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Road Bike Frame Styles

Many road bike frame manufacturers are characterised by their innovative frame shapes and styling. All are intended to change the performance of the bicycle in some way. Here's a run down of the most common options and the advantages and disadvantages.

Oversized Headtubes

  • Oversized head tubes improve handling and control, steer more precisely and behave in a more predictable way. Example: Isaac frames.

Curved Seat Stays

  • Curved seat stays work on the basis that two curves are better than one. They retain the rigidity of the rear triangle without losing the vertical compliance. The curves also afford more comfort and help smooth out road vibrations. Example: Pinarello F4:13 with Onda forks and seat stay.



Oversized tubes

  • Oversized tubes (top, down and seat) exploit the principle that the further the tube wall from the tube axis, the less material is required to achieve the same strength. Example: [De Rosa Bikes]



sloping top tube

  • sloping top tube results in less material for any given size of frame and also increases efficiency by making the tubes shorter (and therefore less likely to flex). Compact frames achieved through sloping top tubes are also more aerodynamic and benefit from a highly comfortable ride due to the increased seat post length. Examples: Giant TCR, or semi compact geometry e.g. Bianchi, Colnago, Ridley, Litespeed.


traditional frame geometry

  • Bikes with a traditional frame geometry comprising a horizontal top tube are still available and can provide a more comfortable ride in particular circumstances. Some manufacturers have influenced the tube wall thickness and shape to gain the benefits of compact geometries without the distinctive look. Example: Merlin.