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2017 Roubaix spacer stack height - what's yours?

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2017 Roubaix spacer stack height - what's yours?

Old 09-18-17, 11:18 PM
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johngwheeler
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2017 Roubaix spacer stack height - what's yours?

I've now ridden a few hundred km on my new 2017 Specialized Roubaix and am starting to wonder if I would be a bit more comfortable with lower bars.

In the default setup with 3 x 5mm spacers and the "thick" 15mm head-set cover, my saddle-to-bar drop is only about 2cm. I'm used to a bit more (5-7cm) on my other bike, and am trying to align my fit across my road bikes in the interests of training consistency.

I'm curious whether other Roubaix owners have found the stack height on the high side, and noticed any improvement (in comfort, handling or performance) with lower bars?

I know it's an endurance geometry bike and designed to be ridden fairly upright, but it would interesting to hear your experiences.
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Old 09-19-17, 01:03 AM
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Just because it is "endurance geometry" it doesn't mean it has to be ridden fairly upright. Nothing wrong with having a bike that gives a soft ride but still set up as low as you want. My Domane (which has a similar stack height to Roubaix) has a low top cap and the bars all the way down with a -8 deg stem. That gets me my usual 10cm drop.
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Old 09-19-17, 03:31 AM
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10cm drop is quite a bit for a recreational cyclist but understand of course if that is what you prefer.

John, you can ask away, but when it comes to stack height or saddle to bar drop on any bike, it is largely personal preference. I see the benefit in fact of setting up different bikes with different levels of aggressiveness. So I don't subscribe to the 'set them up all the same' camp. I therefore choose the bike I like for a given type of ride....longer distance....shorter distance....knowing it will be a hammerfest....versus more of a cruising ride. I like to change up my riding position on different bikes and by riding different fits, this also gives perspective on what maybe best for a given ride...from a crit to a century. A general rule of thumb tho is...if setting a bike up with higher bars, I have to move the bar typically out more with longer stem or longer top tube. Reason is...reach much be served. Higher you raise the bar for a given body size, the closer to handlebar moves to the shoulder joints which shortens effective arm length and lowering the handlebar increases reach.

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Old 09-19-17, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
Just because it is "endurance geometry" it doesn't mean it has to be ridden fairly upright. Nothing wrong with having a bike that gives a soft ride but still set up as low as you want. My Domane (which has a similar stack height to Roubaix) has a low top cap and the bars all the way down with a -8 deg stem. That gets me my usual 10cm drop.
I would like to see what that looks like. I might go a similar route on my next bike. Pics please.
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Old 09-19-17, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
10cm drop is quite a bit for a recreational cyclist but understand of course if that is what you prefer.

John, you can ask away, but when it comes to stack height or saddle to bar drop on any bike, it is largely personal preference. I see the benefit in fact of setting up different bikes with different levels of aggressiveness. So I don't subscribe to the 'set them up all the same' camp. I therefore choose the bike I like for a given type of ride....longer distance....shorter distance....knowing it will be a hammerfest....versus more of a cruising ride. I like to change up my riding position on different bikes and by riding different fits, this also gives perspective on what maybe best for a given ride...from a crit to a century. A general rule of thumb tho is...if setting a bike up with higher bars, I have to move the bar typically out more with longer stem or longer top tube. Reason is...reach much be served. Higher you raise the bar for a given body size, the closer to handlebar moves to the shoulder joints which shortens effective arm length and lowering the handlebar increases reach.
Good point about reach. On my commuter / gravel bike (actually a CX), I went from a 90mm to 120mm stem, and actually find the stretched out lower position to be generally more comfortable on my shoulders and neck.

Maybe I've become used to this and the Roubaix with 100mm stem and 30mm of spacer height is compressing my shoulders causing tension. Removing the 30mm of spacers wold give me 11mm more reach (and 32mm more drop), which might stretch things out a bit. This would be a cheaper option (free) than replacing the stem in the first instance. Thanks!
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Old 09-19-17, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
A general rule of thumb tho is...if setting a bike up with higher bars, I have to move the bar typically out more with longer stem or longer top tube. Reason is...reach much be served. Higher you raise the bar for a given body size, the closer to handlebar moves to the shoulder joints which shortens effective arm length and lowering the handlebar increases reach.
Not following, conserved? I find the opposite to be true. Higher bars need a shorter stem, if you are raising the bars on a particular bike to open the hip angle, your effective reach decreases. So while lowering the stem increases reach, a closed hip angle and lower torso increases reach. That is generally the idea with endurance geometries. Shorter reach and higher stack.
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Old 09-19-17, 05:21 PM
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IMO you are going about it wrong. Forget about the amount of spacers and focus on the end product. You are wondering about changes from what is a random position that has no basis in your needs. This ornthst many spacers is irrelevant in most cases. You need to measure your old bike(s) to get the finished bike positions of saddle and bars relative to the bottom bracket and duplicate those on the new bike. Then, after riding the new bike for a while, if you want this or that change, make the modification from the zero point of perfect match to your other bikes. You need a sensible starting point. I can't do it now, but I will post my method for making the measurements a little later.
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Old 09-19-17, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
IMO you are going about it wrong. Forget about the amount of spacers and focus on the end product. You are wondering about changes from what is a random position that has no basis in your needs. This ornthst many spacers is irrelevant in most cases. You need to measure your old bike(s) to get the finished bike positions of saddle and bars relative to the bottom bracket and duplicate those on the new bike. Then, after riding the new bike for a while, if you want this or that change, make the modification from the zero point of perfect match to your other bikes. You need a sensible starting point. I can't do it now, but I will post my method for making the measurements a little later.
Thanks Robert. I wasn't suggesting that I set up my bike based on other people's personal setup :-) I'm just curious whether other Roubaix owners have found it to be a bit tall compared to other bikes.

As a starting point, I will try to get closer to my other road bike which has a 5-6cm bar drop, and saddle to bar (tip to mid-bar) of 54cm and and 120mm stem.

I doubt I can get much lower than this on the Roubaix in any case because it only has 30mm of spacers, but this should be fine.

When I started out cycling at the beginning of the year I was complaining about the bars on my bikes being too low - now I'm finding they're too high! Looks like my flexibility is slowly improving.....
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Old 09-19-17, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by johngwheeler View Post
Thanks Robert. I wasn't suggesting that I set up my bike based on other people's personal setup :-) I'm just curious whether other Roubaix owners have found it to be a bit tall compared to other bikes.

As a starting point, I will try to get closer to my other road bike which has a 5-6cm bar drop, and saddle to bar (tip to mid-bar) of 54cm and and 120mm stem.

I doubt I can get much lower than this on the Roubaix in any case because it only has 30mm of spacers, but this should be fine.

When I started out cycling at the beginning of the year I was complaining about the bars on my bikes being too low - now I'm finding they're too high! Looks like my flexibility is slowly improving.....
3 cm is a lot of difference to get from slamming the stem. You can also go with a lower angle stem to get lower. A -17 stem will buy you another about 3 or 4 cm compared to a -7 stem.
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Old 09-19-17, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
3 cm is a lot of difference to get from slamming the stem. You can also go with a lower angle stem to get lower. A -17 stem will buy you another about 3 or 4 cm compared to a -7 stem.
Good to bear in mind in case I feel the need to go lower. I think I'll be OK at 5-7cm drop - quite comfortable and reasonably aero.
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Old 09-20-17, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
Not following, conserved? I find the opposite to be true. Higher bars need a shorter stem, if you are raising the bars on a particular bike to open the hip angle, your effective reach decreases. So while lowering the stem increases reach, a closed hip angle and lower torso increases reach. That is generally the idea with endurance geometries. Shorter reach and higher stack.
Nope. Just not true. Read Rivendell's fit philosophy and why they espouse bigger frames. A taller head tube moves the handlebars closer to the shoulder joints where the arms attach to the body. In effect, a taller bike shortens reach and why either the top tube or stem must be lengthened to compensate. Of course with a bigger frame the top tube is longer naturally which accounts for the shortened reach of a taller bike. This is the predicate of Rivendell stating that many ride a bike too small. It is also why pro's can ride a smaller frame. Because a smaller frame has a lower handlebar which increases reach compensating for a shorter top tube. Reach really isn't much different between frame sizes. 'Type' of reach varies quite a bit however...amount of drop which puts more or less weight on the hands.

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Old 09-20-17, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
3 cm is a lot of difference to get from slamming the stem. You can also go with a lower angle stem to get lower. A -17 stem will buy you another about 3 or 4 cm compared to a -7 stem.
Let me correct my estimate above. -17 will be about 2cm lower than -7. Sorry for the exaggeration.
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Old 09-20-17, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Nope. Just not true. Read Rivendell's fit philosophy and why they espouse bigger frames. A taller head tube moves the handlebars closer to the shoulder joints where the arms attach to the body. In effect, a taller bike shortens reach and why either the top tube or stem must be lengthened to compensate. Of course with a bigger frame the top tube is longer naturally which accounts for the shortened reach of a taller bike. This is the predicate of Rivendell stating that many ride a bike too small. It is also why pro's can ride a smaller frame. Because a smaller frame has a lower handlebar which increases reach compensating for a shorter top tube. Reach really isn't much different between frame sizes. 'Type' of reach varies quite a bit however...amount of drop which puts more or less weight on the hands.
Rivendalls wacky philosophy doesn't take into account the change in torso position moving the shoulders back. It's simple, just look at position and reach differences between your tops and drops. As you sit up higher the effective reach needs to decrease.
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Old 09-20-17, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
Rivendalls wacky philosophy doesn't take into account the change in torso position moving the shoulders back. It's simple, just look at position and reach differences between your tops and drops. As you sit up higher the effective reach needs to decrease.
Where you are mixing things up is...torso position is a function of reach. Reach is not a function of torso angle.


I have two bikes with identical frame geometry. One has a higher spacer stack because I use it for light touring and I want the handlebar up higher. Same carbon handlebar as well. On my racier bike I run a 110mm stem flipped down. On my light touring bike I ride with more spacers and a 120mm stem flipped up. I run the same saddle type and same setback. From saddle tip to hood tips, both bike measure identically. They have the same reach. My racier bike has about 3 inches more drop than my light touring bike. Same net reach..from saddle tip to hood tips for each bike.


Sorry to disagree but this is pure geometry and I have had a lot of math classes.


You shouldn't disparage Rivendell's fit philosophy. Grant Peterson is correct. If more riders road with the fit he espouses aka a French fit, more would enjoy road cycling. He is spot on because its based upon pure simple math i.e. trig.
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Old 09-20-17, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Where you are mixing things up is...torso position is a function of reach. Reach is not a function of torso angle.


I have two bikes with identical frame geometry. One has a higher spacer stack because I use it for light touring and I want the handlebar up higher. Same carbon handlebar as well. On my racier bike I run a 110mm stem flipped down. On my light touring bike I ride with more spacers and a 120mm stem flipped up. I run the same saddle type and same setback. From saddle tip to hood tips, both bike measure identically. They have the same reach. My racier bike has about 3 inches more drop than my light touring bike. Same net reach..from saddle tip to hood tips for each bike.


Sorry to disagree but this is pure geometry and I have had a lot of math classes.
That is true if you keep the same hip angle, then you are pivoting around the bottom bracket. But if you say riding too small of a bike and because of short head tube and limited spacer stack have too closed of a hip angle to be comfortable for your comfort level and fitness, going to a new bike and with a desire to increase your hip angle you will have to decrease reach along with increasing stack. That is also an easy geometry lesson. Keeping the same hip angle if you know it works for your efficiency is different that what the OP is doing by lowering his bars. He's finding he is more comfortable with a more aggressive closed hip angle. You happen to set up your two bikes that way with hip angle fixed, thus reach fixed. I increase hip angle for my gravel bike for longer more comfortable rides, and close hip angle for the aggressive road bike. Cross racing bike is somewhere in the middle. It is not hard to plot all these changes.
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Old 09-20-17, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
That is true if you keep the same hip angle, then you are pivoting around the bottom bracket. But if you say riding too small of a bike and because of short head tube and limited spacer stack have too closed of a hip angle to be comfortable for your comfort level and fitness, going to a new bike and with a desire to increase your hip angle you will have to decrease reach along with increasing stack. That is also an easy geometry lesson. Keeping the same hip angle if you know it works for your efficiency is different that what the OP is doing by lowering his bars. He's finding he is more comfortable with a more aggressive closed hip angle. You happen to set up your two bikes that way with hip angle fixed, thus reach fixed. I increase hip angle for my gravel bike for longer more comfortable rides, and close hip angle for the aggressive road bike. Cross racing bike is somewhere in the middle. It is not hard to plot all these changes.
No idea why you are focused on hip or torso angle. Hip and torso angle are a function of reach based upon 'bike goemetry'. We are talking the physical position of 3 pts of contact...pedals, saddle position and handlebar position.
If you raise the handlebar, the stem must grow to conserve the same reach. It is basic math.

Here are some basic tennet's from Rivendell which are all true:

-- As the handlebar gets higher, your arm becomes more horizontal, effectively getting longer which shortens reach.
-- As the bar gets higher, it also retreats toward you. How much? On a bike with a 73.5-degree head tube, raising it 4cm brings it back 1.5cm.
-- Getting a shorter stem without also raising the bars can have a self-cancelling effect. If you raise the bars, you will need a longer stem for the same net reach.
-- Top tubes of a given length tend to feel shorter on bigger frames than on smaller ones, so if you currently ride a 56cm bike with a 55cm top tube, but you know you can fit a 58cm frame, don't be scared off it just because it has a 57cm top tube. (last point buttresses the argument of more reach needed if choosing a taller frame for the reasons I explained)

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Old 09-20-17, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
No idea why you are focused on hip or torso angle. Hip and torso angle are a function of reach based upon 'bike goemetry'. We are talking the physical position of 3 pts of contact...pedals, saddle position and handlebar position.
You should focus on hip/torso angle because they need to be defined for a fit. You adjust stem length for a desired hip angle to account for reach after that is set.
Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
If you raise the handlebar, the stem must grow to conserve the same reach. It is basic math.
Again, you are assuming hip angle isn't changing. Most people raise their bars to increase hip angle. Increasing hip angle draws the shoulders back, it is simple math. Assuming a torso length of 50cm, a 10 degree change in hip angle moves the shoulders back 7cm.

Here are some basic tennet's from Rivendell which are all true:

Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Here are some other things related to fit that 99.999 percent of the experts don't know, haven't considered, and don't talk about:
-- As the handlebar gets higher, your arm becomes more horizontal, effectively getting longer which shortens reach.
-- As the bar gets higher, it also retreats toward you. How much? On a bike with a 73.5-degree head tube, raising it 4cm brings it back 1.5cm.
-- Getting a shorter stem without also raising the bars can have a self-cancelling effect. If you raise the bars, you will need a longer stem for the same net reach.
-- Top tubes of a given length tend to feel shorter on bigger frames than on smaller ones, so if you currently ride a 56cm bike with a 55cm top tube, but you know you can fit a 58cm frame, don't be scared off it just because it has a 57cm top tube. (last point buttresses the argument of more reach needed if choosing a taller frame for the reasons I explained)
Still doesn't address how raising the bars affects hip angle and how that effectively cancels out increased reach from horizontal hands.
Again, this is easy enough to visualize by looking at how your hip angle and reach with the 3 main hand positions on the bike. In the drops with a closed hip angle your effective reach increases, and your hooks are farther away. On the tops your hip angle increases and your effective reach decreases,
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Old 09-20-17, 03:19 PM
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I am going to leave you to your world of hip angle redlube.
What matters is you are happy with your fit. I stand with Grant Peterson and ok you don't.
Cheers bro.
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Old 09-30-17, 12:49 AM
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Update: lower bars were more comfortable...

I removed the stem spacers and changed to the 0mm head-set cover on my 2017 Roubaix and have now ridden about 150km in the new configuration.

Net effect was to lower the bar height by about 29mm and increase reach by 8mm.

Initially it felt a bit weird and stretched out, but provided I relax into a position with a straight back & loose shoulders, the reach is quite comfortable. I found my balance was a bit off after the change, which caused me to move forward on the saddle, so I moved the saddle back about 8mm as well. I also tilted the saddle up a couple of degrees.

I think this is now a good position for me. I can relax my neck & shoulders, which was a big cause of discomfort for me after a couple of hours, and I can completely unweight my hands from the bars when applying only a moderate effort through the pedals - which has also sorted out the slight hand numbness I had on long rides.

My impression is that the steering is a more precise and fast descents on the drops are a bit more stable, maybe because I have a lower CoG and my back is low and flat.

I'll note my measurements for future reference!
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Old 10-02-17, 11:08 AM
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I probably committed heresy and went with a 60mm x 30degree riser stem on my 2017 Roubaix. I just turned 50 and while not very aero it allows me to ride a few hours non-stop. My seat and bars are effectively the same height, but the comfort now let me put in much longer rides.
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Old 10-02-17, 10:52 PM
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Which just goes to show that we're all different! I tried a 30 degree riser stem on another bike and found it was initially more comfortable than the standard 90mm 8-degree stem that the bike came with. I've since gone to 120mm 8-degree stem, but flipped up, which I'm also finding comfortable.

I thought that "upright and short reach" was going to be what worked for me, but I think that "stretched out and lower" is just as comfortable once I got used to it, and is a more efficient position for road cycling in the long run.
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Old 10-07-17, 04:41 PM
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I ended up flipping the stock stem, switching to the 0mm headset cover and removing all the spacers. Even then, my saddle is only about 4-5cm higher than my bars due to shorter legs and a longer torso. Im still plenty comfy on long-ish daily rides.
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