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What is the most comfortable 32C tire capable road bike?

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What is the most comfortable 32C tire capable road bike?

Old 07-23-19, 01:43 PM
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exwhyzed
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What is the most comfortable 32C tire capable road bike?

Hi All,

I'm looking to get a more upright-position road bike, with drop bars, and I wanted to know what the opinions out there on the most comfortable 32C tire capable bike is. I was going to get a flat bar but don't like the knuckle-numbness, so its gong to be riding the hoods on brifters from now on. No racy geometry for me, my lower back can't handle it. Let me know what you suggest!
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Old 07-23-19, 02:13 PM
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Mine.

Seriously, this is one of the main reasons to find a local bike shop you can trust, with a selection of bikes that interest you, and go test riding.

For instance, I wanted a Cannondale T900 way back when. Nearest place that had one was 200 miles away, so I took a day and went bike shopping. The Cannondale's bars were a bit low, and REI (which had one my size in stock) wouldn't let me try different stems. So I went down the road to another shop, and another, and ended up riding 4-5 bikes that day. I brought home an Novara Randonee (the precursor to their Adv 1.1, IIRC), because it was more comfortable over 3-5 mile test rides.

Although my old (broke at the time) Fuji Touring is more comfortable, and my custom Bilenky is even nicer.

Tl;dr? Go test ride a bunch of bikes, for as long as the shop will let you ride or until you're getting fatigued, and bring home the one you want to ride.
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Old 07-23-19, 02:39 PM
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For comfort I'd go with a bike that can take 650Bx42mm tires. Also, bikes from Rivendell are comfortable for some folks.
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Old 07-23-19, 02:42 PM
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Test ride as many as you can. When I was looking, the LBS(s) nearby had Felt, Trek and Specialized as primary offerings. The Felt just didn't feel right on a short ride...rented a Roubaix for the weekend and it was good enough...the LBS closest to my house sent me out with a Domane, and I rode it over the same roads I'd ridden the Roubaix over (abt 10 miles)--for me it was a better ride. I was also looking for a more upright dropbar and the LBS recommended I go one frame size up (since I was in the middle) and later tinker with stem length if required (which we did shorten a bit over time). The Domane was spec'd with 32c tires...believe the other two were something narrower.
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Old 07-23-19, 02:43 PM
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My most comfortable bike is not compatible with tires larger than 25 mm. It is impossible for anyone to tell someone else what the most comfortable bike is for any size tires. One can only tell you what is most comfortable for them, and there is a lot more than tire size involved.
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Old 07-23-19, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by exwhyzed View Post
Hi All,

I'm looking to get a more upright-position road bike, with drop bars, and I wanted to know what the opinions out there on the most comfortable 32C tire capable bike is. I was going to get a flat bar but don't like the knuckle-numbness, so its gong to be riding the hoods on brifters from now on. No racy geometry for me, my lower back can't handle it. Let me know what you suggest!
I'm not sure this question can be answered, unfortunately. I think it's going to depend on which frame material you go with, how far you want to ride, and which particular flavor of "endurance" geometry you go with. I would have to ride a bike at least 40-50 miles to get a good idea of how comfortable it will be.

Which endurance bikes will support 32mm tires? The Trek Domane, Specialized Diverge, Specialized Roubaix, Canyon Endurace, and I think the Cannondale Synapse will handle 32mm tires. There are probably others.

I have about 3,000 miles on a 2018 Diverge Comp, and about 3,000 miles on a Canyon Endurace. Both in carbon. I did a 100 miles solo ride on the Diverge in January. I don't think I can ride 100 miles on the Endurace. At the 35 mile mark, I'm pretty beat up. I'm not sure I've managed over 45 miles on the Canyon since I got it a few month ago.

So, the Diverge is more comfortable to me, but now I've gotten used to the firmer frame on the Endurace, I don't really enjoy riding the Diverge...it feels kinda squishy. It's an interesting dilemma. The Future Shock almost certainly helps my neck and shoulders on the Diverge. I'm currently thinking of rehoming the Endurace and trying a 2020 Roubaix.


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Old 07-23-19, 07:36 PM
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I have a Domane SL5 and I really like it. It's comfortable (aside from the seat), compliant, and the isospeed really works.
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Old 07-23-19, 09:09 PM
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Vintage steel offers an inexpensive option.

I agree the 650b with low trail geometry opinion - if comfort is king (and it doesn't have to go 42mm wide), unless you are rather tall.
Rivendell is good (see 1st sentence).

Find a bike that has a tall headtube, so you can be fitted to ride comfortably in the drops, maintaining normal components for fit. Then, riding on the tops and hoods gives a more upright position.

Last edited by Wildwood; 07-23-19 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 07-24-19, 04:11 AM
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Agree with the test ride advice. I did that and ended up buying a carbon Trek Domane SL6 after many years on another comfortable but more stretched out bike, a steel touring-oriented. Definitely a more upright position on the Trek and the various vibration damping features also increased comfort on long rides significantly.

I recently rented a Fuji Sportif aluminum bike to do the Seattle to Portland 2 day event. It has geometry very similar to the Domane, but aluminum and none of the vibration damping plus 28mm tires vs. the 32mm I run on the Domane. It had rim brakes, so I think 30mm was the max tire size you could put on it - to get to 32mm (which I have gradually moved to over the years) on many road bikes (vs. touring bikes) you need to go to disc brakes, which I wanted to do anyway.

Anyway, the ride on the Fuji was much rougher and I definitely felt in on the 122 mile day in my upper body. If you are normally riding on smoother roads or trails, probably not a big deal - but you aren't, and comfort is high on your list, also ride a few bikes with the various vibration damping schemes that are out there.
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Old 07-24-19, 08:27 AM
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Mostly good advice here, agree with almost all of it.

My advice, which is hopefully an aggregate of the above, is to find a bike that seems close, then see if the shop will work with you to get it dialled in... it shouldn't take more than a trying a couple of stems to position the bars where you want them.

I also agree with the advice that Rivendell makes very good 'comfort' oriented road bikes, but you certainly pay handsomely for the privilege of owning one.
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Old 07-24-19, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by exwhyzed View Post
Hi All,

I'm looking to get a more upright-position road bike, with drop bars, and I wanted to know what the opinions out there on the most comfortable 32C tire capable bike is. I was going to get a flat bar but don't like the knuckle-numbness, so its gong to be riding the hoods on brifters from now on. No racy geometry for me, my lower back can't handle it. Let me know what you suggest!
Have you considered getting a custom bike? It can be made however you require it, and it will be designed to fit perfectly. My only regret is I waited until I was 50 and recovering from an orthopedic injury before I got mine. I also find the combination of a steel frame and Compass (now Rene Herse) tires ideal.
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Old 07-25-19, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by guachi View Post
I have a Domane SL5 and I really like it. It's comfortable (aside from the seat), compliant, and the isospeed really works.
I also just got a Domane SL5 and am very happy with it. My brothers ride and one has a Specialize Diverge he likes the other a Trek Checkpoint SL5 he is using now at RAGBRAI that he likes.
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Old 07-25-19, 10:17 PM
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Custom is a great way to go if you are looking for comfort. Then I would look at steel and Ti options. If you don't want custom then the Specialized Sequoia is pretty comfortable. I just recently got the Pro Module which is a frame/fork and some other bits and bobs and I am super excited to build it out to my specs after having ridden the pre built versions and loving them.

If you don't mind a touch of weight the Kinekt Body Float isolation seat posts are excellent and if weight is more the issue the eeSilk post from Cane Creek is stupid light and will give a little bit of thud-busting. Also I highly recommend flat top bars not necessarily the super aero ones but ones like my favorite the Zipp Service Course SL-70 Ergos. I am not a fan of round bars after trying the Zipps years ago and now they are my most used bar having them on 4 bikes and my two other drop bar bikes have a Nitto STI bar with a semi similar profile in a narrower 26.0 clamp and the other has a Cinelli bar with a similar top section but the drops aren't as nice and that one will probably switch to Zipps in the very near future (but I haven't bother to change them out because I have so many bike projects going)
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Old 07-27-19, 07:06 PM
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Suggest a Surly Crosscheck or pacer (if available).
also to smooth out the ride, reduce the tire pressure,
60-65 psi with a 32 mm tire usually is good.
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Old 07-28-19, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by exwhyzed View Post
Hi All,

I'm looking to get a more upright-position road bike, with drop bars, and I wanted to know what the opinions out there on the most comfortable 32C tire capable bike is. I was going to get a flat bar but don't like the knuckle-numbness, so its gong to be riding the hoods on brifters from now on. No racy geometry for me, my lower back can't handle it. Let me know what you suggest!
Starting from a position of knowing nothing, it's best to go to shops and ask them to try out bikes that they think fit your wants and budget.

This forum could list 500 bikes for you, but it's pointless if they are all either too expensive or not the right geometry for you.
Don't ask the forum to be pointless because it will oblige.
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Old 07-28-19, 02:04 PM
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When I read this: “I'm looking to get a more upright-position road bike, with drop bars, and I wanted to know what the opinions out there on the most comfortable 32C tire capable bike is.” my first thought is gravel or all road bike.
I have a Lynskey GR260 with 38mm tires and it is VERY comfortable.
Good luck.
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Old 07-29-19, 10:27 PM
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Specialized bikes have the Future Shock in certain models (Roubaix, Diverge) that gives you 2" of travel on the bars - and also a flexing seat post. Super comfortable, especially on bumps.
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Old 07-30-19, 12:58 PM
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Mine. I wish that the OP had given his budget, so we'd not have to propose answers between $700 and $2500 to meet his needs. This one was ~$1300 net after selling off the OEM wheelset. I've since switched the saddle to a laced, cut-skirted B-17 variant, which is very comfortable. I run Marathon Plus 35s that measure closer to 37s. Comfortable? You betcha.

Of course, you can't walk into a bike store to find one of these. I guess that we walk by faith and not by sight...
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Old 07-30-19, 01:24 PM
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& "gravel" bikes can go wider
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Old 07-30-19, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by drcollie View Post
Specialized bikes have the Future Shock in certain models (Roubaix, Diverge) that gives you 2" of travel on the bars - and also a flexing seat post. Super comfortable, especially on bumps.
Mine must be defective, it only has 20mm (.79”) of travel.
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Old 07-30-19, 02:10 PM
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Probably one of these:

https://www.lightningbikes.com/_asse...rbon-forks.jpg
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Old 07-31-19, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by sarhog View Post
Mine must be defective, it only has 20mm (.79”) of travel.
You are correct, my mistake. I confused 20mm of travel with 2.0 inches.
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Old 08-01-19, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by drcollie View Post
You are correct, my mistake. I confused 20mm of travel with 2.0 inches.
Metric, English. At least you didn't crash a billion dollar spacecraft!
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Old 08-02-19, 04:42 AM
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I'm always reading advice to go test ride a bunch of bikes , and see what's the most comfortable, as if immediate comfort is the end-all to the decision making process. This can result in the perfect bike being dismissed, when something as simple and cheap as a $15 stem replacement is all that's needed to dial that bike in.
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Old 08-02-19, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Brocephus View Post
I'm always reading advice to go test ride a bunch of bikes , and see what's the most comfortable, as if immediate comfort is the end-all to the decision making process. This can result in the perfect bike being dismissed, when something as simple and cheap as a $15 stem replacement is all that's needed to dial that bike in.
This is why I started with the recommendation to go to a bike shop you trust for your test rides. If it's not a good bike shop, they won't go to the trouble of switching the stem. And if a bike needs a stem swap, it's not the "perfect bike" without it.
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