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Caliper

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I'm looking for an entry level gravel race bike, would like to keep it under $2k. I like the idea of going carbon, but am not totally opposed to alloy either. Mostly I want light and a good ride + tire clearance. I'm also partial to SRAM equipment. 

Right now, I'm gravitating toward the Raleigh Roker Comp as it seems to check all the boxes for me. Having to do some assembly on delivery doesn't bother me at all; I've got the tools and experience removing every component on a bike. But I was wondering if there is something else out there that I should be considering before pulling the trigger on a Raleigh? 
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imwjl

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Reply with quote  #2 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caliper
I'm looking for an entry level gravel race bike, would like to keep it under $2k. I like the idea of going carbon, but am not totally opposed to alloy either. Mostly I want light and a good ride + tire clearance. I'm also partial to SRAM equipment. 

Right now, I'm gravitating toward the Raleigh Roker Comp as it seems to check all the boxes for me. Having to do some assembly on delivery doesn't bother me at all; I've got the tools and experience removing every component on a bike. But I was wondering if there is something else out there that I should be considering before pulling the trigger on a Raleigh? 


My son's steel disk brake Raleigh is a fine bike. A shop manager who sells or has sold the Raleighs said they were better than some inexpensive Marins as far as threads, headset, and assembly.

Mongoose headquarters is near me so I know people who have surprisingly nice bargain bikes from them. A friend who got one gave his a better headset and has been super happy with the bargain.

I only race to the toilet so I probably can't help beyond knowing what parts are good and what seems to keep people happy.

Have fun shopping!
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #3 
Caliper I love my Roker Comp. If you love the Sram then you are all set. I am not 100% sold on that end of the bike yet. I will tell you my 56 cm bike weighed in at 20 lbs. I bought a Tamland 1 before that. The hydraulic  brakes are so much sweeter than the mechanical on the Tamland. I wouldn't buy a gravel bike without hydraulic after using them on my Roker. I know a comparison bike is the Jamis Renegade in carbon but doubt you could get it less than $2000 unless they are having an end of year sale. Good luck on what ever you buy.


Zman DSCN0770.jpg  DSCN0771.jpg 


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Caliper

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurichman
Caliper I love my Roker Comp. If you love the Sram then you are all set. I am not 100% sold on that end of the bike yet. I will tell you my 56 cm bike weighed in at 20 lbs. I bought a Tamland 1 before that. The hydraulic  brakes are so much sweeter than the mechanical on the Tamland. I wouldn't buy a gravel bike without hydraulic after using them on my Roker. I know a comparison bike is the Jamis Renegade in carbon but doubt you could get it less than $2000 unless they are having an end of year sale. Good luck on what ever you buy.
 


Thanks for the info, and nice pics! I'm kinda torn between the 58 (what Raleigh says, based on my height) vs sizing down to the 56 and getting a slightly lower bottom bracket. Do you mind if I ask what your leg length or saddle height is? I'm trying to visualize what the drop would look like with my long legs. 
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ChillyWilly

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Reply with quote  #5 
The Roker Comp is a great bike and I love mine a lot. But you said "race bike" and I think that might mean that the Roker is not quite for you.
The two issues I see are the geometry and the groupset. 

The first thing to consider is geometry. The Roker has a 440mm chainstay length, a fairly slack head tube, and a lot of stack. That makes it a great bike for a long comfortable ride on gravel roads. But it's not exactly racey. 
The Salsa Warbird or the Jamis Renegade aren't really all that much different, but they lean more towards the fast and race-like than the Roker. They don't have as much headtube and stack at least, and will give you a faster position for sure.  (Also look at Noble bikes. The guy who designed the Roker is doing those. But I think they're 1x only, so maybe not?)

And then there's drivetrain/groupset. I love my 1x group. Love. But it's not really race appropriate. Go read Guitar Ted's rants against 1x. (Sorry, GT - it's a rant. But you're not wrong.) You don't get as wide of a gear range. You get bigger hops between gears. I am totally happy with 1x for myself. If it's a >10% grade hill I'll probably be walking it if it's longer than 100 yards. And I'm okay with that. And on the downhills I'm perfectly happy coasting at 30mph - I don't need to pedal to get the last little bit of speed out of my downhill run. 
But if you're going to be racing on anything other than practically level gravel, you're going to want the range of gears that 2x gives you. Hopping off to trudge up the side of the road while getting passed by people is not cool. And you're going to want the efficiency of being able to pick the gear to get you just the right cadence. 

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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caliper


Thanks for the info, and nice pics! I'm kinda torn between the 58 (what Raleigh says, based on my height) vs sizing down to the 56 and getting a slightly lower bottom bracket. Do you mind if I ask what your leg length or saddle height is? I'm trying to visualize what the drop would look like with my long legs. 


At my end I think that the Raleighs run a little bit big. All my Lemond roadie bikes are 57cm. I am 6 ft. and have a 34" inseam. I have the Roker and the Tamland 1 in 56cm and they fit me. I think that is a personal thing as I have read some like their bikes bigger and some smaller. I am not sure at my end which way that is. I have a Raleigh Dealer really close to me and I went to his shop and no he had no gravel bikes there but had a bike/frame there that was close and I did a stand over.

Zman

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Caliper

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurichman


At my end I think that the Raleighs run a little bit big. All my Lemond roadie bikes are 57cm. I am 6 ft. and have a 34" inseam. I have the Roker and the Tamland 1 in 56cm and they fit me. I think that is a personal thing as I have read some like their bikes bigger and some smaller. I am not sure at my end which way that is. I have a Raleigh Dealer really close to me and I went to his shop and no he had no gravel bikes there but had a bike/frame there that was close and I did a stand over.

Zman


I hate to be fussy, but is that a 34" pants inseam, or cycling inseam, measuring all the way to the ground?

I agree, their sizes do seem to run big compared to roadie frames. It's messing with my head since the 56 almost seems like it might fit similarly to my current 60cm road frame...
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caliper


I hate to be fussy, but is that a 34" pants inseam, or cycling inseam, measuring all the way to the ground?

I agree, their sizes do seem to run big compared to roadie frames. It's messing with my head since the 56 almost seems like it might fit similarly to my current 60cm road frame...


Not sure how tall you are or how long your legs are. I measured tonight and that was floor to privates. If you ride a 60 cm roadie frame though I think that would be a stretch to be riding a 56 cm Raleigh gravel bike. 58cm I could understand. I think you need to go to a Raleigh dealer and sit on one or a bike close to it.

Zman

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Mark_Landsaat

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Reply with quote  #9 
Hi guys,

Can I ask why you believe the Raleigh Roker runs big? The effective Top Tube Length on a 56cm is 560mm and TT on a 58cm is 575mm.

When you compare this to a Specialized S-Works Tarmac 56cm=TT562mm, 58cm=TT577mm. for the Trek Madone the numbers are 56cm=559mm, 58cm574mm.

Just curious to hear your thoughts since the effective TT lenghts are all within a few mm of each other.
Thanks[thumb]
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Caliper

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_Landsaat
Hi guys,

Can I ask why you believe the Raleigh Roker runs big? The effective Top Tube Length on a 56cm is 560mm and TT on a 58cm is 575mm.

When you compare this to a Specialized S-Works Tarmac 56cm=TT562mm, 58cm=TT577mm. for the Trek Madone the numbers are 56cm=559mm, 58cm574mm.

Just curious to hear your thoughts since the effective TT lenghts are all within a few mm of each other.
Thanks[thumb]


For me at least, it's the stack heights. The 56 has roughly the stack that I measure in my 60cm road bike, and I'm likely sizing down there on my next frame. Meanwhile, the reach doesn't change very much across the range of sizes that I would conceivably by riding. Raleigh would recommend a 58 or 60 for my height. I'm 6 feet, but 1/2 leg, so 36" from the tender parts to the ground, barefoot.

56: 586 stack, 381 reach
58: 607 stack, 384 reach
60: 621 stack, 394 reach

For me anyways, I'm looking for a more roadie fit on this bike, so that's why I'm looking at the smaller frames. I'm almost tempted to blow up the budget and try a Noble GX5 in 56cm, since that's apparently the same frame designer.

I did find one Raleigh dealer near me. Unfortunately they don't advertise any road bikes on their site, but I'll see what they have in stock.
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Mark_Landsaat

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caliper

I'm almost tempted to blow up the budget and try a Noble GX5 in 56cm, since that's apparently the same frame designer.


Well, I can assure you that it is the same frame designer, because it's me.[biggrin]

I hear you with regards to stack, that was done on purpose to create a more upright position. If you have the stem flipped down without spacers you should still end up with a considerable amount of saddle to handle bar drop.

Also you have to be careful when you are just looking at reach numbers. Reach doesn't take into account what happens behind the BB. The seat angle also has influence on fit. A steeper seat angle reduces cockpit combination and a slacker seat angle increases cockpit combination.

With regards to the 56cm and 58cm The difference in reach is only 3mm, but the seat angle on the 58cm is 72.5 degrees and the seat angle on the 56cm is 73 degrees. The slacker seat angle on the 58cm will make the cockpit combination bigger. I have a feeling that the 56cm would be to cramped lengthwise.

Let me know if that helps, or if you have any other questions.

Also, what's your current saddle height in mm from center of the BB to top of the saddle? I can set up a theoretical fit in SolidWorks for a Noble GX5 and post the screenshot so you can look at the numbers. 


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Skldmark

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_Landsaat
Hi guys,

Can I ask why you believe the Raleigh Roker runs big? The effective Top Tube Length on a 56cm is 560mm and TT on a 58cm is 575mm.

When you compare this to a Specialized S-Works Tarmac 56cm=TT562mm, 58cm=TT577mm. for the Trek Madone the numbers are 56cm=559mm, 58cm574mm.

Just curious to hear your thoughts since the effective TT lenghts are all within a few mm of each other.
Thanks[thumb]
Mark, is it not the case when comparing reach measurements (referring to stack/reach) of different bikes, that measurement needs to be measured from the same “virtual” stack height,
to be comparable?
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #13 
Mark I will be the 1st one to admit I don't know much at all about bike stats. All my roadie bikes which are Lemonds are in 57 cm. I had a pro fit done on my 2006  Lemond Victoirre probably 5-7 years ago and since then I have not had any problems with cramps or any other issues. I had my 2 Raleigh bikes 2016 Tamland 1 and 2017 Roker Comp set up to those specs. Both bikes if I have it right have a 21 deg. set back seat post. I need that set back to get my bikes set up right. Love the Roker but still not sold on the 1x Sram.

Mark at my end I had a Mom and Pops kind of local Raleigh dealer. He sells lots of Raleigh bikes. Most roadies to Mennonites who ride their bikes year round and pretty much use their bike the same as most of us use a car. He didn't have any gravel bikes as that craze hasn't really caught on here in our area. He did have enough knowledge though that he said he had a roadie bike that had kind of the same frame size as the Tamland. That is how I got to try a bike and decided on the 56 cm on the Tamland and them later the Roker.

Caliper I did measure last night and I am 34" from privates to ground with shoes on.

Zman

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Mark_Landsaat

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Reply with quote  #14 
Hi Skldmark,

Stack and Reach are very useful for comparing bikes because they are always measured from center of the BB to center/top of the Head tube. In my opinion Stack is more reliable/easier to interpret than reach. 

Check out the screenshots. Because bikes always have different geometry it can be challenging to determine if bikes offer similar fit. Stack as an example is driven by BB drop, Head Angle, Fork Offset, Fork Axle to Crown, headset stack and head tube length. That's a lot of variables. Regardless of all these variables. Stack is the resulting dimension from all of this and it's great for comparing bikes.

Reach can be a little more tricky since it doesn't take into account what happens behind the BB and it does affect fit. Check out the two geometries with identical reach 389mm. but the bikes have different fit. This is due to the difference in seat angle. 

In the first example with a seat angle of 73 degrees the cockpit combination is 662mm. In the second example with a seat angle of 74 degrees the cockpit combination is 650mm. That is actually quite a large difference, essentially a full size spread.

When I design road style bikes I drive the geometry with effective Top Tube length because it does take seat angle into consideration. There's more than one way of doing this, all methods equally valid. The key to creating geometry is to know how the different variables affect fit and adjust accordingly. Does this help? let me know.
GX5_Geo.jpg  Reach_389_1.jpg  Reach_389_2.jpg 

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Mark_Landsaat

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Reply with quote  #15 
Hi Zman,

Geometry can be challenging because all the numbers affect fit. A few small differences between bikes can actually result in quite a different fit. The difference between a ride that is OK and a ride that you love. 

As far as the offset on the Tamland and the Roker, The official number from the supplier is listed at 20mm. This is not actually an absolute number because different suppliers sometimes measure a little bit different. As an FYI, I like that seatpost exactly because it is 20mm offset and I also use a variation of that post for the Noble GX3 and GX5.

I'm not familiar with the Lemond geometry, but it is certainly possible that you need a 20mm offset post on the Raleigh in order to get the same setback on a Raleigh. This is typically the first thing a fitter will do. get the seated position setup such that you have the correct setback and after this find the correct stem length to dial in your specific fit.

Interesting on not being sold on the 1x. I'm torn myself. I love the simplicity and the clean look of the 1x setup, but I miss the small incremental jumps between gears. We need Eagle 1x12 to trickle down to road so we can have a 12 speed 11-42 with smaller jumps.[biggrin]
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Skldmark

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Reply with quote  #16 
@mark——landsatt- I’m with you, as I still work off-of effective top top length, etc. I feel people need more guidance if they are to try to use the “reach”, in stack/reach , to compare/choose regarding bike geometry.
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #17 
Mark I edited my post above. Yes I learned the hard way that I need the 20 deg. set back post. I ordered a weight weenie carbon seat post and since it didn't have the set back it wouldn't work. It was a $80 mistake. Live and learn.


Zman

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Mark_Landsaat

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Reply with quote  #18 
[biggrin][smile][biggrin] Oh haven't we all been down that road at one point or another.
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Caliper

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_Landsaat

Well, I can assure you that it is the same frame designer, because it's me.[biggrin]


can't argue with that, lol! I tried to test ride a Raleigh today, but the only shop selling them near me makes good business selling comfort bikes so the only drop bar bikes were two Jamis Renegades. (shop owner was great to talk to, but you can't fight the local market I guess)

Quote:
I hear you with regards to stack, that was done on purpose to create a more upright position. If you have the stem flipped down without spacers you should still end up with a considerable amount of saddle to handle bar drop.

Also you have to be careful when you are just looking at reach numbers. Reach doesn't take into account what happens behind the BB. The seat angle also has influence on fit. A steeper seat angle reduces cockpit combination and a slacker seat angle increases cockpit combination.

With regards to the 56cm and 58cm The difference in reach is only 3mm, but the seat angle on the 58cm is 72.5 degrees and the seat angle on the 56cm is 73 degrees. The slacker seat angle on the 58cm will make the cockpit combination bigger. I have a feeling that the 56cm would be to cramped lengthwise.

Let me know if that helps, or if you have any other questions.

Also, what's your current saddle height in mm from center of the BB to top of the saddle? I can set up a theoretical fit in SolidWorks for a Noble GX5 and post the screenshot so you can look at the numbers. 


Regarding ETT vs reach, I've generally fallen into the thought that the location of my hips fore-aft relative to the BB is determined more by riding style and my body geometry. So my saddle positioning will affect that little bit at the back of the top tube whereas reach is something that's pretty fixed in the frame. No argument that there is a lot that goes into the fit though! 

In terms of me, I set my saddle about 800mm from the BB along the seat tube. Definitely interested to see what that looks like. I've also got a lot of leg and less torso. Without getting into numbers overload, the (im)famous Competitive Cyclist fit calculator gives me a 56-57.5cm top tube and 60-64cm seat tube for results if that helps with frame sizing. 

I've gotta say that with the tweaks from the Roker, the 56 Noble is very close to the numbers I measure off my paved road bike in terms of stack, reach and ETT. 
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Mark_Landsaat

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caliper

In terms of me, I set my saddle about 800mm from the BB along the seat tube. Definitely interested to see what that looks like. I've also got a lot of leg and less torso. Without getting into numbers overload, the (im)famous Competitive Cyclist fit calculator gives me a 56-57.5cm top tube and 60-64cm seat tube for results if that helps with frame sizing. 

I've gotta say that with the tweaks from the Roker, the 56 Noble is very close to the numbers I measure off my paved road bike in terms of stack, reach and ETT. 


Hi Caliper, with a saddle height of 800mm I would say you that you would likely have a much better fit on a 58cm than a 56cm in my opinion. Please check out the two screenshots of a 56cm out of the box and a 58cm out of the box. With the 56cm you would have a saddle to handle bar drop of 108mm, that is quite a lot and puts a lot of strain on your wrists, elbows shoulders and neck and would probably uncomfortable on longer rides. Also measure your current cockpit combination. Horizontal from center of the bar to center of the seatpost. Even though reach difference is only 3mm between sizes the cockpit combination is a 28mm difference. My guess would be that your current bike is closer to the 678mm cockpit combination.

Let me know if you have any other questions. Cheers. 
56cm_GX5.jpg  58cm_GX5.jpg 
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Skldmark

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caliper


For me at least, it's the stack heights. The 56 has roughly the stack that I measure in my 60cm road bike, and I'm likely sizing down there on my next frame. Meanwhile, the reach doesn't change very much across the range of sizes that I would conceivably by riding. Raleigh would recommend a 58 or 60 for my height. I'm 6 feet, but 1/2 leg, so 36" from the tender parts to the ground, barefoot.

56: 586 stack, 381 reach
58: 607 stack, 384 reach
60: 621 stack, 394 reach

For me anyways, I'm looking for a more roadie fit on this bike, so that's why I'm looking at the smaller frames. I'm almost tempted to blow up the budget and try a Noble GX5 in 56cm, since that's apparently the same frame designer.

I did find one Raleigh dealer near me. Unfortunately they don't advertise any road bikes on their site, but I'll see what they have in stock.
Caliper, this is a comparison tool useful to adjust/correct the “reach” measurement at a given stem height (headtube plus any needed spacers).—- http://www.bikegeo.net/.
Basically, raising or lowering your stem 20mm changes the reach number by ~6mm (~71 degree headtube angle).
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caliper


For me at least, it's the stack heights. The 56 has roughly the stack that I measure in my 60cm road bike, and I'm likely sizing down there on my next frame. Meanwhile, the reach doesn't change very much across the range of sizes that I would conceivably by riding. Raleigh would recommend a 58 or 60 for my height. I'm 6 feet, but 1/2 leg, so 36" from the tender parts to the ground, barefoot.

56: 586 stack, 381 reach
58: 607 stack, 384 reach
60: 621 stack, 394 reach

For me anyways, I'm looking for a more roadie fit on this bike, so that's why I'm looking at the smaller frames. I'm almost tempted to blow up the budget and try a Noble GX5 in 56cm, since that's apparently the same frame designer.

I did find one Raleigh dealer near me. Unfortunately they don't advertise any road bikes on their site, but I'll see what they have in stock.


Caliper I would have to agree with Mark on here who is the bike designer. If you have a 36" inseam I think 58 cm is the bike for you.

Zman

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If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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Caliper

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_Landsaat


Hi Caliper, with a saddle height of 800mm I would say you that you would likely have a much better fit on a 58cm than a 56cm in my opinion. Please check out the two screenshots of a 56cm out of the box and a 58cm out of the box. With the 56cm you would have a saddle to handle bar drop of 108mm, that is quite a lot and puts a lot of strain on your wrists, elbows shoulders and neck and would probably uncomfortable on longer rides. Also measure your current cockpit combination. Horizontal from center of the bar to center of the seatpost. Even though reach difference is only 3mm between sizes the cockpit combination is a 28mm difference. My guess would be that your current bike is closer to the 678mm cockpit combination.

Let me know if you have any other questions. Cheers. 
56cm_GX5.jpg  58cm_GX5.jpg 


Thanks for the sketches! (I miss my copy of Solidworks!)  I didn't mean to drift away, have been checking measurements on bikes and doing some rides over the last few days. 

I do have a few questions actually, sorry to be a bother. 
Are the drops shown the lowest possible without changing the angle of the stem? 
Also, is the 559mm ETT on the 56 a typo? I had thought it was 570. 
Can the GX5 mount a clamp-on front derailleur? I'm another one on the fence about 1x.
I don't suppose there is any way for a Michigander to easily get a test ride on a GX5, is there? 

108mm of drop looks fine if that's a max. My road bikes are right in that range when I'm in shape and that's kinda the fit/feel I'm looking for. I find around 100mm drop lets me make good use of both the hoods and drops during a ride and too tall a handlebar a bit limiting for power when I get out of the saddle. 

You are right on about my typical cockpit dimension, +/- 10 or 15mm depending on the bike. What was tripping me up is I am always thinking with a 100-110mm stem in mind and most of my bikes run a 570 TT. I've been reading up on the forward geometry from what I see in MTB articles but it's a new concept for me and I guess I don't have a firm grasp on what that would feel like on the bike as compared to a typical road bike type geometry. 
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Caliper

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Reply with quote  #24 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skldmark
Caliper, this is a comparison tool useful to adjust/correct the “reach” measurement at a given stem height (headtube plus any needed spacers).—- http://www.bikegeo.net/.
Basically, raising or lowering your stem 20mm changes the reach number by ~6mm (~71 degree headtube angle).


Thanks, that's an awesome tool! I notice that one has to include the stack height of the headset and half height of the stem to be accurate, but the overlay is great. 
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #25 
Was looking for some stats on my Roker today when I found a 54 cm Roker on Ebay used for $1400 or $1450 forget which. That seems to be a great price to me.


Zman

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If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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