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  1. #1
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    Comfortable Road Bike

    Been riding a mountain bike on the road and so far I really like it. I'm 61, in good shape, 165 lbs, an old runner who had to go to cycling to get a workout. Wondered if there was a more comfortable bike to ride. Not dissatisfied with what I have (Specialized Epic) but wondered if I'm just ignorant on what's out there.
    Just want a good workout and comfort.

  2. #2
    Get A Life - Get A Bike cheeseflavor's Avatar
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    I've had two that were very comfortable - the first was a Specialized Sequoia, and the second is my current bike, a Specialized Roubaix Comp Triple. The Sequoia has a bit more "upright" riding position, but the Roubaix, with its carbon frame, handlebars, fork, cranks, etc., and with the zertz everywhere rides like a dream. Takes most of the "buzz" out of the road. My wife and I both bought them and I'm very happy I did.

    We average around 150mi per week, and long rides (60+) are no problem whatsoever on the Roubaix.

    Hope this helps!

    Steve

  3. #3
    150Weekly
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    Try titanium. There are all kinds of bikes out there, and the makers have all sorts of coping strategies, but through some miracle of its properties, titanium is supposed to be a terrific shock absorber.

    I haven't ridden a whole lot of bikes, and my Litespeed Firenze with ti frame is the first top-shelf bike I've ever owned. But when I test rode it against other bikes, it was, by far, the smoothest I rode, and it's still like a magic carpet to me 1500 miles later. Next to an aluminum bike, it was miraculous. Even a carbon-fiber bike was a bit jitterier. Steel's supposed to be pretty good, but is generally heavier.

    Actually, if the question is comfort, you might even be thinking completely different classes of bike. About the only thing you can do to radically alter your comfort level is to try a recumbent. Comfort and/or compensation for physical disability seem to be the primary motivators in opting into the reclining class :-).

    Good luck, and lots of miles to you, whatever you decide to ride.

    tiwonon

  4. #4
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Great input from tiwonon and cheeseflavor.

    In addition, a major comfort factor in any bike is the "fit" of the bike. You need a really good fitter to get the bike adjusted for your style of riding and your body and your desired riding objectives.

    IMHO, the "fitter" should be involved in the entire purchase of the bike - from asking a lot of questions about your riding objectives, to measuring your body to be able to choose a frame that will likely meet those objectives, to be able to fine tune the frame and components to your body, and to follow up later on, even years later, to readjust as your body changes along with your objectives.

    Much of a bikes riding quality is in the design of the bike in additon to the materials. Typically, the differences in weight between a top quality steel frame (Reynolds 853 steel, for example) and a Ti bike and a Carbon bike are relatively small when compared to the differences in weight of your own body from time to time. Unless you are into racing, then it is a different story.

    A bike that many have learned to love is the Lemond series, but there are many fine bicycles out there.

    Good luck and have fun.

    And, if you were thinking of something completely different, then you might think of a recumbent - of which I know little.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 07-18-05 at 01:43 PM.
    Gone - email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for new group of old 50+ folks

  5. #5
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    I don't think frame material matters as much as design and geometry. Rivendell's bikes (I have an Atlantis and a Rambouillet) are designed so you can get the bars up high, the chainstays are slightly longer than most comparable bikes, and the frame angles are what used to be called conventional--72 or 73 degrees, I think, depending on size (don't have the spec charts in front of me).
    I bought an Atlantis frame and fork four years ago, and it changed my cycling life. Almost instantly, I could stay on the bike 50 percent longer, because I wasn't uncomfortable (the Brooks saddle and 700x35 tires helped). I figured it was the last bike I'd ever buy, but I got a good deal on a used Rambouillet last spring and snapped that up, too.
    Poke around the Rivendell Web site, www.rivbike.com, and check out Grant's ideas on fit and design. Even if you don't buy a bike from them, it will give you some things to think about.

  6. #6
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Try Ti or carbon.
    My Litespeed (Ti) is VERY comfortable and I'm 60.

    If your bike doesn't FIT it will never be comfortable.

    Comfort on the bike (IMHO) is also affected by the style and brand of shorts or bibs you wear, saddle brand and model, saddle height, angle, fore-aft position, and gloves.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---
    2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 "Racing Edition"--The bike shop owner said it's toast after the car-bike accident. R.I.P.
    * * 2014 or 2015 CAAD 10 3 coming soon. Decision time. * *

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

  7. #7
    Old Frogman
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    I recently bought a Specialized Sequoia Elite and it is a very comfortable bike.

  8. #8
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Putttn....everybody's right above. Also, comfort is a matter of perception as well as physical input from a sore crotch or stiff neck. Surprizing how my behind feels better when I'm feeling fast or competent or hanging with the group a little above my head or admiring the scenery. Also, most longer time riders have a garage littered with discarded saddles, stems, bars with various bends, etc. Comfort is probably an evolving thing over time.

    Along the way, you might notice that narrower saddles fit one style of riding, wider fits others. As you start pushing little bit bigger gears, some of the weight will leave your slightly more supported behind. And that's good. Standing up to peddle gives a break. An aero bar also mixes things up for variety. Talking to companions as you ride is distracting...besides, its good to hear someone say their hands are numb, too.

    So, start with hardware, but give it and your attitude time to evolve. For consolation, nobody is totally comfortable after "x" number of miles. Happily, the value of "x" does tend to increase with experience.
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
    .

  9. #9
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    My LBS told me I probably had the most comfortable bike, but took it out last weekend for a 43 mile ride and he said the big knobby tires didn't help me but it sure was comfortable. How would the road bike compare? Seems like everyone likes the Sequoia, but my background is running races so if I ever get any good at this I may want to test myself in some races. I ride alone so don't have anyone to compare to.
    Used to run with a big group but my pace was a little too fast or sometimes too slow so ended up running by myself there too. Doesn't bother me.

  10. #10
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Assuming the proper 'fit' and ergos for you, and assuming you don't have real large anomalies of fit or a structural issue and can ride a conservatively (or otherwise) setup road bike...
    I would recommend you try a road oriented softride.
    Been riding mine since 92 (took time off from cycling from spring99 to spring 04) and I will rarely ride anything else, even though I have 2 Colnagos, a custom Cuevas, Cannondale and a couple of Mtn bikes hanging in the rafters.
    I raced it for 6 years, in Cat3 and Vet crits and road races and with a modicum of success, and now am setting it up for more general 'sport' touring.
    If you can get beyond the 'image' of things and work into the advantages of a design, then a softride is well worth considering.
    Mine is a custom steel frame, since I love the feel of steel on the road. Prolly closest in 'make' to their 'LITE' version, without the geek bars, and my weird idiotsyncrocies like Front downtube shifter and Suntour Rear Thumbshifter, yadda yadda yadda
    Don't have a pic of mine, guess I better take one...

  11. #11
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    43 road miles on wobbly knobbies means you're workin' too hard and could go faster, smoother. The quickest for now fix would be to switch to some narrower, slick 26" tires made for mtn bike road use. You'll notice the difference. Most major manufacturers offer up bikes for the road that are midway between mtn bikes and conventional racing bikes. If road is your new zone, you may well work your way across the bike spectrum towards that Lance clone Madone. But there's lots of good stuff between.
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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  12. #12
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    What is a Cat3 & Vets Crit? I assume some kind of race but how far? Do they have different age groups like in running?

  13. #13
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by putttn
    What is a Cat3 & Vets Crit? I assume some kind of race but how far? Do they have different age groups like in running?
    Oh, sorry. prolly should have just said " also a great bike for racing, if desired"...
    Okay, but to answer your Q - USCF racing classes include youth, women's, men's. The senior (adult) classes are broken in experience/'skill' (most of which is based on race results). cat1 & 11 are the top level usually composed of riders at a high regional or national level, cat 3 are top level riders in a region and also riders who are experienced but not necessarily fulltime racers, Cat 4used to be the entry level some decades back, but is now a middle level composed of upcoming riders, usually younger (20s) who have moved up from Cat 5, the entry level for seniors. Veterans are anyone over 35 - there was a time when Vets were 40 and up. Based on prior level and experience Vets can often race in Senior Cat groups. Veteran groups are also broken down in age groups in larger race venues. Same applies to womens
    Crits - are short road circuits/loops, usually 1 mile or there abouts, often in 'downtown' areas, with a set number of loops/distance. Commonly Cat 1-11 crits run 50-60 miles/laps, other classes are stepped down in distance based on available time/field size/whatever. Crits can be dead flat with a number of 'corners' or can include some especially backbreaking steep short hills that you get to suffer up for an eternity of loops, like the US Pro course in Philly. Other wellknown crits - Tour of Somerville is one of the older big events back east, Manhattan Bch GP is one out here - there are many of these all over the US.
    Road races are usually larger/longer circuits that cover a variety of terrain and can be just a few miles per loop or as much as 40 miles or more per loop - depending... (on the organizers).
    Point to Point road races are rare in the US and usually confined to Multi-day stage races, which often are a combination of stages with Point to Point, road circuit, crits and time trials to offer a variety of suffering.
    certainly not every point here, but hopefully covers your Q. Certainly plenty of info on the web, should there be more in depth answers needed.
    anyway, guess what I was saying that keeping an open mind opens many cycling options, as opposed ot being a victim of bike fashion or tradition
    this was again driven home into my peanutbrain this eve, after my 1st ride using my 'new' compact crankset - all I can say is WOW!

  14. #14
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    Thanks for all the good info. I guess before I do anything I should get some more time on my bike and see if there is anyone in our area that is really good at the "fit". I don't know what 43 miles on a mountain bike means in terms of a road bike but I sure enjoy the ride out around the wheat fields, so that's one reason I'm thinking of a road bike.

  15. #15
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Go retro, i.e., something with a long wheelbase and skinny stays. I can't sprint or climb on the Capo the way I do on the Bianchi, but I can ride all day on it.

    Don't be afraid to change the handlebar stem if the top tube is too long for you. I use a VERY short-reach stem on my PKN-10; it doesn't look particularly good, but it makes this frame, which is otherwise a bit too tall and too long for me, comfortable.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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  16. #16
    Senior Member bernmart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frog21
    I recently bought a Specialized Sequoia Elite and it is a very comfortable bike.
    Enthusiastic second for the Sequoia Elite. I just did 25 hard (for me) miles in perfect comfort. What's so neat about the Sequoia is how little is compromised. It's light, nimble, fast, and well-equipped, with drop-outs for a rack so light touring is within its abilities.
    Specialized Roubaix Pro
    Specialized Sequoia Elite

  17. #17
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    putttn,
    If price is an issue you might try what I did. I found a lbs that rented bikes for
    the wekend for 35 dollars. They then deducted all rental fees from the price of a
    new bike. It allowed me to try several bikes before I plunked down my hard earned
    money.

    I ended up with a Trek 1200 but might have been better served by the
    Specialized Sequoia that has been mentioned several times. For me the handlebars
    were terrible but they have been changed for the 2005 model year.

    Good luck.

    LastPlace

  18. #18
    fmw
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    I ride for exercise and have all three - a road bike, a hybrid and a MTB. My wife has a "comfort bike" which is basically a MTB without knobbies and with an adjustable handlebar stem. I ride my MTB when I ride with her (and occasionally ride local trails.) I'm planning to sell the hybrid. While it is a joy to ride (very comfortable,) it is heavy and I find myself riding the road bike almost all the time. In fact, I'm looking for a lighter one as we speak.

    I can't rationalize it. Since I ride for exercise, weight and speed really aren't issues. The issue is the amount of work expended. Perhaps the reason is that, in the hour each morning I allocate for a bike ride, I can go further on the road bike. It is senseless since exercise is exercise but mentally I go for the road bike nearly every time. It's like a sports car compared to the hybrid "family sedan."

    I don't have a riding partner to "spar" with so I spar with my cycle computer. I pay attention to my average speed and always work toward improving it. I also work at climbing the local hills at a faster speed. The road bike, of course, always produces better results on the cycle computer. I realize these are mental and not physical things but you may want to consider them as well.

    One last point is that, if you place your hands on the top of the handlebar and hang on to the brake/shifter unit, your posture is fairly close to what you get on a hybrid. In other words, you can have a somewhat similar posture, if you like, on the road bike for casual riding.

    That's my case for the road bike. Good luck with the decision.

  19. #19
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fmw
    I ride for exercise and have all three - a road bike, a hybrid and a MTB. My wife has a "comfort bike" which is basically a MTB without knobbies and with an adjustable handlebar stem. I ride my MTB when I ride with her (and occasionally ride local trails.) I'm planning to sell the hybrid. While it is a joy to ride (very comfortable,) it is heavy and I find myself riding the road bike almost all the time. In fact, I'm looking for a lighter one as we speak.

    I can't rationalize it. Since I ride for exercise, weight and speed really aren't issues. The issue is the amount of work expended. Perhaps the reason is that, in the hour each morning I allocate for a bike ride, I can go further on the road bike. It is senseless since exercise is exercise but mentally I go for the road bike nearly every time. It's like a sports car compared to the hybrid "family sedan."

    I don't have a riding partner to "spar" with so I spar with my cycle computer. I pay attention to my average speed and always work toward improving it. I also work at climbing the local hills at a faster speed. The road bike, of course, always produces better results on the cycle computer. I realize these are mental and not physical things but you may want to consider them as well.

    One last point is that, if you place your hands on the top of the handlebar and hang on to the brake/shifter unit, your posture is fairly close to what you get on a hybrid. In other words, you can have a somewhat similar posture, if you like, on the road bike for casual riding.

    That's my case for the road bike. Good luck with the decision.
    It is called an "addiction" and many of us have it.

    Better a bicycle addiction than a car addiction - a lot cheaper!

    I, like you have three bicycles. NOw, there is no way I can ride all three at once, and for exercise and fitness purposes it makes sense to ride the mtn bike. Yet, here I sit this am, and as I am typing, I am putting on my expensive bibs and jersey and biking sandals with clipless (also not necessary for exercise and fitness) getting ready to take my expensive road bike on a ride.

    As Lance says

    "It doesn't get any easier - you just go faster" and "faster" is part of the addiction. Love that speed, ease and nimbleness of the road bikes!
    Gone - email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for new group of old 50+ folks

  20. #20
    Macaws Rock! michaelnel's Avatar
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    Cyclocross frames like my SOMA Double Cross can make for a very comfortable yet responsive road bike. You can run larger tires (I run 700x32 currently, but it will take up to 700x38), if you don't cut the steerer tube you can get the handlebars up to the level of the saddle without using an angled stem. I find mine very comfortable, although the most comfortable road bike I have ridden was my Rivendell Atlantis with 700x38 tires. That thing rode like a Cadillac.
    ---

    San Francisco, California

  21. #21
    fmw
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    It is called an "addiction" and many of us have it.
    I guess it is. I started riding seriously just two years ago. The benefit is that, at 61 I now feel better, weigh less and can do more than I could when I was 51. That is addictive. It's just an hour a day for me but I get fresh air, varying scenery and free dog races. The competition between my legs and lungs and the cycle computer is just another entertaining feature of the hour. Now I want to see what the computer will say when I have a 15 lb. road bike. Bad addiction.

  22. #22
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    Before you buy, at least test ride a long wheel base recumbent. I test rode one in the store parking lot and instatnly knew DF bikes were the wrong concept altogether for over 50's. I've put almost 1,000miles on a Sun easy sport and it is really comfortable. This level of comfort is virtually uknown in upright bikes. I'll never go back. BK

  23. #23
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    Go ti or a CF-and get a good one. Spend the money and the time to try them. My first ti bike was a Litrespeed Firenze....very, very nice but a little too flexy for my fat rear. Upgraded to a Tuscany. I love the tuscany....no ifs, ands or buts. My riding buddy almost bought my firenze when I sold it, be he desided to get a madrone 5.2. He loves it. The biggest point, if I have one, is find what is good for YOU.....try a bunch, and resist the gotta have a new bike right now.
    Toybox: Litespeed Tuscany & Niota

  24. #24
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    Not to disagree with my good friend and riding partner , Mr. MotoMickey; but...has anyone tried the Trek Pilot Series? They were supposedly designed for the over 50 crowd. I tried to buy one but they were back ordered and I couldn't wait. TREK Medone 5.2 OCLV carbon works for me.

  25. #25
    fmw
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    I got into bike riding a few years ago primarily for fitness. I'm no expert but I'll share my experiences. I started with Hybrid bike from Jamis. It has 700mm wheels like a road bike but fatter tires and a frame geometry that provides a fairly upright and comfortable riding posture.

    The bike was heavy but, after all, the idea was to get exercise. I wasn't racing anybody and didn't have to get anywhere on a deadline. So the bike was probably perfect for the purpose and for me.

    I found myself lowering the handlebars again and again because I discovered I could get more power and more speed that way. Pretty soon I was racing against my cycle computer which keeps very good track of how fast and far I'm going.

    It wasn't very long before I bought a road bike. It was much lighter, provided a less comfortable but more efficient posture and was geared really high compared to the hybrid. Yes, indeed, I could go faster. I made some compromises. I bought a frame one size to small to keep the posture a little more upright and I bought a triple chainring so I could gear down for the hills. I blew away all my old records on the cycle computer.

    You guessed it. I'm now in the process of building a sub 16 lb. carbon fiber racer. What does a 61 year old that rides primarily for exercise need with one of those? Absolutely nothing. But I know when I'm finished, I'll break my old records again. I have no idea why I've become competitive with myself over the riding but I have. I keep wanting to perform better.

    My very nice hybrid is now for sale.

    My point is that whatever you buy may very well be an entre into something else. If what you want is to get exercise then what you have is fine. It is comfortable for you and will give you the exercise you want. If, however, you're worried about how fast and far you go when you exercise, just be ready for an ever more complicated future on the bicycle seat. Best of luck to you.

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