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I posted this in another thread, however I suspect it has been burried (quite rightly) by the original intention of that thread. So I will ask again:-

I see many references to 'full race geometry', however I am a little unsure what is meant by this - excuse my ignorance. I have compared the geometry of a Cannondale 56 Synapse and Cannondale 56 CAAD8 and can see very little difference (.5cm on some specs at most). My understanding is that the CAAD8 is more a racing frame. What is meant by 'full race geometry'?
 

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First off, don't underestimate the importance of a half a degree in tube angle or a half a centimeter in tube length. A little can mean a lot in frame design. As for "full race," it is ultimately pretty much BS, but it usually implies that the head tube and seat tube angles are slightly more vertical, and the wheelbase is slightly shorter, than quote-unquote non-full race geometry. What this does, at least in the general wisdom, is make the bicycle more rigid, quicker handling, and less comfortable to ride.
 

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Marketing baloney. It generally means that it rides harshly and lacks any versatility. You won't be able to attach fenders or racks nor will you be able to use fatter tires. If you race, that might be fine, but what do you do when you stop racing or decide to do a tour?

I've done technical support for a few local rides, including one of the week-long cross-state rides. It's absolutely comical to see large numbers of 50-somethings and 60-somethings riding Trek 5900s and Madones. Here is what I typically saw on these bikes: steerer extensions with high rise stems, hose clamps to hold on racks, Rolf/Bontrager wheels so out of true that the tires rubbed the frame and fork, and riders complaining of pain.

Unfortunately, they bought what they thought was the "best" bike (i.e. what Lance rides) but was terrible for their intended use. Maybe the "full-race" bike meets your current needs, but making it more comfortable and versatile doesn't decrease its race-worthiness. A perfect example is the Specialized Roubaix. It was originally intended to be a high-tech performance bike for non-racers. So, it had a bit longer wheelbase, a more upright riding position, and would accept fatter tires. Lo and behold, half of their sponsored pro team chose to ride this bike over their "full-race" bike for the entire season (not just Paris-Roubaix).
 

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race geometry used to mean steep head and seat tube angles = faster, quicker handling bike in theory. Most current racing bikes have shallower than 74 degree ST angles - so now that term really doesn't mean anything.

If someone were talking about their bike being "full race geometry" they would most likely be a complete chump
 
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