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Between the sizes - road bike

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Between the sizes - road bike

Old 02-09-23, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet
The main issue here is the integrated handlebar: you can not work on stem length to reduce the reach if you need (and I have the feeling that modern bikes exaggerate with long reach; even the pro's are less stretched...). So, you end up either with a long reach (bigger size), or with a huge saddle to bars drop (smaller size). It is worth to remember that steerer is also fixed, you can not add any spacers below the stem.
I should add here that my body proportions are absolutely normal, so normally it should not be a problem to find an "out of the shelf" solution, but I'm still struggling with that.
Integrated bar/stems can be replaced with different sizes, even if it is more complicated or expensive than just swapping a stem. And stems also can be purchased with rise or drop to change bar height, although you would likely have to move away from integrated and standard modular bar and stem.
ANd seatposts can be swapped to ones with more or less fore/aft. If you don't think a bike is a perfect fit, maybe avoid buyiung one with integrated bar/stem or proprietary seatposts... might not be easy, but fit is important.
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Old 02-09-23, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ClydeClydeson
ANd seatposts can be swapped to ones with more or less fore/aft. If you don't think a bike is a perfect fit, maybe avoid buyiung one with integrated bar/stem or proprietary seatposts... might not be easy, but fit is important.
There is no mention on the website regarding the seat post. I simply assume that there is no such thing like integrated seat post - saddle, so +/- 20mm fore/aft adjustment should be available with the standard seat post. Am I wrong?
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Old 02-09-23, 04:34 PM
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I think I can measure the actual Reach and Reach+ with some +/- 5 mm error. But is there a way to reasonable measure Stack / Stack+?
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Old 02-09-23, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet
I think I can measure the actual Reach and Reach+ with some +/- 5 mm error. But is there a way to reasonable measure Stack / Stack+?
What's Reach+?


All the things you're talking about are taken care of by buying different barstems and changing the number of spacers under the barstem. I have yet to see an integrated bike that didn't have a way to adjust height. So it really comes down to the cost of replacement parts, but you're buying a direct to consumer bike so you already saved money.

There is no such thing and "normal" body dimensions when it comes to bike sizes. You might be very average proportions, but that doesn't mean there is a size built with stems and bars for that particular proportion. Some folks just get lucky.
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Old 02-09-23, 09:39 PM
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Look at your body proportions. If your limbs are long for your height (especially the legs), you might prefer the larger size. If your limbs are short or average for your overall height, you'll probably prefer the smaller size.


Here are two proportions that can be rough guidelines. If your legs are longer than 47 percent of your total height, consider them longer than average. If your ape factor (total wingspan / total height) is greater than 1.04, consider your arms longer than average.

If you are buying a bike with an integrated bar and stem, you are not flying economy class. Any dealer worth its salt will properly size the bike and swap the bar and stem if necessary, free of charge. On the other hand, if you're ordering this bike sight-unseen with an integrated bar and stem and you don't know how it's going to fit, I recommend you change your shopping plan.

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Old 02-09-23, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet
There is no mention on the website regarding the seat post. I simply assume that there is no such thing like integrated seat post - saddle, so +/- 20mm fore/aft adjustment should be available with the standard seat post. Am I wrong?
Saddle fore/aft position should not be used to compensate for reach issues. Saddle adjustment is for your leg/hip position related to the bottom bracket to maximize pedaling efficiency.
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Old 02-10-23, 03:17 AM
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat
If you are buying a bike with an integrated bar and stem, you are not flying economy class. Any dealer worth its salt will properly size the bike and swap the bar and stem if necessary, free of charge. On the other hand, if you're ordering this bike sight-unseen with an integrated bar and stem and you don't know how it's going to fit, I recommend you change your shopping plan.
It is not economy, nor the most expensive. It is just below 40% of their most expensive in that class (no carbon wheels, no aero). But they extended usage of integrated carbon handlebars (I am not a fan of those). I don't name the brand, it is one of the well known EU producers. But world has changed: I have just had a chat with them an the answer was that they don't do any change on configuration (e.g. handlebar from lower size), although they will produce and deliver the bike 2 months after the order.
And... the biggest surprise: they don't even accept to sell a spare handlebar (lower reach) after I buy a new bike. So, under no circumstances I can change the original configuration. Strange world...
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Old 02-10-23, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat
Look at your body proportions. If your limbs are long for your height (especially the legs), you might prefer the larger size. If your limbs are short or average for your overall height, you'll probably prefer the smaller size.


Here are two proportions that can be rough guidelines. If your legs are longer than 47 percent of your total height, consider them longer than average. If your ape factor (total wingspan / total height) is greater than 1.04, consider your arms longer than average.

If you are buying a bike with an integrated bar and stem, you are not flying economy class. Any dealer worth its salt will properly size the bike and swap the bar and stem if necessary, free of charge. On the other hand, if you're ordering this bike sight-unseen with an integrated bar and stem and you don't know how it's going to fit, I recommend you change your shopping plan.
This does not compute.

If you have long legs, that means you have a short torso. Why would a person with a short torso benefit from a bike with a longer top tube?


I don't think a dealer is going to pay for a new $400 barstem if they don't have another bike they know it will get used on.
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Old 02-10-23, 09:25 AM
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Even your definition of reach+ doesn't tell much more. And for me I don't see anything practical about it. Perhaps it helps those that don't look at the total picture.

Handlebars have a reach to them also. Different bars have a different reach. As well the bar drop will be different if we are talking drop bars. Of course between to models of the same bike the bars are probably the same.

Also what isn't being said apparently by your reach plus is the distance from the saddle to the bars. That's one of the things that matters.

But are you going to pick the bike without riding it first in both sizes? I wouldn't buy with out trying. But even if you did, you'll probably have a decent ride. Just maybe not the ideal ride for the way you ride.
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Old 02-10-23, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
Even your definition of reach+ doesn't tell much more. And for me I don't see anything practical about it. Perhaps it helps those that don't look at the total picture.
Handlebars have a reach to them also. Different bars have a different reach. As well the bar drop will be different if we are talking drop bars. Of course between to models of the same bike the bars are probably the same.
Also what isn't being said apparently by your reach plus is the distance from the saddle to the bars. That's one of the things that matters.
But are you going to pick the bike without riding it first in both sizes? I wouldn't buy with out trying. But even if you did, you'll probably have a decent ride. Just maybe not the ideal ride for the way you ride.
“Reach+ is the horizontal distance from the bottom bracket to the center of the handlebar tops (where your stem clamps to your bars)”

I think this is much more important in this context, since the handlebar is integrated and there is no such information as “stem length”. Due to some circumstances, I had to change the frame of the previous bike free of charge (it was another brand than the one targeted now). With this occasion, I asked for a lower size, since the original size strongly recommended by their calculation was so long that I was hardly able even to lift the front wheel to jump over a small border. But lower size means around 12-14 cm saddle to bar drop, which I find difficult for a non professional and not very young rider. Overall, I think they make too long reach bikes for casual riders; visually, I have the impression that even the pros on TV ride less stretched bikes than what is available on the market. This is what I have to solve somehow. I would like to further stress that my body proportions are very much aligned with the majority, so I should normally be on target for "on the shelf" solutions.
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Old 02-10-23, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet
...But lower size means around 12-14 cm saddle to bar drop...
It is common practice to use spacers under the stem to set the drop to suit the fit preference of the rider. Just because you can slam the stem doesn't mean you need to.

Originally Posted by Redbullet
I have the impression that even the pros on TV ride less stretched bikes than what is available on the market.
Here's a closer look at what pros are riding, and how their bikes are set up...
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Old 02-10-23, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
I don't think a dealer is going to pay for a new $400 barstem if they don't have another bike they know it will get used on.
The certainly do have another bike to use the handlebar, since the change for me would be just to use the same type but from the lower size. But they said they don't do it and furthermore that they will not even sell me a spare lower size handlebar. That is probably a deal breaker. And it was totally unexpected: after they increase the prices with 60-80% over the last few years, it looks that the even don't bother to sale the bike...
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Old 02-10-23, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
It is common practice to use spacers under the stem to set the drop to suit the fit preference of the rider. Just because you can slam the stem doesn't mean you need to.
Those old days are gone, it seems. Further spacers means customized bikes (longer steerer) for them and they definitely refuse that. Some sort of deal breaker everywhere.
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Old 02-10-23, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
If you have long legs, that means you have a short torso. Why would a person with a short torso benefit from a bike with a longer top tube?


I don't think a dealer is going to pay for a new $400 barstem if they don't have another bike they know it will get used on.
Because he'll probably benefit more from having longer seat and head tubes. And, in the case of having long arms, the extra top tube length won't make a whole lot of difference anyway. I'm a case in point for that, a whisker under 6', long arms and legs, and I ride a 58 cm H2 Trek Madone with a 12 cm stem pretty much slammed. Naturally, there are some brands or models I'd never consider because of their geometries.

And regarding the $400 bar and stem, that is not what the dealer paid for it, and if he's in the business of selling $10,000 bikes he better have what he needs to size them properly. Or be able to get it shipped promptly.

Last edited by oldbobcat; 02-10-23 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 02-10-23, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet
Those old days are gone, it seems. Further spacers means customized bikes (longer steerer) for them and they definitely refuse that. Some sort of deal breaker everywhere.
Refusal to provide any way to adjust the fit to suit your needs is reason enough (IMO) to find another place to buy a bike.
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Old 02-10-23, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet
Those old days are gone, it seems. Further spacers means customized bikes (longer steerer) for them and they definitely refuse that. Some sort of deal breaker everywhere.
After riding for over 50 years I can pretty much take a tape to a bike and tell if it's going to fit me. Or I can look at the geometry chart in the catalog. If you're not at this point, I really recommend buying something that can be easily sized and fitted with interchangeable, resellable parts. Take the Specialized Aethos, for example. It has a neutral geometry (not too long and low, not too short and tall) and everything on it is interchangeable. Unfortunately, I'm not alone in this opinion and dealers have a hard time keeping these in stock.
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Old 02-10-23, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet
Those old days are gone, it seems. Further spacers means customized bikes (longer steerer) for them and they definitely refuse that. Some sort of deal breaker everywhere.
You live in a different everywhere than I do.
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Old 02-10-23, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
You live in a different everywhere than I do.
I don't know. My information comes from chat with the provider. Maybe it is about EU vs USA. I have to discharge everything non EU, as it comes (when allowed to come) at more than 20% higher price, mainly due to taxes.
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Old 02-10-23, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet
I don't know. My information comes from chat with the provider. Maybe it is about EU vs USA. I have to discharge everything non EU, as it comes (when allowed to come) at more than 20% higher price, mainly due to taxes.
Maybe you should bet more than one source of information? The US and EU are full of bike shops.
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Old 02-11-23, 03:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
If you have long legs, that means you have a short torso. Why would a person with a short torso benefit from a bike with a longer top tube?
This sounds very logical to me. But when I go on the websites of 2 brands and play with their sizing app, both recommend a bigger size (longer reach) for longer legs. And one of them (very well known brand) also include the height in equation: at the same height, for longer legs they recommend bigger size (longer reach) bike. Not logical at all, although is hard to suspect that they are doing it wrong...
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Old 02-11-23, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet
This sounds very logical to me. But when I go on the websites of 2 brands and play with their sizing app, both recommend a bigger size (longer reach) for longer legs. And one of them (very well known brand) also include the height in equation: at the same height, for longer legs they recommend bigger size (longer reach) bike. Not logical at all, although is hard to suspect that they are doing it wrong...
It isn't necessarily wrong. It depends on the specifics of the bike.

When bikes had level top tubes, the head tube height was dictated by the seat tube. Now the two have nothing to do with each other, and two bike with the same seat tube length and virtual top tube length could have wildly different head tube heights.

Bikes with tall head tubes tend to have a difference in headtube height that is generally larger from size to size than other changes. In other words, going from a size 52 to 54 might only make the TT 1cm longer, but you might get 2.5cm of additional headtube. In that case, a long legged person benefits from the larger size because they get the stack they need to bring the bars up to the level dictated by their legs, and they only are penalized 1cm in reach - which is easy to make up for with stem length.

But another bike might change 1.5cm of TT per size while only giving 2cm of additional stack. In that case it is going to be more of a wash if getting more stack is worth the reduction in stem length.

The custom frame industry used to be the go to for people with especially long or short legs. Tall head tubes and sloping "compact" length seat tubes respectively ended that need. For the rest of us it means that some bike models are going to limit getting the stem low enough - which you can see on some pros' bikes that have 17 or even 25 degree stems that are very long to try and make a bike with a low enough head tube work for them.
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Old 02-11-23, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet
With this occasion, I asked for a lower size, since the original size strongly recommended by their calculation was so long that I was hardly able even to lift the front wheel to jump over a small border. But lower size means around 12-14 cm saddle to bar drop, which I find difficult for a non professional and not very young rider.
You are probably picking bikes by their appealing looks instead of objectively looking for bikes with higher frame stack for their given size. I'd almost say you are probably looking at a very race fit bike much like or even more aggressive in fit than my Tarmac. Which I do ride with about a 12 cm saddle to bar drop. So thanks for considering me a professional! Although I absolutely am not. Although I am at that age where all the Medicare supplement providers are hounding me daily.

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Old 02-11-23, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
I'd almost say you are probably looking at a very race fit bike much like or even more aggressive in fit than my Tarmac.
Well... it is not the expensive "aero" type and on their website they describe the line which i am interested in as "Balanced". The next available line is "Endurance". It is, indeed, more "relaxed", but at the cost of more than 1kg bigger weight, plus bulky wheels and some oversized parts. I would still like to preserve a decent weight and the fine look of a pure road bike, as I have no intention to ride on cobbles or to engage 100+ km rides.
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Old 02-11-23, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Redbullet
Well... it is not the expensive "aero" type and on their website they describe the line which i am interested in as "Balanced". The next available line is "Endurance". It is, indeed, more "relaxed", but at the cost of more than 1kg bigger weight, plus bulky wheels and some oversized parts. I would still like to preserve a decent weight and the fine look of a pure road bike, as I have no intention to ride on cobbles or to engage 100+ km rides.
Although some bike brands now use "endurance" to describe a more relaxed fit compared to a race fit. IMO, all typical bikes we consider a road bike are a endurance geometry bike. If you notice, race fit bikes are used by many that put 100 - 140 miles a day on their bikes. I'd think that qualifies as endurance use.

At best the term is relative to what the sales team or advertising agency that came up with the description to try to sell that bike was wanting.
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Old 02-11-23, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
It isn't necessarily wrong. It depends on the specifics of the bike.
Thanks. Now, with this explanation, I'll try to simplify using real figures from their sizing chart. I use Reach+ and Stack+, since they include the length and angle of the stem, which can not be counted separately, because it is integrated. For the same height, we have the following recommendations:

For 84cm inseam:
Top tube length, up to the handlebar: 635mm
Stack+ (Stack up to the handlebar): 635mm

For 85cm inseam: 659mm
Top tube length, up to the handlebar: 659mm (24mm longer)
Stack+ (Stack up to the handlebar): 656mm (21mm higher)

So, apart from the fact that longer leg (85cm) is positioned a few mm backward compared with 84 (because the saddle is higher), and the torso is smaller with 10mm, it is further “penalized” with 24mm in longer top tube. In total, it might add up to more than 30mm longer distance to cover from saddle to handlebar if your inseam is just 10mm longer. The 21mm higher stack+ will not compensate for that, I think.
So yes, there might be a suspicion that they do it wrong, maybe adding some 20mm too much to the length of the bigger size bike top tube.
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