Is an aluminum frame a requirement to get that "planted feeling" on a medium or larger road bike?

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Alexander B, Sep 19, 2021.

  1. Alexander B

    Alexander B Long timer

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    As the header says... I have ridden many of the mid size or larger "standard bikes", and none of the steel tube framed ones have felt completely like an extension of myself, like the FZ8/FZ1, the MT10, Suzuki GSX S1000 and so on do. A couple have been closer, the Z900R and the XJ6Diversion (aka FZ6R?), but even for them, there is a bit of "give", and a feeling of frame flexing being a part of how the bike handles.
    The Bandit 650 and 1250, XJR1300, Triumph 800 series, Suzuki SV650 and GSX S750, Kawasaki ER6, any Harley, Honda CBF1000 etc, etc, are examples of bikes that lack that feeling of being a part of myself.

    It is NOT a question about weight or suspension quality, it is the (lack of) rigidity that I am talking about. The same as in old cars, where the is so much torsional twist that you feel the car "squirm" during aggressive driving. Especially obvious when suspension and tires are upgraded, allowing for higher forces in curves.
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  2. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    No, it's not the type of materials used. It's about how the frames and suspension that goes with them are designed and work. You can't separate the frame from the suspension when it comes to handling. They work together. If they are designed and tuned for the type of handling that you like, they will work for you. If they are not, you will get that feeling of "not being just right".

    Keep in mind that different people have different expectations and requirements, so two different riders on the same bike and road will have different options on whether it works for them or not.

    Gustavo
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  3. Alexander B

    Alexander B Long timer

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    Thanks, but You did not really address the question.... There are clear distinction between how all these bikes (that I have ridden) behave WRT torsional forced. Obviously, the charateristics of a cast, stiff, monopiece frame is mechanically different from something built of welded tubes, rather than the specific material itself. (However, on bicycles, there is still a pronounced differences even between similar geometry, but different materials.)
    If I LIKE it or not, is not what I am discussing.
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  4. danketchpel

    danketchpel Long timer

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    Absolutely not. Steel framed bike can easily give that planted feeling. There are many examples with Ducati trellis frames being a good example but there are many more.
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  5. Alexander B

    Alexander B Long timer

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    Thanks! Other than Ducati, could you suggest one? Like I said, not even Kawasaki Z900 gave me quite the rigid feeling of MT10, FZ8, or Kawasaki Z1000.
    I would assume that mounting the engine rigidly in the alu frame helps, as well
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  6. psycho klr

    psycho klr Same psycho, now with less klr Supporter

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    You must be incredibly sensitive and putting a hell of a load on the bike, if you can feel a modern trellis frame twist torsionally. Are you feeling this on the street?
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  7. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    But it is about how you feel it handles, that's what you mentioned, that it doesn't feel like it's "part of you". We are not talking about lap times, right?

    Honda used to make this really nice street going sportbike called the SuperHawk/VTR1000F in the 90's. It had an aluminum frame, but it was designed to have some flex in it, because at the time Honda engineers determined that it would be beneficial for street handling. And they were right, at road speed conditions, it was brilliant. Even made a half-decent sports tourer (well, other than having to stop for gas every ~100 miles... :fpalm). On the track, it did flex a bit, but it was not designed to be a race bike. The RC51 had a different frame, because it had a different orientation.

    Have you ridden a Gen 2 SV650? Does it feel differently from the latest generation that has a different frame design and materials?

    Gustavo
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  8. Alexander B

    Alexander B Long timer

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    No, not Ducati. I have not ridden any of the "relevant" Ducatis, so I cannot say.
    Or what other trellis frame?
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  9. Wa Ho Thuk

    Wa Ho Thuk Long timer

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    Tonti framed Moto Guzzis are really planted to the pavement .
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  10. Alexander B

    Alexander B Long timer

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    Not lap times! I am very sensitive to many things, some matter, some do not.
    On a dual sport, the give in the frane and forks feels right. On any steel frame standard motorcycle I have ridden, I felt it obscures some of the feedback from tires and suspension, and allows the steering head to twist, in relation to the rear end of the frame. The FZ6R partly aside, all steel framed bikes have given me that filter on the road feedback. The FZ6R was probably a bit helped by having narrower tires, thus having a less rigid connection to the road surface?
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  11. Alexander B

    Alexander B Long timer

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    I have only ridden the 2018-ish V7, and the V85, at its launch. They had nothing of that rigidity I am talking about, and while the V7 is nimble, it is not as "immediate" as an FZ8 or the MT09.
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  12. Alexander B

    Alexander B Long timer

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    About the SV650. I tried on that was a 2016 or 2017, maybe. But everything was so mushy, stock tires, suspension, brakes and so on, so there was no distinct feeling of any rigidity anywhere. As I remember it, it was far worse than my XJ6.

    Have not ridden the current SV650.
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  13. psycho klr

    psycho klr Same psycho, now with less klr Supporter

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    The Z900 and Z900RS are both Trellis framed. You mentioned a Z900R, did you mean RS, or just the regular Z900?
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  14. Alexander B

    Alexander B Long timer

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    Thanks!
    Typo on my part. Have ridden both, refer to the regular, not RS. (Riding position etc is closer to the other bikes.) It was better than most, as I said, but not like the alu frame ones. Could feel some squishiness on the exit ramps and roundabouts.
    Is that bike "as good as it gets", WRT modern steel frames on non-racer, street legal bikes?
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  15. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

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    Wait, are we talking about the original XJ6 or the newer one (also called FZ6R)? You mentioned the FZ6R a few times, but the bike in your avatar is a first gen XJ6 (aka Seca II in the US and OZ). These are not the same bike and they share almost nothing, other than Yamaha using the same name in Europe.


    Gustavo
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  16. psycho klr

    psycho klr Same psycho, now with less klr Supporter

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    I have no idea if it is as good as it gets. It's pretty good though and I am surprised you could find any fault with it, short of putting slicks on one and taking it to the track.

    I'm sure the Ducati 950SS and the Trellis framed Monsters are pretty stout.
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  17. Sindarin

    Sindarin Lurker

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    You just like road going bikes that are based off their superbike counterparts. So do I. The MT10 is based off the R1 and The GSXS1000 is based off the GSXR1000. Frames and swing arms are more rigid to take advantage of sticky race slicks.
    I don't think frame material is a requirement for that planted feeling it just happens to be most superbikes use twin spar aluminum frames.
    KTM uses steel frames in MotoGP and they are competitive... sometimes.
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  18. Wa Ho Thuk

    Wa Ho Thuk Long timer

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    While technically the new V7 line has a frame designed by Tonti , I was referring to the older Big Block Tonti bikes. If the shocks are in good shape and the tires are decent if you can make one of those squirm at any sane road speed I don't know what to tell you .

    Actually what you are feeling probably has more to do with suspension than frame material .
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  19. mmattockx

    mmattockx Adventurer

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    danketchpel is correct, there is no fundamental reason for one type of frame to respond differently to a load than the other. The different materials will affect the damping of vibration and flexing, but not the general flex characteristics.


    Mark
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  20. Alexander B

    Alexander B Long timer

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    The picture has nothing to do with this. That bike is not called XJ6 in any market I have heard of - it is an XJ600N.
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