morrisond wrote:I'm going to try and put a different spin on this.
For myself in the last 5ish years or so these are the bikes I've had just so you know where I'm coming from - I'm a big guy at at 100+KG and ride 5-7,000 Km per year. I don't race I just do this for fitness and fun.
Parlee Z5 with Campy and Fulcrum 0
Storck 0.6 with DA and Enve 3.4
Storck Fenomalist with Chorus and Fulcrum 0
Mosaic RT-1 with ISP DA Di2 and DA C50 Carbon-Aluminum Clinchers
Reynolds 853 Lugged Bike built by Myself on a course in England with Chorus and Fulcrum Zero;s
Argonaut Spacebike with SR and Bora 50 Ultra Tub's
Speedvagen Rugged Road Disc Bike with DA Hydro and Enve 3.4 Disc with CK hubs and then i9 2:1 hubs (trying to make them stiffer)
Parlee ESX with SR EPS and Campy Bora Ultra 50mm
Salsa Warbird Gravel Bike with SR and i9 wheels (It was patiently waiting for Campy Hydro but of course they didn't bring out PM Calipers...)
BMC ALR01 with Chorus and Fulcrum Zero Carbon
Another Mosaic RT-1 with SR EPS, and Bora Ultra 50mm Clincher
Sitting in the Garage a Storck Visioner - I bought it as a really stiff reference frame (124NM in the Head Tube, 71NM in the BB)
Safe to say I've had a bunch of experience with different materials and Groups and what works (for me) and what doesn't. When on Holiday I've also rented various less expensive Cannondales/Giants that are usually specked with 105 or Apex, that were surprisingly good, as long as nothing rattled.
My collected wisdom after blowing a lot of money and trying a lot of different bikes is that in the end the frame doesn't really matter.
As long as the frame is stiff enough so there are no handling issues (for me the Parlee ESX was scary putting the power down over rises in the drops), and the fork is supple enough to not beat you up (The CX ENVE Disc fork that was on my Speedvagen sucked as a road fork - way too stiff - they made the Road disc fork a lot more supple), buy the frame you like the look of.
After a lot of bikes and a lot of swapping parts what does seem make a lot of difference seems to be wheels and tire pressure. A stiff wheel makes a bike feel a lot more crisp than a stiff frame, especially from low speed. I think this makes sense as at low speed you are putting a lot more torque through the whole system, whereas at high speed the torque is a lot lower but more HP.
My super stiff Storck's really lost something when I went away from a very stiff wheel like the Fulcrum Zero's to ENVE 3.4 (really noodly) or Bora Ultra's (Medium stiffness).
My Reynolds 853 bike feels great with Fulcrum Zero's (Aluminum or Carbon - both very stiff wheels), not as good as with Bora's.
My Argonaut (which was built to be very stiff) felt okay with Bora 50 Ultra Tubs - great with Fulcrum Zero Carbons.
My current RT-1 not bad with Bora Clinchers - great with Fulcrum Zero Carbons (but doesn't look as good).
My Salsa Warbird (I have no other wheels to try as it's disc) not bad but could be better - I suspect it's the CX-Ray spokes in the i9 All Road wheels.
Tire pressure is tire pressure - lower is better and makes a much bigger difference on ride quality than the frame.
So the end the moral of the story is that it's really not the frame - in my experience wheels play a bigger role.
Save the money on the frame and buy great wheels.
At the end of the day there is nearly no difference in the net affect of one frame over another once you get to the price point where you have quality carbon and quality manufacturing techniques.
If they are all using the same materials and the same techniques why would there be any substantial objective difference?
If I pump up the tyres on my R5 too hard the ride quality is worse than if I set the tyre pressure on my S5 correctly. That has more effect than the zero compliance seatpost and frame on the S5 than the round seatpost and supposedly compliant frame of the R5.
Buy what your eyes like but I think once you spend about $2000 on a frame there is no real difference apart from geometry. Once I have narrowed down based on geo I now choose frames based on things like
-BB design (prefer threaded so I can work on it - pushes me to pinarello)
-cable routing (want my di2 cable to enter frame directly next to the rear brake cable so I can shrink wrap them together),
-does it have protection for chain suck etc (like the focus does).
-does it support direct mount brakes (I like the look better - don't think they are any more powerful),
-does it have good design of the rear derailleur hanger).
-Finally do I like the look of it and does it make me want to ride it.
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