BQ 24 (Summer 2008)


Vol. 6, No. 4

Frame Stiffness and Planing

Our biggest test so far: We had four frames built that were identical except in their frame tubes. We built them up with identical parts, and then did a fully controlled double-blind test. The surprising result: Two of three testers could tell minor differences in frame tubing with 100% reliability, and both preferred the most flexible frame. This test proved once and for all that “planing” is real and that more flexible frames work better for some riders.

We look at lightweight bikes, testing a Crumpton Carbon Randonneur and examining what makes a bike light. We explore the history of Nicola Barra, the pioneer of aluminum frames, and showcase one of his incredible machines. Forbes Bagatelle-Black examines whether a heavy rider’s faster descending can make up the time lost on the uphills.

Light weight is not everything, and we discuss how to design a bike for wide tires, and we test a number of different handlebar bags.

  • Features:
  • 26 Nicola Barra — Pioneer of Aluminum Bikes
  • 36 Travel: Interval Training in Chile
  • 62 Destination: Classic Cycle, Bainbridge Island, WA
  • Reviews:
  • 4 Test: Crumpton Carbon Randonneur
  • 17 Film Review: Richard Sachs — Imperfection is Perfection
  • 50 Test: Handlebar Bags
  • 54 Test: Wide High-Performance Clincher Tires
  • Tech:
  • 18 How to Make a Lightweight Bicycle
  • 24 How Much Faster Are Lighter Bikes?
  • 32 Builders Speak: Nicola Barra on Aluminum Frames (1939)
  • 33 An Engineer's Perspective on Aluminum Frames (1939)
  • 34 The Other Side of the Mountain: Does a heavy rider make up on the descents what they lose on the uphills?
  • 42 Double-Blind Test Confirms that frame Flex Matters (Planing is Real)
  • 48 Fine-Tuning the Planing of a Bicycle
  • 60 Designing Frames for Wide Tires
  • News:
  • 12 Readers' Forum
  • 14 Obituary: Eugene A. Sloane
  • 49 Web Resources: Weight Weenies