Are there any resources or books that discuss bicycle geometry? I am looking for resources that would allow to get a rough idea of how relaxed or aggressive a particular bicycle geometry is, by looking at the manufacturer's geometry specs. I realize that it would only impart a very rough idea and that only a prolonged test ride and preferably long term use of the bike can impart a full impression.

I am mainly interested in traditional road and touring bikes, but resources that address the same question in hybrids, and other bike styles are also welcome.

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    You could start with en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… and the references at the bottom of dclxvi.org/chunk/tech/trail (though Bicycle Science has a later edition now).
    – armb
    Jun 12, 2013 at 11:10
  • Also the links at ihpva.org/projects/tstrike/building/handling.htm, especially Bill Patterson's "Lords of the Chain Ring". Recumbent oriented, but much of it will be more generally relevant.
    – armb
    Jun 12, 2013 at 11:30
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    Requests for resources aren't usually a good fit for the StackExchange format. You'll probably get a better answer if you ask a more specific question rather than asking for a list of books.
    – amcnabb
    Jun 12, 2013 at 17:18

2 Answers 2


Tim Paterek Manual for Bicycle Framebuilders contains the chapter on geometry. Very old version of this manual can also be downloaded for free.


You might find the Geometry of Bike Handling on Calfee Design's site helpful.

There are some good articles by Grant Petersen on bike making at the Rivendell site that cover some aspects of geometry and bike design. He also has a good section on geometry in his book Just Ride.

Once upon a time there was a nice series of articles on the Rivendell site where Grant walked through the process of designing a bike, but I can't find them anymore.

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    Optimal geometry is also heavily influenced by handling philosophies. Calfee and Grant tend to share one perspective. Not to take away from either as Grant has a great series of articles, but this geometry is based on a firm perspective on how a bike should handle both with and without a load and how loads should be distributed on a bike.
    – Rider_X
    Jul 14, 2015 at 19:47
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    Thanks for adding that. Can you suggest any resources or people who look at it differently? I think that would be fascinating reading.
    – dlu
    Jul 14, 2015 at 20:06
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    I wish I did. The main modern philosophy seems to favour a rear weighting bias. The other major philosophy seems to be a front loading and a more even front back weight distribution. Each requires different geometry. Bicycle quarterly would be a good source for the latter, but I am unclear if there is a single volume summarizing what is known. Much of this knowledge seems to come form 30's and 40's, little was written down and most of it was lost with shifts in the bicycle industry to sport over transport. It seems that right now many are rediscovering this later handling philosophy.
    – Rider_X
    Jul 15, 2015 at 21:14
  • Oh well, thanks very much for the info. I think I'll go looking for a bike history book.
    – dlu
    Jul 15, 2015 at 22:24

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