Birthday bike advice

I have a significant birthday coming up and thinking of a new bike. I’m looking for an alternative to my current 2020 Giant Defy Advanced Pro (size medium). Fit is an issue as I have shorter torso vs legs, so reach has been a challenge to get right in the past (one of the reasons I originally went with the Defy with its endurance geometry). I do social rides, and the odd multi-day charity ride, but have started racing racing (crits & road races - prefer sprinting to climbing) so versatility is important. I’d like internal cabling, electronic shifters (currently have SRAM Force AXS), disc brakes. Any suggestions? Budget ~A$10k +/-

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Hi and welcome,

Cannot point you to specific models. But suitable models can be found via a.o. the following sites, where you can search based on geometry criteria:

One caveat however is that these sites (and the sites of some manufacturers) do not mention stem lenght for a specific size. Which is an essential factor regarding (stack &) reach.

In addition, you cannot always use a shorter stem without getting twitchy steering. You have to take into frame trail when shortening your stem. (Please mind that using a shorter stem will also change weight distribution, but we may be getting too far here.)

BTW, an alternative for a shorter stem, which has less effect on nervousness regarding steering input, is a handlebar with shorter reach. You can even find handlebars with a reach as short as 65mm (cfr. the Specialized short reach handlebar) or even shorter.

Furthermore, I also found this site useful to compare bikes, including stem lenght (but not handlebar reach):

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Super helpful; thanks for the links🙏🏻.

Oh, and you can also try to compensate steering twitchy-ness a bit by using wider handle bars. But then you may be compromising your fit. And wider handle bars also make you less aero. (Plus wider handlebars affect your physical reach: as your hands are wider apart, your upper body will be more forward.)

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One last tip: 10K is also custom and semi-custom (cfr. ENVE) territory. Those bikes will most likely not be listed in the above overview sites.

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I think the OP was referencing Aussie $, so 10k = ~7.5k US/~5.7k GBP. That’s very decent bike territory, but not Enve or similar.*

I’d recommend a very good bike fit, then some time spent on geometry geeks. The bike fitter should be able to give you a good sense of the numbers you need, then you can plug them in and see what comes out. I think searching by numbers will cost you a month’s subscription to the site, but it’s well worth it IMO.

*edit: unless we’re referring to frame only cost, of course. If I had that sort of money for a frame I’d most likely be going custom, and if I were in Australia, Baum would be high on the list.

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BTW, an alternative for a shorter stem, which has less effect on nervousness regarding steering input, is a handlebar with shorter reach. You can even find handlebars with a reach as short as 65mm (cfr. the Specialized short reach handlebar) or even shorter.

Sorry to be a bit off topic, but this sounds counter intuitive to me. Total reach and handlebar width is surely what drives the mechanical advantage of steering the handlebar?

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I used to think so too. But it’s the steering angle that you generate when moving the bars X mm that determines twitchy-ness. Some info here.

And the rotation point - the head tube location - affects upper body movement and thus body balance during large steering angles. For example, take two bikes with the same total reach (stem included), but one has a 8cm stem and the other a 10cm stem. If you turn the handle bar 90°, stem lenght does not play a role anymore in reach. But the handlebar of the first bike will stick out 2cm farther than that of the second bike.

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For that price you could go custom, and get the exact frame measurements you need/want.

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For a significant birthday I would go custom geo with a one of a kind paint. That is the route I took for my 30th with a Festka.

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Apologies to continue the offtopic posts. I had a quick read through Alee’s article, and I couldn’t spot any information that would suggest total reach makes a difference whether it’s due to stem length or handlebar reach. I’ll have a closer read when I have more time.

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I do have a shorter stem than stock, and have had an intermittent speed wobble issue downhill in the drops at speed. Had the bike checked and no obvious issues such as buckled wheel or loose headset, which got wondering if it is due to the shorter stem … it may just be the rider though!

Correct re Aussie $. Haven’t settled on the budget … so custom isn’t completely out of the question. the Geometry Geeks suggestion is a good one, thanks.

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A short stem don’t make anyone magically wobble downhill.

Actually a bike shouldn’t wobble even when you don’t have your hands on the handlebar. Is your bike stable and alright at any speed from 5 to 60kph when riding upright no hands on the handlebar?

Yep, no issues normally. Seems to only happen downhill in the drops and speeds >50kph Like I said, it could be the rider (i.e. me).

Thanks for the info. I adapted the link. Already had the feeling that I originally saw the content in a different way, but was already happy I could retrieve the article.

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Short stems only amplify the steering input.

You cannot find that info in the article. But the stretch/reach of your body during turning is affected by handlebar length.

Imagine turning the handlebar 90 degrees. Stem length then doesn’t play a role anymore. Your stretch is then frame reach + half your bar width.
So the smaller the frame reach, the lesser the body stretch/reach during turning. Of course, the larger the turning angle, the more this will play a role. And overstretching your body during a tight turn makes you lose balance. But note that all this is probably more important for MTB than for road bikes.

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I don’t think amplify is the right word but yes it makes steering input more direct. You usually counteract that by using narrower handlebar and a different trail.

Do you already have a set of killer wheels, or do they need to be included in the budget?