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Least proprietary current production road endurance bike

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Least proprietary current production road endurance bike

Old 05-02-24, 01:51 PM
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Least proprietary current production road endurance bike

I'm looking for something reasonably fast but without the marginal (if any) gains of:
-Headset cable routing
-Press-fit BB (I know that's not truly proprietary)
-Non-round seatposts
-Proprietary stems/headsets/forks
-Other proprietary stuff that I can't easily remove/change.

Budget is around ~$2500-3000ish. Endurance because I want 50/34 cranks and (at least the option to put in) an 11-34 cassette. Geometry can be more on the racy side though. Also needs to have some way to mount fenders since I live near Seattle.

Closest I could find was the All-City Zig-Zag which looks good but a bit pricey for what it is and somewhat heavy. Also would have to change out the 52/36 cranks.

The Canondale Synapse 3L/2LE looks good too but I would definitely have to get rid of the SmartSense stuff.

Any other contenders?
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Old 05-02-24, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by danko
I'm looking for something reasonably fast but without the marginal (if any) gains of:
-Headset cable routing
-Press-fit BB (I know that's not truly proprietary)
-Non-round seatposts
-Proprietary stems/headsets/forks
-Other proprietary stuff that I can't easily remove/change.

Budget is around ~$2500-3000ish. Endurance because I want 50/34 cranks and (at least the option to put in) an 11-34 cassette. Geometry can be more on the racy side though. Also needs to have some way to mount fenders since I live near Seattle.

Closest I could find was the All-City Zig-Zag which looks good but a bit pricey for what it is and somewhat heavy. Also would have to change out the 52/36 cranks.

The Canondale Synapse 3L/2LE looks good too but I would definitely have to get rid of the SmartSense stuff.

Any other contenders?

Aethos granted it's not an Endurance bike but a very compliant bike. Non integrated cables. 27.2mm seat post with a normal collar. Comes with a top down saddle rail clamp that can do oval or round saddles rails. Uses a 31.8mm stem clamp. BSA BB. Has routing for mechanical. It's also a Specialized product thus finding parts is super easy. Only qualm if you even would call it one is that the Aethos requires you run a 160mm front rotor. Now is the Aethos the fastest bike, no but with a deeper wheelset and maybe some aero bars (non integrated) you are aero enough. Aethos Comps are $4K which is above your budget but I am sure you could find a used one for cheaper

Last edited by Jrasero; 05-02-24 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 05-02-24, 04:35 PM
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I recently went through the same exercise before buying a Cannondale Synapse 2RLE.

New Cannondale Synapse vs. Another Endurance Bike? - Bike Forums

The SmartSense system is very easy to remove. Another option would be the Look 765 Optimum.
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Old 05-02-24, 04:38 PM
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Fairlight Strael.

External routing, round seatpost, threaded bb, and multiple geometry sizes to fit body measurements that vary even at the same overall height.
It will weigh less than a zigzag frame, but more than an aluminum or carbon frame.

A Soma Smoothie HP frame could also work as it has thee same features mentioned.





$2660 for a Fairlight Strael with 12sp 105.


Or buy the Strael frameset for $1460, a 12sp 105 group from Merlin for $550, aquality carbon wheelset for $650 from BTLOS, a saddle for $60, bars for $50, a stem for $30, seatpost for $40, tape for $20, and tires for $130.
Right at $3000 for a bike that will be spec'd really well.


https://www.merlincycles.com/en-us/s...Bike+Groupsets
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Old 05-02-24, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Jrasero
Aethos granted it's not an Endurance bike but a very compliant bike. Non integrated cables. 27.2mm seat post with a normal collar. Comes with a top down saddle rail clamp that can do oval or round saddles rails. Uses a 31.8mm stem clamp. BSA BB. Has routing for mechanical. It's also a Specialized product thus finding parts is super easy. Only qualm if you even would call it one is that the Aethos requires you run a 160mm front rotor. Now is the Aethos the fastest bike, no but with a deeper wheelset and maybe some aero bars (non integrated) you are aero enough. Aethos Comps are $4K which is above your budget but I am sure you could find a used one for cheaper
Wow, never seen that one. Looks very classy and super light. No fender mounts it seems though and yes, a bit out of my budget for the cheapest model. Maybe if there's a good sale though...

Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
I recently went through the same exercise before buying a Cannondale Synapse 2RLE.

New Cannondale Synapse vs. Another Endurance Bike? - Bike Forums

The SmartSense system is very easy to remove. Another option would be the Look 765 Optimum.
Very cool, how are you liking the Synapse so far?

Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Fairlight Strael.

External routing, round seatpost, threaded bb, and multiple geometry sizes to fit body measurements that vary even at the same overall height.
It will weigh less than a zigzag frame, but more than an aluminum or carbon frame.

A Soma Smoothie HP frame could also work as it has thee same features mentioned.





$2660 for a Fairlight Strael with 12sp 105.


Or buy the Strael frameset for $1460, a 12sp 105 group from Merlin for $550, aquality carbon wheelset for $650 from BTLOS, a saddle for $60, bars for $50, a stem for $30, seatpost for $40, tape for $20, and tires for $130.
Right at $3000 for a bike that will be spec'd really well.
The Strael looks like a beautiful bike but is it available in the US? And where are you getting these prices from? The only thing I can find on their website is the option to make a deposit 750gbp deposit. Smoothie HP looks like a good one as well. Not sure how heavy or or fast it is - can't find too many reviews online.
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Old 05-02-24, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by danko
Any other contenders?
Ritchey Road Logic https://ritcheylogic.com/bike/frames...logic-frameset
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Old 05-02-24, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by danko
Very cool, how are you liking the Synapse so far?
Still setting it up, so have not ridden it yet.
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Old 05-02-24, 07:57 PM
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Buy a used Lynskey, Seven Ti or similar. You'll get more bike than you can new.

https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/b...736836279.html
https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/b...732294028.html
https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/b...743158742.html
https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/b...739165651.html

And those are just the disc brake listings.

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Old 05-02-24, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by danko

The Strael looks like a beautiful bike but is it available in the US? And where are you getting these prices from? The only thing I can find on their website is the option to make a deposit 750gbp deposit. Smoothie HP looks like a good one as well. Not sure how heavy or or fast it is - can't find too many reviews online.
Yes, Fairlight ships globally. The US price is in their links. They have a very in depth look book with design notes and build options.
It's all in half a dozen links on this page towards the bottom- https://fairlightcycles.com/product/...v=7516fd43adaa
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Old 05-02-24, 08:41 PM
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I don't believe that any Litespeed or Lynskey has proprietary parts. Maybe Litespeed sells some with a press fit BB but they're not proprietary.
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Old 05-02-24, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle
I do like that one. At $1799 for the disc frame, it's not super likely to be under $3k. But I'll have to price it out.

Originally Posted by Kontact
For this bike, my preference is to buy new. I do normally buy used bikes but this is something of a special scenario.

Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Yes, Fairlight ships globally. The US price is in their links. They have a very in depth look book with design notes and build options.
It's all in half a dozen links on this page towards the bottom- https://fairlightcycles.com/product/...v=7516fd43adaa
Ah, I've found their international price list. Like you say, the 105 12sp comes out to $2660. With shipping, right over $3k. Certainly an option. I'm a touch reluctant to order a bike that I can't possibly try at any bike shop in the US but the glowing reviews on this one might sway me.

Do you know how fully assembled the bike comes?
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Old 05-03-24, 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
Another option would be the Look 765 Optimum.
+1 good call.
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Old 05-05-24, 12:06 PM
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danko: Look 765 Optimum currently on sale at BTD: Look Bikes, Frames and Forks Cycling Products - BikeTiresDirect
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Old 05-05-24, 01:36 PM
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Felt VR

Originally Posted by danko
I'm looking for something reasonably fast but without the marginal (if any) gains of:
-Headset cable routing
-Press-fit BB (I know that's not truly proprietary)
-Non-round seatposts
-Proprietary stems/headsets/forks
-Other proprietary stuff that I can't easily remove/change.

Budget is around ~$2500-3000ish. Endurance because I want 50/34 cranks and (at least the option to put in) an 11-34 cassette. Geometry can be more on the racy side though. Also needs to have some way to mount fenders since I live near Seattle.

Closest I could find was the All-City Zig-Zag which looks good but a bit pricey for what it is and somewhat heavy. Also would have to change out the 52/36 cranks.

The Canondale Synapse 3L/2LE looks good too but I would definitely have to get rid of the SmartSense stuff.

Any other contenders?
I just went though this in March and had a want list very similar to yours. My other two requirements were mechanical shifting and a carbon frame. I found, beyond general fit, it was difficult to stay away from headset cable routing and proprietary/non-standard components. After a lot of online research and visits to about a dozen bike shops I landed on the Felt VR Advanced 105:

https://www.feltbicycles.com/en-us/a...ance-road.html

The only sacrifice I made was the press-fit BB - however this model came with the Ninja "threaded" press-fit BB, which I'm OK with.

Note the model I linked above is the 2023 version. It looks like Felt has tweaked the 2024 version a bit.

I don't want fenders but it appears Felt has a "Mud Guard Kit" which references compatibility with the VR series:
https://www.feltbicycles.com/en-us/p...guard-kit.html

FWIW the bike rides very well and I am extremely happy with it.

YMMV. Good luck in your search.
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Old 05-05-24, 02:58 PM
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There are a lot of contenders. The proprietary stuff you mention typically is on the higher end of the mid-tier and above.

There is a brand new Tarmac with 10 speed Shimano on it for 2,300 USD. The stack height will put the bars lower than the All city. Specialized, Cannondale, Trek and others have plenty of bikes that should meet your requirement of no proprietary stuff.

So what are your real requirements. Road bike you pick depends on a lot of other stuff. Such as what position do you want the bike to give you. Very aero, not so aero or not aero whatsoever??
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Old 05-05-24, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
I love mine but it is a bit propitiatory stem internal mechanical cables and brake hoses but it works. Like the T47 bottom bracket and 27.2 seat post Look makes a nice one.




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Old 05-05-24, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Shadco
I love mine but it is a bit propitiatory stem internal mechanical cables and brake hoses but it works. Like the T47 bottom bracket and 27.2 seat post Look makes a nice one.
With the Look 765 Optimum, at least the internal routing is only through the headset, not through the stem. A wireless shifting setup (12 speed Di2 or SRAM AXS) would be preferable.
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Old 05-05-24, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
So what are your real requirements. Road bike you pick depends on a lot of other stuff. Such as what position do you want the bike to give you. Very aero, not so aero or not aero whatsoever??
With respect to fit, OP did mention an endurance bike and listed a Cannondale Synapse as a possibility.
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Old 05-05-24, 11:19 PM
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Cervelo Caledonia checks all the boxes except has a press-fit BB. I almost bought one when the 105 model was on sale for $2400 a few months back -- some places might still have it for that price -- but held off due to indecision. Tbf the BB was a major reason I was reluctant to bite because I was thinking of transferring my 11-speed Ultegra Di2 groupset over to it, which would involve removing the BB to wire the battery, if I understand the process.
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Old 05-06-24, 05:23 AM
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I have a threaded BB on my current bike and I'm not going back to press fit. My creaking-less experience is formidable.

May I ask why the fuzz on having non proprietary stuff? And why not build a custom bike?
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Old 05-06-24, 05:34 AM
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Cervelo Caledonia is a nice bike

Originally Posted by surak
Cervelo Caledonia checks all the boxes except has a press-fit BB.
In my quest I looked at this one long and hard. I really wanted to like it but I went with the Felt almost entirely because of the fit: I was right on the line between two sizes in the Caledonia line, which is why I wanted a new bike in the first place - trying to get away from a "tweener" size. The Felt just fit me better, even before I really dialed it in with a fit session. The Caledonia is a very nice bike, though.

And yeah, the press-fit BB is a downer - but it seems most of the larger bike companies are still going that route.
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Old 05-06-24, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
With respect to fit, OP did mention an endurance bike and listed a Cannondale Synapse as a possibility.
So what position do you take endurance to mean? The Cannondale Synapse is about the same fit as a Trek Domane. If the OP is using endurance bike to mean that they want a more upright position, then the Synapse and Domain might not be the ones.

The question was for the OP. I intended that the OP would give a little more info about what position they really wanted to be in. Between the bikes advertised as endurance, there are some people that won't like one end of the fit spectrum.

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Old 05-06-24, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by eduskator
May I ask why the fuzz on having non proprietary stuff?
I cant speak to why the OP wants non-proprietary stuff, but I personally dont want it because...
- I like changing things out from time to time to try something different(bar bend, stem length/angle, seatpost) and proprietary makes doing those things more expensive and often times not possible without waiting(out of stock).
- All my bikes are built up by me from frames, and one was a frame I built. Proprietary stuff or more advanced stuff, even if it is well established, means paying for more tools and lengthens setup time as well as possible maintenance time. Anything beyond a brake hose going thru a fork and possibly internal routing thru the downtube is a pass for me.


- I like the look of no cables or hoses, but I dont find external cables or hoses to be in the way or a detriment to riding. I dont care if my cables and hoses are fully hidden and dont want them to route thru the stem/headset because that doesnt improve my riding experience. There is just no upside for me personally.
- Similarly, there is no upside to me personally using an integrated bar and stem combo setup.
- There is no upside to me personally using a fork with a shaped steerer that allows hoses to be crammed and routed inside the head tube.
- A BSA threaded BB works perfectly for me, since cables and hoses are routed externally. They are easy and fast to attach, easy and fast to detach, and there is no upside for me to use anything different. If anything routed inside the BB shell, then a T47 with significant external surface notches would be acceptable since that would still accomplish what I want in a BB.
- I dont even want a proprietary seatpost wedge or anything but a round seatpost. As is the case with examples above, there isnt an upside for me to use a bike with anything but an integrated clamp collar or an external clamp collar.


Its cool that others like those things, but I tend to base a lot of what I like/want on practicality or 'does this improve my riding experience'. And for me, most of the things above arent more practical and dont improve my riding experience.
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Old 05-06-24, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
I cant speak to why the OP wants non-proprietary stuff, but I personally dont want it because...
- I like changing things out from time to time to try something different(bar bend, stem length/angle, seatpost).
Curious why swap something like a seat post ?. Not much functional difference with seat post, unless you like to change setback ?. As well, I tend to find a h-bar and leave it alone as too much effort to swap out all the stuff.

I pondered this with a recent Emonda purchase, it had a proprietary seat post. I realized I generally set the seat height and other then a once per year removal to relube, never touch it, so it really didn’t need to be a generic post.
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Old 05-06-24, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B.
Curious why swap something like a seat post ?. Not much functional difference with seat post, unless you like to change setback ?.
In addition to setback, I personally see two other advantages to a seatpost swap: (1) improved compliance and (2) the option of using a seatpost with a top clamp and bottom cradle for (a) improved adjustability and (b) supporting CF saddle rails.

Originally Posted by Steve B.
As well, I tend to find a h-bar and leave it alone as too much effort to swap out all the stuff.
The largest advantage to a non-integrated cockpit is the ability to swap stems to dial in one's fit.
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