You can't really beat a perfect design...

rog_london

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Jan 3, 2009
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Not specifically related to e-bikes, but bikes in general...

Looking at the Tonaro (not with any intention of buying one) the 'bighit' is rather pretty - but it's also pretty heavy, as Flecc has pointed out here and there. Another bike I like the look of is the A to B Metro, which is even heavier.

What do they have in common? They both have pressed and welded frames. If you want to get away from the typical 'look' of a bicycle, that's definitely one way to do it. However, I suspect that the diamond frame made up of steel or aluminium tubes is pretty well unbeatable when it comes to combining strength and lightness.

After 100-plus years of bicycle development we haven't really come up with anything better. A bicycle has evolved into its ultimate form, and even with the hi-tech (?) additions we now have, it's hard to imagine a significant improvement to that basic design. In fact, little has changed in the past 50 years, despite new materials becoming available. They still all work best with that familiar diamond frame.

I suppose if function were the only consideration, the non-tubular frame would never have made an appearance - but of course we all buy on looks probably more than functionality however much we may kid ourselves otherwise.

Rog.
 

flecc

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Dead on Rog, the safety bicycle's basic form was perfected a lifetime ago and needn't be altered where efficiency is concerned.

The best chance of any gain through change is with materials like composites as the sporting world has shown, but even then it's mainly only for special purposes like timed stages. For all round road performance, the diamond frame rules supreme and is as yet unchallenged.
 

Scottyf

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Feb 2, 2011
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Triangle frames will be unbeatable for strength. Its a shape thats been used in building for hundred's / thousands of years...

It was only natural that someone would use it for strength in a bicycle.
 

flecc

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Of course before the safety bicycle curves were the preferred form:



This is where the Tonaros got their frame inspiration from! ;)
.
 
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Weight makes very little difference when riding a bike - both in effort and speed. The only real drawback is when you have to lift it for whatever reason.
 

NRG

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Oct 6, 2009
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Weight makes very little difference when riding a bike - both in effort and speed. The only real drawback is when you have to lift it for whatever reason.
Weight plays a very big part when riding a bike! You wouldn't say the above if you had to ride the original powabyke! ;)
 

flecc

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Weight plays a very big part when riding a bike! You wouldn't say the above if you had to ride the original powabyke! ;)
They really were beyond a joke, only any good treated as a moped. I even hated wheeling one along!
 

NRG

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A good friend of mine still has one, it keeps going and gets him up some really steep hills with hardly any effort but its a right pig to ride...
 
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Weight plays a very big part when riding a bike! You wouldn't say the above if you had to ride the original powabyke! ;)
Maybe. I've never ridden one so I can't say. There's also other factors that can make a bike seem cumbersome, like steering geometry, wheel-base and gearing, so it might not be weight alone. Anyway, I was referring to small differences in weight - like from 23kg to 27kg. That would make a difference of about 10w to maintain the same speed up a 5% hill, or with the same effort the speed difference would be about 0.4mph.
 

flecc

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Anyway, I was referring to small differences in weight - like from 23kg to 27kg.
Those early Powabykes were 40 kilos of fat tyred dead weight, and it really showed. Some had the biggest low gear derailleur sprocket ever seen, a huge leap from the sprocket below in order to get a low enough gear to pedal them unpowered, not that anyone was inclined to.
 

rog_london

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Triangle frames will be unbeatable for strength. Its a shape thats been used in building for hundred's / thousands of years...

It was only natural that someone would use it for strength in a bicycle.
It took a while though - and something else had to be perfected first - the bicycle chain. Of course chain drives of one sort or another had been around for quite some time, but either they were industrial-size or they were tiny (as in a watch movement).

What was needed on a bicycle was a means to get the pedals into an appropriate position for the rider to make good use of them. That's why the 'Ordinary' bicycle (commonly, but incorrectly, referred to as the penny farthing) was the shape it was - you needed a large front wheel with the rider perched on top to get the necessary reach for the legs.

A chain was really the only thing of use for a long time - any sort of belt drive would be useless due to slippage, etc., especially in the wet. No toothed nylon-cored belts then! It's still the most efficient drive method and the derailleur is the most efficient gear changing mechanism (I'm talking about transferring maximum effort to the drive wheel), though they're both exposed to weather and muck and need a fair bit of TLC to give of their best.

Rog.
 

Geebee

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Weight is a far bigger factor than the calculators show, really obvious under pedal power and if you have steep hills just as obvious on a legal ebike, it affects speed, range and climbing ability.
Now to claiming that the safety bike is as efficient as it get blah blah :) they are the best universal use bike but why do you think the UCI banned recumbents?
 

flecc

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Now to claiming that the safety bike is as efficient as it get blah blah :) they are the best universal use bike but why do you think the UCI banned recumbents?
This is a hoary old chestnut! The safety bike is the best in an all-round sense of course, utility, sport, off-road, race, towing, load carrying, child seats etc.

The recumbents do have limitations in many of those areas, some severe, and they are poor at hill climbing.

That last bit is contentious but true from enough experience against them in that respect. Their main gain is in low wind resistance which is especially useful against headwinds and on downhills for very high speeds. I don't see that as an intrinsic high efficiency though, just one of circumstance.
 

rog_london

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Thanks, Flecc, I was about to say that nobody in this thread has claimed that the safety bike was the most efficient - only that the frame design was the best compromise of lightness and strength that had so far been discovered. Blah blah blah indeed!

Rog.
 

flecc

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Thanks, Flecc, I was about to say that nobody in this thread has claimed that the safety bike was the most efficient - only that the frame design was the best compromise of lightness and strength that had so far been discovered. Blah blah blah indeed!

Rog.
Of course trying to compare frame design efficiency of upright bikes against recumbents is like trying to decide whether oranges or apples are best.

They are too different to be compared. The diamond frame basis is the most efficient conventional bicycle design, while I'm sure recumbents may have their own most efficient design.
 

Geebee

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The blah blah was not meant as derogatory, I was in a hurry and hoped the smiley would convey the tongue in cheek.
I did state regarding safety bikes "they are the best universal use bike ".

The recumbent got banned due to a second tier rider starting to beat the best riders in flat land racing.
At any speed that aero drag becomes a big factor the recumbent has a significant advantage.
Enjoy what you ride!
 

rog_london

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Jan 3, 2009
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The blah blah was not meant as derogatory, I was in a hurry and hoped the smiley would convey the tongue in cheek.
I did state regarding safety bikes "they are the best universal use bike ".

The recumbent got banned due to a second tier rider starting to beat the best riders in flat land racing.
At any speed that aero drag becomes a big factor the recumbent has a significant advantage.
Enjoy what you ride!
Haha! It wasn't taken as derogatory. Smileys take the subtlety out of things - explicitly saying 'I didn't mean it' put you in the frame for a return dig - without the smiley!

Rog.
 

bode

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May 14, 2008
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Smileys take the subtlety out of things - explicitly saying 'I didn't mean it' put you in the frame for a return dig - without the smiley!Rog.
People have managed to express themselves perfectly satisfactorily in English for centuries without resorting to smileys. What next; back to hieroglyphics?

Or am I being ironic?:p:confused::mad::(