Saturday, March 31, 2012

Endurance geometry...

There has to be a catch phrase, buzz word, feature/benefit for just about everything these days.  A new bike model was launched by one of the big bike companies this week.  I have no doubt that this is the type of bike 95% of the riders on the road should be riding.  However, the fact that this type of bike gets high praise is not rocket science.  Sure there all kinds of fancy-schmancy bits of technology that are engineered into the frame.  Actually, I'd bet that there was a fairly large team of engineers and brand managers who spent countless hours creating this ride.  And you're sure to be the cool kid on the Saturday morning ride when you show up on one of these (be prepared to spend more time talking about your new bike than riding it the first time).  

According to a report on velonews.com, the company developed "prototypes with adjustable geometry..." and "eventually...decided to lengthen the wheelbase (using longer chainstays), decrease the head angle, increase fork rake, increase the seat tube angle and lower the bottom bracket."  According to the manufacturer's website, it took over two years to come up with this geometry.  Really?  Two years?

Yep, two years.  It's been well known for ages that longer stays, shallower head angle, and more fork offset (the two actually go hand-in-hand) produce a more stable, comfortable ride.  In the 80s Klein had a model called the Stage that had these attributes and was sold as a stage race machine - good for all day rides, day after day.  You know, stage racing.  However, the more popular model in the states was the Quantum - a quicker, faster handling bike.  I even had one.  For some reason, the states developed a taste for steep, quick handling road bikes.  

When I started the development of the current iteration of Masi, I found I was preferring frames with slacker head angles, more fork offset, lower bottom bracket, longer chainstays...  Essentially, a classic European geometry.  And now the American companies are finding that the classic geometry is more to folks' tastes.  I'm happy about it because my road frames have, get ready for this, longer chainstays, slacker head angle, more fork offset, more bottom bracket drop...yep, endurance geometry.  

There is one aspect of that bike bike company's new geometry I don't get:  steeper seat angle.  I'm a big fan of a shallower angle and you should be too.  Most people aren't super fast spinners and should be back a bit further (this is a generalization).  However, when I check out photos of the pro's bikes, it seems that their seats are always slammed back on the rails giving them a virtual slacker seat angle.  So, why don't the manufacturers build in a slacker seat angle?  Slamming the seat means that the rails hang off the back more giving you a longer lever on the rail resulting in more broken seat rails.  Go figure.

The new domain of the big bike company's fancy-schmancy, endurance geometry built frame also says it has clearance for bigger tires - 25s with fenders.  Which should also mean 28s without.  Oh, and you can pick up one of these new bikes now.  There are two models available - one for $11,896.47 (forty seven cents?) and one for $4,619.99.  Almost $12,000!  Yikes!  

Today, you can pick up a very sweet Black Mountain Cycles frame with endurance geometry (I hope they don't trademark that term), clearance for 28s with fenders or 33s without, and a full Ultegra group for about $3,000.  And if you order today, you'll get free brakes because my free brake deal goes through the end of this month and today is March 31.  

62cm Road Ultegra

(What's playing:  KWMR)

 

10 comments:

Velosopher said...

In the early '80s, I rode thousands of miles in New York's Central Park, through the Green and White Mountains of New England, and down the coast in Oregon and California. I did everything from chase racers in the park to humping 35 lbs. of gear over mountain passes. It all happened on a cheap steel bike from Asia, a St. Tropez. It has a terrible reputation for craftsmanship, marketing, production, etc. More pertinent, it had very long wheelbase, slack and forgiving geometry, and probably 25 or 28 mm tires.

I think I've been trying to find the comfort and speed I found in that bike ever since.

Jim G said...

Maybe they'll make a 650B version of this "endurance bike"! NAAAAH.

saddle up said...

Wow, it took Trek two years to come up with a copy of the Specialized Roubaix! Funny stuff.

olivier said...

hi , little hello from France... i was an absolout Klein freack in the 90 ties , i get this raspberry Klein Stage bike about wich you talk...

SJBikeGeek said...

Heh, sounds like my old Peugeot U08 geometry...

Hi Mike, I'm looking for a new CX or road frame. Can't seem to find a geometry chart for yours. Bummed you don't have any orange CX frames left... Looking for an all rounder.

Anyway, I'm the guy who used to vist you regularly 2008 to mid 2009 who rides a white Lapierre SLite 300 with American Classic Victory 30 wheels. I want to go back to Steel...

Guitar Ted said...

I feel ya, Mike. I've been after smaller companies to do this sort of thing for a long time. (Kudos to you for your road frame, by the way.) Most riders we service in the Mid-West would love riding bicycles instead of merely liking it if these sort of bikes would become available from the big guys at entry levels.

But 5-12 G for this sort of thing is laughable. Still, they will sell a bunch of them.

Things keep getting weirder.

blackmountaincycles said...

SJBikeGeek, the geometry is found at the bottom of this pege: http://blackmountaincycles.blogspot.com/p/black-mountain-cycles-frames.html

Jake Hess said...

Tell Olivier from France that Steel WÜleurs say hello and that if he gets a Klein road bike he can't jump it higher than 3 feet per the manufacturer specs. My Klein Quantum form Sloughs shop on Race st did me well in the 90's.

Anonymous said...

The Klein Stage and Performance had crazy long chainstays, which probably doomed them to obscurity. They didn't look as well proportioned as the Quantum.

Anonymous said...

This is the way Rivendell bikes have been for years and years.