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The Longest Chainstays out there

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The Longest Chainstays out there

Old 07-03-22, 06:41 PM
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The Longest Chainstays out there

I was wondering about whether or not there are bikes which have unusually long chainstays, whether they be road or mountain, modern or classic. And, that these long chainstay blessed frames are not cargo bikes (mid, longtail etc) or tandems. What have you seen in the "extra acreage" chainstay department? (Unusually long, means freakishly)
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Old 07-03-22, 06:45 PM
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Old 07-03-22, 06:52 PM
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Old 07-03-22, 06:55 PM
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Many early MTBs had what looked like absurdly long chainstays; Miyatas, DiamondBacks, etc. had 4+ inches behind the seat tube.
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Old 07-03-22, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
Many early MTBs had what looked like absurdly long chainstays; Miyatas, DiamondBacks, etc. had 4+ inches behind the seat tube.
That's because early mountain bikes were based on mid-century cruisers. Cruisers tend to have very long chainstays because the upright postures put the rider's center of mass really far back.

Here's my '84 Stumpjumper, chainstay length about 475mm with the pictured wheel position:

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Old 07-03-22, 07:39 PM
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Old 07-03-22, 07:40 PM
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Old 07-03-22, 08:41 PM
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Old 07-03-22, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
I was wondering about whether or not there are bikes which have unusually long chainstays, whether they be road or mountain, modern or classic. And, that these long chainstay blessed frames are not cargo bikes (mid, longtail etc) or tandems. What have you seen in the "extra acreage" chainstay department? (Unusually long, means freakishly)
Surly LHT and Cannondale touring bike used to have the longest chainstays at a bit over 18. The reason was to keep as much of the load between the axles as possible for a stable ride.
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Old 07-03-22, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Surly LHT and Cannondale touring bike used to have the longest chainstays at a bit over 18”. The reason was to keep as much of the load between the axles as possible for a stable ride.
The 460mm chainstays featured on many touring bikes like the LHT are certainly longer than most bikes use, but I wouldn't call them "the longest." They're not even really the longest among bikes of their style, for example the Salsa Marrakesh has 472mm chainstays if the dropouts are adjusted to use their farthest-back position.

If you want to see really long chainstays, look at stuff that Grant Petersen designs. A lot of his models go over 500mm.
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Old 07-04-22, 12:23 AM
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Old 07-04-22, 12:34 AM
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My 1984 Trek 850 has 485mm chainstays.
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Old 07-04-22, 05:35 AM
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Theblackbullet, that is indeed freakishly long, and a freakishly large bike. How tall are you?
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Old 07-04-22, 06:21 AM
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There was a cat here on BF (maybe still here?) who was building custom touring bikes with reeeeeaaaaaallly long rear centers, with wheelbases pretty nearly as long as a donkeyback tandem. This was to place heavy touring loads nearer the C/G of the total machine + rider in the wheelbase. Can't remember the name of the bikes...anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Anyway, panniers are 'cargo', if you will, and the OP said 'not cargo bikes'.

Easy Racers might have long chainstays, depending.

Truebikes have long chainstays but don't look like they do.
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Old 07-04-22, 06:22 AM
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The eary-80s Trek 720 has 47cm chainstays, to maximize heel clearance when touring with panniers.
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Old 07-04-22, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Theblackbullet, that is indeed freakishly long, and a freakishly large bike. How tall are you?
with the 26" wheels it definitely looks like a clown bike! I am 6'4".
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Old 07-04-22, 10:17 AM
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I've showed these photos before. 20 inch chainstays. Here it is in road bike configuration right after I got it from the frame builder:
Rodriguez High Roller UTB Disc, custom geometry by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr

And here it is in touring mode with Panaracer Pasela 26x1.75
20200723_141115 by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr

And Gravel with Compass 559x58 tubeless on a Velocity Cliffhanger wheels I built to replace the non-tubeless capable Dyad/Aeroheat rims previously equipped.
98080187-21F5-4D43-B49B-C324DEFB4946 by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr

Then there is the good ol' 1974 Schwinn Varsity with 18 inch chainstays. I extended them another 2, among other changes:
20190218_050706 by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr

Who has the longest stays? Check your local frame builder. It might be hard to go beyond 20 inches. But, 20 inches (508mm) is certainly doable. I'd recommend to anyone, if you haven't experienced a longer than average rear-center, at least give it a try. You might like it.

I tend to think of a long rear center like the tail feathers on an arrow. It knocks down the twitchy, "racy" feel at a given trail, & replaces it with a feeling of surgical precision. The bike effortlessly tracks a straight line.

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Old 07-04-22, 06:07 PM
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The Surly DT 54cm frame is 450cm.
Kona Sutra SE 54cm frame is 445cm
Did I mention I like Kona.
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Old 07-04-22, 06:59 PM
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JohnDThompson I built my touring bike with 47cm chain. stays along with horizontal drop outs that add another 1cm when the wheel is moved back in the slot. One unexpected outcome is the amount of flex in the bottom end of the bike when under pressure. I used the same tubing on another frame and the same main triangle, but with 42.5cm chain stays and the bottom of the bike does not flex anywhere near what the touring bike flexes. Both frames ride well, however the touring rig is more lazy-boy than bicycle. Super duper comfortable and can fit the largest of panniers out back and have heel clearance with my size 13 feet!
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Old 07-04-22, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
I've showed these photos before. 20 inch chainstays. Here it is in road bike configuration right after I got it from the frame builder:
Rodriguez High Roller UTB Disc, custom geometry by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr

And here it is in touring mode with Panaracer Pasela 26x1.75
Does the rear stay in the previous area code as the front enters into the next area code? Definitely has that extended swing arm look.
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Old 07-05-22, 06:27 AM
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Surly Big Dummy is pretty long.


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Old 07-05-22, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
I've showed these photos before. 20 inch chainstays. Here it is in road bike configuration right after I got it from the frame builder:
Rodriguez High Roller UTB Disc, custom geometry by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr
Will a single chain work on that, or do you need to splice a couple together?
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Old 07-05-22, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Will a single chain work on that, or do you need to splice a couple together?
I was wondering that myself. Maybe a tandem chain?
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Old 07-05-22, 09:58 AM
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Thanks to all for the suggestions! The Big Dummy would classify as a cargo bike though. The custom Rodriguez is remarkable. I doubt it seems that I'll be able to find an older bike with the type of chainstay lengths I was looking for. It seems a frame with a 20"er for chainstays would be good. I'd like to be able to position the rear load on a bike more directly over the rear axle or between the two axles as much as possible. Right now the load is tugging on the seatstays because too much is hanging off the back end which I think has resulted in the failure of my last frame and most recent snapping off of a pannier barrel brazeon on the current frame (I think it was destned for failure though, based on the meagre brazing tack-on it received at the factory). I don't have a car anymore and have been getting around like this for about 15 years now. The type of setup has been very useful and utilitarian - and economical. I'll post a picture of my go-to bike shortly.
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Old 07-05-22, 10:40 AM
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pdlamb himespau I think it only uses 1 chain. Or IIRC at the most 1 chain + a link depending on the gearing on account of there being no derailleur to feed. Some chains are 112 links, others come in 116 links. With the perfectly straight chain line, it has been so long since I've bought a chain that I honestly don't remember the particulars. I'm well aware that most of what makes an e-bike chain an e-bike chain is they often are as long as 136 links. But I know I don't need one that long.

In gravel/camping mode I install a 21 or 23 cog to the a 50 tooth chainring & that can get to be pretty long. When switching I need to install an inner plate & another master link. In road mode, I run a 16 or 17 cog adjust the eccentric & remove the effective full link. This is necessitated by the adjustment range of the eccentric.

prairiepedaler have you looked here? I think the Platapus is sexy. But, they have an Atlantis & one or two others in stock.

Last edited by base2; 07-05-22 at 10:49 AM.
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