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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:08 pm 
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Hi there,

I could use some advise to make the right frame decision.

For around three years I ride a Ridley Noah (model 2010; Katusha) in size M. The bike has a top tube of 560 / stack 575 / reach 390. After visiting a professional bike fitting firm - which I also consulted before I bought the frame - I put 6 cm spacers below the stem. (I recently heard that most manufacturers only allow 3 cm of spacers….). This resulted in a drop of 82 mm. More drop is not possible as it triggers back and neck problems. Since I have a short torso, I ended up with a stem of 80.

Now, the thing is that I am not 100% satisfied with the handling of the bike. I believe the reasoning for this is that the geometry of the bike - and given the adjustments I had to make to have a descent position - does not work for me; further I think it has to do with the ride characteristics of the frame it self. The bike is quite stiff, which - in combination with the ISP - makes the back of the bike 'bumpy'. Do no get me wrong: I know that the bike is uncomfortable compared to other bikes, but this is not an issue. It is more that I think that my weight distribution is not optimal, which is particularly a problem with cornering and fast, technical descents. Especially I feel unstable when cornering on rough roads where the back end of the bike is reacting to each bump. Only when I am down in the drops, cornering feels better and more stable.

To explain what type of rider I am: 15 years ago I used to ride crits and bigger races. Due to health problems I had to stop, but three years ago (I am now 36 years) I picked up the bike again. I consider my self as a 'race' type of rider. Sometimes you can find me on a track, but I love to attack hills and usually manage to finish on top first (sometimes I can even take a KOM on Strava). I also ride a lot of classics in the Netherlands / Belgium, like for instance Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Tour the Flanders, Les Trois Ballons (France), Amstel Gold etc.

I am looking for a new frame with 'race' characteristic, but the problem is the combination of long legs / short torso. The best solution would be a frame with a top tube length of 540 and a long head tube; stack should be around 570-590 (whereas 590 would be better than 570).

Initially I was looking for a Specialized Tarmac or Canyon Ultimate CF SLX (size 56), but when I realized that the geometry of either of these bikes will not work I had to come up with something else. (For your information: on the Canyon (stack height 560) I would have needed 55mm of spacers, but the bike couldn't take this).
Then I though that a Roubaix SL4 S-Works would be a good match. In size 56 it has a stack of 590. The LBS said that he had mounted a 90 or 100 stem, around 3 cm of spaces and that this resulted in a drop of 85 (which is what I need). However, a friend of mine who also works in a LBS says that a Roubaix is too sluggish for me and that a stem of 90 is too short; it would make the bike too nervous. According to him a bike in my size is better controllable with a stem of 110-120. He feels that there are better options than a Roubaix SL4 for somebody like me who prefers 'racy' above 'comfort'. That's why I am uncertain about what to choose. My friend came up with a Merida Ride in size 54 (which has a top tube of 550), but Merida is not my type of brand.

On my option list is now (although I do not know 100% certain yet if these will fit):
- Giant Defy Advanced SL ISP (size M);
- Bianchi Infinito CV (size 55);
- Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod (size 54);
(- and still the Roubaix SL4, although is has a relatively 'long' tob tube of 565 in size 56).
Further I noticed that a Trek Domane (size 54) has a good geometry, but I believe this bike is less 'racy' than the others.

Can anybody from experience tell whether one of above mentioned bikes - which are in principle endurance / comfort bikes - has good 'race' characteristics and climbes well too? Would you recommend something else instead?

My apologies for the long text, but wanted to give you as much information as possible.

Thanks,
Raymond


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:15 pm 
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Have you consisted a custom frame? Sounds like you might be a good candidate.

While I think you would adapt to the handling with a shorter stem, I agree with your friend who suggested that a 110 mm or so stem would be a better fit for that size. Also, I imagine the front end of the bike would feel flexy with 50-60 mm of spacers under the stem, not to mention potentially unsafe (most fork manufacturers limit to about 40 mm of spacers below the stem).

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Last edited by fa63 on Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:15 pm 


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:16 pm 
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I know its none of the above bikes but Parlee & Colnago do good framesize options.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:40 pm 
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Location: Switzerland
what is the current stem lenght on the ridley ?

are you satified with the overall reach (tip of saddle to handlebar) ?

what is your saddle height ? (along seatpost )


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:55 pm 
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raymondbroeren wrote:
For around three years I ride a Ridley Noah (model 2010; Katusha) in size M. The bike has a top tube of 560 / stack 575 / reach 390. After visiting a professional bike fitting firm - which I also consulted before I bought the frame - I put 6 cm spacers below the stem. (I recently heard that most manufacturers only allow 3 cm of spacers….). This resulted in a drop of 82 mm. More drop is not possible as it triggers back and neck problems. Since I have a short torso, I ended up with a stem of 80.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:22 pm 
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I note what you say about Merida, but for me it's been the only solution. I have a similar problem, I'm 186cms tall, but with an inside leg of 93cms, used to race, and have worn vertebrae in the neck and back, so can't get as low as I used to. After lots of research, and after trying out a few frames, I hit upon Merida's Race range. The Race range features a higher stack, and shorter reach than their straight out racing frames. I bought one of their carbon framed bikes and swapped the equipment for my own Campag gear, and then sold the original equipment. This was a bit of a pain, but I note one or two dealers are now selling Merida frames.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:40 pm 
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Colnago use a short top tube, my 57T has a 55.5 TT, pretty similar to that 54cm Merida. The head tube is a touch slacker than my broadly similarly sized Wilier (size L, effective TT is the same 55.5cm as the Nag, same ST angles) so your stem will get brought further towards you with the more spacers you add.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:51 pm 
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Hawkwood wrote:
I note what you say about Merida, but for me it's been the only solution. I have a similar problem, I'm 186cms tall, but with an inside leg of 93cms, used to race, and have worn vertebrae in the neck and back, so can't get as low as I used to. After lots of research, and after trying out a few frames, I hit upon Merida's Race range. The Race range features a higher stack, and shorter reach than their straight out racing frames. I bought one of their carbon framed bikes and swapped the equipment for my own Campag gear, and then sold the original equipment. This was a bit of a pain, but I note one or two dealers are now selling Merida frames.


I am 178cm tall and my insede leg length is around 91-93cm (I do not recall exactly). My saddle height is 78,2cm.

What Merida do you have exactly? Is it the Merida Ride (I don't see any Merida 'Race' on their website (unless you have a previous model)?

Are you satisfied with the quality of the frame? I know that Merida also produces Specialized frames, so it should in principle be OK I guess. On the other hand, I saw a review somewhere which did not yet convince me.


Last edited by raymondbroeren on Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:15 pm 
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fa63 wrote:
Have you consisted a custom frame? Sounds like you might be a good candidate.

While I think you would adapt to the handling with a shorter stem, I agree with your friend who suggested that a 110 mm or so stem would be a better fit for that size. Also, I imagine the front end of the bike would feel flexy with 50-60 mm of spacers under the stem, not to mention potentially unsafe (most fork manufacturers limit to about 40 mm of spacers below the stem).


I did not yet consider this before, but now have the impression - also given other feedback I got - that custom made would be a good (or even the best) solution. Not sure yet about the $$$...


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:23 pm 
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Quote:
I am 178cm tall and my insede leg length is around 91-93cm (I do not recall exactly). My saddle height is 78,2cm.


Something sounds off. I have an inseam of 85 cm with a saddle height of 77 cm, and I would say that I am pretty much average. So your saddle height seems low for your inseam.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:24 pm 
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fa63 wrote:
Quote:
I am 178cm tall and my insede leg length is around 91-93cm (I do not recall exactly). My saddle height is 78,2cm.


Something sounds off. I have an inseam of 85 cm with a saddle height of 77 cm, and I would say that I am pretty much average. So your saddle height seems low for your inseam.


I just double checked. It appears that my inseam is 89cm. Anyway, two bike fitting sessions by different firms (one done at a Specialized concept store and the other one at a specialized bike fitting lab) confirmed that a saddle height of 78 cm works best for me.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:36 pm 
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raymondbroeren wrote:
I am 178cm tall and my insede leg length is around 91-93cm (I do not recall exactly). My saddle height is 78,2cm.

What Merida do you have exactly? Is it the Merida Ride (I don't see any Merida 'Race' on their website (unless you have a previous model)?

Are you satisfied with the quality of the frame? I know that Merida also produces Specialized frames, so it should in principle be OK I guess. On the other hand, I saw a review somewhere which did not yet convince me.


You're right, I've got the Merida Ride CF 93, it's the size 59. This was my first all CF frame after six steel, one ti, two alloy, and one carbon/alloy mix, so I'm not sure that I can comment on its quality. I thought it built up okay, and it seems stiff enough on the road. It rides no hands well which suggests it's reasonably in track, and the steering geometry is sensible. What attracted me to it is that the top-tube is 58cm long, which is more like the 1980s/90s Italian geometry, and means I can get the stretch I want without resorting to a very short stem. Even with the high front end I could get at least a 10cm+ saddle/handlebar drop if I wanted to and slammed the stem.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:41 pm 
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Again, a custom geometry frame might be the way to go for you if you are not opposed to the idea.

Out of your list, I think a 58 cm Trek Domane might work for you with a 90 mm stem and about 25 mm of spacers. Again, not ideal stem length for a frame that size but those are the compromises you have to make with stock frames that cater to the average. I also think the Domane should be racy enough, a couple of Trek riders (Cancellara and Andy Schleck) use them as their racing bikes year round (though theirs has a slightly different geometry and possibly a different layup).

Good luck.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:08 pm 
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Does your next bike have to be carbon?

Just thinking that something like a Tommasini Fire or a Condor Super Accaio could be custom built to your requirements and probably within, if not below your budget based upon the frames you've listed. The Tommasini retails at around £1500 including fork and is available with custom geometry at not extra cost, and the Super Accaio is £1300 for a stock frame and an additional £150 for custom geometry.

I've just bought a Super Accaio and am very impressed with the build quality. I haven't ridden it on the road but it feels stiffer than the Giant TCR Advanced it replaced whilst on the rollers.

The Super Accaio was developed to provide all of the features that you'd expect on a race frame, ie tapered head tube and steerer, full carbon fork as well as an oversized BB for stiffness, but with the compliance that steel provides.

Food for thought perhaps?


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Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:08 pm 


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:44 pm 
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Location: Switzerland
my vote would go to the cannodale synapse 54

stack 57
reach 37,8

with the led headlight topcap you would only need one 5 mm spacer to achieve an 8 cm drop

a 10 cm stem would give you a handlebar reach of 51 cm (provided a 6 cm saddle setback)

i have been told this bike has extremely good vertical compliance but still is plenty stiff laterally


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