Help me understand geometry and fit!

I’m researching new bikes - mostly road with a bit of fire road style gravel.

I currently ride a size small frame with a reach of 373mm and stack of 546mm (Compare: Merckx Mourenx 69 2017: Small -VS- Merckx Mourenx 69 2017: X Small -VS-).

I’ve put a 70mm, 17 degree stem on the bike.

I’m 170cm tall and of average proportions, early 40s.

On my current frame I feel like I’m streched out. I ride on the tops mostly and sometimes on the hoods, almost never on the drops. My neck has a tendency to get sore after 3 hours. I feel like the hoods being 2-3cm closer would make a world of difference.

I’ve been working on improving core and neck strength, which has helped and I’m flexible for my age. I have seen a fitter but didn’t come away with much change. I also realised during the fit that it was very difficult for me to tell whether any changes would improve the situation since it’s only late into a long ride that my neck really starts to hurt.

All of this has started a hunt for a frame with would give me a more “upright” position - not massively more, just enough that I don’t feel streched out.

I started out looking for bikes with a small reach. It eventually occurred to me that small reaches come with small stacks and that I’d probably have to increase the saddle hight and shift the saddl3e back a bit to fit on the bike - which would just increase the “real” reach.

So now, I’m confused :confused:

What should I be looking for? Some sort of stack/reach ratio? Are there other, better numbers to check? I can’t try out most bikes, given the stock levels most stores are carrying so I’ve resigned myself to a lot of online research.

Bike suggestions welcome.

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My first observation is you are already on a frame with a pretty relaxed geometry and a very short stem with a positive angle. It’s difficult to conceive how you can get more upright on something that still resembles a drop bar bike.

It would probably be useful to post pictures of your position.


I kind of thought this might be the case. Not at home for a bit, so no pictures unfortunately.

But I would still love to know what a “relaxed” geometry is? Some of the endurance road bikes I’ve seen (which are supposed to be relaxed) have very long reaches and short stacks.


For a small subscription you can search for a frame with a more appropriate reach/stack. But your current bike is already “average” for a frame with endurance geometry.

I think it will be hard to find something much more relaxed.

Check your handle bar reach. You may be able to shorten the overall reach with different bars

Maybe time to take up mountain biking?

@trebor are you sure your fit is correct? If not, for a small fee, you can use to film yourself on a trainer and it will analyze your fit. I used it to dial in my fit for a very small fraction of the cost of a professional fit (which I’ve had twice).

Once you’re good with your fit, I highly recommend like @chris1234 recommended. I used this to narrow my searches based on geometry, then decided based on value (cost vs components and quality) and availability.

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If not, for a small fee, you can use to film

For those prices I’ll definitely give it a go!

If you feel uncomfortable even though you are using such a short stem with a strong positive rise, I agree with @chris1234 and I’d look for a flatbar bike.

A comfy hardtail would be an option. You could still put gravel tires on it. And if you insisted, you could get a rigid fork. But getting a bike that suits your posture would be priority 1.

Are you looking for a new bike because you want a new bike, or just because you want a better fit?

If you just want to bring in the hoods a bit, have you tried bars with a shorter reach as @Hammertime989 recommended? Check out the Specialized ones below, for example. Those have a reach of 65mm which is likely closer than what you’re using now.

If you want a new bike which also fits better, can you test ride a Trek Domane in 50cm? This will have the same stack and 5mm shorter reach than your current frame. The stock bars have 75mm reach so you could swap those as needed. A Domane, if it fits, would be perfect for you since it’s a road bike that can take wider tires (38mm I think).

One more idea…how about a 30 degree stem? A 70mm 30 degree stem will give you +12 mm stack and -10 mm reach. This would be a quick and easy swap on your current bike to get a feel for a more upright position before you drop a bunch of money on a new frame.

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This seems extreme. Why not give up on drop bars altogether instead? Even if you can do it, very short stems and a high seating position compromise handling.

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I’ve done plenty of group rides with folks using a similar set up and they seem to do fine. It may not be optimal but it gets the job done.

Some people love flat bars and thats a great option. I, for one, could never go more than 20 miles on flat bars without being uncomfortable. Just throwing out ideas for OP.

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Sure, but it is not about us. @trebor wrote telling us he doesn’t find his current bike comfortable despite already having put an unusual stem on it. Compared to dropbar bikes, flatbar bikes have you in a more upright seating position. You can still put togs or extensions on it if you want more than one position.

Comfort on flatbars and dropbars is just a matter of getting used to it — provided you can get into a comfortable position in the first place. You might still have a preference one way or the other, though :slight_smile: (F or the record, I’m comfortable on both.)

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If I could make my current bike work I’d be very happy. I like my bike :grinning:


I hear you! I’m not quite ready to give up on the drop bar bike just yet :wink:


Of course. Just wanted to throw out options to OP to stay on a drop bar bike since that’s what they seem to be happy with. :biking_man:

@trebor Let us know what works! I’m sure this would be helpful to folks with similar fit issues. I’m ~195 cm and have encountered my fair share of fit isues to sort out as well…I often wish for more reach :rofl:


I ride a canyon endurace and have similar issues. I added a 0 degree offset seat post (standard seatpost has 20% setback) and slammed my seat forward. This brings me quite a bit forward on the frame.

And as you can see in the photo I flipped my stem from a -6 to +6% angle. This not only raises the front end but also shortens the reach. It has helped my neck and lower back a lot. I average 250 miles a week with 10-15k of climbing (climbing now in 2 rides as the other 3 are on trainer). I still get a sore next on longer rides but I’ve been able to work on getting much more aero. With the higher front end I can get my elbows to 90 degrees which means I’m having to crank my neck on the flats. This is a choice!


Okay, this sounds like a very workable idea :bulb:

Given that my bike came with a “custom” seatpost, any ideas on how I source a replacement? The bike manufacture was bought out just for the name and the new owners don’t know anything about the original models.

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I think that is a fair point, too. After all, a new stem is cheaper than a new bike.

Alternatively, @trebor could look at touring and trekking bikes. Some have drop bars, others have flat bars and yet others have bars with multiple hand positions. They have some with more upright geometries.

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