Gravel bike with a long’ish head tube
I’m after a new road/gravel frame to move all the stuff off my GT Grade. I’ve got a neck/shoulder issue that isn’t been helped by the saddle to bar drop on my current bikes and whilst I’ve sorted my MTB, even with a high rise stem I can’t get the position I need on the road bike. Ideally I’d like the tops of the bar level with the saddle.
I’ve looked at both the space chicken and Bokeh but they both seem quite racey in position. So, high bar position, decent weight and looks cool – any ideas?Posted 9 months ago
I was examining a Kona Libre that a mate of mine was riding today and the head tube on that was obnoxiously long. A good couple of inches longer than mine on a similar sized bike.Posted 9 months ago
The new PX Free Ranger is longer in HT compared to SpChPosted 9 months ago
Enigma Escape has a long head tube, but then so do Grades.Posted 9 months ago
Bokeh is indeed v low at the front.
See – that’s what I was afraid of with the Bokeh. Looks mint but maybe too low. I’ve also looked at both the Kona and fairlight and they’re lovely things but just a bit burly for what I need. I’ve always got the option of an even higher stem and loads of spacers but they look a right bastard!Posted 9 months ago
Fairlight Secan doesn’t have to be particularly burly. Pretty light for a steel frame – build it the easy you want.Posted 9 months ago
Litespeed T5G.Posted 9 months ago
Sonder Camino?Posted 9 months ago
genesis equlibrium has a long headtube but not great tyre clearance 35 rear 30 front
giant anyroad has a long headtube as wellPosted 9 months ago
Merida SilexPosted 9 months ago
Get the fairlight strael 2 then as it’ll do light gravel duties easily.Posted 9 months ago
Spesh DivergePosted 9 months ago
I think the Arkose is quite tall. Certainly taller than any Genesis. When my back stiffened I still needed a silly stem. But like who cares. It’s hardly a zimmer frame. I’d rather being riding than notPosted 9 months ago
Second (third?) on the Fairlight Secan. I wouldn’t describe it as burly at all; mine is under a kilo more than the road bike, without any attempt to lighten it up.Posted 9 months ago
what about those spesh(?) drop bars with the built in rise ?Posted 9 months ago
I have a 5cm Carbon spacer below the stem on my, er, gravel bike (still seems an odd term for UK use).Posted 9 months ago
The Tripster had a long head tube from what I can remember of my Mk 1 version, much linger than the Bokeh that replaced it.
Not sure if the later modeas are the same though.Posted 9 months ago
Ribble CGRPosted 9 months ago
what about those spesh(?) drop bars with the built in rise ?
Spot on, although Controltech do similar bars with an additional 5mm, e.g. 20mm total.
OP I’m surprised you’re struggling to be honest, I run bars level with saddle too, my new Kinesis CX1 has quite a racey headtube length but I’ve used a 25mm Ambrosio Carbon cone spacer, 25mm of normal spacers, a 12 degree stem and some Controltech +20mm bars to get the right height. Not pretty butva necessary evil (I bought a CX1 for other reasons, despite the headtube).
Most dedicated gravel frames should be 3cm taller than the CX1 so you could reduce the spacer count a bit!Posted 9 months ago
I’ve got the Libre. Thing to watch with the head tube is the big jump at the top. The head tube on the 55cm is much longer than the 54cm and those sizes don’t really map to road bikes (think L and XL).
I know what you mean about burly, but the frame is light so you could build it lighter. If you go for something less burly and more racy it is going to tend to have a lower front end too.
I can confirm that the Libre is super comfy for an old fart like me. By far the most comfortable road bike I’ve ever owned.Posted 9 months ago
Tripster or tripster ATR, or get Shand to make your very own.Posted 9 months ago
Looks that only a mother or someone with chronic low back problems could love…
Specialized 12 degree stem not pictured, they have a really neat internal shim for adjusting stem angle, just haven’t decided what length I need yet.Posted 9 months ago
Remember that our a number of riser flared bars now, so you can get bars with a 20mm rise which help the bike look a bit more balanced and not have a ton of spacers under stem, i used a stem with 10 degree rise and riser bar and looks much better than 30mm of spacersPosted 9 months ago
You need to be looking at stack height.
Its not just head tube length, its also fork length and internal or external headset, plus how much the bottom bracket drop is below the wheel axis that defines your height relative to the bars.
You need to be at around 650mm, otherwise your reliant on headset spacers, flipped up high rise stems and bars that go up from the stem which have just come out.
In my wanderings (I’ve a bulging disc) getting a high stack height is the difference between having a back ache the next day and not on a lower front end.
As a pure road bike, I found the Specialized Roubaix carbon had about the highest stack I could find. The big carbon tubes and head area disguise it, but on a 58/ 5’11” bars are level with the stem upward.
For the gravel bike, a Salsa Fargo gets you high. Its 29er derived, so its got a 480 carbon fork (unlike a road 390 fork), so you’re 4 inches higher before even looking at the head tube. Stack height is 671mm on the large with 38 reach. You can put more comfortable tyres and a 100mm fork on it to take stress off your shoulders and back. If you’ve got the cash the titanium Fargo has the most comfortable frame. The CutThroat is the carbon version, but supposed to be stiffer and its slightly shorter in the head tube, so would be less good for you.
Add a Thudbuster, a Brooks Imperial, some thick squidgy bar tape, a SID 100 and a decent spread of gears and it’s like riding along on a Chesterfield. Any tyres fit the new framesets. Any. Older non boost bikes take a 29 x 2.4 rear and upto 29 x 3 front on the Firestarter fork, if you want to go bigger than a typical gravel tyre – not just knobblies, Schwalbe do some larger light road tyres like 2.25 G-Ones for max cush.
If you still get trouble, don’t discount an offroad trike just because they’re a bit out there. They’re alot of fun (remember go-carts). You’re completely lying down, and when you stop to admire the view, its like you’ve brought along your own deck chair. It’s surprisingly civilised. I had a go on Dad’s Ice Trike and liked it.Posted 9 months ago
I haven’t had the chance to try mine back to back but I’m betting my Cutthroat will be twangier than my Fargo. In fairness my Fargo does have steel forks but even so….Posted 9 months ago
Thanks for all the replies folks
Looks like I need to do a bit more research. The issue I have is that I’ve freakishly long legs and short torso which makes for a high saddle – hence the saddle to bar drop. I’ve always run a crazy long post and slammed bar (and I’m now paying the price) which means most frames I have now are no good.
Will have a look at the riser drop bars – yes they look a bit of a bastard but i can’t ride much at all at the moment so anything that helps…Posted 9 months ago
Cube Nuroad variants look quite similar geo to my Attain GTC Pro Disc, in 58cm frame I have…
Stack 609 vs 610mm
Reach 389 vs 388mm
If you want to convert what you’ve got, if you buy a new set of carbon road forks that takes a wider front tyre at least, it will also have a full length uncut steerer tube. You can then put more spacers on, below a high rise (4 axis Ritchey 30 degree) stem then the riser road bars. While your only supposed to put 35mm spacers on steerers I think, I’ve never had a problem with more. When you’ve cut one off, you realise how ‘kin tough they are. Forks are pretty cheap. The whole lot is probably £200. The higher rise stem will finish a smidge closer to you, so you might need an extra 1cm on it, to keep the same saddle to bar measurement. How long are you cranks? A few mm on the crank length will drop you down a smidge to the bar height!
A pilates video (Karen Voight), good Chiropracter, glucosamine/ chondroitin sulphate/ hyaluronic acid & Vit D supp help me (beside Ibuprofen). Trouble is keeping taking/ doing it all when you better. You have to start paying in now your back/ neck/ shoulder bank balance is at zero/ in the red and get back in the black for your cycling vibration and posture withdrawls. You’ve used up your starting credits.Posted 9 months ago
Thanks Milford – I’ll start looking into those treatments too. They’re currently talking about nerve blockers which is fairly scary
I’ve just spoken to Dom at Mason who despite it being Monday at 10 to 5, spent the time talking me through the Bokeh and ISO. Long story short I’m going for a spin on a 60 Bokeh to see how I get on.Posted 9 months ago
I cant answer your question but interested in the replies because, similar to one post above, I have long legs compared with my arm length so saddle ends up very high compared to bars.Posted 9 months ago
My Planet X Full Monty SL is the same bar height as my sons medium GT alu. It has about 15mm more spacers, but is 650b 42mm slicks compared to his 700c 35mm Marathons. It is also fairly short on the c2c, more like a medium. And light.
If that doesnt float your boat I would second the Nuroad, if it’s anything like the GTC pro discs it will have a high stack height.Posted 9 months ago
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