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  1. #1
    Recumbent Ninja
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    Ideas for COMFORTABLE road bikes?

    Be nice to the newbie. I got back into cycling last year with a hybrid comfort bike, since I have some joint issues (wrist and ankles especially) that caused me mucho pain on my old mountain bike.

    Now I've lost weight, added muscle, and seem to have strengthened my joints a little, and want to get onto a much faster bike I can ride for leisure and triathlons and centuries.

    I've done a lot of searching on here and can't seem to find an appropriate thread, so I though I'd ask for ideas on what kind of road bike might fit me. I';m a 6'1" 230 pound rider. Weight is not as critical as comfort, so I'm looking for bikes with some sort of vibration dampening geometry or whatever I can find to make my ride more comfy. All help appreciated.

  2. #2
    Triathlete
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    how comfortable do you want to get?

    whats your budget?

    If you wanted super comfortability you could buy a gel seat, then put a gel seat covers over the seat itself.

    For wrist comfortability you can get gel-inserted handlebars, then buy really thick cycling gloves.

    those are your main 2 points of contact that associate with comfortability.

    Although carbon fiber generally takes in more shock, generally it doesn't effect the heavier riders as much as the light weights (<150 lbs).

  3. #3
    Faith-Vigilance-Service Patriot's Avatar
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    Generally for starting off, since you are a bigger guy guy, I would probably recommend a steel bike. Steel bikes are very strong and very comfortable to ride. They are usually cheaper than CF or Titanium. I think Ti is probably one of the strongest, and CF is very strong too, but they are both very expensive since they generally weigh much less.
    If you like to build, there are lots of older steel frames out there, that you can build up the way you want. I have an older 1989 Centurion Expert Ironman, in a 60cm frame (22.5#), and it could easily handle a 230lb rider, as I was 210# when I started off, and she is a real strong bike. The nice thing about the frame is the 700c design allows me to upgrade to some newer components if I want to.
    If you are just starting off, you might want to do that, or even talk to the LBS about whether they can get ahold of an older used one for you. They are usually more than happy to help, unless they try to pitch something they have, you might want to be careful there. But usually, they will be more than willing to work with you.

    For starting off, I have always felt steel bikes are really some of the best, because they are stronger than Aluminum, and are a little smoother to ride (usually). Plus, if you turn out not liking it, then you haven't lost too much money.

    Check out Ebay, they have some great deals on older steel bikes all the time.

  4. #4
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    I've ridden a lot of long randonnees on steel frames with fairly relaxed angles and generous fork rake. Good gloves, shoes and/or bar padding will help, as will a saddle you really get along with. Spend the time and money, if necessary, to ensure the best position on the bike, even if this means going to the trouble and expense of custom fitting.

    Compared with the kind of frame you might look at for criteriums or short time trials, my Randonnee bike looks like a tourer; there's a good reason for that,- you ain't going far if you can't sit comfortably. If you've had problems with your joints (and they were caused or exacerbated by riding the bike?)you might wish to follow a similar path, rather than adapting a stiff race frame, say,- then having to buy all kinds of gadgets to make it more comfortable.

    You already know that weight is a red herring. I could skim bits off the weight of my bike, at the risk of decreased durability but when you are riding all day- or all weekend- you need to carry stuff and most importantly, you need to cushion your body somewhat.

  5. #5
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    Don't get suckered into buying a Trek 1000c or 1200c. It's an OK bike, but most of the components that make it a "comfort road bike" are sitting on my workbench or bolted onto other bikes, most notably the suspension seatpost.

    You might try the Giant OCR 3 -- similar geometry to my Trek except that you don't pay extra for stuff that you won't really need.

    The most important thing is that the bike fits you. Find a shop that will let you take it for a long test ride.

  6. #6
    Senior Member skydive69's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aikigreg
    Be nice to the newbie. I got back into cycling last year with a hybrid comfort bike, since I have some joint issues (wrist and ankles especially) that caused me mucho pain on my old mountain bike.

    Now I've lost weight, added muscle, and seem to have strengthened my joints a little, and want to get onto a much faster bike I can ride for leisure and triathlons and centuries.

    I've done a lot of searching on here and can't seem to find an appropriate thread, so I though I'd ask for ideas on what kind of road bike might fit me. I';m a 6'1" 230 pound rider. Weight is not as critical as comfort, so I'm looking for bikes with some sort of vibration dampening geometry or whatever I can find to make my ride more comfy. All help appreciated.
    Be sure to test ride a Specialized Sequoia - incredible comfort, and I was cranking down my street the other day on mine at 33.7 mph. Now for super performance and great comfort, but more aggressive geometry than the Sequoia - the Specialized Roubaix rules!
    www.brokennecktobrokenrecords.com

  7. #7
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    Welcome Aiki.

  8. #8
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    230lbs, aluminum will be fine as well, so long as you dont go with ultralight stuff.

    I weigh 230, and am 5'8"...and my Motobecane Vent Noir (7005al, and pretty light at that) puts up with me just fine.

    However for comfort, the handlebars should be about seat height if possible. My bike is not a comfort model, the bars being significantly below the seat...I bought it originally as a weekend rocket, which became my commuter since I moved. Nice bike, but it's a bit harsh on my bakc sometimes due to teh bars being so low....so try to keep those bars at about seat level.

    On a roadie, large saddles are actually less comfortable if they restrict leg movement...figure out what works for you, this is one part where fit is totally personal.

    And handlebar angle....dropbars are crazy like that...where your brake levers sit and the angle of your bars can make a big difference in comfort, so if you can, get the LBS to let you do a few test runs with your bike with "naked" bars before getting it wrapped, to be sure it's about right.

  9. #9
    Senior Member LordOpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kristofferson
    If you wanted super comfortability you could buy a gel seat, then put a gel seat covers over the seat itself.
    I see where you're going with this... put as much weight as possible on the butt and off the hands and feet since Greg has ankle and wrist issues. However, with all that "padding", he'll probably wind up cutting into nerves and blood causing seriously painful numbing.


    Greg, if there's a good and reputable shop near you, just fork over the extra money for quality service. Tell them your problems and needs and let them help you buy the right bike, then fit it for YOU. You'll want the bike adjusted in such a way that you'll put the weight on your bottom, but they'll (hopefully) help you choose the right saddle and shorts so that your butt is positioned correctly on a semi-firm saddle... don't want that numbing effect.

    Did/do you study Aikido/Aiki-jutsu? I could easily imagine why you have wrist issues if you did.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by aikigreg
    Be nice to the newbie. I got back into cycling last year with a hybrid comfort bike, since I have some joint issues (wrist and ankles especially) that caused me mucho pain on my old mountain bike.

    Now I've lost weight, added muscle, and seem to have strengthened my joints a little, and want to get onto a much faster bike I can ride for leisure and triathlons and centuries.

    I've done a lot of searching on here and can't seem to find an appropriate thread, so I though I'd ask for ideas on what kind of road bike might fit me. I';m a 6'1" 230 pound rider. Weight is not as critical as comfort, so I'm looking for bikes with some sort of vibration dampening geometry or whatever I can find to make my ride more comfy. All help appreciated.
    I say wide handlebars are really nice. Definitely try some 46cm bars (measure center-to center)....44 cm OK too.

    Anyway, the wide bars make using the drops more comfortable and the hoods more comfortable still.

  11. #11
    Senior Member NYCommuter's Avatar
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    You should look into the Roubaix line from Specialized. I own the Elite and have nothing but great things to say about it.
    Like you I went from MTB to hybrid, lost weight and am now riding a road bike (and a fixie) without the pain. I am now 6Ft4 and 220.
    I can really tell that the Roubaix is doing a fine job at smoothing up the ride; when I ride the track bike, I feel everything going up my spine, but on the roubaix... not a thing.
    Good luck and welcome.
    O.

  12. #12
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    Any bike can be improved in the comfort department by adding fat 32mm tires (or 28mm on "modern" designs too narrow for a 32mm tire), by adding gel tape to the bars, by getting a saddle as wide as your rear (NOT the saddle that comes with most new road bikes) and by getting a proper fit that leaves you with a good "front to back" weight balance on the bike.

    But, among road bikes, one design excels at comfort, especially for riders over 200 pounds. The classic steel frame and steel fork "loaded" touring bike. One with 18 inch chainstays, a 42 inch plus wheelbase, and 32mm or larger tires. REAL touring bikes have rims and hubs designed to stay true on rough roads and under heavy loads.

    Although such bikes were easy to find from about 1980 to 1986, today, a true touring bike with steel frame and fork is harder to find. The only one stocked "everyday" in my neighborhood is the Trek 520. A Fuji dealer might be willing to special order a Fuji Tourer, which lists for much less than the Trek 520.

    In a saner world, most riders who do NOT race would have a touring bike in their stable of bikes. A bike designed for "loaded" touring can handle a wide range of tires, loads, and roads. The take-over of the road bike market by "pretend" racing bikes is tragic.

    The notion that millions of everyday riders should be limited to "clones" of the bikes used for the Tour de France has turned OFF countless people to the enjoyment that comes from riding a road bike that matches both the size and the needs of the individual rider.

    For example, the 2005 Cannondale catalog has 24 models of "pretend" racing bikes (bikes no Pro would ride unless someone put a *** to his head) and just TWO touring bikes (one of which lacks the braze-ons for front saddlebags).

  13. #13
    Senior Member FLBandit's Avatar
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    I have a Lemond Buenos Aires and I find it very comfortable. It's a steel spine with carbon cockpit. I swapped the saddle for a selle italia flite, and I'm good to go. I also have my bars a bit higher than most and that helps. The biggest thing is get one that fits you properly. You can always change a few things later.

    BTW, I've also heard good things about the Roubaix mentioned earlier.
    I wanna ride!
    '90ish Giant Perigee

  14. #14
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    I think comfort starts with a good saddle...fizik airone.
    fogriderlooking for sun

  15. #15
    Recumbent Ninja
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    Thanks for all the responses so far. To answer some questions, my wirst/ankle weakness is a genetic thing and not caused by biking or my sports. I've studied Aikido for the past 12 years, but I am on idefinate hiatus at the moment when I accepted a job as a wrestling coach.

    I definately can relate to saddles being important to the ride, and have some idea what makes me comfortable there - mostly I'm simply trying to minimize shock/fatigue to my wrists, so I suppose that more than anything else, I'm looking for bike geometry that gives me less of a steep angle than the majority of road bikes. I definately plan to get good gloves and gel grips. If a touring bike is a good start, I'll give it a shot, although I'm not really needing to put much accessories on it. Mostly the idea is to race triathlons with it.

    I definately need to find a good bike shop. The one I bought my last bike from was horrible in the fitting and model slection department.

    Thanks for the welcome. I'll be spending some serious time here!

  16. #16
    Recumbent Ninja
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    That Roubaix wuold be awesome if it were in my price range. I'm thinking sub 1000. Might be I can find the low end on sale or someting, but it seems exactly what I was looking for. Geometry changes and vibration dampening built into the frame.

  17. #17
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    if you want to race triathalons, maybe you should look into a tri bike. I think many of the bar options allow you to practically lay down on the bars.

  18. #18
    Made in Norway Lectron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 53-11 alltheway
    I say wide handlebars are really nice. Definitely try some 46cm bars (measure center-to center)....44 cm OK too.

    Anyway, the wide bars make using the drops more comfortable and the hoods more comfortable still.
    Because you find it comfortable, does not make it a fact. The bars on my CX are 50 cm and that's good for the control, but comfortable ? No way. Not for a long rides anyway.
    You should be more careful. It's a new guy asking questions. He may take you serious.

    Click on the left bike in my signature and see what i mean with a comfortable bike.
    The right bike is stiff as ...., and everything else than comfortable but has a 50cm handlebar.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude
    Weight weenieness is a disease very often caused by the lack of good results. Just a few steps below doping in terms of desperation

  19. #19
    gentleman of leisure boze's Avatar
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    sub $1000 is not the best budget - with that budget you'll get way more comfort for you money buying used if you can do the necessary research so that you make the right decision when it comes to getting a bike that's the right size and fits you well.

    i'm another big advocate of steel frames. i think the Jamis Quest would be a good choice - with the stem turned up if the angle puts too much weight on your wrists at first. it'll run $1300 new but it's a sensible mix of quality stuff at a price that isn't affected by the brand name. you can only get cheap alum or mixed material bikes new for under a grand (stinks but it's true) and these won't be as comfortable as a nice steel frame.

    this summer i helped four different people get new bikes. 3 out of 4 got steel and 3 out of four used eBay and all are pretty well satisfied. the reason for not buying from an LBS was always the same: not comfortable spending over $1k for a first road bike and the ones for under that were poorer quality and less comfortable compared to what they ended up with shopping online.

    but while you can get a bunch of great choices used - like on eBay or craigslist - this requires that you put your time in test riding bikes so that you can learn for sure which size fits you best in which brands. i will typically illicit one reponse to the tune of "you jerk, you shouldn't use those poor LBS people for test rides and then not buy there!" but as you'll recall these were all friends of mine i was helping and it's not like i wanted to see them on a cheap alum frame with a Sora group for $800+tax and it's not like they were trying to spend $1500 to get a Bianchi Vigorelli or even $1250 for a Bianchi Imola. This reinforces my point by the way - those bikes are comfortably out of reach of somebody thinking "under a grand" and that's practically everybody when it comes to first-timers. another good choice in the $1200 range is the Lemond Croix de Fer.

    lastly, become aware that top tube length is important. make a list of how long the TT is on the bikes you ride and how it felt to you when properly fitted. and notice if the bikes you're riding are measured center-to-center (c-c) or center-to-top (c-t) as this makes for a 1cm or so difference.

    oh, and consider getting a triple if you live near any significant hills - esp if you have joint trouble.

    good luck!

  20. #20
    lowracer ninja master lowracer1's Avatar
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    If you want something for the road that is actually faster than a road bike and way more comfortable, do some research on the lowracer style recumbents. You won't have any issues whatsoever with wrist, back, or bottom end pain. 100 mile rides and no pain plus you get from point A to B a little quicker.

    here are some pictures of some lowracers.

    http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=9614

    http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=6996

    http://www.biketcba.org/TRICORR/members/jfoltz.html

    http://www.biketcba.org/TRICORR/members/cevans.html

    http://www.biketcba.org/TRICORR/members/donsmith.html

    http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=5009

    http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=4349

    http://groups.msn.com/BicyclingForum...o&PhotoID=4348


    Don Smith is not a very fast rider on a road bike........ has done a century in 6 hours on his road bike and that was the best he could do solo. Same course with the lowracer and he did it in 4 hours 30 minutes...........no drafting.
    Last edited by lowracer1; 01-03-05 at 06:18 PM.
    chris@promocycle.net

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  22. #22
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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  23. #23
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    Also look at
    Le Mond Big sky
    Specialized Sequoia.

    They have a slightly different geometry and are a really good compromise of comfort and speed.

    bakhurts

  24. #24
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    I can personally vouch for two comfortable bikes; the steel Trek 520 touring bike and the Titanium Airborne Carpe Diem cyclocross/Audax/Credit card tourer as Airborne calls it. Flaneur has already mentioned Randonnees; Audax is about the same thing where you need a bike you can ride for up to 90 hours at a time. Both bikes will have no problem supporting your weight and extra gear. They both have attachments for a rack and fenders which are often part of the comfort thing for me.

    Forget the wide tires mentioned. They are not needed with a good frame/fork design. They also have way to much air drag if you ride above 12 mph or so and not to mention head winds. Both bikes can fit wider tires, but I'd go with something like 28 mm rear and 25 mm front maybe both at 25 mm.

    I put together a Carpe Diem last summer. Very comfortable and very sporty. At http://www.geocities.com/cycleacrossusa/ you'll find a 3000 mile trip diary where a rider used a Carpe Diem. The daily average was 119 miles which is possibly a good indicator that the bike will be suitable enough for those triathlons and centuries. The Trek would be too slow for the triathlons I think.

    Al

  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by skydive69
    Be sure to test ride a Specialized Sequoia - incredible comfort, and I was cranking down my street the other day on mine at 33.7 mph. Now for super performance and great comfort, but more aggressive geometry than the Sequoia - the Specialized Roubaix rules!
    One nice thing about the Sequoia is the adjustable stem -- you can change the angle just by loosening a bolt, which makes it easy to experiment and get the fit right.
    I also found the bars very comfortable, but that's more a matter of personal preference.

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