Hi Folks,

you all get to test and review a lot of bikes and frames, and obviously there's a weighting system on reviews which take in a lot of factors, including cost. Presently, you have a lot of 4.5 star bikes, and one 5 star (Bowman Palace R).

However, as good as the present rating system is, I feel there is a missing area - frame comparison. For example, I'm interested in the Bowman Palace frame, but I'd like to see  what the differences are between it and the Tifosi SS26, or an S-Works SL6 frame, for example. Do they justify the extra cost in weight, performance etc? 

Another nice feature would be a sliding scale of objectivity, where money is a factor (looking at best bang for buck), split into:

  • If money was no object
  • If I had 3k, I would buy
  • If I had 2k, I would buy
  • If I had 1k, I would buy

I can also see how this can be segregated further: Race, Sportive, Audax... 

Reason I ask is I have a race frame (Aithein) which is a joy to ride, and the Bowman seems to be the most sensible upgrade option given how highly rated it is. I'd be happy to pay more for less weight, better performance - but I'm not sure how they all stack up. 


P3t3 [429 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

Judging one frame as better than another is at best subjective.   The geometry of a crit bike largely similar.  The stiffness of the frame is a subjective choice based on the rider (heard the head of cannondales engineers the other day saying that there is actually a maximum stiffness for a rider beyond which bikes actually become less pedalable and that weaker riders will hit this point sooner).  The reviewers can mark a frame for finish and percieved quality and they can profess whether they "like" it but at the end of the day its all subjectivism.  

Why would you swap a really nice aluminium crit frame for another really nice aluminium crit frame?  They are both thought of as close to the best Alu crit frames out there so unless you like the graphics or just fancy a new frame its unlikely you are going to get anything "better".  The only way you are going to tell if its better for you is by riding it.  


s_lim [217 posts] 11 months ago

So there's the rub.

1. You say crit frame. Yep, I've ridden it around crits. I've also ridden it over epics as well, and never had any issues with fatigue. I want a racy frame, full stop. When I sit on my Aithein, it's a delight to turn the pedals; it's the gift that keeps giving. I want that feeling replicated, but am happy to pay more for lighter.

2. Hard to test; they're both offered as frame only. Plus my setup is pretty custom to me; I wouldn't be happy with an off-the-shelf bike.

madcarew [797 posts] 11 months ago

Best crit frame? Cannondale Evo Supersix (I've ridden a lot of crits on everything from italian hand built steel to titanium to full aluminium to various carbon)

Best all day frame? Cannondale Evo Supersix

Best climbing frame? Cannondale Evo Supersix

Best descending frame? Cannondale Evo Supersix

Money no object frame? Cannondale Evo Supersix

$2k frame? Cannondale CAAD 12

Having said all that, put me on a Pinarello, De Rosa, Specialised, Giant, Ridley all of similar price and I'll be hard pressed to tell the difference. The only 2 that stand out for me as offering a different ride at a given price point is Colnago and Scott. I've never ridden a colnago that I loved, and I've never ridden a Scott (road bike) that I liked. 

My Evo Supersix Frame cost more than any bike I've ever owned, and yes, the extra handling and performance (comfort, lightweight, cornering ) was worth it. 

Ogi [158 posts] 11 months ago

I love Palace R and was one click away from buying it (friend’s Colnago Master persuaded me not to).

I’m not sure there is a whole lot between Aithein, Palace R and CAAD12. Almost identical geometries, weight is here and there, price...holding everything constant (wheels, seatpost, saddle, tyres, handlebars, tape, groupset...), I’d say there is maximum 2% difference in them.

In terms of carbon, I’d say that you’d have to go to super premium aggressive options (S-Works Tarmac, Super Six Evo HiMod, Dogma, Speciallissima or similar) to notice any difference. Again, difficult to test but if you can go to a dealer with 90% spec the same as your Aithein - then try spotting the difference. My expectation is max 10% difference, probably in some smoothness feel. I think you can tweek/reduce this gap with tyre choice. Is it worth ££££? I’d say no! I think the three alloy frames are ridiculous value prospect, in terms of how much fun they offer.