There’s a number of bikes of a particular format that I’ve always had a level of intrigue over. Many (most, even) of them get good reviews, lots get ridden by the pros at the Spring Classics and a number of them have some really nice features about them, as well as being well suited to those long of leg and short of torso – i.e. Me.
In the industry, bikes of this format are referred to as sportive / fondo / endurance geometry. I prefer to refer to them as “bikes that actually fit me without a massive stack of spacers”.
The 2015 models of many of these bikes are appearing in stores and, as I’m in the market for a new project, I’ve been looking with a little more intent than in previous years. Some of them look good. Really good. Some nice colour ways, new features and tweaks and the usual annual 10% increase in stiffness and 10% reduction in weight. I wish more companies offered more of them as their top-level spec, and preferably without a naming convention that automatically sets them apart into their own “you’re not flexible enough to ride our ‘pro’ model so you can have this nearly-but-not-quite alternative”. Unfortunately for most companies these bikes are just range-fillers and ‘ticking a box’. To make matters worse, many of them are now only available with disc brakes.
I want disc brakes on a road bike about as much as I want my eleven week old daughter to jump off a cliff (by which I mean, not at all, just for clarity). Disc brakes on something a little more versatile than a road bike – like a commuter, CXer, or a gravel bike – sure, but not on my road bike. Yet now, because the sportive / fondo / endurance geometry road bikes produced by these brands are the only models in their range that properly fit me, in some cases I now have no choice.
Talk about pigeon-holing. It’s tantamount to racism…