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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Top-tier carbon race bikes with head tube longer than 18 CM in size 56?

I recently injured my back resulting in two protruding & torn discs. I love the performance of my Cannondale Supersix but I'm no longer comfortable with my current positioning on it. It has a 15.5 CM head tube and I cut the steering tube down to just 10mm before my injury but that's uncomfortable for me now. I did some test fitting on my touring bike and found that even if I bought a new fork for my Supersix and used the 2.5 CM extension (for 18 CM effective head tube) I'd still need to add a few spacers to get comfortable. I want a light & stiff carbon bike with race handling so I'm not interested in endurance bikes with taller head tubes. The Cannondale Synapse (their endurance bike) is too relaxed for me. Are there any non-custom, quality carbon, rim-brake race bikes, (not endurance bikes) with a head tube longer than 18 CM in size 56? I want to know if there are any off-the-shelf options before I go custom.

My Supersix geo: http://www.cannondale.com/en/USA/Bi...parentid=9e0382fc-e3f9-4c61-9599-3aafb7a863b4
 

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Your Evo is a 56 then?

BMC's Gran Fondo's have a pretty long head tube. The 56 HT is 17.7cm. The 58 is 19.6 (these bikes fit small because of the sloping TT - I ride a 61, but my size in most bikes is 58-60)

The GF-01 is disc brakes. If you prefer rim brakes, you can go GF-02.
granfondo GF01 Disc Ultegra ? road ? BMC Switzerland

Size - HT Length
48 - 125mm
51 - 143mm
54 - 159mm
56 - 177mm
58 - 196mm
61 - 220mm
 

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I don't know whether you'd dismiss it as an "endurance bike" - I find the category pretty meaningless - but the 56cm Felt Z Series bikes have a 180mm head tube. I believe the Argos riders in the 2013 TdF used both F and Z Series frames depending on the stage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Your Evo is a 56 then?
Yep, size 56, edited my original post to include that.

I don't know whether you'd dismiss it as an "endurance bike" - I find the category pretty meaningless.
Yeah, I know that term means different things to different people, but what I'm looking for is a bike that makes no sacrifice in handling & weight for comfort. So bikes like Cannondale's Synapse, Trek's Domane, Specialized's Roubaix, BMC Gran Fondo and the Felt Z series fall into the category I'm trying to avoid. They may be raced, but only on cobbled or dirt races/stages.

I know I've read bike reviews in the past where the reviewer has lamented the tall head tubes preventing them from getting into their preferred racey positions, but I've read so many over the years I can't think of what they are off the top of my head.
 

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I know I've read bike reviews in the past where the reviewer has lamented the tall head tubes preventing them from getting into their preferred racey positions, but I've read so many over the years I can't think of what they are off the top of my head.
The tallest race bike is the Cervelo whatever. Anything but the S5 has their old geometry but it's not what you're after, it's not enough, nothing will be.

You're either on an endurance frame now or you're running a ton of spacers, you decide. I would pick the BMC if I were you seeing how I already have.

I have the Cervelo R5 I speak of and also the BMC spoke of here, I also have a Tarmac and another race bike. I can tell you with flat out honesty that the BMC and Cervelo do not lack anything in performance. I have to run slammed severe negative angle stems on them but I don't mind, it's not a penalty in any way to me. They ride and handle great.

For normal riding I'd much rather have the front end of the BMC vs. the Cervelo, I prefer the slacker angle so I can descend faster.
 

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The Felt Z weighs the same as the Felt F. Whether it handles as well, only you can say... I can't ride an F for 2+ hours without killing my back (I'm 51). Good luck whatever you go with.
 

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A race bike with a taller head tube IS an endurance bike according to some so you're kind of asking for the mutually exclusive according to some marketing departments. Don't get hung up on marketing terms though. Many "endurance bikes" have been raced by the fastest road riders in the world so it doesn't make much sense for a weekend warrior to think they're not race bikes.

Anyway, check out Parlee's offerings. Obviously a custom will work but their stock offerings are available with taller head tubes. Although they use some sort of spacer thing now.
 

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fueledbymetal-if this is low back related or mid back related just because you ruptured a couple discs doesn't mean you need to go through all this. Sitting more upright might be a bad thing long term.

Address the real problem which is probably weak core exacerbated by wrong fit (to the correct size frame).
 

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fueledbymetal-if this is low back related or mid back related just because you ruptured a couple discs doesn't mean you need to go through all this. Sitting more upright might be a bad thing long term.

Address the real problem which is probably weak core exacerbated by wrong fit (to the correct size frame).
Not all lower back problems are created equal.

This is my situation. It's not fun, but sitting on the bike actually relieves this pressure.



Not everyone is so lucky. Different conditions, different symptoms, different relief and treatment.
 

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Not all lower back problems are created equal.

This is my situation. It's not fun, but sitting on the bike actually relieves this pressure.

Not everyone is so lucky. Different conditions, different symptoms, different relief and treatment.
I am not sure what the condition really is but I wish you a full and quick recovery if possible.
 

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A race bike with a taller head tube IS an endurance bike according to some so you're kind of asking for the mutually exclusive according to some marketing departments. Don't get hung up on marketing terms though. Many "endurance bikes" have been raced by the fastest road riders in the world so it doesn't make much sense for a weekend warrior to think they're not race bikes.
I agree with Jay. What you need is exactly what they are now selling as "endurance" frames/bikes.

Don't dismiss all endurance frames as being unrace-worthy - they make S-Works Roubaix's, SLR versions of the Domane, Hi-Mod Synapses, etc. A lot of guy & gals I ride with choose these as their all-around bike now.

Worst case scenario, pick one up used and give it a try for a while during your recovery.
 

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It almost sounds like you're looking for the features of an "endurance" bike without the stigma? Or is there something in the angles, chain stay length, etc. of a "race" bike that you prefer to an "endurance" bike? Because it can't be the weight or stiffness- top quality examples in each category won't have meaningful frame/fork differences in weight or stiffness. So it must be geometry, which you can figure out yourself by comparing geometry charts online and see if you can find what you want.

You might be surprised what you find when you look at those geometry charts. My Felt Z has the same STA and HTA as my previous Cannondale CAAD frame, is lighter and just as stiff (to my reckoning) and the only difference I can see is a slightly longer chain stay length which might not be great for a criterium, but I'll tell you, it's much easier to push 50 mph downhill on the Z than the CAAD - for me at least. I go faster over 3+ hours for sure because I don't get tired from an uncomfortable position and/or ride.

On the other hand you can certainly get the handlebars up quite a ways on a "real race" bike if you want by not cutting the fork, using maximum allowed spacers and a high angled stem...

A friend of mine has a Super 6 and has had to put a high angled stem on it to get it up where he wants it to be and other than style points, seems to be very happy with it. (by the way, I've never heard any of our riding friends give a second thought to the appearance of the high angled stem.

Have you considered that?
 

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Stack and Reach
I used "stack and reach" from the bike's Geometry charts to compare some new bikes with my previous bike. I get a good idea of how each frame will affect stem length (via reach) and steerer spacers (via stack).

(Higher bars will somewhat affect stem length, since the rider isn't leaning forward quite as far.)



Your 56cm Supersix is stack 56.7, reach 39.3 cm.

A 56cm Cannondale Synapse carbon is stack 59.0, 38.6 cm.

BMC GF02 in 56cm: stack 58.0 reach 38.4 cm.

Wheelbase
Chainstay length, from bottom bracket to axle, are all similar, with the Supersix 56 around 406mm and the Infinito 57 at 411mm, and the GF02 at 412mm. The Synapse is somewhere near 413mm. So these aren't long wheelbase touring bikes at all.
~~~~~

Bianchi Infinito
55cm stack 56.7, reach 38.1
57cm stack 58.3, reach 38.6

My Infinito CV has what I thought was a taller head tube than "race" bikes. But it's not all that different than your Supersix.

Compared to your Supersix, the 57cm Infinito has a 16mm taller stack, and 7 mm shorter reach. That's 1.5 10-mm spacers taller, and less than 10mm in stem length.

The frame feels stiff to me, making for precise handling. The road buzz vibration canceling works, and I think it helps to keep the bike stable on very rough surfaced turns. (And there's even room for 28c tires if you ride long days on rough roads.)

Worth a test ride.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Max spacers
I think most carbon steerers recommend no more than 40mm of spacers. (I thought some were 30mm max?)

That's 4 10-mm spacers.
 

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Back pain

Are you wanting to sit up a little higher?

And a shorter stem? But I've seen multiple riders posting with back trouble that found relief with a more stretched out position. I wouldn't have guessed to try that. I suppose it helps straighten their back?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks all for the feedback! I'm considering all options (moving up a size for a taller head tube, adding spacers & flipping stems) I just wanted to focus this thread on finding out if there are any race bike I should consider besides my Supersixes. I specifically DON'T want an endurance frame because I have never read a review of one that hasn't referenced some degree of drivetrain response sacrificed for comfort and/or a handling bias towards stability. I don't want to sacrifice pedal responsiveness or fast, sharp handling - I'll go custom first if I need to. I ride over 11k miles a year, am competitive and have a very discerning expectation & taste for bikes - every nuance counts to me.
 

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Back pain

Are you wanting to sit up a little higher?

And a shorter stem? But I've seen multiple riders posting with back trouble that found relief with a more stretched out position. I wouldn't have guessed to try that. I suppose it helps straighten their back?
Longer reach helps with neutral back position which is achieved via the pelvis position:

Line Line art Artwork Illustration Drawing
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks all - I settled on a size 58 Trek Emonda with the H2 geometry :)
 
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