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Carbon Frames and Vibration Reduction

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Carbon Frames and Vibration Reduction

Old 07-09-19, 11:46 AM
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aspalmat
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Carbon Frames and Vibration Reduction

Looking to get feedback on carbon frame vibration reduction/dampening . I currently ride a Trek Domane AL3 with an Aluminum frame. Looking to step up to a carbon frame bike, with one reason being increased vibration reduction/dampening for a smoother ride.

I really wonder about the vibration reduction techniques from some of the companies. Are they critical, or just more of a gimmick. I'm talking about:

Trek - Isospeed
Specialized - Future Shock
Giant - D Fuse Seatpost and bars

Does a carbon fiber frame provide enough additional compliance, that these other techs are not required, or does Trek's Isospeed system for example, provide another level of vibration dampening above and beyond the carbon frame?

Thanks.
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Old 07-09-19, 11:58 AM
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Tires are cheaper.
Fatter
Lower PSI.
Best road buzz killer.
Best bang for buck.

edit: get the ones with supple sidewalls for more plush. Veloflex Vlaanderen = 28mm and nice.
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Old 07-09-19, 12:17 PM
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Bigger tires + less PSI = more comfort
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Old 07-09-19, 12:19 PM
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Tires. I think that's your answer. My Al bike bike rode so much smoother just going from 23 to 25 mm tires and lowering the pressure. My carbon bike on 25's rides about the same as my Al bike. The carbon bike on 28's and even lower pressure rides like a Cadillac. Carbon bike is disc so it take take wider tires.
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Old 07-09-19, 12:22 PM
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IsoSpeed works really, really well for me. I occasionally ride my gravel bike (38mm tires @ < 38 psi) for errands and pub/brewery rides and it's surprising how much more jarring bumps and cracks are compared to my Domane (30mm tires @ < 70 psi), particularly up front, but noticeable in the rear, too. Now, the gravel bike is an AL frame with carbon fork/AL steerer, but most would have you believe that the tire size/psi drop would trump all of that... but it doesn't, not in my experience.

If we're setting aside bumps/cracks/potholes and just talking road buzz? I dunno. I've never been too terribly bothered by it with a carbon frame and reasonably-inflated (as opposed to over-inflated) tires.
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Old 07-09-19, 12:49 PM
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79pmooney
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This old retro-grouch finds vibration a little amusing, We never considered it. Rode skinny tubulars for decades, then 23c. Started going wider for more secure grip and lower likelihood of crashes as I got older and crash injuries piled up. I now ride 28c Vittoris G+ on my good bikes and will go to 25c G+ on my skinny tired bike when my older Open Paves wear out, but the 28c was mostly because I was going to do a little off-pavement with those tires.

I still don't like riding squishy tires. I'll put up with it if I am going off-pavement that ride. But those 28c tires get 90 psi on pavement. Not s whole lot squishier than the silks I raced 40 years ago.

And my bikes? Reynolds 531 or equivalent or stiff, unbutted ti. Forks, mostly 531. No vibration damping at all. (Steel and ti are near perfect spring materials.) I do concede a little on my handlebar grips and use two layers of cloth or thin Fizik tape. (Mostly because my hands simply aren't as tough as they were decades ago. Bigger bars to wrap my hands around feel better.) Ti railed seats on most of my bikes. (And two of my bike have ti seatposts, one a ti stem. Ti seatposts because they are custom, expensive, big setback posts built by a framebuilder who specializes in ti. A couple of bucks more got me the ti tubing he kept in stock. The stem was simply a way to keep the loan from China Pres. Bush gave us local. I cannot tell a difference from the $70 Ritchie stem it replaced.

Ben
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Old 07-09-19, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
And my bikes? Reynolds 531 or equivalent or stiff, unbutted ti. Forks, mostly 531. No vibration damping at all.
Ben
I think that they're both far better in the road buzz category than AL, aren't they? That's what the Steel-is-Real and the Ti-is-Fly folks seem to tout.
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Old 07-09-19, 01:19 PM
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I'm in the same boat. My first bike is aluminum and it's quite jarring on roads that are less than perfect. I like the reduced rolling resistance (25c/gp4ks2) of higher tire pressure (110psi); I weigh 160lbs. I noticed that when I would allow the pressure to drop to around 100psi that the road chatter would decrease. I'm also able to put the power down better over chip seal. I'm guessing that with lower pressures the tire is allowed to deflect more, and when powering over chip seal it no longer has a po-go effect.

I have a set of tubeless Mavic cosmic pro wheels waiting to go on. I want to get a good understanding of the aluminum clincher before I make the swap over. After that, I'll switch over to a carbon framed bike. This way I get the whole gamut of frame/wheel combination.
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Old 07-09-19, 02:25 PM
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I have an al focus Mares and carbon defy (both currently running 28s). Both are nice to ride, but the defy is noticeably more compliant and stiffer in the bb
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Old 07-09-19, 02:54 PM
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I ride an Emonda ALR disc frameset with carbon fork, handlebars, stem, steapost, and wheels. I also have a Specialized tarmac expert with carbon frame, alloy wheels, alloy handlebar/stem, and carbon seat post, so basically opposites.

Frame/wheels, they feel basically the same when it comes to "dampening", when slapping 28mm (from 25mm tubed 85psi) tubeless at 65 psi on on the Emonda ALR however, I was just as fast (if not faster) and it felt SO MUCH SMOOTHER!

It seems your question is more geared toward which "system" will make your bike smoother, keep in mind you could always upgrade your bike with things like Redshift shockstop seatpost and stockshop stem.
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Old 07-09-19, 03:05 PM
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Carbon fiber tends to vibrate less than metals, all else being equal. That's one reason it's popular in tripods, you use a tripod for sharper pictures and CF ones have a reputation for being better in wind out of you're walking around near the camera while the shutter is open.

But all else is never equal. The design of the frame makes a bigger difference than what it's made from. Test ride the kinds of bikes you're interested in. Check the tire pressure before a test ride.
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Old 07-09-19, 05:28 PM
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I went from steel to Specializedís 10r carbon. My take is the carbon smooths irregularities and smaller bumps but sharp edged potholes are much harsher. Reducing tire pressure by 10-15 PSI had the most effect. I went from 95-100 psi on my pumpís gage to 80-85.
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Old 07-09-19, 07:00 PM
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Carbon fibre is not a magic material that universally solves some people's problems with road vibration. There are some carbon frames that are unbelievably stiff if the designer was looking for a stiff frame. Frames like that will transmit road vibration. There are carbon fibre frames designed to be comfortable, even without all the various aids that are currently available. Steel, titanium, and yes, even aluminum frames can incorporate some of these design features. I own road bikes with both steel, and carbon frames. Of these, I think that my steel touring bike is by far the most punishing ride, especially if ridden with narrow tires. Just behind in a very close second place is my carbon fibre time trial bike. Its frame is based on a track bike so it was never made to be comfortable on the road, and it isn't. I have an older steel road bike from the 1980"s and it is a very supple ride despite having stiff 36 spoke wheels. I have a couple of carbon fibre road bikes that are lovely to ride, forgiving on bad roads yet both very different. One is a true road race bike and a sprinter's dream it is great in the last kilometre of a race. The other is the bike you would love to be riding in a race held over very bad roads(think Paris Roubaix). Carbon fibre bikes are not a generic product. Designing them to be comfortable on bad roads is not a new thing. My Look 481 SL is as good a bike for bad roads as almost anything now available. There is no magic associated with carbon fibre. The magic rests with what the frame designer put into their design
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Old 07-09-19, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by aspalmat View Post
Looking to get feedback on carbon frame vibration reduction/dampening . I currently ride a Trek Domane AL3 with an Aluminum frame. Looking to step up to a carbon frame bike, with one reason being increased vibration reduction/dampening for a smoother ride.

I really wonder about the vibration reduction techniques from some of the companies. Are they critical, or just more of a gimmick. I'm talking about:

Trek - Isospeed
Specialized - Future Shock
Giant - D Fuse Seatpost and bars

Does a carbon fiber frame provide enough additional compliance, that these other techs are not required, or does Trek's Isospeed system for example, provide another level of vibration dampening above and beyond the carbon frame?

Thanks.
Isospeed = 2.436% less vibration.
Future Shock = 2.128% less vibration.
D Fuse = 1.908% less vibration.
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Old 07-09-19, 07:31 PM
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Thanks for all the feedback folks. I honestly donít think my aluminum bike is overly harsh, just figured carbon would be a little more compliant. A new bike is not imminent, just collecting info.
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Old 07-09-19, 07:57 PM
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rubiksoval
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Originally Posted by Princess_Allez View Post
I'm in the same boat. My first bike is aluminum and it's quite jarring on roads that are less than perfect. I like the reduced rolling resistance (25c/gp4ks2) of higher tire pressure (110psi); I weigh 160lbs.

You have increased rolling resistance with that setup, not reduced.
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Old 07-09-19, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
isospeed = 2.436% less vibration.
Future shock = 2.128% less vibration.
D fuse = 1.908% less vibration.

Last edited by noodle soup; 07-09-19 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 07-09-19, 09:23 PM
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I've had many road bikes in my life. Mostly steel frames, a few aluminum, and one titanium, but for the last 12 years almost exclusively carbon fiber. Of all those bikes I've owned, and probably 100 or more that I've demoed, nothing is as smooth as my Cf Trek Domane. Classic steel frames are a close second, but they weigh a ton more, and don't have the functional stiffness of CF under power.

The thing I love most about the Domane, other than the fit being exactly the same as the CF frame I had custom built, is the ability to run wide tires. Disc brakes allow me to use tire up to about 32mm(actual width). Even when I was using 25mm wide tires, the ride was smoother than any road bike I've ever ridden.
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Old 07-09-19, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by aspalmat View Post
Thanks for all the feedback folks. I honestly donít think my aluminum bike is overly harsh, just figured carbon would be a little more compliant. A new bike is not imminent, just collecting info.
Good to know that you have an open mind. My answer was intended to inform you that frame material does not determine the ride quality of any bicycle. It is entirely possible to design a carbon fibre bicycle frame that is so stiff that is unpleasant to ride on anything other than perfect roads. I own a steel touring bike that is unpleasant to ride with narrow tires. People who claim that steel bikes are forgiving have never ridden that bike. Frame design is much more important than frame material.
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Old 07-11-19, 12:42 AM
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Also, cheap steel bikes tend to be pretty stiff.

BITD I threw a pair of tubulars onto a hi-ten Repco and it was instantly transformed into a real hotrod. Went like stink.
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Old 07-11-19, 01:02 AM
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Love my 2019 Specialized Roubaix, comes with 28s, future shock, CGR seat post, super cush.... the 2020 looks nice to with the D-fuse post
Some sections of my ride i used to have to get my ass off the seat on my aluminum bike i can just ride through without an issue now

Smooth is fast
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Old 07-11-19, 02:15 AM
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I went from an aluminum frame/cockpit/seatpost running 30mm schwalbe-g-one speed tubeless to a fully carbon fiber frame/cockpit/seatpost running 28mm gp5000 tubeless and I noticed a huge difference in road vibration
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Old 07-11-19, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by aspalmat View Post
Looking to get feedback on carbon frame vibration reduction/dampening . I currently ride a Trek Domane AL3 with an Aluminum frame. Looking to step up to a carbon frame bike, with one reason being increased vibration reduction/dampening for a smoother ride.

I really wonder about the vibration reduction techniques from some of the companies. Are they critical, or just more of a gimmick. I'm talking about:

Trek - Isospeed
Specialized - Future Shock
Giant - D Fuse Seatpost and bars

Does a carbon fiber frame provide enough additional compliance, that these other techs are not required, or does Trek's Isospeed system for example, provide another level of vibration dampening above and beyond the carbon frame?

Thanks.
Here is a not so unbiased argument as to whats happened.
- frames continue to be built stiffer and stiffer in the name of power transfer(massive tubes, huge bottom bracket junction, etc) and the commoners among us(which is most cyclists) simply dont benefit from that absurdly stiff frame while they do suffer from the jarring uncomfortable ride it provides. As a result, a bunch of flex is then engineered into the frame and components to offset the stiff and jarring ride. So you have seatposts that flex, entire seat tubes that wiggle, stems that bounce, and seat stays that bend like a drawn bow ready to shoot.
All that built in comfort is created because the frame was so absurdly stiff to begin with and that was done for a reason that many(most?) cyclists cant benefit from due to not being strong enough.


As to your last question- the fact that Isospeed is on carbon frames should tell you all you need to know about if a carbon frame alone provides enough compliance.

That interpretation of frame design is obviously biased. While jaded and skeptical in nature, it also isnt entirely baseless.
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Old 07-11-19, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Carbon fiber tends to vibrate less than metals, all else being equal. That's one reason it's popular in tripods, you use a tripod for sharper pictures and CF ones have a reputation for being better in wind out of you're walking around near the camera while the shutter is open.

But all else is never equal. The design of the frame makes a bigger difference than what it's made from. Test ride the kinds of bikes you're interested in. Check the tire pressure before a test ride.
^this with emphasis that tires and inflation will make a bigger difference than anything else by maybe an order of magnitude. You pretty much can make a frame that has any riding characteristics you want out of any material. Do note too that a few PSI makes a big difference AND the gauges on pumps often differ widely. So when you do those test rides make sure you are using the same pump or at least the same gauge.
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Old 07-11-19, 09:59 AM
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Some of the newer gravel seatposts and saddles like the Fabric Scoop with flexible base can significantly dampen vibration.


-Tim-
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