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Thoughts on a Second Road Bike

Multiple mountain bikes make a ton of sense if your rides vary.

With road bikes, there is less need for a 2nd bike, but there are still good reasons to have more than one—

Long rides require some level of comfort; an ultra stiff bike with an ultra stiff wheelset is literally a pain in the butt and hands after 50 miles. To some extent, an ultra stiff bike can be comfortable with a great wheelset, as I discovered when I took an extended test ride on the Look 695 SR.

Races and high-speed descents demand a fast, light bike with outstanding handling, an ultra stiff drive train area, etc.

It’s hard to satisfy both demands in one bike, but remember that the wheelset is probably 2/3 of the equation. So it’s foolish to compare bikes with different wheelsets. Which is why I test ride road bikes now with the same wheelset each time, the Lightweight Obermayer.

Simplifying the picture, here is what I envision for my road bikes (as this was written, my only model bike is the Trek Madone 6.9 SSL):

  • Trek Madone 6.9 SSL — fantastic all-around bike, very light, very good handling (but not top of class) because the front end fork/head tube are not stiff enough, and this shows up during descents, braking, etc. Does not inspire the same confidence during descents as does the Look 695 SR.
  • Look 695 SR — very stiff, but reasonably comfortable with the Lightweight Obermayer wheelset (on a 4 hour ride). Absolutely fantastic handling for fast descents. I test rode the Look 695 SR for a few days, and I am seriously considering it as a 2nd bike (and it might well become my primary). I would not use the Look chainrings, which I’m advised are too flexible for the high-torque shifting of the Shimano DuraAce DI2 shifting. I would install the SRM 7950 power meter crankset.
  • Moots Vamoots RSL titanium — I plan to test ride the Vamoots RSL in early December 2011. I expect it will perform similarly to the Trek Madone 6.9 SSL in some respects, but to be less stiff than the Look 695 SR. The big question is how does it handle on fast descents and whether it has enough of that Moots magic I feel in my mountain bikes. If it’s 'better' than the gestalt of the Trek, it could be a winning combination of comfort and handling.

Click each image to read more about that bike.

Trek Madone 6.9 SSL carbon fiber racing bike
Look 659 SR carbon fiber racing bike
Moots 2012 Vamoots RSL titanium road bike
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