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Old 07-25-11, 08:40 AM   #1
drmweaver2
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How different is the ride/handling of the Bacchetta Giro 20 & 26?

I have an opportunity to pick up a used Giro 20 for "a song" (okay, under $500) but have never been able to test ride a 26 for comparison. Does the smaller front wheel on the 20 make THAT much of a handling difference - at speed, at low speed? Will it affect average speed?
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Old 07-25-11, 09:22 AM   #2
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I owned a Giro 20, and now ride a Ti Aero. I really enjoyed the Giro, and still miss it. I found its handling to be just slightly quicker than the larger front wheel on my Aero. Not too quick, though. "Sporty" would be a good word. It was especially great on bike paths, where maneuverability is important. Even at high speed, I never felt that control was a problem. It handles beautifully at all speeds.

It was a little slower than my Aero, and I suspect that would be true when comparing it to the Giro 26. The speed difference is mostly due to the aerodynamic advantage you get on a highracer with your feet more up inline with your torso, and maybe a little bit due to the larger (easier rolling) front wheel. As a good all-around bent, it's hard to beat the Giro. Assuming no problems and good condition, I would say that $500 is a great deal.
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Old 07-25-11, 10:26 AM   #3
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My first bent in the modern era was a Giro 20. I rode it for about 4 or 5 months then traded it in on a Giro 26. Flatland speeds rose by about 2 to 3 mph 'instantly'. There is no doubt that the higher BB is more aero, partially because it allows for more laidback seat angles without compromising power. My flatland cruise speeds on most rides on the Giro are around 19-21 mph, as a point of reference. Didn't see much change on the hills either way. The Giro 26 handles a little better - a little more stable / slightly less twitchy.

As a first bent (if that's what this is), the Giro 20 might be better as the lower BB is easier at starts/stops.

If you can get a good Giro 20 for less than 5 bills, get it. Chances are you can resell it on BROL for more than that later if you decide to get something else.
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Old 07-25-11, 01:15 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. I haven't had or even test ridden a 'bent before, so this is virgin territory for me. But, a bit of online price research suggests this is a deal not to pass on if possible.
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Old 07-25-11, 08:24 PM   #5
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That's an excellent deal. Beware, though: once you've ridden one recumbent, you'll want another. There's 5 in my garage right now- 3 are mine, 2 are my wife's.
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Old 07-26-11, 03:18 PM   #6
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Sigh. Deal fell through. Dang.
Otoh, got to test ride the '20 and it was as fun as people say most 'bents are. I guess I have 'natural 'bent balance' as I didn't have much wobbling after the first 3 pedal strokes.

Now it's time to seriously start watching craigslist postings until a similar deal pops up, I guess. ;-)
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Old 07-26-11, 06:51 PM   #7
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Keep an eye on the BROL forum for sale section too. http://www.bentrideronline.com/messageboard/index.php
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Old 07-26-11, 07:06 PM   #8
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Thanks Steamer... doing that also.
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Old 07-30-11, 10:24 PM   #9
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I know this is moot at this point since the deal for this Giro 20 fell through. But here's my two cents if you run into the Giro 20 versus 26 decision again. I too had to go through this very decision myself and after several hours of test rides switching between the 20 and 26, I ultimately decided to opt for the Giro 20. Don't get me wrong, I really liked the disc brakes and handling of the 26, but I knew from the very first moment of sitting down on the 20 that it was the right bike for me. I just prefer the slightly more upright riding position and I really liked how much easier it was to start and stop with the lower BB of the 20 and how I was able to fit a Topeak rake in the back (can't do that with a 26).

I kind of resent the comment that the Giro 20 is a good "beginner" bike as I've been using mine seriously for the past two years in all sorts of weather conditions in the city and I have never wanted to switch to the 26 because of the high BB. I do admit that the handling of the 20 is more "sensitive" than the 26, but I wouldn't dare call it twitchy or unstable. I've ridden downhill at very high speeds with the Giro 20 and it's very stable at both high and slow speeds. I even upgraded it with disc brakes like the 26 because I loved the stopping power it provides. Also if you read the Bacchetta forums, some people are using a 24" front wheel on a Giro 20 with great success. Personally I haven't tried it myself, but it offers a bit more flexiblity in the bike if you want a slightly larger front wheel.

Last edited by Jay D; 07-30-11 at 10:27 PM. Reason: Paragraphs, they are a good thing.
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Old 07-31-11, 09:56 AM   #10
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Thanks for the comments Jay D. Nice perspective. Having had an opportunity this weekend to ride both, my gut feeling is the opposite of yours. That is, I found the 26 more immediately comfortable.

Otoh, I also rode a Strada, Corsa and Corsa ATT - definitely different feels to those. Finally I rode a Rans Velocity V2 Formula 26 and a 10 year old Tour Easy. Totally confused and overwhelmed, I took a lunch break and went back to the store only to try out a Catrike Trail and a TeraTrikes Cruiser.

My mind now completely blown, I drove 3 hours back home with nothing in the back of my pickup!

I think I'm going to watch the online classifieds and stew about this for a while.

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Old 08-03-11, 06:36 PM   #11
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Since we are talking about the 20 and the 26. How difficult would it be to convert a 20 to a 26? I'm guessing it would mostly be getting a new fork and wheel?
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Old 08-04-11, 06:48 AM   #12
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Just FWIW, for me this is no longer a relevant thread as the OP. I wound up purchasing a trike. Whole new set of questions/considerations - but that's for another time & thread.
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Old 08-04-11, 10:20 PM   #13
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Since we are talking about the 20 and the 26. How difficult would it be to convert a 20 to a 26? I'm guessing it would mostly be getting a new fork and wheel?
Double-check with a dealer or Bacchetta directly. I think there's geometry differences between the two frames that make this impractical.
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Old 08-07-11, 04:18 AM   #14
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Since we are talking about the 20 and the 26. How difficult would it be to convert a 20 to a 26? I'm guessing it would mostly be getting a new fork and wheel?
No, the angle of the head tubes are different on the 20 and 26 so doing this conversion isn't just a matter of slapping on a new fork and wheel. Using a 26 wheel on the front of a Giro 20 will throw off the geometry and will affect the handling of bike--most likely very negatively at that. So personally I do not recommend doing this type of conversion.
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Old 08-07-11, 08:39 AM   #15
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No, the angle of the head tubes are different on the 20 and 26 so doing this conversion isn't just a matter of slapping on a new fork and wheel. Using a 26 wheel on the front of a Giro 20 will throw off the geometry and will affect the handling of bike--most likely very negatively at that. So personally I do not recommend doing this type of conversion.
Quite a few people have taken a Giro 20 and put in a 24" wheel (ISO 520 I believe) without changing out the fork (the stock fork accomodates the larger wheel). I am sure this created some wheel flop, but those who have tried this conversion report the handling to be fine.
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Old 08-12-11, 10:23 PM   #16
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I did that exact thing... convert the 20 to a 24. I'd say, for me... the change improved the handling. EXTREMELY stable. Pedal with no hands stable.

FWIW, the 20 is way easier to ride at slow speeds. I spent a week on a Giro 26 as a beginner and every issue I had after a week of riding the 26 was solved Immediately with the 20. I was riding around with one hand talking on the cell phone in the deserted parking lot instantly. I bought the 20 that day.
I now own a Corsa as well.
The Giro20 is one of the greatest bikes ever.

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Old 09-20-13, 03:30 AM   #17
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I am 6ft 1in and ride a Giro 26 with a 24in front wheel. I run Schwalbe Big Apple tires. This makes for a comfortable commuter bike on most any road surface. The slightly smaller front wheel works well with the fat tires to keep the seat low enough for me.
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