Our friend Clara posted a great question to our Facebook group. Her situation is very common. Let’s check it out:
– – – – – – – – – – – –
After measuring my Giant reign 29 size M and filling in everything into the bike calculator (https://www.llbmtb.com/…/bike-se…/rider-and-bike-calculator/ ) I discovered that the RAD is a bit too long for me on this bike and that the reach is the problem.
I have thought about different ways to fix this, shorten stem from 40mm to 32mm, or buy handlebar with more setback. Then I read this article from Pinkbike that suggests that the hands should never get behind steering axis. https://www.pinkbike.com/news/exploring-the-relationship-between-handlebar-vs-stem-length.html
If this is true I don’t see how I can get shorter reach without that happening and that I just have to live with it or buy a different bike. What do you think?
– – – – – – – – – – – –
What a great question.
A shorter stem and/or bar with more setback (horizontal distance from stem clamp to the grips) will indeed shorten your bike’s reach and potentially improve your RAD (Rider Area Distance – distance from bottom bracket to grips) situation. Many of us need to do this on these modern, longer bikes.
I recommend SQlab and Spank bars because we have accurate setback numbers from those companies. I personally run SQlabs because of the extra backsweep. Those setback numbers are at the www.llbmtb.com membership site:
Take the setback number of your desired bar and plug it into the RideLogic Rider/Bike Calculator:
Experiment with the bar/stem/spacers until the calculator shows the RAD you want. Also check the SHO number. Ideally, you want as close to 0 as possible. When the numbers gets negative, your hands are behind the steering axis.
I personally don’t love the way my bike felt with a negative SHO, but you can certainly ride a bike like that. In general, a negative SHO feels amazing at speed through the rough, but it feels a little awkward at tight low speeds. Which makes sense given the fact that most motos and many downhill bikes have negative SHOs.
A negative SHO isn’t the end of the world, and it might be the only way to make your RAD fit. In my experience, RAD is first priority. SHO and RAAD follow.
The other solution is a shorter frame. All of you readers: I strongly recommend using the RideLogic Rider/Bike Calculator before you buy your next bike.
I hope this is helpful,