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  1. #1
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    Chain stay length

    I'm considering purchasin a 2003 Specialized Sirrus for long distance loaded touring. I notice tha the chain stay length on the Sirrus is 42.5cm verus the Cannondale T800 at 45.7cm and the T520 at 45.5cm.
    Will I have a problem with my heel hitting the rear panniers? Any other challenges I could have?

  2. #2
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerbob1
    I'm considering purchasin a 2003 Specialized Sirrus for long distance loaded touring. I notice tha the chain stay length on the Sirrus is 42.5cm verus the Cannondale T800 at 45.7cm and the T520 at 45.5cm.
    Will I have a problem with my heel hitting the rear panniers? Any other challenges I could have?
    Short chainstays can make the bike difficult to handle under load. Especially on fast downhills. They also make the ride choppier and less comfortable. And you may have a problem with hitting panniers, especially if your feet are average (10-11) or bigger. Hitting bags ever time your feet go around is instantaneously annoying, at least to me.
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  3. #3
    Macro Geek
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    The chain stay length is but one variable. I am guessing that you must also take into consideration the length of the crank, your foot size, the design of your bike shoes, the placement of the cleats, the geometry of the rear rack, and the size of the panniers.

    As long as your heel misses the panniers by even a millimetre, you are fine! On one of my touring bikes, the clearance is tight. I have to be careful how I pack my panniers so that they don't bulge in front, and push the panniers as far back as possible on the racks. It's a bit annoying, but in reality, the only time my heel touches a pannier is when I haphazardly stuff the panniers when I go shopping. But I am fine when I tour.

    At the very least, ask the store to mount a rack and the biggest pannier you can imagine using on the bike in question. Adjust the bike to your body and go for a test ride. If your heel so much as brushes against the pannier, reject the bicycle.

  4. #4
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    Another consideration: longer chainstays (which often relate to a longer wheelbase) generally provide a more comfortable ride than a bike with shorter chainstays and a shorter wheelbase. With steel frames, some designers take advantage of that by allowing the chainstays to flex upwards slightly under road shock, and providing some "rear suspension".

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by acantor
    At the very least, ask the store to mount a rack and the biggest pannier you can imagine using on the bike in question. Adjust the bike to your body and go for a test ride. If your heel so much as brushes against the pannier, reject the bicycle.
    I'm guessing that since it is a 2003 he is not buying it from a shop. Even if he were, it is a lot to ask of a shop to mount a rack (half hour labor plus the rack) just for a test ride. Especially on a a bike that sells for $450.

    -s

  6. #6
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    Make sure your panniers have a heel cutout, not the simple rectangular shape.
    Does the 2003 version have sufficient tyre clearance?
    Are you indenting to use front panniers?

    The Sirrus is more of a light-touring bike, ideal for hostel touring rather than camping.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for your input. The bike is used. The rear panniers are Arkel and they are big and then you add the rain covers. They were OK on a T800.
    LBS says they will inspect the bike before I make a final decision.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerbob1
    I'm considering purchasin a 2003 Specialized Sirrus for long distance loaded touring. I notice tha the chain stay length on the Sirrus is 42.5cm verus the Cannondale T800 at 45.7cm and the T520 at 45.5cm.
    Will I have a problem with my heel hitting the rear panniers? Any other challenges I could have?
    I'm pretty sure my KHS Alite 4000 mtb has 425mm chainstays, based on recently published specs. I use a 175 crank. Size 10 shoes. Lower rack mounts using p-clips on the seatstay above where it joins the chain stay. I just did an overnight fire road camping trip with Lone Peak's largest panniers (asymetrical shape for heel clearance). I think I originally had some clearance issues, but I was able to slide the panniers about an inch back because my Jandd Standard rack has a nice horizontal bar along the bottom. So no problems once I made that adjustment.

    The Co-Motion Nor'Wester has 432mm chainstays. I haven't got my new frame yet, but since it's described as a light touring bike, I suspect that the 43x range is a safer bet than the 42x range...

  9. #9
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    Another question I should have asked is "if the Sirrus is suited for light light duty touring only, what make and model used hybrid should I be looking for for loaded touring?" I do not want to tie up big money again for a touring bike. I estimate that my body can handle cycling for another 10-15 years and then it over to mopeds. Wife(non cyclist) is getting a bit disturbed at 6 bicycles including a recumbent already in the garage. The car is being pushed out and the only vacation I want is to go bicycling.
    ispoke, you will enjoy the Co-Motion. I did a long tour with a fellow on an Americano. Wow what a nice bike and great product support from the company when the bike had drive train mishap in the mid America

  10. #10
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    I would buy a bike with 45cm stays or use a trailer. If you have enough bikes go with a trailer. My bikes tend to be old steel mnt bikes, chainstays 43ish and I hit the panniers. Shoe is size 10 but my bags don't have the 'angle' cut at the bottom. This will be crucial if you buy a shorter stay. I got a trailer.

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