faq-icon
How are modern aluminium bikes different?

Today's alloy bikes maintain exceptional stiffness, but crucially, advancements in materials, frame design, and construction techniques have introduced compliant ride quality. The shaping of tubes and the ability to vary wall thickness, a process known as 'butting,' play pivotal roles. There are three standard types of butting: single-butted, double-butted and triple-butted. 

Nowadays, aluminium frames often have a tube wall thickness twice the diameter of comparable steel frames. With larger tube diameters and a tempering process that includes magnesium and silicon, these frames boast high tensile strength, resulting in toughness and lightness.

Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.

Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…

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46 comments

Avatar
wtjs | 6 months ago
6 likes

aluminium frames often have a tube wall thickness twice the diameter of comparable steel frames

Some editing required! I believe the main point, though. I used to think that aluminium frames would shake you to bits, and my own frames are all steel and titanium. However, I have been on even cheap alu frames and found them to be perfectly OK and would be quite happy to buy one now.

Avatar
dh700 | 6 months ago
1 like

Ms Tillett, Your article betrays your complete ignorance on the topic of bicycle frame materials and their contributions to ride quality. In the physical universe we inhabit, rigid double triangle bicycle frames do not flex at all in the vertical plane during normal usage. This has been studied extensively and is well-known to science and the industry for 30+ years now. https://www.cyclingabout.com/why-impossible-steel-frames-more-comfortabl... ...among many other sources, written by individuals with at least a basic grounding on the topic. It would be better if you stopped spreading old-wives' tales under the guise of journalism.

Avatar
Sriracha replied to dh700 | 6 months ago
16 likes

Is that how you speak to people?

Avatar
dh700 replied to Sriracha | 6 months ago
1 like

Obviously, it is -- when they publish articles full of long-since disproven fake news.

 

Avatar
fifeclub replied to dh700 | 6 months ago
2 likes

So angry!

Avatar
mark1a replied to dh700 | 6 months ago
9 likes

The article you've linked to only takes vertical stiffness into consideration. There are also other factors within the frame material and construction that affect how a bicycle rides and feels, such as BB & head tube deflection. 

Here's an article on the same site by the same author, from which you can learn about how frame material makes a difference to frame flex. 

https://www.cyclingabout.com/why-frame-stiffness-is-critical-in-understa...
 

You're welcome. 

Avatar
dh700 replied to mark1a | 6 months ago
1 like

That article involves lateral stiffness, which has nothing to do with ride comfort.

Rigid bicycle ride comfort is determined almost completely by the following factors, in roughly this order: tire pressure, seat post stiffness, fork stiffness in the vertical plane, handle bar stiffness, and saddle construction.

Again, this has been repeatedly proven over decades, and such is not complicated.  Rigid double-triangle frames are two orders of magnitude stiffer in the vertical plane than all of the components which are attached to them.  And since the rider does not touch the frame, and since all of those components will deflect to failure before the frame even begins to deflect, the frame and its material cannot be a factor in ride quality.

You are welcome to continue believing that the Sun orbits the Earth -- so to speak -- if you like, but don't pretend that science has not long-since disproven your old wives' tales and don't spread them around. 

 

Avatar
mark1a replied to dh700 | 6 months ago
4 likes

Is this a bot account?

The article does not use a single instance of the word "lateral" - it mentions "feel" 24 times and "stiffness" 61 times. Read the article and you'll see.

Avatar
dh700 replied to mark1a | 6 months ago
1 like

No Mark, this is not a bot account -- just someone much better versed on the topic than you are.

"And finally, we can look at the vertical stiffness of a frame, which I’ve previously discussed in this article about frame comfort." -- the article you cited

Also, take a gander at the picture of the test rig in that article -- which bends the frame laterally.

 

Avatar
Sredlums replied to dh700 | 6 months ago
6 likes

Maybe if you got off your high horse for a moment, and actually got on some bikes from different frame materials, you'd see for yourselve that there's (way) more nuance to all of this.
I own a few nineties mountain bikes, which are pretty similar exept for their frame material and they way they are built.
My titanium one feels vastly different from the simple aluminium one, which has plain gauge, oversized tubes. That alu bike rides very harsh. The higher end Cannondale on the other end doesn't have that same harshness.
My steel one has a feeling somewhere in between the titanium and the harsh alu one. If you have the chance, try a wooden framed bike, as they have a very nice dampening effect other than all other materials.

Theory is nice and important, but actuall results always trump theory.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Sredlums | 6 months ago
5 likes

I'm not convinced that frame materials make much difference compared to components such as tyres that drastically change the ride feel just by altering the pressure. However lots of riders claim that the frame does have a big part to play and I wonder if that's just confirmation bias.

A lot of the talk about frames will use terms such as harshness, but can we put a number to the "harshness" value that can be measured? Is it to do with vertical/lateral stiffness or is it to do with which vibrations are dampened? Until we can assign numbers to the harshness, it seems a bit undefined.

Avatar
Sredlums replied to hawkinspeter | 6 months ago
1 like

All materials have their own characteristics, like how well it dampens vibrations.
The oversized tubes of the typical aluminium frame play a role there too.

Even though I don't have those numbers at hand, I'm pretty sure it can be (and has been) measured.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Sredlums | 6 months ago
0 likes

I don't doubt that different materials do affect properties of the frame e.g. aluminium will be made stiff enough to not bend in normal use as it will fail quickly due to metal fatigue i.e. it has no endurance limit, whereas steel does have an endurance limit and can be utilised so that some bending can occur without weakening it. Those properties usually translate to different figures for vertical/horizontal compliance which can indeed be measured, but those figures are far smaller than the compliance associated with tyres/seatposts/stems. This implies to me that the frame has a very minor role in compliance, though the shape and design of it has a big impact on handling.

Avatar
dh700 replied to hawkinspeter | 6 months ago
1 like
Quote:

A lot of the talk about frames will use terms such as harshness, but can we put a number to the "harshness" value that can be measured? Is it to do with vertical/lateral stiffness or is it to do with which vibrations are dampened? Until we can assign numbers to the harshness, it seems a bit undefined.

Yes, we can -- and have -- put numbers on frame "harshness".  We do that by measuring the force required to deflect the frame vertically -- since this is how energy from surface imperfections is transmitted to the rider's body.

And those numbers prove -- beyond a shadow of a doubt -- that rigid bicycle frames do not deflect at all vertically, when used as a bicycle.  If you used one, say, as a truss to support a bridge, it would deflect.  But during normal usage -- supported by pneumatic tires, on spoked wheels, riden by human holding a handlebar, etc -- rigid bicycle frames do not deflect in the vertical plane, and therefore make no contribution to "harshness".  Ride quality is, as I already explained, determined entiirely by tire pressure and attached componentry.

This issue has been studied for several decades, and the answer should not be news to you, and certainly should not be unknown to the writers and editors of road.cc ( although admittedly, the latter group has a financial motivation to continue spreading the old wives' tale that expensive frame materials affect comfort ).

 

Avatar
fifeclub replied to dh700 | 6 months ago
1 like

Vertical deflection is not the full story, however. Noise dampening of the system is an important quality of the materials involved.

There is no definitive measure of that yet that I'm aware of and this contributes greatly to the feel and what's labelled as compliance.

The article you linked to even discusses this and mentions that tyres around 40mm and abive tend to mask any dampening properties. Road tyres will still typically result in the dampening properties of the system being apparent.

Life is much better when we can talk to each other respectfully and calmly.

Avatar
dh700 replied to fifeclub | 6 months ago
1 like
Quote:

Vertical deflection is not the full story, however. Noise dampening of the system is an important quality of the materials involved.

With respect to the claim that frame material has an effect on ride comfort, vertical deflection is the full story.  Also, the word you are seeking is "damping", not "dampening" -- the latter means to wet.

Quote:

There is no definitive measure of that yet that I'm aware of and this contributes greatly to the feel and what's labelled as compliance.

Yes, we can measure vibration.  There is, however, no point in measuring the vibration of a bicycle frame, since the rider does not touch the frame, and in fact, does not even touch any component that touches the frame.  So, until and unless you can develop headset bearings, bottom bracket bearings, grease for those bearings, saddles, and handlebars that faithfully reproduce the vibrations to which they are exposed, believing that frames effect the vibrations felt by the riders is just so much more superstition.  Hell, the bicycle frame is not even in the path which vibrations travel from the front wheel to the handlebar, so it is completely irrelevant at the front of the bike.

Quote:

The article you linked to even discusses this and mentions that tyres around 40mm and abive tend to mask any dampening properties. Road tyres will still typically result in the dampening properties of the system being apparent.

Life is much better when we can talk to each other respectfully and calmly.

It's also better when we understand the words, and use the correct ones.  It is "damping".  It is better still when we don't spread around nonsensical superstitions that conflict with all known science.

As I said, the primary driver of rider comfort is tire pressure.  And no one with any clues is still running 19mm tires at 130 psi anywhere but a velodrome, and even those tires were softer in the vetical plane than any commercially-manufactured frame.

 

 

Avatar
dh700 replied to Sredlums | 6 months ago
1 like
Quote:

Maybe if you got off your high horse for a moment, and actually got on some bikes from different frame materials, you'd see for yourselve that there's (way) more nuance to all of this.

I own ten bikes presently -- titanium, carbon, aluminum, and steel -- and have owned bicycle frames made from every common material.  I have also built my own frames from several materials.

That said, it wouldn't matter if I had never even touched a bicycle.  What matters is that bicycle frames have been tested, in labratories, by extremely competent people, and the results are always the same -- they simply do not flex vertically before the attached components are subject to force beyond that which they can withstand.

This is not "theory", as you attempted to call it.

Quote:

Theory is nice and important, but actuall results always trump theory.

The "actual results" to which you refer could not be more clear.  As previously explained, tests of rigid bicycle frames constantly confirm that they are two orders of magnitude stiffer in the vertical plane than any components which are attached to them.  That "actual result" trumps your wishful thinking.

Read the aforementioned article that explains why your belief is physically impossible, in the physical realm that we inhabit.

 

Avatar
Sredlums replied to dh700 | 6 months ago
1 like

You keep talking about frames not 'flexing'.

That's all fine and dandy, but that's not what I was talking about. I was talking about the harshness and the ride feel, which are influenced by the DAMPENING PROPERTIES of the different materials.
Those are not the same.

Avatar
dh700 replied to Sredlums | 6 months ago
2 likes
Quote:

That's all fine and dandy, but that's not what I was talking about. I was talking about the harshness and the ride feel, which are influenced by the DAMPENING PROPERTIES of the different materials.

Perhaps you have learned a little then -- are you now admitting that rigid bicycle frames do not flex in the vertical plane under normal usage?

As I had to explain to the other individual, the word you are seeking is "damping", not "dampening" -- the latter means to wet.

And, further, such claims about the vibration damping of bicycle frames are just more old wive's tales.  As I previously explained:

The rider does not touch the frame, and in fact, does not even touch any component that touches the frame.  So, until and unless you can develop headset bearings, bottom bracket bearings, grease for those bearings, saddles, and handlebars that faithfully reproduce the vibrations to which they are exposed, believing that frames effect the vibrations felt by the riders is just so much more superstition.  Hell, the bicycle frame is not even in the path which vibrations travel from the front wheel to the handlebar ( which is tire->rim->spoke->hub->blade->crown->steerer->stem->handlebar -- as you ought to know ), so it is completely irrelevant at the front of the bike.

 

 

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LookAhead replied to dh700 | 6 months ago
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dh700 wrote:

As I had to explain to the other individual, the word you are seeking is "damping", not "dampening" -- the latter means to wet.

Perhaps 'damping' is the term of art an engineer would use here--I have no idea, as I am not one. But in everyday usage 'dampening' is just fine. When we say "The rain dampened everyone's spirits", we mean that the rain deadened or reduced the vigor of their spirits, not that it made their spirits wet.

If you're going to be a dick, at least be right.

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dh700 replied to LookAhead | 6 months ago
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Perhaps 'damping' is the term of art an engineer would use here--I have no idea, as I am not one. But in everyday usage 'dampening' is just fine. When we say "The rain dampened everyone's spirits", we mean that the rain deadened or reduced the vigor of their spirits, not that it made their spirits wet.

And are we discussing engineering here, or talking about the weather?

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If you're going to be a dick, at least be right.

Thanks for the tip -- but I am right, so right back atchya.

 

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LookAhead replied to dh700 | 6 months ago
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You claimed that 'dampen' only means 'to wet'. I pointed out that you're wrong, and that 'dampen' has a meaning that is perfectly consistent with its use by other posters.

Furthermore, in the context of the present discussion, the difference between the term of art 'damping' versus the colloquial 'dampening' does not matter at all because it is not the source of any genuine confusion. That is, the two words have precisely the same meaning for the purposes of this discussion, and the only confusion was caused by your own ignorance.

By all means, point out the technical distinction if you like, but don't pretend that it's important, and try not to fuck up the reasoning--"By the way, it doesn't really matter, but 'damping' is the term of art an engineer would use here."

An actually smart person admits when he's wrong and learns from his mistakes. 

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Backladder replied to dh700 | 6 months ago
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 Hell, the bicycle frame is not even in the path which vibrations travel from the front wheel to the handlebar ( which is tire->rim->spoke->hub->blade->crown->steerer->stem->handlebar -- as you ought to know ), so it is completely irrelevant at the front of the bike.

Actually if you're going to be this pedantic it is tire->rim->nipple->spoke->hub body->hub bearings->spindle->fork (it is all one component that can't be dismantled)->stem->handlebar. But that doesn't mean that components outside that path cannot have an impact on the transmission of vibrations, for example if the headset bearings are loose you can easily feel an increase in vibrations due to the play.

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dh700 replied to Backladder | 6 months ago
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Actually if you're going to be this pedantic it is tire->rim->nipple->spoke->hub body->hub bearings->spindle->fork (it is all one component that can't be dismantled)->stem->handlebar.

One absolutely can dismantle and reassemble a fork.  Do you think forks are harvested intact from a forest somewhere where they grow in that shape?

And if you wanted to show off your pedantry, you neglected to break down the tire into its component parts, and the bearings as well -- but I'm sure we both know that you were just making a desperate attempt to appear to have a point.

The actual point is that the path which vibrations travel from the front wheel to the handlebar does not include the frame, and that path is isolated from the frame by greased bearings.

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But that doesn't mean that components outside that path cannot have an impact on the transmission of vibrations, for example if the headset bearings are loose you can easily feel an increase in vibrations due to the play.

You are contradicting yourself.  If headset bearings are able to faithfully reproduce vibrations sufficiently for the frame material to impart a noticable effect on rider comfort, then loosening those bearings would reduce their ability to failthfully transmit those virbations to-and-from the frame.

The phenomenon you are describing is not "feeling an increase in virbation", because slop in loose assemblies is not "vibration".  The rider in your example is simply feeling the steerer tube knocking around in the headtube.

 

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Backladder replied to dh700 | 6 months ago
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One absolutely can dismantle and reassemble a fork.  Do you think forks are harvested intact from a forest somewhere where they grow in that shape?

For metal forks they could be dismantled and reassembled with the correct tools and information about the original build process and specs although I doubt anyone would bother, for carbon forks dismantling them would destroy them, anything you reassembled from the remains would not be the same fork with the same properties.

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You are contradicting yourself.  If headset bearings are able to faithfully reproduce vibrations sufficiently for the frame material to impart a noticable effect on rider comfort, then loosening those bearings would reduce their ability to failthfully transmit those virbations to-and-from the frame.

I said other components can have an impact on transmission of vibrations, that is the opposite of faithfully reproducing them.

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levestane replied to dh700 | 6 months ago
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"In the physical universe we inhabit, rigid double triangle bicycle frames do not flex at all during normal usage."

The mythical infinite Young's modulus!

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matthewn5 replied to levestane | 6 months ago
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"In the physical universe we inhabit, rigid double triangle bicycle frames do not flex at all during normal usage."

Complete nonsense.

A bike frame isn't a diagram: the centroids of the members do not all meet uniformly at a single point, like a triangular truss.

Last time I looked at a bicycle frame it was a (pair of) triangles joined to a rhomboid, not a second triangle, and the name 'double triangle frame' is a misnomer. The front section of a bike frame has four sides and can flex at the joints to an extent that the designer can control.

Further, the rear drop-outs are often shaped to allow a certain amount of movement, rather than a perfect triangle, and the seat stays are frequently offset outwards at the foot and shaped in their length to allow deflections.

Further, the seatpost and forks are cantilevers and can and do deflect.

All these offsets and allowances can be tuned by a skilled designer to create a frame that does move in desirable directions to allow some compliance. Or just sit on your bike, put on the brakes, rock to and fro and look at the compliance available. It might surprise you.

 

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dh700 replied to matthewn5 | 6 months ago
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Complete nonsense.

Now investigate the aforementioned test results -- which for four decades have proven that rigid bicycle frames are two orders of magnitude stiffer in the vertical plane than any components attached to them.

And that's QED -- regardless of whether you personally believe that headtubes are flexing and binding on steerers ( which they are not ).

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Further, the seatpost and forks are cantilevers and can and do deflect.

Those are not frames.

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Or just sit on your bike, put on the brakes, rock to and fro and look at the compliance available. It might surprise you.

If you think that's a test of frame deflection, you haven't the necessary clues to contribute to this discussion.

 

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dh700 replied to levestane | 6 months ago
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"In the physical universe we inhabit, rigid double triangle bicycle frames do not flex at all during normal usage."

The mythical infinite Young's modulus!

Note the phrase "during normal usage".  Normal usage of a bicycle frame includes attaching to it tires, saddles, handlebars and other components -- all of which will deflect to failure before the frame deflects at all.

Do you understand now?

 

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levestane replied to dh700 | 6 months ago
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Zero strain under an applied stress requires either infinite amount of material or infinite modulus. All bike frames deflect under normal usage.

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