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Thread: "Plush" bikes

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    "Plush" bikes

    I've been reading a bit about bikes and seeing this term "plush" that's new to me.

    I'm getting the impression that this is a road bike with geometry slightly relaxed for a more comfortable, less twitchy ride. Is that correct? Is there a difference I'd really notice?

    My current road bike is a 22 year old Bianchi Vittoria road bike, fwiw. My fantasy bike is an Infinito Ultegra, but not before dropping 50 lbs or so.

    Thoughts anyone?

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    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    I've never heard the term "plush" used to describe them, but there are a whole lot of new bikes out there that are designed, so they say, to be slightly more comfortable versions of road racing bikes. I think the market is responding now to the notion that there are a lot of slightly older folks who are used to race geometry, and have money to spend on new bikes, but don't have the back or joint flexibility to ride all day on a bike with a 2-3 inch drop from the saddle to the handlebars, and a stem and top tube that stretch halfway to the horizon. Some of them call their bikes "endurance" models, others just asign a new model name or designation to them. Like most new racing bikes, they seem to be built around this relatively new "compact" frame design. I think in the end it comes down to shorter top tube lengths and shorter (and higher) stems.

    Trek's "Pilot" series I think falls into this camp, as does Jamis's "Ventura" line. I think the Giant "Defy" bikes are also of this nature. I think just about every major player has one out there.
    Craig in Indy

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    Senior Member chasmm's Avatar
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    I ride a Specialized Roubaix, one of the "plush" bikes. I came to it from a Raleigh Hyrbrid -> 1988 Specialized Sequoia -> the Roubaix. After I took the Roubaix for a 20 minute ride at the bike shop, I got back and the salesman said "So?". The only thing I could think of to describe my comfort in riding it was "it was as comfortable as my LaZy-boy recliner".

    I've done a century and a lot of other long rides on it. It goes as fast as I can pedal it, and as I get in better shape, it continues to go faster. The comfort level is amazing.

    When I was researching it, I bet 75% of the reviews started as follows: "I used to ride a lot, and stopped due to life/wife/kids/job/etc. Now that I'm over 50 and overweight, I wanted to get back into cycling. I love my Roubaix."

    I've never heard/read a complaint about the bike...

    Charles

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    Interesting, thanks guys! Looks like the Cannondale Synapse Alloy 7 falls into this category as well. And they do seem a good fit for someone like me.

    It sure is a learning curve getting to know about bikes when I'm a couple of decades from my last purchase. I do find I'm emotionally very attached to the Bianche name, having ridden one for over 20 years.

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    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Yes, Cannondale makes a point of talking about the Synapse line as one of these kinds of bikes. I've been telling myself I'll get a new road bike (to replace my 20-year-old Trek 1500) when I break 200, and even though that point is still several months away at best, as always I'm consumed with the idea now, so I've been doing research. The Synapse was the first one of these I came across in my search. It's definitely on my short list, as are the Trek 2.1 (a little more agressive than the Pilot, but much more widely available), Giant Defy, Jamis Ventura Race and Speciallized Secteur Elite.

    I understand your emotional attachment to the Bianchi. But hey - you can always paint your new bike Celeste, right?

    Seriously, though, I had a hard time selling my '84 Gitane Tour de France a couple of years ago, even though I hadn't ridden it in probably 20 years. It was my first really good bike (like about $600 in 1984), and I actually raced it a few times. But it seemed ridiculous to keep it around when it wasn't being used. I'm not quite as attached to the Trek, but it still means a lot to me. I've put a lot of miles on it over the years and it's served me well. It just isn't as comfortable any longer, due to flexibility issues, plus it has 20 year old component technology. At the very least I'd like to get away from downtube shifters, which, as an aging rider, I'm finding less charming with every mile.
    Craig in Indy

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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    At the very least I'd like to get away from downtube shifters, which, as an aging rider, I'm finding less charming with every mile.
    No kidding. I'm very envious of the speed that my friends can change gears on a hill with their little handlebar-mounted finger-flickers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3dMark View Post
    No kidding. I'm very envious of the speed that my friends can change gears on a hill with their little handlebar-mounted finger-flickers.
    There are Kelly Take-offs (see: http://www.kellybike.com/takeoffs.html ) These devices will allow you to move your DT shifters to your brake levers. You can use friction or Index with this set up.

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    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    Yes, Cannondale makes a point of talking about the Synapse line as one of these kinds of bikes. I've been telling myself I'll get a new road bike (to replace my 20-year-old Trek 1500) when I break 200, and even though that point is still several months away at best, as always I'm consumed with the idea now, so I've been doing research. The Synapse was the first one of these I came across in my search. It's definitely on my short list, as are the Trek 2.1 (a little more agressive than the Pilot, but much more widely available), Giant Defy, Jamis Ventura Race and Speciallized Secteur Elite.

    I understand your emotional attachment to the Bianchi. But hey - you can always paint your new bike Celeste, right?

    Seriously, though, I had a hard time selling my '84 Gitane Tour de France a couple of years ago, even though I hadn't ridden it in probably 20 years. It was my first really good bike (like about $600 in 1984), and I actually raced it a few times. But it seemed ridiculous to keep it around when it wasn't being used. I'm not quite as attached to the Trek, but it still means a lot to me. I've put a lot of miles on it over the years and it's served me well. It just isn't as comfortable any longer, due to flexibility issues, plus it has 20 year old component technology. At the very least I'd like to get away from downtube shifters, which, as an aging rider, I'm finding less charming with every mile.
    Actually, if your DT shifters are clamp mounted rather then boss mounted, then you can always just move them closer to the head tube, this puts them up higher making the levers easier to reach. They had one huge advantage they still do, they are almost infinitely field repairable, as they start to age you may need slightly thicker washers in them though.... Those fancy brake/shifters are pretty dear to replace, the cheapest run nearly $200 a set....

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    Funny... I thought "plush" bikes were machines built for comfort and not speed; balloon tires, suspension fork & seatpost, sprung saddle, and an upright seating position. I stand corrected.
    Gettin' my Fred on.

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    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasmm View Post
    I ride a Specialized Roubaix, one of the "plush" bikes. I came to it from a Raleigh Hyrbrid -> 1988 Specialized Sequoia -> the Roubaix. After I took the Roubaix for a 20 minute ride at the bike shop, I got back and the salesman said "So?". The only thing I could think of to describe my comfort in riding it was "it was as comfortable as my LaZy-boy recliner".

    I've done a century and a lot of other long rides on it. It goes as fast as I can pedal it, and as I get in better shape, it continues to go faster. The comfort level is amazing.

    When I was researching it, I bet 75% of the reviews started as follows: "I used to ride a lot, and stopped due to life/wife/kids/job/etc. Now that I'm over 50 and overweight, I wanted to get back into cycling. I love my Roubaix."

    I've never heard/read a complaint about the bike...

    Charles
    my experience exactly.

    I think manufacturers are catching on. my LBS says that Trek plans to release an entire Pilot line of bikes (1.1, 1.2, 2.0, maybe a 5.0 Madone-ish) in response to them losing customers to the Roubaix and now Secteur.

    that said, other LBSes have shrugged at the plush/relaxed/performance trend b/c they think you can just swap the stem and get 90% of the way there. these are the same folks I find who are great mechanics but have crummily-laid-out stores and don't know the first thing about marketing.
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

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    Well, I've been reading all the reviews, and it looks like the Roubaix Expert Compact is the bike for me. Excellent reviews, looks great, relaxed ride. I'm just not sure how to sneak the money out of my account without my wife noticing.

    The only hitch is that Specialized states that the bike (and in fact all their bikes) are designed for loads of 100 kg or less. That'd be 220 lbs.

    So the challenge is on. If I can get myself down to 220 lbs by next spring, I will get myself a new Roubaix.

    Thanks for all the input, folks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigB View Post
    Yes, Cannondale makes a point of talking about the Synapse line as one of these kinds of bikes. I've been telling myself I'll get a new road bike (to replace my 20-year-old Trek 1500) when I break 200, and even though that point is still several months away at best, as always I'm consumed with the idea now, so I've been doing research. The Synapse was the first one of these I came across in my search. It's definitely on my short list, as are the Trek 2.1 (a little more agressive than the Pilot, but much more widely available), Giant Defy, Jamis Ventura Race and Speciallized Secteur Elite.
    Jamis also offers the Xenith Endura bikes that are even more "plush."
    Last edited by cooleric1234; 08-09-10 at 09:24 PM.

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    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    The weight imitation is mostly for the rear wheel, i think. I was ridi ng a basic roubaix at 275 but was breaking spokes so i had my lbs bu ild me a custom wheel for $185 and things have been perfect since.


    Quote Originally Posted by 3dMark View Post
    Well, I've been reading all the reviews, and it looks like the Roubaix Expert Compact is the bike for me. Excellent reviews, looks great, relaxed ride. I'm just not sure how to sneak the money out of my account without my wife noticing.

    The only hitch is that Specialized states that the bike (and in fact all their bikes) are designed for loads of 100 kg or less. That'd be 220 lbs.

    So the challenge is on. If I can get myself down to 220 lbs by next spring, I will get myself a new Roubaix.

    Thanks for all the input, folks!
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

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    Senior Member chasmm's Avatar
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    I'm curious about where you saw the "weight limit"? Could you provide a link?

    And I've been riding my 2010 Roubaix Elite since I was 275. I didn't ride the stock wheels very much because I replaced them with Spinergy Xaero Lites.

    Charles

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    The key phrase is
    All adult Specialized Bicycles are designed and tested for a maximum combined rider /cargo /bike weight of 100Kg.
    It comes from the Appendix A of the SPECIALIZED BICYCLE OWNER’S MANUAL.

    I'm sure they're tolerances are higher, but frankly, if I can't get my weight down, I have no business being on a such a fancy bicycle. It's nice to have a goal. Wish me luck!

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    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    Ugh. I hate the attitude that only the zero-body-fat crowd ought to ride nice bikes. Just get a strong rear wheel with a velocity rim and enkoy yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by 3dMark View Post
    The key phrase is

    It comes from the Appendix A of the SPECIALIZED BICYCLE OWNER’S MANUAL.

    I'm sure they're tolerances are higher, but frankly, if I can't get my weight down, I have no business being on a such a fancy bicycle. It's nice to have a goal. Wish me luck!
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

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    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3dMark View Post
    The key phrase is

    It comes from the Appendix A of the SPECIALIZED BICYCLE OWNER’S MANUAL.

    I'm sure they're tolerances are higher, but frankly, if I can't get my weight down, I have no business being on a such a fancy bicycle. It's nice to have a goal. Wish me luck!
    Which actually states the bicycle must be included in that weight, with most bikes in the 10-15kg range, that means a rider of 85-90kg or 187-198lbs....

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    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooleric1234 View Post
    Jamis also offers the Xenith Endura bikes that are even more "plush."
    The Xenith Enduras look really nice, but they're considerably out of my price range.
    Craig in Indy

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
    Ugh. I hate the attitude that only the zero-body-fat crowd ought to ride nice bikes. Just get a strong rear wheel with a velocity rim and enkoy yourself.
    LOL, at 220 lbs, I would hardly be zero-body-fat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    Which actually states the bicycle must be included in that weight, with most bikes in the 10-15kg range, that means a rider of 85-90kg or 187-198lbs....
    You are quite right.

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    The Specialized Roubaix seems to have this category sewn up pretty well. I counted 6 on a 50-person group ride (Charles River Wheelmen). And Specialized has really gone all out to make the Roubaix compliant - special contours designed into the main frame and seat stays, special inserts in the seat stays, front forks, and seat post, extra long wheel base, geometry done so a higher position of the handlebar is very solid, special tires, special seats, etc.

    I also rode a Specialized Secteur, the aluminum version of the carbon fiber Roubaix. It just wasn't as smooth, although it was fitted exactly the same (even tire pressure).
    2007 Specialized Roubaix, 105 Triple
    Started cycling 6/1/2010 at 64 - lethargy, bad knees, & 247# triggered my foray into cycling
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    Senior Member spthealien's Avatar
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    I love my plush Giant Defy Advanced. I am on the north side of 250. I've gone on a few centuries and it has treated me right. When I purchased it initially, I asked the LBS if it would handle my weight (of course surrounded by more expensive bikes, not all carbon either) and they said that it would handle my weight fine. It is comfortable, no doubt.

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