Pinkbike Poll: Do You Want Adjustable Frame Stiffness?

Dec 7, 2023 at 7:33
by Dario DiGiulio  
photo
Quick swap seems easy enough.
photo
Slightly less quick on this front.

In my recent Predictions article, I guessed that we'll be seeing more user-adjustable frame stiffness on production bikes in the near future, with a few existing examples of the approach thrown in for posterity. While this could be a very cool feature to add to a frame, I personally don't see it as critical or even worthwhile for most people, as there are already enough complications to wrestle on modern bikes.

That said, I'm probably wrong and you're all going to tell me why, so I figured I'd put it to the people and get a sense for how many folks would jump on the opportunity to tweak their chassis to suit terrain, ride style, and rider load.

Photos by Andy Vathis

This could be seatstay/chainstay bridges, swappable axles, or even some sort of external bracing like we see on some motorsports chassis.

Do you want a frame with adjustable stiffness?



Which bike categories do you feel would benefit most?



Author Info:
dariodigiulio avatar

Member since Dec 25, 2016
169 articles

142 Comments
  • 306 11
 I just want to get on my bike and ride it in the woods with my friends and have a great time. No batteries, no internal routing, no needing $10,000, no wheel size bs, no marketing wank naming like "downcountry" or "climbduro"

Just fun, fitness and eliminating stress.
  • 111 4
 Not to gatekeep, but you're doing it wrong. You're supposed to tinker endlessly with all your equipment, fight about inanities and intricacies on the internet, and maintain an air of superiority towards other people who also "enjoy" the sport.
  • 10 2
 Bore Ring!!
  • 22 0
 @Jvhowube: what’s wrong with gatekeepers? I remember when you’d see another person on a mountain bike and, I know this is unbelievable, you’d say hi.
  • 12 3
 Honestly though, the bike you are describing is readily available from multiple brands for quite cheap, isn't it? It's just those plain old bikes don't get much attention around here because there's nothing to chatter about.
  • 51 2
 @wobblegoblin: I rarely get a hi anymore let alone anybody that would stop to help if I needed anything. I got a flat a few months back on a popular local trail, took me a few min to throw in a tube and got passed by a good 5 people, ZERO response from anybody. I'll assume I look like a badass and exude competence...but the 6th dude, older guy, obvious old school MTBer "yo dude, you all good".....just like it was 15+ years ago.

Get off my lawn...I know
  • 9 0
 "Climbduro".. lol.
  • 7 0
 Couldn't have said it better. But you know, if hillbilly can't swim, it's the speedo's fault.
  • 12 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Man I hear ya. Every time I pass someone on the trail I yell the same (You good?) and every time people seem so shocked (and thankful) that I bothered to ask if they needed help.

Ah well, another curmudgeon here.
  • 4 3
 I wouldn't overreact there. The parts in the picture are two allen bolts with a metal bar. Not exactly the most complicated adjustment.
  • 5 13
flag Blownoutrides (Dec 15, 2023 at 12:58) (Below Threshold)
 Good news, you already have all that. All you need to do is ride your bike and STFU
  • 43 1
 @RadBartTaylor: In Canada, you'll need to hide behind a tree if you want to fix your flat tire in peace.
  • 6 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Always offer help. Always!
  • 4 2
 @BiNARYBiKE: exactly. Everyone complains about the $10k bikes that have all the latest high end stuff (which gets the attention), instead of just buying the $3k bikes that do exist and don't have cutting edge top-end everything. The options are there, just because an option exists that you aren't personally interested in (like I don't actually care much about entry-level bikes personally), doesn't mean it needs to be excoriated.
  • 4 21
flag MT36 (Dec 15, 2023 at 14:31) (Below Threshold)
 @RadBartTaylor: I don't know... the last time I stopped by the trail to allen wrench a loose bolt I had like a 10 people say "are you allright?" It got kind of annoying. It's like, "yes obviously. It's a sunny day, I'm obviously not injured and more than capable of fixing my own bike, thank you."
  • 4 1
 @Philthy503: Always but not to the riders who deliberately carry no tools and no spares because it’s not cool. They can walk out.
  • 3 0
 Off you go then
  • 6 0
 @RadBartTaylor: On the trail, on the bike path, someone stuck in snow, I always ask if help is needed. Get mostly no, but whenever you do help it makes both happy.
  • 1 0
 So who is stopping you???
  • 1 0
 @Jvhowube: nsmb has entered the chat.
  • 19 0
 @RadBartTaylor: I always ask if they’re all right, and then inform them I’m just as unprepared as they are with no tools to help.
  • 2 0
 @Lousicle:
BRO!!!!!!!!!!! Run for President please
  • 2 0
 Ran into a dude that went to Moab to ride enchilada recently. His axs shifter watch battery died on the ride. Lol
  • 1 0
 Word
  • 2 3
 @danny611: just don’t offer to help a trucker or you might have your bank account frozen
  • 1 0
 Is it just me or is Flight Attendant going away? The same with Fox’s Live Valve? Is this consumers not wanting it so demand drives it into the mothballs of industry innovation.
  • 1 0
 @MT36: Maybe they were just trying to be helpful.
  • 1 0
 @Jvhowube: second that brother, we all in it together
  • 2 3
 Pick a stiffness and be a dick about it.
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: sorry to hear that. I am glad it isn’t like that here. I’m in Northern California and people are very friendly and will to help. It’s a little less friendly if I’m on my ebike. But it’s still a great area to riding.
  • 1 0
 I am all for eliminating the marketing wank and other meaningless nonsense, but wheel sizes?
Without the "good innovation" like suspension, tubeless, disc brakes, hell even indexing, we'd all still be riding fully rigid clunkers and that really wouldn't be anything like as much fun.
  • 1 0
 :levy
  • 2 0
 @G-Sport: Hear me out,
if youve seen any of the videos of dudes on klunkers, drifting gravel roads you can tell theyre having an absolute blast.
You see in 30 years from now, someone on the internet is going to be telling others how good they have it, and how its way more fun now than it was then.
I've been riding, wrenching, racing for over 25 years, and I dont have any more fun now, than I did on my first canti braked, full rigid Nishiki. In fact, the exposure now is way more than it ever was, now I need to be doing mach chicken down some super steep, loose line to get the same thrill.....

its always been fun, theres just more consequence to fu$&ing up now
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: VERY TRUE! Modern enduro bikes just make anything less than absolutely gnarly trails boring!

I think it’d be rad if everyone had a 1995 Hardtail that properly fit them to ride the “boring” trails on every now and then, maybe after hitting a bowl…makes riding boring trails much more exciting.

Does anyone have a 55cm Bridgestone MB1 they can sell me?
  • 1 0
 @wobblegoblin: username checks out.
my views might not be as extreme as yours, but i do have both a long travel bike, and a short travel bike so I can have my version of fun more of the time

Have fun out there, and dont forget youre helmet!
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: Sorry can't agree. I ride stuff now that was just out of the question on fully rigid bikes, then there is reliability. It was called the "Repack" because they needed to re-pack the coaster brake with grease every day. Not to mention the worry of forks breaking etc.
Give me a modern bike with *gasp* a small motor and I will ride more varied terrain for longer and by my metrics have more fun. Bring me a nice gearbox and magic-grippy tyres and I'll have more fun in the absolute quagmire out there right now than I am having right now.
  • 81 5
 Fuck flip chips and whatever this shit is, I want my bike built right by people who know, don't ask me I'm an idiot
  • 53 0
 Speak for yourself. I can TOTALLY tell the difference between 1mm of chainstay length and 0.01 degrees of head tube angle and I also appreciate the difference between grades of carbon fiber and alloys of aluminum. And don't even get me started on how huge of a difference 10grams makes by using titanium bolts.
  • 6 2
 The ideal persona for adjustments is the rider who has no idea what they want, even less idea how to get it, has been lost down the rabbit hole of tuning for their whole life, and thinks one more adjustment will be the one to save them.

Give them what they want! Let a few people pay for the privilege to do the R&D and market research the vendors didn't do. The fast followers can have their next designs all CAD'd up with a smidge extra clearance in case greater cross-sections are desired, watch for the first signs of consensus on stiffness, then tell their overseas factory that handles the lay-up design to proceed accordingly.

Naturally, while all that's happening, we'll switch to 40 mm rims for greater tire stability and throw out everything that was learned about frame stiffness preferences.
  • 4 1
 @ryan77777: 10 grams. Paradoxically, if you believe it helps, it has a positive effect...but at the same time has no practical measurable effect other than in your performance...which is all a consequence of your confidence and focus increasing...not the 10 grams being lost....so it's both worth it and not worth it...at least depending on how your psyche feels about your bank account being smaller....which could negate any other positive placebos....so where does that leave you? Probably depends on demographics more than anything...10 grams for me...nothing. 10 grams for my dentist, and now he's faster. This brings up other philosophies and economic benefit theories, and I am going to stop.
  • 3 0
 @takeiteasyridehard: Schrodinger's bolt
  • 64 4
 Bike industry is really scraping the bottom of the barrel, huh?
  • 3 1
 Yeah. Why it is not a bad idea/concept to include in your bike, Id shake my head greatly towards any company that would market it as the next coolest thing.
  • 3 1
 Idk where you go from here. Realistically the only thing that I see as a glaring issue is the der. My Top Fuel does basically everything I'd ever want it to do. It has storage, great pedal platform and handles just about everything the mid-west has to offer.
  • 3 1
 More like the bottom of their shoes at this point. The barrel is obviously empty :-P
  • 2 0
 Im pretty heavy, and have found that some frames and bikes are way too flexible. And some are too stiff. I'm aire people that are really light also find some bikes are too stiff. Most frames are made to an average sized human, so making stiffness adjustable would probably improve the consistency for everyone....although it sure is ultra nerdy
  • 2 2
 Is this reaction similar to when the industry introduced bike rear suspension? Seems to me like such a link to tune lateral and torsional compliance is more simple and "fit and forget" than rear suspension. By now I think people agree that on flat or off-camber corners the lateral compliance contributes as much if not more to rear wheel traction as the (much more complex) rear wheel suspension system does. Introduce those bike to the market, have people ride them, then do the poll again. No I haven't ridden them either hence I'm not claiming they're the best thing ever (well, better than sliced bread but I'd say a lot is better than sliced bread) but I wouldn't dismiss it as a fad just yet either.
  • 42 0
 I'm already stiff enough.
  • 12 1
 I could use some extra stiffness tbh
  • 36 5
 why not just get rid of cable tourism and we would all be happy?
  • 14 0
 With new legislation on cable visas, we could make this a reality
  • 11 0
 Entry at designated ports only
  • 1 1
 @mattg95: that's what she said.
  • 26 0
 As an ex-bike mechanic who has spent far too many hours chasing around minor frame creaks... no thank you.
  • 1 0
 Indeed. I feel like this is the primary risk. Also, why add $50 to the MSRP of a frame for questionable benefit.
  • 23 0
 Things I understand and can adjust:
-tyre pressure
-suspension pressure and rebound
- flip chips

Things I understand but don't really know how to set:
-compression
-bottom out
-bar roll

Things I don't understand and don't want to think about:
-fork offsets
-steering damping
-stiffness
  • 24 7
 NEWS FLASH:

“A PinkBike commenter has recently discovered that people who are nothing like him also ride bikes. He was amazed to realize that there was someone in his own town who is literally twice his size who is also good at bikes but keeps breaking frames because they aren’t designed for people like him.”

“Startled, his first response was ‘well just loose some weight you fatty’. A few days later he met the larger rider in question on the trail and was immediately thankful that his username @pewpew805 is not connected to his actual name.”
  • 10 6
 NEW FLASH:

A PinkBike commenter made a snarky and self-rightous comment deriding other users for stating their opinions on a post without realizing the irony that the post in question was literally soliciting their opinions.
  • 18 1
 Yo dawg, I heard you like snarky comments so I'm snarkily commenting on your snarky comment about a snarky comment with another NEWS FLASH
  • 2 7
flag Blownoutrides (Dec 15, 2023 at 19:04) (Below Threshold)
 @nilswalk: #TRIGGERED
  • 2 1
 And how exactly does one "loose" weight?
  • 4 0
 @woofer2609: my weight is very loose as I go down chattery trails sections. It doesn’t seem to fall off though.
  • 1 0
 Generally, most of us could stand to lose some weight. Over 60% of Americans are overweight or obese.

San Franciscans don’t tend to like statistics, but here you go:
frac.org/obesity-health/obesity-u-s-2
  • 8 0
 Full disclosure, I'm still trying to sort out how to get the most of my suspension so I don't know that I'd be able to also figure out how to get the most out of my frame stiffness. That said, I love bikes that I can get on and go...not have to worry if I charged my battery(ies) or remembered to swap back to my stiffer frame part. I have enough on my plate remembering to check my various air pressures.
  • 11 0
 Like adjustable geo, just another way for plebs like me to make the bike ride worse.
  • 1 0
 No, no, it's something else to blame poor performance on. "I coulda been a contender...if my frame was stiffer."
  • 7 1
 For a race bike... I could see that being at thing. I mean, they're chasing microseconds. But for us normal people who just ride bikes in the woods (I'm a bumbler personally, but I have fun regardless), it seems like its probably way overkill/not needed.

In theory, some brands are already sort of doing this with their frame sizes (Norco mentions having their larger bikes be stiffer, as they're likely heavier riders IRRC).

If my frame came with adjustable stiffness... I'd probably try it out, just for kicks, and see if I have any preferences on it. But unless I somehow find a frame that has very very wrong stiffness in the first place, I doubt I'd notice it much.
  • 2 1
 I agree, the above average bumbler might notice though.
  • 3 0
 TBH Im open to the idea but dont really know if frame flex on my mountain bike is something Im experiencing. I also did know that I was rolling the sides walls on my front tire until I tried Cushcore and immediately noticed the difference in feel when leaning over into a turn, so maybe frame flex is the same way
  • 4 2
 I'm the kind of person that would never change one of these. I can't remember the last time I changed the rebound on my fork. I just don't notice small adjustments like this. People are always like "rotational weight makes a massive difference" but then I go from DH to XC tyres and I only notice a loss of grip.
  • 4 0
 There's a good joke in that headline but I'm too classy for that kinda stuff.
  • 2 1
 It'd be fun to tinker with but given that I find we riders can accommodate and then adapt so quickly to different settings/parts/geometry that I think it would only really be applicable to racers.

Also I'm not sure we need a subset of riders that won't yield because they need data on their latest frame stiffness adjustment setting.
  • 4 0
 I already waste enough time at the traihead watching my friends fiddle with their go pro junk
  • 4 1
 All I want is an aluminum Split Pivot frame with a Pinion/Gates drive. That’s it. Are you listening Devinci? Pretty please?
  • 2 0
 Or Banshee
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: I really like the lines of Banshee frames. Very similar to my old Devinci Dixon.
  • 1 0
 Pahaha, No.

Flipchips and frame stiffness. I don't care. Give me bottle mount's on Enduro frames. A steep seat tube about 80°. Big bearings and that's essentially the bike I buy if it got external routing. Your fancy stuff can't make up for it if you can't even nail the basics. It's like shopping for a new vacuum but you soon realise that the new stuff is just marketing and can't even solve the simplest problem of them all. It's all marketing if you can't do a basic job..
  • 1 0
 100% pro adjustability in Frames, but make it simple with instructions. We already do it with sizes so I see no reason to limit it to that. Also it does not have to be life long tinkering more like adjusting the height of you’re saddle.
  • 1 0
 Like 20% of repsondents I didn't have a useful reponse to the second question, as I answered "no" for the first. However it still looks like the majority of repsonses on which kind of bike this suits also think it's a bad idea - did they choose a type of bike they don't ride; try and make a constructive choice; or just randomly pick an option? Anyway I hope the sponsors of this market research didn't pay much!
  • 1 0
 I am all for adjustments options. But if it’s going to raise the cost, I don’t think the general consumer will even touch it. I’m surprised at how many people don’t check the tire pressure or fork pressure before riding.

I have the V5 with the adjustable seat stay bridge and once I tried the soft one, I liked it better and never went back. But I’m also the kind of person that cut off parts of my trek session to make the rear end more compliant.
  • 1 0
 As a 6"2 guy coming in at 70Kg (I raced at 65Kg's) I often find bikes overly stiff and getting suspension moving properly a challenge. I'm literally dragging weight round to make the bike stiffer than I need.
However I typically choose bikes known to be more compliant now.
  • 1 0
 for the right application, it could be a great thing for testing and development for racing. On a race car, the variable stiffness is used to provide differences in the frame to adapt to different tracks and conditions. This could translate to xc, enduro, or downhill racing when riders switch from a smooth track to a rough one, hot conditions to cold ones, or rocky to, muddy.
  • 1 0
 I reckon tire casing, spoke tension, and bar stiffness might also be low hanging fruit for altering the feeling of compliance of your bike without adding complexity to the frame. Now, if you HAVE exhausted those things then altering frame stiffness might be the ticket. Seems like a good adjustment for a race bike where all out speed comes at the cost of reduced simplicity and perhaps a rider with a race program that keeps good notes and gathers information on bike feel in a systematic way.
  • 1 0
 Pick your favorite stiffness and be a dick about it. Jokes aside, I don't quite buy into the idea that an average rider could benefit from adjustable stiffness. For the largest part, this is just adding unnecessary complication for no practical advantage.
  • 5 0
 Omg just stop. Please.
  • 4 0
 Oh come on, most of the public is not even playing with spokes tension
  • 1 1
 I like the idea, it's an interesting concept for XC hardtails, stiff for short track races where putting down the most power is key and flexy for marathon races where a little bit of give can help reduce fatigue. Besides, if you didn't want to dork around with it just set it and forget it, kind of like a compression damper on a suspension fork.
  • 2 0
 Looks like the people have spoken! Now do headset cable routing, pressfit bottom brackets, electronic shifting, and Superboost hubs....
  • 3 0
 Omg get a grip most people can’t maximise the potential of the bike they have never mind crap like this.
  • 1 0
 For a real world example of what this might feel like, go replace all those worn out pivot bearings on your old bike and see how if you like it better with or without the extra flex.
  • 1 0
 IIRC, there was a brand back in the '90s, maybe K2, that made tunable skis. Different inserts could be used to improve damping and stiffness in sections fore and aft the binding.
  • 2 0
 Fast forward 30 years to now, and that sounds like groundbreaking tech, even by today's skis. Goes to show how fad and/or gimmicky these industries can be, despite whether they're good ideas or not. Just bought new Armadas this year, and they have "game changing new sidewall tech", that I'm sure will be forgotten about in 3 years. Goofy.
  • 1 0
 In the trials world, you can add a booster to your rim brakes to increase the stiffness of the frame and fork. It makes a noticeable difference. But ideally you shouldn't have to add anything
  • 2 0
 @jubs17:
Those great Magura yellows that you can make the seat stays flex 10mm with!
  • 3 0
 Seems like a feature the broped crowd will want but won't understand BUT will bore you about at the coffee shop.
  • 3 0
 I want the sport to go back 10-15 yrs ago and all the wankers to dissapear.
  • 1 0
 interesting subset of this kind of adjustment: 3d printed lugs can have different infill densities or patterns, giving flex not only in different amount but different directions
  • 3 0
 came for the thumbnail, and left
  • 2 0
 I'm still not sure what is going on in that image
  • 1 0
 @SATN-XC: i think it's a bmx swing bike maybe circa sea otter 2023?
  • 2 0
 Everyone has their kink I guess
  • 2 1
 "...the opportunity to tweak their chassis to suit terrain, ride style, and rider load."

Already accomplishable with suspension settings, tire choice & PSI.
  • 3 0
 Never even heard of this until the previous article
  • 1 0
 As someone with a supreme v5, I can tell you I never think about the adjustable stiffness. Not once, not even the first ride.
  • 2 1
 As a bigger / stronger dude - I want the stiffest bike possible. I've yet to find a benefit to flexiness in a frame. Can manufacturers just try making stiff frames please?
  • 4 0
 Buy a Banshee.
  • 2 0
 @no-good-ideas: I bought my first banshee this year. Went from carbon shmarbon. Can't imagine buying much other than another banshee in the future.
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: quality construction beats fancy “layup” any day.
  • 1 0
 I'd put this in the same category as aftermarket shock links. Kinda cool, some people will want it, most people won't need it.
  • 2 0
 I don't care, now show me the bike from the article link, pretty please. Looks dope.
  • 1 0
 It doesnt take anything away from the bike, so why not. Its like asking about flip chips. It doesnt take away from anything and gives the rider options.
  • 1 0
 I went to a full coil setup to avoid complication. I don't get out much these days so I can't spend as much time tinkering. But it's good to have options I guess.
  • 2 0
 Do I need to pay for this feature?
  • 4 0
 subscription based
  • 1 1
 @cavitand: No, it's part of the DEI arm of the US Government's Ride Compliance Welfare System, created to make sure everyone has access to boutique mountain bikes, unless, of course, you actually work for a living, in which case you will be paying for it, but not able to take advantage of it.
  • 1 0
 Only if it adjust for temperature, altitude and my riding weight oh and trial conditions.
  • 2 0
 ....got to dill and plug some speed holes....they make the bike go fast
  • 7 9
 I appreciate the pushback on endlessly tinkering with your MTB. To be fair though, there is a subset of MTBers who ride frequently enough where something like this would make a huge difference. At the other end of the spectrum, DH racers for instance, ride bikes with a wide range of adjustments, and they don't do it for fun. It truly makes a difference in how a bike rides. This can translate into the athlete having more control on their bike, which is pretty cool and satisfying. It opens up terrain and fresh experiences. The ability to adjust the stiffness on the rear triangle would be a game changer for a lot of people because it would be like adjusting the flex on a snowboard, snappy vs damp vs stable, etc. etc. Maybe it's not for everyone, but most mountain bikers can't even be troubled to customize (tune) their own suspension, so I understand the pushback. I hate to speak in such absolute terms, but if you disagree, then you are a kook and need to get out and ride more.
  • 6 0
 I can't tell if this is over the top sarcasm...
  • 1 1
 I'm sensing this is a guy who rides past you on the trail without saying anything while you fix a flat....
  • 1 0
 @Lemmyschild: Sensing this is a guy who relies on people to stop because he needs help fixing a flat.
  • 1 0
 No, just tell me it's stiff and compliant and I'll pay whatever you want, promise!
  • 1 0
 Only if it makes an obviously noticeable difference. If it's like a flip chip with a 0.5 degree change then just forget it.
  • 2 0
 Only if its mounted through the headset
  • 1 0
 These compliance pivots sound like they could possibly be a source of a squeak?
  • 2 0
 Isn't stiffness something you just take a pill for???
  • 2 1
 All we want is the commencal meta to come in 27.5 inch wheels and not be three metres long.
  • 2 0
 I'll admit, I'm pretty autistic, but I'm not THAT autistic.
  • 1 0
 I suspect that I'll look like and idiot for asking but is this actually a real thing? If it is, why might this be tried?
  • 2 0
 Less Adjustments = Less Creaks. Stop making things overly complicated!
  • 2 0
 We already have adjustable frame stiffness and we call it "suspension".
  • 2 0
 Less adjustments more fun
  • 2 0
 Nope!
  • 1 0
 Steel frames have plenty of compliance.
  • 1 0
 Why is ebike not an option?
  • 2 0
 I just want a swing bike
  • 1 0
 I remember when mountain biking used to be not cool..
  • 2 0
 Please no.
  • 1 1
 So much tech is just about trying to make aluminum comfortable to ride. Just ride steel or titanium.
  • 1 1
 At roughly the same mass/weight, an aluminium frame will behave the same as a steel or titanium frame. For this application, stiffness is mainly a function of mass. There's no inherent molecular damping properties that make steel or titanium more compliant - or rather not such that you could feel a difference.

Long story short: If there is a difference in ride feel between a steel frame and an aluminium frame, that difference is entirely caused by the specific design of the frame and doesn't really have anything to do with the material itself.
  • 1 0
 huh
  • 1 1
 this is retarted lol.







Copyright © 2000 - 2024. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.491246
Mobile Version of Website