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New build, first Touring rig, need geo advice

Old 06-11-12, 08:29 AM
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New build, first Touring rig, need geo advice

Not wanting to hijack another build thread, I need some advice on geometry.

I have parts lying about my garage that are just screaming to be put together in a meaningful way. All I am really missing is the frame and a few random small parts. I am very interested in the Nashbar touring frame as it gets great reviews and accommodates mini V-brakes. Another road build would be a waste of my money and the available parts.

My quandary is this: I ride a solid 56 in road, but Nashbar is out of this size in touring until October. I have ridden a 58, but would need a short stem and compact bars (I prefer to stay with drops). I have never ridden a 54, but in the Road world, prefer to go smaller rather than larger.

I am 6'1" and 195 lbs, and this would more of a commuter than a touring bike, but future touring is not out of the question. In general, does touring geometry favor going smaller or larger on the frame, or am I over-thinking this and touring=road?

Thanks in advance, touring folk.
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Old 06-11-12, 08:35 AM
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Personally I'd rather go a bit smaller rather than larger when it comes to frames for road or touring. I think I may be in the minority in the touring community though.
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Old 06-11-12, 10:22 AM
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you ask sizing,, rather than geometry..
I am 6'1" and 195 lbs
go with the 58, I'm 5'9" 56 is road, 58 is a french fit size for me.

in a horizontal top tube type.
BUT.. IDK whether Nashbar is selling a horizontal or a sloping top tube frame.
do you know the difference?
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Old 06-11-12, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
you ask sizing,, rather than geometry..


go with the 58, I'm 5'9" 56 is road, 58 is a french fit size for me.

in a horizontal top tube type.
BUT.. IDK whether Nashbar is selling a horizontal or a sloping top tube frame.
do you know the difference?
Thanks, Bob. I only provided my vitals as my question would be too vague without some idea of who will be riding this thing.

I do know the difference in TT variants. My true road bike has a sloping/bent TT and is a 53.5 TT, but a 56 ETT. My cross bike, which happens to have a Nashbar FB road bike frame, is a flat TT, is a 57 and rides a 90mm stem with compact reach bars.

You see my quandary. I am sure I could make either fit, but I have never been below 56 for ETT. On top of that, the Nashbar geo chart shows a 59 TT for the 58 frame.

Last edited by RT; 06-11-12 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 06-11-12, 11:08 AM
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Tough one to answer. Traditional ST length sizing (other than for SO height) has come to mean little to me since the effective TT length determines your reach and a proper fit. What is the TTL (Level) of your road bike/s and compare that to the Nashbar frames? If your road bike/s are set up for racing where you are leaning forward more, then going with a shorter TT would probably be the way to go. If you can spend long days in the saddle on your road bike with no discomfort, then it probably means that the same TTL could be used for touring in order to obtain the same reach. There is quite a difference in TT length between the 54 and 58 (5cm or 2"). That's a lot. So before I ramble on, what is the effective TT length of your road bike/s. I think that would be a more meaningful starting point. STA, HTA and stem length and angle are also important but trying to keep it simple.
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Old 06-11-12, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by aroundoz
Tough one to answer. Traditional ST length sizing (other than for SO height) has come to mean little to me since the effective TT length determines your reach and a proper fit. What is the TTL (Level) of your road bike/s and compare that to the Nashbar frames? If your road bike/s are set up for racing where you are leaning forward more, then going with a shorter TT would probably be the way to go. If you can spend long days in the saddle on your road bike with no discomfort, then it probably means that the same TTL could be used for touring in order to obtain the same reach. There is quite a difference in TT length between the 54 and 58 (5cm or 2"). That's a lot. So before I ramble on, what is the effective TT length of your road bike/s. I think that would be a more meaningful starting point. STA, HTA and stem length and angle are also important but trying to keep it simple.
The ETT is 56 on the road bike, 57 on the cross bike. By TTL, I assume you mean SO height, a measurement Nashbar does not provide on the touring frame, but the 57 Nashbar frame I ride now is neither shallow nor tall on me. The bikes are not set up for racing and the angle on the ST is identical, the HT is half a degree steeper than the Nashbar on the current road frame.

It sounds like anything but a 56 is a gamble here and that maybe this should be a winter build.
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Old 06-11-12, 11:51 AM
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Take a look at the Soma Saga. It would cost more than the Nashbar frame, but is still a bargain. It's a much better frame IMHO and you should be able to find one that fits you. Top tube length is the most critical dimension, but the fit also depends on seat tube angle. With a relaxed STA (eg 72), you can handle a longer top tube. I wouldn't buy a frame with an overlong top tube or too short head tube. Proper fit is too important, and that is an individual issue. I prefer my bikes set up with the handlebars level with the saddle height and also not too stretched out, so the Soma 56 would fit me perfectly.
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Old 06-11-12, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by RTDub
Not wanting to hijack another build thread, I need some advice on geometry.

I have parts lying about my garage that are just screaming to be put together in a meaningful way. All I am really missing is the frame and a few random small parts. I am very interested in the Nashbar touring frame as it gets great reviews and accommodates mini V-brakes. Another road build would be a waste of my money and the available parts.

My quandary is this: I ride a solid 56 in road, but Nashbar is out of this size in touring until October. I have ridden a 58, but would need a short stem and compact bars (I prefer to stay with drops). I have never ridden a 54, but in the Road world, prefer to go smaller rather than larger.

I am 6'1" and 195 lbs, and this would more of a commuter than a touring bike, but future touring is not out of the question. In general, does touring geometry favor going smaller or larger on the frame, or am I over-thinking this and touring=road?

Thanks in advance, touring folk.
I would certainly wait till October for the 56 frame and I would not recommend you go smaller unless you are willing to make some compromises. The frame you're planning to buy is an aluminum frame and so it will be a compliant ride if the frame's top tube length is long enough to make a perfect fit for you. While you can fit a smaller frame, the ride compliance will surely be different than a proper frame size. It could mean a non-compliant ride since a smaller frame is made to complement and balance out a smaller body proportions and is stiffer due to a shorter down tube.
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Old 06-11-12, 02:30 PM
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Thanks for all the advice, guys. I think I will wait until October and make this a winter build. Gives me plenty of time to plan and save for a few upgraded components.
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Old 06-11-12, 03:58 PM
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over square like a 59tt, 58st, may be a skosh light , on the front..
but throwing a set of panniers on the fork cures that
and you likely will not have a toeclip overlap situation .
so that is a Plus..

see if you can swing a leg over a Trek520,
they are sending the US build abroad on those next year,
so you may still be able to find a US made one, if you buy, now.

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Old 06-11-12, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by RTDub
Not wanting to hijack another build thread, I need some advice on geometry.

I have parts lying about my garage that are just screaming to be put together in a meaningful way. All I am really missing is the frame and a few random small parts. I am very interested in the Nashbar touring frame as it gets great reviews and accommodates mini V-brakes. Another road build would be a waste of my money and the available parts.

My quandary is this: I ride a solid 56 in road, but Nashbar is out of this size in touring until October. I have ridden a 58, but would need a short stem and compact bars (I prefer to stay with drops). I have never ridden a 54, but in the Road world, prefer to go smaller rather than larger.

I am 6'1" and 195 lbs, and this would more of a commuter than a touring bike, but future touring is not out of the question. In general, does touring geometry favor going smaller or larger on the frame, or am I over-thinking this and touring=road?

Thanks in advance, touring folk.
For your height, I'd think a 56 cm is a bit small. A 54 would be very small. For comparison, I ride 58 cm road bike frame and I'm 5'11" without particularly long legs.
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Old 06-11-12, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
For your height, I'd think a 56 cm is a bit small. A 54 would be very small. For comparison, I ride 58 cm road bike frame and I'm 5'11" without particularly long legs.
Yeah, my fit was a real mystery at first. I had the hardest time buying a road frame with RTT of 53.5, but promised a 56 ETT. It worked just fine, so psychologically I figured smaller=better. The Nashbar 58 is a 59 ETT, so that is way too stretchy.
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Old 06-12-12, 06:21 AM
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Fit a very personal thing, depending not only your height but leg length, arm reach, flexibility, age, riding style and other factors. That said, I am 5'11" and ride bikes with 56-57 cm top tubes, depending on the seat tube angle. I set my handlebars the same height as the saddle, and don't like to ride too stretched out. However, I'm 58 years old and not as flexible as many riders, with neck issues as well. I see cyclists my height riding smaller and larger frames than mine, but it seems that for someone your height, a frame larger than 56 would fit best -- unless you like riding bikes with a lot of handlebar drop.
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Old 06-12-12, 07:27 AM
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RTDub, Last year I built my first touring bike (like yours a mostly parts bin build) after a life time of building road bikes, it was a learning experiance. Geometry wise the touring frame, as expected, is more lax. The saddle is more forward on the seatpost because of the slacker seat tube angle. The BB is also a bit lower so standover between the larger framed touring bike (58.5 vs. 56 cm) is similar, tho' still the touring bike's TT is ~1 cm higher. Both bikes have a 56 cm TT, which for me is the critical measurement. A 57-58 cm TT would've still worked, but would require compact handle bars.

Initially I fitted the touring bike like the roadies, later I relaxed my 'touring posture' and that would've been difficult on a smaller frame.

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Old 06-12-12, 12:05 PM
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Yeah, I am 6' 1" and I ride 58 also, I think you would be fine. And if this was the difference in hitting the road this summer, those frames are so cheap you could switch one out later if you thought you were in the wrong place. But for a touring bike, I would go larger not smaller. Road frames have shrunk a lot, frames in general with the emphasis on tiny frame for various purposes. But so long as you have your position, the bigger the better. Nicer ride, more room for bags etc...

A lot of specs suggest the same wheel base on larger frames, but if the angles and stays are the same, unless the top tube did not get larger at all, you are getting a longer wheel base, which is nice.
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Old 06-12-12, 03:16 PM
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Thanks all for the advice. It sounds like I can make the 58 work well, and I really don't want to wait until next spring to ride it. Touring in winter ain't my idea of fun :-|

I will see if I can pull the trigger, then start a build thread.
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Old 06-12-12, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by RTDub
Thanks all for the advice. It sounds like I can make the 58 work well, and I really don't want to wait until next spring to ride it. Touring in winter ain't my idea of fun :-|

I will see if I can pull the trigger, then start a build thread.
For $99, you can buy their cross bike frame version in Medium size for the exact top tube length you seek. Why compromise? Since it's built for commuting in mind and touring later, wouldn't a cross frame be a better choice for you?
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