Small Bike Compromise: Sacrifice Bike Weight!

This is part 5 of 8. Here is the start!
A quick overview of terms that are important:

  • Fork Rake – Offset that places the fork ends ahead of the steering axis
  • Head Tube Angle – The angle that the frame holds the fork at in relation to the ground (same as steering angle)
  • Trail – The distance that the axle trails the steering axis intersection with the ground
  • Effective Top Tube Length – The measurement from the center of the seat post to the center of the head tube when measured level
  • Reach to Bars – Distance from center of seat to center of handle bar stem
  • Proper Knee Alignment – Adjustment to ensure that your knee is centered over the pedal spindle
  • Seat Tube Angle – The angle of the seat tube in relation to the ground
  • Toe Strike – How much of the foot interferes with turning the front wheel

More detail of a steel fork solution

Compromise 4.) Sacrifice weight:
Let’s go old school, and use a steel fork like in the 1980’s. This is a pretty good option if you really want to use 700c wheels on a smaller bike. We can build a bike just like we used to in the 1980’s, and put lots of rake in the fork to match the slack steering angle to keep the trail number at 60mm. Although the steel fork is heavier than modern carbon forks, the bike will be comfortable to ride and you won’t hit your foot on the wheel when you try to turn. The handling of a bike like this is still not what most people are after on race bikes, as the ‘front center number’ (another article) is more like a 1980’s Peugot, but the bike is safe.

This compromise is the one we recommend for smaller riders wanting big wheels. If you want to feel a bike set up this way in comparison to a 650c wheel bike, just ask and we’ll let you try them both on extended test rides.

Monday: Sacrifice convenience?