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What are some ways to make a road bike more comfortable on long/rough rides?

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What are some ways to make a road bike more comfortable on long/rough rides?

Old 08-11-14, 10:50 AM
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What are some ways to make a road bike more comfortable on long/rough rides?

I've got a 2013 Specialized Secteur Expert Disc:

Specialized Bicycle Components

------------------------------------
In 2013, it was spec'ed like this:

All New, A1 Premium Aluminum disc specific road frame with smooth welds, features OSBB, increased tire clearance, and endurance geomentry to ride fast comfortably, and confidently anywhere

All-new FACT carbon disc specific fork with tapered steerer provides ampel tire clearance and the best balance of strength, stiffness, and compliance for a confident ride

Durable Axis CXD wheelset designed for disc with wide rim for tire volume and contact, plus sealed cartridge bearing hub; fitted with fast-rolling Specialized Roubaix Pro tires for a supple ride

Specialized Comp shallow drop alloy bar for serious performance; wrapped with non-slip Specialized Roubaix tape for vibration-damping

New Specialized Pro Pavé FACT carbon seatpost balances stiffness and efficiency with the vibration-minimizing benefits of Zertz technology

Tires: Specialized Roubaix Pro, 120TPI, aramid bead, 700x25/28c

-------------------------------
In 2014, they changed a few things that seemed to be aimed at more comfort:

E5 Premium Aluminum disc frame with Zertz inserts, OSBB, and ample tire clearance provides a lightweight, confident, compliant ride for any adventure

Tires: Specialized Espoir Sport, 60TPI, wire bead, double BlackBelt protection, 700x30c

------------------------------------
I really like the feel, performance and speed of my Sectuer as it stands today on smoother roads. I'm trying to figure out how to make my 2013 spec'ed Secteur more comfortable on 30+ mile rides on really beat up (broken chipseal asphalt, large cracks, multiple unavoidable pot holes, some loose gravel) country roads.

I'm thinking bigger tires. If that makes sense, any recommendations?

Specialized supposedly has a new "Cobble Gobbler" seat post coming out that's supposed to be something. Could that be an improvement?

Or so I need to move to a different bike (Domane 4.x, Roubaix, steel frames) to see substantial improvement?

I'd like to end up with a fast bike that is comfortable on long rides and can handle running through a patch of gravel now and then without me having to worry about wiping out.

What do you suggest? Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-11-14, 11:04 AM
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Yes, if you have the clearances, bigger tyres at lower pressures will help. Not too low on the pressures, though, if you're hitting "unavoidable" potholes. And really, I'm not sure I'd notice much difference between a 28mm and 30mm tyre. If wiping out on gravel is your concern, put cyclocross tyres on.

Dunno about the "cobble gobbler", but if they're marketing it as a more compliant seatpost it might be worth a look. I wouldn't want a suspension seatpost on a road bike, though, if that's what it is.

Wrapping the bars with gel tape under the bar tape will help with hands. Alternatively, LizardSkin bar tape is very forgiving.

You've already got a carbon fork. That being so, I wouldn't bet on a change of frame material making you much more comfortable in itself.
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Old 08-11-14, 11:08 AM
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How much do you weigh and how much air do you run in your tires?

As far as frame material. I went from aluminum to Columbus steel and the ride is noticeably better. My Steel Wabi weighs just under 19 lbs and is every bit as spirited a ride as my aluminum bike was. I don't ride gravel with it but I do hit a tough section of chip seal and it's not a problem.
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Old 08-11-14, 11:14 AM
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I think the bottom line is that rough roads will always feel rough, but a Roubaix will have a nicer ride over those rough roads than your secteur. Is it enough to justify the expense? Hard to say. My new(er) roubaix rides over chipseal better and faster than my old roubaix did and 25mm tires were an improvement over 23mm tires, but mostly because I'm able to ride them 10 psi softer with no risk of pinch flats.
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Old 08-11-14, 11:16 AM
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The next logical upgrade seems to be Roubiax for you, add carbon bars and you will be opening up a whole different level of comfort. I would be surprised if you can go any larger than 28mm tires on either the Sectuer or Roubiax due to frame clearance issues, assuming you stay with disc brakes.
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Old 08-11-14, 11:40 AM
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After the suggestions above, just put in lots of miles and let your body get used to it.
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Old 08-11-14, 11:41 AM
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you could swap to 650 b rims
and long reach brakes
and fatter tires
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Old 08-11-14, 11:45 AM
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instead of Roubaix get the Trek Domane. I have both and there is no comparison for comfort.
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Old 08-11-14, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by bbeasley
How much do you weigh and how much air do you run in your tires?
265lbs and I run max air at 95lbs.
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Old 08-11-14, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by mtalinm
instead of Roubaix get the Trek Domane. I have both and there is no comparison for comfort.
What are the pros and cons of each?
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Old 08-11-14, 12:15 PM
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The CG-R Seatpost coming on a lot of the Specialized bikes make a big difference for me. My new 2015 Roubaix came with it, and I picked up one for my 2012 Crux. My Roubaix is very smooth and forgiving of harsh surfaces.

Specialized Bicycle Components
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Old 08-11-14, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mtalinm
instead of Roubaix get the Trek Domane. I have had both and there is no comparison for comfort to me.
FIFY
Thought I read you sold all your Specialized out of protest.
Good to know there are other bikes that soak up the buzz of chip seal.
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Old 08-11-14, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by gforeman
The CG-R Seatpost coming on a lot of the Specialized bikes make a big difference for me. My new 2015 Roubaix came with it, and I picked up one for my 2012 Crux. My Roubaix is very smooth and forgiving of harsh surfaces.

Specialized Bicycle Components
I rode a Crux the other day and it seemed nice. Not a ton different from my Secteur it seemed. Can you talk about the differences you've found in you Crux and Roubaix?
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Old 08-11-14, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Jarrett2
I rode a Crux the other day and it seemed nice. Not a ton different from my Secteur it seemed. Can you talk about the differences you've found in you Crux and Roubaix?
Crux is aluminum. Stiffer/heavier. Ride is fairly smooth, as I have 38 size road tires. The Roubaix seems to soak up the road. Groupset is much nicer on the Roubaix (Ultegra). Gearing is lower on the Crux.

I like the crux when I go to the beach, flatter roads, but usually with some sand on them. I like the bigger tires on the crux for this reason. They each have their purpose. The Roubaix is much faster for sure.

I had a Trek Modane 3.1. No comparison with the Roubaix, but then, the Roubaix was almost twice as much. I've had two Trek's and now to Specialized, I like the Specialized better, but that's just me.
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Old 08-11-14, 01:07 PM
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suspended seatpost ? the carbon one is not rider weight adjustable is it ? Cane Creek's are.. though 265 may be a bit past the range
the densest optional elastomer in them IDK Id ask the company directly ..

Domane and Crocket use the elastic junction of seat tube & chainstays/top tube specialized seems to put theirs in the seat stay and fork
Crocket is able to take wider tires..

Specialized dealer is is in a separate town, here.

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-11-14 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 08-11-14, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
suspended seatpost ? the carbon one is not rider weight adjustable is it ? Cane Creek's are.. though 265 may be a bit past the range
the densest optional elastomer in them IDK Id ask the company directly ..

Domane and Crocket use the elastic junction of seat tube & chainstays/top tube specialized seems to put theirs in the seat stay and fork
Crocket is able to take wider tires..

Specialized dealer is is in a separate town, here.
They're not suspended, per se. it looks like hey attempt to get rid of some buzz with some funky looking tubing - see pic (not mine)
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Old 08-11-14, 01:32 PM
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Buy a Moulton, instead?
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Old 08-11-14, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by gforeman
The CG-R Seatpost coming on a lot of the Specialized bikes make a big difference for me. My new 2015 Roubaix came with it, and I picked up one for my 2012 Crux. My Roubaix is very smooth and forgiving of harsh surfaces.

Specialized Bicycle Components
I would get one of these in a split moment if I hadn't already "fixed" smoothing out rough roads. Three things seem to really help my frames, 1.) bigger tires, (I went from 23s to 25s, and on one bike, 28s); 2.) putting gel inserts under bar tape, (Bontrager sells a set for twenty bucks); and 3.) double bar tape. The biggest difference was going to bigger tires.

On my bars, I first tape my cables exactly where I want them to run, then put those Bontrager gel pads on top of the naked bar, then wrap the bar with old-fashioned cloth tape, finally wrapped with thick, synthetic bar tape. I'm partial to Deda tape, but also got a good deal on some Bianchi tape, which seems to work as well. The cloth tape is pretty thin, but serves to hold down the cables and gel pads. It always stays on the bars, never to be removed unless I'm fiddling with the position of the shifters. The outer Deda tape is pretty thick and gets changed about once a year, maybe twice, (White tape).

Forgot to mention, if you don't use a set, a good pair of gel gloves will also help.
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Old 08-11-14, 04:12 PM
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Some folks are saying tubeless rides smoother too due to more tire volume ? Not sure on 2013 but some 2014 bikes I have looked at were billed as tubeless ready if memory is not tricking me :-)
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Old 08-11-14, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Willbird
Some folks are saying tubeless rides smoother too due to more tire volume ? Not sure on 2013 but some 2014 bikes I have looked at were billed as tubeless ready if memory is not tricking me :-)
I think you're thinking tubular, not tubeless. The latest rage in wheel design is to use wider rims (23mm) in an attempt to approximate the larger volume of air in a tubular tire but in a regular clincher.
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Old 08-11-14, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
I think you're thinking tubular, not tubeless. The latest rage in wheel design is to use wider rims (23mm) in an attempt to approximate the larger volume of air in a tubular tire but in a regular clincher.
No I am thinking tubeless :-), you can also supposedly run a lower pressure because no tube = no pinch flats :-). The tube thickness takes up some volume too.....so in theory a tubeless tire has a larger volume of air in it than the same tire with a tube in it.

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Old 08-11-14, 11:14 PM
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You know, right after I posted that, I saw another thread talking about the comfort benefits of tubeless. So you're right.
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Old 08-11-14, 11:37 PM
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+1 on tubelesse tires, which I've been using for a few years for long distances. Way better than anything else. Less flats and 10-15 PSI lower pressure on 25cc so big difference in comfort, but you'll need new wheels.

Without changing the frame, next thing I'd do has already been suggested and will make a noticeable impact: carbon bar.
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Old 08-12-14, 07:39 AM
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I didn't see it above but for me the most important thing for comfortable long rides is a proper fit ( not necessarily professional but just small adjustments to tune it to my body). I can ride 20 miles on anything but after that if the seat and bar position are not dialed in it gets uncomfortable quickly. Anytime I get a new bike it takes me about 10 rides to get everything dialed in to where I like it. Once its there I never have any issues whether its 30 miles or 70 miles.
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Old 08-12-14, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
You know, right after I posted that, I saw another thread talking about the comfort benefits of tubeless. So you're right.
Well my memory DOES play tricks on me :-).....but I just pictured a tube, the volume it would take up even if you vacuum sealed it in a bag with no air, and the mental picture was of quite a few CC's of displacement :-).

The 2014 Felt Z85 I am looking at is tubeless ready :-).EDIT: maybe not on the 2014, it looks like they have the webpage screwed up :-).

  • Rims:
    Felt Road RSL3 (tubeless ready), 22mm width, 24mm depth

Last edited by Willbird; 08-12-14 at 09:49 AM.
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