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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am starting to think it is time for a new road bike.
I am tall guy. I need something that looks good and has some aero potential. I am starting to notice area bars and integrated stems on the bikes of other taller riders.

I am about 6'3". I present very tall on the bike compared to some of the cat 4 crazies. They generate the same watts but go faster.

Which bike are people looking as the goto bike of today? I figure that I might as well have internal cable routing and a slammed stem or straight out stem. On the bike with 50,000+ I have a flipped up stem and exposed cables. The drop is about 2".

thanks in advance for ideas.

bill
 

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You can't buy speed.

"Aero" is over-rated and will not make up the differences in fitness between riders. The main reason for "getting aero" is not for getting aero, but because as you ride harder, your back and glute muscles are recruited and the only way to engage them is to bend over more.

If you really think it's important, flip that stem. And oh, by the way, slammed stems are just more Kool-Aid for the masses to drink.

Regarding your implying that your height is detrimental to your speed and you "present very tall on the bike": Taller riders are typically more efficient on the flats because muscle mass increases more than surface area as a rider gets taller. That's not something I invented but read in a cycling book somewhere but the source escapes me right now. However as for practical evidence, witness the taller Dutch riders, used to their windy home country, handing the smaller riders their butts in the brutal winds of the classics in their country.

As for your 2" drop: that's not much considering your height. And more is not necessarily better. Typically, taller riders will have proportionately more drop because they have longer arms. But remember; the more drop you have, the more you have to crane your neck to comfortably see down the road, and that can be tiring on long rides.

As a point of reference, I'm 5'6" and I run 8cm of drop.

I don't know what kind of bike you're riding or what your position/setup is, but assuming the bike is sized correctly, you could probably achieve a lower position if you must, by merely moving spacers around or at the most, replacing the stem with a lower rise version, with a significant cost savings.

Sorry for the tough love, but it hurts less than the disappointment of a new bike doing nothing to make you faster.
 

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Doc, if you hang around pickup basketball and volleyball games around where I live, you may look average height or even shorter than average.

197cm is about 6'-5.6"

 

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Don't buy into the marketing non-sense would be my advice too. Buy a new bike if the old one isn't meeting a mission such as gravel or the fit isn't working for you. Of course if you are bored and simply want a new bike for the sake of buying a new bike then don't justify it and simply do it.
 

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Off the top of my head some of the more integrated front ends are on the Specialized Venge Vias, Canyon Ultimate, Look 795 Aerolight, Trek Madone, Scott Foil, Felt AR is close but, not as integrated.

If you are looking for speed you will be disappointed. I really think the marketing of these bikes has done a masterful job at making us think we will magically be noticeably faster. It's just not true ime/o. With that said, all these refinements make small differences and if a new bike stokes your stoke then why not? I buy stuff all the time knowing it won't make me faster but, I like the way it looks or feels. So, good luck!
 

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What are you riding at the moment? What are the stem, bars and cranks? I see you were looking at the Fuji line of bikes, did you get one? What swap outs did you do from the stock bike to make it fit you? . How do you know the others are producing the same watts? I would before buying anything get my fitting on the bike checked by a trained bike fitter. Preferably one not affiliated to a bike shop. You have ridden for decades and you probably know this but young cyclists can go faster than old cyclists. At this stage of your cycling life I doubt that an aero bike will reap you much more speed. A bike fit will cost a few C notes, take a few hours and include a follow up session. this bloke looks good (Bike Fitting « thecyclingpt.com ) but ask for or search for testimonials.
Things to avoid IMHO, anyone that uses KOPS as a core base measurement, has no experience with taller riders and recommends a bike brand/model over geometry.
I understand the emotion of wanting a new bike but you may be throwing good money after bad if you aren't in the right position. Have you read Zinn's writings about taller riders?
Technical FAQ with Lennard Zinn: Why tall bikes often handle poorly | VeloNews.com
scroll down for some really pertinent pointers. Good luck. Let us know how your search is going.
 

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Tall riders tend to do well with custom. Bike companies tend to design around a hypothetical 52 cm frame. The more one deviates from that base line the more custom makes sense. I know several riders above six feet that went Seven Cycles and couldn't be happier.
 

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I think Alex Simmons would have something interesting to say about "not going to be able to buy speed"; there's a good post of his about how slower riders are those benefitting more from aero improvements.

Anyways, 2 inches of drop isn't a lot, you may gain more through working on your core strength, and flexibility, and that in turn may have positive effects on your aero drag. You won't be able to tell, though, unless you have a power meter and know how to use it effectively (Aerolab/Chung Method), or go to a wind tunnel.

My understanding is that, as far as regular road bikes go, the frame itself doesn't sit very high in the priority list, and you're not likely to be still riding round tubes. Position and wheels are way more important. With wheels, design is critical and its quality can be hard to quantify: some aero-looking wheels from Mavic are known to be mediocre performers. And what happens as wind conditions, yaw included, change?

The tires and tubes may also make a significant difference (there's a former Zipp engineer, whose name I forget, who basically argued latex tubes are free power).

If you ride on flat terrain mostly, aero bars and a slight change of position can make a major difference. Not going to be allowed in a group ride or race though.

Integrated cockpits AFAIK are the nightmare of fitters and the wet dream of marketers: no longer you will be able to play with stems for a change in position - you'll have to buy a whole new bar+stem combination.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've told this to people. Most don't believe me. Here in Mass...many men are only at 5'7.

The old bike is becoming aged. Why not have something that has a great fit when buying new. I think that Peter P missed the reason for my question.

I am looking for that something that fits well. If there is no need to have a flipped up stem, then why am I going to buy a new bike with a flipped up stem? Give me a break.
 

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The old bike is becoming aged. Why not have something that has a great fit when buying new. I think that Peter P missed the reason for my question.

I am looking for that something that fits well. If there is no need to have a flipped up stem, then why am I going to buy a new bike with a flipped up stem? Give me a break.
A flipped up stem does not mean the bike does not fit well. (If I recall, Floyd Landis rode a bike with a flipped up stem to a Tour de France victory. A drug assisted victory for sure, but with a flipped up stem!) We all fall in love with that low, rakish, racy-looking low-rise stem but if it's necessary to flip it up in conjunction with a properly sized frame then do it. As you're pedaling away from riders suffering on your wheel, I can assure you their primary thought isn't going to be "his bike looks dorky".

Sounds like your issue is more about how you fit on your current bike, and you question the necessity of the flipped up stem to get the position you want/need. Pics of the bike, and perhaps you on it, would help the forumites offer more useful suggestions.

It's not clear to me from your original post why you have the flipped up stem
 

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I am looking for that something that fits well. If there is no need to have a flipped up stem, then why am I going to buy a new bike with a flipped up stem? Give me a break.
I can't speak for you but if an unflipped stem on a bike is what fit me the reason I would buy one with a flipped up stem would be that I know stems can be turned over in about 60 seconds.
I wouldn't select a bike by how the mechanic or factory happened to set it up.

You're putting the cart before the horse. You need to determine your fit then worry about which stem will give you that. On some bikes that will mean flipped up on some it will mean flipped down and that may not necessarily be the stem that the bike is sold with.
 

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However as for practical evidence, witness the taller Dutch riders, used to their windy home country, handing the smaller riders their butts in the brutal winds of the classics in their country.

Interesting point. Though to go off on a bit of a tangent, I have to say it appears my more upright position is a detriment in headwinds. On group rides, I toast others on hills more often than not. However, on long flat sections, riders pull away from me - especially when there are headwinds. I ride a more upright position )due to neck issues) and use a 40 degree 120mm stem.

But back to the original topics. Doc, if you really want to get down lower, flipping down the stem is certainly a lot cheaper than a new bike. And let's touch on a topic nobody has commented on yet. Why are internally routed cables important to you? I can tell you that when it comes time to change your cables, internal cables are a royal pain in the arse. Sooner or later, cables will need changing. External cables are a breeze to change, internal cables require more than twice as much time and a sailor's vocabulary. Bike shops will charge more for this job if you have it done there.

Internal cables may look nicer, but my next bike will definitely NOT have these!
 

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Aero frames, bars etc... meaningless stuff IMO. If you want to get more aero, first work on position and then get tighter clothing.

Slamming stems is a personal preference thing. If it works for you, great. If not, there's nothing wrong with minimal saddle-to-bar drop.

Internal cables are a pain to install. Also, some designs rattle and some designs are prone to high friction. I avoid them. External encourages frequent replacement of cables (one of the best dollars/improvement bike upgrades there is), works better and is problem free.
 
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