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How to find the perfect reach of your bike

Nowadays as the bike market is widespread in many countries, it is easy to find great offers on bikes online.

There are many advertisings online campaign aiming at explaining the benefits of cycling on humans and the main features different bikes have. However sometimes consumers are unaware of the real size the bike they want to buy must be and once purchased they feel unsatisfied. In particular on of the most important part of bike whose measure must be accurate for a guaranteeing a smooth ride is the length of reach.

How to find the perfect reach of your bike

In order to know the most appropriate reach measure, a reach test is needed as it is on of the most precise way to be sure how will be the most appropriate length of the stem.  The reach test can be divided into two parts:  the mummy tests, and the ski jump test. This test consists in measuring the reach from the bottom bracket up to the heat tube.

In order to perform the ski jump test in the most appropriate way, it is required to sit on the saddle with hands out who fall forward. It is necessary to let the top of the hood hit your hand. If it will hit the heel of your hand, it means that it reaches it well. If it hits the palm of the hand, it means it is still acceptable but if it hits the fingers, it clearly means that your bait could be too long.

The ski jump test is widely used by riders, it consists in performing the following movements.

It is necessary to sit on the bike, setting up with hands back and come forward to a position in which you feel controlled and see how flexible you are.  If the outcomes of these 2 tests are not as expected, meaning that the reach of your bike is not the most suitable one for you. If the bike feels a bit too long for you, it can not get the heel of your hand near the hoods in fact you can not get the palm of your hands near the hood, there are some changes that must absolutely be done.

What to consider

At first, we should find the ideal measure length of stem which is 90 to 100 millimetres. We all know that nowadays there are stems whose length measure more than 14 mm, in this case this measure is not the most appropriate one and their effective methods in order to reduce the length of the stem from 14 mm to 10 mm. It will raise the stack; it will have everything get closer so the angle from the hip to the hand changes.

Last thing to consider when finding the perfect reach of the bike is the handlebar.

The depth of the bar plays an important role in determine the most suitable reach of the handlebar.

If we consider the depth of the bar, most people while cycling will hold on the hoods. While riding in the flat position, if we pit that kind of special dust on the stem, we will obtain a desired result as we reduced the reach by going on the drops.  Looking at the overall geometry of the bike is also very important as it can really help finding the best reach of the bike.  If we look at the overall geometry of the bike, there are a lot of factors do keep in consideration. The first one is stack and reach. In the past many bike companies used top tube and head tube as a measure of how long, low or relaxed high and short the bike was.

Types of top tube

However as there were multiple types of top tube which could be measured from different points. For example top tube, cantered centre, tip tube or actual top tube. It was unclear the metric each different brand was using as they were different to compare.  A long reach and short stack let the rider to be in a fast position while cycling and at the same time more aerodynamic. This is why this position is widely used by most of riders. On the other hand, a shorter reach and a bit higher stack will fell more comfortable and will be suitable for riders who cycle for cycle for many hours as their speed is not so intense.

An impotent thing to bear in mind is that, both stack and reach does not take in to account the effect of spaces. If during the ride, you are running all the spaces below your handlebar it will bring the stack up and it will also bring the reach very slightly back ad as you have a diagonal line.

Important factors to take into consideration

Other important element to consider for getting the optimal reach of the bike are, head angle fork offset and trail. They are all connected to one another.  The head angle is the angle at which the line would travel through the head tube, to the steering axis to hit the flow. If the angle is steeper, it will handle in a quicker way. It will take not so much input from the rider in order for that bike to turn quickly.

Normally a head angle of 70 to 71 degrees is a relaxed one. While if we look at an endurance bike it will measure 72 to 73.

The offset can be defined as how far the front axle is offset from the steering axis.

The trail is the distance between the tyres contact patch with the ground. And where the head angle hits the floor. Around 55 to 59 mm is the trail you would see on a fast quick handling bike. Whereas a 60 mm one is what you would expect from the endurance bike.

The bb (bottom bracket drop) is another important aspect to keep in mind when trying to find most suitable reach or the bike. This can be defined as how far the bottom bracket drops from the two-wheel axles. In case a bike is equipped with a larger bottom bracket drop lowers the rider centre of gravity. Which is something everyone still want on a quit fast handling race. Looking at off road bikes, this kind of indicator is still very used as pedal strike and clearance is something important to keep in mind.

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