sweetspot
In the topic Steel vs carbon BMC was mentioned. I would add also Mason and CANNONDALE to that list. Any other? 
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HollyBoni
If by comfortable you mean shock absorption, i'd say RockShox and Fox. 

[cool]
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imwjl
HollyBoni wrote:
If by comfortable you mean shock absorption, i'd say RockShox and Fox. 

[cool]


Yes. I'm quite fond of a Pike and my MTBs touch gravel too.

I'd add reach, stack, head angle, maybe even fork offset as factors.

I'm sure this is very personal stuff. At one shop when I commented how I like the sloping Vaya and Fargo designs a salesperson showed his bias immediately saying the more traditional Surly and Bianchi steel bikes near them had far superior fit, design and comfort.

I'm so glad we're in an age where most bikes and parts are just so good but yesterday I was in a shop very well stocked for gravel, touring and CX riders and also thought it was difficult with 5 brands and some brands such as Salsa and Kona having a lot of choices within the brand. There were 4 different frame material choices among it all. Obviously one person's best will be meh for someone else.

 
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HollyBoni

I'd also add stem length, stem angle, spacers, saddle, bibs or padded liners, handlebar shape and width, shape of the brifters, handlebar tape, shoes etc. 😃

You can't narrow down "bump absorption" to a single brand. It depends on so many things and it's not something you can measure, you just go by feel. Also big tyres absorb so much anyways. 

For example the OP added Cannondale to the "comfortable bike" list. An older CAAD9 was the harshest riding road bike i've ever tried. [tongue] 




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Scandinavian_dirt
I’d say the Cannondale Synapse offers a mighty comfortable ride. I’ve had a number of steel and aluminium road bikes, but the Synapse rules them all in the comfort departement. That’s also why I’m so keen on knowing more about the new Cannondale Topstone gravel bike. It’s supposed to have inherited some features from its road cousin. It being aluminium and I’m riding a carbon Synapse maybe the comparison has some limitations.
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Volsung
Softride
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NoCoGreg
If you want more comfort then I'm in agreement with prior posts...
1. It's all about the fit.  Position, bar shape, etc etc...
2. The new shock absorption systems will further improve comfort -BUT- I'm hesitant to purchase another bike with a proprietary part such as the Specialized Diverge.  One of my mountain bikes had proprietary shock fail after 15 years of very limited use and the manufacturer no longer was making rebuild kits nor replacement parts. Live and learn.
3. Larger tires are definitely more comfy, and tubeless can be run at lower pressure.

A shock absorption system will make the most difference. Large (38mm or more) tires will flex far more than any frame - especially if running tubeless tires and proper pressures. (It took me a loooong time to realize I should be running 30 to 35 PSI in my 40mm tires)

The frame geometry and the materials used for the frame, fork, seatpost and handlebars will contribute to vibration and shock absorption (aka comfort) but IMHO the difference is far far less than the prior two items.  For example double wrapping the top part of the handlebars (brake levers to stem) is a much larger difference (IMHO) than going from aluminum bars to carbon.  

Cheers,
Greg

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