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Hi, folks. I am interested in getting into road biking. I am 48, with some minor back issues. I have test-ridden a few bikes lately, including the Specialized Roubaix and the Trek Pilot and Madone.

On my test-rides so far, I've tended to feel too stretched out, almost like the top tubes of modern bikes are too long. I rode a mid-range Roubaix today at my LBS and it felt closest to being comfortable of the models I've tried so far.

Do any of you have any other models to recommend for me to try? Again, I'm especially interested in keeping the top tube as short as possible, but with a carbon fiber frame and reasonable lightness and speed. My budget is in the $2500 to $3500 range.

Thanks!
 

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Any decent bike shop can switch out to a shorter stem, even for test rides. I think that the bianchi ctc 928 is comfy and has a shorter top tube. Stay away from deep dish rims cause they are stiff. Ride everything you can.
 

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monkey with flamethrower
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bike eagle said:
Hi, folks. I am interested in getting into road biking. I am 48, with some minor back issues. I have test-ridden a few bikes lately, including the Specialized Roubaix and the Trek Pilot and Madone.

On my test-rides so far, I've tended to feel too stretched out, almost like the top tubes of modern bikes are too long. I rode a mid-range Roubaix today at my LBS and it felt closest to being comfortable of the models I've tried so far.

Do any of you have any other models to recommend for me to try? Again, I'm especially interested in keeping the top tube as short as possible, but with a carbon fiber frame and reasonable lightness and speed. My budget is in the $2500 to $3500 range.

Thanks!
Riding higher volume tires such as 700x27 will make more of a difference in a smooth plush feel ride than any frame material or model.

Fit is important for a comfortable bike. And bike fitting is often easier said than done. If the whatever shop you are looking at doesn't fit you, or doesn't pull out the tape measure and start measuring bikes or look at geometry charts, go someplace else. And remember, the internet can't fit your bike for you, that is something that has to be done in person by a bike shop that knows what they are doing.

As for what model or brand of bike, honestly all bikes from all reputable manufactures are pretty much equal. A Specialized isn't better than a Jamis or a Trek, provided you have the right fit.
 

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Would a WSD have a shorter reach?
You can get a WSD that dosn't look like a WSD... (i mean "it's not pink")
 

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I don't think there is a more plush carbon frame than th Specialized Roubaix Expert or Pro. Try a shorter stem. I'm 6', 32" inseam and ride a 58 with a 90mm stem.
 

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monkey with flamethrower
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Visitor302 said:
Would a WSD have a shorter reach?
You can get a WSD that dosn't look like a WSD... (i mean "it's not pink")
By WSD I assume that you are refering to Womens Specific Design. First off this guy is a big fella and womens specific bikes are only made up to around a 55 or so. Womens specific bikes may or may not have a shorter reach and the larger the bike the less 'womens specific' the bike gets. So in other words, no a womens specific will not work.
 

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You want plush? then you want bigger tires. 28s. 32s. something with a lot of air volume. Then, you'll want to be able to get your bars up level with the saddle- if you've got back issues, that might make a big difference.

For the money yer talking about spending, why not look at a Rivendell?
there's the Ramboulliet- http://www.rivbike.com/products/list/bicycle_models#product=50-172
and the Hilson- http://www.rivbike.com/products/list/bicycle_models#product=50-650
Both of these will support larger tires and higher stems and they'll look good doing it.

I'm not a huge believer in everything Rivendell says, but they make an excellent bike and if you want comfort over long distances, they're pretty sharp.

I'm 6'2" with a 32 inch inseam as well and Riv makes a bike that fits really nice (o long as you follow their guidelines, which would put you on a 61-62 frame...)
 

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I understand you are looking for carbon, but well-built steel could meet your needs. For your price range you could get custom steel by Curtlo.
Raising the handlebars will also shorten the reach. The stem on the Roubaix may have a shim between it and the steerer tube that allows the stem angle to be raised from 0 to +16 degrees. Ask the shop to adjust it for you on your next test ride.
Bigger tires definitely soften the ride. I swapped the Specialized all season pro 23's (actually measured 25) for IRC roadwinner 2 duro 28's (measured 26.5). The bigger tires weigh 100g more and feel like they roll slower at the same pressure but the ride is less brittle. I just got some nicer 25's and 28's to experiment with to see what will roll faster yet still provide a cush ride.
 

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If you are looking for comfort, you will be very disappointed by getting a race bike, regardless of what it is made out of.

You definitely need to look at some bikes that will allow for larger tires 32-35mm and the ability to get the bars at least to the height of the saddle, as buck-50 stated. Rivendell is a good start, or you might want to consider a custom frame.
 

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Your height and inseam would indicate that you need a longer top tube than normal, not shorter. A Lemond would fit that criteria.

I would suggest a professional fitting. As a new cyclist you do not have a clue as to what size bike you need. Sorry if that sounds harsh. But you need to get past that and seek expert advice. I personally have not been able to make the adjustments necessary to my bike comfortable. In fact, most of the time my instincts tell me to adjust exactly the opposite of what needs to be done. Some people can do it easily but I cannot. So I have a bias. Luckily I have a Serotta trained fitter that has me dialed in perfectly.

A Serotta trained fitter would be an excellent choice. They listen to your concerns, needs, and wants. Then they set you up on an adjustable cycle designed to fit your needs. Gradually the position is tweeked until you feel comfortable. At the same time they monitor your wattage output and determine the most efficient position for you. Usually the most efficient and comfortable position are the same once the bike is sized properly. Then they will be able to tell you if standard geometry fits and what brand(s) and models are appropriate. A Serotta Fierte (standard steel) or Couer D' Acier (custom steel) would be excellent choices.

There is more to sizing than finding the correct top tube, stem, and setback dimensions. You also have to look at whether the resulting weight distribution is acceptable so that the bike will have good handling characteristics. It is mostly science but there is quite a bit of art in fitting a bike. You will understand better if your fit and design is not right and then get the right one. It is the difference between riding 30 miles and 150 miles daily with equal comfort.

Good luck. Also be careful. Cycling is quite addicting.
A Cannondale Synapse, Giant OCR Composite, Specialized Roubaix, and the Trek Pilot and Madone that you have already tried would be appropriate choices.
 

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+1 on that.

brianmcg said:
If you are looking for comfort, you will be very disappointed by getting a race bike, regardless of what it is made out of.

You definitely need to look at some bikes that will allow for larger tires 32-35mm and the ability to get the bars at least to the height of the saddle, as buck-50 stated. Rivendell is a good start, or you might want to consider a custom frame.
What he says. Your quest for plushness will almost certainly fail if you limit yourself to carbon racing bikes. Keep in mind that the term "road bike" means all bikes made for the road, and that definitely includes fine steel bikes made to carry you in comfort over long distances. As said above, frame clearance for plush tires and a sensible fit is the key, not frame material. Many people in your situation have bought into the carbon race bike thing, then wind up forever modifying their bike it in a frustrating and never-ending search for comfort.

/w
 

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+1 on the Serotta fitting. And you are not limited to buying a Serotta bike, they will give you a printout with your fitting info, and you can take it anywhere. In my case, I had a Serotta fitting, and I bought a Bianchi from that dealer, so the cost of the fitting was subtracted from the bike cost, so the fitting was free.

Just be sure to tell the fitter what you are looking for - a comfort fit, not a racing fit.

Bill
 

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jd3 said:
I don't think there is a more plush carbon frame than th Specialized Roubaix Expert or Pro. Try a shorter stem. I'm 6', 32" inseam and ride a 58 with a 90mm stem.
What he said..:) I haven't ridden my old Bottecchia in 30 years and got hair up my a** and bought a new Specialized Roubaix Expert. My Bottecchia was and still is a nice bike for it's time, but the difference between the two bikes is night and day, I'm a happy camper. I'm 51 years old now and for some reason I can't average 28 mph like these tour de france guys, I just can't understand it....:D Like some else mentioned go to a bike shop that is willing to take the time to listen to your needs and properly fit you.. Have fun..

Pete
 

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Are you sure a shorter top tube is what you need? If you're just thinking you want the opposite of being extended, you might be wrong in looking for shorter. The bikes might actually fit. Or, from the sounds of your measurements, they might be too short. Something too short will be uncomfortable real quick--longer than a test ride would show.

I'd look into something that has you sitting more upright--higher rise stem, taller headtube, longer steerer tube on fork to add spacers, etc.

Don't fall for race wheels, they're not made for comfort. Set aside some money for a set of handbuilt wheels w/ multiple spokes--at least 32 spoke, the more X's the better. They can be made fairly light considering your hub and rim selection--they don't have to be pigs. They won't be as light as super pricey race wheels though.

Actually, if you want comfort, look at touring bikes. They will be heavier than a race bike. They're made for distance which = more comfort to cover the distance. They can cost a lot of $$ too if you're looking for expensive, or cheap if you don't want to spend a lot of $$.

Light is relative btw.
 

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Second on the Serotta Fierte...

I am 47 and have some of your same issues. Coming off a 1980 Eddy Merckx race bike set up for speed and aggressiveness and now past that. Wanted a bike I can ride all day long and be proud of and had same heritage surrounding steel. I must have rode 50 bikes over the years trying to find the bike that was for me that rode like my old Eddy but was plush. In steps a 2007 Serotta Fierte I got a great price on. I knew in 100 yards it was the one. For $3000 you get a bike you can be pround of, will last a lifetime and it rides like butter. I traded out the wheels for Mavic's and it rides even better. Bicycling Magazine also gave it the best plush bike award for 2007. Go put your let over one and see...

Other than that I have no opinion....
 

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We have similar age/condition situations. I am very happy with my new BikesDirect.com Motobecane Century Pro. It's upright position and the vibration/shock damping qualities of its carbon frame are big improvements over my Fuji Roubaix. And with Ultegra gruppo for $1,500.00 delivered, and unbeatable value unless you are determined to subsidize your LBS's franchise. Of course, I've ridden for 45 years, bought bikes on-line before, and am happier doing my own wrenching rather than having Pimple, my LBS's fourteen year old "mechanic" have at it.
 

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9-speed said:
Actually, if you want comfort, look at touring bikes.
not so sure. a true touring bike will be designed for loaded touring and won't handle all that well as a daily driver. Geometry is totally different.
 
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