So.....ride report time.
Those expecting a biased report should prepare to eat their words. The Responsorium is more expensive, higher spec'd and yet I prefer the Duende!
The Duende feels like a modern take on a very, very good old school steel bike. Stiff through the bottom bracket, tracks beautifully, but really comfortable and forgiving. The Responsorium rides like a modern carbon bike. Stiff everywhere, no loss of power, sharp response (could be quite aptly named!).
If you are after that 'steel' feel, the Responsorium is not the bike for you. It is a real criterium weapon, and a very competitive race bike. I live in central London and have to get out of London over some pretty awful roads to get anywhere near smooth tarmac. I arrived absolutely beaten up after what was meant to be quite a leisurely ride.
There are 3 main differences between the 2 bikes, and I can't yet tell to what extent each are responsible for the ride characteristics differences:
1) Stainless Steel frame with oversized chainstays (Responsorium) vs Nivacrom with standard chainstays (Duende)
2) Carbon forks (Responsorium) vs Steel forks (Duende)
3) Deep section carbon wheels (Responsorium) vs Shallow section aluminium rims (Duende)
I had Zipp 404s on the Duende previously and it still rode smoothly, so I can confidently rule out the wheels, although I have a set of Hyperons to try on the Responsorium to see how this changes the ride.
I had carbon forks on the Duende before and the steel forks are definitely more comfortable, but are perhaps only 30% of the difference. They were the same Mizuno carbon forks that are on the Responsorium, so the comparison is apples-for-apples.
So, that only leaves the frame itself. The tubing, diameters and build make all the difference. Dario has built a beautiful race bike, and and one that deserves to be raced. It would definitely hold its own with any oversized modern carbon bike that I have ridden. The rear end is built for stiffness, responsiveness (that word again!) and large chainstays and seatstays and huge dropouts make a massive impact.
Ultimately, it is horses for courses. On a relaxing Sunday morning ride, or just a recovery or gentle ride, the Duende wins hands down. More forgiving, more 'steel', heavier but an all round pleasurable experience. The Responsorium will only come out of the bike shed when I want something purposeful, sharp and aggressive for those eyeballs out rides.
I had a similar experience a few years back with my Sevens. I had a double butted Axiom. Best bike I have ever ridden and very similar to the Duende. I then bought a triple butted, super light Aerios which was stiff, unforgiving and not as pleasurable to ride. Seems that history has repeated itself.
Light weight, it would appear is nothing without comfort. Possibly not a popular view on here, but the slightly heavier, slightly more forgiving Duende just feel more planted and tracks the road better without bouncing over every slight undulation.
Last edited by solarider on Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:19 am, edited 2 times in total.