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The Top Tube Ruse

There is continuing widespread, rampant, epidemic, pandemic, titanic-like misunderstanding about the actual influence of a one or two or even-as-much-as three count 'em! centimeters of top tube length on how far you have to lean over and reach to grab the handlebar. Unlearned bicycle rookies and supposedly learned Hall of Famers alike misunderstand it, because it's easy to. But thanks mainly to the George Retseck's fine illustrations (see the links below), all who read this will be crystal clear about it forever.

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The Big Picture

  A bike should fit you. Most riders today are riding bikes that by our standards, are too small. They make you lean over too far, which puts too much weight on your hands, and too much strain on your arms, neck, and back. A bike should be appropriate for how and where you ride it, and your fitness. If you're a mid-50s rider of moderate fitness, but ride fewer than 3000 miles per year, and you want to ride longish and steepish hills, the standard road gearing you'll find on virtually any stock road bike, is too high. You don't need a top gear more than 100 inches. You'll appreciate a low gear of 23-inches or less. Your big...

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