Recommend me a sharp handling, comfortable frame

JonEdwards
JonEdwards Posts: 452
edited July 2013 in Road buying advice
Currently I have this beastie
9299965210_92bfdb7d96_z.jpg

It's a 2002 frame with a 2004 (I think) Record/Chorus group & Ksyrium SLs on. I've had it about 6 years. It's done a LOT of miles, and there's a lot of bits that are tired and need replacing.

At which point, I'm thinking, "Hmmm. Complete new bike...?" Not dead set on it, but not averse to the idea either, if I can find the right one

Not having ridden any other high end roadies in the last 6 years, i've got no idea what's what, and no contemporary point of reference.

So I took myself (and the Roadster) over to Planet X to demo some bikes. Boringly they didn't have a medium Mondo in, but I tried a Ti Pro Road, and an N2A.

The Ti Pro Road was remarkably comfortable (muted?) through the cranks, but harsher through the bars (bit surprising!?) and saddle (less surprising -cheap post & saddle -v- very long carbon post and light flexy saddle on the Roadster). The bike didn't have any zing to it though - not helped by relatively hefty wheels (Shim RS30), and it felt just a bit staid (overall it was a chunk heavier than mine). Hated the shape of the Ultegra hoods

The N2A was very light - 50mm tub wheels on which were a new experience. Hugely harsh IMO (would need to take out shares in minty arse lard before buying one), massively stiff under power which was quite nice, but the handling was sublime. It carved into turns beautifully - just like my Roadster in fact (which has silly short chainstays) - despite a pretty long stem. Really showed up quite how, well, boring the Ti Pro was. SRAM Red was OK, but it annoyed me having to push through the upshift to get to the downshift and I missed being able to do multiple upshifts.

Riding home on the Roadster, it felt by far the best compromise of the 2. But what else is out there similar - the incisiveness of the N2A with the comfort of the Ti Pro, with a decent build on?

A bit about me - I'm 5'10"/10 stone - ultimate power output is not massive (I don't "train" as such), so I don't need a sprinters frame. Don't race (and don't plan to), but might do the Marmotte next year (40th birthday). I'd call myself a mountainbiker, but ride on road in the Peaks quite a bit - 20-30 miles once or twice a week, 60-80 miles once or twice a month, occasionally a chunk longer. Like climbing, LOVE descending. Most riding is on my own, done for the sheer fun of it. Currently running ~ 3" saddle - bars drop and quite happy with that - could probably go lower if I fitted compact bars, so no Sportive frames please!

I guess I'm after the equivalent of a Lotus Elise - not the fastest thing on the road, but something that can carry speed well, despite crappy surfaces and just puts a big smile on my face to ride.

Don't have any preferences as to material. Aesthetic is towards compact Ti/modern steel, but I'm sufficently weight weenie that I can't discount all the sub 1kg carbon frames. Budget fairly open ended. Could happily spend a grand on F&F, possibly a bit more if it was absolutely perfect, ideally somewhat less. Complete bike - maybe up to £3.5k MAX, but for that the spec would have to be spot on (and Campag!)

So go on - point me at some interesting stuff to try!

Thanks!

Comments

  • buckles
    buckles Posts: 694
    Cannondale CAAD 9
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  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Ribble R872 - you'd probably have to spend 2-3x more to get anything better. The frame is made by XPA in China, who also make frames for Planet-X amongst many others and sold far more expensively with other 'brands'. The concept of 'comfort' varies widely - for some it means your wrists don't go numb in less than 2 hours. Deep-rim wheels and carbon bars are also a good way of providing a 'direct' feedback.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Camcycle1974
    Camcycle1974 Posts: 1,356
    Focus Cayo Evo 1 with 11 speed Chorus group and Vision wheels set is pretty damn fine or the 2 with Ultegra Di2. Good compromise between racy and comfortable. The 1 is less than 3k too.
  • Trek Domane, at your price 5 series. I recently got the 4.3 and was blown away by the speed, comfort and the ability to handle rough roads.
    Trek Domane 4.3. Merida One.forty 7.700. Merida CX 3. Voodoo Bizango
    "When the vulture flies sideways the moon has hair on his upper lip"
  • Scott CR1 from Westbrooks for £449
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • majormantra
    majormantra Posts: 2,094
    Super sharp handling race bikes are rarely as comfortable as more plush frames. One option though is to get an all out racer (Foil, Addict, Madone, Tarmac, Supersix etc. etc.) and run some wide rims (23mm+) with wider tyres, i.e. at least 25mm. That way you'll get the handling without being beaten to death.

    That said, my race bike (Scott Addict) is still firmer on the road than my Ti Van Nicolas, in spite of the former having 25mm Veloflex tyres on 23mm rims and the latter having standard 23s on narrow rims.
  • Rod11
    Rod11 Posts: 293
    Would recommend a Cervelo R3 if you can get a test ride on one.
  • kitenski
    kitenski Posts: 218
    Did you not try the Planet X RT58 which seems to fit your bill??
  • robbo2011
    robbo2011 Posts: 1,017
    well I am biased, but how about buying a run out model BMC SLR01 frame and building it up from there? Should be some decent discounts available I would have thought. It certainly ticks the boxes regarding sharp handling and comfort.
  • arran77
    arran77 Posts: 9,260
    Monty Dog wrote:
    Ribble R872 - you'd probably have to spend 2-3x more to get anything better. The frame is made by XPA in China, who also make frames for Planet-X amongst many others and sold far more expensively with other 'brands'. The concept of 'comfort' varies widely - for some it means your wrists don't go numb in less than 2 hours. Deep-rim wheels and carbon bars are also a good way of providing a 'direct' feedback.

    I have this bike from one of the 'other brands' and can confirm that it is hugely comfortable and very responsive, would definitely recommend this or the version from Ribble or Planet X :D
    "Arran, you are like the Tony Benn of smut. You have never diluted your depravity and always stand by your beliefs. You have my respect sir and your wife my pity" :lol:

    seanoconn
  • luv2ride
    luv2ride Posts: 2,367
    Scott CR1 from Westbrooks for £449

    +1. Blown away by mine, and as its frameset the choice of components is entirely open...
    Titus Silk Road Ti rigid 29er - Scott Solace 10 disc - Kinesis Crosslight Pro6 disc - Scott CR1 SL - Pinnacle Arkose X 650b - Pinnacle Arkose singlespeed - Specialized Singlecross...& an Ernie Ball Musicman Stingray 4 string...
  • southdownswolf
    southdownswolf Posts: 1,525
    So thats about 101 different bikes for you to try......... :twisted: