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  #1  
Old 03-14-2016, 10:49 AM
MikeD MikeD is offline
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Gravel bike fit

I've been reading that you should have your handlebars up higher and (possibly) 1-2 cm shorter reach to the bars than a road bike, but what about standover height? I would think you should have more crotch clearance in case you need to get off the bike in the dirt (like a mountain bike). However, most bikes I'm looking at lack top tube clearance. This is particularly a concern for people that have shorter legs, longer torso as compared to what is normal. What about stem length? Handlebar width?
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Old 03-14-2016, 10:54 AM
Mzilliox Mzilliox is offline
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A lot of this will depend on how you ride. There are many ways to tackle gravel. Some cats put fat tires on a road bike and call it good. Slike their cross bike, and some ride a 29er. I think it will depend on if you like to ride more like a roadie or bomb descents more like a mountain biker. Sounds like you are more of the roadie type?

I will be interested to see how folks modified their roadies to fit Gravel as well.
Do folks find any need to have a shorter reach? I would think potentially wider bars would offer more control... I'm sure a lot is personal preference as well.
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:04 AM
thirdgenbird thirdgenbird is offline
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I built up a cross bike recently and do to somewhat awkward geometry, my reach and drop are both about 1cm less than my road bike. I've got a 130mm -10 stem directly on top of the headset so there isn't a lot of room to make it match without going to extremes. All of that said, I'm happy with the fit. I would probably go for a -17mm stem if I was primarily using it on the road, but it feels good on the trail.

My standover ove about the same as my road bike which may be a little more than typical because I sized down a frame but it's not tons. I find I've usually got the bike at a pretty decent angle when my foot is down so the "effective standover" height is less than actual.
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  #4  
Old 03-14-2016, 11:43 AM
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GRAVELBIKE GRAVELBIKE is offline
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My personal (gravel) bikes all have the same effective reach. That said, I tend to prefer a more upright position to begin with, so it could be said that I'm sizing a little shorter and/or upright than the average road rider.

Standover height is certainly important, but not more important than getting yourself in the correct position for comfort and efficiency. The trails that I ride on my gravel rig are much less technical than where I ride my full-sus MTB, so standover isn't as crucial.

I use conventional road drop bars (compact bend), and find that a little extra width is helpful when riding on loose dirt or gravel (currently running 44cm Zipps).
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Old 03-14-2016, 05:17 PM
MikeD MikeD is offline
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Gravel bike fit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mzilliox View Post
A lot of this will depend on how you ride. There are many ways to tackle gravel. Some cats put fat tires on a road bike and call it good. Slike their cross bike, and some ride a 29er. I think it will depend on if you like to ride more like a roadie or bomb descents more like a mountain biker. Sounds like you are more of the roadie type?



I will be interested to see how folks modified their roadies to fit Gravel as well.

Do folks find any need to have a shorter reach? I would think potentially wider bars would offer more control... I'm sure a lot is personal preference as well.

Yeah, I do want to ride more like a roadie. I envision a ride with some dirt but mostly pavement. The dirt would be probably dirt roads. Anything more than that I would probably use one of my mountain bikes. I've got a Bruce Gordon BLT touring bike. The only problem with it is that it weighs 28 pounds. It has room for wide tires (up to 45mm).
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Old 03-17-2016, 10:27 AM
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sparky33 sparky33 is offline
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Been thinking about this a bit lately...

My road bike is long and sort of low, it is comfortable and powerful for shorter faster rides. For longer rides which usually involve a variety of road surfaces and few trails, a slightly relaxed version of that position works well. The difference is small maybe 5mm less reach and 5-10mm less drop...just enough to avoid the lower back tension that would creep up when jostling over rough stuff after a few hours in the saddle, but not so much that it changes the way I weight and drive the bike. I could see relaxing this position further if there were more trail riding.

I've also grown particular about bar shape... strongly preferring something with some outward sweep to a shallow drop, like the FSA Wing Pro bar or the Zipp SL70 or SL80. Lots of ergonomic and useful positions.
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  #7  
Old 05-18-2016, 01:36 AM
Vera J. Hogue Vera J. Hogue is offline
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I'd suspect that with your dimensions you would be a 56 or 58 frame depending on the manufacturer. Generally you are better off on a slightly smaller frame than a slightly too large frame as you can compensate with a longer seat tube or handlebar stem. I think that as your legs are 'too long'(!) then you would be best advised to cough up the hundred quid or so and pay for a bike fit. If your LBS is knowledgeable about road bikes then they should be able to size you up correctly at minimal cost though. I agree with everyone else that these days with modern frame geometry then standover measurements are pretty much useless. The only thing you could use it for in your case is that you would need to have a big gap between the top tube and the crown jewels.
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Old 09-27-2016, 01:19 PM
VoyTirando VoyTirando is offline
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Funny, but my gravel bike has 3 cm MORE reach than my road bike. It's been amazing for long days in the saddle, and has me thinking I may want to size up the road bike, hopefully with a setback saddle/longer stem combo and not a new frame. True, the bars are higher, but not much. I'm not sure why this is more comfortable, but I suspect is has to do with less weight vertically over the seat on bumpy roads. Back in the day I preferred a much more stretched out MTB set up than what is commonly seen today.

Strangely, too, i find I'm doing much longer rides on the gravel bike this year, whereas the road bike gets the 4 days/week morning 20-30 milers before work.
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Old 09-27-2016, 01:28 PM
VoyTirando VoyTirando is offline
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.... which leads to my own question. Normally I ride a 57 sq road bike, 110 stem, straight seatpost (no setback). My so-called gravel bike (RB-T) has the afore-mentioned top tube with a 59 length, and I have the saddle a little further back, also a straight seatpost. I'm six feet tall, even, with a 33 inseam and thus longer legs proportionally than torso, with long arms. I'm about to set up a gravel frameset that is approx 56.5 square. I hesitated at first to pick it up, but I suspect it's going to be more agile for the smaller trails I'd like to take it on.

My question is, do i go for the extra length I'll need on this frame given the shorter top tube by 1) setting the seat back via a setback post, 2) going for a longer stem, e.g. a 130,3) a combo of the two, or what? Would love the wisdom of others before I start acquiring parts.
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Old 09-27-2016, 01:34 PM
Mzilliox Mzilliox is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikewhisperer View Post
.... which leads to my own question. Normally I ride a 57 sq road bike, 110 stem, straight seatpost (no setback). My so-called gravel bike (RB-T) has the afore-mentioned top tube with a 59 length, and I have the saddle a little further back, also a straight seatpost. I'm six feet tall, even, with a 33 inseam and thus longer legs proportionally than torso, with long arms. I'm about to set up a gravel frameset that is approx 56.5 square. I hesitated at first to pick it up, but I suspect it's going to be more agile for the smaller trails I'd like to take it on.

My question is, do i go for the extra length I'll need on this frame given the shorter top tube by 1) setting the seat back via a setback post, 2) going for a longer stem, e.g. a 130,3) a combo of the two, or what? Would love the wisdom of others before I start acquiring parts.
a combo of the two would be ideal, you still gotta be in the correct position with respect to the bottom bracket. I'd also try the reach and drop 1cm shorter, just to try it out.
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  #11  
Old 09-27-2016, 01:59 PM
VoyTirando VoyTirando is offline
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I suspected as much re: the combination. I've read posts in this thread and elsewhere on PL regarding a shorter reach/more upright position. I'm curious about it; it does make sense for being in the woods and dealing with changing terrain.
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  #12  
Old 09-27-2016, 03:36 PM
benb benb is offline
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I've had my "gravel bike" set up pretty darn close to my road bike most of this year. Maybe 5mm shorter (just the way it works out), maybe 5mm higher.

Higher and shorter absolutely helps on steep downhills, that's why it's done on MTBs. In my case my bike is severely limited by braking compared to my mountain bike in those conditions and usually partially limited on traction so the higher bar position doesn't have a huge benefit... and definitely hurts on uphills, road sections, etc.. Right now I know I have it setup 5mm higher than my road bike and it kind of feels weird.

IIRC my MTB is set up with the reach to the bar about 4cm further than the gravel bike since it's not a drop bar and there is no reach forward to the hoods. It has a higher position but not much.
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  #13  
Old 09-28-2016, 08:47 AM
VoyTirando VoyTirando is offline
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Thanks, all. I'm going to follow everyone's advice as follows: use a setback post plus longer stem to keep my weight not too far forward, go for a cm more rise in the stem/bars, maaaaaybe go for a cm shorter reach. Fingers crossed on this one....
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  #14  
Old 09-29-2016, 10:13 AM
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David Tollefson David Tollefson is offline
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My gravel position is basically the same as my road position, but rotated back about the BB by a couple cm's (measured at the saddle, so about 1 degree effective STA). Same hip angle, same reach, less saddle-to-bar drop.
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Old 10-01-2016, 10:49 AM
VoyTirando VoyTirando is offline
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@y, I like how you articulate this, it's easy to visualize. I'm going to shoot for trying this.
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