Look 555 vs. Kuota Khan, Fit vs. Small

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by KtecR, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. KtecR

    KtecR New Member

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    Some background - I currently ride a 2001 57cm Bianchi SL which is a size too small. I am 6'1" and the bike has a very compact geometry as the top tube measures to 55.5cm. After building the bike, I was fitted to it by an LBS, resulting in a very aggressive stance - 5 inch drop from saddle to bars. This bike only becomes uncomfortable after about 50 miles of riding as noticed the first time I did a century with it. I typically only do shorter group rides that range between 20-40 miles.

    Although I love this bike, a recent killer offer has come my way in the form of a 56cm Kuota Khan. The geometry of this bike is almost identical to that of the Bianchi, so I can only assume the same stance will be similar along with the potential soreness in longer rides. My friend who has been riding small bikes for years told me to simply start stretching a lot more to get my body used to it. Would this solution work? I am concerned with potential long term problems from riding a smaller bike. Are there any? I am young, so I have been able to manage with the Bianchi's size for about 1 year.

    Since my nose is now in the market, I have been searching for other options. I ran into a 2007 Look 555 the other day at an LBS in 2 sizes, L (55cm) and XL (57cm). I understand Look frames run a little big, so the shop guy told me the Large would work best for me. The 555 is around $500 more than the Kuota, but gives me an option in sizes. Both bikes are brand new. What is the smarter/better value to go with? TIA!
     
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  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW. Before you pony up for a new frame, you may want to 'finalize' a more comfortable (long distance) riding position/"fit" ...

    It might be cosmetically unappealing, but if you temporarily install a CX fork in your current frame, it will raise the front end AND consequently the stem so that the handlebar's drop from the top of your saddle is less than current/(definitely, aggresive) 5 inches. Of course, you'll have to adjust the saddle/etc.

    Or, find a stem you can flip which will provide a higher handlebar position and thereby allow you to ascertain if it yields a possibly better "fit."

    If your current stem/fork is not threadless, then get a quill-adapter ... ​

    If a higher handlebar location does turn out to be more comfortable, then you may not want the 'L'(arge) LOOK frame because the 'L' is probably going to result in the same, net position that you currently have with your Bianchi:



    After you decide how far a drop you want between your handlebars & the top of your saddle then you'll have a better idea whether the 'L' or 'XL' LOOK frame (or, any other) will-or-won't be better for you than your Bianchi. ​

    BTW. Another temporary?/permanent? option, besides changing forks, would be to put a shorter stem (i.e., possibly, a 110mm stem instead of what I presume is currently a 130mm stem) WITH possibly wider bars (e.g., 44cm) that also have a deeper drop than your current handlebars have.​
     
  3. KtecR

    KtecR New Member

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    Thanks a lot alfeng! My Bianchi currenty has a 120mm stem on it. It is non reversible (Cinelli Alter) but I do have spare 100, 120, and 130mm stems laying around. The fork is a 1" threadless so I don't have many options with CX forks.
     
  4. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    While there aren't many options, now, for 1" threadless forks ...

    eBay is a convenient place (unless you are very close to a bike shop which may not be able to order one, regardless) to find a 1" cyclocross OR touring fork (i.e., one with cantilever brake mounting bosses) BECAUSE "old stock" or used items will be available ... the price will vary, greatly.

    Just be sure the steerer is at least 220mm long, or longer, for your frame ... of course, you can measure your current steerer to be certain of the minimum steerer length you want.

    BTW. REI used to carry a hi-rise MTB stem for about $20, and I presume they (and, others) still do ... you'll need a reducing shim. I think the reach on the hi-rise stems is generally about 90mm ... I've seen ONE that had a shorter reach. The elevation change must be in the 6cm/(2+ inch) range compared to a "horizontal" stem, so that would radically change the drop to a more normal (for non-competitive riders) differential with the top of the saddle ... of course, just stack some of the spacers above the stem to adjust the height.
     
  5. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Five inches is a lotta drop for a road bike. Have you seen photos Alessandro Ballan, the Italian classics specialist? I think his bike is in that range, but he's very lanky and very young and flexible.

    With compact geometries and long, stiff seat posts, seat tube length is fairly irrelevant. The measurements that count are virtual top tube length, for proper torso extension, and head tube length, to raise the handlebar enough to make it easy to hold your head up.

    Unless your leg length is greater than 50% of your total height, a 55.5 cm top tube is too short, even with the 135mm stem. A top tube in the range of 57-58.5 cm would give you more choices in stem length (11-13 cm), and give you longer seat and head tubes that would raise the handlebar a bit.

    Depending on how much drop you can tolerate, the head tube should be in the range of 160-180 mm. You might find a Kuota that fits inside these parameters.
     
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