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Need super stable road bike

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Need super stable road bike

Old 05-18-22, 11:56 AM
  #1  
yesroh
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Need super stable road bike

I'm 56 and ride a Specialized Roubaix. I've been cycling since 1979 but have always been weak on handling--very nervous rider, can't stand pack riding or having a lot of people around me. I used to compete, actually did 40K in under 57 minutes, about 60 races in my lifetime, maybe more, but the older I get, the more nervous I get. The only time in my life I could ride no-handed was with my 40 pound rusted Schwinn.

I get nervous on downhills and crosswinds and sometimes have to sing to calm my nerves, although I do about 3000 miles a year.

So I'm thinking about replacing my Roubaix with something like a Trek Checkpoint or some road bike style that is super stable. The trail on my Roubaix is 59mm and I think the Checkpoint may be 72mm. When I look for bicycles for nervous riders I come up with fat tires, upright handlebars but I just want a super stretched bicycle that is light and fast enough to be competitive in hillclimbs.

I noticed a marked loss of confidence in 2000 when I traded my 53cm Klein Quantum for a Trek 5200. I don't know if there's a point where I can get my confidence back or if 72mm of trail will be noticeably more stable than 59mm.

I would also like a long wheelbase. My first good bicycle was a Klein Performance with a 41.1inch wheelbase and I had plenty of room to carry a full size frame pump.

If I can't find a bicycle that will be noticeably more stable, there's no point in spending the money because my current bicycle is fine. I almost ordered a Checkpoint two weeks ago but the backup is almost a year.
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Old 05-18-22, 12:15 PM
  #2  
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I think you are on the right track by looking at a gravel bike like the Checkpoint. Have you looked at other gravel bikes? How about a longer stem?
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Old 05-18-22, 12:23 PM
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I looked at the Giant Revolt but it doesn't have the suspension like the Checkpoint. It does have an even longer trail, up to 84mm.

Honestly, I don't think anything will really fix the problem. But putting a longer stem on my old bike helped and when I bought this Roubaix second hand in 2013, I put the same stem on it. They normally have a shorter stem. I've never had a new bicycle and I thought if I was going to do it and get the disc brakes (although I heard they are more sensitive in cross winds) and the fancy e-shifting, I might as well try to get a super stable frame. The kind of racing I do doesn't need nimble handling--I was only good at time trials and hill climbs so although I need a fast bike, I don't need a quick bike. Right now I use it mostly for cross-training for my running, but I like to race Pikes Peak or Mt. Washington or Mt. Evans, and I'd love to give Haleakala a shot.

I picked the Checkpoint because the suspension on the Treks was rated as good or better than the Roubaix suspension, and since the new Roubaix has gone with more aggressive geometry, I probably should go for the Trek. I think a heavier bike would help, but then I'd suffer on the climbs. I have lighter wheels I use for climbing. I think improving my ability to train without nerves would more than make up for any extra weight.
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Old 05-18-22, 12:45 PM
  #4  
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Rather than the Checkpoint, why not the Domane? It'll have the front IsoSpeed in addition to the rear IsoSpeed and I would think that the other the Checkpoint additions (larger tire clearance, additional mounting points for touring, etc) would actually be welcome omissions, in your case.

I found my old Domane to be super stable, I could ride no-hands on it for days, and it was very sure-footed over rough/bumpy surfaces, which was particularly noticeable when cornering. I actually moved away from my Domane because I wanted something a little more snappy in the handling department, though I briefly considered keeping it around for long, solo rides.
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Old 05-18-22, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by yesroh View Post
I'm 56 and ride a Specialized Roubaix. I've been cycling since 1979 but have always been weak on handling--very nervous rider, can't stand pack riding or having a lot of people around me. I used to compete, actually did 40K in under 57 minutes, about 60 races in my lifetime, maybe more, but the older I get, the more nervous I get. The only time in my life I could ride no-handed was with my 40 pound rusted Schwinn.

I get nervous on downhills and crosswinds and sometimes have to sing to calm my nerves, although I do about 3000 miles a year.

So I'm thinking about replacing my Roubaix with something like a Trek Checkpoint or some road bike style that is super stable. The trail on my Roubaix is 59mm and I think the Checkpoint may be 72mm. When I look for bicycles for nervous riders I come up with fat tires, upright handlebars but I just want a super stretched bicycle that is light and fast enough to be competitive in hillclimbs.

I noticed a marked loss of confidence in 2000 when I traded my 53cm Klein Quantum for a Trek 5200. I don't know if there's a point where I can get my confidence back or if 72mm of trail will be noticeably more stable than 59mm.

I would also like a long wheelbase. My first good bicycle was a Klein Performance with a 41.1inch wheelbase and I had plenty of room to carry a full size frame pump.

If I can't find a bicycle that will be noticeably more stable, there's no point in spending the money because my current bicycle is fine. I almost ordered a Checkpoint two weeks ago but the backup is almost a year.
It sounds like you're really looking for "a bike that won't fall over" - and such a bike doesn't exist. Outside of bikes so poorly designed or set up that they're impossible to keep upright, all bikes exists within a spectrum of somewhat more or less stable than others - but it really comes down to the rider to keep it upright - even the twitchiest bike is rideable, and even the stablest bike is crashable. Yes, you can make life easier for yourself with a nice stable machine with a long wheelbase, a slightly more upright position etc, without sacrificing weight and performance (eg gravel or endurance geometry), but you really have to figure out how to get out of your own head - that's where the problem is, and no bike is going to solve it.
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Old 05-18-22, 01:13 PM
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Since you mention you ride in groups too, then I'd be on the opposite side of very stable.

I'd want something that is responsive and let me quickly dodge any hazards that those in front of me failed to point out or for times wheels are about to touch. And that is going to be a sporty handling bike which some refer to as twitchy.

If you truly are only going to be a solo rider, then stable is okay. But the last bike I had that I'd call really very stable was from 1991. And the most stable bike a 46 pound Schwinn Varsity from 1979.

How 'bout a recumbent trike?

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Old 05-18-22, 02:26 PM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Litespud View Post
It sounds like you're really looking for "a bike that won't fall over" - and such a bike doesn't exist. Outside of bikes so poorly designed or set up that they're impossible to keep upright, all bikes exists within a spectrum of somewhat more or less stable than others - but it really comes down to the rider to keep it upright - even the twitchiest bike is rideable, and even the stablest bike is crashable. Yes, you can make life easier for yourself with a nice stable machine with a long wheelbase, a slightly more upright position etc, without sacrificing weight and performance (eg gravel or endurance geometry), but you really have to figure out how to get out of your own head - that's where the problem is, and no bike is going to solve it.
Definitely agree with most of what you've posted except the upright position comment. The more upright you sit the less weight on the front end, the less 'stable' the bike will be. I agree 100% w/ the problem not necessarily being physical but much more mental. No bike will help that much.
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Old 05-18-22, 03:05 PM
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What about a Cervelo Caledonia? You could also consider a touring bike.
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Old 05-18-22, 03:22 PM
  #9  
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My Giant Defy is about as stable as reasonably fast road bikes go. Long wheelbase and fairly slack steering. It's rock solid on fast descents.
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Old 05-18-22, 03:26 PM
  #10  
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Buy something old for $40.
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Old 05-18-22, 07:32 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by ratell View Post
What about a Cervelo Caledonia? You could also consider a touring bike.
I have a Cervelo Caledonia and a Specialized Diverge. I can tell you that the Diverge is much more stable than the Caledonia.
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Old 05-18-22, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Since you mention you ride in groups too, then I'd be on the opposite side of very stable.

How 'bout a recumbent trike?
No, he stated he cant stand riding in packs.

@OP, I'd be looking for longer wheel base bikes, they will handle slower, feel less twitchey. Gravel bikes can be that, you can always get a 2nd wheel set with skinny, 32mm tires. Gravel bikes tend to weigh more though. My aluminum Topstone is 22 lbs vs. my carbon road bike at 17.

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Old 05-18-22, 08:06 PM
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This is weird advice but whenever I test ride a new bike I try standing up while taking my hands off the handlebars. It takes a while to learn, but once you can its really easy to tell when there is some stability issue with the bike. Normally indicates something wasn't installed perfectly or has since come out of adjustment, but some bikes are just more stable than others. A stable bike will mostly correct itself even in gusts of wind, while some bikes will buck like a bronco. A shop owner taught me this
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Old 05-18-22, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by yesroh View Post
Honestly, I don't think anything will really fix the problem.
Can you rent some road and gravel bikes and see how they feel under you? Before coming to any decision?
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Old 05-19-22, 08:26 AM
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My vote.

Trek Domane

Ritchey Outback or Road logic
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Old 05-19-22, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by LarrySellerz View Post
This is weird advice but whenever I test ride a new bike I try standing up while taking my hands off the handlebars. It takes a while to learn, but once you can its really easy to tell when there is some stability issue with the bike. Normally indicates something wasn't installed perfectly or has since come out of adjustment, but some bikes are just more stable than others. A stable bike will mostly correct itself even in gusts of wind, while some bikes will buck like a bronco. A shop owner taught me this
I can't see the OP being up for this "test"
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Old 05-19-22, 11:18 AM
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I ride a 2018 Domane SL 5 and have nothing but good things to say about it. With 32mm tires it can take some gravel and bad roads. That said, I just bought a 2022 Chedkpoint SL5, not because of any problem with the Domane but because I'm 74 and wanted a new bike to add to the stable. Either way you'll love either of the two. I would think that the Checkpoint would offer more stability. You have to look around the country to find a shop that has either bike in stock. The Trek site will help you do this. I visited my son in Houston two weeks ago and both bikes were available. I live in Montana and neither are available here with the exception of the Checkpoint AL. I'm sure that there are other endurance and gravel bike options available from other companies.
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Old 05-19-22, 12:17 PM
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Huh. My 5200 is the bike I'd vote as "mostly likely to continue going where I point it." Very smooth and comfortable on crowded rides. Stable, no wobble ever, up to 60 mph. I'd say something's wrong with yours. Headset? Replace with Chris King. If it has the original 1-bolt stem, they were recalled. Replace with a threadless adapter and a forged stem. Or I wonder, is it the bike?

I remember thinking when I first had mine, "No wonder Lance won his first TdF on this frame. It's so effortless to handle."
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Old 05-19-22, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Huh. My 5200 is the bike I'd vote as "mostly likely to continue going where I point it." Very smooth and comfortable on crowded rides. Stable, no wobble ever, up to 60 mph. I'd say something's wrong with yours. Headset? Replace with Chris King. If it has the original 1-bolt stem, they were recalled. Replace with a threadless adapter and a forged stem. Or I wonder, is it the bike?

I remember thinking when I first had mine, "No wonder Lance won his first TdF on this frame. It's so effortless to handle."
So right! I actually had both the Quantum Race and 5200 simultaneously, as first owner for each of them. The 5200 felt like it was on rails, and more locked in than the Klein, so there seems to be more to this story. I held onto the Klein longer, because of this very difference.
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Old 05-19-22, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by yesroh View Post
have always been weak on handling--very nervous rider, can't stand pack riding or having a lot of people around me. ...
the older I get, the more nervous I get...
I get nervous on downhills and crosswinds...
The new Checkpoint is definitely longer than your Roubaix and will probably feel a bit more stable, but the Roubaix isn't exactly a twitchy bike to begin with, and I'm doubtful that 13mm difference in trail geometry alone is going to suddenly give you a ton of new confidence for pack riding and fast descents with crosswinds, etc.

The obvious answer is to go test ride one, if you can find one in stock.
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Old 05-19-22, 12:52 PM
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FWIW - the trail measurement on the Domane is only longer than the Roubaix in certain sizes:

52cm frame: Domane=59mm and Roubaix=59mm.
54cm frame: Domane=59mm and Roubaix=61mm.
56cm frame: Domane=61mm and Roubaix=55mm.

I realize there's more to a bike's overall handling than this one measurement, but the OP specifically noted increased trail as something they were looking for.
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Old 05-20-22, 01:42 AM
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Surly Disc Trucker.
Heavy, long, and more stable than an aircraft carrier.
Can ride it for a week no-handed.
26 lbs of real sweet steel.
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Old 05-20-22, 04:27 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
Surly Disc Trucker.
Heavy, long, and more stable than an aircraft carrier.
Can ride it for a week no-handed.
26 lbs of real sweet steel.
Is riding no handed the test for stability? If so, the R3 and Aspero must be incredibly stable.


To the OP, agree with the others that the Domane would work.
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Old 05-20-22, 05:22 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by phrantic09 View Post
Is riding no handed the test for stability? If so, the R3 and Aspero must be incredibly stable.


To the OP, agree with the others that the Domane would work.
It is not the only test for stability but it is one measure of stability.
That’s not why I referenced it though. I referenced it because the OP equated it to handling/stability. Either way the OP is pretty much looking for a unicorn as he also wants something light and fast(but not quick)for hill climbs?
Please try to keep up though

Last edited by downhillmaster; 05-20-22 at 05:27 AM.
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Old 05-20-22, 05:26 AM
  #25  
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OP, did you put wider tires on your bike? It's definitely worthy of consideration if you have the clearance.
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