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Best comfortable road bike that is still quick and a good climber?

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Best comfortable road bike that is still quick and a good climber?

Old 07-08-20, 09:33 AM
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ridinsince80
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Best comfortable road bike that is still quick and a good climber?

Hi all,

I am 51 and have been riding since I was 16 on and off. I have a Canondale t600 touring and Eddie Merckx 7-11 Corsa, both from the mid to late 90's.

I love the bikes but as I get a bit older I find the thing holding me back is comfort. I really feel those bumps!

I want to be able to do centuries but also I love the dance of climbing the big hills and sometimes I want to chase the youngsters. So I want something light and with decent stiffness.

I am getting close to upgrading and am looking for the best combo of speed, comfort under about $3,000.

Apologies in advance if I break any forum rules asking this question.

Thanks!

George
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Old 07-08-20, 11:40 AM
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Something carbon, but the main thing in emphasizing speed and comfort (don't we all!) is fit. Which may not be the fit you're used to, making it more interesting. It's not so much the particular bike. You might make that choice on the basis of drivetrain (gearing!), max tire size, and braking, as well as how well the bike fits you, understanding that the way the bike fits is the most easily modifiable thing.
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Old 07-08-20, 11:49 AM
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Thanks for the pointer on fit. At 3k, I should be able to have it fit properly at a bike shop. On my touring bike I have a 1" rise over seat height which suits me pretty well. My Eddie Merckx had 2" of drop from the seat and I felt like I was going to fall over the top of the handlebars.

I was definitely thinking carbon fiber.
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Old 07-08-20, 12:04 PM
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I am almost 68 years old. I have had a cross bike for years. But its wider tires always felt slower on the road. Recently switched to 700x32 GP5000s. Huge difference in speed and comfort at lower air pressure. I have lighter weight friends that went from 23s to 28s with similar results. If your existing frame, wheelset are suitable try going wider. Some good articles out there about tire size, air pressure and perceived vs actual speed.

I recently bought a Look 765 RS for gravel riding. Came stock with relatively heavy wheels and 700x37 tires. Added a set of road wheels and GP5000 700x32 tires. I no longer ride my Look 585 because it can't clear anything larger than 700x25. And because I am more comfortable I ride more often and longer. Resulting in faster average speeds.

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Old 07-08-20, 12:12 PM
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There are many bikes which could satisfy your criteria, but I recommend that you consider one with the clearance for wider tires than you currently ride, like a "gravel" bike. High volume tires at lower pressure can make your ride far more comfortable than anything a frame difference can do. At least 700x40 or even 45, or 650b (27.5) by even wider. Various tires offer a center line ridge that minimize drag on pavement. Youtube channel called Path Less Pedaled promotes this approach, if you're interested in a "supple" ride.
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Old 07-08-20, 02:03 PM
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The best "bang for your buck" is going to be an AL frame. I have nothing against CF frames but for the same money as CF an AL frame will give you better components and/or wheels. Last June I bought a CAAD 12 w/105 for $1300. I added Mavic Ksyrium Elite USTs. That cost under $500. It weighs 17 lbs 11 oz and is quick and comfortable. I love this thing and I've had many bikes over the past 40 yrs.

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Old 07-08-20, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ridinsince80 View Post

Eddie Merckx 7-11 Corsa, both from the mid to late 90's.
This bike will take 27-28mm tubulars and yield a pretty nice ride. Climbing is nice but not a lightweight.
I can't imagine climbing mountain roads on 40mm tires.

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Old 07-08-20, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ridinsince80 View Post
On my touring bike I have a 1" rise over seat height which suits me pretty well.
This may be hard to achieve on a current road bike, even with what is known as "endurance" geometry.
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Old 07-08-20, 02:47 PM
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Any of the hundreds of bikes out there might be the "best" for you. If you are going to require that it have an upright posture, I have no clue. I have a four inch drop from seat to bars. And I'm 62.

Seriously though, if you want an upright posture, and you don't ride for long or hard, then a beach cruiser style bike or a "fat" bike might be the thing instead of a road bike.
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Old 07-08-20, 02:50 PM
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Ride comfort and position are really the 2 things to deal with. The easiest and cheapest fix is wider tires. Frame dependent I would first try a set of 28mm tires on the Merckx, weight dependent you could run at 70-80 psi. You might be able to squeeze in 32mm's but they are likely to have an issue with standard road brakes as they usually cannot open up enough to get the wheel on the bike. You also need to watch for clearance at the chainstays as well as potential rub of the front derailer on larger tires.

The 2nd option is raising the h-bar, but that's a bit of a pain as you likely have a 1" stem, which means removing bar tape and shifters, new higher rise stem and re-installing shifters plus new tape.

I would not recommend a gravel bike as they tend to be a few pounds heavier then a dedicated road or endurance bike and that's moving in the wrong direction for climbing. And unless you ride dirt/gravel roads moving to a tire larger than about 32mm is also just adding weight.

Down the road a new one is always an option. An carbon endurance road bike would be a good choice, maybe with disc brakes as that frame design often gives options for tires up to 32mm or larger. The h-bar is also usually set higher and that provides comfort.
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Old 07-08-20, 03:22 PM
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To amplify, check the pic of the Cannondale in post 6. Even with what is probably the maximum allowable stack of spacers, he's still at about a 2" drop. Granted the CAAD 12 has more aggressive geometry than some bikes but that would account for only an inch or so, max. You may be able to approach level with careful research but you won't get beyond that.
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Old 07-08-20, 03:27 PM
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I think about the bumps a lot myself. I've been thinking about endurance frames, too.
https://www.canyon.com/en-us/road-bi...-8.0/2185.html
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Old 07-08-20, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
To amplify, check the pic of the Cannondale in post 6. Even with what is probably the maximum allowable stack of spacers, he's still at about a 2" drop. Granted the CAAD 12 has more aggressive geometry than some bikes but that would account for only an inch or so, max. You may be able to approach level with careful research but you won't get beyond that.
So, I went and checked the drop on the CAAD 12 I posted. It was exactly 3" FWIW. I am 74 and fairly but not overly flexible. I don't really know what that means except it's comfortable for me.
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Old 07-08-20, 04:49 PM
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Trek Domane, Specialized Roubaix and Giant Defy all are endurance road bikes with relatively high stack to reach ratio. I like stack and have the Domane and Defy.

As I've gotten a bit more flexible (I'm 62), there are endurance bikes with that are slightly more aero, but still within the endurance range. They include the Canyon Endurace, Bianchi Infinito, Scott Addict SE, and I'm sure a few more.

I recently purchased the Infinito, and it still fits well within my parameters of comfort.

I don't know if you want new or used. Canyon is probably best bang for the buck right now.

Forgot to mention, I take up to a 3" drop max. from saddle to bar height.
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Old 07-09-20, 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ridinsince80 View Post
Hi all,

I am 51 and have been riding since I was 16 on and off. I have a Canondale t600 touring and Eddie Merckx 7-11 Corsa, both from the mid to late 90's.

I love the bikes but as I get a bit older I find the thing holding me back is comfort. I really feel those bumps!
One major difference in comfort on my older bikes with 700x25 tires was latex tubes. I switched from Continental's ultra thin Race 28 Lite butyl tubes to Silca latex tubes a month ago. I was convinced from the first ride. Much more comfortable on chipseal and rough pavement. Feels a bit faster too, although with the summer heat I've avoided hard efforts and mostly take it easy on my usual 20-30 mile rides. I should have switched long ago.

Despite some complaints about latex being fragile, etc., I've had no problems. I followed the video demo instruction from Silca. It helps to have tires that I can mount with just my hands -- Continental Grand Prix Classic skinwalls. I needed a Kool Stop bead jack for the Conti Ultra Sport II tires. With tires I can mount with just my hands it's easy to avoid pinching the tube, which may be the single most common user error that's blamed incorrectly on the tube itself. The latex is much stickier and squirmier than butyl and can easily sneak into the gap between tire bead and rim. Silca recommends using talcum or similar powder on the tubes, but my pair came pre-powdered. This made them easy to handle and mount. No problems in a month and 600 miles of riding.

No opinion on newer bikes, my newest is a 1993 Trek 5900, one of their earliest sorta-not-quite-monocoque carbon fiber frames (internal lugs rather than externally visible with separate lugs and carbon tubes). I've ridden a newish Tarmac but not enough to have an opinion on long term comfort. I mostly noticed how much stiffer and more responsive it is than my older steel and carbon fiber bikes, yet not harsh. If I could afford a new bike I'd probably go for a Trek or Specialized endurance geometry bike to handle our chipseal and rough roads. Any new carbon fiber bike would be lighter, stiffer and better for climbing than my older bikes, and we have no mountains, so I wouldn't make climbing my personal priority. Comfort, sure.
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Old 07-09-20, 03:57 AM
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I have a Trek Domane (CF) and I love it. Aside from CF vs. other materials variable, I've found the following to be big factors in helping with my comfort on longer rides:
1) A full bike fit
2) Not over-inflating the tires
3) A good, comfortable saddle (in my case, I really like the Brooks saddle)
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Old 07-09-20, 05:04 AM
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In fairness to the OP, it sounds like he is looking to take advantage of the several decades of development that have resulted in lighter, stiffer, but not bone jarring endurance bikes, and he is willing to spend some money to get there. Great offerings from any number of manufacturers fit that bill. My guess is any ride he takes on a Synapse, Roubaix, Domane, or the like will be an eye-popping thrill, and the only question will be picking the color and characteristics that best suit him.

If it is not that, then he can always resort to the less expensive option of fiddling with tires and tubes, but that won't make his lovely Mercx any lighter or the geometry more relaxed.

A category of bikes have been developed to answer the very questions being posed, and he should at least take a shot as seeing how well the developers have done.

FWIW: my Domane with 40mm gravel tires is more than competent on gravel, but significantly better than a dedicated gravel bike when fitted with 32s and chasing the youngsters up hills.
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Old 07-09-20, 07:36 AM
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Thanks so much for the great replies!

I am going to give this some serious thought about upgrading the Eddie Merckx or Cannondale vs. buying new. I think the new tire technology is the thing I really need to learn about. The Cannondale can take some pretty wide tires since it is designed for fenders and loaded touring. Right now it is 25pounds but I could lighten components a bit and probably upgrade wheels. The Eddie Merckx either needs better sizing for me or I need to get more flexible.

At the same time looks like I need to do some test rides of the new bikes too!

Once I hit 10 posts I can send some pics of them.

Thanks again,

George
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Old 07-09-20, 10:53 AM
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I went to Titanium 3.5 years ago and would not look back. I have a very nice Wilier CF Grand Turisimo that is comfortable but frankly the Ti just a bit better. It is much more nimble and quiet too. If I were looking I would go with a Lynskey Ti and even get disk brakes and I never though I would say that. Lynskey has has some excellent deals and they will not be the lightest bikes in the rack but I am sure they are great.
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Old 07-09-20, 10:57 AM
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I have a Canyon Endurace CF 9.0 Di2 which covers all the bases. Light, weighs 7kg so good for climbing, cost me £2600 so around $3000? whatever exchange rate is now and is "Endurace" so relaxed geometry so comfortable. Not sure if Canyon make same model now but think do similar but now with disc brakes. The gearing/brakes are Ultegra and has DT Swiss wheels. I reckon I had an absolute bargain.
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Old 07-09-20, 11:40 AM
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Any guess on how much weight I would add or lose on wheels / tires if I switch from my stock 1992 touring wheels (Sun rims with Exage 500 hubs with Gatorskin tires). To the wider but new wheel /tire combo?
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Old 07-09-20, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferCyclist View Post
I have a Canyon Endurace CF 9.0 Di2 which covers all the bases. Light, weighs 7kg so good for climbing, cost me £2600 so around $3000? whatever exchange rate is now and is "Endurace" so relaxed geometry so comfortable. Not sure if Canyon make same model now but think do similar but now with disc brakes. The gearing/brakes are Ultegra and has DT Swiss wheels. I reckon I had an absolute bargain.
This looks pretty nice.....https://www.canyon.com/en-us/road-bi...nfarbe=SR%2FWH
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Old 07-09-20, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ridinsince80 View Post
Any guess on how much weight I would add or lose on wheels / tires if I switch from my stock 1992 touring wheels (Sun rims with Exage 500 hubs with Gatorskin tires). To the wider but new wheel /tire combo?
Its not hard to drop 2 lbs on slightly lighter wheels and lighter tires, but you should weigh the current wheels and tires then do online research as to alternatives. A lot of the bike weight is going to be in the frame as itís designed for loaded touring, longer wheelbase, longer chain stays, heavier tubing for carrying loads, etc.... so youíre fighting that with no way to fix.

My Miyata touring bike is lugged steel. Weighs 30 lbs without racks but I once had it down to 26 lbs when I rode it on the Bike Tour of Colorado. At 26 lbs it is not a climbing bike and neither would your Cannondale.
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Old 07-09-20, 03:01 PM
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I honestly believe without a doubt that tire size and pressure is more important than anything else when it comes to vibration and impacts. Played with tire size and pressure for many years to verify this finding, and am sure others have as well. Carbon may have some vibration damping characteristics not available in aluminum or steel, but the correct tire choice very well could save a buyer many shekels! Yesterday we installed 28mm tires on a Caad9 Cannondale which is as wide as it can take and told the owner to run them at 90psi. He came back a few hours later and exclaimed that his problem with bumps and vibration were pretty much solved. He had been running 23mm tires at 100psi.
As for general body discomfort a professional fit may help quite a bit provided the bike can be tweaked to accommodate the fit.
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Old 07-09-20, 04:23 PM
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OP, you might evaluate a Cervelo R3. It’s designed for exactly what you’re intending. The headset is a little taller which is really nice for both longer climbs and overall comfort. Cervelo makes one of the lighter frame sets but they are also pretty stiff where they need to be (bottom bracket) which produces an overall very smooth ride. I’ve ridden many centuries, lots of hilly rides and even across the US on one of mine. If you shop a little you should be able to find a new previous years model at a greatly reduced price. I’ve ridden some other stiff bikes and they picked up way too many road bumps. Those bumps will travel up your back and can really wear you out in just a few hours. If you add a little wider rims with 25 mm tires, you can run 80 psi in the tires even with tubes. It’s an awesome comfy ride and doesn’t sacrifice speed. Note than the rim brake model is a little lighter than the disc brake version. Unless you’re doing a lot of technical descents or wet descents, the rim brake version should work perfectly. I have both rim and disc brake models........

You might check online at R&A cycles and Excel Sports just to start looking evaluating. Good luck. There’s a lot of good stuff out there.
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