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Old 12-12-10, 09:58 PM   #1
sdlesko
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What do you thnk is the most comfortable road bike?

I asked this in the road bike forum..but I am 51 and want to hear from the guys with experience and knowledge!!! I hear about the Specialized Roubaix being comfortable due to its geometry....however are there any as or more comfortable?
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Old 12-12-10, 10:00 PM   #2
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Parlee Z4 or Z5.
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Old 12-12-10, 10:05 PM   #3
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The one that fits you.
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Old 12-12-10, 10:10 PM   #4
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The one that fits you.
+1 with Emphasis.

I loved my 2009 Specialized Roubaix. I replaced it with a 2010 Roubaix Expert. It wasn't comfortable until I got it dialed in.
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Old 12-12-10, 10:13 PM   #5
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This is a growing market, and the big names are all getting in on it, so shop around and tell the LBS guys that it's what you want to test.

The Roubaix has lots of fans and I see them all over. I've been riding a Cannondale carbon Synapse since 2006 and love it. Test ride as many as you can, Bike WNC is right about Parlee, also Calfee makes great bikes with comfort geometry and ride. Also check out Trek and Felt.
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Old 12-12-10, 10:39 PM   #6
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The one that fits you.
+1 again the key is YOU
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Old 12-12-10, 10:43 PM   #7
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Assume you will be fit properly....

I guess what you are saying is the bike with the more relaxed geoometry like the Roubaix. Are they any others with that kind of ralxed geometry?
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Old 12-12-10, 10:49 PM   #8
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Cannondale Synapse is similar to Roubaix
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Old 12-12-10, 10:52 PM   #9
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My old Univega Super Sport. The Pinarello's a tad more fun, but not quite as comfy. I'll still ride a century on it no problemo, though.
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Old 12-12-10, 10:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
The one that fits you.
This was what I was going to post before I opened the thread. Verbatim.
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Old 12-13-10, 06:23 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
The one that fits you.
+1

There are several good brands producing more laid back, more comfortable models. As well as Specialized, look at Cannondale (Synapse), Giant (Defy) ... other good brands are available at your LBS, but get a bike fitted for you.
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Old 12-13-10, 07:22 AM   #12
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I have a six year old Specialized Roubaix and in recently getting a new bike considered a new Roubaix, Treks, Cannondales, Pinarellos, Orbeas, and probably 20 other bikes. I got a BMC SLR01 and love lightness, handling, and ride. It's more plush than my old Roubaix, but not as plush as my 10 year old ti bike, which is kind of flexy. And it way out-handles both of them, especially in fast twisty descents. It just wants to go fast; flat, climbing, and descending.

Though the frame geometries and sizes are a bit different among these three bikes, I have the relative position of the crank, saddle and bars set the same on all three so they all feel the same in that respect. You need to decide what you want in this regard and then choose a frame that will reasonably accommodate it.

FYI, Some stock Trek builds come in three configurations, H1, H2, and H3, with H1 being the raciest (low and long reach to the bars), and H3 having the highest bars and lesser reach. Usually the main differences between the geometries of frames themselves is increasing length of the head tube.

Last edited by Looigi; 12-13-10 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 12-13-10, 07:45 AM   #13
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I have several road bikes including a Cannondale CAAD4, an Italian steel Bianchi Campione, a Taiwan steel Bianchi Campione, a full CF 97 LeMond Maillot Juane, a Tange 2 vintage Nishiki Prestige, a Tange 1 Centurian Ironman and a 06 Giant OCR-C. The most comfortable by far is the Giant OCR-C. The updated version would be today's Giant Defy Advanced. Second is the Italian Bianchi Campione.
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Old 12-13-10, 08:22 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
The one that fits you.
My Specialized Allez is the most comfortable bike I've ever owned, because I've got it set up just right. I listened to a pro at my LBS instead of doing everything myself like I always had previously.

I'm sure there are more comfortable bikes, but I thought I'd say a word about the value of getting it set up right.
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Old 12-13-10, 08:26 AM   #15
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... The most comfortable by far is the Giant OCR-C. The updated version would be today's Giant Defy Advance ...
As you can see from my sig, I have a Giant OCR-C2. I'm afraid I constantly bore my cycling friends with just how comfortable and steady and yet responsive this bike is ... I just didn't want to say in my last posting ;-)
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Old 12-13-10, 08:39 AM   #16
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Fit has been mentioned, but I would add the fit tweeked for the distance and conditions one rides. It takes me some months to dial-in a bike. I never know if it's dialed-in unless I experiment. It took me months to dial in a canoe as well as I spent up to 7 hours a day and up to three weeks in some. Minor changes on road bike can have a big impact, at least for me.

If you do a lot of hills, saddle/bar positions might be different than more flat riding. That's true for me for both road and my mountain bike

My favorite road bike is my present ti cyclocross frame (Airborne Carpe Diem, no longer made). I much prefer it over a touring frame or a regular sport/racing frame. Carbon will deaden the sharp bumps more than ti or so it's claimed (never had one), but I like a lively frame. Aluminum is to be avoided if one is into comfort.

The disadvantage of a cyclocross for some will be it's a little more rugged and therefore heavier than a sport bike. Mine also sports rack and fender eyelets as I like a rack/trunk bag. I keep a mini-fender on the rear and add a front one when the roads are wet. The front one, though narrow is a big air scoop. Fenders add to comfort.

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Old 12-13-10, 08:41 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdlesko View Post
I guess what you are saying is the bike with the more relaxed geoometry like the Roubaix. Are they any others with that kind of ralxed geometry?
It's more than just the Roubaix's geometry. The frame is designed and built to provide comfort. Both the frame and fork have inserts to reduce fibration. The fork also is designed to provide a soft rather than a more responsive feel.
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Old 12-13-10, 10:36 AM   #18
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The one that fits you.
Yep. No doubt.

SP
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Old 12-13-10, 10:54 AM   #19
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I guess what you are saying is the bike with the more relaxed geoometry like the Roubaix. Are they any others with that kind of ralxed geometry?
It's not the relaxed geometry that works. B.D. said it- The one that fits you.

Steel frames will give a forgiving ride- providing you get them in the right steel and from the right manufacturer. C.F will give a forgiving ride unless you get the ultra stiff versions. Aluminium has a reputation for a harsh ride that can bite you.

So what do I ride---- A Boreas Ignis. A small european manufacturer that builds race geometry frames in C.F and aluminium and I have the aluminium Version. It is set up with the bars 4" below the saddle but if I want comfort- this is the bike I ride.

But the main thing for you to do is test ride them--Test ride as many as you can. One will turn round to you and say "Buy Me"
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Old 12-13-10, 11:11 AM   #20
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If you believe the bike that fits hypothesis, then any custom made frame would be the most comfortable. I do not think that is actually true but I am sure there are many satisfied customers with custom frames that love them.

So assuming one has a somewhat standard body shape, most bikes made by major manufactures provide frame solutions that will fit. However, many people purchase bikes based upon budget, price and dealer inventory. So if the LBS has a higher end bike on sale (with limited frame sizes), many times a customer will purchase that bike even though the frame is not sized correctly. To make it fit, different components must be used. The result is an odd looking bike that sort of fits. That does not necessarily make it uncomfortable; just odd.

Then there are the idiosyncrasies of riders bodies such as one leg is longer than the other, arthritic knees, bad backs and etc. Sometimes a more sophisticated fit such as a Retul will help with comfort.

I think Cervelo may have been the first manufacturer to set a frame design criteria to match a particular pro race. This was the R3 designed for Paris Roubaix. Since the frame is carbon fiber, Cervelo was able to strengthen the chain stays and front tube to provide good lateral stiffness with some vertical compliance and shock absorption. The seat stays are very thin and are used to support the rear brake and act as leaf springs on rough terrain. As I remember, a couple of pros have won the Paris Roubaix on Cervelo R3s.

Other manufacturers offer competitive solutions and with carbon fiber can tune a frame for different damping responses.

I test rode the Parlee Z4 and the Cervelo R3 head to head on rough terrain and it was a toss up. I thought the R3 was a little smoother. I got the R3 but would love to have a Parlee as well. Although, I was at a water stop one day, and some old guy, looked at my R3 and asked me how I liked my Tarmac.

Another factor that drives bike selection is the way manufactures manage dealers. For example, Trek and Specialized do not like competing brands in the stores. So it is hard but not impossible to do test rides of competing frames with the same wheelsets set to the test riders specifications with these brands. And due to volume and manufacture discounts, they can offer better deals than smaller companies.

Having said all that, I think the R3 is the most comfortable frame.
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Old 12-13-10, 11:30 AM   #21
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Not having ridden every frame that's out there, I would encourage you to consider a different approach if actually shopping for a "comfort" road bike. First, as other have said pay particular attention to fit. Second, don't pay much attention to the advertising. What one company says is a comfort bike might not have the same characteristics as another company's. Third, try to identify the bike shop(s) that treat you with respect and answer you questions with patience. Fourth, try to get test rides on as many identified comfort bikes as you can. BTW, I don't consider a spin around the parking lot a test ride.

There are just too many factors that go into the concept of comfort for any one particular brand or model to be the definitive comfort bike. What one person deems as important in terms of comfort is not as important to another person. For example, I almost never have any problems with "road buzz". Yet, some people find it very annoying. Body size is another example. I have a friend who is very light (about 115 lbs.). He loves his aluminum/carbon frame mixed Obrea, and says it is the most comfortable bike he's ever ridden. I've ridden the same model in my size and found it to be harsh and unforgiving. Other factors that fit into the comfort equation is that of physical idiosyncrasies. So, long story short, you're likely to be happiest when you've found a bike shop that will work with you to get the kind of ride you seek without breaking the bank. Personally, I avoid bike shops that don't listen and those that try to push models without a rational explanation as to why or how that particular model will meet my needs.
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Old 12-13-10, 11:41 AM   #22
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Fit has been mentioned, but I would add the fit tweeked for the distance and conditions one rides. It takes me some months to dial-in a bike. I never know if it's dialed-in unless I experiment. It took me months to dial in a canoe as well as I spent up to 7 hours a day and up to three weeks in some. Minor changes on road bike can have a big impact, at least for me.
<snip>
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I bought a Roubaix Expert in early 2008. The frame fits me, but the fitter added narrower road bars. At that time, I was moving from hybrid to road bike, and my upper body was not very flexible. Later, I swapped the drop bars for bullhorn-style bars for my bad wrists. Much better, but not perfect.

Last month (2.5 years later), I found a different fitter. At my request, he put on new drop bars with a shorter reach, and move my saddle up and back.

Now, the bike feels just right. I can see myself doing a century on this bike. My weight is evenly distributed between bars, saddle, and pedals. It took more than two years and lots of tweaking, but now I know what a great fit feels like!
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Old 12-13-10, 11:54 AM   #23
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I bought a Roubaix Expert in early 2008. The frame fits me, but the fitter added narrower road bars. At that time, I was moving from hybrid to road bike, and my upper body was not very flexible. Later, I swapped the drop bars for bullhorn-style bars for my bad wrists. Much better, but not perfect.

Last month (2.5 years later), I found a different fitter. At my request, he put on new drop bars with a shorter reach, and move my saddle up and back.

Now, the bike feels just right. I can see myself doing a century on this bike. My weight is evenly distributed between bars, saddle, and pedals. It took more than two years and lots of tweaking, but now I know what a great fit feels like!
That is great but you could have had that result when you purchased the bike if a correct fit were done at the time of purchase. That does not make the Roubaix the best bike. Transfer your fit to a Parlee Z4 frame and do a test ride and you may throw rocks at your Roubaix Expert.
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Old 12-13-10, 12:24 PM   #24
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That is great but you could have had that result when you purchased the bike if a correct fit were done at the time of purchase. That does not make the Roubaix the best bike. Transfer your fit to a Parlee Z4 frame and do a test ride and you may throw rocks at your Roubaix Expert.
Hermes, I thought a correct fit was done at the time of purchase. Were short-reach drop bars available then? My husband (with 1 artificial shoulder joint at the time, now he has two) asked for an adjustable stem for his Roubaix Expert --- the fitter said "we could do that but it wouldn't look good". Look good? Those were the words of the fitter. Maybe he was trying to improve the shop's profit margin.
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Old 12-13-10, 12:34 PM   #25
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sdlesko, Basic advice for comfort is fit first and tires second. Comfort is so personal that it's hard to give advice except for what's comfortable to each of us. If you aren't riding a bike now to compare with, get professionally fitted.

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