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Crit or Road geometry better?(7 posts)

Crit or Road geometry better?naptown
Feb 14, 2003 6:29 AM
I have a very Newbie question. I am looking to buy a bike. I would like to use it to learn if I like cycling, try a couple minitriathlons, and some commuting. I don't know much about frames or components, but this site and my LBSs have been very helpful. I'm not looking for latest technology or anything high end, this is mostly an experiment. I am about 6'5", 200 lbs., 35.5" inseam, and long arms. Think basketball forward.

Would crit bike geometry be advantageous for me? Wrench science's web site has my overall reach as 73.85cm. Would the longer top tube length help here? Plus would the added crank-ground clearance be good for the commuting?

It seems that I am able to find 61+cm bikes used crit style bikes more economically.

Thanks in advance for helping the uniformed.
Crit geometry is more hardcoretorquer
Feb 14, 2003 7:07 AM
Criteriums are short races with lots of corners, so bikes built for that kind of racing emphasize quick (some would say twitchy) handling over long-distance comfort. Starting off on one to see if you like cycling is kind of like doing driver's ed in an Indy car.

High BB height, shorter wheelbase, stiffer construction are eqactly what you don't want for commuting; these characteristics also aren't particularly desirable for time-trialing (essentially what you're doing during triathlons).

Bikes with "road" geometry (some call it "stage-race" geometry) will be plenty racy enough for you for several seasons, you just won't be able to lean quite so aggressively into corners, but you'll be more likely to ride longer, because the bike hasn't beat you up as much.

Don't let your decision be influenced by apparent bargain prices for Crit frames; if you need to save money, buy a lesser component package that you can upgrade later. You'll be stuck with whatever frame you choose a lot longer than you will be with wheels, shifters, etc.
Crit geometry is more hardcorelonebikeroftheapocalypse
Feb 14, 2003 7:30 AM
Amen to all that.

I bought a used Cannondale Criterium Series a few years ago to see if road biking was for me. I woundn't recomend doing the same. Twitchy is a good word for the handling, I have looked over my shoulder to check traffic and drifted 3-4 feet into it. You really have to concentrate on maintaining a straight line. Damn thing carves corners though.

Also if you want to commute, Crit bikes generally don't have any room for fenders and no rack braze ons. There's ways around the rack thing but if your going to commute in bad weather you will probably want fenders.
Crit geometry is more hardcoreWoof the dog
Feb 15, 2003 2:27 AM
"Twitchy is a good word for the handling, I have looked over my shoulder to check traffic and drifted 3-4 feet into it."

maybe something you need to practice? I am sorry, but crit geometry or not, a more experienced rider wouldn't have that problem.

Gee, thanks I never would have thought of that.lonebikeroftheapocalypse
Feb 17, 2003 4:59 AM
Just relating a newbie experience to another newbie.
Feb 14, 2003 9:04 AM
I've got at least a dozen current geometry charts from popular builders and can't think of a one that I would consider "crit geometry". Do you have something specific in mind?

I general, a fast handling crit bike is not the type to begin with. You want stage-race geometry that will hold a straight line with little effort.

If the inseam that you posted is an accurate cycling inseam, measured to hard crotch contact in bare feet, you have a fairly long torso (short legs for yout height). You would probably fit best on a bike with a long top tube. You will find that most brands rarely vary more than 1cm between the shortest and longest, so there's not a huge choice out there in stock frames.

Don't put a lot of faith in the wrench science reach calculation. It does not take into account the saddle fore/aft position. It could easily be off by 2cm. You won't know unless you get a professional fitting or set yourself up on a real bike, following directions like those offered at
re: Crit or Road geometry better?Ambishawn
Feb 15, 2003 10:35 AM
I think a bike with stage race geometry is a better all around choice than a Crit bike. Crit bikes not only have twitcy handling but are usually harsh riding compaired to stage race geometry. Your much taller than the avreage person so the disadvantage is fewer avalible bikes for sale on the used market, the advantage is that someone with a 61cm+ frame for sale will have a hard time selling it. It won't fit anyone!!!!!!!! Anything at 61cm should go for a song.