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Thread: Operation N+1

  1. #1
    Senior Member Podagrower's Avatar
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    Operation N+1

    Has been green lit. I repeat, we are a go.
    Last year, after much prodding from my wife to exercise, and gaining 20+ pounds due to a work change, I decided to pick up a bike again. I went the sensible route, bought a used bike to see if I liked riding, and it was a success. But I bought the wrong bike; it was absolutely the right bike, in that it got me riding again, and I thought a hybrid would be a good bike to ride on our paved and unpaved trails. Turns out, it's not really good for either, but I did improve the pavement performance quite a lot by swapping tires (now it is unrideable off road). I've had a long list of replacement bikes in mind, and have narrowed the list down to a few bikes. Budget is $2,200 out the door.

    What I originally started looking for was a road bike, without race geometry, so the Cannondale Synapse (alloy) came to mind. But, at 250+ pounds still, I'm not thrilled with tires in the 25mm size (and I think 23 is just absurd). I would hope the carbon fork and carbon stays would soak up enough of the vibrations to not make me miss my 35mm tires. But then I started looking for something Synapse like, but with wider tires, and I started looking at the CAADX, carbon fork, 35mm tires, should ride very nice. Of course, then something jumped off the interwebs and invaded my mind, the Surly Straggler. I've had a soft spot for Surly for a while, and the only reason the Cross Check wasn't already on the short list was the bar end shifters; they don't really fit my riding style. The Straggler is close in geometry to the Cross Check, but with disc brakes, and brifters. Trek Domane and Madone are still on the list, but barely and only because of the duo-trap sensors and availability of factory triples (yes I use my little ring). So...

    Which one gets your vote and why? How much comfort would I lose going from 35mm tire to 25, and how much would I regain with carbon's ability to absorb vibrations.
    Trek Domane
    Trek Madone
    Cannondale Synapse
    Cannondale CAADX
    Surly Straggler
    Surly Cross Check (converted to brifters)
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  2. #2
    Just Keep Pedaling Beachgrad05's Avatar
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    Operation N+1

    Domane would get my vote for its more endurance ride geometry and rougher road capability. As a Trek owner the duo trap is sweet and aesthetically pleasing.
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  3. #3
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    I'm 240 and ride a Lynskey R230 with Enve carbon fork and Conti GP4000s in 25's. Love the ride. I've never ridden more than a 25, so I can't compare it if it had 35's but for me, that would be overkill. YMMV.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Bent Bill's Avatar
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    Im 255 lb"s and I have the Domane
    I think its a great bike
    It rides great for a skinny high pressure tired road bike (25mm)
    Not as plush as this
    IMGP0393.jpg
    but I still like it a lot
    new bike 002.jpg
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  5. #5
    Getting older and slower!
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    Domane would get my vote as well. I ride a Madone 6.9 but if I were buying a bike today it would be a Domane 4.5.

  6. #6
    Senior Member imacflyr3's Avatar
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    I've been on my current road bike since I hit around 275. I'm hovering around 245-250 now. I've been on 23's the whole time. I started out on 35's on my hybrid. Changing over to the road bike was like going from a mini van to a sports car! The high pressure 23's have very little rolling resistance. You can absolutely feel the difference. Don't get me wrong... you "feel the road," but rolling is so much easier. I suggest not worrying too much about the smaller tires and get whichever frame you like/can afford. I also suggest you be religious about airing the tires before every single ride. I run 120lbs in mine and top them off every time.
    Good luck on your new ride!
    g

  7. #7
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    I don't think the alloy synapse has carbon stays... my wife's doesn't at any rate.

    The Roubaix is the king of the comfy bike although the Domane has made serious inroads. It might be more than your budget unless you can find a last year's closeout type deal.

    Happy shopping!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Podagrower's Avatar
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    So, I've already violated the rules of N+1. Some of us just can't be trusted. Did a little horse trading today, and picked the wife up a Gary Fisher Wahoo, steel, no suspension, and quite a bit flashier than her old Trek. So, it's not new, it's not for me, and I traded 2 bikes for it (1 was a parts bike). So, right now it's O-1? I need counseling.
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    I've been extremely happy with my Trek Domane 4.5 and although I was very hesitant to spend that sort of coin on a bike, it's been a huge boost to my comfort when riding. In less than a month's time I've gone from 5-10 mile rides to 45+ mile rides. I've been commuting 30+ miles a day on it and I'm signed up for two metric centuries this month.

    Definitely snoop around for year-end clearance deals. I was able to pick up mine with tax/title/license for less than $2000.

    If you go aluminum that will shave another $400-600 off the price. I mainly "splurged" on the Ultegra/105 mix because I knew that if I loved it then I'd probably ride it for a while. My last bike was retired after 15+ years of service. I even went so far as to slap a Garmin 510 on it with the ANT+ cadence/speed sensor that's recessed into the chain stays on the carbon model.

    I encourage you, as with any bike, to go for an extensive test ride. I love mine but another poster is in the process of selling his as it's uncomfortable (for him) on distance rides. The "bouncing seat post" concept might not be for everyone but it's held my 250+ pound frame on it. As a matter of fact, I was 293 when I first rode it and I'm now down to 276 (after 7 weeks of exercising) and the bike has handled me just fine.

    I did shelf the Bontrager 'race' wheels and put some much more meaty 32-spoke H Son wheels with 105 hubs ($275 on eBay) as I was concerned I'd be too heavy for the lighter wheels.

  10. #10
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    Well I guess I'll chime in with my usual spiel on these threads...

    I test rode all the usual endurance geometry road bike suspects (Roubiax, Domane, Synapse, Defy) and ended up liking the geometry of the Giant Defy series best. If you are considering an endurance geometry road bike you absolutely must test ride an AL and carbon Defy because *if* you happen to like the geometry on the Defy series, they will be a much more cost effective option at any spec level.

    I ended up going with a 2012 Defy Composite 1 I got a good deal on and have been extremely happy with my purchase. I'm somewhere near 300lbs and I've been using 23mm Gatorskins and the ride has been fine (at least for me, your mileage may vary).

  11. #11
    Senior Member rideorglide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imacflyr3 View Post
    I've been on my current road bike since I hit around 275. I'm hovering around 245-250 now. I've been on 23's the whole time. I started out on 35's on my hybrid. Changing over to the road bike was like going from a mini van to a sports car! The high pressure 23's have very little rolling resistance. You can absolutely feel the difference. Don't get me wrong... you "feel the road," but rolling is so much easier. I suggest not worrying too much about the smaller tires and get whichever frame you like/can afford. I also suggest you be religious about airing the tires before every single ride. I run 120lbs in mine and top them off every time.
    Good luck on your new ride!
    g
    Ditto the top off pressure every time. Mine are optimized for 130 psi for some reason. I find the 25 mm serfas secas fine, but once ran some Conti 23s and those were too narrow for my nasty road surfaces.

    P.S. My N+1 would be a Surly Moonlander at this point for shoreline and snow riding.

    Then again I could really use a swiftish, durable, comfortable commuter. Love the Cross Check but not it's geometry ... too much standover height required for a given size top tube, when one has a shorter inseam but a long torso.

    Straggler looks real interesting, but is that just one ring upfront, and same geometry as the Cross Check?

    Trek Domane looks like it might be a good option.

    I'm more about N+2, I guess
    Last edited by rideorglide; 09-04-13 at 11:30 PM.
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  12. #12
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    I'm one of the slavering masses. I purchased this summer a Spesh Rubaix. I have an Elite Apex. I canned the Apex rear derailiuer and cassetee. I put an 11-36 PC1070 cassette and an X-9 Derailieur on it. I live in Central PA and need the gearing for the mountains I ride in.

    I'd suggest expanding the search and add the Rubaix and Secteur as well. Both ride very well. You would be cheating yourself not looking at these bikes. I also would suggest giving Giant Deffy a look as well. Good advice from other posters. I didn't like the Synapses I rode, way too stiff. But you may like it. Haven't ridden Domaine yet so no opinions.

    Ride them all and pick the one that speaks to you're soul. You can't loose with any of them.

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  13. #13
    Senior Member Podagrower's Avatar
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    Alright, a small issue has been brought up that needs addressing. I've been riding a riser bar hybrid since I started riding again last October. All the "roadish" bikes I am thinking of have drop bars. I have had carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists, I'm not as young as I was when I last rode a drop bar bike, and there's that pesky cake retention factor (CRF) as well.
    For those that made the switch from flat to drop, how many were successful? How many people couldn't get comfortable on drops again?
    I'm currently planning to rent a drop bar bike for a day and ride the same typical route I ride on the hybrid to see if I can live with drop bars, is a day ride a fair assessment of the feasibility? Obviously if I hate it all day, I'm not likely to fall in love with it later, but how suck should I expect?
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Jarrett2's Avatar
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    Definitely the Domane over the Madone for comfort. Might check out the Roubiax as well. Also Giant Defy Composite and Felt Z series are a little more bang for the buck.

  15. #15
    Big Boned Biker IAMAMRA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Podagrower View Post
    Alright, a small issue has been brought up that needs addressing. I've been riding a riser bar hybrid since I started riding again last October. All the "roadish" bikes I am thinking of have drop bars. I have had carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists, I'm not as young as I was when I last rode a drop bar bike, and there's that pesky cake retention factor (CRF) as well.
    For those that made the switch from flat to drop, how many were successful? How many people couldn't get comfortable on drops again?
    I'm currently planning to rent a drop bar bike for a day and ride the same typical route I ride on the hybrid to see if I can live with drop bars, is a day ride a fair assessment of the feasibility? Obviously if I hate it all day, I'm not likely to fall in love with it later, but how suck should I expect?
    If you don't like the drops you could always go with a butterfly bar.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member IBOHUNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Podagrower View Post
    Alright, a small issue has been brought up that needs addressing. I've been riding a riser bar hybrid since I started riding again last October. All the "roadish" bikes I am thinking of have drop bars. I have had carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists, I'm not as young as I was when I last rode a drop bar bike, and there's that pesky cake retention factor (CRF) as well.
    For those that made the switch from flat to drop, how many were successful? How many people couldn't get comfortable on drops again?
    I'm currently planning to rent a drop bar bike for a day and ride the same typical route I ride on the hybrid to see if I can live with drop bars, is a day ride a fair assessment of the feasibility? Obviously if I hate it all day, I'm not likely to fall in love with it later, but how suck should I expect?
    I made the switch from a flat bar mountain bike to a drop bar bike back in Dec 2012. 6 moths was as long as I could stand the flat bar deal.
    Have not looked back.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Bent Bill's Avatar
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    IMGP0394.jpg

    I tolerate drop bars better than any other type
    This was a flat bar bike since I changed it over to a drop bar
    I can ride it all day now
    before that I was lucky if I could ride it 2 hours
    without my hands swelling
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Podagrower's Avatar
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    So, a couple of updates in this operation. We took the Wahoo on a shakedown ride last weekend, and concluded it needed new grips (Ergon with bar ends, thanks again Goldfinch), that trigger shifters would be a big improvement, and that the stock water bottle holder location is useless while in motion. She's also gotten really used to her bar end mirror, and using a bell, the Wahoo had neither. So, new parts were ordered, and I spent today mounting and adjusting, I think it turned out well (pics tomorrow), and hopefully it will add enough to her comfort to help us both ride further. It will still not surprise me if I had to change the stem for her.

    Update 2 is for my bike. Operation N+1 is suspended (it never really ends, does it?). Like everybody (I think), every time I thought "This is the bike I want", I worked away from it somehow. I was fairly set on a Surly Ogre as a do all bike, and I think it would have work well. I would have felt a little bad about it never seeing unpaved roads, but I would have gotten over it. So, I've keeping an eye on Craigslist for anything that fit my growing criteria, and a real strong possibility popped up last night. I told my wife this morning I might be bringing home an interim bike on my way back from work, she thought I said "pick up an intern for sex", so the bike shall henceforth be known as "The Intern". I'll post some photos tomorrow of the new ride, but it's a 2011 Jamis Coda Sport (not anywhere on my short list, but isn't that the way it always is?). Steel frame, flat bar road bike, triple in the front so I can keep my bailout gears. I only test rode it across some terrible pavement, so I won't have a real good idea of a comparison to the Trek until I ride the same route I always ride the Trek on.

    So, we are now where we should have started last year with bikes, a rigid steel mountain bike for her, and a steel road bike for me. I never had a CroMo bike when I was growing up, and just assumed they would be heavier than aluminum, but it's amazing how much lighter these steel bikes are than the aluminum ones they are replacing.
    2015 TDC Lake Nona, who's going?

  19. #19
    Senior Member Podagrower's Avatar
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    Wahoo side1495186491.jpgWahoo Shifters1522721384.jpgThe Bell-46678418.jpg

    Some pics of the wife's new ride. The new trigger shifter/brake combos were pretty easy to install, allowed us to gain back some real estate that we lost to the Ergon grips. My wife said she could use the bell to warn her sister, who often rides with us, if she was about to get run over by a car. I'm pretty sure she'll be able to warn the people in the car as well. But it is pretty bad ass. For being an old mountain bike, this thing has almost zero wear on it. Chain shows like new on the checker, there is just a little bit of scuffing on the head tube from cable rub, but it really is in nice condition. There is a wheel upgrade and brake pad upgrade in the near future for this ride I suspect.
    2015 TDC Lake Nona, who's going?

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