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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm returning to roadbikes after a 17 year break. Neadless to say, frames are much different today. I need as plush a riding bike as possible due to an old wrist injury and my age. short of using a suspension fork and seatpost, what is the plushest riding frame type available. I have seen some blow-out deals on complete bikes that have aluminum frames with carbon stays and fork (around $1000). Ti would be nice, but that's way out of my budget. I want to stay as light as possible, otherwise I can continue to ride my Ti MTB with road tires. Any suggestions? I'm 5'6", 185lbs, and 47 yrs old.
 

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define your use of the road bike

What is your intended use of the bike? Racing, touring, commuting, general multi road use?

For general comfort I've never heard a bad comment about Bruce Gordon touring bikes.

Beyond that, with comfort as your main priority, you'll have to define use so as not to be inundated with relatively comfortable crit bikes instead of more comfortable road race bikes instead of even more comfortable commuter bikes.

Do you want quick steering or easier steering? Add details from there. There are lots of variables and options.
 

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Given your specifications, a touring frame sounds ideal for you. These frames will let you fit larger tires, which can tolerate lower pressures. This aspect will affect comfort MUCH more that frame material. Also, they tend to have longer chainstays which will improve the ride quality somewhat. GVH has a Lyon frame that's not too pricey. Just some suggestions...
 

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As the old worn out saying goes...

Rocketman58 said:
I'm returning to roadbikes after a 17 year break. Neadless to say, frames are much different today. I need as plush a riding bike as possible due to an old wrist injury and my age. short of using a suspension fork and seatpost, what is the plushest riding frame type available. I have seen some blow-out deals on complete bikes that have aluminum frames with carbon stays and fork (around $1000). Ti would be nice, but that's way out of my budget. I want to stay as light as possible, otherwise I can continue to ride my Ti MTB with road tires. Any suggestions? I'm 5'6", 185lbs, and 47 yrs old.
...Steel is Real.
 

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Maybe not a full touring bike...

Rocketman58 said:
I need as plush a riding bike as possible .... I want to stay as light as possible ....QUOTE]

Plush AND light might rule out a full touring bike like the Bruce Gordon. I would think you'd be better off with a sport-touring bike. Check out:

- Rivendell (rather, Rivendell derivatives like the Rambouillet, Romulus, and Atlantis)
- Heron
- Gunnar Sport Road (I'm a Gunnar junkie)
- Soma Smoothie ES

That's a good start for relaxed geometry, comfortable, light steel frames that won't break the bank.
 

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Carpe Podium said:
Given your specifications, a touring frame sounds ideal for you. These frames will let you fit larger tires, which can tolerate lower pressures. This aspect will affect comfort MUCH more that frame material. Also, they tend to have longer chainstays which will improve the ride quality somewhat. GVH has a Lyon frame that's not too pricey. Just some suggestions...
^^^ What he said. I'd steer clear of aluminum and go for a steel touring frame.
 

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long wheel base and old steel

I like Columbus SL; others rave about Reynolds 753. A long chain stay helps smooth out bumps and bigger tires ride plusher than skinnier ones. If you're handy enough to be comfortable buying a used frame, I'd look for older steel. 80's Italians and Brits go down the road pleasantly.
 

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To quote Sheldon Brown:

"The frame feature that does have some effect on road shock at the rump is the design of the rear triangle. This is one of the reasons that touring bikes tend to have long chainstays--it puts the rider forward of the rear wheel. Short chainstays give a harsh ride for the same reason that you bounce more in the back of a bus than in the middle...if you're right on top of the wheel, all of the jolt goes straight up."

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-materials.html
 

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Steel is a very comfortable ride, maybe not quite as comfy as TI but it's cheaper thus more comfy on your wallet! You need to figure out how much you want to spend then ride whats available in that price range. Sport or touring bikes are more comfortable and if you get those in a steel or TI than it will be that much more comfy. One poster mentioned Rivendell or the Atlantis (Rivendell sells), the Rivendell is real expensive but a real comfortable bike (a friend of mine has one and it's sweet), but I have heard from the Rivendell folks that the Atlantis is very close to the same feel for less money ($1,300 vs 2,500, both for frame & fork only); see: http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/html/bikes_prices.html.

If either of those are out of your range then try the Trek 520 an excellent bike for the money, around $1100 with Shimano 105 components. It's constructed of triple butted cromoly steel frame and fork. Treks are at least readly available at most LBS's.
 

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Rocketman58 said:
I'm returning to roadbikes after a 17 year break. Neadless to say, frames are much different today. I need as plush a riding bike as possible due to an old wrist injury and my age. short of using a suspension fork and seatpost, what is the plushest riding frame type available. I have seen some blow-out deals on complete bikes that have aluminum frames with carbon stays and fork (around $1000). Ti would be nice, but that's way out of my budget. I want to stay as light as possible, otherwise I can continue to ride my Ti MTB with road tires. Any suggestions? I'm 5'6", 185lbs, and 47 yrs old.
I also returned after a long abscence and was amazed at the tech changes in biking. I got a mongoose 5.3 alum frame in 50cm (don't laugh, it was before pacific cycles took over) and it pretty much beat me up. Now I have a raliegh heritage international with zona steel and campy gruppo. It also has a carbon fork. My joints aren't what they used to be, this bike is so nice to ride! It's heavier than some but there are 3 heritage models, the other steel one is about a pd lighter.

You might want to consider a carbon frame. Rivendale makes some nice steel frames and the positioning is a little more upright and "age friendly". I got my raleigh because I got a good price on it and I liked the fit and ride, if I had more money and I was taller I would have looked around more but I really can't complain.
 

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If ultimate comfort is what you crave

Rocketman58 said:
I'm returning to roadbikes after a 17 year break. Neadless to say, frames are much different today. I need as plush a riding bike as possible due to an old wrist injury and my age. short of using a suspension fork and seatpost, what is the plushest riding frame type available. I have seen some blow-out deals on complete bikes that have aluminum frames with carbon stays and fork (around $1000). Ti would be nice, but that's way out of my budget. I want to stay as light as possible, otherwise I can continue to ride my Ti MTB with road tires. Any suggestions? I'm 5'6", 185lbs, and 47 yrs old.
You can't get better than a Softride. The beam suspension along with a carbon fork is the smoothest ride available. The original beam rides better than the newer, straighter, beams. They're also very good when you stomp on the pedals or climb out of the saddle as the frame is stiff. Not the lightest, 19-22 lbs depending on how they're equipped, but not a tank by any means.
http://www.softride.com/bike/bikes.asp
 

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Rocketman58 said:
I'm returning to roadbikes after a 17 year break. Neadless to say, frames are much different today. I need as plush a riding bike as possible due to an old wrist injury and my age. short of using a suspension fork and seatpost, what is the plushest riding frame type available. I have seen some blow-out deals on complete bikes that have aluminum frames with carbon stays and fork (around $1000). Ti would be nice, but that's way out of my budget. I want to stay as light as possible, otherwise I can continue to ride my Ti MTB with road tires. Any suggestions? I'm 5'6", 185lbs, and 47 yrs old.
I think the choice of fork would be more important then frame, however I doubt you can get a full carbon fork in 1K range. Consider getting gel tape or foam grips on tops (5$ at LBS), and good saddle. Steel is real and plush if Ti is out of budget. You can find a good deal on steel, don't worry about 1-2 extra pounds. New carbon/steel Lemonds are great you can get Ultegra level bike under 1.5K.
 

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plushest riding frame

Frame material isn't going to make much difference in ride comfort. The biggest difference will come from frame geometry, rider position, and the fork. As pointed out already, a longer wheelbase will provide a smoother ride. The fork matters because it is cantilevered off of the frame and is free to deflect over bumps. In order to do this effectively, the steerer must flex. So, forks with extra stiff steerers may ride harshly. Most crowned steel forks ride fairly well.

Todd Kuzma
Heron Bicycles
Tullio's Big Dog Cyclery
LaSalle, IL 815-223-1776
http://www.heronbicycles.com
http://www.tullios.com
 

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Marin makes a nice Columbus Thron steel with carbon: either the Argenta, which for $1,000 gives you steel frame, carbon fork and stays, and Shimano Tiagra; or the Verona, which ups the group to 105 for about $300 more.

Definitely steel, though. When you hit the downside of 45 you don't want an aluminum or full-on carbon jackhammer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the input.

A lot of information. Much reflects what I already knew. I was considering a Soma steel frame (due to the cost), and a carbon fork. I have most of the other parts except the wheels.

Any thoughts as to just keeping my Ti MTB with 1.25 slick tires instead? It's prettynice on the road, but do MTBs just ride harsher due to the smaller wheels and sturdier frame?

Thanks...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Oh, also....

I forgot to state my intended purpose:

General fitness rides around 35 miles a maybe once a week.
Occasional group rides around 50 miles.
(I no longer have the time to train for centuries any more.)

Thanks...
 

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Find an old Lemond Buenos Aires

Rocketman58 said:
I forgot to state my intended purpose:

General fitness rides around 35 miles a maybe once a week.
Occasional group rides around 50 miles.
(I no longer have the time to train for centuries any more.)

Thanks...
Stay away from the 853 Pro Team tubes, they really stiffen things up. Also, look at the Jamis bikes in steel, I have a nice 631 bike (for cross).
 
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