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Geometry help, am I destined for no drop?

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Geometry help, am I destined for no drop?

Old 03-30-12, 08:01 AM
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Geometry help, am I destined for no drop?

Due to my extremely poor proportions, I'm having trouble figuring out how to get more aggressive. I'm on a 54cm allez at 5'7". My legs are extremely short, my torso long, broad shoulders so my arms are semi short. I have had a pro fit. I am very fat, but do a lot of stretching and am comfortable in the drops pretty much indefinitely. No back, knee or hip issues at all.

The saddle is very far forward due to no thigh length. The stem is flipped and slammed. At the current saddle height I have about 1/2" of drop to the hoods. The saddle can't go up. My legs aren't going to grow.

Here's what I'm struggling to understand (because I'm an idiot, no doubt) A smaller frame would get me a shorter head tube, but is it going to give me a more or less upright seat tube and head tube? From where I am now, the reach is fine with a 90mm stem, so I could go slightly less reach, but I need a more upright seat tube and a shorter head tube. It seems like a lot of modern bikes are going to very relaxed geometry. I don't want that. I will purchase an all road/endurance bike when I have the money. Right now I want to go faster.

Right now my budget is 0, but when the money comes I'll be willing to spend approximately 4000. My LBS that I prefer to purchase from carries trek, specialized, orbea and pinarello. I'm getting serious about cycling and want something that as my weight drops, I can get competitive on. I do want to race.
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Old 03-30-12, 08:12 AM
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You say you've had a pro fit - so I am assuming that your current bike is set up to maximize your position and power?

The thing that is often lost on this forum is that there sometimes is a trade-off between an aggressive, aero position and power. If you are too aggressive and aero, you can actually reduce the amount of power you can put out, effectively making you slower. This is all a factor of how fit and flexible you are. While you say you stretch, if you are overweight, as you say you are, there are limits to how much you can bend over to reach the bars. Those limits will affect your ability to put out power.

For example, I recently got a new fit and we not only shortened my stem, we moved it up, putting me in a less aggressive/aero position. However, i was able to improve my power output (I have a power meter, so I can measure this) making me faster overall.

For now, I suggest racing on the bike you have and see how you do. The bicycle will not be a limiting factor in your racing ability. And, as someone who has trashed two frames in race crashes, I am reluctant to race on a fancy bike. That's why I have a Caad 9, which I got cheap, to race with.
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Old 03-30-12, 08:21 AM
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You can race on an Allez.

Saddle forward, little drop and only 90mm stem? Frame sounds too large.

Although it seems to be a common theme lately, the bike doesn't make you faster. Ride more, drop some weight and you will be flying on the Allez.
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Old 03-30-12, 08:23 AM
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That's definitely a good observation. I don't know if I would suffer any power loss in a more aggressive position. I feel better in the drops than I do on the hoods and will spend most of my time there. My legs feel great and I usually find I have to take at least one extra gear. I know that a lot of that is wind related, but I've never felt any detriment from riding in the drops. Granted, I have no power meter and have no real data.
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Old 03-30-12, 08:27 AM
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Good advice above. If you really end up needing more drop, a smaller frame will probably get you there, particularly since you're only running a 90mm stem on your current setup. The seat/head tube angles are not likely to take the reach out of your comfort zone. You also didn't mention your current frame. It may have a relatively tall head tube. There are plenty of model out there that don't have that issue. Other things you can look at are a drop stem and replacement of the cone spacer (it's like a big spacer) under your stem if you have one.
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Old 03-30-12, 08:30 AM
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Oh, you did mention the frame. I wouldn't call the allez a relaxed geo bike, so I'd think a smaller frame might work. I recently went down a size on my Tarmac and it was a good move. Only downside is additional toe overlap, which isn't really a big deal to me.
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Old 03-30-12, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by bjamis75
You can race on an Allez.

Saddle forward, little drop and only 90mm stem? Frame sounds too large.

Although it seems to be a common theme lately, the bike doesn't make you faster. Ride more, drop some weight and you will be flying on the Allez.
I actually like the frame, but I got the absolute bottom end bike with 2300 series components. I don't want to spend any money upgrading this bike. It sees a lot of wet weather riding and I'm pretty hard on it. The 2300 shifters have thumb buttons so there's no way to shift up from the drops. The shifting is sluggish and the bottom bracket area has started clicking under power, which is really driving me nuts. I put some money in cockpit and tires, but that's gonna be it for this one.
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Old 03-30-12, 08:31 AM
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I am definitely a newbie to road bikes but I am also 5'7 with short legs and long torso and was put on a 50cm cannondale by LBS.
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Old 03-30-12, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by grwoolf
Other things you can look at are a drop stem and replacement of the cone spacer (it's like a big spacer) under your stem if you have one.
I do have a cone spacer from the cane creek headset, I was under the impression that was part of the headset and had to stay in place. Can it be removed?
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Old 03-30-12, 08:38 AM
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I'm 5 10 and ride a 54cm so a smaller frame would give better drop but have you though about a stem with some crazzy angle
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Old 03-30-12, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Porkponey
I do have a cone spacer from the cane creek headset, I was under the impression that was part of the headset and had to stay in place. Can it be removed?
I don't know about that particular headset, but the headset on my Tarmac has options for cone spacers (up to 30mm I think) or a flatish one that came with the bike (8mm, basically flat). You are right that it's not as simple as ditching the cone spacer and putting in a regular spacer because it's not just a spacer. You might check with your shop.
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Old 03-30-12, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Porkponey
Due to my extremely poor proportions, I'm having trouble figuring out how to get more aggressive. I'm on a 54cm allez at 5'7". My legs are extremely short, my torso long, broad shoulders so my arms are semi short. I have had a pro fit. I am very fat, but do a lot of stretching and am comfortable in the drops pretty much indefinitely. No back, knee or hip issues at all.

The saddle is very far forward due to no thigh length. The stem is flipped and slammed. At the current saddle height I have about 1/2" of drop to the hoods. The saddle can't go up. My legs aren't going to grow.

Here's what I'm struggling to understand (because I'm an idiot, no doubt) A smaller frame would get me a shorter head tube, but is it going to give me a more or less upright seat tube and head tube? From where I am now, the reach is fine with a 90mm stem, so I could go slightly less reach, but I need a more upright seat tube and a shorter head tube. It seems like a lot of modern bikes are going to very relaxed geometry. I don't want that. I will purchase an all road/endurance bike when I have the money. Right now I want to go faster.

Right now my budget is 0, but when the money comes I'll be willing to spend approximately 4000. My LBS that I prefer to purchase from carries trek, specialized, orbea and pinarello. I'm getting serious about cycling and want something that as my weight drops, I can get competitive on. I do want to race.
Without trying to sound dismissive of your goals or in anyway offensive please consider what I highlighted. If you truly are "very fat" then your desires to be aero and fast are limited by you and not the bike. Planning a new bike for future racing at a newer, svelter you is OK but not great. Some of the seeking-aero-can-actual-rob-you-of-PWR-output advice is accurate. For now I personally would make a goal of shedding the weight. That alone will give you the best return for speed and aero improvement at a fantastic cost (just saddle time).

What is more, although your body proportions will not change (ie limb lengths) your flexibility and biomechanics will change as you lose the fat. This will quite likely change your demands and desires for a new bike. In addition, your bike requirements can certainly change with weight (ie your gear decisions can be very different at 250lbs vs 180lbs).vvIn the meantime, if you want "faster" don't think too hard on the bike setup as your limiting factor as it almost assuredly is not. Just ride lots and concentrate on slimming down and you WILL see speed improvements. Worry about the bike factor for later when it actually might make a real difference for you.

Best of luck and enjoy the riding passion!
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Old 03-30-12, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Porkponey
I do have a cone spacer from the cane creek headset, I was under the impression that was part of the headset and had to stay in place. Can it be removed?
If you have the tall cone headset top, you can replace it with the short top, to get the stem even lower. I'm not advising you to do it, just commenting on the technical issue.
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Old 03-30-12, 10:06 AM
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Sounds like someone needs some custom steel... I'd take the above advice and work hard at losing the weight, and in a month or two order a custom frame with appropriate geometry, and as you lose more weight, you will be earning the bike. That's what I'd do at least.
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Old 03-30-12, 10:44 AM
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just size down.
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Old 03-30-12, 11:36 AM
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I doubt OP needs custom geometry, very few people do. Sounds like he's just on too large of a frame. If he had a truly long torso he wouldn't have the seat forward and short reach stem.

OP, if you intend to start racing don't buy anything TOO nice. That way it wont suck so bad when some squirrelly cat 5 sends you skidding.
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Old 03-30-12, 12:49 PM
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54 cm is way too big for you. My girlfriend is 5'6" and her bike has a shorter top tube than my 50 cm standard geometry bike!

You need a 52, max.

Too small nearly always > too big
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Old 03-30-12, 01:15 PM
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A 54cm Allez is likely too big for you. Specialized sizing runs a little bigger than others.
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Old 03-30-12, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Porkponey
Due to my extremely poor proportions, I'm having trouble figuring out how to get more aggressive. I'm on a 54cm allez at 5'7". My legs are extremely short, my torso long, broad shoulders so my arms are semi short. I have had a pro fit. I am very fat, but do a lot of stretching and am comfortable in the drops pretty much indefinitely. No back, knee or hip issues at all.

The saddle is very far forward due to no thigh length. The stem is flipped and slammed. At the current saddle height I have about 1/2" of drop to the hoods. The saddle can't go up. My legs aren't going to grow.

Here's what I'm struggling to understand (because I'm an idiot, no doubt) A smaller frame would get me a shorter head tube, but is it going to give me a more or less upright seat tube and head tube? From where I am now, the reach is fine with a 90mm stem, so I could go slightly less reach, but I need a more upright seat tube and a shorter head tube. It seems like a lot of modern bikes are going to very relaxed geometry. I don't want that. I will purchase an all road/endurance bike when I have the money. Right now I want to go faster.

Right now my budget is 0, but when the money comes I'll be willing to spend approximately 4000. My LBS that I prefer to purchase from carries trek, specialized, orbea and pinarello. I'm getting serious about cycling and want something that as my weight drops, I can get competitive on. I do want to race.
I used to have a teammate that had the exact same problems. He tried a carbon bike from a team buy and he couldn't simultaneously make it both fit and handle well (it would get shaky in a sprint due to his weight being too far forward). He eventually contacted Tsunami Bikes for a custom Al frame. It ended up costing about as much as a carbon bike (about $2k all together with frameset, groupset and basic wheels), but it fit.

Here's his blog site; it has a picture of his bike on the top: https://wookiebiker.blogspot.com/

He, too, used to have some weight problems. He and I started racing right about the same time and he was north of 250lbs. He has since dropped to the 200-210 range and periodically gets it down into the 190s. Now, he's an fk-n monster at time trials and a decent sprinter.
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Old 03-30-12, 01:32 PM
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As an update I went to my LBS and talked to the guy that fits me. He let me ride a pinna fp due. Size was a 51.5 but he said it was pretty close to a 54 in most common frames. Reach to the bars was great, more than short enough, but the saddle was dumped into the seat tube as usual in order to get me on it. Hard to know for sure on platforms and tennies, but it isn't going to change much.



I genuinely appreciate the advice in this thread. HoKuLoa, what you said makes perfect sense and is what I've been trying to do for a little while now. For most of last year I was 240lbs. The scale said 213 today. I just finished my first 50 and am working towards a metric. To be honest, I think the numbers are a little deceptive. I've been working hard, focusing more on high intensity and turning harder gears. As a result, I'm adding a lot of muscle to my legs and butt. Muscle isn't light, so even though my numbers on the scale aren't dropping quickly, my clothes keep fitting better and better. I fully intend to be under 190 by the end of this year.
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Old 03-30-12, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Porkponey
I do have a cone spacer from the cane creek headset, I was under the impression that was part of the headset and had to stay in place. Can it be removed?
It can. In fact, you don't actually need the spacer at all except to keep water out of the headset (which is a good thing, but with sealed bearings, not an all essential thing. You can put the stem right down on top of bearing wedge and ride it like that.
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Old 03-30-12, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Porkponey
I genuinely appreciate the advice in this thread. HoKuLoa, what you said makes perfect sense and is what I've been trying to do for a little while now. For most of last year I was 240lbs. The scale said 213 today. I just finished my first 50 and am working towards a metric. To be honest, I think the numbers are a little deceptive. I've been working hard, focusing more on high intensity and turning harder gears. As a result, I'm adding a lot of muscle to my legs and butt. Muscle isn't light, so even though my numbers on the scale aren't dropping quickly, my clothes keep fitting better and better. I fully intend to be under 190 by the end of this year.
If cycling is bulking you up you're doing something wrong. I'm 5" taller than you and right now with extra winter weight I've been lazy about losing I'm still 40lbs lighter than you. If you can't go out and do a metric your legs likely aren't ready for higher intensity and turning harder gears. Even racers do base before higher intensity stuff and thats guys that could take 6 months off and go out and ride a metric on an empty stomach.
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Old 03-30-12, 02:00 PM
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I don't know how to reply to that. I don't know how I'm going to exercise regularly with the intent of becoming stronger without building some muscle. I'm not "bulking up" but my legs are getting stronger. I guess I don't understand what muscles do. Congrats on being thinner than me though.
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Old 03-30-12, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Porkponey
Congrats on being thinner than me though.
I didn't used to be so don't think I'm trying to make you feel bad.
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Old 03-30-12, 02:42 PM
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step 1: ride the wheels off the Allez till you drop some weight.

step 2: go into a shop that can fit you to a perhaps somewhat smaller frame with a more aggressive fit and test ride that to see if you feel you've lost any power output as noted above

step 3: keep riding.
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