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Old 10-26-08, 10:45 AM   #1
John W Foster
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How Do You Measure Chainstays?

I am currently shopping for a new bike, and a touring bike is a distinct possibility. I was investigating the Devinci Caribou, and was interested to read in the forums, that it does not have a true touring frame(the chainstays are too short). I have been looking at the Norco Kwest online, and am leary of the fact that they do not give a length for the chainstay on their spec. page. If I wanted to measure this myself on a floor model bike, exactly what would my start and end points be to measure? Thanks John.
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Old 10-26-08, 11:25 AM   #2
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I've always measured it from the middle of the crank bolt or center of the bottom bracket to the center of the rear axle

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Old 10-26-08, 09:54 PM   #3
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Eyeballing the space between the tyre and the seat tube gives you a pretty good idea of how you'll go with panniers.
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Old 10-26-08, 11:17 PM   #4
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If you are looking at bikes that are touring like, but short in the chainstay, we are probably only talking a few centimeters to get the stink eye around here. That is an easy dimension to queer with pannier, racks, or shoe choices. I like longer chainstays, but the overall difference is slight, and you do need to measure real cases, some frame dimensions aren't always as listed in the product literature. I have size 11 feet, and the sandals I use stick out a good inch behind my foot, yet I never have contact problems with the bags and rack I use.
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Old 10-27-08, 09:43 AM   #5
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Eyeballing the space between the tyre and the seat tube gives you a pretty good idea of how you'll go with panniers.
Do the finger test. If you can put on finger between the rear tire and the seat tube, look elsewhere for touring. 2 fingers? Keep looking. 3 fingers? Getting there. 4 finger? Buy it!
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Old 10-27-08, 12:26 PM   #6
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Sooooooooo? Then why don't I look at converting my cruiser to a tourer? I can put my whole foot between the tire and seat post. John
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Old 10-27-08, 12:53 PM   #7
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Do the finger test. If you can put on finger between the rear tire and the seat tube, look elsewhere for touring. 2 fingers? Keep looking. 3 fingers? Getting there. 4 finger? Buy it!
Obviously this would then depend on the size of tire mounted on the wheel and therefore may not be that definitive. If the tire is already a 700 X 38 and that's the largest tire you intend to use, a single finger or two would seem adequate.

The difference between the LHT with a 460mm chain stay and many sport road bikes which have 430 mm is only 3 cm or about 1.2" That's far less than my 2 fingers.

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Old 10-27-08, 01:31 PM   #8
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Obviously this would then depend on the size of tire mounted on the wheel and therefore may not be that definitive. If the tire is already a 700 X 38 and that's the largest tire you intend to use, a single finger or two would seem adequate.

The difference between the LHT with a 460mm chain stay and many sport road bikes which have 430 mm is only 3 cm or about 1.2" That's far less than my 2 fingers.
It's not an exact measurement but it's still useful. For the record, 2 fingers on my hand are 1.5" which is still pretty close to 1.2"

It's pretty easy to see the difference too...even with bigger tires

Touring



Not touring

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Old 10-27-08, 01:39 PM   #9
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Sooooooooo? Then why don't I look at converting my cruiser to a tourer? I can put my whole foot between the tire and seat post. John
Jeez guys! Quit being so literal! There are other measurements you need to take into account...head angle, fork rake, rack mounts, width of stays and fork, etc...but the length of the chainstay is a place to start. Look at the pictures I posted. You can tell, quite quickly, the differences between the two bikes. One is a very good touring bike and the other would make a very marginal touring bike. The chainstay difference is just the easiest to measure by eye...and fingers

And you can touring on anything. It's just that some bikes do a better job than others.
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Old 10-27-08, 05:32 PM   #10
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I rarely disagree with cycco, I just use it as a ploy to get him to post more pics of his delicious bikes
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Old 10-27-08, 05:43 PM   #11
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Hey, this a useful thread! I never thought about just looking at the gap between the tyre and seatpost.

Of course, getting back to the OP, be wary of the difference in goal between "I want the ultimate touring bike and will settle for nothing less than perfection", and "I want a good bike for commuting that I'll also use on occasional weekend or even week-long trips". The former requires "four fingers". The latter doesn't.

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Old 10-27-08, 05:48 PM   #12
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It's not an exact measurement but it's still useful. For the record, 2 fingers on my hand are 1.5" which is still pretty close to 1.2"

It's pretty easy to see the difference too...even with bigger tires

Touring



Not touring

Your black Cannondale reminds me very much of my Rocky Sherpa.
I am think of picking up a Cannondale this winter. Any recomends on the new models?

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Old 10-28-08, 04:16 AM   #13
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Thanks, very useful eplies; and the bit about converting the cruiser was a joke, John
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Old 10-28-08, 08:26 AM   #14
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Your black Cannondale reminds me very much of my Rocky Sherpa.
I am think of picking up a Cannondale this winter. Any recomends on the new models?
I'd go with a T2 over the T1. The T1 has a drive train that is too high, in my opinion, for touring. You'd have to change out at least the inner ring and still wouldn't' be able to get as low a gear as the T2. The T1 is cheaper too.
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Old 10-28-08, 08:28 AM   #15
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Old 10-28-08, 09:53 AM   #16
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Hey and my 5 year old can put 4 fingers between the tyre and seattube on my CAAD4, so I'll use that for touring.... Sorry couldn't resist cycocommute.....

Ricohman, did anything ever get sorted out with your chainring bolt and the frame issue? Or is this why you want to go for a C'dale tourer? Not wanting to reopen the whole issue but I still think that was a tough situation and not your responsibility and someone should have made it right.


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Your black Cannondale reminds me very much of my Rocky Sherpa.
I am think of picking up a Cannondale this winter. Any recomends on the new models?
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Old 10-28-08, 10:01 PM   #17
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Sooooooooo? Then why don't I look at converting my cruiser to a tourer? I can put my whole foot between the tire and seat post. John
Because it's hard to ride like that for long.
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Old 10-29-08, 07:46 PM   #18
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Question on the fingers: presumably this is calibrated for 26" wheels? I don't get 4 fingers with me 700C's, but obviously I switched them for 26"'s, I would.

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