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Langster - comfortable commuter?

ruininruinin Posts: 4
edited October 2017 in Commuting general
After getting my first proper road bike I was kind of tempted to buy a langster. I like the simplicity. I liked the reviews. Many people use it as their favorite commuter. So I bought the bike. The shock was how uncomfortable the geometry is! Most reviews say the bike is basically a road geometry, not track, but that is not true at all. Thre bottom bracket is really much higher than with my allez. So I sit higher above the road and stopping at lights and getting your foot on the ground is tricky as well as getting up on your saddle. Another thing, the handle bar is much lower than my saddle, again, something I have no issue with allez. Allez, a road bike, is pretty comfortable, my langster feels like an aggressive race bike compared to allez. I flipped the stem and now the handle bar is a bit higher, but still lower than with allez. I got used to this aggressive geometry, and love the bike but I wonder why reviews don't mention that langster is definitely not a comfortable bike and I wonder how many commuters have no problem with its aggressive track geometry. I am pretty flexible, alghough I am 50, but if my body was more rigid, I coudn't ride this bike, it would be too uncomfortable. So in counclusion, I love the bike, I got used to it, but the reviews are very misleading, don't you think? This is not an allez without gears, it is a track bike, with a track geometry and not very comfortable for commuting, unless your body is in great shape.

Posts

  • SalsaSalsa Posts: 753
    All the geometry for the bikes are listed on the Specialized website, for example, the stack/reach on a 54cm Allez is 548/387 and on the Langster it's 517/390 and the BB heights are 272.5/287.5. So a pretty noticeable difference between the bikes. The BB height will need to be higher as you wouldn't want to strike the pedal on the floor cornering the Langster if you ran fixed.
    Don't just rely on reviews as most are either from publications that want to generally push all the positives to keep the manufacturers happy or from people who've purchased the bike and are going to be at least a little bit biased. Always do the bulk of the research yourself. Even better is to test ride before you buy.
    Like yourself, I wanted a simple comfortable low maintenance commuter bike so my single speed/fixed, I built using a 53cm Kona Paddywagon frame and fork (542/394) as that's a more relaxed setup than the Langster plus my fork was uncut so I could set the stem height to what felt best for me.
  • ruininruinin Posts: 4
    Salsa wrote:
    All the geometry for the bikes are listed on the Specialized website, for example, the stack/reach on a 54cm Allez is 548/387 and on the Langster it's 517/390 and the BB heights are 272.5/287.5. So a pretty noticeable difference between the bikes. The BB height will need to be higher as you wouldn't want to strike the pedal on the floor cornering the Langster if you ran fixed.
    Don't just rely on reviews as most are either from publications that want to generally push all the positives to keep the manufacturers happy or from people who've purchased the bike and are going to be at least a little bit biased. Always do the bulk of the research yourself. Even better is to test ride before you buy.
    Like yourself, I wanted a simple comfortable low maintenance commuter bike so my single speed/fixed, I built using a 53cm Kona Paddywagon frame and fork (542/394) as that's a more relaxed setup than the Langster plus my fork was uncut so I could set the stem height to what felt best for me.

    You are right that the geometry is specified at the website and I understand the BB has to be higher up. I just wonder why almost none of the commuters who find Langster as a great commuter bike have issues with the not so comfortable geometry. Maybe it is also about them mostly converting to bullhorns or getting the bike with bullhorns. I also noticed that I may have read some very old reviews of models like 2009 when the geometry might have been quite different, maybe more like allez and less like a track bike. The staff where I bought the langster had almost no idea what the bike is like, to them it was some kind of fixed track bike that is very difficult and expensive to converte into a singlespeed - nonsense, it cost me about 10 pounds to buy a freewheel cog. Test riding is very difficult to get if you want to test ride a specific model in the Czech Republic.
  • Mr _TibbsMr _Tibbs Posts: 46
    Could You Shorten the crank arm lengths to drop the pedal position a little. that'll still keep the road/corner clearance issue away but might make it fell less top heavy?
  • ruininruinin Posts: 4
    Mr _Tibbs wrote:
    Could You Shorten the crank arm lengths to drop the pedal position a little. that'll still keep the road/corner clearance issue away but might make it fell less top heavy?

    By shortening the arms I am afraid the pedal will be even higher above the ground in the lowest position.
  • Mr _TibbsMr _Tibbs Posts: 46
    ruinin wrote:
    Mr _Tibbs wrote:
    Could You Shorten the crank arm lengths to drop the pedal position a little. that'll still keep the road/corner clearance issue away but might make it fell less top heavy?

    By shortening the arms I am afraid the pedal will be even higher above the ground in the lowest position.
    I think you're right but it may allow you to drop the saddle so that the bars and bum are more "Allen-esq"
  • 964cup964cup Posts: 1,359
    Err. No. You'd *lengthen* the crank arms in order to drop the saddle, but longer cranks won't really suit a S/S or fixed gear.
  • Mr _TibbsMr _Tibbs Posts: 46
    964cup wrote:
    Err. No. You'd *lengthen* the crank arms in order to drop the saddle, but longer cranks won't really suit a S/S or fixed gear.

    this is one of those odd questions, the more I think about it the more my head hurts. a shorter arm would allow a lower saddle on the upstroke; I think, but longer on the down.

    Longer cranks would do the opposite.

    So now I'm thinking, neither would make any difference.

    I'm so confused?
  • crakercraker Posts: 2,060
    I bought mine in small (52cm, normally I'd go 55), I prefer to be out of the saddle on a fixie and have no intention of relaxed geometry. The seat is up high, I've got rid of all the spacers under the stem (early on I wanted a longer one). It's quite an aggressive setup, I guess I'm off the saddle when stopped at lights (but that's true for all my bikes).

    'Comfortable' and 'fixed' seem like an unlikely combination come to think of it. Still I've ridden centuries on it, can't be too uncomfortable.
  • MrGrumpyMrGrumpy Posts: 288
    Rode a Langster for years on a commute , defo aggressive geometry as it’s a track frame in essence. Mine is censored up and head down . 30mile round commute and is fine. Only caveat is lack of mudguard fittings and space for them. I have managed to get crudrace guards and 25c tyres for comfort.
  • 964cup964cup Posts: 1,359
    I think this is about frame size. I normally ride a 56 road frame (so about 580 stack and 390 reach). I use a 175 crank, and run 785mm BB centre to saddle top.

    But my Bianchi Pista fixed commuter is a 59. Because track frames are so tight, compared to road frames, this gets me roughly the same stack and reach (560x414, but I fix the stack with spacers and the reach with short reach bars); I have a slightly higher saddle position (790mm) to allow for the 170 cranks, but end up with the hoods in the same position relative to the saddle and BB as my other bikes. If the OP bought his/her Langster in the same frame size as his/her road bike, it may be too small. I'd probably get a 57 Pista (540x413) for racing, in order to exploit precisely that tight geometry, but that would be way too aggressive a drop for any other use (unless I used a ludicrous stack of spacers).

    As an aside, you shouldn't really expect to put your foot down while staying seated with a proper saddle height. As you stop, you either lean the bike slightly, or come forward off the saddle. In the old days, bikes were sized by having the top tube come up to your crotch as you stood over them - so called "standover height". That's demodee now, but if you're not at least on tiptoes when unclipped and seated, your saddle is too low. Worse on a track (or cross) bike, because the BB drop is smaller (i.e. the BB is higher) - for better cornering clearance on track bikes, and for better obstacle clearance on cross bikes. Except in America, for some reason, where they drop the BB back down for a lower CG. Apparently.
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