Buying a commuting/touring bike online

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dmoura
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Joined: 9 May 2011, 9:34am

Buying a commuting/touring bike online

Postby dmoura » 9 May 2011, 10:56am

Hi,

I am planning to buy a new bike, mainly for commuting (30Km per day, hilly), and light touring (no tent, up to 100Km per day, typically on weekends, but up to 2 weeks on vacations). Since in my town there are several streets made of setts, I am thinking to buy a bike with steel frame, and since we have several rough hills I choose a triple chainset. I am seeking for a combination of comfort and speed.

I have limited budget, but given the above description I think that a touring bike would be the best choice. Unfortunately, I never found a touring bike for sale in my country (Portugal). Nevertheless, I found the Ridgeback Voyage (http://www.ridgeback.co.uk/bike/voyage) at £699 in http://www.slanecycles.com, fitting both my budget and my needs. The problem is that I will not have the opportunity to test it before buying it since I will have to order it online...

My main questions are the following:
1- I never had a touring or a road bike. I always commuted/toured with a hardtail MTB with flat bars. I've tried some road bikes with different sizes at a bike store to have the feeling of a bike with drop bars and always felt the position uncomfortable for the neck when looking to the front and also felt my arms somehow over-stretched... I only had the chance to adjust saddle height, though. Would this problem be alleviated in a touring bike, which is supposed to have a more relaxed geometry? I plan to be looking ahead most of the time when commuting :)
2- I am also having troubles choosing the right size... metrics for road bikes based on the inseam say that my frame size should be 58cm, at Ridgeback they say that a 56cm should be OK, and at slanes they suggested 54cm... I am thinking going for the 56cm because the 54cm will makes me rise the seat post a little more, increasing the height difference to the handlebars, which may jeopardise comfort, I guess... on the other hand I am afraid that the bigger frame will make me stretch more to the front , but I guess that this may be solved with a shorter stem, right?

Here are my measures (measured with bear feet, as described here: http://www.sierratradingpost.com/lp2/bi ... guide.html):
Height: 180 cm (5'11'')
Inseam: 88 cm (34.5'')
Torso length: about 60 cm (23.6'')
Arm length: 67 cm (26.4'')

Any opinions, even if not directly related to these questions are more than welcome.
Many, many thanks.

PeterJ
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Joined: 11 Aug 2010, 10:59pm

Re: Buying a commuting/touring bike online

Postby PeterJ » 9 May 2011, 5:17pm

Hi

I bought a Ridgeback Voyage last year. As you've spotted, it's a good value for money bike.

The Voyage's geometry isn't particularly relaxed, in that it has quite an upright seat tube according to another thread on this forum.

I'm 5'7" tall and bought a 52cms bike (XS size). I found I needed to buy a handlebar stem raiser to make the bike comfortable (I too suffered neck ache if the bars were set too low). I think (though I'm open to correction on this) that the Ridgeback has quite a long top tube, leading to a rather stretched out riding position compared with other touring bikes, and I have the seat set forward.

Good luck

Pete

ross980
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Joined: 1 Jun 2010, 7:39pm

Re: Buying a commuting/touring bike online

Postby ross980 » 9 May 2011, 7:37pm

I got one last summer. Mine's a 58cm (I'm 6'1"). I'd echo the comment above about it being quite stretched (certainly compared to my road/mtb/other bike), it's easily the most comfortable bike I own though. I haven't toured on it yet but it gets used for commuting as well as the odd longer ride. So far it's been pretty reliable, it's needed a new chain and brake blocks (general wear and tear) and I had to replace a spoke on the back wheel at the weekend. Other than that, nothing.

EDIT: Mine was bought online too (C2W) so I had to use the sizing guide on the Ridgeback website, I went with their recommendations and it fits.

Father Jack
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Joined: 4 Apr 2011, 10:07pm

Re: Buying a commuting/touring bike online

Postby Father Jack » 9 May 2011, 7:49pm

I find my tourer more comfy than the road bike, getting a shorter stem helped (road bike) as it was a bit too long, went from 12cm to 10cm

random37
Posts: 1952
Joined: 19 Sep 2008, 4:41pm

Re: Buying a commuting/touring bike online

Postby random37 » 9 May 2011, 10:02pm

I have one. It was OK, but not set up properly. I had to rebuild the wheels.

If it had come from a good shop, this would have been done before it was sold, or if it wasn't they would at least have fixed it free of charge.

I wouldn't buy online if I wasn't confident to do this.

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531colin
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Re: Buying a commuting/touring bike online

Postby 531colin » 9 May 2011, 11:05pm

I'm 5 feet 10 inches, leg 34 inches by the book & crotch method.

Here is Spa's 54cm tourer set up for me.........Image

Here is Spa's geometry..................Image

this is the ridgebackImage

...geometry..........http://www.ridgeback.co.uk/bike/voyage/geometry...sorry, I just can't copy that....anybody?

Now I have to post this to be able to see all the information in one go.......I will have to "edit" the post to add to my comments.

Spa's bike has 6cm of slope on the top tube, it looks like the Ridgeback has less slope.

Sorry, chaps, its suddenly very late, I have to go to bed....to be continued....

Right, got it all on separate tabs now...

Comparing Ridgeback 54 and 56...2cm difference in seat tube, obviously
1cm difference in head tube
ONLY 8mm difference in top tube, But theres 0.5 deg slacker seat angle on the 56, which will move the top of the seatpost back by about 5mm by my maths., so the 56 gives you 1cm taller head tube, and the downside is only 3mm longer top tube in front of the pedals, the other 5mm is behind the pedals.
On that basis, I would go for the 56. (of course, a taller head tube won't help you if they cut the fork steerers all the same length...)
130mm headtube on ridgeback's 56 ties in with 147 on Spa's 54....on the ridgeback there is a bit more fork above the mudguard than Spa has.

Looking at front centres (I on Spa's chart) Spa's 54 has 625mm. Ridgeback don't quote it, but their 56 must have (wheelbase minus chainstay) 1053-450 is 603mm, which is a bit short, the 54 will be 3mm shorter.....the bike in their picture seems to have toe overlap?

I conclude that the Ridgeback 56 is pretty similar to Spa's 54 in terms of rider fit, so I would expect that to be the best size for the OP, as we are very close in size.
Top tube lengths are the same, but Spa's will have more top tube behind the pedals, as seat angle is 1.5deg slacker.....so effectively, Spa's is 15mm or thereabouts shorter....perhaps thats why riders find the ridgebacks long, but the numbers suggest short top tubes?
Some of Ridgeback's choices puzzle me, but it was ever thus......
why risk toe overlap?
why have "racing" angles on a tourer? (74.5 deg seat on the smallest, 72.5 deg head on the largest)
they have some commendably short top tubes in the range, but I don't think toe overlap is an acceptable trade off. Just use a shallow head angle and long fork offset.
head angle varies by 1.5 deg across the range. I would like to think fork offset also varies to match, but when they don't tell us ....
why does head tube length suddenly jump up when you get to 58cm? Tall folk usually have long arms
Sorry, the original question was "what size"....I will go and obsess over something else.....
Last edited by 531colin on 10 May 2011, 11:49am, edited 3 times in total.

dmoura
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Joined: 9 May 2011, 9:34am

Re: Buying a commuting/touring bike online

Postby dmoura » 10 May 2011, 8:42am

Thank you very much for your replies. You have all been very helpful.
I am looking forward to see your analysis Colin!
Here it is the Voyage geometry:
Image
Again, many thanks!

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531colin
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Location: North Yorkshire

Re: Buying a commuting/touring bike online

Postby 531colin » 10 May 2011, 9:46am

ross980 wrote:I got one last summer. Mine's a 58cm (I'm 6'1"). I'd echo the comment above about it being quite stretched (certainly compared to my road/mtb/other bike), it's easily the most comfortable bike I own though. I haven't toured on it yet but it gets used for commuting as well as the odd longer ride. So far it's been pretty reliable, it's needed a new chain and brake blocks (general wear and tear) and I had to replace a spoke on the back wheel at the weekend. Other than that, nothing.

EDIT: Mine was bought online too (C2W) so I had to use the sizing guide on the Ridgeback website, I went with their recommendations and it fits.


Is the head tube really 160mm?

ross980
Posts: 37
Joined: 1 Jun 2010, 7:39pm

Re: Buying a commuting/touring bike online

Postby ross980 » 10 May 2011, 4:22pm

531colin wrote:
ross980 wrote:I got one last summer. Mine's a 58cm (I'm 6'1"). I'd echo the comment above about it being quite stretched (certainly compared to my road/mtb/other bike), it's easily the most comfortable bike I own though. I haven't toured on it yet but it gets used for commuting as well as the odd longer ride. So far it's been pretty reliable, it's needed a new chain and brake blocks (general wear and tear) and I had to replace a spoke on the back wheel at the weekend. Other than that, nothing.

EDIT: Mine was bought online too (C2W) so I had to use the sizing guide on the Ridgeback website, I went with their recommendations and it fits.


Is the head tube really 160mm?


Ive no idea, I'll measure it when I get chance. Why do you ask?

EDIT: Yep, it's definitely 160mm. To my untrained eye it looks like it's positioned quite 'low' i.e. there is 20mm protruding from the bottom whereas only 10mm sticking out of the top (if that makes sense...?)
Last edited by ross980 on 10 May 2011, 5:13pm, edited 1 time in total.

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531colin
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Re: Buying a commuting/touring bike online

Postby 531colin » 10 May 2011, 4:37pm

ross980 wrote:
531colin wrote:
Is the head tube really 160mm?


Ive no idea, I'll measure it when I get chance. Why do you ask?


Because the head tube lengths in the size chart go 100, 110, 120, 130, then leap to 160, 180 .. Just seems odd?

dmoura
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Joined: 9 May 2011, 9:34am

Re: Buying a commuting/touring bike online

Postby dmoura » 11 May 2011, 11:25am

531colin wrote:I conclude that the Ridgeback 56 is pretty similar to Spa's 54 in terms of rider fit, so I would expect that to be the best size for the OP, as we are very close in size.
Top tube lengths are the same, but Spa's will have more top tube behind the pedals, as seat angle is 1.5deg slacker.....so effectively, Spa's is 15mm or thereabouts shorter....perhaps thats why riders find the ridgebacks long, but the numbers suggest short top tubes?


Thank you Colin for the detailed analysis! I was very lucky to find someone with your experience with about the same size as I am :)

Concerning the over-streching problem, maybe it may also be explained by the stem size? I just read a review of the 2010 model where the reviewer also swapped the stem from the original 10cm to 8cm (http://www.ctc.org.uk/resources/Magazine/201003058.pdf). Just out of curiosity, which is the stem size of the SPA 54cm?


531colin wrote:Some of Ridgeback's choices puzzle me, but it was ever thus......
why risk toe overlap?
why have "racing" angles on a tourer? (74.5 deg seat on the smallest, 72.5 deg head on the largest)
they have some commendably short top tubes in the range, but I don't think toe overlap is an acceptable trade off. Just use a shallow head angle and long fork offset.
head angle varies by 1.5 deg across the range. I would like to think fork offset also varies to match, but when they don't tell us ....
why does head tube length suddenly jump up when you get to 58cm? Tall folk usually have long arms
Sorry, the original question was "what size"....I will go and obsess over something else.....


Yes, I was also intrigued by some of the differences in the geometry between sibling sizes, and that was one of the reasons that drive me to this forum seeking for help... Ross confirmed that the 58cm has a head tube with 160mm (thanks Ross for checking that out!).
In the review they add more detail concerning the geometry of the 2010 model for size 56cm, but it seems that there are some small differences or inaccuracies:
Image

BTW, has anyone owning a Voyage experienced toe overlapping? Thanks!

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531colin
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Re: Buying a commuting/touring bike online

Postby 531colin » 11 May 2011, 6:59pm

Looks like a beast of a stem in Ridgeback's picture!
On the Spa 54, I think I was comfortable with an 80 or 90mm stem....an advantage of semi-production is you can have what you like for ours!
I reckon its an entirely different frame on the 2011 compared to 2010.....different frame angles, front centres,....to be honest, I prefer the 2010....

dustyear
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Joined: 9 Feb 2014, 2:20pm

Re: Buying a commuting/touring bike online

Postby dustyear » 9 Feb 2014, 4:08pm

Hi Colin , looking at the thread and comments i am in a similar boat as the first post i.e. 5'11" , 34" inside leg, so maybe a little longer back , the top tube dimensions are my question particularly with touring bikes and your TI tourer bikes you designed , as it seems I float between the 54 and 57 sizes . Are there any advantages to a slightly longer top tube on distance riding ( my current bike is longish at 580mm Vtt , with drops but as the bars are low ( 2-13 inches less than seat ) it gets tiring! And i have had lower back pain , from what i don't know !.With a more level set up , bars and saddle , can one afford that greater reach and i can see you can play with the stem , well to I guess 80mm and above and fore and aft on the saddle ? - I did notice on another thread you posted pics of your own touring bikes which the one , blue Orbit? looked to have a quite generous top tube.I am assuming the give in the larger frame may aid comfort a little too? Presumably this reality or reach may only be properly established in day 2 of a ride ! Many thanks anyway.

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531colin
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Re: Buying a commuting/touring bike online

Postby 531colin » 9 Feb 2014, 8:33pm

Have a look on Spa's website here http://www.spacycles.co.uk/info/pedaltosaddle.php to measure what I have called your "saddle to pedal height" on your favourite bike....mine is 34", so that takes me to the 54cm bike set up like this http://www.spacycles.co.uk/smsimg/uploads/tourer/5434tourer.jpg, although I have ridden both the 51 and 57 set up as pictured with 34" saddle to pedal.
Top tube length is a bit more complicated, you need to consider seat tube angle at the same time, because if you steepen the seat tube angle one degree, then the seat lug moves forward roughly 10mm......a bike with a slack seat tube angle has more top tube behind the BB.
Having said all that, 580mm doesn't seem unusual.

If you drop a plumb line to the BB like this on your favourite bike.....

Image

You can then measure the horizontal distance from the BB to the middle of the hoods, and Spa can fit a stem to reproduce that length.

A bigger frame is more flexible if the same diameter tubes are used, however the 57 Spa tourer has a bigger down tube than the 54, just to keep it all pointing in the same direction with a load on.

dustyear
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Joined: 9 Feb 2014, 2:20pm

Re: Buying a commuting/touring bike online

Postby dustyear » 11 Feb 2014, 6:25pm

Thank you Very much for your clear advice there ! Based on the history of the frame i had made which was based loosely on an old mountain bike frame my seat tub is quite slack at 71 deg which explains the longer vtt . As i can now see based on the advice the reach is more about what is in-front of the bb ie i could push the seat further foreward without affecting the ride with that much more "gap " behind the bb where as on a large racing frame i assume you can not do that with the steeper geometry you are more stuck .My bike has a too low steerer tube to be a level set up with drops plus small wheels ..i will do some measurements and have a word with the shop , the new steel tourer looks a classic choice too . I presume there comes a point even on the touring frames when a too short stem will be an issue with twitchy handling .
thank you for your help again anyway