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New Trends in Bicycle Geometry

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New Trends in Bicycle Geometry

Old 11-29-23, 04:46 AM
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New Trends in Bicycle Geometry

Has anyone else noticed that geometry for endurance bikes is trending towards higher stack and shorter reach? Race bikes and climbing bikes are following suit (albeit to a lesser extent).

I get it that people want to be comfortable. I've had 2 back surgeries and was thrilled with the geometry of my 2020 "endurance bike" that was mis-marketed (in my opinion) as a gravel bike. Fast-forward to (almost) 2024 in which I just had to replace that bike (Basso Palta). The Palta geometry is now firmly in gravel territory, so much so that I could not buy a 2023/34 model for long-distance road riding. I ended up buying a Time Alpe D'Huez (disc version), which is marketed as a climbing bike. However, if you showed me the geometry chart for the Time Alpe D'Huez and asked me to put a category label on it, my response would be "endurance road bike". The chainstays are on the short end of the spectrum for an endurance bike, but everything else lines up with what I would expect to see for an endurance frame.

I'm somewhat agnostic about this trend. There are pros and cons. If you know what geometry you are seeking for your intended purpose I think it's fine. Ignore the labels and find the bike that work for you, which is what I did. For those that are less familiar with bicycle geometry and what works for them, then I imagine things have gotten more complex and confusing. Any opinions good or bad from the peanut gallery?
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Old 11-29-23, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Turnin_Wrenches
Has anyone else noticed that geometry for endurance bikes is trending towards higher stack and shorter reach? Race bikes and climbing bikes are following suit (albeit to a lesser extent).
Where have you been? Stack height sort of maxed out with the Specialized Roubaix of five years ago. Tarmac stacks were tall, too, for their intended use, as were Trek's H2 and H3 cockpits, and their Domane endurance bike. Nowadays, endurance stack height has come down a bit and some of the longer reaching bikes have been shortened. And some race geometries have come up a bit. 15 years ago I told our Trek rep that they needed to make an H1.5 Madone. I saw that they finally applied that to their entire Madone and Emonda ranges over the last year or so.

I think USCF amalgamation rules may have something to do with that. Years ago the pros got custom frames, so the Roubaix that Tom Boonen rode to victory in Paris-Roubaix was nothing like they one you bought at your local LBS except for the Zertz inserts. And Trek and Specialized did do limited runs of race-geometry Domanes and Tarmacs.
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Old 11-30-23, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat
Where have you been?
I was on a forced hiatus from 2005 to 2019. It was a long time away from the bike due to a back injury and surgery that did not yield the desired outcome. In 2019, four years after my 2nd back surgery, I finally got back onto a bike. It was just an upright comfort bike, but I was riding again. By 2020 I had gained enough strength, flexibility, and range of motion to get back onto a road bike... and it's been full steam ahead ever since.

Originally Posted by oldbobcat
Stack height sort of maxed out with the Specialized Roubaix of five years ago. Tarmac stacks were tall, too, for their intended use, as were Trek's H2 and H3 cockpits, and their Domane endurance bike. Nowadays, endurance stack height has come down a bit and some of the longer reaching bikes have been shortened. And some race geometries have come up a bit. 15 years ago I told our Trek rep that they needed to make an H1.5 Madone. I saw that they finally applied that to their entire Madone and Emonda ranges over the last year or so.
Until 2020 I didn't pay much any attention to geometry or changing trends. But when I bought my Palta in late 2020 there were a number of endurance bikes and gravel bikes with "road-friendly" geometries. Fast forward to late 2023 when I was forced to replace the Palta due to an accident... endurance geometries had become so relaxed I had to purchase a race bike to get "endurance" geometry.
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Old 11-30-23, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Turnin_Wrenches
Has anyone else noticed that geometry for endurance bikes is trending towards higher stack and shorter reach? Race bikes and climbing bikes are following suit (albeit to a lesser extent).

I get it that people want to be comfortable. I've had 2 back surgeries and was thrilled with the geometry of my 2020 "endurance bike" that was mis-marketed (in my opinion) as a gravel bike. Fast-forward to (almost) 2024 in which I just had to replace that bike (Basso Palta). The Palta geometry is now firmly in gravel territory, so much so that I could not buy a 2023/34 model for long-distance road riding. I ended up buying a Time Alpe D'Huez (disc version), which is marketed as a climbing bike. However, if you showed me the geometry chart for the Time Alpe D'Huez and asked me to put a category label on it, my response would be "endurance road bike". The chainstays are on the short end of the spectrum for an endurance bike, but everything else lines up with what I would expect to see for an endurance frame.

I'm somewhat agnostic about this trend. There are pros and cons. If you know what geometry you are seeking for your intended purpose I think it's fine. Ignore the labels and find the bike that work for you, which is what I did. For those that are less familiar with bicycle geometry and what works for them, then I imagine things have gotten more complex and confusing. Any opinions good or bad from the peanut gallery?
So here's the Time:
https://shop.timebicycles.com/produc...kaAmtiEALw_wcB
What seems "gravel" about square geometry (555 virtual TT and 555 seat tube) with a 73 degree head tube angle and 58mm of trail?

In contrast, when the Palta in L is compared to Time's M, the Palta has more stack, a little more reach (but really, 1cm of extra virtual TT length once you correct for ST angle). And then it has a shallow head tube angle for a longer wheelbase - but that isn't really a fit number. If you go down to the M, the geometry compared to the M Time is about the same except for a 1cm shorter virtual TT.

What is it about the Palta that would have been so hard to fit to you when it looks like you could get the same position on both bikes simply by using a 1cm longer stem than the Time? (Assuming both are M.)

https://bassobikes.com/en/bikes/gravel-bikes/palta
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Old 11-30-23, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
So here's the Time:
https://shop.timebicycles.com/produc...kaAmtiEALw_wcB
What seems "gravel" about square geometry (555 virtual TT and 555 seat tube) with a 73 degree head tube angle and 58mm of trail?

In contrast, when the Palta in L is compared to Time's M, the Palta has more stack, a little more reach (but really, 1cm of extra virtual TT length once you correct for ST angle). And then it has a shallow head tube angle for a longer wheelbase - but that isn't really a fit number. If you go down to the M, the geometry compared to the M Time is about the same except for a 1cm shorter virtual TT.

What is it about the Palta that would have been so hard to fit to you when it looks like you could get the same position on both bikes simply by using a 1cm longer stem than the Time? (Assuming both are M.)

https://bassobikes.com/en/bikes/gravel-bikes/palta
If I'm correctly understanding your initial comment, we have no disagreement about the Time. There is nothing in the geometry chart that says "gravel", which is one of the big reasons I went with the Time Alpe D'Huez over another Palta.

While a similar fit can be achieved with both bikes, you keyed in the main variable that deterred me from the current Palta... head tube angle. At 69.5 and 70 degrees respectively for the size small and size medium, the angle is much too slack for a road bike. And even with the slack head tube angle the reach of the current Palta is longer than the Time. To be fair, one could argue that for long-distance and ultra-distance events the slacker head tube angle, longer chainstays and longer wheelbase of the Palta could be better because they contribute to more stability when riding in straight lines, and that would be correct. However, the downside argument is that the handling of the Palta will be noticeably less nimble.

When I look at the geometry of the Time I see a bike that's comfortable and more nimble. In a size small I get a 72.5 degree head tube angle, a 74 degree seat tube, which is right in my personal sweet spot. I like steeper seat tube angles to open up my hip angle. This is especially important because I spend a lot of time in the aero extensions. With the Time bike I also get the added benefit of nimble handling (without being twitchy) and a shorter reach. The slightly shorter reach also allows me to play with stem length and saddle setback to better dial in my reach and center of mass.

At the end of the day, the Time was the clear winner over the current Palta. I just found it ironic that for someone who lives in Florida, does most of his riding in Florida, and strongly focuses on long-distance / ultra-distance, ends up with the racing / climbing bike.
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Old 11-30-23, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Turnin_Wrenches
If I'm correctly understanding your initial comment, we have no disagreement about the Time. There is nothing in the geometry chart that says "gravel", which is one of the big reasons I went with the Time Alpe D'Huez over another Palta.

While a similar fit can be achieved with both bikes, you keyed in the main variable that deterred me from the current Palta... head tube angle. At 69.5 and 70 degrees respectively for the size small and size medium, the angle is much too slack for a road bike. And even with the slack head tube angle the reach of the current Palta is longer than the Time. To be fair, one could argue that for long-distance and ultra-distance events the slacker head tube angle, longer chainstays and longer wheelbase of the Palta could be better because they contribute to more stability when riding in straight lines, and that would be correct. However, the downside argument is that the handling of the Palta will be noticeably less nimble.

When I look at the geometry of the Time I see a bike that's comfortable and more nimble. In a size small I get a 72.5 degree head tube angle, a 74 degree seat tube, which is right in my personal sweet spot. I like steeper seat tube angles to open up my hip angle. This is especially important because I spend a lot of time in the aero extensions. With the Time bike I also get the added benefit of nimble handling (without being twitchy) and a shorter reach. The slightly shorter reach also allows me to play with stem length and saddle setback to better dial in my reach and center of mass.

At the end of the day, the Time was the clear winner over the current Palta. I just found it ironic that for someone who lives in Florida, does most of his riding in Florida, and strongly focuses on long-distance / ultra-distance, ends up with the racing / climbing bike.
Given a lack of climbs, descents or high speed turns, it really doesn't matter much what you ride.
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Old 11-30-23, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Turnin_Wrenches
I was on a forced hiatus from 2005 to 2019. It was a long time away from the bike due to a back injury and surgery that did not yield the desired outcome. In 2019, four years after my 2nd back surgery, I finally got back onto a bike. It was just an upright comfort bike, but I was riding again. By 2020 I had gained enough strength, flexibility, and range of motion to get back onto a road bike... and it's been full steam ahead ever since.
I'm glad you're back at it.

It seems like the designers figured out that extreme cockpit geometries restrict their bikes' marketability. There's been some recent moderation, and I'm all in for that. On the other hand, the market hairsplitting--race, climbing, aero, endurance, gravel, gran fondo, etc.--is confounding. Give me a bike with moderate proportions and angles, and clearances for 30mm tires and I can use it for everything I enjoy. As it's marketed, the Specialized Aethos should fit the bill, but its execution is too much like a behind-the-curve Tarmac. And Trek's H1.5 Emonda has the right cockpit but it feels too much like a track bike. Scott had something going with the second-generation CR1, which they marketed as an endurance bike after the Addict and Foil came out. I used to borrow one from the rental fleet when my Giant TCR was sagging. The Addict SE series bikes actually look like worthy successors. I like the no-nonsense way Scott eases the ride--slightly longer chainstays. If I were shopping, this is probably the one I'd buy.
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Old 11-30-23, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Turnin_Wrenches
...I've had 2 back surgeries...
There are no rules for you. There is no set geometry for you either. You need to ride what ever feels comfortable.

If I looked at the way my bikes are set up today 40 years ago I would laugh, or maybe cry...
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