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Geometry Guidance

Old 05-07-22, 06:18 AM
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Bogey Speedwell
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Geometry Guidance

So my analysis paralysis is compounded by the lack of supply. I travel for work and have the opportunity to pop in many shops throughout the Midwest. Would love to compare the ride of three different geometryís but that doesnít look like that will happen.

My question is if thereís a huge riding/comfort difference between Endurance, Touring and Gravel? Not so much which brand or model, but maybe which geometry I should focus my searches on.

About me, Iím 54 6í1 205 and essentially just got back into cycling last year and purchased a trek DS2. Loving the cycling again, but not sure about the sluggish feel of the bike. I foresee my riding to be about 40% paved 40% crushed limestone and 20% gravel (side/township roads). While I donít have a budget, would like to keep it under $2k perhaps $2500 tops. Donít have a real brand preference, but do want to buy from a LBS and would prefer to shy away from entry level group sets and components.

My plan is to be able to participate in some longer rides such as Ragbrai, do some LIGHT CC touring/Bikepacking (not single track). More importantly feel good on the ride for 50+ miles in a day.

I get it, itís difficult to give advice like this on the interweb, but hey thatís why Al invented it isnít it? Iím also prepared for the scolding and admonishment of the ďhow dare you ask this question crowdĒÖ..but I got thick skin, so have at it. Lol
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Old 05-07-22, 06:31 AM
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First, I'd do some checking to see just how different the geometries of "Endurance, Touring, & Gravel" bikes really are. The names are certainly different, but you may find the actual frame geometries are often very much the same. Pick a dozen of the popular models with 3-4 of each category and take a look..

https://bikeinsights.com/compare?geo...f3a30004789c8d,

https://bikeinsights.com/compare?geo...ae7500224c357f,

https://bikeinsights.com/categories
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Old 05-07-22, 06:46 AM
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The inability to try out the new bikes has stopped me from buying, especially because of geometry/ride feel.

I have the CFO's blessing and the desire for a CF wunderbike but will wait for the supply chain's master link to get reconnected.
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Old 05-07-22, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by fishboat View Post
First, I'd do some checking to see just how different the geometries of "Endurance, Touring, & Gravel" bikes really are. The names are certainly different, but you may find the actual frame geometries are often very much the same. Pick a dozen of the popular models with 3-4 of each category and take a look..

https://bikeinsights.com/compare?geo...f3a30004789c8d,

https://bikeinsights.com/compare?geo...ae7500224c357f,

https://bikeinsights.com/categories
I agree with this. From a geometry perspective they are just varying shades of overlapping grey. Really the only frame related things that separate these various disciplines (i.e. road endurance, touring, gravel) are tyre clearance and mountings for accessories like mudguards, panniers, bottles etc. Gravel bikes tend to be the most versatile, with clearance for 40+ mm tyres giving more options (especially if you add an extra set of wheels). Gearing will also typically vary between these categories, with gravel and touring bikes tending more toward lower gearing ranges and increasingly 1x drivetrains with very wide range cassettes.

Sounds like the OP would be well served with a modern gravel bike from any of the major brands.
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Old 05-07-22, 07:16 AM
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Endurance, Touring and Gravel are mostly just marketing labels and there is a high degree of overlap. From the description of your rides, it sounds like a "touring" bike is what you want, but as soon as you put fatter tires on a touring bike you get to call it a "gravel" bike.

You mentioned comfort over 50+ miles, and to me that says steel. With your budget you can afford a very nice chromoly touring bike. Look at the Surly LHT and also the Crosscheck. You'll get lots of other good recommendations but those are great starting points.
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Old 05-07-22, 10:23 AM
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All the things being recommended are cultivars of road bikes (curly handlebars, no suspension). Have you used, or do you think you will like, drop bars? Are you ok going without the suspension fork on your Trek DS? I wouldn't suggest you worry about subtle differences in frame angles between models unless you already have a road bike and have some idea what you'd like to be different. Every kind of road bike can be comfortable for a long ride. It depends on your condition, really. People doing 200 miles a week tend to want an Ultegra level road racing bike.

If this will be your only bike and you might be using your bike for commuting and overnights off pavement, then a gravel bike is great. Any brand will do... I like Salsa and they just introduced a revised aluminum model called Journeyer that looks pretty great at higher spec. With your stated preference for components you probably want a bike with GRX 400/Tiagra, or Apex 1. Be honest, though, about your use. If you are keeping the Trek, it covers the camping and dirt road stuff. A lighter bike with slicks will be best on pavement and RAGBRAI.
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Old 05-07-22, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by fishboat View Post
First, I'd do some checking to see just how different the geometries of "Endurance, Touring, & Gravel" bikes really are. The names are certainly different, but you may find the actual frame geometries are often very much the same. Pick a dozen of the popular models with 3-4 of each category and take a look..

https://bikeinsights.com/compare?geo...f3a30004789c8d,

https://bikeinsights.com/compare?geo...ae7500224c357f,

https://bikeinsights.com/categories
For this site, Iíve been playing with the comparison feature on 99 spokes which is similar but will check this out as well. Ive thought their were pretty minor differences, but wasnít sure if the subtle differences were able to be noticed much.

Originally Posted by BTinNYC View Post
The inability to try out the new bikes has stopped me from buying, especially because of geometry/ride feel.

I have the CFO's blessing and the desire for a CF wunderbike but will wait for the supply chain's master link to get reconnected.
. Good luck, I may be in a holding pattern myself. You may laugh but Iím a bit hesitant on the CF for what I want. And before you ask, yes I have a cell phone, cordless drill and have stepped into the current century. Lol but since I may spend most of my riding on non pavementÖ is this a silly assumption on my part?
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Old 05-07-22, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
I agree with this. From a geometry perspective they are just varying shades of overlapping grey. Really the only frame related things that separate these various disciplines (i.e. road endurance, touring, gravel) are tyre clearance and mountings for accessories like mudguards, panniers, bottles etc. Gravel bikes tend to be the most versatile, with clearance for 40+ mm tyres giving more options (especially if you add an extra set of wheels). Gearing will also typically vary between these categories, with gravel and touring bikes tending more toward lower gearing ranges and increasingly 1x drivetrains with very wide range cassettes.

Sounds like the OP would be well served with a modern gravel bike from any of the major brands.
Ok I like this gravel idea, but am I crazy for thinking the 1x will give me fewer gearing options. Honestly I struggle with the thinking less gearing is ok. I feel like itís akin to buying a vacuum with only low and medium speed and not high. Lol. In the back of my mind I think itís a conspiracy from the OEís to cut cost on the bike but not the retail price.

Originally Posted by Jeff Neese View Post
Endurance, Touring and Gravel are mostly just marketing labels and there is a high degree of overlap. From the description of your rides, it sounds like a "touring" bike is what you want, but as soon as you put fatter tires on a touring bike you get to call it a "gravel" bike.

You mentioned comfort over 50+ miles, and to me that says steel. With your budget you can afford a very nice chromoly touring bike. Look at the Surly LHT and also the Crosscheck. You'll get lots of other good recommendations but those are great starting points.
Kind am leaning that way and perhaps two sets of tires,
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Old 05-07-22, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
All the things being recommended are cultivars of road bikes (curly handlebars, no suspension). Have you used, or do you think you will like, drop bars? Are you ok going without the suspension fork on your Trek DS? I wouldn't suggest you worry about subtle differences in frame angles between models unless you already have a road bike and have some idea what you'd like to be different. Every kind of road bike can be comfortable for a long ride. It depends on your condition, really. People doing 200 miles a week tend to want an Ultegra level road racing bike.

If this will be your only bike and you might be using your bike for commuting and overnights off pavement, then a gravel bike is great. Any brand will do... I like Salsa and they just introduced a revised aluminum model called Journeyer that looks pretty great at higher spec. With your stated preference for components you probably want a bike with GRX 400/Tiagra, or Apex 1. Be honest, though, about your use. If you are keeping the Trek, it covers the camping and dirt road stuff. A lighter bike with slicks will be best on pavement and RAGBRAI.
I believe so. Havenít had a drop bar bike since the 80ís kind of think as I learn, that it will help me shift my weight to take some of the weight off my posterior on the longer rides and the multiple hand positions would be beneficial. While I believe I can certainly live without the front suspension, but honestly think I wIll keep the DS anyway. Thanks again for the tips.
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Old 05-07-22, 06:00 PM
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Generalizations-

- Touring frame has longer chainstays compared to gravel and endurance road.
- Endurance road has slightly faster steering compared to gravel and touring.
- Endurance will have the shortest wheelbase compared to gravel and touring.


Besides those very general comments, there is really little that should be said when comparing categories with such varied options inside each category.
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Old 05-08-22, 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell View Post

Kind am leaning that way and perhaps two sets of tires,
If you can swing the cost, it's nice to have two sets of complete wheels, with different tires mounted for different purposes. It's much easier to swap wheels than change tires.
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Old 05-08-22, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Neese View Post
If you can swing the cost, it's nice to have two sets of complete wheels, with different tires mounted for different purposes. It's much easier to swap wheels than change tires.
My only concern with this is not so much the cost, but the Mrs. She has entered the declutter stage in her life, so if it isnít nailed down, itís likely to be donated or loaded on ebay. Lol
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Old 05-08-22, 07:22 AM
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One thought(data point) on chainstay length. It can be an issue when riding with rear panniers. 430mm is considered a somewhat short chainstay in touring bike circles, however my touring bike (drop bar converted Trek 970) has 429mm chainstays. I run 55L panniers (total, sum of two bags) on the rear with a size 12 shoe and have had zero heel-strike issues, not even close. My panniers have a moderate 45 degree angle on the leading, lower corner to help with clearance (part of their design). Even without it, I don't think I'd have heel-strike issues.

Older Trek 520's (classic touring bike) had 430mm chainstays. The more modern Surly LHT has around 460mm chainstays.
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Old 05-08-22, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by fishboat View Post
One thought(data point) on chainstay length. It can be an issue when riding with rear panniers. 430mm is considered a somewhat short chainstay in touring bike circles, however my touring bike (drop bar converted Trek 970) has 429mm chainstays. I run 55L panniers (total, sum of two bags) on the rear with a size 12 shoe and have had zero heel-strike issues, not even close.
Yeah, the frame I have a rear rack and panniers in is 432mm to the middle of the rear dropout and I think that is where I have the wheel placed.
I have size 14 shoes and dont have issue with heel strike. The bike is still plenty stable when loaded, yada yada yada. .

Maybe my rack pushes my bags back further than other racks?
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Old 05-08-22, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell View Post
My only concern with this is not so much the cost, but the Mrs. She has entered the declutter stage in her life, so if it isnít nailed down, itís likely to be donated or loaded on ebay. Lol
Ok, now we have the real problem.

It's all about trade offs. For example, my titanium Lynskey cost me new kitchen countertops and floor. Worth every freakin' penny.

Then go out and buy essentially a road bike that can run wider tires, like 28mm or even 32mm. I see a lot of those around here-Giant, BMC, Trek, Specialized. Analyze that to death, then take 10 minutes to pick quartz counters and LPV floors. Now everyone is happy. For now.
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Old 05-08-22, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell View Post
Ok I like this gravel idea, but am I crazy for thinking the 1x will give me fewer gearing options. Honestly I struggle with the thinking less gearing is ok. I feel like itís akin to buying a vacuum with only low and medium speed and not high. Lol. In the back of my mind I think itís a conspiracy from the OEís to cut cost on the bike but not the retail price.
You are not crazy. Bike companies had been increasing gear range for quite a while, as the number of speeds increased. Not all that range was strictly necessary. Some of it was off the bottom and really helped for a loaded touring bike or average-American-shaped rider. Some of it was off the top end and only really useful for going down a long straight hill, or a pro who really could push that gear in a sprint. The 1x thing came from the mountain bike side and only half its benefits apply to road bikes.

A touring bike will have range much like your Trek. An endurance road bike or gravel bike will have a similar high gear and slightly hard low gear. The single ring gravel bikes have about one shift less at the top and bottom than the doubles.
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Old 05-08-22, 11:14 AM
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You shouldn't focus on the word endurance. It can be used to mean different things. Lately it's been appropriated by some to mean the bike is made to give you a more upright position. Some will be just as comfortable on a race fit bike, others won't be comfortable.

You just need to find out what is comfortable for you. If you don't want a aggressive and more aero fit, then look for bikes with a higher frame stack so there will be less drop from the saddle height to the bar height.

If you want the bars to be higher than the saddle, then don't be looking at road bikes. There are other types of bikes with bars higher than the saddle that are also made to ride on the road.

If you think you want to do multi day rides and will have to haul everything with you on your bike, then look for a touring bike as that will be made for the additional panniers and stuff you might want on travels of many days.

If you are going to ride on gravel, then a gravel bike will be better tailored to that. But it might not have the stuff to mount panniers.

If most of your riding is going to be less than 2 hour rides locally, then I wouldn't recommend buying for the rides you are only going to do once in a great while.

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Old 05-08-22, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell View Post
Ok I like this gravel idea, but am I crazy for thinking the 1x will give me fewer gearing options. Honestly I struggle with the thinking less gearing is ok. I feel like itís akin to buying a vacuum with only low and medium speed and not high. Lol. In the back of my mind I think itís a conspiracy from the OEís to cut cost on the bike but not the retail price.
Well first there is no conspiracy lol!
1x totally dominates mountain biking and has done for quite a few years. Road bikes are still mostly 2x. Gravel bikes are split between 1x and 2x options. 1x has the advantage of simplicity and 2x has the advantage of closer and slightly wider gearing. If you are riding mainly on road then 2x is probably still the best option.
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Old 05-08-22, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell View Post
So my analysis paralysis is compounded by the lack of supply. I travel for work and have the opportunity to pop in many shops throughout the Midwest. Would love to compare the ride of three different geometry’s but that doesn’t look like that will happen.

My question is if there’s a huge riding/comfort difference between Endurance, Touring and Gravel? Not so much which brand or model, but maybe which geometry I should focus my searches on.

About me, I’m 54 6’1 205 and essentially just got back into cycling last year and purchased a trek DS2. Loving the cycling again, but not sure about the sluggish feel of the bike. I foresee my riding to be about 40% paved 40% crushed limestone and 20% gravel (side/township roads). While I don’t have a budget, would like to keep it under $2k perhaps $2500 tops. Don’t have a real brand preference, but do want to buy from a LBS and would prefer to shy away from entry level group sets and components.

My plan is to be able to participate in some longer rides such as Ragbrai, do some LIGHT CC touring/Bikepacking (not single track). More importantly feel good on the ride for 50+ miles in a day.

I get it, it’s difficult to give advice like this on the interweb, but hey that’s why Al invented it isn’t it? I’m also prepared for the scolding and admonishment of the “how dare you ask this question crowd”…..but I got thick skin, so have at it. Lol
Since you have done the analysis paralysis, looking at a 2021 DS2 (large) geometry, you basically have a 71*, (Offset-38, Trail 82), an 1100 wheelbase, 460 chainstays, and an enormous stack of 616. My question is what does your current bike do well, other than hold a line really good?

You are probably already running 40mm+ tires with 5 lbs of suspension fork; which most likely is contributing to the sluggish feeling along with a lot of trail.

But the comfort part is a little concerning. Other than limited hand positions, and riding into the wind in an upright posture, are there other comfort issues?

I'm no geometry wizard, but the gravel suggestions seem like sound advice to be able to give you a more responsive bike and still be comfortable enough with wider tires. The only concern is the over 30 years of not riding drop bars. That is a long time and the lack of flexibility for some people is a show stopper. You might be able to try a flip flop stem on your current DS2 and drop your flat bar to see how you hold up before making the investment. The nice thing about modern drop bar setup is that they stretch you out some but they tend to not be quite as low. Bar height is more a result of stack.

John

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Old 05-08-22, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Since you have done the analysis paralysis, looking at a 2021 DS2 (large) geometry, you basically have a 71*, (Offset-38, Trail 82), an 1100 wheelbase, 460 chainstays, and an enormous stack of 616. My question is what does your current bike do well, other than hold a line really good?

You are probably already running 40mm+ tires with 5 lbs of suspension fork; which most likely is contributing to the sluggish feeling along with a lot of trail.

But the comfort part is a little concerning. Other than limited hand positions, and riding into the wind in an upright posture, are there other comfort issues?

I'm no geometry wizard, but the gravel suggestions seem like sound advice to be able to give you a more responsive bike and still be comfortable enough with wider tires. The only concern is the over 30 years of not riding drop bars. That is a long time and the lack of flexibility for some people is a show stopper. You might be able to try a flip flop stem on your current DS2 and drop your flat bar to see how you hold up before making the investment. The nice thing about modern drop bar setup is that they stretch you out some but they tend to not be quite as low. Bar height is more a result of stack.

John
great points, but Iím not 100% confident I could answer ďwhat it does wellĒ due to my lack of riding, if that makes sense. Just got back from a 21 mile ride, and pretty much feel great. I do have very slight hand numbness, but that improved greatly since I upgraded grips and put bar ends on my flat bars. Measured my sit bones and upgraded o a selle SMP saddle, so no issues there after 21 miles. Definitely see the point of flexibility as a concern for going back to drop bars, but could the trade off of the heavier bike and non needed suspension absorbing extra energy I have to make the trade off acceptable.

I should also have indicated I live in the driftless part of Wisconsin so every thing is essentially a hill. Taking advantage of the aero positions on the downhill stretches should be a bit more beneficial. And of course the additional hand positions should feel better. I would have thought if I could get the top of the drop bars about level with the seat, like my current bike, the ride position may be somewhat close(but stretched) until I get in the drops. Am I wrong with that assumption?
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Old 05-08-22, 02:33 PM
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Road bikes are shorter frames than mountain bikes so your position on the hoods of the types you are shopping is about the same as it is on your Trek.

You could try renting something. Some places will rent you a demo with the price of the demo going toward the bike if you decide to buy it.

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Old 05-08-22, 04:09 PM
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Bikes: 1986 Cannondale SR400 (Flat bar commuter), 1988 Cannondale Criterium XTR, 1992 Serotta T-Max, 1995 Trek 970

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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell View Post
I should also have indicated I live in the driftless part of Wisconsin so every thing is essentially a hill. Taking advantage of the aero positions on the downhill stretches should be a bit more beneficial. And of course the additional hand positions should feel better. I would have thought if I could get the top of the drop bars about level with the seat, like my current bike, the ride position may be somewhat close(but stretched) until I get in the drops. Am I wrong with that assumption?
Everyone is different, and this is moving more to fit.

I'm more torso centric when it comes to setting up my bikes. Once you find a good position for the saddle that meets your needs, whatever that means to each person, you lay out where the bars should be. I have found that the measurement from the back of the saddle, I use the same saddle model on my bikes, to the center of the stem as a good "starting" point, not a finishing point. There should be a Champs-Elysees position. That might be riding no hands, or it can be the tops, or the hoods, or ???, but it is a pretty stress free riding position.

John

Edit added: My most secure position in sketchy sections, is the hoods.

Last edited by 70sSanO; 05-08-22 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 05-08-22, 04:34 PM
  #23  
Bogey Speedwell
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Road bikes are shorter frames than mountain bikes so your position on the hoods of the types you are shopping is about the same as it is on your Trek.

You could try renting something. Some places will rent you a demo with the price of the demo going toward the bike if you decide to buy it.
perfect I like the demo idea for sure, thanks.
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Old 06-25-22, 06:20 AM
  #24  
Bogey Speedwell
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Thought I’d share an update;

I’ve essentially spent the last 3 months over analyzing every difference, and test rode over half a dozen different Trek’s Giant’s and a couple other brands, I was still unsure, because I loved each one. Again I still couldn’t decide, mainly because I felt I couldn’t find two specific models to ride at the same time. Another frustrating part is the LBS with the best selection seems to be downtown Madison WI which is 1.5 hours away currently surrounded by road construction and extremely challenging to get to and get out of. My closest LBS doesn’t seem to care. Even as bike availability comes back he tells me to go elsewhere he isn’t expecting bikes until next year.

Ready to give up I found another LBS run by a Mennonite family, they of course have zero online presence. After walking in I found out he was a Cannondale dealer. Stocking mostly flat bar bikes, I asked about a Topstone 1 alloy, he called his supplier and said they were available. So after all the time over analyzing it I went home compared the geometry to what I liked and called him and ordered one without a test ride. LMAO maybe I should have done this in the first time.


Last edited by Bogey Speedwell; 06-25-22 at 06:25 AM.
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