Thursday, March 13, 2014

Must bend like a tree.

The loads placed on a motorbike and a bicycle as they turn through a corner are surprisingly similar. In fact something that most people dont know is that as a motorcycle goes through a turn it shares more with an airplane then anything else. But lets not get distracted. 
Certainly the biggest difference form a road going ( and all motorcycles for that matter) motorcycle and a road bicycle is the suspension front and rear. But that suspension only works when the bike is braking, accelerating or when impacting some sort of bump. Once the motorcycle is leaned over into a corner the suspension is not longer able to bound or rebound. It is up to the frame to absorb any imperfections in the road. Now that not a big deal for our lucky friend on his Mv Agusta while he rides on a silky smooth race track, but its a very big deal when hes on his way home and he hits a small pot hole while going around a bend.
So how does this seemingly unimportant lesson in motorcycle dynamics have
to do with you? While our roads bikes do not have suspension they do critically rely on the make up and built in flex of the frame to go around a corner properly. And to clarify what I mean by properly; your bike should be confidence inspiring when going down hill. You should feel like a super star without being one. The bravest rider in the bunch. In a more technical sense, you should not feel like the bike is about to " come out from underneath you" , or that the wheels are "skating". Or some people describe  that the bike simply does not want to turn . All of this brings me to my main point. And its something that ive heard plenty of people harp on about but im gonna chime in to. Fundamentally when you make a frame to light( > 800 grams ) you are going to start to compromise the way that bike either rides or handles. The reason for this is, to build a bike that is that light you have to use very strong and very stiff carbon. And that translates into a frame that just dances up the hills. But what goes up must come down. And after your long hard, but certainly fun  climb up that hill, you will most certainly be clenched coming down the other side. And that, to me kind of ruins it all. Why would you neuter your riding experience as s whole just to excel at one aspect of your ride. It all just seems a bit silly to me. I like "well rounded" racing bikes. Ones that consider all the aspects of riding. Comfort, speed, handling, climbing and of course good looks. And thats why you should buy a Pianrello Dogma.

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