Been test riding a few bikes recently. I am up for N+1 next year and this will be my last bike for a while. Problem is--I don't really know what I want.
Into road now and have a couple of good bikes in the Giant TCR-C and the Boreas Ignis and this is what I am basing this posting on. The Boreas is almost perfect. May be Aluminium but some how it is resilient. Has the right amount of give in the frame to give a compliant ride but stiff enough so that it does not lose power through flexing. Groupset is a mix of 105 and Ultegra and weighs in at 16 1/2 lbs in ride trim with Pump- full bottle and wedge. It works for me but is a little too aggressive a ride position for rides over a metric. Has a Compact 50/34 and 12/27 cassette and will manage all the hills in my area.
But longer or hillier rides than the metric and the TCR comes into play. C.F. Frame and mainly 105 with a triple 50/39/30 and 12/25 cassette. That is one very stiff frame but a hand-built set of wheels and it has a bit of comfort for the longer rides. This bike goes up hills and I know that is down to the engine but literally- you start a hill and it is done. Boreas and I have to work on the stiffer ones. Bit heavier at just over 17lbs but I don't feel the extra weight.
That N+1 is still being researched and I do realise that it will take a bit of time and possibly a few part changes to sort the bike for me. I know the size I want and the grade of components I would like. I like to have the bars a bit lower than the saddle and that can be sorted on the fit. Components and I may go down to Tiagra if cost limits the purchase but would prefer 105 as a minimum. Wheels and if the bike is cheap enough then a decent set of hand built's may be bought- or even go up to the Ultegras that are lighter and not much more.
I am experienced enough a rider to know what is going to work for me- and when I sit on the saddle and have done a decent test ride I will know it
But what is it that makes bikes work for you?