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flyingporkpies
10-03-2009, 07:14 PM
I wonder if anyone can enlighten me on why 2 bicycles that appear to be the same can ride so differently? I have a 59cm Columbus SL Motorola Merckx Corsa. I also have a 59cm Reynolds 531 Professional Peugeot Anetto. They both have 58cm top tubes. I found I rode the Merckx more often, but couldn't work out why, so I went about making them equal.
So now both have san marco supercorsa saddles. Both have 120mm stems. Both have 3TTT Forma SL 44cm bars. One has Veloce and the other has Record (the exercise was becoming expensive!) but it's not about the component quality so much. The Peu has AC Hurricanes and the Merckx has Mavic Open Pros on Record hubs, so roughly similiar wheel weights.
On the scales the Peu is lighter (9.15 kilos with speedplays). The Peu has a 5mm longer headtube. Other than that they are equal.
The conclusion: The Merckx just feels better. Standing, sitting, it doesn't matter, I prefer it. It has more zip somehow.
So I have a Merckx Corsa Extra in the same size on it's way to replace the Peu and possibly relegate the Corsa to fixed. If anyone has ridden both Corsa and Corsa Extras I would appreciate a heads up on what to expect. Note: the extra is from around 87/88 and the corsa is from 91 if that makes any difference?? Cheers, flyingporkpies

jlwdm
10-03-2009, 07:51 PM
What about the seat angles? Important to compare top tube lengths - same saddle pedal relationship.

Jeff

flyingporkpies
10-03-2009, 08:10 PM
It's hard to tell if the seat and head angles are the same but they appear to be. Both saddle tips are exactly the same distance behind the centre of the bb and therefore the tip of nose to centre of bars is also equal. The toptubes are equal. The Merckx has for me a perfect fit. The Peu duplicates the fit. The fit feels equal. The translation of the ride to the road is not equal. The puzzle continues.

David Kirk
10-03-2009, 08:16 PM
Even two bikes that are the same size/geometry/tubing etc. with the same components will have a slightly different ride. All the little parts of each bike are just the smallest bit different than each other and when you combine them all they lead to the bikes feeling different in the end.

The other thing about this is we can feel VERY small differences in things. Some folks more than others. Some people are nay-sayers and will say that no one can feel these differences and that it's impossible to do so. I think they are flat wrong and that many of these things can be felt if you listen to your body.

Kinda drifted there didn't I.

Vive la differance.

dave

flyingporkpies
10-03-2009, 08:39 PM
Thanks David. So that means the Corsa Extra I am getting will feel different to the Corsa, even with all the Corsa's bits (because that's the plan), but the question is will the supposedly better Extra feel better on the road? I hope so because it's costing me a very lovely looking (if not feeling) Peugeot to find out.
Looking at the 2 bikes together again I saw that the Peu was slightly higher. Measured it to be 10mm higher off the ground. Now that might make a diffenence in stability or in a corner, but climbing in a straight line? Why would a lower bike be better? Seems they're not as equal as I thought after all.
Hope the older Extra geometry is just as low as the Corsa or I may never find out which steel has the real(est) steel feel!

Tobias
10-03-2009, 09:18 PM
The other thing about this is we can feel VERY small differences in things. Some folks more than others. Some people are nay-sayers and will say that no one can feel these differences and that it's impossible to do so. I think they are flat wrong and that many of these things can be felt if you listen to your body.

Count me as one of those flat out wrong skeptics.

Your assertion sounds a lot like a ďbikeĒ religion; based on faith that we can tell small differences when blind tests confirm repeatedly that most riders canít tell the differences they claim, whether about tubing differences, weight, or many other factors.

Iíd bet that the two bikes being compared are not all that close. If he can tell a real difference itís probably because there are big differences he is not aware of or is not telling us.

BTW, I do like your strategy of prelabeling those who may disagree with your point of view as nay-sayers. :rolleyes:

David Kirk
10-03-2009, 10:03 PM
Count me as one of those flat out wrong skeptics.

Your assertion sounds a lot like a ďbikeĒ religion; based on faith that we can tell small differences when blind tests confirm repeatedly that most riders canít tell the differences they claim, whether about tubing differences, weight, or many other factors.

Iíd bet that the two bikes being compared are not all that close. If he can tell a real difference itís probably because there are big differences he is not aware of or is not telling us.

BTW, I do like your strategy of prelabeling those who may disagree with your point of view as nay-sayers. :rolleyes:



I'm sorry I offended you - it certainly wasn't my intention.

IMO there is no religion about this. It's either you can feel something or you can't. Some are more sensitive and others less so. Simple and scientific in my mind. You may be right. The bikes in question may be different in a number of ways and that is what he feeling. My point is that even when every effort is made to make the bikes identical they will feel different. When building bikes for pro teams I've often made a rider a few bikes at the same time -same tubes, numbers, all that. They they get painted the same way and they have the same parts hung on them by the same mechanic and adjusted the same way. The the riders take these things out on the road and have a preference for one over the other and can pick that bike out every time. This is my experience.

Some folks will say no one can feel the difference between latex and butyl inner tubes - that's it too small a difference. Yet many, myself included can tell immediately that there is a difference. In my experience there are many thing like this that some say they can feel and that others say can not be felt. In my mind it's not altogether different from high end audio. Some folks can not tell the difference because they are either not physically able or because they haven't trained their ear all the while others can clearly hear the difference. it's just the way it is.

I used to train with a guy who didn't notice that his seat post was loose and had slipped down into the frame 2 1/2". He was a damn skilled and strong cyclist yet it took someone riding along side him to say - "yo, what's up with your seat?" and even then he didn't notice. Some do and some don't.

What frustrates me is when folks tell me that something I clearly feel and can blind test on, and is repeatable, can not be felt.

As for the term naysayer. I did not mean this as a derogatory term at all. I meant it as someone who says "nay" to the point in question. The naysayers are folks that disagree. I think you disagree and that is cool and I would put you into that camp as someone who says "no, it can't be felt". Nothing bad about this IMO. I would be the naysayer to your side. No insult was intended. If I misunderstand the word and I used it incorrectly I apologize.

Due respect.

dave

Ti Designs
10-03-2009, 10:34 PM
I'm sorry I offended you - it certainly wasn't my intention.


Yeh, that's my job!

Lifelover
10-03-2009, 10:44 PM
I'm sorry I offended you - it certainly wasn't my intention.

IMO there is no religion about this. It's either you can feel something or you can't. Some are more sensitive and others less so. Simple and scientific in my mind. You may be right. The bikes in question may be different in a number of ways and that is what he feeling. My point is that even when every effort is made to make the bikes identical they will feel different. When building bikes for pro teams I've often made a rider a few bikes at the same time -same tubes, numbers, all that. They they get painted the same way and they have the same parts hung on them by the same mechanic and adjusted the same way. The the riders take these things out on the road and have a preference for one over the other and can pick that bike out every time. This is my experience.

Some folks will say no one can feel the difference between latex and butyl inner tubes - that's it too small a difference. Yet many, myself included can tell immediately that there is a difference. In my experience there are many thing like this that some say they can feel and that others say can not be felt. In my mind it's not altogether different from high end audio. Some folks can not tell the difference because they are either not physically able or because they haven't trained their ear all the while others can clearly hear the difference. it's just the way it is.

I used to train with a guy who didn't notice that his seat post was loose and had slipped down into the frame 2 1/2". He was a damn skilled and strong cyclist yet it took someone riding along side him to say - "yo, what's up with your seat?" and even then he didn't notice. Some do and some don't.

What frustrates me is when folks tell me that something I clearly feel and can blind test on, and is repeatable, can not be felt.

As for the term naysayer. I did not mean this as a derogatory term at all. I meant it as someone who says "nay" to the point in question. The naysayers are folks that disagree. I think you disagree and that is cool and I would put you into that camp as someone who says "no, it can't be felt". Nothing bad about this IMO. I would be the naysayer to your side. No insult was intended. If I misunderstand the word and I used it incorrectly I apologize.

Due respect.

dave

...but lose me at the tube thing.

I know for a fact that I'm not very sensitive to little changes but friends of mine are. I think that it's true with any endeavor and often it is what separates pros and amateurs. There is no question that race car drivers can feel stuff that would be lost on everyone else and golfers, tennis players, etc. can fell the slightest little change in their swing. Hell, most amateurs can feel if it is good or not as it leaves our hand.

I have absolutely no reason to question that you can feel the difference betweens the tubes and you have nothing to gain by claiming to do so. It's just the physics. The amount of energy involved with deforming the tube just seems to small for me to comprehend that it could be sensed. Maybe it interacts with the inside of the tire differently any you can feel that. I have no clue. It just seems far fetched to me that you (global you) would be able to sense it.

All that said, I'm never ceased to be amazed when it comes to what humans are able to accomplish and sense.

Have you really done blind test and were able to consistently distinguish?

Ti Designs
10-03-2009, 11:13 PM
There is no question that race car drivers can feel stuff that would be lost on everyone else and golfers, tennis players, etc. can fell the slightest little change in their swing.

I know a few race car drivers, the term adaptive comes to mind. Throw 'em out on the track and they adapt to what they're driving and get on with the job. Same with tennis players. My father builds tennis rackets with a movable mass, which changes how you would put spin on the ball. Using high speed photography we found pros would simply adapt their swing shortly after switching over.


I also find that people on this forum talk about ride quality far more than the fast guys on the street.

pbjbike
10-03-2009, 11:32 PM
I suspect whatever you are feeling is due to geometry and tubing, since you've approximated components. A 1 cm higher BB is a HUGE difference: the difference between the BB height of a road and a track bike. The Peugeot should feel much less stable, straight line, climbing, whatever. But you can probably pedal through any turn, right? Have you ever ridden a pre-war balloon tired cruiser? Super low BB. Guaranteed to drag a pedal when cornering.

Get a protractor and measure the angles. A more detailed description of ride quality would help. e.g. "The Merckx is snappy when I stand out of the saddle on a big hill..."

Cheers

bironi
10-03-2009, 11:46 PM
I'm sorry I offended you - it certainly wasn't my intention.

IMO there is no religion about this. It's either you can feel something or you can't. Some are more sensitive and others less so. Simple and scientific in my mind. You may be right. The bikes in question may be different in a number of ways and that is what he feeling. My point is that even when every effort is made to make the bikes identical they will feel different. When building bikes for pro teams I've often made a rider a few bikes at the same time -same tubes, numbers, all that. They they get painted the same way and they have the same parts hung on them by the same mechanic and adjusted the same way. The the riders take these things out on the road and have a preference for one over the other and can pick that bike out every time. This is my experience.

Some folks will say no one can feel the difference between latex and butyl inner tubes - that's it too small a difference. Yet many, myself included can tell immediately that there is a difference. In my experience there are many thing like this that some say they can feel and that others say can not be felt. In my mind it's not altogether different from high end audio. Some folks can not tell the difference because they are either not physically able or because they haven't trained their ear all the while others can clearly hear the difference. it's just the way it is.

I used to train with a guy who didn't notice that his seat post was loose and had slipped down into the frame 2 1/2". He was a damn skilled and strong cyclist yet it took someone riding along side him to say - "yo, what's up with your seat?" and even then he didn't notice. Some do and some don't.

What frustrates me is when folks tell me that something I clearly feel and can blind test on, and is repeatable, can not be felt.

As for the term naysayer. I did not mean this as a derogatory term at all. I meant it as someone who says "nay" to the point in question. The naysayers are folks that disagree. I think you disagree and that is cool and I would put you into that camp as someone who says "no, it can't be felt". Nothing bad about this IMO. I would be the naysayer to your side. No insult was intended. If I misunderstand the word and I used it incorrectly I apologize.

Due respect.

dave

This is one of the best posts I have seen here during my stay. I agree that some riders sense a difference and some don't. More importantly, I love the civility in your response.

Byron

flyingporkpies
10-04-2009, 01:42 AM
This is all a great help. Thank you for taking the time to post. I was asked to describe differences. The Merckx does have more zip accelerating on the flat or on a hill. Both corner well for large bikes and a technically poor pilot. I'm not interested in blowing my own trumpet regarding speed but I have done pretty well riding a couple of time trials on the old Motorola and the local hill climbs have also felt my 'power'.
Anyway, the Merckx is the bike that climbs faster. The Peugeot seems comfier over a whole day in the saddle. Is the 531 springier than the SL? No-one has commented on this difference yet.
Back to the measurements. Despite the effort to kit both bikes out in a similiar way, I have assumed them to be the same when now after a re-measure they are not. The protractor on the head and seattubes is pretty difficult to get an exact reading but they seem to be the same anyway. What is different is the front centre measurement. The Peu is 602 and the Merckx is 598mm. As angles appear the same and top/seat tubes are, there could be a difference in rake. Both bikes were already set up with the rear wheel 412mm from bb centre. So now we have a bike 1cm higher, 4mm longer and slower. I'm sure that would make sense to the builders here. I'm still convinced the actual tubing has a part to play too.
Now I'm worried the Corsa Extra I am getting will have an 'old school' geometry with longer rake also and I won't feel better on it than on the Corsa.

Ray
10-04-2009, 06:26 AM
I also find that people on this forum talk about ride quality far more than the fast guys on the street.
I agree and I'm one of them and I think there's a legit reason for that. I'm not a fast guy on the street. Most of my rides are solo meandering rides at a comfortable pace. I don't push myself a lot on these rides except for limited periods on certain hills. I'm pretty sensitive to ride quality and the subtle differences between bikes. But every now and then I find myself on a group ride that forces me to push a good deal harder than normal. In those cases, I just ride the he'll out of whatever I'm on and I couldn't tell you ANYTHING about the specifics of the bike or how it rode or handled. I'm just hanging on for dear life. It's a completely different experience. If I rode like that a lot, you could probably put me on any frame that was even in the ball-park fit and handling wise, and I'd be perfectly happy. But on my more typical rides, I'm a picky SOB and if it doesn't feel right, I notice it.

I don't think it's a character defect, just a difference in approach.

-Ray

Sandy
10-04-2009, 07:57 AM
My mother and father were very close, and after my father died my mother kept the last car they shared together as it was so meaningful to her. As time passed, the condition of the car slowly deteriorated. One day I drove the car. I was amazed at how scary/pathetic the steering was- You simply could not drive the car in a straight line without grossly turning the steering wheel to compensate for an obvious mechanical problem. If the car hit an imperfection/rut in the road, the car would simply take off in the direction that the imperfection followed. You had to make a significant movement of the steering wheel or the car would keep going in that direction. It almost felt as if the car was steering on its own.

I asked my mother if she noticed anything wrong with the steering and she absolutely did not. I think it was a function of two things- the change in the steering probably occurred over a long period of time so that my mother probably slowly compensated as the change was occurring, and she probably was one of the people aforementioned in this thread that simply do not have sensitivity to the vehicle ....In my mother's case it was really quite amazing as the steering problem was so evident.

No doubt in my mind that there is a continuum of sensitivity to ride feel, be it a car or a bicycle. My mother being at one end of the continuum- extremely insensitive.



Sensitively Seeking Small Steering Sensations,

Serotta Sandy

Kines
10-04-2009, 08:07 AM
We digressed a little, and I don't think anyone has mentioned the wheels. I have noticed that when changing wheels on the same bike, it can make a huge difference. Maybe your two wheelsets aren't as similar as you think.

KN

Sandy
10-04-2009, 08:07 AM
I agree and I'm one of them and I think there's a legit reason for that. I'm not a fast guy on the street. Most of my rides are solo meandering rides at a comfortable pace. I don't push myself a lot on these rides except for limited periods on certain hills. I'm pretty sensitive to ride quality and the subtle differences between bikes. But every now and then I find myself on a group ride that forces me to push a good deal harder than normal. In those cases, I just ride the he'll out of whatever I'm on and I couldn't tell you ANYTHING about the specifics of the bike or how it rode or handled. I'm just hanging on for dear life. It's a completely different experience. If I rode like that a lot, you could probably put me on any frame that was even in the ball-park fit and handling wise, and I'd be perfectly happy. But on my more typical rides, I'm a picky SOB and if it doesn't feel right, I notice it.

I don't think it's a character defect, just a difference in approach.

-Ray

Focus is the operative word. In one instance, your focus was not on the bike. The focus was simply on trying to stay with the group. In your leisurely rides, you do not have that specific focus, so that your brain could then focus on different things, including the feel of the bike.

Sandy

Sandy
10-04-2009, 08:24 AM
This is one of the best posts I have seen here during my stay. I agree that some riders sense a difference and some don't. More importantly, I love the civility in your response.

Byron

Dave Kirk's posts always possess civility and sensitivity to others, whether he agrees or disagrees. Unfortunately, it is easy to misconstrue the intent of internet communications, as the only part of the communication is the verbal written part, and there is so much more.


Sandy

flyingporkpies
10-04-2009, 09:21 AM
Does anyone know if Corsa extras were made the same from their first year until their last? Presumably the Columbus SLX didn't change. Did the geometry ever change?

jhat
10-04-2009, 09:47 AM
I have a friend which I sometimes went cycling with when we lived closer to each other. The first time I rode with him he showed up with his bike's headset out of adjustment so far that I could actually see the balls inside. Well, I corrected that before we went out to ride. I not only could not tell the fork was clunking around inside of the headset, he could not feel the effect after I tightened it. Not sensitive at all, he was strong however! Everyone is different.

I do not doubt that the bikes might feel very different, I wonder however, if it is just feel. I would think that the actual speed of the two bikes is the same. The only thing that might be real is a different feel. You might prefer the feel of one over the other, but that actual effectiveness of your riding might be the same.

Thoughts from the more learned and experienced folks in the group?

Ti Designs
10-04-2009, 09:47 AM
I agree and I'm one of them and I think there's a legit reason for that. I'm not a fast guy on the street. Most of my rides are solo meandering rides at a comfortable pace. I don't push myself a lot on these rides except for limited periods on certain hills. I'm pretty sensitive to ride quality and the subtle differences between bikes. But every now and then I find myself on a group ride that forces me to push a good deal harder than normal. In those cases, I just ride the he'll out of whatever I'm on and I couldn't tell you ANYTHING about the specifics of the bike or how it rode or handled. I'm just hanging on for dear life. It's a completely different experience. If I rode like that a lot, you could probably put me on any frame that was even in the ball-park fit and handling wise, and I'd be perfectly happy. But on my more typical rides, I'm a picky SOB and if it doesn't feel right, I notice it.

And yet all the advertising is based on what the pros ride. If I were looking for a bike with the best ride quality, I would be looking for and endorsement by some picky SOB, not some pro racer.

Ride quality aside, performance in a bike is a whole different story and one best not tested by the rider's own senses. I spent some time this season working on a good 3K time on the track with two bikes, my Peter Mooney track bike and a Colnago Flight TT bike. The Mooney is a traditional steel track bike, the Colnago I spent weeks on getting the position so I could start hard out of the saddle and still have a good aero position (those arm pads really get in the way sometimes). I would swear I'm faster on the Colnago, but that's not what the times say.

pbjbike
10-04-2009, 10:00 AM
I'll bet the Merckx has a beefier down tube and chainstays. there's the extra weight and greater power transmission. The new SLX frame might feel a little stiffer than the SL, but I could never tell the difference. Not sure if Merckx changed geometery much. It's probably very similar.

You can measure the fork rake with a straight edge positioned along the middle of the crown, straight down the middle of the blades. (Some blue masking tape might help to hold it on the center of the blade). Take a ruler and measure from the middle of the fork end to the straight edge.

This thread reminds me of the good old days, when the only debates were about 2 brands of tubing, (and 4 basic tube sets) whether or not to upgrade your brakes to Campy, how many miles a Criterium Seta would last, and the best chamois treatment. :)

RPS
10-04-2009, 06:09 PM
Anyway, the Merckx is the bike that climbs faster. The Peugeot seems comfier over a whole day in the saddle. Is the 531 springier than the SL? No-one has commented on this difference yet.
Are all tube diameters the same? How about their wall thicknesses? Without knowing these things it's hard to say that both bikes are equal, right? Something must be accounting for the weight difference you measured.

I don't recall if you mentioned whether they had the same tires, but even so, are they worn the same? One of the things I notice in ride quality is when I install brand new tires -- even if they are the same model. I like how new tires seem to roll softer.

For "most" riders I think it takes a lot of change to notice a change. Some may be able to feel a difference right away on minor changes but I doubt that applies to riders with super human legs and lungs any more than the average rider. I also doubt there is any or minimal connection between ability to race and ability to sense. Going fast on a bike mainly takes a lot of horsepower and the ability to reason when to use that power.

RPS
10-04-2009, 06:10 PM
Yeh, that's my job!
And you do it so well. ;)

David Kirk
10-04-2009, 06:30 PM
I also doubt there is any or minimal connection between ability to race and ability to sense. Going fast on a bike mainly takes a lot of horsepower and the ability to reason when to use that power.

I couldn't agree more.

Dave

flyingporkpies
10-04-2009, 06:53 PM
Regarding wheels, tyres, tubes etc. I swap the wheelsets over for the test and the difference is minimal. I reckon the geometry is different enough to explain my feelings but I am also interested in the tube 'feel'.
The tube difference between columbus SL SLX and others v Reynolds 531 Pro can be seen here. http://www.desperadocycles.com/Tubing_Properties_For_Non_True_Temper_Tubing.htm
Note the Reynolds 531Pro is thinner, but the bikes tubes are fatter than the SL. I like the look of the thin SL tubes. The SLX tubes are the same but...
http://wielrennen.hour.be/Renners_Fotoalbum.asp? NumRenner=3160&ID_Album=8635
This link explains the diffference. Spirals around the bb tubes! Will I feel the difference there? I'll have to let you know when I find out. I will test it on the Crystal Beast (a 1km 10% hill of pain I test all my bikes on round here - the Merckx Corsa is the winner so far). If I get up quicker will it be the placebo effect spurring me on or the hidden power of spirals?
The Reynolds tubes are actually slightly wider in diameter btw. Seat stays skinnier.

soulspinner
10-04-2009, 08:01 PM
Im one of those guys who swears he can feel even small differences others might say doesnt exist. FWIW I hated my Colnago Masterlight with the steel fork. It was too stiff for me. The modern foco/life Columbus frames (custom made with carbon forks)) seem to have just enough stiffness 4 me and have enough road feel. I may have enjoyed racing the stiffer bike, but I wouldnt ride it everyday.
The only frame type I raced was aluminum so maybe now that I seldom push as I did then I actually pay more attention to the ride quality(sorry this is so convoluted).

Ray
10-05-2009, 05:27 AM
And yet all the advertising is based on what the pros ride. If I were looking for a bike with the best ride quality, I would be looking for and endorsement by some picky SOB, not some pro racer.

I've offered up my endorsement to every major frame maker out there, but do they take me up on it???? I'd probably even be cheaper than the Lance Armstrongs and Alberto Contadors of the world.

Ride quality aside, performance in a bike is a whole different story and one best not tested by the rider's own senses. ........ I would swear I'm faster on the Colnago, but that's not what the times say.
I used to find the same kind of thing back when I was curious about such things and rode a lot harder than I do now. The fastest feeling bike usually wasn't - the slowest feeling bike usually wasn't, etc, etc, etc. If you ride for time, that matters. If you don't, it doesn't. Since I don't, I judge a bike based on feel regardless of any actual performance differences.

-Ray

flyingporkpies
11-10-2009, 10:02 PM
The Corsa Extra finally arrived. Set up both bikes the same again, even swapped wheels over for the test. Now, I know bike owners tend to only say good things about their new purchases. The spend has to be justified, but I was quite ready to sell this on if I couldn't feel a difference.
But I really can. The SLX steel feels solider. I accelerate and it goes with me. The SL bike in comparison has a 'time delay'. The geometry turned out to be identical so it's down to the invisible SLX butting. Well done Columbus!
The downside is if I want another one it would now have to be another Corsa Extra which is more expensive than a Corsa. I grew attached to the Motorola colours so I'm after a 59cm Corsa Extra (NOS). Chrome fork and stays would be even nicer. That's the dream. I don't feel the need to try TSX or Leader or Dedacci, because none of those are as pretty IMHO.
Both my bikes are in the Merckx gallery.

Jack Brunk
11-10-2009, 10:45 PM
I'm a simple minded person and agree 100% with Kines. Not once were the wheels mentioned and it's not a fair comparison if their different. Now all the usual people can go back and see who's smarter.