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  1. #1
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    Speed vs comfort. Opinions?

    So recently I have decieded to get a new frame with a drop bar. Before I have always commuted on a rigid mtb and riser or flat bar (back in the day), but recently I have noticed this is not really comfortable, its the exact opposite to be honest. I can handle it for about 15 minutes and after that I try to find different non existant hand posistions. I also don't think I'm going fast enough for the effort I put in on the mtb.

    So I have been researching touring bikes and cx bikes as a faster alternative and more hand options. The commute is around 25-26km one way or so and its all paved. Some hills.

    Now I pretty much narrowed down my choice to either steel or titanium.
    3 very different bikes. Salsa Vaya Ti, Shand Stooshie, and Cotic X.

    The Salsa has low bb, the Shand mid and the Cotic high bb, they all have around 71-71.5degree head angle but the trail is different.

    And while I can't seem to find info on the chainstay length of the cotic I'm guessing its a lot shorter than the 450mm that the Salsa has. Shand 425.

    Head tubes are also different length, Salsa long, Shand very short and Cotic like the Salsa or a little shorter.

    Shand and Cotic spindly steel and Salsa Ti.



    The bike will be used all year long with 28/32mm tires in the summer and studded tires in the winter.

    The Salsa is rumored to be very very comfortable (and slow and sluggish according to some), I'm guessing the other 2 are more or less cx race bikes or close to it. But I bet those would be pretty darn comfortable compared to my current ride.

    Whats most important here? Comfort or speed? Will the Salsa be slower than the other 2? Or will it just feel like its slower? I mean I wan't to go fast, but I also want comfort while going fast. All I know is I pretty much had it with riser/flat bars for long distances and just static pedaling. Yuck. I feel like a wreck pedaling that bike for an hour on the road.



    Also this is my first drop bar bike and would like some input on sizing.
    In metric I'm 176cm (5ft 9.5) BUT my inseam is a little on the long side apparently. I tried out the book in crotch thing to measure this and it comes in at about 85-85.5cm (33.4 inches) barefoot. So I don't really know if I should blindly follow the size recommendations on the sites. What would be a good horizontal/effective top tube for me?

    Salsa Cycles | Bikes | Vaya Ti
    Stooshie frame geometry: Reynolds 853 steel cyclocross frame
    the Product of COTIC cycles : X steel cyclocross
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  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    For me, the biggest determiner of comfort on a bike is that it fits me. If it doesn't fit me right, even if it's making me more aero, I think it really messes with my power output. "More upright" doesn't make bikes more comfortable for me, it just puts me out of balance in the other direction and bothers my back. The second biggest determiner is not over-inflating my tires.

    I now ride a Trek Portland and am sold on having a little longer chainstay (vs. the racier bike I'd had before) for riding bikes with panniers. Much better stability! If you use 'em, definitely look at the chainstay length. When I ride the Portland stripped, it doesn't feel any slower than one of my shorter-chainstayed bikes, and the handling doesn't feel sluggish or anything.

    On my road bikes, the thing that effects speed the most is how much extra crap I have bolted to them. My commuter doesn't feel that fast right now, but it has fenders, a rack, and a couple heavy locks. I rode it a few times without that stuff and it felt a lot quicker. Go figure.

    I'd guesstimate you on a bike with about 540 mm top tube. But this is me guesstimating. You really need to ride them.

    I could swear high bottom brackets have a slightly weird handling feel. Kind of slower meets less stable.

    So I'd be between the Salsa and the Shand for you, depending on whether or not you'll be using panniers.

    Why the Vaya in particular? The Casseroll seems made for your use.

    As far as actual speeds - I have to do something really extreme, like switch to a fat-tired MTB, to see a quantifiable drop in how fast I am at "cruising speed," or my averages in the city. On a longer, less interrupted route, maybe I'd see a more real change, and I think in competition, I might.

    EDIT: Come to think of it, how long a top tube and stem do you like on your flat-barred bikes?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
    jrm
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    My take

    I favor the long head-tube compact geometry approach myself. This allows me to get less seat/bar drop so i can reduce the weight on my hands, still have enough reach to get my hands over the front wheel axle and sit on top of the cranks.

    Out of 3 you mention the one that i would ride would be the Cotic X. Love the geometry and tire clearance. Have you considered the Cotic Roadrat? Good luck

  4. #4
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    Have you considered adding an aero bar? I like varying hand positions as well and added the aero bar to my road bike. I'm planning to add it on my '13 Tricross Comp as well.
    - Ed

    2012 Trek Madone 6.7 SSL
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    2011 Trek Top Fuel 9.9 SSL
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    For me, the biggest determiner of comfort on a bike is that it fits me. If it doesn't fit me right, even if it's making me more aero, I think it really messes with my power output. "More upright" doesn't make bikes more comfortable for me, it just puts me out of balance in the other direction and bothers my back. The second biggest determiner is not over-inflating my tires.

    I now ride a Trek Portland and am sold on having a little longer chainstay (vs. the racier bike I'd had before) for riding bikes with panniers. Much better stability! If you use 'em, definitely look at the chainstay length. When I ride the Portland stripped, it doesn't feel any slower than one of my shorter-chainstayed bikes, and the handling doesn't feel sluggish or anything.

    On my road bikes, the thing that effects speed the most is how much extra crap I have bolted to them. My commuter doesn't feel that fast right now, but it has fenders, a rack, and a couple heavy locks. I rode it a few times without that stuff and it felt a lot quicker. Go figure.

    I'd guesstimate you on a bike with about 540 mm top tube. But this is me guesstimating. You really need to ride them.

    I could swear high bottom brackets have a slightly weird handling feel. Kind of slower meets less stable.

    So I'd be between the Salsa and the Shand for you, depending on whether or not you'll be using panniers.

    Why the Vaya in particular? The Casseroll seems made for your use.

    As far as actual speeds - I have to do something really extreme, like switch to a fat-tired MTB, to see a quantifiable drop in how fast I am at "cruising speed," or my averages in the city. On a longer, less interrupted route, maybe I'd see a more real change, and I think in competition, I might.

    EDIT: Come to think of it, how long a top tube and stem do you like on your flat-barred bikes?
    I'm planning to use a rear rack and some kind of suitable bag for it, but nothing on the sides. I will only be carrying lets say an extra jacket and a 2.5-3.5kg lock

    I liked the Vaya because it has disc mounts which I really need, and it takes 45mm tires or 38 or so with fenders for the winter. Also It comes in unrustable titanium. Which is nice, the downside is it will attract much unwanted attention unless I paint it rust brown or something with a brush.

    I have not decieded on anything yet. I see shand also makes another similar frame which has some of the features I like, like ears for fenders and rack. But all that can probably be incorporated in the other one too.
    The downside is money. Its a nice chunk of dough there.

    The salsa ti is the same money but I can't customize anything on it unless I weld it myself. Actually the salsa is very close to a full custom ti in price, give or take 5 bills or so.

    Currently I feel whats holding me back is the limited amounts of positions and that I ride an all mountain bike with 1kg tires, Its like its speaking to me "I'm the wrong tool for the job dude". Its tiring riding it for more than 15 minutes. Gonna check those measurements.



    Ecub at first I planned to build up a steel ht just like the other bike but now with better parts and an aero bar or at least the bottom part of it, not those long pointy middle parts. But now I feel like: why even bother. Its a hassle to get shifters and brakes working. Those bars are still kinda limited. I want something that isn't tiring and I feel a regular drop bar is my best bet. I think I'm going to visit a few stores and take a seat. To find out what I don't want.

    Btw. What makes a good rack? What should I look for in a rack? I wan't something that plays well with some bag, like a system.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  6. #6
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    A good rack is attached to the bike frame at a few points. Mine attaches at the dropouts and the seatstays. I found that having stays to both seatstays secured with P-clamps is better than having a single stay bolted to the seatstay bridge. Having stays bolted to the seatstays is better still.

    I've always done fine with fairly inexpensive racks. Like Blackburn. The trick is just that you need something conventional, without a lot of extra features or moving parts. So, skip the adjustable height. Don't screw around with something that attaches to your seatpost. Just a plain, tubular aluminum (or steel, or whatever, but metal) welded rack without any telescoping anything, that bolts straight to the dropouts and that the secondary stays bolt onto.

    If you want to throw more money at it, Tubus will be happy to take it from you. I have one of their racks because it came with a bike I bought from a friend who doesn't know what to do with his money. He was cycling his (now my) Portland out in favor of something titanium.

    For a bag, I've found that a single pannier is more stable than a trunk bag, and a well-designed pannier is much less of a chore to deal with. There are some really nice panniers out there - cycle tourists and randonneur cyclists can support their manufacture. It's worth getting a good one. I have the Seattle Sports Titan pannier, and the attachment hardware is up to the job, but it's not as convenient to carry around as some designs. Ortlieb are basically the standard. Cheap panniers suck, and cheap attachment hardware doesn't really stay attached. Once you've got a pannier, you'll wonder why you thought it was a good idea to carry anything substantial any other way. At least, on long enough rides that you don't have to take it on and off constantly. I actually use my messenger bag more as it is, but I'm usually just going two and a half miles to school.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    personally, i dont like the road bike position. i find it hard on the lower back. my hybrid has roughly the same position as a mountain bike, but i run swept bars to straight out my wrists. with the flat bars it came with, somewhere around a 5 degree backsweep, i had a lot of problems with wrist pain and numb fingers after a few miles.

    i switched out to a 15 degree backsweep bar, an on one fleegle. it's much better, but is just a get-me-by until my groovy luv handles (21.5 degree sweep) get here. 3 month wait on those.

  8. #8
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    I don't really see a speed difference among any of those bikes. Maybe a twitchiness/handling difference is that what you're getting at? And I think that corresponds to a faster/slower feeling w/o any difference in actual on-the-ground velocity.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
    I don't really see a speed difference among any of those bikes. Maybe a twitchiness/handling difference is that what you're getting at? And I think that corresponds to a faster/slower feeling w/o any difference in actual on-the-ground velocity.
    Yeah maybe. considering people on old steel rigid mtbs ride just as fast as on their road bikes made out of carpet fiber (+-1mph or similar), I'm guessing its more about the feel than an actual speed increase. However one of the bikes might be more efficient at propeling me forward that the others? Maybe I can ride faster if one bike is wearing me out just a little bit less?? I don't know. I don't own any of them or have tried them. But mayny people say their salsas are slow and sluggish, so there must be some truth deep in there. Maybe they just feel slower? I don't know.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.

    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles View Post
    Specialized sucks ass.

  10. #10
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I think there's often a real difference in the same person's speed going from a mountain bike to a road bike, even if the MTB has a pretty "road" setup.

    As far as quantifiable speed differences between the different road bikes, I think it'll mostly be feel. Hopefully I'm not contradicting myself.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    Try bar ends for more hand positions?

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