[CR]Frame Flex

(Example: History:Norris Lockley)

To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
From: "David Cooper" <dbcooper@coopertechnica.com>
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2005 10:16:25 -0500
Subject: [CR]Frame Flex

It occurred to me several years ago that there is good reason why bicycles are known by the frame maker rather than by their components maker.

Some years ago I spoke to an engineer who worked on Schwinn Paramounts in the 1970's. He told me that they had purchased several Cinelli frames and built Paramounts with the same geometry, tubing and dimensions to compare to the Cinellis. I don't know if they used the same lugs or not. All were set up with the same components. All of the Schwinn riders (in a blindfold test) liked the ride of the Cinelli better than the Paramount and said they were more comfortable and seemingly faster. They then disassembled the Cinelli frames to see what the differences were. And this is part I liked best--they were not sure. Someone suggested that maybe Cinelli overheated the tubing. Others suggested that the brazing was not as thorough to allow more flex. I don't know if they ever figured it out.

I happen to own a 1972 Paramount and a 1967 Cinelli with same size, dimensions, tubing sizes and geometry. I have not set them up with the same components. However, in my unscientific test, the ride of the Cinelli is clearly different than the Paramount, less stiff and more compliant. I will also add that when I ride the Paramount regularly I grow to like its ride better and better.

David Cooper
Chicago, IL