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  1. #1
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    Light touring - chainstay length and handling

    One of those days when I am in the office but my mind is somewhere on a bike in Tibet. ;-)

    From what I understand, a touring bike would need >42cm chainstay length for a more stable feel. (I know the part about pannier clearance but I am looking at using only saddlebags).

    What about a frame with only 40cm chainstay length? It is a pure road machine, but I was wondering if there were significant issues when I put a Carradice saddlebag in terms of handling? Or should I stick to the tested and proven >42cm chainstay length for stability's sake?

    Thanks!
    ps. I do not have a Carradice or a 40cm chainstay bike to test.

  2. #2
    Senior Member AnthonyG's Avatar
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    A 42 cm chainstay length is short already. 40 cm? Heavens, I specified the chainstay length on my custom racing frame at 40.5 cm because anything short of that causes bad cross chaining issues and any theoretical advantages of short chainstays would be lost to drive train friction. With short chainstays your weight distribution is already further back compared to longer chainstays and significant weight even further back on a rack is something you probably would notice. Having said that many years ago I fitted a pannier rack and panniers to my first custom racing frame and used it for commuting and short touring and it remained stable but it was in no way comfortable.

    Regards, Anthony

  3. #3
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    For touring purposes, a chainstays of sufficient lenght is necessary to keep your heels from hitting the panniers every time your pedals go around. Longer chainstays will also cause more weight to be distributed to the front wheel, which will give a little more stability. But we're talking only a small amount.

    Longer wheelbase and lower center of gravity, as well as some "rake" in the fork, will give you a smoother ride. Of course, longer chainstays contribute to longer wheelbase.

  4. #4
    Retro-nerd georgiaboy's Avatar
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    Would you like a dream with that?

  5. #5
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    Having said that many years ago I fitted a pannier rack and panniers to my first custom racing frame and used it for commuting and short touring and it remained stable but it was in no way comfortable.

    I was looking for something like that - if handling would be affected on a short chainstay frame which is common nowadays on roadbikes with a saddlebag such as the Carradice.

    As mentioned, I would not be putting racks and panniers.

    Thanks for the link to Anvil.

  6. #6
    Senior Member AnthonyG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zzxxyy
    Having said that many years ago I fitted a pannier rack and panniers to my first custom racing frame and used it for commuting and short touring and it remained stable but it was in no way comfortable.

    I was looking for something like that - if handling would be affected on a short chainstay frame which is common nowadays on roadbikes with a saddlebag such as the Carradice.

    As mentioned, I would not be putting racks and panniers.

    Thanks for the link to Anvil.
    Having posted that my old racer was still stable with panniers I should have mentioned that it was a 1979 built Reynolds 531 frame with a 120 spaced, 36 spoke 27" wheels. Those bikes were renowned for being very stable.

    Modern bike with aluminium frame and 130 mm spaced, low spoke count wheels?

    Maybe not so stable. Don't expect the stability to get better anyway.

    Regards, Anthony

  7. #7
    cyclotourist
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    If I was going to Tibet I would want a rugged bike with a chainstay length of 45 cm or greater. There is no advantage to a shorter chainstay on a touring bike and little advantage on a racing bike.

    A longer chainstay bike will be more stable, less skittish and much better on rough roads.

    40 cm is way too short.

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