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sportive bikes: is it more than just upright riding position

popettepopette Posts: 2,089
edited November 2007 in Workshop
Hi,

Can you tell me what makes a bike a sportive bike? is it just about an upright riding position or is there more to it? Does the frame geometry have an impact on how comfortable the bike is (ability to dampen vibration from the road and make more comfortable etc??)

Could any one explain stiffness and compliance too? I read about it in bike reviews and I'm not entirely sure what it is in a cycling context?

Sorry for daft questions but it would be nice to know what I'm reading about.
:)
Thanks
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Posts

  • andypandyp Posts: 8,709
    It's a marketing term. Used currently to describe a bike with a longer head tube than normal which means the bars are higher thus giving a more upright riding position. I saw some guy out on such a bike on Saturday and he looked like a praying mantis as his bars were so high!

    A bike needs to be stiff to allow the transfer of power from your legs, through the drivetrain into forward motion. The stiffer the bike the more power is transferred. However, a bike can be too stiff and thus uncomfortable to ride as it doesn't soak up the bumps and uneveness in the road. Compliance describes a bikes ability to absorb these.

    Due to the wonders of carbon fibre manufacturers now seem able to build a bike that is laterally stiff, and transfers power efficiently, but compliant vertically so it remains comfortable to ride.
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    Thanks andyp.

    My husband is telling me that he could buy any bike in a larger frame and then just lower the saddle relative to the handlebars so that he's in a sportive style riding position. Do sportive bikes generally have greater vertical compliance and thus more comfy than a standard racing bike?

    Is he ok to buy any old bike or should he really be thinking about a bike marketed as a sportive bike?

    He's 6ft 4, 17 stone, if that has any bearing on the matter. How the f*ck is he going to get up the tourmalet?

    Thanks again
  • Hi. As far as we at Sunday are concerned, it is of course a marketing term. Marketing term means a sales term, but to be fair its also about giving a certain profile of customer a product that's likely to suit them.

    We market the Silk Road as a sportive bike. We consider a number of factors that make it's design suited to the sportive user and to the sportive event. Heres a quick run down:

    Longer head tube - because a sportive event will probably take a minimum of 6 hours and the 'typical' sportivist is relatively new / revisiting teh sport after a lay-off, 35+ years old and therefore wants something that's a comfortable riding position for a long day out and isn't actually interested in being in a cramped race position at all.

    Shorter Top tube - For the same reasons listed above, we noticed that people on traditional geometry race bikes but using them for sportives were running shorter stems - to achieve a comfortable reach position. But a short stem can mean dodgy handling. So we shortened teh top tube of the bike, allowing for a decent length stem to be fitted, so that the rider is avoiding a stretched out position but gaining from the better handling of a longer stem.

    Semi compact geometry - Again, a sportive event is a long day out. The rider will want to carry two large bottles, as well as having room for other bits n bobs. Particularly on small frame sizes, compact frames struggle to accomodate two large bottles. So we designed semi compact, so that you've got that as well as the benefits of lighter weight and greater lateral stiffness associated with the compact geometry.

    Measured stiffness - lateral stiffness and some verticle compliance, particularly in the rear triangle. We achieve this in Ti by selecting carefully the most suitable tube profiles.

    Finally, other user requirements. Riders making forrays into Europe and beyond to 'bag the marmott' or the etape or a grand fondo or whatever is becoming really popular. So it sdoesn't take much to spot these users will be wanting to load their bikes onto aeroplanes... and therefore be at the whims of baggage handlers. We make in ti because it'll take a good few knocks... but we also DONT make with the currently fashionable integrated seast post / tube because obviously it can be awkward to fit into a bike box... We're currently designing a TT frame that does do this...

    Anyway, there are the basics of what we take into consideration on either custom geo bikes and when we designed the Silk Road.

    Greg
  • PirahnaPirahna Posts: 1,315
    andyp wrote:
    It's a marketing term. Used currently to describe a bike with a longer head tube than normal which means the bars are higher thus giving a more upright riding position.

    IIn my opinion it's a marketing term used to describe a bike with a proper length head tube. The current trend for compact frames and integrated headsets has allowed people to make bikes with short head tubes.
  • Pirahna wrote:
    andyp wrote:
    It's a marketing term. Used currently to describe a bike with a longer head tube than normal which means the bars are higher thus giving a more upright riding position.

    IIn my opinion it's a marketing term used to describe a bike with a proper length head tube. The current trend for compact frames and integrated headsets has allowed people to make bikes with short head tubes.

    For lots of people it might well be better yes. I personally really dislike tall headtubes. I find they handle poorly ... perhaps due to the greater flex in the headtube or due to hand position being so far from wheel? No idea. They just feel rubbish IMO. They also look rubbish - again a personal opinion!
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,709
    For lots of people it might well be better yes. I personally really dislike tall headtubes. I find they handle poorly ... perhaps due to the greater flex in the headtube or due to hand position being so far from wheel? No idea. They just feel rubbish IMO. They also look rubbish - again a personal opinion!
    Frankie Andreu makes the point about the handling of the Specialized Roubiax SL in this month's ProCycling, i.e. it doesn't handle into corners in a way he liked.

    I agree on the aesthetics too - to my mind bikes with an extended head tube are ugly looking.
  • araceraracer Posts: 1,649
    andyp wrote:
    Due to the wonders of carbon fibre manufacturers now seem able to build a bike that is laterally stiff, and transfers power efficiently, but compliant vertically so it remains comfortable to ride.
    Due to the wonders of marketing, frame manufacturers manage to convince you that their frame is compliant vertically when it is still a triangulated truss like all other frames, hence a lot stiffer that way than laterally (which is a direction you don't want it to flex in). Possible methods include letting 1psi out of the tyres, which makes more difference than between the stiffest and flexiest frames in a vertical direction. Alternatively carefully design in a small amount of lateral flex, since that will convince the user that their frame is flexing in all directions and so is more comfortable.
  • McBain_v1McBain_v1 Posts: 5,237
    Good to see a bike retailer getting involved in the forum.
    My Enigma Esprit frame is billed as suitable for sportives, although I haven't actually done one yet. Despite this, I really like it :D

    What do I ride? Now that's an Enigma!
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,709
    aracer wrote:
    Due to the wonders of marketing, frame manufacturers manage to convince you that their frame is compliant vertically when it is still a triangulated truss like all other frames, hence a lot stiffer that way than laterally (which is a direction you don't want it to flex in). Possible methods include letting 1psi out of the tyres, which makes more difference than between the stiffest and flexiest frames in a vertical direction. Alternatively carefully design in a small amount of lateral flex, since that will convince the user that their frame is flexing in all directions and so is more comfortable.
    Have you ridden a recent carbon frame? I have, a Casati Marte. I also own a Colnago C40 and the Marte is stiffer than the C40 and just as comfortable. The C40 feels dead in comparison. I've run with the same wheels and the difference remains.
  • araceraracer Posts: 1,649
    andyp wrote:
    Have you ridden a recent carbon frame? I have, a Casati Marte. I also own a Colnago C40 and the Marte is stiffer than the C40 and just as comfortable. The C40 feels dead in comparison. I've run with the same wheels and the difference remains.
    You seem surprised that it can be stiffer and still just as comfortable, when that is exactly the point I am making! If you want to pick an argument with me, you need to suggest that your new frame is just as stiff but more comfortable :wink:
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    aracer wrote:
    andyp wrote:
    Due to the wonders of carbon fibre manufacturers now seem able to build a bike that is laterally stiff, and transfers power efficiently, but compliant vertically so it remains comfortable to ride.
    Due to the wonders of marketing, frame manufacturers manage to convince you that their frame is compliant vertically when it is still a triangulated truss like all other frames, hence a lot stiffer that way than laterally (which is a direction you don't want it to flex in). Possible methods include letting 1psi out of the tyres, which makes more difference than between the stiffest and flexiest frames in a vertical direction. Alternatively carefully design in a small amount of lateral flex, since that will convince the user that their frame is flexing in all directions and so is more comfortable.

    You must have a bloody accurate gauge on your pump; not to mention the fact that you're talking bollox
  • araceraracer Posts: 1,649
    Care to expand your position with slightly more words than the one you use at the end there? I'm prepared to defend my position, can you support yours, and explain why the frame breaks the laws of physics and flexes at least 1% of the amount the tyres do?
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    aracer wrote:
    Care to expand your position with slightly more words than the one you use at the end there? I'm prepared to defend my position, can you support yours, and explain why the frame breaks the laws of physics and flexes at least 1% of the amount the tyres do?

    You're talking nonsense.
    !% of frame flex is not equal to 1psi reduction in tyre pressure or whatever it is you're trying to claim.

    "the frame breaks the laws of physics and flexes at least 1% of the amount the tyres"

    Did I say that. Whatever you think that means?
    No, I said or more precisely what I meant was that 1psi reduction in tyre pressure wont make one jot of difference to the handling characteristics or feel of of a bike .
  • araceraracer Posts: 1,649
    Hmm, so you're not even taking the trouble to read properly - the frame needs to flex 1% of the amount the tyres do in normal use in order for frame flex to make more difference than reducing tyre psi by 1psi (given normal tyre pressure of about 100psi).

    I was kind of hoping for more of an explanation than you simply changing the word of abuse you use. However i'll take that as a complete inability to support your position, due to it being completely based upon intuition rather than any scientific basis.
  • araceraracer Posts: 1,649
    1psi reduction in tyre pressure wont make one jot of difference to the handling characteristics or feel of of a bike .
    On the same basis, changing the frame won't make a jot of difference to the vertical compliance (since the difference between standard frames is less than 1psi in the tyres).
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    And I'll take it that you spend all your time reading pointless scientific guff but never actually get out and ride bike.
    If you did you'd pump your tyres up to a reasonable pressure.
  • araceraracer Posts: 1,649
    You still don't actually understand the point do you, Anton?
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    No. I doubt anyone would.
    Anyone who actually races or even rides bikes that is.
    Is your username more ambition than fact?
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    aracer wrote:
    1psi reduction in tyre pressure wont make one jot of difference to the handling characteristics or feel of of a bike .
    On the same basis, changing the frame won't make a jot of difference to the vertical compliance (since the difference between standard frames is less than 1psi in the tyres).

    What's a standard frame?
  • araceraracer Posts: 1,649
    Double diamond, UCI compliant that you can buy in a shop.

    So if you don't understand the point, why are you trying to argue that it's wrong?

    (since I wouldn't expect anybody on here to understand my username - it doesn't mean what you think - I'll ignore the ad-homs)
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    aracer wrote:
    Double diamond, UCI compliant that you can buy in a shop.

    So if you don't understand the point, why are you trying to argue that it's wrong?

    (since I wouldn't expect anybody on here to understand my username - it doesn't mean what you think - I'll ignore the ad-homs)

    Why are you trying to argue a point that is baseless.

    Let's just have a little recap here

    "Possible methods include letting 1psi out of the tyres, which makes more difference than between the stiffest and flexiest frames in a vertical direction"

    Apropos your user name. You callin' us thick or summat? :lol:
  • pliptrotpliptrot Posts: 582
    aracer made the point very well - those of you who argue with that point are impertinent to the point of embarrassing yourselves. After all, it's a bike. Would you choose to get a specialist bike to go down the shops, or what? The arguments here about bike styles would suggest you need 10 types of shoes depending on your walking habits. WTF?
  • araceraracer Posts: 1,649
    Why are you trying to argue a point that is baseless.
    On what basis is it baseless?

    re my username - nothing directly to do with cycling.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    pliptrot wrote:
    aracer made the point very well - those of you who argue with that point are impertinent to the point of embarrassing yourselves. After all, it's a bike. Would you choose to get a specialist bike to go down the shops, or what? The arguments here about bike styles would suggest you need 10 types of shoes depending on your walking habits. WTF?

    Would you race on a shopping bike complete with basket and chain guard. :lol:
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    aracer wrote:
    Double diamond, UCI compliant that you can buy in a shop.

    So if you don't understand the point, why are you trying to argue that it's wrong?

    (since I wouldn't expect anybody on here to understand my username - it doesn't mean what you think - I'll ignore the ad-homs)

    So a bike is a bike. The geometry is irrelevant ,the frame material is irrelevant ,the BB height is irreleveant provided the seat is far enough behind it to comply with the UCI regulation.etc . It's all down to tyre pressure ,give or take 1 psi.
  • pliptrotpliptrot Posts: 582
    And , of course, you have 5 different cars according to their use. A bike - more than any other vehicle - is dependent on the rider. Stop being censored guys, let normality happen.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    Aw bless .Do all your bikes depend on you?
  • araceraracer Posts: 1,649
    So a bike is a bike. The geometry is irrelevant ,the frame material is irrelevant ,the BB height is irreleveant provided the seat is far enough behind it to comply with the UCI regulation.etc . It's all down to tyre pressure ,give or take 1 psi.
    I didn't suggest any of those things - the geometry at least is very important. The fact you're coming out with them rather than answering me suggests you still don't understand my point. You really do seem to be getting very het up by this!
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    edited October 2007
    No I don't understand your point as I have said more than once. I understand what you are trying to say but disagree.
    I am not the least bit Het up,as Olga here will testify.Well not right now she's busy.
    Sorry what was the question again? :?
  • pliptrotpliptrot Posts: 582
    Yes, all my bikes depend on me. This puts me in the position as an exception, as most folk on this forum depend on their bikes. A bike and a rider weigh 160 lbs (le tour) 180 lbs (the luckiest of the rest of us). Obviously, saving 1 lb on the bike is vital.
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