Re: [CR] Frame stiffness NOW Frames Getting Soft and 753

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Date: Tue, 6 Jul 2010 22:16:20 -0700
To: "paccoastcycles" <>, "Jim Merz" <>, "Angel Garcia" <>
From: "Jan Heine" <>
Subject: Re: [CR] Frame stiffness NOW Frames Getting Soft and 753

At 9:05 PM -0700 7/6/10, paccoastcycles wrote:
>There was a spell when I had more than one person tell me that a
>Vitus frame was just so flexy that they just couldn't possibly ride
>one, even though their ride was down the Coast Highway for a cup of
>coffee. Meanwhile, Sean Kelly was winning Tour de France stages on a

For the Autumn Bicycle Quarterly, we measured the lateral stiffness of a bunch of frames, including my Alan cyclocross bike. Surprisingly, it wasn't as flexible as one might think, but more or less on par with a good Columbus SL frame.

Perhaps the Alan's vertical compliance (which may be all in the fork) created the impression of "softness," when in fact the frames were about as stiff laterally as standard steel frames of the time. We didn't measure a Vitus, but the Alan had the same "wet noodle" reputation as the Vitus...

Regarding 753 frames, I recall one day a well-known randonneur coming to the Alex Singer shop, and picking up his repaired frame. Ernest Csuka remarked: "This 753 stuff was no good. This bike has only 120,000 km, and already, I had to replace the top and down tubes." So the reputation for being failure-prone is widespread, but it also depends on what you consider adequate durability... 120,000 km isn't so bad in many riders' opinions.

Jan Heine
Bicycle Quarterly
2116 Western Ave.
Seattle WA 98121