Clyde looking for new bike advice.
Hello all, newer Clyde here 6'-3" and 285. I rode another 40 mile canyon ride yesterday and I am now ready to buy a new bike and move from my 2006 Trek 7500 to a Road Bike. I have loved the flat bars on the Trek for control and a more upright position, but I borrowed a friends Cannondale CAAD8 with Ultegra gears and I rode a lot faster. I think that I just need the proper sized road bike and I will get used to the drop bars, (and as I see it), slightly less control. Currently my first choice is a new 2008 Cannondale R5 CAAD 9 with upgraded Mavic Open Pro rims and 32 or 36 spoke hubs. Gears would be a combo of Ultegra & 105's. ( I want an aluminum framed bike that is large enough for me, reasonably good components, and not the lowest ( racing ) position. I am not interested in racing. I typically ride with one other rider or alone, and ride no less than 40-50 miles at a time, but have endless Coast Highway, and mountain canyon roads to do more miles.
Here are my questions that I have:
1. Is the Cannondale R5 CAAD 9 "Clyde" worthy with the open pro upgraded rims , and are there any other upgrades you would recommend?
2. When I rode the borrowed 2006 CAAD 8, the front gears had 53 & 39 teeth. I think the rear gears are 12-27 but am not sure. On some of the uphills I was in the smallest rear gear and although I made the hill without walking, it is not the steepest hill I will encounter on future rides, and one more gear would have made it a little better. ( My Trek 7500 has the triple up front, but the LBS & my roadie friend tell me that I should stick with doubles, however none of these people are "Clydes".
What gears should I look for front & back?
Should I get double or triples?
3. Is the Ultegra Hub the only Shimano "Clyde" approved hub.
4. What are the thoughts of putting 700 x 28c tires on a new road bike instead of the stock 23c's, my thinking is that it will give a little more cushion to help the rim, and not be too resistant in rolling.
5. Is a Carbon fork the way to go if it comes stock, or am I too heavy.
I know many of these questions are personal preference, but I trust the input from this forum more than the input from the LBS's.
I appreciate any input you fellow Clyde's may have.