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  1. #1
    Are we there yet? oldbikeguy's Avatar
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    Comfort Road Bike

    A few years ago, the term ‘Comfort Road’ bike or ‘Relaxed Geometry’ seemed to be very popular. Trek produced some 1xxxc bikes for a couple of years, which turned into the Pilot series. So my question: Is anyone still making a comfort road bike, or is the term obscured by a newer and less old sounding phrase?

    I ask because I’m in the market for a comfort road bike, but I'm not sure what to look for.

    Thanks in advance,

    David

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    "Endurance geometry" is one current marketing term.
    Virtually all the major mfgs have such a design (e.g. Specialized Secteur/Roubaix, Giant Defy) -- though I don't the current iterations are quite as 'relaxed' as those early forays into 'comfort/plush' road design.

  3. #3
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    For a while it seemed as if there were none.

    Most marketers have a few sports models in their line-up.

    This one looks good to me: http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik...ura2_spec.html

    This is a ti road bike with an emphasis in comfort: http://www.lynskeyperformance.com/a/...d/sportive.php

    This in steel is very comfortable: http://www.somafab.com/extrasmoothie.html

    I look for a chainstays length in the 415 to 430mm range. I also like taller headtubes and a longer wheelbase.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by badger1 View Post
    "Endurance geometry" is one current marketing term.
    Virtually all the major mfgs have such a design (e.g. Specialized Secteur/Roubaix, Giant Defy) -- though I don't the current iterations are quite as 'relaxed' as those early forays into 'comfort/plush' road design.
    They're more relaxed in geometry but a lot stiffer nowadays. I've heard that the early efforts were described as "dead" or "slushy".
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  5. #5
    Senior Member oldbobcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanknm View Post
    They're more relaxed in geometry but a lot stiffer nowadays. I've heard that the early efforts were described as "dead" or "slushy".
    Reportedly, Trek Pilots were a little on the dead side, but everybody seems to have learned a lesson from that. Besides the Giant and Specialized solutions, check out the Felt Z series, Trek Madone with H3 geometry, Cervelo RS, etc. Everybody's approach is a little different and you just have to find one the works for you.

  6. #6
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Sigh.

    My 1969 Schwinn Varsity was a comfort road bike.

    Sport bikes have been around a long, long time.

    And that's what these are.

    I find the buzzwords something of a distraction. You want relaxed geometry.
    I would suggest drop bars and the ability to use at least 28c tires.

    Fittings for panniers are also nice.

    http://gunnarbikes.com/site/bikes/sport/
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  7. #7
    Hump, what hump? horatio's Avatar
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    Got the same for myself last fall - I settled on the Specialized Secteur after test riding several similar bikes, including carbon frames. Bikes in this class have longer wheelbase and more relaxed head and seat tube angles with more upright riding position. They (supposedly) are less responsive than short-coupled racing bikes, but my Secteur is plenty responsive for my needs. It has the same wheelbase as my 1988 Nishiki Olympic, which was marketed as a sport bike.
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    I've found the the Roubaix is perfect for my needs. It's the smoothest riding road bike I've ever ridden but still pretty responsive at the same time and the full carbon frame makes hill climbing a joy instead of an ordeal. I'll probably upgrade the wheels at some point because the Fulcrum 6's are really heavy but I've found the geometry to be just right for me.
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    I met a guy about my age (57) on the weekend who was out on his Cervelo RS. He got the RS for the same reason and after swapping the saddle for a Brooks he's been really happy with it.
    At any age: Always carry a spare.
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  10. #10
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    Scott CR1 family is another alternative. The geometry is only slightly "relaxed" from the Addict (just a 20mm taller head tube), but the frame is also designed for a bit more vertical compliance. I think they use the term "Performance", as opposed to "Race".

    I think the problem with "plush" or "comfort" is that it implies sluggish and slow, whereas many of the current crop of "performance" bikes are still capable of being pushed pretty hard. (Such as when teams use more shock-absorbing designs for the cobblestones of the Paris-Roubaix race. Teams that normally ride Specialized Tarmacs will use Roubaix's for its namesake race, and teams that ride Cervelo R3's or S3's might use RS's. During last year's TdF, some of the same bike switches were made for the stage or two that had cobblestone sections. The HTC team didn't want to go to the extent of swapping their Addicts for CR1's, but DID swap in CR1 forks.)
    Last edited by rschleicher; 03-22-11 at 07:07 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Philipaparker's Avatar
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    I am 59 and keep going back to my Bianchi Vigorelli, it's steel frame marketed as a Gran Fondo bike by Bianchi. Comfortable all day long, predictable handling, cool looks and just as fast as any of the carbon bikes out there. Most of the shop guys around here (San Francisco) ride steel bikes either retro or custom builds.
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  12. #12
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Every road bike I own is comfortable. The Capos are great for long rides, the Bianchi is fun on climbs and shorter rides, and the lowly Peugeot rides and feels better than any cheapo bike boom frame has a right to.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanknm View Post
    I've found the the Roubaix is perfect for my needs. It's the smoothest riding road bike I've ever ridden but still pretty responsive at the same time and the full carbon frame makes hill climbing a joy instead of an ordeal.
    I personally don't look for a comfort bike but lots of friends do. I road several and the Roubaix is the clear winner. I did an extensive ride on a friends and it is plush. Very nice and comfortable.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  14. #14
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    I could be wrong but it seems to me that "comfort road bike" is a misnomer for touring frame. There are lots of those out there.I could ride my Surly LHT all day and thought out it was the most comfortable bike ever until I upgraded to a Rivendell. I don't know much about aluminum or carbon, but there are lots of nice steel frames out there in the touring and rando categories.

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  15. #15
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
    I could be wrong but it seems to me that "comfort road bike" is a misnomer for touring frame. There are lots of those out there.I could ride my Surly LHT all day and thought out it was the most comfortable bike ever until I upgraded to a Rivendell. I don't know much about aluminum or carbon, but there are lots of nice steel frames out there in the touring and rando categories.

    Marc
    Close, but not quite.

    Comfort usually is a Sport bike. That's a bike with relaxed geometry.
    It's half ways between a race bike and a touring bike.

    One of the better examples is the Gunnar Sport.
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  16. #16
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I think there is a continuum in the design of drop-bar bikes that goes like this;

    Criterion race bike - ultra short wheelbase and ultra steep head-tube angles for short circuit races

    (multi-stage) Road-race bike - short wheelbase and moderately steep head tube angles

    (Spring classics) Road-race bike AKA “endurance” or “Roubaix” or “Sportive or “Gran Fondo” bikes with taller head-tubes than other road-race bikes and room for 700x25 tires

    Sports bikes - long reach caliper brakes, room for 700x25 tires & fenders, longer wheelbase and chainstays in the 415 to 430 range

    (recreational) Cyclocross bikes - cantilever or disc brakes, room for 700x32 tires & fenders, longer wheelbase and chainstays in the 415 to 430 range

    Touring bikes room for 700x35 tires & fenders, longer wheelbase and chainstays 430mm or longer attachments for racks front & rear
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 03-23-11 at 08:42 AM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Touring bikes typically have 450mm chainstays.

    Sport bikes vary, my Sport is 425. It could be different on the new designs, but 415 seems a bit short for a sport.

    A note for Oldbikeguy, the chainstays (the tubes running to the back wheel from the bottom bracket) play a big role
    in the way a bike feels and responds. I wouldn't want less than 420, or more than 440.

    I think 425 is the sweet spot.
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  18. #18
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by late View Post
    Touring bikes typically have 450mm chainstays.

    Sport bikes vary, my Sport is 425. It could be different on the new designs, but 415 seems a bit short for a sport.

    A note for Oldbikeguy, the chainstays (the tubes running to the back wheel from the bottom bracket) play a big role
    in the way a bike feels and responds. I wouldn't want less than 420, or more than 440.

    I think 425 is the sweet spot.
    Absolute values are limiting when describing groups. Some designs overlap group definitions also.

  19. #19
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    Sounds like my 415 chainstays on both my Jamis and my Lapierre would make them mis-identified. The Jamis is a Sport and the Lapierre in a performance. Still both have 415 chainstays. However the Sensium replacement frame is less agressive than my old xLite with chainstays of 408.

  20. #20
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Yes, bikes are marketed to sell, not to fit easy to understand categorization. If one bike has long reach brakes, I would call it sport. If it has short reach brakes, I would call it road-race or some other term.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldbikeguy View Post
    A few years ago, the term ‘Comfort Road’ bike or ‘Relaxed Geometry’ seemed to be very popular. Trek produced some 1xxxc bikes for a couple of years, which turned into the Pilot series. So my question: Is anyone still making a comfort road bike, or is the term obscured by a newer and less old sounding phrase?

    I ask because I’m in the market for a comfort road bike, but I'm not sure what to look for.

    Thanks in advance,

    David
    " ‘Comfort Road’ bike" Is there such a thing??
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    I bought a Felt Z series bike and my husband bought a Giant Defy Advanced series bike. Both of them are considered 'comfort road bikes'. They say 'compact geometry' or 'endurance geometry'. Both look like full road bikes, not wanna be's. My husband never tried a standard road bike geometry, but I did. The main difference I saw was that I was not all crunched up into a pretzel with the Z series. I am still bent over a good amount when my hands are on the hoods and very bent over in the drops, but if I want to I can put my hands on the cross bar and be sitting up (I use the term loosely).

    Here is what they say about the Defy Advanced:
    "At the heart of this aero-sculpted beauty is an Advanced-grade composite frame with endurance geometry for increased control and comfort. Performance features, like the PowerCore bottom bracket for optimal pedaling stiffness, are blended with a road-smoothing, longer wheelbase and taller headtube. It’s the best of both worlds."

    Here is what they say about the Felt Z series (they like to yammer on):
    "Whether you’re racing or attempting to complete an all-day epic, comfort is a critical factor in your performance. It’s simple: The more comfortable you are, the better you’re able to ride. That’s where the Z Series comes in. It’s specifically designed to blend performance and comfort so you can ride farther and faster—and enjoy every ride more than ever before. Take a look at some of the bikes used by pros at long, grueling races like the Tour de France over the years and you’ll notice they were a bit different than those that are popular today. They were built to be stable on fast descents and featured a slightly more upright rider position. They had longer wheelbases and offered excellent vibration damping—proven ways to reduce fatigue. These ride characteristics are central to the design goals of the Z. Z Series frames use a slightly longer head tube for more flexibility in handlebar and rider positioning. They feature a sloping top tube for increased stand-over clearance, and they benefit from improved vertical compliance due to a more exposed seatpost. The Z also features a slightly longer wheelbase for confident handling at any speed. Even with those modifications, the Z still packs the same torsional stiffness and bottom bracket rigidity as Felt’s legendary F bikes. It all adds up to a bike that can be ridden in classic racing position, yet also provides options. Even with its distinctly different look and eye toward improved comfort, it’s a mistake to think of the Z as a non-performance-oriented bike. Many of Felt’s pros choose the Z for select races.

    Whether you choose a Z model built from super-premium UHC Ultimate+Nano carbon fiber and cutting-edge electronic Shimano Di2 shifting, or one of the lightweight aluminum/carbon fiber models, you’ll get the same assured handling and race-worthy stiffness. It’s a ride that’s as responsive as it is confidence-inspiring. All Z Series bikes are built with the right components for the ideal fit, plus gearing for any terrain and unmatched reliability. Each bike is equipped with either a compact or triple crankset combined with a wide-range cassette to help you tackle hills. If ever there was a bike to inspire you to reach new heights, the Z is it."


    We both wanted endurance over speed in a bike. Both of our bikes are capable of going much faster than we care to go, but at the same time I have been able to ride much further than I ever could on my old bike.
    Last edited by outwest5; 03-23-11 at 04:32 PM.

  23. #23
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    We both wanted endurance over speed in a bike. Both of our bikes are capable of going much faster than we care to go, but at the same time I have been able to ride much further than I ever could on my old bike.
    Funny you would say that because I happen to like speed.

    Everybody has a different idea of what "comfort" means in a bike. I think Barrettscv has hit the nail on the head with his classifications.

    Now the engineer in me is going to say something " down boy.. down ."

    All product designers design their products to suit a set of particular needs. That set of needs dictates the design parameters, in this case, the geometry of the frame and the materials that the frame is made from.

    For example. a touring bike has a steel frame because, it doesn't resonate like a bell like aluminium does so it doesn't vibrate the rider to death. It's strong so you can load it up, it's also easy to modify, just braze stuff onto it. You can't do that with a CF monocoque frame. It's got a longer wheelbase, longer chainstays, wider rubber etc. to suit the touring application.

    A bike like the Roubaix was originally a purpose-built bike for a particular situation ( cobblestones ) in much the same way that a Specialized Shiv or Cervelo P series was designed for time trials.
    Some marketing guru obviously saw a great market opportunity by extolling the virtues of the bike for a wider market because of the differences in the way the bike rides and handles. It's those differences that makes an endurance bike suitable for other types of riders especially older riders who either need or prefer to be riding in a more upright position and that's only one facet of the physical ride characteristics of the bike. Let's face it, as part of the Baby Boom generation, we have more disposible income, are more physically active and happen to be one of the biggest marketing opportunities in the business.

    I wouldn't call an S-Works Roubaix with DI2 a "comfort bike" in the sense of a leather couch, it's a hard-core road race bike and that goes for the rest of that product line. The geometry is identical throughout the product line. The same goes for Felt, Giant and just about anybody else who makes bikes in the endurance category. The current batch of endurance bikes are lot stiffer and more responsive that the older models because the manufacturers have been busy responding to the needs of the pro teams that they supply.

    Road race bikes with CF monocoque frames are to bikes as Formula 1 is to cars. Both have to be designed and conform within a defined set of physical parameters. Formula 1 to the FIA specs, bikes to UCI.

    Yes, the ride is "plush" and I absolutely love it. Try doing a century on roads and streets that are like corrugated iron with frost bumps and the fatigue factor really sets in quickly on a hard riding bike.

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    alanknm is obviously a lot more knowledgeable about this than I am. All I know is that I slapped some light weight 25 tires on my Felt Z series and it sure is smooth without losing road feel (and it doesn't even look dumb). My bike also attempts to haul buns and I rein it in 'cause I am a speed wimp. The fastest my computer has clocked it is 31 miles an hour before I applied the brakes. You can go fast if you want it to.

    For fun (yah, I know it's weird) my husband and I have examined the differences between his bike and mine. The Giant Defy is a bit more on the comfort spectrum than the Felt Z. His comes stock with the 25 tires, for example (he switched them out for 23's). He was blabbing about angles that were microscopically different.

    Incidentally, my brother has a Roubaix (spelling?). I didn't realize they were considered a comfort type road bike. He said he loves his bike, but if he were to ever buy another road bike it would be a Felt. I think brand names are very personal. I wanted a Felt because they were comfortable and carried a tall womans specific frame. Many womens specific frames don't come big enough - they max out at 5'6" tall. I am 5'7", not an amazon. My husband wanted the Giant because it was red and white. He thinks red and white is very cool.

    It seems every major bike company is going to carry an endurance type road bike.

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    Haha.. I've heard that colour argument before. And mine is black and white, it doesn't really matter to me.

    http://www.orbea.com/us-us/bicis/mod...ix_dama_t105/# for women and I believe that it's bubble gum pink.

    The Roubaix is named after the Paris-Roubaix race where the winner gets this http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...Goldcobble.JPG

    The words, "plush, comfort, endurance" are all used to describe pretty much the same thing, and yes brand names are a personal thing. I've got 3 LBS all within a 10 minute drive that deal in Specialized, Scott, Giant, Kona, Argon 18, Trek, Pinarello, Colnago, etc.. etc.. I chose the Roubaix because it was the most comfortable bike that would fit me and the best bang for the buck and the LBS is 5 minutes away. Cervelo is headquartered here in Toronto. Why didn't I get a Cervelo ? The nearest Cervelo dealer is downtown which is a pain for me to get to. Same with Felt, Orbea, BMC, Look etc..

    The difference between 23 and 25 ? 25's can be inflated to a lower pressure ( I keep my 23's at 120 psi ) which some people prefer.

    My wife is 5'7" as well. I know what you mean. She wears a mens ski jacket for skiing.

    Not all womens specific frames work for all women. I know somebody who rides a Specialized Tarmac.
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