This kind of relates to a few topics that have been on here lately, and to a topic I made about the new Di2, where I concluded by saying that it was unbelievably competent but I didn’t somehow love it.
I did my first semi-competitive road event this year (a timed reliability ride) today on my TCR with AXS (disc). The bike did everything I asked of it and got me round in a good-ish time/speed given a hilly route, wind and rain. The gears were slick and accurate, the brakes worked well on some slippy roads, and the deep section wheels felt like they helped cut through the wind.
And while, when I’m close to my limit the bike really does make my life as easy as possible, I don’t love it. It feels a bit flat and soulless, somehow, perhaps a bit robotic, maybe. My second bike, which is a Helium SLA, rim brake with Campag mechanical, is irrefutably less competent, especially under real pressure, but increasingly I find myself enjoying riding it more. There’s a bit more feel and feedback (and it’s simpler in quite a pleasing way). I also suspect there’s something about too much frame stiffness too, but that’s a side issue.
Without turning this into an electronic vs mechanical or rim vs disc (because that is NOT the point I’m trying to make), does anyone ever have the same experience? Does anyone have any bikes or bits of kit they know are objectively ‘worse’ but gravitate to more, or somehow get more from?