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Minimum chain stay length?

Old 03-23-09, 08:44 AM
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Minimum chain stay length?

I've got this bike. I bought it for commuting/utility/and hopefully light touring. Problem is heel strike.

Thinking about getting the newer model, or just buying a frame and strip my current bike of it's parts.

But unsure if the newer model would have the same heel clearance issues. If I knew what a good minimum length would be, it would help me in my search. I looked at some of the bikes labeled as touring models on BD, and well, some of them look like the stays are awfully short to me.
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Old 03-23-09, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by no1mad
If I knew what a good minimum length would be
I have always used 17 inches as a rule of thumb.

I'm sure others will disagree, and many people have toured successfully on bikes with shorter chainstays, etc. etc.

But - as long as you're shopping, and not trying to make do with a bike you already own - it's 17 inches (minimum).

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Old 03-23-09, 11:08 AM
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17" = 43cm.

Your bike: 42.4cm

Newer model: 45cm

Depends also on the amount of weight you intend to carry. If you are going to be fully loaded (40+ lbs) you would want as long as possible -- 45-46cm would be best. Bikes with this CS length are generally very good for fully loaded touring. Many of the "sport touring" models have CS lengths around 43cm, and they are usually intended to carry about 25 lbs, which is about the minimum weight for totally self-supported touring with tent, sleeping bag, stove, tool kit, etc.

Basically you want the rear load as far forward relative to the rear axle as possible without having heal strike, so larger loads generally require longer CS. Of course, the shape of your panniers is also a factor. If you haven't got your panniers yet, you could look for a pair with the shortest front-to-rear dimension while still having the volume you want.
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Old 03-23-09, 11:28 AM
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Don't forget crank length, if you're cranks are 165 and your feet aren't large, you can get by with less compared to a fellow with 175 cranks and big flippers. You can also get solve it with a rack that allows you to set your panniers further back, or smaller panniers, or......use as justification to buy a new bike : )
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Old 03-23-09, 11:47 AM
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Wow- butted cromo frame, beefy looking rigid fork, 45mm CSs, V-brakes, 8-sp drivetrain and MSRP of $425. It does have a few less than ideal specs, but all in all it looks like a great buy for a budget tourbike. I wonder why it doesn`t come up more often on this forum. BTW, it looks like they went from mtb triple to road triple somewhere between those two model years.

I just want to chime in that all my touring to date has been done on a Kona Blast front suspension mtb, but pulling a trailer, so the CS length is kind of a moot point.
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Old 03-23-09, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by robow
Don't forget crank length, if you're cranks are 165 and your feet aren't large, you can get by with less compared to a fellow with 175 cranks and big flippers. You can also get solve it with a rack that allows you to set your panniers further back, or smaller panniers, or......use as justification to buy a new bike : )
I'm a 6' by 23- lbs Clyde with size 11W feet. Don't know what length the crank arms I have now are, but I don't think 10 mm either way will make much of a difference.

Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
Wow- butted cromo frame, beefy looking rigid fork, 45mm CSs, V-brakes, 8-sp drivetrain and MSRP of $425. It does have a few less than ideal specs, but all in all it looks like a great buy for a budget tourbike. I wonder why it doesn`t come up more often on this forum. BTW, it looks like they went from mtb triple to road triple somewhere between those two model years.

I just want to chime in that all my touring to date has been done on a Kona Blast front suspension mtb, but pulling a trailer, so the CS length is kind of a moot point.
The gearing on the newer model is one of the reasons why I'm considering it. The gearing on my current one is a little too low.

I've also been thinking about this from KHS. Geo specs says that the CS is 17.3, and this one has low-rider point on the fork.

Whatever I do, I will be putting some trekking bars on. Decisions, decisions...
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Old 03-24-09, 04:42 AM
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If you put your pedals at 9 and 3 o'clock, your riding shoe on the rearward pedal in its riding position and measure to the heel, measure how close that comes to your paniers, if you have them. The distance needed to clear them (if the heel hits) is how much minimum you'd need the CS's. You could also go with what most touring bikes have for CS length, which tend to be in excess of 17 inches, and probably be safe. Good luck
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Old 03-24-09, 10:23 AM
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The Kona was mentioned to me a few times when I was looking for a cheaper touring bike, but as they pointed out then, those are some VERY crappy components. The cost to get it up to speed might be prohibitive to most who are looking for value.
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Old 03-24-09, 07:03 PM
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Don't know what length the crank arms I have now are, but I don't think 10 mm either way will make much of a difference.
If the chain stay is a little on the short side, the crank arm length could make a difference. All you need to achieve is for your heels to miss your panniers by a fraction of a millimeter. Personally, I would prefer to move the rack back by 10 mm than mess with the cranks, if that's what it takes to eliminate heels strike.

The gearing on the newer model is one of the reasons why I'm considering it. The gearing on my current one is a little too low.
It is hard to go too low when it comes to gearing. Better to have a granny gear in reserve for that inevitable day when you will be riding into headwinds, or climbing steep hills.
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Old 03-24-09, 07:10 PM
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There are also other options like racks that can be moved back and bags like the Ortlieb which can be slide back. Could be an option, for your current bike, if you are not carrying a whole ton of weight back there
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Old 03-24-09, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by acantor
If the chain stay is a little on the short side, the crank arm length could make a difference. All you need to achieve is for your heels to miss your panniers by a fraction of a millimeter. Personally, I would prefer to move the rack back by 10 mm than mess with the cranks, if that's what it takes to eliminate heels strike.

I'm not too keen on using p-clamps down on the chain stays. I did see something on touringstore.com, something from Tubus I think.


It is hard to go too low when it comes to gearing. Better to have a granny gear in reserve for that inevitable day when you will be riding into headwinds, or climbing steep hills.
I'm not a 'gear guru' but from riding the bike with it's 42/34/24 front and 11-32t (8spd) in the rear, it feels low. Even the much vaunted LHT has gearing of 48/36/26 by 11-34t (9spd), the Kona Sutra has 50/39/30 by 11-32t (9spd), and the Trek 520 has 48/36/26 by 11-32t (9spd).
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Old 03-24-09, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker
There are also other options like racks that can be moved back and bags like the Ortlieb which can be slide back. Could be an option, for your current bike, if you are not carrying a whole ton of weight back there
Yeah, the cheapest way would be just get a new rack. I've heard good things about the Jandd Expedition Rack, which would be at the top of the budget for a rack. The Tubus and OMM racks are a little too much $$.
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Old 03-24-09, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by no1mad
Even the much vaunted LHT has gearing of 48/36/26 by 11-34t (9spd), the Kona Sutra has 50/39/30 by 11-32t (9spd), and the Trek 520 has 48/36/26 by 11-32t (9spd).
And many people still swap out those 26 rings for 24s. Preferences- maybe you don`t need it, but most prefer to have as low as they need available even if it means losing some high.
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Old 03-25-09, 08:31 AM
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My $.02 is that if you want a quick handling bike it'll have short rear chainstays and you'll be confined to small rear panniers or weight entirely on top of the rear rack with panniers mounted on the front.

It doesn't make much sense to force a short chainstay bike to carry panniers.

If you have to have rear panniers consider something with chainstays closer to 18" than 17".
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