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How much top tube slope is too much?

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How much top tube slope is too much?

Old 04-04-19, 07:02 PM
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How much top tube slope is too much?

So I've had my custom Seven Axiom SL titanium road bike for a few years now. It's been the best bike I've ridden so far. I've already posted on this forum before about how perfect my Ti bike is.

However, a recurring thought nags me. It's about the aesthetics of the bike. I chose a slightly sloped top tube because I felt the standover height would be too high if the top tube were level. But then I've always felt the slope ended up a little too much on the "ugly" side. The spec sheet says it's estimated to be 5 degrees. Here's a picture.

How much top tube slope do you guys have on your bikes, and what do you think is the acceptable limit beyond which it starts to look uncool?

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Old 04-04-19, 07:17 PM
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Aesthetically I think the sloping top tube is fine.
A bigger fail is the extended head tube and headset spacers but if that is your fit requirement there isn't much to do about it.
For a new frame I would keep the top tube slope similar but raise it around an 1 1/2".
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Old 04-04-19, 07:17 PM
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I love a top tube parallel to the ground but it’s just aesthetics. Yours is fine.

Ride more. Worry less.

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Old 04-04-19, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by fuji_owner
So I've had my custom Seven Axiom SL titanium road bike for a few years now. It's been the best bike I've ridden so far. I've already posted on this forum before about how perfect my Ti bike is.

However, a recurring thought nags me. It's about the aesthetics of the bike. I chose a slightly sloped top tube because I felt the standover height would be too high if the top tube were level. But then I've always felt the slope ended up a little too much on the "ugly" side. The spec sheet says it's estimated to be 5 degrees. Here's a picture.

How much top tube slope do you guys have on your bikes, and what do you think is the acceptable limit beyond which it starts to look uncool?

Would help if you leveled your camera when taking photos, just saying.
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Old 04-04-19, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Dean V
Aesthetically I think the sloping top tube is fine.
A bigger fail is the extended head tube and headset spacers but if that is your fit requirement there isn't much to do about it.
For a new frame I would keep the top tube slope similar but raise it around an 1 1/2".
Yeah, custom fits are always a compromise between different needs, so it is what it is. Like I said, it's perfect fit for riding. I just don't like the slope top tube on road bikes... makes them look like they're going to morph into a mountain bike.
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Old 04-04-19, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas

I love a top tube parallel to the ground but its just aesthetics. Yours is fine.

Ride more. Worry less.

Wow, you must be super tall with really long legs Nice bike though!
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Old 04-04-19, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti
Would help if you leveled your camera when taking photos, just saying.
Ha, it's probably just an optical illusion.
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Old 04-04-19, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by fuji_owner
Ha, it's probably just an optical illusion.
(cough) bottom line of the pillar (cough) bottom of the photo.

(Hint: +4 degrees of skew)
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Old 04-04-19, 09:23 PM
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My old Felt Z35 looks like a mountain bike with drop bars and skinny tires. Much more steeply slopped than yours. Doesn't look as good as level but the standover height is nice when commuting.
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Old 04-04-19, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti
(cough) bottom line of the pillar (cough) bottom of the photo.

(Hint: +4 degrees of skew)
The right end is farther than the left end, so wouldn't it make the slope angle appear less? In any case, I don't think that makes too much difference
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Old 04-04-19, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by joe4702
My old Felt Z35 looks like a mountain bike with drop bars and skinny tires. Much more steeply slopped than yours. Doesn't look as good as level but the standover height is nice when commuting.
Can you post a pic?
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Old 04-04-19, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by fuji_owner
The right end is farther than the left end, so wouldn't it make the slope angle appear less? In any case, I don't think that makes too much difference
Little things make huge differences in composition....and composition is all about making a given thing look good not just to yourself, but to others.

A flat TT is a bit easier to work with when photographing, not better just easier.... Your photo in the OP, playing with it in PS....no matter what you get clashing conflicting lines that are probably what are bothering your eye. Level the column--you get an even more unlevel bike (now that I do it) as well as a very tilted column, level the bike you get an even more skewed horizon and column. Also having the photo taken from above the bike (even slightly) makes the TT sloped more than it really is (a 5 degree slope isn't that much)
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Old 04-04-19, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti
Little things make huge differences in composition....and composition is all about making a given thing look good not just to yourself, but to others.

A flat TT is a bit easier to work with when photographing, not better just easier.... Your photo in the OP, playing with it in PS....no matter what you get clashing conflicting lines that are probably what are bothering your eye. Level the column--you get an even more unlevel bike (now that I do it) as well as a very tilted column, level the bike you get an even more skewed horizon and column. Also having the photo taken from above the bike (even slightly) makes the TT sloped more than it really is (a 5 degree slope isn't that much)
Hmmm... ok, good points...make sense. Hey, I see you have a Seven with Campy Chorus, same as mine! Can you share a pic?
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Old 04-05-19, 01:30 AM
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None. A friend of mine used to be an engineer and Cannonade, and they were quite annoyed at the trend toward bikes with sloping top tubes. The sloping tubes mean longer seat posts, and more seat flex, meaning a longer and thicker seat post was needed, the extra length and thickness actually made their prototype stope tube bikes heavier than their standard top tube design. The sloping top tube phenomena was form over function, which Cannondale disliked, Cannondale were the last to get on the sloping tube band wagon, and their current bikes have as little slope as possible.

Personally, I have never paid any attention at all to standover height, as I seldom stand when I'm out riding. If I stop, I keep my butt on the seat, and put a foot on the curb, or keep both feet clipped in, and put my hand on a sign or traffic light post or poll, if there is no curb or pole, I keep one foot clipped in, put the other on the ground, and keep my butt over the right side of the top tube.
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Old 04-05-19, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by fuji_owner
Hmmm... ok, good points...make sense. Hey, I see you have a Seven with Campy Chorus, same as mine! Can you share a pic?
Sure, both my Seven and my groading rig have sloping TT, even.


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Old 04-05-19, 04:39 AM
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OP if that bike gets you down the road then it's a beautiful bike, sloping top tube or parallel.
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Old 04-05-19, 07:37 AM
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All my drop bar bikes(road, touring, gravel) are level top tube. The gravel frame I am going to build late this year will most likely have 6 degree of slope to help reduce the number of spacers. Instead of a 65cm seat tube, i could have a 63cm seat tube and still have the top tube set to where I could remove a 5mm spacer or so.
There is no real need, but its something I want to try and see how it ends.
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Old 04-05-19, 07:53 AM
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Horizontal & vertical skew (crudely) corrected. Leaving the tilt alone. This accentuates the slope right to left...So it could be worse.

BF-Bike by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr

Here is your bike tilt corrected, then the skew touched up. The top tube slope is minimized.
BF Bike2 by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr

I guess what I'm saying is it's all in your perspective.

Last edited by base2; 04-05-19 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 04-05-19, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by fuji_owner
Wow, you must be super tall with really long legs Nice bike though!
Thanks! I am not super tall but all legs with 38 inch cycling inseam. Hence, custom geometry.
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Old 04-05-19, 08:35 AM
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Too much for me would be when I can no longer fit a 24oz bottle on my seat tube.
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Old 04-05-19, 09:45 AM
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Sloping top tubes are smart for standover height and they look good. The more the better.
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Old 04-05-19, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Gconan
Sloping top tubes are smart for standover height and they look good. The more the better.
I couldn't disagree more.

They hurt my eyes and my soul.

Spacer stack, stems pointing up, sloping top tubes, SMP flaccid seats, all make me cringe.

But tastes differ, and mine is mine.
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Old 04-05-19, 01:35 PM
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Hard to tell from the angle, but there is some. Just not a lot.

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Old 04-05-19, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas
I am not super tall but all legs with 38 inch cycling inseam. Hence, custom geometry.
Did you customize your calves?
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Old 04-05-19, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Did you customize your calves?
Guy like that would have to. Stock dont come that long.
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