This post contains a list of gravel bikes with a high stack height.
The stack height is the vertical distance between the center of the bottom bracket and the middle of the head tube.
Gravel Bikes With a High Stack Height
Note: The stack height depends on the frame size too. Larger frames come with higher stack heights. The data in the table below is for medium frames.
|Salsa Fargo Apex 1||643mm|
|Surly Ghost Grappler||623mm|
|Surly Disc Trucker||594.5mm|
|Salsa Vaya GRX 600||609.1mm|
|Salsa Journeyman Claris 700||592mm|
|Marin Four Corners 2022||617mm|
FAQ: What are the advantages of a gravel bike with a taller stack height?
Gravel bikes with a taller stack offer the following benefits:
1. The user doesn’t have to rely on a taller stem to acquire the necessary stack height. By keeping the stem short, the bike becomes more responsive and easier to operate on technical terrain.
2. The higher stack height results in a more vertical back angle and reduces the stress on the back.
3. There’s less weight on the wrists, elbows and shoulders because more of the rider’s weight is on the rear wheel.
Of course, a taller stack height has its downsides too. The riding position is less aerodynamic and the reduced weight on the front wheel reduces the front-end traction.
If you can’t find a grave bike with sufficient stack height for the frame size in question, the following options could be a solution:
- Get a custom-made frame
It’s a radical solution but a solution nonetheless. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in the store, you can always order a custom frame built according to your specific needs.
The downsides are time and money losses. Custom frames are not cheap and require a long waiting period. But if you truly need something unique, this is the only way to acquire it.
- Play with the stem, stem spacers, and handlebars
Technically, the stack and reach cannot be affected once the frame is built. However, it’s possible to influence the so-called effective/practical stack and reach via the stem, the spacers underneath it, and the handlebars.
Note, however, that the effective stack high affects the reach. For example, if you add spacers under the stem (provided that the fork steerer is long enough to begin with), you will raise the effective stack height but also decrease the reach because of the head tube angle.
(If you want to learn more about how the stack height affects the reach, you can read the dedicated post on the topic.)
The options (other than getting a new frame) for increasing the stack are:
- Longer stem with a positive rise (this method will increase the reach too)
- Additional spacers under the stem (as mentioned, this method decreases the reach)
- Taller handlebars
Handlebars with a larger rise will increase the stack height without affecting the effective reach.
Why? Because the rise isn’t angled but vertical.
If your gravel bike has flat bars, the choice is straightforward – just get a model with a higher rise.
If your gravel bike has drop bars, you can still get a model with a rise. Just search for “riser drop bars“.
- Go For an XC Model
Another option that could be classified as radical too is to purchase an XC bicycle oriented towards less aggressive terrain. This approach will increase the number of bikes that you can choose from while still offering satisfactory performance.
To make the XC unit feel more like a gravel bike, the following modifications can be made:
- Go for a fully rigid frame and fork or a hardtail. Full-suspension XC bikes are very popular right now, but the suspension is designed for off-road that’s much more aggressive than gravel.
- Equipe the bike with slimmer tires designed for gravel to lower the rotational mass of the wheel and decrease the rolling resistance.
- If you want to get adventurous, you can try putting drop bars on an XC bike.