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Bike Shopping during Lockdown: Geometry guessing and CAADs

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Bike Shopping during Lockdown: Geometry guessing and CAADs

Old 12-26-20, 05:34 AM
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Bike Shopping during Lockdown: Geometry guessing and CAADs

Hello community,
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas time despite the pandemic.

After riding 3k miles on a 30yrs old and used Peugeot Cologne this year, I decided to look for a new bike, preferably Aluminum and more for centuries than for crits. I am located in Germany, where we have a lockdown for the moment and it is unlikely that I'll be able to go to a shop for a test ride again in the next month.
Just before it all started, I was able to visit a local bike dealer who had a good deal on a testbike (CAAD12 60cm with Mavic Ksyrium WS), but back then I could do much more than sit on it and it felt a bit stretched. Then all the shops closed. I was able to sit on an Endurace in L of a friend and even though we changed to the longest stem he had (120mm), the bike felt too upright, so I was wondering again if the CAAD12 might just require some getting used to for me. Initially, I felt there is no need to hasten the bike shopping, as I probably will ride longer tours again only in March. Since then I learnt that the road bikes in this price bracket are already on the verge of being sold out in Germany and many bike dealers have already sold the 2021 bikes before they even hit the shelf. Thus I want to gather a bit more information to order a bike online.

Back to the CAAD12, bike fitting tools in the internet did not help me very much. One suggested that with my measurements (height: 191cm, inseam: 91cm, torsolength 67.5cm, armlength around 64cm (that one fluctuated in different measurement attempts)) the top tube of the CAAD would be too long for me, even for a race like geometry, another one said the top tube could be a cm longer and the bike would still fit a relaxed geometry for me.
Most tests of the CAAD12 say it has a race like geometry, but there was also one that said it's more of a comfort oriented geometry...

As I have never ridden a bike that fit me perfectly and I'm not used to a bit more sportive bikes, how would you describe the CAAD12? Is a CAAD13 a bit more relaxed in the geometry? How was your transition from old/other bikes to your first "modern" road bike? Did you need to get used to a bit a different seating position or was it from the start that the bike just felt perfect?

Thanks for helping out a newbie.
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Old 12-26-20, 09:02 AM
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I would suggest you do some measurement of the bike you have, ponder what you would like to be different, then compare with the published specs for the bikes that are available. If you are determined to buy a bike before the pandemic is resolved, you may not have a big selection from which to choose.
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Old 12-26-20, 09:35 AM
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An actual saddle height, measured from the center of the bottom bracket, parallel to the seat tube would be more meaningful than an inseam measurement. Inseam is measured from the floor to firm crotch contact. It often doesn’t get done right.

Between steering tube spacers and stem angle, there's a lot of bar height adjustment available, so a quick sit on a bike won't tell you much. Stack and reach are what determines how the bike will fit.
A cadd 13 has racing geometry. You should look at a model with endurance geometry.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 12-26-20 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 12-26-20, 02:21 PM
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Welcome to the community, tboh. Thank you, and greetings back to you.
In a Cannondale shop, the Synapse might be the more "relaxed" offering. I ride a Trek Domane and I found this model to be the most relaxed among the relaxed offerings in 2015, including the Synapse. At the time, I found that it was the shorter length of the (effective) top tube that determined/accounted for the Domane's relaxed/less "stretched" position for my frame. By the by, I'm 185cm myself, with an 84cm inseam, and ride a 58cm Domane. For years, I rode a 61cm Bianchi -what I was fit for by the shop in '97, and eventually trialed and decided 58cm was plenty/preferred for me, and the shorter top tube is now also what I'll prefer. I'd say that the Domane did surprise me on the feel of the very first ride, and it was the geometry (56.7cm,top-tube length, in particular) more than the "Isospeed" feature that is unique to the Domane, which made the difference, though I didn't understand that until I reviewed the numbers across the candidates and re-rode them all. The isospeed does help the suspesion somewhat, and it is a plus, but the geometry is what was/is more important to fit for me. Finally, I still have always liked the CAAD bikes and considered the 10 and 12 series because they did feel right, even if their geometries were more standard or classic, which to me is where the top tube length is about equal to the stack and frame-size measures. The 10 is what I rode a few times and considered seriously. The design of the 13 is the first different one and I like it less, but those are my personal aesthetics... Speaking of..., I do not like disc brakes on road bikes, and Cannondale still offers selected models with rim brakes (including a CAAD 13) I'm happy to note.
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