Stiffness

A stiffer frame is a better frame, right?

To answer this question we first have to look at what stiffness actually is. The value in which stiffness is expressed is Nm/° or Newton meter per degree. There is a certain amount of force needed to cause a certain bending of a frame. A higher value in Nm/° means a higher stiffness of the material. The stiffness of frame is measured at the bottom bracket (BB stiffness) and at the head tube (torsional stiffness). Most of the time also the fork is measured, this is called the fork stiffness. 
So you can’t speak of just “The stiffness” of a particular bike. But you can use the several types of stiffness together to compare bikes and/or frames.

 

If all the stiffness values are good, most likely the bike will handle well on the road. But whether the bike will be nice to drive or not is a completely different story. This really depends on the taste of the rider. Some riders like an agile and sharp turning bike. Others like a more comfortable bike they can ride on for hours.Both preferences are possible to match with the same frame. This is because for most of the driving dynamics of a bike all the components are important. Meaning the saddle, the handlebar and the wheels & tyres are of a great influence of the characteristics of a bike.

 

To judge a bike only based on the stiffness of its frame is too short-sighted. Especially in German tests they really tend to focus on the stiffness measurements. A bike with an “average stiffness” is tend to be unmarketable. Although this bike might be excellent for a big group of potential buyers. You can’t judge a car only based on its engine power, right? Just as with a car you have to look at the whole picture to judge a bike.

 

Of course there are lower limits on which a frame should meet. Especially in the Netherlands because Dutch people tend to be quite compared to other European countries. Sensa frames are built to last and to handle well. This makes it possible to market a safe and reliable bike.  For us it is self-evident that this demands for a certain degree of stiffness. Meaning for us this is so obvious that we not explicitly use these values in our communications like our website or catalogues.  As a Sensa driver you are always assured of a frame of which you do not have to worry about stiffness.

 

After having given above, it is clear that the question with which this story started is not as easy to answer. For one rider a very stiff frame would be perfect as for another rider he demands a more moderate stiffness. After choosing the  right base you can customize your real dream bike with adding all the right components for you.

 

So a stiffer frame isn’t always a better frame.

The past years the standard in Dutch cycling magazines, Fiets Magazine, tested several of our frames. You can find their results lower on this page. These results are all of testing a 55 or 58cm frame. Please keep in mind that a smaller or bigger frame may show some small deviations.

 

 

Stiffness tests 2012
 
Giulia
Torsional stiffness: 105 Nm/°
Fork stiffness: 77 Nm/°
BB stiffness: 44 Nm/°
 
Trentino SL
Torsional stiffness: 127 Nm/°
Fork stiffness: 84 Nm/°
BB stiffness: 48 Nm/°
 
Trentino
Torsional stiffness: 99 Nm/°
Fork stiffness: 111 Nm/°
BB stiffness: 40 Nm/°

 

Stiffness tests 2011

 

Lombardia Super Leggera

Torsional stiffness: 144 Nm/°

BB stiffness: 36 Nm/°

 

Lombardia Ultimo & White

Torsional stiffness: 96 Nm/°

BB stiffness: 55 Nm/°

 

Toscana

Torsional stiffness: 90 Nm/°

Fork stiffness: 90 Nm/°

BB stiffness: 51 Nm/°

 

Trentino

Torsional stiffness: 99 Nm/°

Fork stiffness: 75 Nm/°

BB stiffness: 40 Nm/°

 

Romagna

Torsional stiffness: 121 Nm/°

Fork stiffness: 72 Nm/°

BB stiffness: 45 Nm/°

 

Stiffness tests 2010

 

Calabria

Torsional stiffness: 96 Nm/°

BB stiffness: 44 Nm/°

Fork stiffness: 77 Nm/°

 

Lombardia

Torsional stiffness: 108 Nm/°

 

Toscana

Torsional stiffness: 90 Nm/°

Fork stiffness: 90 Nm/°

BB stiffness: 51 Nm/°

 

Titanium

Torsional stiffness: 100 Nm/°

Fork stiffness: 53 Nm/° (Ritchey WCS Carbon vork)

Fork stiffness: 73 Nm/° (Supra Carbon vork)

BB stiffness: 45 Nm/°

 

Trentino

Torsional stiffness: 99 Nm/°

Fork stiffness: 75 Nm/°

BB stiffness: 40 Nm/°

 

Veneto

Torsiestijfheid: 100 Nm/°

Fork stiffness: 73 Nm/°

BB stiffness: 41 Nm/°

 

Romagna

Torsional stiffness: 128 Nm/°

 

Umbria

Torsional stiffness: 106 Nm/°

Fork stiffness: 73 Nm/°

BB stiffness: 47 Nm/°