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First New Bike in Decades

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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

First New Bike in Decades

Old 06-13-24, 03:44 AM
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Originally Posted by nkfrench
My primary bike is a 2020 Trek Domane SL7 with Ultegra components, 50-34t front, 11-34t back. Di2 shifting. Tires are 32, frame can accommodate 38. About a 17# bike in size 54. Cranks 172.5 in this size. I have clinchers on it, but the wheels are tubeless-ready. Itís a good bike for me. I needed a softer ride for riding on rough roads than other bikes provide, and an easier gear to manage climbs to keep my cadence over 40 rpm.

My back-up bike is a Giant set up with similar geometry, saddle, pedals. I hate riding it. Even with the carbon fork, the aluminum frame makes it a harsh ride transmitting every bump to me. I donít have an upright posture but I imagine if I did, it would be jarring to my spine. Itís heavier, negating the climbing advantages of a stiffer frame. There are trickle-down improvements in the technology - todayís 105 is likely similar to the Ultegra 10 years ago. But I hate the clunkiness of my old 105s compared to the smooth shifting with my Ultegra - especially with the Di2, and with the 2006 Dura-Ace I was spoiled by.

The gearing - more gears means smaller gaps between 2 gears. It is a big difference for me to go from my 34t granny cog to the 30t next gear up, but itís tighter in the harder gears so you can more easily maintain cadence and effort and have the ďrightĒ gear available as % gradient changes.

I really like having the Di2 current gearing transmitted witelessly to my bike computer display. With the big range in the cassette, itís otherwise hard to see if you get into the ďrightĒ gear at stops so you can get going without spinning out or having difficulty getting the pedals to turn. (On my old 10-speed it was easy - just downshift all the way). No more broken cables from shifters to derailleurs with the Di2. Battery status for the Di2 can also transmit to the bike computer and I get alerts when it gets low. Itís rechargable with a proprietary USB cable to the bar ends port.

Most road bikes sold in Fort Worth are compact doubles (50-34 front), not triples nor standard doubles (53-39 front). Some sub-compacts are around (52-36 front).

I avoid riding on unpaved surfaces but the 32 mm tires can manage hardpack/chat. Supposedly with 38mm tires it would be reasonably ok for rides on gravel.

Neither aluminum nor carbon fiber are forever materials. Aluminum will fatigue; c/f will deteriorate if left out in heat/sun most of the time (as was my 2006 Specialized Ruby). Trek does a good job designing carbon lay-ups for strength and lightness, unlike budget brands. Also, it is possible to repair many c/f breaks unlike stories of how a simple break will total the bike.

The Domane is designed to be comfortable for longer rides, as opposed to the Emondo climbing bike or the Madone stiffer racing bike.

You can put whatever kind of pedals you want on these bikes, including what you use now. You might be able to get cheap flat test pedals from the shop when you buy the bike; but otherwise supply your own.

The Domane has attachment eyelets if you want to put racks on it. I think add-on fenders too. A quick-release rear rack probably is incompatible with the seatpost.

Cost? Not cheap. Entertainment value/mile is good. Right now mine is 60 cents/mile based on bike purchase cost. I didnít have to get permission from my bank or money guy. Many people have much more expensive hobbies/pasttimes.

Please forgive any typos/auto-suggest words my phone has included in this post.
Here's an interesting article, written by a psychologist but including actual measurements of differences in vertical compliance between a titanium Lightspeed racing bike and an aluminum Cannondale racing bike, that convincingly attributes perceptions of the "harshness" of the tested aluminum bike to rider expectations, a.k.a. confirmation bias.

I've never believed that frames built with aluminum tubing differ perceptibly from steel and titanium frames in vertical compliance/harshness/comfort. As a consequence, after riding steel for 45 years, my favorite bikes have been aluminum.for the last 15.

Why? Aluminum is no more or less comfortable than steel in terms of vertical compliance, but it's superior in resisting torsional forces. I prefer the feel of a frame whose rear wheel tracks the front wheel perfectly, even when climbing out of the saddle. That attribute explains why owners of Cannondale aluminum touring bikes love them---they can be ridden out of the saddle without the annoying wallowing associated with a fully loaded steel touring frame.
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Old 06-13-24, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie
ACKCHUALLY...

Springs are made of steel because aluminum has limited fatigue life. Steel springs can be designed for.
That's one reason. Maybe that's why the 3 aluminum bikes I have owned, including a nice Dure-Ace Cannondale 600, all had stress cracks. Never saw that on my steel bikes.

Other reasons are lower elastic modulus and strength, cost, creep and even corrosion resistance. I have a 2018 Jeep Wrangler that needs to be repainted under warranty. All the aluminum panels: hood and doors have bubbling paint. The steel parts, hinges, roof and quarter panels are all fine.
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Old 06-13-24, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
At my racing weight in the 1980's, I was 136 lb. At 72, I've lost a lot of muscle mass and now weigh about 118. As I said, my favorite bikes for the last 15 years have been aluminum, after riding high-end steel exclusively since the mid-'60's.

Luckily for me, I've always been skeptical about the claim that aluminum bikes ride more harshly than other bikes, so I never succumbed to confirmation bias (aka "that aluminum frame shook the fillings out of my teeth!").
Yeah, I agree with this and it’s hard to beat aluminum frames in terms of value. Larger volume tires make a huge difference in any case on how comfortably a bike rides. I have an ‘85 Cannondale ST 400; that bike is seriously overbuilt but rides really nicely with 32c tires. Modern aluminum bikes are not overbuilt like the early ‘dales so they’re a good choice and modern gravel bikes take a much larger volume tire than my ‘85 “touring” bike.

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Old 06-13-24, 08:20 AM
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I've been riding a Trek Emonds ALR 5 since 2016 and the bike is still a joy to ride. Not sure if the folks that don't like aluminum have ridden a more modern aluminum bike, however, there is no harshness in my particular bike. I'm between 190-200 lbs. and ride on 25c tires.
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Old 06-13-24, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by almico8
I would ride an aluminum bike first before buying one. Aluminum always felt harsh to me, no give. That's why springs are made out of steel, not aluminum. Unless you're racing, a little compliance in the rear triangle is a good thing.
I'm pretty sure triangles don't flex any. I think the different feel comes from the harmonic dampening that steel or plastic provides over aluminum.
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Old 06-13-24, 02:42 PM
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Buyers-market today should only be better at end-of-season sales in August. Selection being not as good later.

Going to a new bike from older ones, I agree that a test ride is best. For many reasons.

The frame material becomes immaterial as tires get bigger, pressures get lower.




Doohick will doo fine. Patience and experience pay off every time. Only 61, .... he needs to look seriously at modern saddles tho'.
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Old 06-13-24, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark
I'm pretty sure triangles don't flex any. I think the different feel comes from the harmonic dampening that steel or plastic provides over aluminum.
Or it's a purely acoustic phenomenon. Bikes with large-diameter tubes sound different from those with smaller-diameter tubes. The early reviewers of aluminum bikes sometimes noted the difference, without accompanying complaints about the ride of the bikes.
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Old 06-13-24, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark
I'm pretty sure triangles don't flex any. I think the different feel comes from the harmonic dampening that steel or plastic provides over aluminum.
I could have saved myself a lot of typing over the years if I'd thought to say that.
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Old 06-13-24, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark
I'm pretty sure triangles don't flex any. I think the different feel comes from the harmonic dampening that steel or plastic provides over aluminum.
It sure does. I'm too new to post links, but that is one of the big advantages of getting a custom frame built to the riders size and compliance desires.
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Old 06-14-24, 12:53 PM
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Nowadays, good frame builders (big manufacturing or custom) know how to build a bike that satisfies the requirements, using any frame material. It no longer makes sense to claim that a particular material will have a particular quality of ride.

I believe that for a GIVEN quality of ride (and load bearing), steel will be the heaviest and carbon fiber will be the lightest, with aluminum in the middle.

Aluminum is the lowest cost material, given the robotic techniques available, so you could argue that it is the best value in a frame material.

Carbon fiber and steel can be repaired if necessary. Knowledge of how to fix steel is more widespread than that of fixing carbon fiber.

Steel can be custom designed and built most easily because you don't necessarily need separate tooling for each design. But custom designs are rarely truly necessary.

The impression of how a ride feels is influenced a lot by rider fit and position and by the choice of saddle and handlebar and grips.
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Old 06-14-24, 08:49 PM
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A few others have mentioned how much they weigh, and I suppose it's a consideration. I'm 6'-2". In March I weighed 267. This afternoon after doing some "yardio" I was down to 235. I want to lose some more; I think I'd like to get down to 200-220.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 06-14-24, 10:18 PM
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I bought a CF Domane about a year ago. I'm still somewhat shocked I paid what I did, but there it is. Deciding factors over various options were fender mounts and room for wider tires (35 with fenders). It seems there are really good deals these days. Super comfortable bike. I rode it on a 1200km brevet, and the pictures prove I was smiling at the finish. Maybe possibly that was the 2 pints of beer I'd had in town just before the finish, but the bike was pretty nice too

Domane gets the nod from me. 105 is fabulous IMO.

As far as aluminum. I have an AL fixie that I just rode on a 600 km brevet two weekends ago. With a carbon fork and 32mm, it was shockingly comfy.

So AL Domane also gets the nod from me.

For the steel-is-real concept, Soma makes a really nice frame in the Fog Cutter. Room for 38mm ez, fender mounts, carbon or steel fork available, disc. Build it up any way you want. Super bike. I have the previous generation, with 700c and 650b wheelsets, mix of 105 and ultegra, hydros, and it's a great all-rounder from pure road to dirt.

For an easy turnkey option though, just buy the Trek.
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Old 06-14-24, 10:51 PM
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Trek Trek Trek... What? Trek... Why so much Trek?

Man I am sure glad I am not in the market for a new bicycle.

Considering the cost of all these new bicycles I might even consider getting someone to bring me a Peugeot RO2 or even a Liotto GR. Ha... Its only money.

I think you should stay with a steel frame and one not to modern or complicated. Some new type of bicycle incorporating modern durable components that does not require proprietary parts, tools, or maintenance. So what would ya get? ...Duh, This is hard!

Man I am sure glad I am not in the market for a new bicycle.

This thread brings me some real anxiety just thinking about it...
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Old 06-16-24, 10:06 AM
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I didn't see anybody mention Canyon but they'd be worth a look too.

You have the biggest bike shop I've ever seen in Richardson, and apparently there is one in Ft Worth too. I went in and I remember they had everything on display but don't remember what brands they had for bikes.
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Old 06-16-24, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval
Why so much Trek?
I explained that in the first post.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 06-16-24, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by zandoval
Trek Trek Trek... What? Trek... Why so much Trek?

Man I am sure glad I am not in the market for a new bicycle.

Considering the cost of all these new bicycles I might even consider getting someone to bring me a Peugeot RO2 or even a Liotto GR. Ha... Its only money.

I think you should stay with a steel frame and one not to modern or complicated. Some new type of bicycle incorporating modern durable components that does not require proprietary parts, tools, or maintenance. So what would ya get? ...Duh, This is hard!

Man I am sure glad I am not in the market for a new bicycle.

This thread brings me some real anxiety just thinking about it...
In all fairness, OP suggested the Trek, called it reasonably priced, noted there was a dealer nearby, and asked why not. That'd be why so much Trek. We're just playing the role of enablers.

If'n he'd suggested something else he seemed to want and would get the job done, we'd have probably gone along with that as well.
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Old 06-17-24, 08:19 AM
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I have a 10 year old bike with frame geometry very similar to a current 54 Domane. It fits 700c 38mm tires, and wider (42mm) tires on 650b. I use 38mm slicks (Barlow Pass Extra-light) for on-road and moderate gravel riding, and the smaller, wider tires with knobs for more aggressive single-track riding.

The point is the frame is very unlikely to hold you back. Buy the bike for optimal fit.

If the Domane frame fits perfectly, consider carbon as a possible upgrade, but good (not Bontrager) tires are what will really make the difference for ride quality.

If the Domane is a compromise (sub-optimal) fit, keep shopping.
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Old 06-21-24, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
Here's an interesting article, written by a psychologist but including actual measurements of differences in vertical compliance between a titanium Lightspeed racing bike and an aluminum Cannondale racing bike, that convincingly attributes perceptions of the "harshness" of the tested aluminum bike to rider expectations, a.k.a. confirmation bias.

I've never believed that frames built with aluminum tubing differ perceptibly from steel and titanium frames in vertical compliance/harshness/comfort. As a consequence, after riding steel for 45 years, my favorite bikes have been aluminum.for the last 15.

Why? Aluminum is no more or less comfortable than steel in terms of vertical compliance, but it's superior in resisting torsional forces. I prefer the feel of a frame whose rear wheel tracks the front wheel perfectly, even when climbing out of the saddle. That attribute explains why owners of Cannondale aluminum touring bikes love them---they can be ridden out of the saddle without the annoying wallowing associated with a fully loaded steel touring frame.
I agree. With modern bikes vertical compliance is dominated by seatpost design and extension. They can be engineered with a significant amount of flex eg D-shaped carbon posts or Canyonís split carbon post. Combined with a sloping top tube and lower internal seat post clamping point, vertical compliance will be much higher than a traditional frame with a short metal post. Then there are tyres of course. Higher volume modern tyres are also more compliant.

Frame material is pretty much irrelevant in respect of vertical compliance measured at the saddle.
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Old 06-21-24, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Frame material is pretty much irrelevant in respect of vertical compliance measured at the saddle.
Frame design can affect vertical compliance at the saddle in a meaningful way. You might surprised how much a frame's seat tube can flex. With some frames, you can see the seat tube flex when you weight the saddle.
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Old 06-21-24, 09:33 PM
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I have a Trek Domane SLR 7 (carbon frame Ultergra Di2). I'm sure the AL version with 105 would be a great bike. note: The OP mentioned an AL 2 Gen 4, but that comes with Claris. You need the AL 5 to get 105.

There's one thing the carbon frame Domane brings that you don't get with the aluminum frame. The down-tube storage, Its great. I don't need a saddle bag or need to carry support items in my jersey pockets.

I'm able to fit a mini-pump, TPU tube, two CO2 cartridges & valve, tire tools. Tire boot, very small first aid kit, and multi-tool. I do carry my tubeless Dynaplug Race in my ride wallet for quick access.

Regardless of what version of Domane, or any other road bike, I can't recommend Continental GP 5000 S TR 32 mm tires strongly enough. At least if you're going to run tubeless. They are fast and comfortable. And 32 mm seems every bit as fast as the 28 mm I used first. I got 3,600 miles out of that 28 mm rear tire. I never even had to put a plug in those miles either. So, I think they are plenty durable.

If you consider a higher end Domane, I don't think there is anything that is must have. Shimano 105 is a great mechanical groupset. But things like carbon frames, carbon wheels, Di2 is always nice but very much diminishing returns. And of course you can always upgrade wheels later.
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Old 06-21-24, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Mtracer
I have a Trek Domane SLR 7 (carbon frame Ultergra Di2). I'm sure the AL version with 105 would be a great bike. note: The OP mentioned an AL 2 Gen 4, but that comes with Claris. You need the AL 5 to get 105.
Trek website sez 105 under "features" but I see where it sez Claris now.

Considering carbon fiber. I'm going on vacation next week though so I won't be looking at anything before then. I do appreciate all the discussion.
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Old 06-22-24, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Frame design can affect vertical compliance at the saddle in a meaningful way. You might surprised how much a frame's seat tube can flex. With some frames, you can see the seat tube flex when you weight the saddle.
Really? I can easily see and feel seatpost flex, but not the seat tube. Iím sure it does flex to some degree (my Canyon Endurace has a scalloped section at the bottom for increased compliance) but it is mostly the seatpost design that dominates the frame vertical compliance on modern bikes. It makes frame material pretty irrelevant in this regard.
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Old 06-22-24, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Really? I can easily see and feel seatpost flex, but not the seat tube. Iím sure it does flex to some degree (my Canyon Endurace has a scalloped section at the bottom for increased compliance) but it is mostly the seatpost design that dominates the frame vertical compliance on modern bikes. It makes frame material pretty irrelevant in this regard.
Really. A Specialized rep. demonstrated this to me in our store on one of their new models (I don't remember which). On certain bikes, the seat tube may actually be more compliant that the seatpost.

The walls of a seatpost are often thicker and stiffer than the seat tubes they fit into.
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Old 06-22-24, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by randallr
You might want to steer clear of aluminum and go with steel or Ti. My Gunnar is way more comfortable than the Klein it replaced, and I almost always ride on pavement. Riding on unpaved surfaces magnifies this difference even more.
Weren't Klein bikes quite stiff? (Amazing paint jobs, though!) And they were using 23mm tires at 100+ psi, I expect.
28mm or 32mm tires at appropriate pressures are fast, efficient, and really soak up rough surfaces. Tires are way more significant than frame material.
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Old 06-22-24, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Really. A Specialized rep. demonstrated this to me in our store on one of their new models (I don't remember which). On certain bikes, the seat tube may actually be more compliant that the seatpost.

The walls of a seatpost are often thicker and stiffer than the seat tubes they fit into.
So do you agree that it depends on the frame and sestpost design rather than frame material?

There is another recent thread with a table showing vertical stiffness of a load of modern carbon road bikes. They vary in stiffness by a factor of about 5 and it was noted how much the seatpost affected the results. If you have a triangle with a long stick poking out of the top itís not hard to imagine where most of the flex will occur, especially if that stick is designed to bend eg D-shaped or in the case of my Canyon split in half like a leaf spring. Obviously aero seat posts are way stiffer than round seat posts and that was clearly reflected in the results. The Pinarellos were the stiffest and I think my Canyon was the most compliant. Not surprising when you compare the designs.
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