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  #1  
Old 10-03-2009, 07:14 PM
flyingporkpies flyingporkpies is offline
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All things considered equal

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
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  #2  
Old 10-03-2009, 07:51 PM
jlwdm jlwdm is offline
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What about the seat angles? Important to compare top tube lengths - same saddle pedal relationship.

Jeff
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  #3  
Old 10-03-2009, 08:10 PM
flyingporkpies flyingporkpies is offline
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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.
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  #4  
Old 10-03-2009, 08:16 PM
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David Kirk David Kirk is offline
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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
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  #5  
Old 10-03-2009, 08:39 PM
flyingporkpies flyingporkpies is offline
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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!
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Old 10-03-2009, 09:18 PM
Tobias Tobias is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Kirk
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.
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Old 10-03-2009, 10:03 PM
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David Kirk David Kirk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tobias
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.


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
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  #8  
Old 10-03-2009, 10:34 PM
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Ti Designs Ti Designs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Kirk
I'm sorry I offended you - it certainly wasn't my intention.

Yeh, that's my job!
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  #9  
Old 10-03-2009, 10:44 PM
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Lifelover Lifelover is offline
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You had me at Hello....

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Kirk
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?
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  #10  
Old 10-03-2009, 11:13 PM
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Ti Designs Ti Designs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lifelover
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.
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  #11  
Old 10-03-2009, 11:32 PM
pbjbike
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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

Last edited by pbjbike; 10-03-2009 at 11:46 PM.
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  #12  
Old 10-03-2009, 11:46 PM
bironi bironi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Kirk
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
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  #13  
Old 10-04-2009, 01:42 AM
flyingporkpies flyingporkpies is offline
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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.
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  #14  
Old 10-04-2009, 06:26 AM
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Ray Ray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ti Designs
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
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  #15  
Old 10-04-2009, 07:57 AM
Sandy Sandy is offline
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My mother and her old cadillac.......

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
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