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Currently ride a Scott cr1 in 54 (medium) I'm 5ft 10.5, 32" inside leg, my current bike feels ok but slightly cramped, I think I'm at the top end of a medium size or just at the low end of large if that sounds right? This is the next bike I'm looking to buy http://m.evanscycles.com/products/bmc/teammachine-slr01-dura-ace-2014-ro...

I've been told a more stretched out position is better, but will it give me less options to adjust the fit, what's most important, reach, stand over clearance etc? I've got a test booked in at evans on both sizes, what's important to consider in making my mind up? Any help or advice will be greatly appreciated

31 comments

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wellcoordinated [205 posts] 2 years ago
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Link doesn't work  2

Size means practically nothing as nearly every manufacture has a quirky way of measuring their frames these days. Best to go to an Evans shop and take you chosen bike out on the road and see if it feels comfortable. Try both sizes, even make tweaks by using a longer/shorter handlebar stem.

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movingtarget [144 posts] 2 years ago
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True, unfortunately frame sizes vary by brand. You'd think that just by going by the geometry specs (seat tube, top tube length, ...) you'd be able to make sense switching brands but even though the geometry chart said the top tube on my Pinarello Marvel is supposed to be 51.5 for a 46.5 cm seat tube, the actual measurement in the shop was a centimeter shorter so I went from a 48 Kestrel Talon to 46.5 in Pinarello. Same thing with the hubby, he went from a 58 in his Masi 3VC Volumetrica to a 56 Pinarello Paris.

Fit seems to be different among bike fitters, a lot of people have told me that it's better to have a slightly smaller frame than one that's too big as when you're stretched out too far not only can you develop upper back/neck pain but you end up fighting more for control (ie cross winds, choppy terrain, cornering ...) than when you're more centered. Of course, what is stretched too far for one person may be perfectly comfortable for someone else. When we bought our bikes the LBS let us take multiple hour+ test rides (the hubby did 6 or 7) to make sure that we felt comfortable with the handling and fit. Hopefully they'll let you do the same at Evan's and perhaps you could take routes that you're used to (ones that tested how comfortable, ergonometry and handling-wise, you felt on your Scott) to help make an easier comparison. Too bad the link above sends you to the main page. Sounds like it would be a nice bike (I had Dura-Ace on my old Kestrel and it was very clean shifting although a difficult comparison to the Ultegra on my Pinarello which is much smoother but also a 7 year tech advantage).

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tonyhogg [47 posts] 2 years ago
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Hope this link works http://m.evanscycles.com/products/bmc/teammachine-slr01-dura-ace-2014-ro...

I hope to give both a good test...really curious which size I'm going to prefer and why

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bollandinho [64 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm almost the same size as you, and was having a tough time deciding between the 54 & 56 cm Cannondale Synapse. I gave both a good test ride, because I'm lucky enough to have a lovely LBS, and I felt a bit happier on the 54. I felt like a bit more nimble on it than the 56, which is what swung it for me.

I could have lived with 56 very happily, but the 54 was a bit better. Of course, Cannondale and BMC sizing differences could totally change that.

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Metjas [362 posts] 2 years ago
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As it is a serious investment, I'd suggest you try to take both sizes to a professional bike fitter (not Evans!) when you have the bikes for testing and see how both sizes work when adjusting saddle heights, stem length, etc. I believe you'll have more luck identifying the correct frame for you that way.

There's plenty of experience on this site when it comes to identifying a proper bike fitter where you live.

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tonyhogg [47 posts] 2 years ago
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Thanks for the advice, it's a shame evans don't provide some sort of fitting service, could really do with some expert guidance, North East based Durham.

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guyonabike [11 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm pretty much your height and I ride a BMC - how's that for a comparison?  1

I'm actually 5'11" 3/4 (6ft in shoes!) so about 1.5 inches extra, but my 32" inside leg matches. BMC provide full geometry data for all their bikes (linked below) so comparing is pretty easy!

My Bike: Granfondo GF02 - I ride a 56
http://www.bmc-racing.com/int-en/bikes/road/platform/endurance/granfondo...

The one you're looking at: Teammachine SLR01
http://www.bmc-racing.com/int-en/bikes/road/platform/altitude/teammachin...

There's not much between equivalent sizes of the two bikes - they have the same seat angle so yours and my seat and cranks should be in exactly the same position. After that the more 'racy' geometry of the Teammachine puts the bars a bit lower and further away (about 2cm further direct from saddle to stem clamp)

Given that I have about 4cm extra torso length and I'm riding a bike 2cm shorter by equivalent size I'd suggest the 54cm SLR01 would fit you better, but still definitely ride both before making a decision. Also make sure you get to play around with the stem position on both bikes (take allen keys out with you or get the shop guys to do it).

Otherwise... Good Luck!

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tonyhogg [47 posts] 2 years ago
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and I still don't know, it's driving me crazy!

http://www.bmc-racing.com/int-en/bikes/ ... /dura_ace/

put these measurements inseam: 32inches, trunk: 24.5, forearm 14, arm 26, thigh 23.5, lower leg 21, sternal notch 58, total height 70.5 in to this website http://www.competitivecyclist.com

confused about the seat tube height, its saying a size 56 suits me best but everything else is pointing towards a 54cm frame???

can someone else put there measurements in and see what it brings up for them please.

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Scoob_84 [375 posts] 2 years ago
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I've been was told that its best to go for the smaller size if you sit somewhere between two, as you can always knock the seat back and increase the stem length. And if that doesn't convince you, most pro's ride on undersized bikes as well!! (as if that helps)

I'd also head the advice of others by getting fitted. When i bought my supersix, I first went to evans to try the 54 and 56 frames. But the stems were stacked so high on both bikes the test rides were almost meaningless. The 56 felt like i was riding a boris bike so I ended up going for a 54. But now even over a year later doubts sometimes creep in over whether i bought the right bike! With the kind of money your about to spunk, you really don't want those doubts!

Fitting or buying from a good bike shop with a decent fitting service is expensive and I'm all aware of the temptation just to go off your own judgement/sizing charts and hope you get it 90% right!

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oozaveared [936 posts] 2 years ago
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Scoob_84 wrote:

I've been was told that its best to go for the smaller size if you sit somewhere between two, as you can always knock the seat back and increase the stem length. And if that doesn't convince you, most pro's ride on undersized bikes as well!! (as if that helps)

I'd also head the advice of others by getting fitted. When i bought my supersix, I first went to evans to try the 54 and 56 frames. But the stems were stacked so high on both bikes the test rides were almost meaningless. The 56 felt like i was riding a boris bike so I ended up going for a 54. But now even over a year later doubts sometimes creep in over whether i bought the right bike! With the kind of money your about to spunk, you really don't want those doubts!

Fitting or buying from a good bike shop with a decent fitting service is expensive and I'm all aware of the temptation just to go off your own judgement/sizing charts and hope you get it 90% right!

That's my advice as well and I confess to having learned that approach way back in the 70s. Basically you go with the smallest frame you can reasonable get away with. Why? Well it's common sense really.

Smaller is stiffer
Smaller is lighter
Smaller is more responsive

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oozaveared [936 posts] 2 years ago
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there is a point to a bike fit but the fact is that it is a real science not a £300 a go science.

Pros on fitted bikes that they have ridden for years have found that a wider saddle for example improves their outputs. That doesn't mean to say that you shouldn't have a bike fit. Just don't think it ends there.

Bike fit is a continual process not an event.

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movingtarget [144 posts] 2 years ago
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+1 for going for the smaller frame as you can always add spacers to the stem and adjust the angle of your handlebars/saddle but it's hard to cut back the top tube length if over time you develop upper back/neck pain from being stretched too far forward. Not saying that there aren't shops that can competently cut your carbon top tube down for a custom fit but it would void your warranty.

FWIW, I put in my measurements on the CC bike fit guide (love at company and buy stuff from them that my LBS doesn't stock--overall my LBS has better prices cuz they're also an online retailer too). They recommended the Eddy Merckx fit, less aggressive cockpit than the competitive racing fit used by the pros, which means going for a larger frame with a less acute seat tube angle for less back and neck extension when you're in the drops. This is of course, not what my current bike is at all. My Pinarello has a 46 cm seat tube length with a 51.5 cm top tube and while the cockpit is pretty aero and aggressive compared to many bikes, my old Kestrel was a 52 (hubby said it was 52 not 48) and while that would fall in line with CC's fit recommendations, the Kestrel was nowhere near as comfortable as the Pinarello and unpleasant beyond 70 miles.

Actual Inseam 31.5 In
Trunk 17.25 In
Forearm 13 In
Arm 25.75 In
Thigh 22 In
Lower Leg 19.5 In
Sternal Notch 52.5 In
Total Height 64 In

Top Tube Length 49 - 49.4 Cm
Seat Tube Range CC 53 - 53.5 Cm
Seat Tube Range CT 54.6 - 55.1 Cm
Stem Length 8.6 - 9.2 Cm
BB Saddle Position 68.3 - 70.3 Cm
Saddle Handlebar 46.9 - 47.5 Cm
Saddle Setback 5.7 - 6.1 Cm
Seatpost Type Not Setback

So, unless the 56 is massively more comfortable to ride than the 54 I'd personally opt for the 54 as a lot of people end up fine tuning their fit over time (riding style changes, you settle into the bike). That being said, you know your body and riding style best and need to do what you feel comfortable with  1

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Scoob_84 [375 posts] 2 years ago
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good advice there movingtarget. Never heard of that cc bike fit calculator, must try it over the weekend!

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Nick T [913 posts] 2 years ago
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Leg to torso ratio along with your total height is of utmost importance. I have my own fitting method that suits 98% of riders.

If you've long legs and short torso you need: a smaller frame for a top tube that's short enough to use a longer stem.

If you've short legs and long torso you need: a smaller frame for a head tube short enough to get decent aero position with your lower saddle relative to the bars.

If you're around 50/50 leg to torso you need: a smaller frame because it looks more pro.

It's still a bit over complicated I think. trying to streamline the method, always.

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tonyhogg [47 posts] 2 years ago
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Had my bg bike fit session yesterday, my Scott cr1 pro in 54cm now resembles a boris bike, stem has been flipped up, spacer removed, feels more comfortable now. My bike fit session showed I wasn't very flexible, couldn't touch my toes etc, so I would struggle with a large saddle to bar drop. Totally ruled out the bmc team machine it felt horrible in both a 54 and 56. Was told I'm more suited to a sportive type with a tall headtube bike not a race bike.

Pretty gutted, I'm looking at a bh ultralight in large now because that appears to have a massive headtube...the team machine just felt way too stretched out in 56 and really uncomfortable in 54 due to large saddle to bar drop

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drfabulous0 [409 posts] 2 years ago
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But that's silly, if you got a full on race bike you would get used to it and become more flexible through riding it. I have a sit up and beg ladies bike which is exceedingly comfortable, but that doesn't mean my race bike should be set up the same.

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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Perhaps time on your newly adapted bike, maybe a little yoga or other exercise aimed at increasing your flexibility, some very careful measuring of relative dimensions of your bike to the BMC and a second or third informed opinion might be wise before you write off all hope of getting what sounds like a pretty cool bike and buy a less desired alternative.

I know there's a difference between stoic perseverance and bloody minded refusal to admit a mistake, but as with new shoes, Brooks saddles, motorcycle race leathers and some if the more adventurous pages of the kama sutra, the body does adapt!

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movingtarget [144 posts] 2 years ago
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tonyhogg wrote:

My bike fit session showed I wasn't very flexible, couldn't touch my toes etc, so I would struggle with a large saddle to bar drop. Totally ruled out the bmc team machine it felt horrible in both a 54 and 56. Was told I'm more suited to a sportive type with a tall headtube bike not a race bike ... the team machine just felt way too stretched out in 56 and really uncomfortable in 54 due to large saddle to bar drop

Wow. I've got to say that I've never heard of that before. My husband is about as flexible as a 2x4 and I'm did competitive gymnastics for 14 years so I'm essentially a human pretzel and he's actually more comfortable on long rides than I am. My brother-in-law races competitively (he's Cat 2 or 3) and I know he can't touch his toes. Actually, I've never heard of anyone doing a flexibility test (touching your toes) as part of a bike fit. I'm only 5' 4" but my inseam is 31 1/2" so for me, the most important dimension on bike geometry is the TT and reach (long limbs but short torso) and I think that's fairly universal for most riders regardless of body type. You need to be able to comfortably reach the hoods and drops so as long as your legs aren't one foot long, the rest of the bike geometry is pretty standard and easily adjustable. TT length is pretty much set (unless you customize and cut your carbon TT tube down which can be done but voids your warranty) and reach can be adjusted by adding spacers to your stem, tilting your bars back or even switching out your bars (I switched my stock bars to 3T Ergonova which had a shorter reach and drop making me feel less stretched out on descents in the drops). Just a half centimeter here and there really makes a huge difference in terms of comfort.

That being said, I wonder if you might be more comfortable in either a bike with slightly less aggressive geometry like the Pinarello ROKH (based on the Dogma but slightly more upright and made for classics) or a smaller frame 52 with some spacers to push the stem forward so you don't feel scrunched but can benefit from a slightly shorter reach and TT or the 54 with a shorter stem which would make your seat to drops angle less acute? I guess what I'm saying is, don't cross the "classic" road bike off your list yet. It can take a lot of different test rides before you find the bike that fits your body and riding style but once you do it's a joy and even a bike that fits well initially can still benefit from some tweaks down the line as your riding style and needs change. The different companies have similar geometry but it's different enough for one man's Wilier to be another one's Masi. It might not hurt to talk to another bike fitter (hopefully someone on road.cc in the UK can steer you to someone they've had a good experience with) and chat with them about your fitting experience and what it felt like on the different frames to see if they can help steer you towards a bike you'll want to ride that's comfortable. They may even tell you the BMC is still in the running but needs a different frame size/tweaks or that your original fitting was just plain weird. No offense but from what you've said, it just sounds like the strangest fitting I've ever heard of. Thanks for following up. I always wonder what people end up doing when they post questions and weigh all the advice with personal experience.

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tonyhogg [47 posts] 2 years ago
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Maybe I've got too familiar riding the wrong size frame for me, briefly tried a bh ultralight in 57cm and it felt great, I'm also looking at a bianchi infinito cv, I'm even more confused now, most people I speak to ask my height and inside leg and instantly reply back LARGE! Definitely LARGE! 56 or 57. Without a doubt I'll be trying any new bike I buy first.

I may try another fitting, there's a shop local to me doing a new apex fit session which seems to be one of those bike jig things which may help determine my freaky weird size, I'll give my boris bike setup a try in the meantime  2 looks like something an 80 year old would ride not a 30 year old with grand ambitions FFS

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David Arthur @d... [672 posts] 2 years ago
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Tony, get yourself a bike fit! Then you'll know what size bike you'll be best on and won't be stabbing in the dark at different brand frame sizes

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Nixster [286 posts] 2 years ago
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Hang on a minute, you had a bike fit and it established that you needed a relatively tall head tube. Seems to me that if you really want to buy a new bike this is the busiest sector of the bike market currently, so masses of options and no need to feel unhappy on that count.

If on the other hand you really want a 'race bike' i.e. long and low, why not stick with the Scott and stretch those hamstrings until you can build the flexibility to change to a bike with that geo?

What you didn't say was why you want to change. From memory the CR1 has an 'intermediate' head tube length so would seem to work with you trying to get lower on the front end over time? Nice light bikes too and fairly comfortable according to the reviews. I nearly bought one, they look smart with the red highlights and matte finish depending on model year!  3

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notfastenough [3665 posts] 2 years ago
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I'd suggest the following:

Continue to refine your current position, messing with spacers, tape measure etc until you are confident you have the correct position.

Measure the stack and reach, see here if you're not familiar with the concept:
http://www.cervelo.com/en/engineering/thinking-and-processes/geometry-an...
(Make sure to also measure your 'effective' stack by taking into account the distance from the top of the head tube to the stem clamp.)

Once you know the stack and reach that are ideal for you, start looking at the geometries of different frames to find which models suit you. Not all manufacturers state stack and reach, in which case you can either Google it to see if anyone else such as a magazine has bothered to measure that particular model, employ some trigonometry skills, or just see the head tube length to get a rough idea.

Don't worry about ending up with some sit-up-and-beg thing, I need a tall head tube as well, and was looking at the Cervelo R-series (which I would have bought if the R3 wasn't as rare as hens teeth at the time) and the Trek Madone. There are plenty of others which are also quick and agile. In fact, have a read of this which I wrote at the time:

http://road.cc/content/forum/89467-new-bike-purchased

I ended up using a geometry diagram in Microsoft Visio and overlaying the positions of different frames to help me see the differences (just use the stack and reach as xy co-ords from a constant bottom bracket point) - slightly geeky, but works really well.

Don't worry about missing out on the BMC, have fun finding something that you will really get on with.

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Sniffer [272 posts] 2 years ago
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When I first started road cycling I bought a bike on the internet and made a guess at size. I probably wouldn't recommend that strategy to anyone else. After lots of humming and hawing and a few years clycling I finally went for a proper bike fit (it used the Retul system that Sam Shaw reviewed on this site, same place actually). It also involved a flexibility test - I am apparently average.

The good news, my existing bike was OK for size, but I did have a few changes that have improved my comfort. You just don't know what you don't know.

One of the most interesting features was getting a view on my optimal stack (560) and reach (395). When I next buy a bike I can see what is likely to work for me and this will help to narrow the search. It turns out that I have a proportionately slightly longer torso and shorter legs. I had assumed that as a plus 40 year old rider, who does the odd sportive, that the ever expanding range of endurance bikes might be a good option for me. After the fit I can see they don't.

Tony, in the real world you will be faster and happier with the geometry that suits you rather than a racier bike that doesn't

Good luck with the search.

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Sniffer [272 posts] 2 years ago
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When I first started road cycling I bought a bike on the internet and made a guess at size. I probably wouldn't recommend that strategy to anyone else. After lots of humming and hawing and a few years clycling I finally went for a proper bike fit (it used the Retul system that Sam Shaw reviewed on this site, same place actually). It also involved a flexibility test - I am apparently average.

The good news, my existing bike was OK for size, but I did have a few changes that have improved my comfort. You just don't know what you don't know.

One of the most interesting features was getting a view on my optimal stack (560) and reach (395). When I next buy a bike I can see what is likely to work for me and this will help to narrow the search. It turns out that I have a proportionately slightly longer torso and shorter legs. I had assumed that as a plus 40 year old rider, who does the odd sportive, that the ever expanding range of endurance bikes might be a good option for me. After the fit I can see they don't.

Tony, in the real world you will be faster and happier with the geometry that suits you rather than a racier bike that doesn't

Good luck with the search.

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notfastenough [3665 posts] 2 years ago
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Yum, spam.

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Grizzerly [280 posts] 2 years ago
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The important starting point is to get the relative positions of the saddle & bottom bracket right. Otherwise you will knacker your knees (and nobody wants knackered knees, do they?). All the other variables can be taken from there. If you are 6ft & 10 stone, you ideal position on the bike will be different from that required if you are 6ft & 14 stone.

Good rule of thumb on saddle height/bottom bracket position:
111% of inside leg measurement = overall distance from pedal to saddle (ie. crank length + seat tube length + seat post). Then ensure that the pedal axle is never in front of the knee joint pivot point.

BTW beware of BS!!

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tonyhogg [47 posts] 2 years ago
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Quick update, had a second bike fit, I'm definitely a medium frame size, stem was flipped back the normal way, still really keen on the bmc team machine with dura ace mechanical, no other bike comes close to ticking all the boxes, 2nd choice bianchi infinito cv with di2 55cm, bh ultralight with di2 54cm, maybe cipollini bond (I could never decide on build) thoughts and opinions on geometries would be greatly appreciated.

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tonyhogg [47 posts] 2 years ago
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David Arthur @d... [672 posts] 2 years ago
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tonyhogg wrote:

Quick update, had a second bike fit, I'm definitely a medium frame size, stem was flipped back the normal way, still really keen on the bmc team machine with dura ace mechanical, no other bike comes close to ticking all the boxes, 2nd choice bianchi infinito cv with di2 55cm, bh ultralight with di2 54cm, maybe cipollini bond (I could never decide on build) thoughts and opinions on geometries would be greatly appreciated.

First, I think you need to narrow down your choice a bit. A BMC TeamMachine isn't really comparable to a Bianchi Infinito CV, they're quite different bikes - it would be fairer to compare the Bianchi Oltre XR2 as that's a very similar pitch to the TeamMachine

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movingtarget [144 posts] 2 years ago
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Sorry to break this to you, but the way your fitter measures reach is different than how BMC does it in their geometry (many brands do their measurements differently using different endpoints so it can be frustrating to say the least) as you can see on the geometry link for the TeamMachine http://www.bmc-racing.com/int-en/bikes/road/platform/altitude/teammachin...

It might be easier to go by how the ride feels on the different bikes although you could also re-do your fit measurements based on how Bianchi and BMC do their geometry to see if the numbers come close but nothing trumps personal feel and handling IMO. Out of curiosity, why the Infinito instead of the Oltre or a different Bianchi model? Was it based on how it felt, how it handled, or ...?

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