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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a compact aluminum frame (Giant OCR 2) that I have a special affection (or affliction?) for. I rode it across the US, and could never get rid of it for sentimental reasons, plus it fits me perfectly. I have since changed to a carbon bike, which is my primary ride now. As my memory serves me, my original Giant build was pretty stiff in comparison to what I'm used to now (Time Edge Racer).

I plan to use this as my rain/extra/training bike. I ride about 20 miles each weekday, and maybe 50-60 miles on weekend days, with the occasional century mixed in, average solo ride speeds 19-23 mph. I also plan to use this bike as an extra bike to loan to friends who are interested in getting into cycling, but don't want to take the $1000 leap until they try it out for a bit. I'm 150 lbs, 5'8. My priorities in descending order are: comfort is king, keeping the build price low, looks, with weight not an issue at all.

Here's my current build so far:
Giant OCR2 Compact Aluminum frame
OEM giant composite fork and aluminum steerer
2009 Campy Veloce groupset
Race Aksium's with Continental GP4000's
OEM Giant aluminum stem and handlebar
OEM Giant aluminum seat post 27.2
Fizik aliante
No pedals picked out yet
I'm considering stan's tubeless conversion with hutchinson fusion 2's after I try them out on my Time.

My question is, what changes/upgrades will make this aluminum bike a bit more comfortable? The obvious component that I am thinking of upgrading is the seatpost. I'd like your thoughts and hopefully first hand experience on carbon or titanium softening up an aluminum ride. Specific brands/models would help.

I guess the next upgrade would be a carbon handlebar (I personally do feel a comfort difference, and have never had a problem with them breaking). Again, specific models you've tried and experiences are appreciated.

Are there any other upgrades/changes or suggestions? I'd appreciate any input.
 

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Carbon Fiber = Explode!
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If you got the money, go for the EC90 seatpost. When I switched it out from my aluminum seatpost, I could tell a world of difference. Not even joking.

People will say carbon seatposts don't do anything, but I beg to differ. The seatpost is definitely the place to have carbon. Sometimes I wonder why they don't say carbon forks don't do a world of difference as if that's any different in application, but that's another thread.

You can also get one of those shock seatposts but remember that requires mechanical maintenance.

Gel tape or the like can help with hands for a small price. Bigger tires, lower psi pressure also work.
 

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tire pressure is all you need to do for the purpose of this bike. i have a rain bike and a little less pressure in tires works for me on anything up to 40 miles.
 

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Los Barriles, BCS, Mexico
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I'll second the recommendation for larger tires at a lower pressure. World of difference and, relative to anything else you could do, cheap. You might measure clearances to see if you could fit a 28 tire on the front and/or rear.
 

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I ride a C-Dale AL CAAD 9 and a System-Six (carbon/AL). By using a Specialized Gel toupe saddle and a Specialized seatpost with the Zerts insert, the CAAD takes rough pavement and bumps better than the System six. Both have Ksyrium SL wheels.
 

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With the carbon bars, consider a composite stem. I have the carbon wrapped FSA OS-99 CSI. It's lighter, and stronger than the all-carbon equivalent, and the combination with carbon bars (flat-top, FSA K Wing, in my case) is very nice.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1794813&l=8605a&id=732677773

I feel every bump with my Ally bike, bars, and stem, the difference is huge - factor in carbon forks versus ally forks too, though. I've no experience of the difference of the carbon bars and composite stem with ally forks. Gel bar tape (Bontrager) made quite a nice difference on the ally bike, and it's a lot cheaper than a set of carbon bars. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all of the replies. I will definitely throw on some fatter 25c tires, as it will be the cheapest and sounds like the most effective solution. I'm thinking that the wider tires will also give the added benefit of better traction as this will be my rain bike too.

I'm also going to hold off on the carbon handle bar right now and go with the softer handlebar tape and see how much that has an effect. I think I will look for an EC90 seatpost or specialized with the zerts inserts (which I have heard from several works pretty well) on ebay and be patient for deal.

Are there any other suggestions for 1: softening up the ride, and 2: setting this up as a rain bike? I think I'll forgo the mud guards for now, but will get a good head and tail light. I don't plan to take this out in a rain storm or anything, just when there may be a chance of rain or sprinking when I start out on my ride for the day. Plus for real muddy/rainy days, I have my single speed Van Dessel Country Road Bob. :)
 

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I agree

cxwrench said:
road tubeless...stans. end of discussion. flat out amazing.
+1 they are an amazing ride, very similar to the ride from a nice set of tubulars. I got them on 2 of my bikes. I would switch one more over (the Performance bike, as my 78 Trek runs tubulars) except I have a hard time throwing away good tires.
 

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I have an old (about 1996) GT Edge aluminum rain bike - have many of the elements noted above because I need more comfort. My main ride is a Specialized Roubaix, with an old Pinarello also. Here's how I have the Edge set up-

Fizik Arione
Rock Shock suspension seat post (off of my old mtn bike - heavy, but like you I'm not too concerned with weight on this bike. I tried the carbon post off my Roubaix, but it didn't help all that much)
700x25 Michelin Lithium at 95/100 psi I'd 6'2" and 190 pounds. I have 25's on all my bikes now.
Ritchie Pro handlebars - I've never tried carbon bars
Truvativ aluminum stem - one that I had
Kestrel EMS Pro carbon fork - compared to the old aluminum fork, this took a lot of the road buzz out.
Fizik bar gel and tape - nice and cushy
Mavic Open Pro rims, 3X, and double butted spokes - after the tires and the seat post these made the most difference. I had some Mavic Kysrium Elites on it before, they are nice wheels, but too stiff for my objective with this bike.
Campy Centaur 9 speed
no fenders - yet, but coming

Hope this helps.
 

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Larry Lackapants
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sscooterguy said:
My priorities in descending order are: comfort is king, keeping the build price low, looks, with weight not an issue at all.
If you somehow think of dumping the tubeless conversion, I think box section, low profile rims will soften out your ride. a "rimtec" rear rim from did it for me for some time. (giant tcr alu/carbon frame)
 

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I know from experienc ethat a carbon seatpost will make a big difference. i bought one to prove my friends wrong. Turns out that I was wrong. There was a noticeable difference in comfort, but you can do more by reducing your tire pressure a little and/or a different wheelset. Those tubulars you mentioned will also make a world of difference in your ride. Personally, I'm a clincher guy, but I can vouch for the superior ride quality you'll get with a good tubular setup.
 
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