Funny, I’ve thought about this in abstract ways over the years. Mostly it comes up as bikes that I’ve regretted giving up. There have been 2 or 3 over the years that I really regret. I have 1 now that I could argue has a soul. All were or are comfortable to ride, and just felt right. I’m currently building one up, that I hope has a soul. Only time will tell, once it’s been ridden for a bit.
The current one with a soul, and the 1 I miss most are steel framed bikes. They’re not really lightweight but they are awfully comfortable to ride. One that is an anomaly, IMO is another that I miss. It was a carbon fiber bike, one that I rode in my best racing season, so that may be more from nostalgia than anything.
I would almost argue that bikes with souls are generally steel, or titanium, although I could see an aluminum bike thrown in. I argue against carbon bikes having souls, mostly because of a “dead” feel so many have when ridden. That’s a hard feeling to describe, and one that almost has to be experienced to be understood. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had more carbon bikes than metallic ones. So I know that they ride nicely, are comfortable, and can fit you like a glove if built up to fit you.
Anyway, what prompted this was an article that I stumbled across on a cycling feed I get on FB. I just thought it was a fun article and enjoyed the thoughts it brought to mind.