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First New Bike in Decades

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First New Bike in Decades

Old 06-06-24, 11:29 PM
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First New Bike in Decades

I haven't bought it yet, but the wife was not averse to the idea of me buying a new, modern bicycle. I used to post here often, not so much lately. I'm 61 now.

My road bike is a 1984 Raleigh Super Course. I didn't buy it new; got it through a pawn shop... kind of. (Actually bought a different bike at a pawn shop, but it was too small and I traded it to someone else on Bike Forums for the Super Course which fit me better). My newest bike is a 2009 Schwinn Cutter fixed gear. I also have a 1994 Nishiki Sport XRS hybrid that I did a drop bar conversion on. That's my most modern geared bike. And a coupla other bikes for boppin' around.

I used to ride a lot more. Lately I've been doing a club breakfast ride on Saturday mornings and little more. (I co-lead those rides with nkfrench and sometimes Yo Spiff joins us.)

So I mentioned to my wife I want a new bike. As in, new, not previously owned, and she didn't shoot it down right away. My birthday is in October, so it may wait until then.

Most of my riding is in city/suburbs and on paved and crushed stone trails. I don't think I want an all-out road bike. I was thinking about a gravel bike. I'm basically a C&V guy, so I don't necessarily want the latest tech in every respect, but if there's value there I'll consider it.

Characteristics:
  • Drop bars, but not aggressive geometry. I'm too old for that *****.
  • Frame: Not carbon fiber. I'm a steel-is-real guy. I'd prefer steel or possibly aluminum.
  • Brakes: I guess everyone does disc brakes these days, I'll probably go with that.
  • Gearing: lol, who knows? I don't think I want electric shifting. Not sure what level of gearset I want. I want reliable & durable, don't need a gazillion gears. Something where I don't have to put a new chain on with every season change.
  • Brooks saddle. That's a given. I won't worry about that with initial purchase though; that can come later.
  • For this bike I don't plan to put on a rack or fenders right now, but it would probably be a good idea if I could. I have 5 bikes now but I can see the possibility of (eek!) culling the herd in the future.
  • Integrated brifters. That's a given these days I suppose but I've never owned a bike with brifters.
  • For now I'm thinking no electric assist. I wouldn't mind looking at pros and cons though.
  • FYI, I ride with half toe clips, no straps, and don't plan on getting clipless pedals. But you never know.
  • I don't plan to go tubeless, but if you want to make a case for it, let's talk.
The bike shop closest to my house is a Trek shop. Based on that I'd probably prefer a Trek. But I may consider other brands if they are a better value. My wife didn't shoot down the idea of buying a new bike, but I don't want to spend thousands and thousands of dollars.

You need to start somewhere, so let's start with a modestly priced Trek Domane AL 2 Gen 4. It comes with 32 mm tires, comparable to the 1-1/4' tires I'm running on my Super Course. Shimano 105 (do I need more?) Aluminum frame with carbon fork. Would this bike be good, or are there features that I'll regret in 6 months? Bear in mind I've never had a bike with brifters and my current ride is 40 years old and probably well over 30 pounds as currently equipped. If there's something that's not going to be good enough, explain it to me like I just fell off the turnip truck.

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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

Last edited by Doohickie; 06-06-24 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 06-07-24, 12:07 AM
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gravel ? have a nearby Trek LBS - Trek Checkpoint is an option

steel gravel bike ? consider a Jamis Renegade

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Old 06-07-24, 04:33 AM
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That Trek is beautiful. Current 105 is highly respected and represents the sweet spot in the Shimano range for value for money.

As for the frame, I like aluminum bikes. Steel is fine, too, of course. Me, I'm past the time when I agonized over bike choices. If I were in the market and had the kind of riding you describe in mind, I'd just go for that Trek.
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Old 06-07-24, 06:25 AM
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I have 6 bikes now, two with thumb shifters, one with bar-end shifters, one with down tube shifters and two with brifters. THe bar-end bike used to have cross-fire shifters.

I like the brifters since I ride in traffic and don't have to take my hands away from the brakes to shift. Also in the rain, with my rain cape covering the handle bars, I don't have to hunt for the shifters.

But I also like the simplicity of the down tube shifters and I feel the slight bend and reach reach down to shift, followed by the slight raising of my torso back to normal position adds a little extra core-strength maintenance.

Thumb shifters on the bars are my least favorite, but were cheap workable options for renovating my folding bikes.
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Old 06-07-24, 07:14 AM
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Some random comments:
Shifting
I love Di2 electric shifting. But I've always shifted way more often than most riders. On the local rolling terrain, I'll often shift for a couple of pedal revolutions, then shift again. The Di2 makes this so easy. The biggest difference with Di2 is how fast and efficient it is to shift the front rings. I would sometimes avoid shifting the front with my older bikes if I only needed it for a short time period.
Mechanical shifting also works great these days, and it's more affordable.

Frames
Carbon frames are fine -- sturdy enough, lightweight, and reliable. I haven't ridden a new aluminum frame for years now, but the reports are that they are "this close" to carbon.
My other bike is titanium -- I immediately notice how much quieter it is than my carbon bike, which kind of echoes the bumps on the road. Titanium soaks up the vibrations. And it's bare metal, no paint scratches etc. I like the look of the precise welds on titanium too.

Racks and fenders
My Ti bike has a simple rear rack, and I can add or remove fenders. It's so nice to be able to go out right after the rain on wet roads, with the fenders keeping me completely dry. The rack with a small bag is very nice for extended rides. Or those days that start out very cold and warm up a lot -- I can add or shed layers as needed.

Bar height
My fast carbon road bike is set up with the top of the bars about 1.25 inches below the saddle top. The bars are short reach and shallow drop. So the drops are actually comfortable, and I switch between hoods and drops all the time. (unlike lots of riders I know, that only use the drops on extreme headwinds--too uncomfortable for them.) The drops are much easier on my sore hands when the roads are very rough, and the control is better too. And it's more aero, of course.
So get a bike where you can position the bars high enough.

Gearing
I have 11-32 in 11-speed on the road bike, and a much lower gearing on the titanium. It's a triple front, with a low of 30 front - 34 rear now. Triples are very rare now, though.
I need much lower gearing on rough, loose gravel roads than on the same grade % on a paved road.
Check out the wide range rear cassettes on "gravel bikes" these days, that might work for you.

Electric assist motor
A good electric bike with a small, lightweight motor and a reliable battery from a known bike company is quite expensive these days. They are pretty great for some of the 75+ aged riders I know.
I haven't looked at any of the much cheaper imported e-bikes -- will they fail early, or are they a good deal?

Tires
My Ti bike either has 28mm road tires or 38mm smooth tread, lightweight tires.
It's much easier to use these big tires on bikes with disc brakes, since the tires don't have to fit inside the brake calipers. That's one big advantage of discs. The frames are designed with room for these bigger tires, too.

At 170 pounds: 28mm = around 70 psi. 38mm = around 40-45 psi!
The smooth tread 38mm are built like the road tires -- thin and flexible. They are fast and efficient. Great on pavement, perfect for crushed stone rail trails or roughly patched paved roads, and good on reasonable gravel roads.
For rougher gravel, 35-40mm tires with small knobs would be nice.

Tubeless
The roads are good around here, so I rarely get a flat from a sliver picked up by the tire. Tubeless is too much maintenance for me. I can see the attraction, though: It can't really "pinch flat" and thorns or slivers are sealed instantly.

Last edited by rm -rf; 06-07-24 at 07:18 AM.
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Old 06-08-24, 08:19 PM
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You sound easy to please. You'll probably like that Trek Domane. But I like the suggestion to look at gravel bikes. They are more all-purpose. You can get some in steel, too, though that probably makes them more expensive. But try to avoid a bike with a steel fork. Steel forks used to be fine, as you know, but safety regulations require them to be heavier than they used to be.
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Old 06-09-24, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
You'll probably like that Trek Domane. But I like the suggestion to look at gravel bikes.
To me, the Domane pictured straddles the line between road and gravel. It actually comes up on Trek's website when I searched for gravel bikes, even though it is apparently a road bike line. At t2p 's suggestion, I looked at the Checkpoint line; looks like some good bikes too there, like the Checkpoint ALR 4:


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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 06-09-24, 10:28 AM
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can’t beat a road bike for fast road riding

but gravel bikes and similar are better if not ideal for ‘kinder gentler’ more varied riding
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Old 06-09-24, 08:15 PM
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Test ride as many as you can. In the Trek line the Domane frame has more stack and less reach than the Checkpoint. However the Checkpoint comes with shorter stem and reach bars. I have a ‘21 Domane SL6 and ‘23 Checkpoint SL5. The Checkpoint with the stem flipped up and no up high is surprisingly as comfortable as the Domane with same size frame.

There are others makes offering higher stack like Specialized Diverge and Salsa drop bar bike's.

But take your time and test ride.

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Old 06-10-24, 08:41 AM
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You're 61, you deserve a great bike!

I wouldn't dismiss carbon, or Ti or AL....or even steel. Modern bikes in all materials are pretty good.Yes, Shimano 105 is good.

A friend of mine just bought a Giant gravel bike, but also got road wheels. This seems to be the sweet spot in speed, comfort and all the stuff that matters.

But those Trek bike you posted look nice. Really nice.
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Old 06-10-24, 10:49 AM
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Just go with the Trek. It ticks all your boxes and 105 is a solid workhorse drivetrain.

Tubeless works well on 32 mm tyres with modern rims, but you can always start tubed and convert whenever you want. Maybe see how many flats you get with tubes. If more than 1 flat per year then go tubeless.
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Old 06-10-24, 11:55 AM
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I very much regret having waited 41 years to ever buy a new bike. I had many used bikes during that time, but virtually all were bikes from the late 70's. My new 2020 Tarmac is the most fun bike I've ever ridden.

So get the Trek Domane if that appeals to you.
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Old 06-10-24, 12:10 PM
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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.
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Old 06-10-24, 12:15 PM
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A couple years back I picked up an aluminum Trek Checkpoint ALR5. It's more gravel oriented yet I've done many road rides on it, too. The Domane is more road oriented but can handle light gravel riding.
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Old 06-11-24, 05:07 PM
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Test rde. My $.02 the Domaine looks more race oriented than what you have.
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Old 06-11-24, 05:29 PM
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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.
And I prefer all my aluminum bikes to all the high-end steel bikes I used to own. The OP can make up his own mind.
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Old 06-11-24, 06:07 PM
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I built my own bike based on a steel All City Space Horse frame. It has a smooth and supple ride, adequate gearing for the nearby mountains, and it is remarkably comfortable. Though All City has gone bust, there are still a number of retailers who have complete bikes in stock.

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Old 06-11-24, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
And I prefer all my aluminum bikes to all the high-end steel bikes I used to own. The OP can make up his own mind.
I am 140 lb, and the aluminum bikes I rode were more built for 190 lb men. I suppose they might not pound someone heavier like they did me. If the OP can demo a bike and ride it far enough to see if it inflicts pain, thatís great.
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Old 06-12-24, 07:46 AM
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[MENTION=140028]Doohickie[/MENTION] - Did you decide? Inquiring minds want to know if you went Trek or something a bit less common.

I always check bikes direct = to see what they offer at the Trek/Spec price. If you can live with Motobecane frame the components are always a step up, maybe electronic shift. With 30+mm tires the frame material is less a factor in ride quality.
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Old 06-12-24, 09:03 AM
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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.
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Old 06-12-24, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by randallr
I am 140 lb, and the aluminum bikes I rode were more built for 190 lb men. I suppose they might not pound someone heavier like they did me. If the OP can demo a bike and ride it far enough to see if it inflicts pain, thatís great.
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!").
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Old 06-12-24, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by almico8
That's why springs are made out of steel, not aluminum.
ACKCHUALLY...

Springs are made of steel because aluminum has limited fatigue life. Steel springs can be designed for infinite fatigue life.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

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Old 06-12-24, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood
[MENTION=140028]Doohickie[/MENTION] - Did you decide?
No, still in the research phase. Haven't even looked at anything in person yet.

The closest bike shop to me (2 miles) is a Trek store. But the next closest (4 miles) carries Trek and all kinds of other brands. So I guess I don't have to limit it to Trek.

I do want to ride before buying something, which probably makes me lean toward Trek as I suspect they're more likely to be in stock.

The one wildcard perhaps in the aluminum versus steel debate is that I intend to put a Brooks saddle on the bike. A good saddle can absorb a lot of harsh.

As for timing, I will probably buy in August. I have a couple trips planned for June and July. But if I start looking and find the right bike, that could change.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 06-12-24, 09:37 PM
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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.
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Old 06-12-24, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
The OP can make up his own mind.
I actually like the back and forth about frame material. If I go with Trek, aluminum or carbon fiber is I can get. But the bike shop that's 4 miles from my house lists several brands:
  • Trek
  • Specialized
  • Giant
  • Santa Cruz
  • Cervelo
  • Electra
  • Liv
  • Denago eBikes
  • SE Bikes
And looking at their site they have several other brands, including some All City bikes. I'm in Fort Worth; this is Bike Mart which is Dallas-based but has a Ft Worth location. Most of their bikes say they're available in the warehouse and can be available in 10-14 days. If they truly have a warehouse locally somewhere, I would imagine they could bring one or two bikes to their Ft Worth location for a test ride... I'll have to ask. If I go with the local Trek store they have a fair amount of Domanes and Checkpoints in stock.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

Last edited by Doohickie; 06-12-24 at 10:16 PM.
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