Moving from Endurance to Performance bike

Firslty the rider: currently riding a Giant Defy. RideLondon once a year but mostly it's sub 40mile stuff at the weekends and 20miles on a weekday If I find the time. I've started to get more interested in metrics, and improving my power output, but the only racing I do is against myself on Strava.

Call me shallow, but I would like something that looks a little more aggressive: less top tube slope, deep rims, integrated cockpit etc—currently eyeing up the Ribble Endurance SL and Canyon Ultimate.
I understand the theory behind all the geometry differences, shorter head tubes, compliance differences etc but they're all just words until you can ride the bike. I'm definitely going to try at least sit on one in a showroom.

For example with 25mm less stack and 11mm more reach from the Defy to the Ribble how much difference will that make, will I suddenly wake up with back pains?
Basically, does anyone have an anecdotal experience of moving from an “Endurance” bike to a “Performance Bike”.


  • drhaggis
    drhaggis Posts: 1,150
    Additionally, if the OP wants to try the geometry, slamming the stem in a Defy results in a geometry similar to a TCR with the default amount of spacers.
  • dannbodge
    dannbodge Posts: 1,152
    You can basically ignore the stack and reach as a bike with a big reach and small stack can be the same overall as a bike with a small reach and big stack.
    All depends on how many spacers and what stem angle/length you go for (quoted stack and reach is taken at the top of the headtube, not at the handlebars.

    So it's worth calculating what the actual stack and reach is at the Handlebars

    Use this:

    What I would do/what I do, is play around with your current bike to get it to match the position on the new choices and see how you get on (You may have to change the stem and remove spacers etc anyway)
  • m1mbz75
    m1mbz75 Posts: 2
    I changed from a Medium Giant Defy to a small Giant TCR in 2011, which perhaps is a slightly different situation as the Giant Defy was too big for me , the Giant TCR wasn't the answer however as whilst the reach improved (10mm less reach, 20mm less stack), the reduced stack put me in a position that I couldn't sustain because of my body shape. (at the time I was regular swimmer, weighted 74kg and did lots of core work at the gym), the right answer should've been a different frame that fitted me properly, it took me until 2015 to work that out! So really, this is a tale about getting a frame that fits you rather than be charmed by aggressive positioning and horizontal lines.
  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028

    Basically, does anyone have an anecdotal experience of moving from an “Endurance” bike to a “Performance Bike”.

    It's more about your position on the bike, not the bike itself. You can adapt a 'performance' position on an endurance bike - and you can also adapt an 'endurance' position on a performance bike. 'Endurance' and 'performance' are effectively just marketing terms, nothing more. Performance bikes must also be endurance bikes, by definition.

    If you're expecting to be able to ride faster on a 'performance' bike, you will probably be disappointed.

  • daniel_b
    daniel_b Posts: 11,662
    I do have a CR1 SL, but technically that is meant to be a more endurance biased (higher front end) road bike.

    I also used to ride Synapses which are out and out endurance bikes, but had a hankering for an aero bike.

    The bike I wanted came up for a massive discount, and I went for it - due to the time of year I wasn't going to be riding it for 6 months, so I spent that time working on my position on the turbo, as well as my own flexibility and less so, my core strength.
    I'd spend 4-6 weeks in each setup position, before lowering the stem, and or swapping out for a longer one, and ensured I spent plenty of time in the drops.

    The hard work paid off, and the new bike gamble worked, as it fitted me, and was until very recently the most comfy bike I owned - and that's only running on 25mm tyres. Plus into the bargain I am now more flexible, and able to ride lower than I could before, with no comfort issues on long rides.

    I wonder if your desire for a new bike may be more down to the fact you know that will motivate you to train more, and ride more out on the road.

    That's not a bad catalyst by any means, but you do run the risk of it simply not fitting you, or not being able to adapt yourself to fit it comfortably.

    I suspect the Ribbles are similar to a lot of high end bikes now, that have integrated cockpits, and proprietary shaped spacers etc, mean that adjusting the position can either be very difficult, and or very expensive.

    I took the same gamble with my own aero bike, which has a fully integrated bars and stem, which would have been horribly expensive to change, but I got fairly lucky I guess - it was the same brand at least, and I did spend a lot of time studying and comparing the dimensions between my CR1 and the new frame, and I have also followed this method for subsequent purchases, and it seems to serve me well.

    With deep section wheels I can tell it is notably faster than my CR1, so I suspect an even more modern bike with fully integrated cables and better aero credentials would increase that margin a bit.

    I'd suggest examining the dimensions of the two bikes at the very least, and as mentioned above try and alter your current bikes position to mimic that of a more aggressive road bike.

    If you are still keen on it, and are training hard, looking at FTP for example, you could set yourself a target of if I reach X watts, or X watts/kg then I will place the order.

    That has the bonus of hopefully motivating you to train, plus you'll be training in a position similar to that of the new bike, so you'll soon have an idea on whether you can fit the position, could do so with some work on your strength/flexibility, or whether it's a massive no no.

    Good luck!
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • Lots of good advice above.

    Going what is effectively 'low and long' in terms of fit/position is a big change.

    The first 'proper' road bike I had was fit by an old school ex pro team manager. He set me up with low stack and long stem so I got used to that riding position from an early stage.

    I would say it works for very few amateur riders, you generally need to be pretty flexible and being lean helps.

    I have a gravel bike and a MTB, and the shorter reach/higher stack is undoubtedly more comfortable, I am just used to the different position on different bikes and can swap between easily. A more race oriented position is not necessarily faster or allows me to generate more power, I am just used to it.

    As above, do what you can with the defy to change position and ride with those changes. Sitting on a 'performance' bike in a shop will not give you an idea of what it really feels like to ride in that position week after week and whether or not your body can tolerate it.

  • Although it is often possible to achieve the same position on an endurance bike as a performance bike, that is not the complete picture. A performance bike will feel sharper and more responsive to ride, and to mind is just more fun which is why I ride a performance bike. I guess i am lucky in that I am comfortable in a racy position and can ride all day, which is not to say that I am fast, just flexible, not everyone will be able to hold such a position for long.

    Imposter is right though, you will be lucky to measure any difference in speed between a performance bike and an endurance bike given that you ride both in the same position.
  • N0bodyOfTheGoat
    N0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 5,906
    edited March 2023
    I bought a 110mm for my very aero brick (upright) "58cm" Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc '16 last year, to see what my historically temperamental lower back thought of a more racey position than I've used for the last few years with all spacers above the original 110mm -6 degree stem.

    Bike frame is 388mm reach and a whopping 610mm stack! :#

    At -30 degrees under all spacers, it effectively lowers the stack by 45mm, similar to an average race geometry, still perhaps a little high for 388mm reach.

    It feels faster, like I get more speed for my effort... Struggling to find a decent comparison of similar wind on a segment with similar power last spring/summer and '18-'21. Doesn't help I got a lot of PBs last year with my best numbers, despite struggling to get under 80Kg (few higher than previous years).

    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • As ever great advice to be found here.
    Slamming them stem on my Defy is definitely the next step, a couple 2cm I can lose there. I can currently spend a little time in the drops, and while it's not uncomfortable per-se I like the visibility on the hoods.

    I would definitely get a frame size fit at the shop before ordering and maybe even with the bike. I have my dimensions from a fit I got on the Defy but that was about 30kg ago...

    So my motivation is that now I'm leaner, and have been training over the winter, seeing the watts & V02 max increase. I like the idea of something that 'Goes when you put your foot down' which is what a lot of people say about 'performance' bikes. If only to aim for some Strava PBs. Sure I could probably do this on the Defy but I'd also like something that turns a few heads in town, I did say I was shallow ;)
    But probably not shallow enough to buy a bike that I couldn't ride comfortably.
  • N0bodyOfTheGoat
    N0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 5,906
    edited March 2023
    If you're keen on a new racier bike, is hard to beat for spec at ~£1575 in their sale before cashback and a discount like 8% from British Cycling membership.

    Semi-thinking of one myself, but M geo is very similar to my Cube with adjustable stem at most aggressive, not to mention I'm still on the long road to hopefully recovery from long Covid I've had five months.

    I'm also looking at ADV 8.9 and Carrera 9 speed disc folding bike in same sale, both something new as bike type for me!

    I bought a set of those VEL 50 RL when on offer last October, my first ever 50mm rim wheels, still yet to setup but still wonder if I'll do them any justice this year above the Hunt 28mm front Aero Light Disc (look away MF ;) ) and 34mm Fulcrum 77DB rear I've used the last couple of years with GP5000 tyres and latex tubes.
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo