"Endurance" road bikes

I’m starting to think about a new bike as I’ve gotten into cycling enough to realize that I really want something lighter for getting up the hills. With that in mind, I think I’m going for a full-on road bike next.

My main goal will be comfort and efficiency over a long (75-150+k) ride as opposed to speed or race performance so those “endurance” style bikes really appeal to me.

Before anyone chimes in with the “endurance bikes are just a marketing gimmick” line, I like the idea of a slightly sloping top tube for more standover (something my CX bike really lacks!), slightly slacker angles, longer chainstays and taller headtube etc. These all seem like they would really make for a better all-day bike.

Curious about tire size on road bikes as well. I assume all road bikes can take 25c tires but what about 28c?

Also thinking about what gruppo to go with. I think I want a 50/34 compact double with a low-gear cassette (at least 11-28).

I’m really leaning toward Campagnolo from what I’ve read about it and I really like the design. It seems less lever intensive and more similar to my Shim 2300 method (has thumb levers which I wouldnt have to get un-used to) than 105, Ultergra etc. But I wouldnt mind going Shimano if it meant saving a ton of money by buying a finished bike. The flat SRAM hoods bug the hell out of me but I’d consider that as well.

I think Campy Centaur with the 12-30 cassette would be really nice.

So I’m curious what bikes come equipped with Campy or are available as frame only.

My max budget is $5000 USD for something perfect but I’d rather spend in the 2-3k range.

All I know about are some of the more well-known models (Giant Defy, Spesh Secteur/Roubaix, Cannondale Synapese, Felt Z, Fuji Gran Fondo, Bianchi Infinito, Trek Domane, Cinelli Pro Estrada etc).

At the moment, mainly for sex appeal, I love the idea of building up a celeste Infinito frame with Campy but I feel like there are surely much cheaper ways to go about things than that…Maybe I can find a used one in the US.

Speaking of which, I may very well buy it in the US so it doenst have to be Taiwan-only models.

Particularly interested in metal bikes as opposed to composite but alloy bikes all have entry level gruppos and most of the nicer bikes seem to be cf or titanium (the latter of which all seem realllly expensive…). Haven’t come across any high-end steel endurance bikes yet but I suppose they must exist.

Sorry for my rambling train-of-thought post. Any suggestions, y’all?

Seems like you like to do your homework…so I will leave you to your own devices before I chime in…

The ultimate “Endurance Road Bike” is Volagi IMHO

volagi.com/bikes

Let me know your thoughts

Damn you PaddyB.

Campy don’t make 11-28 cassettes, AFAIK.

maybe in the Centaur level and below, but I’d be sticking to Chorus for your needs. 11-28 is good for taiwan’s mountains, but there may be no need to go down to 11 as the smallest. A 12-27 is a viable alternative cassette range, and available!

Also, carbon bikes tend to be far more corrosion resistant than either steel or aluminium bikes. I’ve ridden mine in rain and mud for many tens of thousands of kilometers, and ditched mine countless times over 8 years now (gulp!) and it’s still rock solid: they’re pretty strong and actually fairly comfortable over many miles. Ti frames also have great corrosion resistance, of course. That’s important in long distance riding when you sweat all over the damn thing. Even carbon frames tend to corrode at the grommets and rivets, of course, so nothing’s immune.

A few of my friends ride Velocite bikes and they look pretty cool. I was surprised to find out that the CEO actually lives in Kaohsiung. velocite-bikes.com/

Yeah, Victor has gone far in the 5 years i’ve known him.

I’d go for a Velocite Geos on sale now at $1480, for your needs.

and I just noticed by rereading the OP that you’d be happy with a 12-30 in Centaur. Go for it! I like Campy gear as well, and it lasts and lasts.

I’ve known of him for the last 2-3 yrs but I thought he was just a distributor. It’s amazing that he’s built up that brand so much in 5 yrs.

:laughing:
sigh I’ll say it only once, TCR + Dura Ace
Why bother with anything else?

TCR and Record! 250 kms and fresh as a daisy!

(not)

but the TCR is a great enduro bike, especially if you get it one size larger than they will tell you to in shops here. Me, I’m between a small and a medium, so i went for a small as I prefer smaller bikes, and am happy to lean over more, but it’s still pretty damn comfortable. Not quite as soft over rough roads as my ancient Colnago Super in steel, but great nonetheless, and much better at descending fast.

I’m not gonna give sizing advice but I will say that i’m at the upper end of the small size and it’s great. I wouldn’t second guess the sizing, myself. Do get to a proper fitting, of course. The proper Giant shops will have this. Pros always go for the smaller frames (and fit longer stems, if needed). The thing about these bikes is you can go all day and they still have it in them to deliver perfect performance when you really need it (e.g. in descending). The advantage of light weight and fantastic handling REALLY pays off in Taiwan’s mountainous terrain. In short, TCRs are perfect for Taiwan.
Damn! I said I wouldn’t get involved again! haha

the geos seems to confirm this (TCR geometry) velocite-bikes.com/geos-1.0.html
Of course the TCR was designed by the LEGEND that is Mike Burrows. :whistle:

Good stuff, guys!

I’ll definitely think about Volagi if I decide to go with discs (which might not be such a bad idea in the Pacific NW and/or Taiwan?) Discs on road bikes seems to be a pretty divisive issue among cyclists though so I’m not sure if I want them or not yet.

Right now I’m still leaning toward building up a Bianchi Infinito with Campy (either Centaur or Athena/Chorus mix).

Lynskey R230 is also an intriguing (titanium) option that would (just) fit into my budget with a good gruppo.

And of course I’ll look at Giant Defy and TCR but I kinda want to try something different as I’m hoping to buy a Giant Trance as well sometime in the next coupla.

Expensive stuff, looks like I’ll have plenty of time to plan and shop, LOL!

In the meantime, I’m going to bust my arse on my crappy ol’ TCX-3 this weekend when I ride from Zhunan to Douliu!

For the Volagi bikes, here are my thoughts…

Disc for Taiwan especially the mountains and unpredictable weather of flash rains and such is great. There is no worry about rim wear and braking performance in adverse conditions.

The LongBow Flex™ stay that absorbs road vibrations, but retains torsional stiffness for control and efficiency is exactly what you should be looking for in an endurance bike. It also has a taller head tube and will fit better for your required riding style. Gives you a shock dampening effect of about 5.5mm or so.

A good view of disc brakes for road.
road.cc/content/blog/73731-road- … technology

This bike was built for the endurance rider which you state you are. If you were looking for an aggressive road bike with aggressive geometry this would not be ideal. And it will fit well within your budget. All the other bikes that have been mentioned are great as well. Knowledge is power so making an informed decision is most important. If you are interested in seeing one and riding one I have a couple in Taipei.

[quote=“hugachuga”]For the Volagi bikes, here are my thoughts…

Disc for Taiwan especially the mountains and unpredictable weather of flash rains and such is great. There is no worry about rim wear and braking performance in adverse conditions.

The LongBow Flex™ stay that absorbs road vibrations, but retains torsional stiffness for control and efficiency is exactly what you should be looking for in an endurance bike. It also has a taller head tube and will fit better for your required riding style. Gives you a shock dampening effect of about 5.5mm or so.

A good view of disc brakes for road.
road.cc/content/blog/73731-road- … technology

This bike was built for the endurance rider which you state you are. If you were looking for an aggressive road bike with aggressive geometry this would not be ideal. And it will fit well within your budget. All the other bikes that have been mentioned are great as well. Knowledge is power so making an informed decision is most important. If you are interested in seeing one and riding one I have a couple in Taipei.[/quote]

Thanks for the offer. I’m still in the research phase but if I decide to get a bike with discs in Taiwan then one of those would certainly be the way to go.

[quote=“urodacus”]Yeah, Victor has gone far in the 5 years I’ve known him.

I’d go for a Velocite Geos on sale now at $1480, for your needs.

and I just noticed by rereading the OP that you’d be happy with a 12-30 in Centaur. Go for it! I like Campy gear as well, and it lasts and lasts.[/quote]

Read up on the Geos and it does seem to be a pretty sweet bike. The Velocite stuff seems to get great reviews in the UK press. Seems like the Geos on the racier end of the endurance bike scale so I wonder how it would compare to the TCR’s.

Giant Defy or the new Anyroad are a great value for the cash. Look around for a Defy with the SRAM Apex or rival setup.

The Anyroad is precisely the direction I’m moving away from. I definitely want something lighter and more aggressive for my next bike. I think it would have been a better first bike than my TCX-3 though, had they been available last year.

Yeah, Defy is still a possibility though, especially if I end up buying in Taiwan. As much as I hate to play along with the big local bike bullies, It’s hard to justify the price difference of import bikes compared to Giant and Merida here. Much more bang for your buck for sure.

As for SRAM, I dont like the hoods at all from sitting on them in the shop but I’ll have to try it on a longer ride. People/reviewers online often gripe about the shifting being ‘unrefined’ and ‘clunky’ too but that could easily be a bunch of internet rubbish. I remember there are some TCR’s with Force for rent down at Sun Moon Lake Giant. I might have to spend a day down there and see whats up.

People/reviewers online often gripe about the shifting being ‘unrefined’ and ‘clunky’ too but that could easily be a bunch of internet rubbish.[/quote]

I’ve owned bikes with all three (SRAM, Shimano, & Campag). I don’t think its internet rubbish. My current bike has 2012 SRAM force and I find it harder to keep adjusted and the shifting on the front simply sucks (slow, throws chains, and I can’t seem to get the trim correct). I understand they made some changes there for 2013, so maybe its fixed. Beyond that the shifting does feel clunky and to me “plasticky” for lack of a better (or real) word. It just doesn’t feel solid and I run a wide range in the back and the 2 cog jumps are particularly slow and muddy.

Shimano of course is great, but to me a broken in Campag setup is beyond compare. My back up bike has 8 year old Centaur and Veloce on it and its flawless and never been adjusted (yup, never). The feel is spot on, solid, and the ability to jump 3 (or is it 5?) cogs in a single shift is something I really miss on my new bike. I’m probably going to sell off the SRAM stuff and go back to Campy, maybe the Athena 11 sp.

People/reviewers online often gripe about the shifting being ‘unrefined’ and ‘clunky’ too but that could easily be a bunch of internet rubbish.[/quote]

I’ve owned bikes with all three (SRAM, Shimano, & Campag). I don’t think its internet rubbish. My current bike has 2012 SRAM force and I find it harder to keep adjusted and the shifting on the front simply sucks (slow, throws chains, and I can’t seem to get the trim correct). I understand they made some changes there for 2013, so maybe its fixed. Beyond that the shifting does feel clunky and to me “plasticky” for lack of a better (or real) word. It just doesn’t feel solid and I run a wide range in the back and the 2 cog jumps are particularly slow and muddy.

Shimano of course is great, but to me a broken in Campag setup is beyond compare. My back up bike has 8 year old Centaur and Veloce on it and its flawless and never been adjusted (yup, never). The feel is spot on, solid, and the ability to jump 3 (or is it 5?) cogs in a single shift is something I really miss on my new bike. I’m probably going to sell off the SRAM stuff and go back to Campy, maybe the Athena 11 sp.[/quote]

Interesting, well that doesn’t give me much ammo to go out and get used to double tap and those shallow hoods. Still curious to give it try though.

Re: Campy, If I’ve been reading correctly, as of 2012 editions, only Chorus and Record can jump multiple cogs, or maybe they can do more cogs than Veloce/Centaur/Athena. I know Chorus and Record has some shifting feature that is lacking on Athena on down. Maybe someone can clarify this.

Anyway, If I decide I can live with a 12-27 cassette, then Athena with Chorus shifters is sounding really nice. The 12-30 on Centaur seems ideal but after being stuck in cheapo hell with Shimano 2300 8-speed trash I really don’t like the idea of buying into a gruppo without an upgrade path.

With that in mind, Shimano is really looking tempting lately as I can just switch my TCX to a Tiagra compact double and work my way up from there until I can get a new frame.

Has anyone ridden that Anyroad? It looks a nice bike for 30k; got a friend looking for some sort of hybrid compromise and I think it’s be just right.