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Road Bike for about to turn unfit 50 year old?

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Road Bike for about to turn unfit 50 year old?

Old 03-26-20, 03:54 PM
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shed
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Road Bike for about to turn unfit 50 year old?

Requirements:
1) Good for 20-60 mile casual road rides (up to rolling hills, probably not mountainous)
2) Step change in performance from my Hybrid Trek DS3
3) Comfortable
4) Disc Brakes
5) Can withstand some rough and tumble bad roads without puncturing, hurting me, or requiring a ton of maintenance

About me
1. Overweight unfit 49 year old (50 in less than 2 weeks time)
2. Only averages about 10mph typically on my DS3
3. 5'8" though slightly longer legs for my height
4. Bikes about 3 times a month on weekends. Mostly on own and some of those casual 50K untimed rides that cities have.
5. Price: <$2,000
6, Looking to improve, but probably not step change.

Not sure what I should look at:
Candiates from online research: Specialized Roubaix, Trek Domane SL5, Specialized Allez.

Really looking to narrow to 3-5 that I should test drive.

Thank you ever so much in advance.
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Old 03-26-20, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by shed View Post
Requirements:
1) Good for 20-60 mile casual road rides (up to rolling hills, probably not mountainous)
2) Step change in performance from my Hybrid Trek DS3
3) Comfortable
4) Disc Brakes
5) Can withstand some rough and tumble bad roads without puncturing, hurting me, or requiring a ton of maintenance

About me
1. Overweight unfit 49 year old (50 in less than 2 weeks time)
2. Only averages about 10mph typically on my DS3
3. 5'8" though slightly longer legs for my height
4. Bikes about 3 times a month on weekends. Mostly on own and some of those casual 50K untimed rides that cities have.
5. Price: <$2,000
6, Looking to improve, but probably not step change.

Not sure what I should look at:
Candiates from online research: Specialized Roubaix, Trek Domane SL5, Specialized Allez.

Really looking to narrow to 3-5 that I should test drive.

Thank you ever so much in advance.
1) Good for 20-60 mile casual road rides (up to rolling hills, probably not mountainous)
Well, just about any road bike should work. Go for one with a more upright geometry rather than a true racing machine.
2) Step change in performance from my Hybrid Trek DS3
Not sure what you mean by step change. Any road bike will seem faster than a hybrid, but you are the motor so don't expect miracles.
3) Comfortable
Again, look for models with comfort features such as somewhat more upright geometry, rather than true racing machines.
4) Disc Brakes
Lots of models have disc brakes,but may I ask why it is a requirement for you?
5) Can withstand some rough and tumble bad roads without puncturing, hurting me, or requiring a ton of maintenance
Punctures are a fact of life, but selection of tires really comes into play here. That said, performance and puncture resistance are on opposite ends of the spectrum. You have to decide what mix of puncture resistance you want vs. performance.
As for maintenance, all bikes require some maintenance, and you should learn how to do basic stuff, like clean a chain, and change a flat, lube pivot points, etc.
..

About me

1. Overweight unfit 49 year old (50 in less than 2 weeks time)
Welcome to your 50s. It isn't all that bad. How overweight are you? I ask because some road bikes do have weight restrictions.
2. Only averages about 10mph typically on my DS3
The good news is, you might be a bit faster on a road bike. But don't expect miracles. The way to get faster is to train harder and ride more, and finally, lose weight
3. 5'8" though slightly longer legs for my height
OK, pretty average size,which is a good thing as you will find it easier to find bikes in stock to test ride.
4. Bikes about 3 times a month on weekends. Mostly on own and some of those casual 50K untimed rides that cities have.
If you want to get faster, you probably should train more.
5. Price: <$2,000
Depending on your weight, put some of your budget into wheels. The stock wheels on these bikes can sometimes be a weak point. I used to weigh more, but I am current 250 lbs and I have hand built touring wheels as the stock wheels on my bike started to give me trouble after a couple of seasons.
6, Looking to improve, but probably not step change.
Train, train, train. And focus on your diet. It makes no sense to try to train, then eat junk food.

You have an idea of what you are looking for. The major brands all have a bike with endurance or comfort geometry. As do many niche brands. Good luck.
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Old 03-26-20, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
1) Good for 20-60 mile casual road rides (up to rolling hills, probably not mountainous)
Well, just about any road bike should work. Go for one with a more upright geometry rather than a true racing machine.
2) Step change in performance from my Hybrid Trek DS3
Not sure what you mean by step change. Any road bike will seem faster than a hybrid, but you are the motor so don't expect miracles.
3) Comfortable
Again, look for models with comfort features such as somewhat more upright geometry, rather than true racing machines.
4) Disc Brakes
Lots of models have disc brakes,but may I ask why it is a requirement for you?
5) Can withstand some rough and tumble bad roads without puncturing, hurting me, or requiring a ton of maintenance
Punctures are a fact of life, but selection of tires really comes into play here. That said, performance and puncture resistance are on opposite ends of the spectrum. You have to decide what mix of puncture resistance you want vs. performance.
As for maintenance, all bikes require some maintenance, and you should learn how to do basic stuff, like clean a chain, and change a flat, lube pivot points, etc.
..

About me

1. Overweight unfit 49 year old (50 in less than 2 weeks time)
Welcome to your 50s. It isn't all that bad. How overweight are you? I ask because some road bikes do have weight restrictions.
2. Only averages about 10mph typically on my DS3
The good news is, you might be a bit faster on a road bike. But don't expect miracles. The way to get faster is to train harder and ride more, and finally, lose weight
3. 5'8" though slightly longer legs for my height
OK, pretty average size,which is a good thing as you will find it easier to find bikes in stock to test ride.
4. Bikes about 3 times a month on weekends. Mostly on own and some of those casual 50K untimed rides that cities have.
If you want to get faster, you probably should train more.
5. Price: <$2,000
Depending on your weight, put some of your budget into wheels. The stock wheels on these bikes can sometimes be a weak point. I used to weigh more, but I am current 250 lbs and I have hand built touring wheels as the stock wheels on my bike started to give me trouble after a couple of seasons.
6, Looking to improve, but probably not step change.
Train, train, train. And focus on your diet. It makes no sense to try to train, then eat junk food.

You have an idea of what you are looking for. The major brands all have a bike with endurance or comfort geometry. As do many niche brands. Good luck.
Wow, thank you for such a detailed reply:

1) Weight is 220lb; all your points on fitness and training are completely legit; I'm definitely also doing it because I enjoy cycling.
2) Disc Brakes because I've found on my last two bikes they require so much less adjusting than regular brakes, and they also seem to perform better to me

Thanks again.
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Old 03-26-20, 05:39 PM
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I'd say you're looking at something like a gravel bike. Which is to say, more or less a road bike but with some slight differences people think are important enough to invent an entirely new class out of them.

The reason I say this is that a gravel bike will definitely support wider tires, and from your description I'd recommend that you ride wider tires. Not true "gravel" wide, mind you, but something like 32mm, which is wide enough to be way more comfortable than typical 25mm or even 28mm tires on a road bike, but not so wide that it starts to hinder performance. A road bike with room in the fork and chainstays/seatstays for a 32mm tire will be a dream to ride on, and since you mentioned roads in bad condition, a tire that dampens road feel like this will be a blessing. I ride a very lightweight, high performance 32mm tire on my road bike, and it really is a dream to ride on, and I lost no performance at all upgrading to that size from 25 or 28mm.

I've got no argument against the disc brakes. My latest bike has disc brakes too and I love them. I've already owned my last bike ever with rim brakes. No going back. I 100% concur with the idea of your bike having the more upright stance as opposed to an extremely aggressive racing bike.
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Old 03-26-20, 06:02 PM
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Trek Domane SL4, or SL5 if you can stretch the budget. The 2020 models can take decently wide tires, which will also help.


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Old 03-26-20, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by SethAZ View Post
I'd say you're looking at something like a gravel bike. Which is to say, more or less a road bike but with some slight differences people think are important enough to invent an entirely new class out of them.

The reason I say this is that a gravel bike will definitely support wider tires, and from your description I'd recommend that you ride wider tires. Not true "gravel" wide, mind you, but something like 32mm, which is wide enough to be way more comfortable than typical 25mm or even 28mm tires on a road bike, but not so wide that it starts to hinder performance. A road bike with room in the fork and chainstays/seatstays for a 32mm tire will be a dream to ride on, and since you mentioned roads in bad condition, a tire that dampens road feel like this will be a blessing. I ride a very lightweight, high performance 32mm tire on my road bike, and it really is a dream to ride on, and I lost no performance at all upgrading to that size from 25 or 28mm.

I've got no argument against the disc brakes. My latest bike has disc brakes too and I love them. I've already owned my last bike ever with rim brakes. No going back. I 100% concur with the idea of your bike having the more upright stance as opposed to an extremely aggressive racing bike.
I used to go with 32 mm tires, but I switched to 28 on my bike, and haven't really noticed any degradation in ride quality. It was sort of an accident. I kept getting flats in my front tire and looked for the cause, couldn't find it. So I had a pair of 28s I got a good deal on that I was saving for my wife's bike, but on the spur of the moment, I put them on my bike.
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Old 03-26-20, 10:07 PM
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Giatn AR1 might be worth a look-see: https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/contend-ar-1-2020
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Old 03-26-20, 10:07 PM
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I bought a Topstone alloy 105 and I am 190 lbs and 71 years old. I have no desire to go off roading but the gravel geometry is very comfortable but yet fast. The Cannondale frame fits me but i would echo a remark made earlier and that is look into a gravel bike and I think you will be able to check off most of your needs. Tires are 37mm that I run at 45lbs. They roll fast and absorb a considerable amount of road vibration along with the full carbon fork. there are many good bikes of this type and price range that might be right for you.
Frank.

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Old 03-26-20, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
I used to go with 32 mm tires, but I switched to 28 on my bike, and haven't really noticed any degradation in ride quality. It was sort of an accident. I kept getting flats in my front tire and looked for the cause, couldn't find it. So I had a pair of 28s I got a good deal on that I was saving for my wife's bike, but on the spur of the moment, I put them on my bike.
I hear ya. A lot's going to depend on the specific tire brands, plus 32mm is just one increment up from 28, just like 28mm is one increment up from 25, so a change from one step to the next probably won't be as noticeable as a change of two steps. Before I got my Lynskey and put the 32mm tires on it I had been riding my old Trek from the early 2000s. The rear had enough room for 28mm GP4K tires, so that's what I had on the rear, but the fork could only fit a 25mm, so I had 28 in the rear and 25mm up front. The jump to 32mm was therefore pretty dramatic for me.

I also use an extremely good, and not cheap 32mm tire, namely the Compass (now Rene Herse) Stampede Pass tire with the extra light casing version. It weighs just a tad more than a current 28mm GP5K, is very supple, and riding at 90psi rear 85psi front it just feels fantastic compared to my old setup. I only ride those tires at max pressure because I'm a very heavy cyclist. A conventional lighter cyclist could ride them at lower pressures and be fine. There's a stretch of road that's on most of my cycling routes that's awful and getting worse and worse every year. With my old bike and 25/28 tire combo I had to slow down while riding over that terrible road surface. When I went with my current 32mm setup and bike I found I could ride at my full speed over it. I feel the bumps, cracks, etc., but I can still ride over it at full speed (18-20mph).
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Old 03-26-20, 10:53 PM
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I can recommend the Roubaix. Most comfortable bike I have ever owned and handles rough roads well. Gravel Diverge with future shock if really rough as you can put on wider tires than the Roubaix.

Might also want to look at Giant.

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Old 03-27-20, 08:56 AM
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Helderberg, The Topstone is one of my favorite bikes out there. Good suggestion.
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Old 03-27-20, 09:31 AM
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A Giant Defy or a Roubaix would be good choice on the speedy race type bike. But It seems you may be more into a versatile exercise oriented bike. Although it’s a bit unusual, I like this steel Mercier Save up to 60% off new Mercier Singlespeed Track Bikes - Kilo GX R20 - Save Up To 60% Off Brand new Bicycles . It is definitely no racing bike but it should provide a comfortable bike capable of rough gravel roads and even a few trails. But you have to get a bike that fits you so do your research and sit on a lot of bikes.
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Old 03-27-20, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by SethAZ View Post
I hear ya. A lot's going to depend on the specific tire brands, plus 32mm is just one increment up from 28, just like 28mm is one increment up from 25, so a change from one step to the next probably won't be as noticeable as a change of two steps. Before I got my Lynskey and put the 32mm tires on it I had been riding my old Trek from the early 2000s. The rear had enough room for 28mm GP4K tires, so that's what I had on the rear, but the fork could only fit a 25mm, so I had 28 in the rear and 25mm up front. The jump to 32mm was therefore pretty dramatic for me.

I also use an extremely good, and not cheap 32mm tire, namely the Compass (now Rene Herse) Stampede Pass tire with the extra light casing version. It weighs just a tad more than a current 28mm GP5K, is very supple, and riding at 90psi rear 85psi front it just feels fantastic compared to my old setup. I only ride those tires at max pressure because I'm a very heavy cyclist. A conventional lighter cyclist could ride them at lower pressures and be fine. There's a stretch of road that's on most of my cycling routes that's awful and getting worse and worse every year. With my old bike and 25/28 tire combo I had to slow down while riding over that terrible road surface. When I went with my current 32mm setup and bike I found I could ride at my full speed over it. I feel the bumps, cracks, etc., but I can still ride over it at full speed (18-20mph).
I have heard good things about that tire. In my case, I was running Panaracer Ribmo 32s for years and in general they were good, but I switched to the Continental GP4000 28 and that was actually an improvement in performance. Now I have a Bontrager AW3 Hard Case lite on the front and a Continental on the back.
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Old 03-27-20, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
I have heard good things about that tire. In my case, I was running Panaracer Ribmo 32s for years and in general they were good, but I switched to the Continental GP4000 28 and that was actually an improvement in performance. Now I have a Bontrager AW3 Hard Case lite on the front and a Continental on the back.
Yeah, it's why I carefully couched my 32mm tire talk with the qualifier that it would depend on what specific 32mm tire was being used. I've ridden some Panaracers on my old hardtail mountain bike when I was much heavier than I am now and needed a slick tire for the MTB for laying down long miles, but they weren't the RibMos, so I had to look them up. The Ribmo 32mm weighs nominally 410 grams, while a 28mm GP4K weighs 267 grams, so not only is it heavier to spin up and whatnot, that weight implies a lot more material in the tire being deformed and adding its own rolling resistance and whatnot, so it serves IMHO as a useful proxy for what kind of road feel it will have. I'd definitely assume going from a 410g tire to a 267g tire would be an improvement. By way of comparison, the 32mm Compass Stampede Pass tire with the extralight casing weighs 254 grams (lighter even than the 28mm GP4K). I've loved the GP4K tires (haven't tried GP5K yet but I will), but when I put the Compass tires on my new bike it was a move from GP4Ks specifically, and it was an upgrade. I'm really loving the tires, and have had good luck with them as far as punctures go so far (knock on wood).
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Old 03-27-20, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by SethAZ View Post
Yeah, it's why I carefully couched my 32mm tire talk with the qualifier that it would depend on what specific 32mm tire was being used. I've ridden some Panaracers on my old hardtail mountain bike when I was much heavier than I am now and needed a slick tire for the MTB for laying down long miles, but they weren't the RibMos, so I had to look them up. The Ribmo 32mm weighs nominally 410 grams, while a 28mm GP4K weighs 267 grams, so not only is it heavier to spin up and whatnot, that weight implies a lot more material in the tire being deformed and adding its own rolling resistance and whatnot, so it serves IMHO as a useful proxy for what kind of road feel it will have. I'd definitely assume going from a 410g tire to a 267g tire would be an improvement. By way of comparison, the 32mm Compass Stampede Pass tire with the extralight casing weighs 254 grams (lighter even than the 28mm GP4K). I've loved the GP4K tires (haven't tried GP5K yet but I will), but when I put the Compass tires on my new bike it was a move from GP4Ks specifically, and it was an upgrade. I'm really loving the tires, and have had good luck with them as far as punctures go so far (knock on wood).
For years, I was a believer in the Ribmos because of my size, my desire to minimize the risk of flats and the desire for durability. And I still like them but think they might be better suited to someone who uses their bike as a commuter. My wife has Panaracer Gravel King (smooth version) on her bike which she seems to like (though to be fair, she doesn't really care so long as the tires hold air) . I ride a fair bit, but not every day and not often in bad weather. The Continentals were very good tires and now because I got a deal on a Bontrager from a Trek dealer who went out of business, I will see how that tire performs. So far, so good.

Last edited by MRT2; 03-27-20 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 03-27-20, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
For years, I was a believer in the Ribmos because of my size, my desire to minimize the risk of flats and the desire for durability. And I still like them but think they might be better suited to someone who uses their bike as a commuter. My wife has Panaracer Gravel King (smooth version) on her bike which she seems to like (though to be fair, she doesn't really care so long as the tires hold air) . I ride a fair bit, but not every day and not often in bad weather. The Continentals were very good tires and now because I got a deal on a Bontrager from a Trek dealer who went out of business, I will see how that tire performs. So far, so good.
I hear ya. When I first got my Trek road bike (used) in 2012 it was a move from the hardtail MTB with very heavy and wide slick tires for road riding, and I started off with GatorSkin tires, and didn't really know the difference. I wore out several GatorSkins, so I had a pretty good idea what they felt like. After some reading and whatnot I tried the GP4K tires and was blown away by the difference in feel between them and the Gatorskins. I was off the Gatorskins permanently after that. I was worried at first that going from the tough as nails Gatorskins to a less protected tire would afflict me with endless punctures and much wailing and gnashing of teeth, but that simply hasn't been the case. Now I couldn't ride a Gatorskin if you paid me. Well, it would depend how much, but you get the point. Going to the Compass was just another step in the same direction. With the extralight version of their casing I was again apprehensive about durability and puncture resistance, but surprisingly I've had maybe 1 puncture in 1500 miles that wasn't a pinch flat (and a couple of pinch flats while experimenting with too low pressure on a very very awful road), and the treads show just a little wear after 1500ish miles. They've been great. They might not be as great for someone who rides through minefields strewn with iron caltrops and broken bottles, but on the relatively normal roads around here it hasn't been an issue. I wouldn't put them on an urban commuter, but for what I do they're the shiznit.
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Old 03-27-20, 11:49 AM
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Along the lines of what SethAZ suggested, have you thought about looking at a mountain bike? I've been riding one on the road for 25 years. All I've really done to it is switch the knobby tires to balloon-sized slick tires and it rides beautifully.

When you say "unfit," do you mean, like, "500 POUNDS" unfit, or do you just need a few weeks of cycling to get you in Superman shape? If it's the former, the extra-sturdy construction of a mountain or gravel bike will support your body better. If it's the latter, buy yourself anything you damned well please for $2k. Otherwise, once you've gotten over the initial huffing and puffing, you'll be sorry you don't have a lighter, faster bike!
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Old 03-27-20, 11:52 AM
  #18  
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I would add the Specialized Diverge Elite E5 to your list. You can probably find a 2019 for less than $1500 at some bike stores. I’ve gotten some pretty desperate e-mail the last 2 weeks from the LBS. Don’t be put off by the ‘gravel bike’ designation or wider tires, they will really soak up the bad roads and allow some back county road options and the geometry is a bit more forgiving then your options.

Elite E5
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Old 03-27-20, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
Along the lines of what SethAZ suggested, have you thought about looking at a mountain bike? I've been riding one on the road for 25 years. All I've really done to it is switch the knobby tires to balloon-sized slick tires and it rides beautifully.

When you say "unfit," do you mean, like, "500 POUNDS" unfit, or do you just need a few weeks of cycling to get you in Superman shape? If it's the former, the extra-sturdy construction of a mountain or gravel bike will support your body better. If it's the latter, buy yourself anything you damned well please for $2k. Otherwise, once you've gotten over the initial huffing and puffing, you'll be sorry you don't have a lighter, faster bike!
OP already said he is currently riding a Trek DS 3.

FWIW, IMO converting a mountain bike for street use isn't a bad idea if you already have one and funds are tight. But not ideal if you are looking to get something new and you want to ride paved surfaces.
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Old 03-27-20, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
I would add the Specialized Diverge Elite E5 to your list. You can probably find a 2019 for less than $1500 at some bike stores. Iíve gotten some pretty desperate e-mail the last 2 weeks from the LBS. Donít be put off by the Ďgravel bikeí designation or wider tires, they will really soak up the bad roads and allow some back county road options and the geometry is a bit more forgiving then your options.

Elite E5
That looks like a great bike for the OP's purposes. I know this shows how much of a philistine I must be, but I read language like "A more capable road bike wonít cut it, nor will a more road-worthy 'cross bike for that matter." in their ad copy and then when I look at it it just looks like a road bike to me, albeit a road bike with a little more room between the fork and chainstays/seatstays for larger tires. My eyes just aren't seeing the nuance here. Maybe they just mean a road bike as defined by the modern aero-bike look. <shakes head>
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Old 03-27-20, 03:19 PM
  #21  
GeneO 
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Originally Posted by SethAZ View Post
That looks like a great bike for the OP's purposes. I know this shows how much of a philistine I must be, but I read language like "A more capable road bike won’t cut it, nor will a more road-worthy 'cross bike for that matter." in their ad copy and then when I look at it it just looks like a road bike to me, albeit a road bike with a little more room between the fork and chainstays/seatstays for larger tires. My eyes just aren't seeing the nuance here. Maybe they just mean a road bike as defined by the modern aero-bike look. <shakes head>
I have both a Roubaix (futureshock) and a Diverge (non-futureshock) and the Roubaix has a much more comfortable geometry for longer rides, My 2c
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Old 03-27-20, 07:59 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
OP already said he is currently riding a Trek DS 3.

FWIW, IMO converting a mountain bike for street use isn't a bad idea if you already have one and funds are tight. But not ideal if you are looking to get something new and you want to ride paved surfaces.
Oh. So...what the heck is a Trek DS 3?
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Old 03-28-20, 07:06 AM
  #23  
MRT2
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
Oh. So...what the heck is a Trek DS 3?
DS stands for dual sport. The DS 3 is exactly what you might picture. A hybrid built for use on the street or groomed trails, even some single track.
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Old 03-28-20, 07:57 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Helderberg, The Topstone is one of my favorite bikes out there. Good suggestion.
I have a Hybrid that is set up for comfort but I have found the Topstone is just perfect for this old body. To each his own but it is worth a look in my humble opinion.
Frank.
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Old 03-28-20, 08:08 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
DS stands for dual sport. The DS 3 is exactly what you might picture. A hybrid built for use on the street or groomed trails, even some single track.
Thanks. So the geometry looks sort of like a mountain bike. I say throw some Big Apples (or another balloon tire) on it and ride away.

I guess I am guilty of the sin for which I sometimes silently judge others: the sin of not reading an entire thread before crapping out my reply.
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