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Sizing a touring frame

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Sizing a touring frame

Old 01-27-05, 05:58 AM
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Ziemas
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Sizing a touring frame

I'm looking to purchase a new touring frame for the daily commute and light touring with my wife. No shops in Riga carry anything in steel, which is my material of choice, and one carries an alu touring bike in one size. The vast majority of what are sold here are alu mountain bikes. This leaves me with no option but to order a frame set, sight unseen.

So, to make a short story long, I ask how accureate are WrenchScience or other online size calculators for touring bikes? The options are road(which I take to mean racing), mountain, free ride, etc. I'm afraid of ordering the wrong size. Thanks for the input.
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Old 01-27-05, 10:47 AM
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Do you ride anything at the moment. The most accurate guide is experience of riding a bike.
When sizing modern bikes, the most critical dimension is length, most have adaquate standover when selected for the right length.
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Old 01-27-05, 11:05 AM
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Do any of the shops near you offer a fit kit? If they do, you could have one and get the measurements to send along with your bike order.

Alternatively, you could call the shop you plan to buy the bike from and ask them what body measurements would help in sizing the bike. Obviously that's not ideal because there are other factors - as in how you position yourself on the bike - but at least it would give you a starting point.
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Old 01-27-05, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelW
Do you ride anything at the moment. The most accurate guide is experience of riding a bike.
When sizing modern bikes, the most critical dimension is length, most have adaquate standover when selected for the right length.
I have one bike that's too small, and one that is passible, but a little on the big side.
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Old 01-27-05, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by denisegoldberg
Do any of the shops near you offer a fit kit? If they do, you could have one and get the measurements to send along with your bike order.
No.

Alternatively, you could call the shop you plan to buy the bike from and ask them what body measurements would help in sizing the bike. Obviously that's not ideal because there are other factors - as in how you position yourself on the bike - but at least it would give you a starting point.[/QUOTE]

I will have to order this frame from a foreign country. Perhaps a bike shop, perhaps online. To give you an example of the problems involved; I wanted to order an extra battery for my head light from an LBS. I was told that it would take a year and a half because this years order has already been placed! Huh?

None of the bike shops here want to order anything that's not in their catalogs. Most bike shops carry one or two brands of bike, sometimes a cheap house brand. Everything is alu. I'm looking for steel.

Most of the people working at LBS's here don't ride. It's a job. Some do ride, but only mountain bikes. It's really depressing...
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Old 01-27-05, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Ziemas
To give you an example of the problems involved; I wanted to order an extra battery for my head light from an LBS. I was told that it would take a year and a half because this years order has already been placed! Huh?

None of the bike shops here want to order anything that's not in their catalogs. Most bike shops carry one or two brands of bike, sometimes a cheap house brand. Everything is alu. I'm looking for steel.

Most of the people working at LBS's here don't ride. It's a job. Some do ride, but only mountain bikes. It's really depressing...
Believe me, I feel for you. I lived in Israel, very similar situation. All the new bikes were crap "USA Designed" cheap Taiwanese ripoffs that if they ever actually saw use on a trail would snap every weld on the bike and you would face-plant a rock. The shops weren't stocked with decent gear, and ordering was next to impossible.

I have some resources for you:
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-sizing.html
Sheldon Brown chimes in on all things bike, I suggest keeping his website handy for any bike questions you might have, now and in the future. At the bottom of the page are more links for more info.

And I have a solution that might be a little devious: measure yourself (as per the instructions on the websites of touring bicycle manufacturers) and then write in as if interested in buying, and ask what frame size they would be giving you. Better yet, order a frame from a manufacturer who can help you with your measurements. I realize that many might be expensive, especially if you include shipping from the US/UK, but a reputable manufacturer should be able to properly size a bike for you...
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Old 01-27-05, 03:11 PM
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Co-Motion has a very good fitting guide on their website.
It's not a treaty on what bike you should get, but rather a fairly complete spec sheet on the data you need to measure on your body, as well as on your existing bicycle. And each measure is well explained, so you will know exactly what to measure / how to measure it.

Measures on your existing bike are important, especially if you already have a bicycle of similar configuration (ex.: an old touring bicycle). With these measures, you should highlight what doesn't work (ex.: handlebars are too far away), as well as personal preferences, especially if they don't fit the norm (ex.: riding on the drops all the time).

As for how you should fit the bicycle, I prefer Peter White's fitting guide. A bit traditional (i.e. for fairly horizontal top tube), and very simple to understand. Rivendell is also good.
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Old 01-27-05, 03:37 PM
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Thanks for all the help. I read many sites dealing with fitting, and tried some of the online fit calculators before I posted this. I guess I wasn't really clear in my question. Sorry for that.

What I'm wondering is are the majority of online fit calculators (such as WrenchScience) geared for nose to stem speed racers? If so, how can one interpit the results for a more upright posistion/comfortable ride? It really bothers me that I can't try/look at a bike before I purchase it. Thanks.
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Old 01-28-05, 03:07 PM
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Try Heron Bicycles. They are steel frames, you have a choice of road or touring frames.
You can go to the website www.heronbicycles.com They will deal with your local bike shop.
its best to have someone whos opinion you respect and trust to help pick out your components.
The frames weigh about 4lbs. and are built at the waterford factory in wisconsin.
They are a production run frame,and not as expensive as a custom fit.They are offered in four colors. If they have your size and color in stock, it usually takes about a week. Visit their web site.

www.heronbicycles.com
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Old 01-28-05, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by midgie
They will deal with your local bike shop.
Thanks for the input. The problem I have is that I am not in the US, and the LBSs don't want to deal with ordering anything. It's a "buy what we have or go some place else" attiude. So, I'm stuck trying to fit myself.
I really don't want to get a frame that's too big or small.

I have 62cm which is great to ride but I feel is a little big. WrenchScience pegs me at a 60cm ct, 58cm cc. I'm not sure how their road racing sizing will translate to a touring/commuting frame.
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Old 01-28-05, 03:32 PM
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You can email todd@heronbicycles.com. He can explain the geometry and sizing. You can also purchase the frame its self from tullios,which is a shop he owns. If they made a frame small enough for me thats what I would be riding. Being 5'2" and a woman with no torso length to speak of, I'm still serching for the perfect fit also. Most toptubes are too long. I noticed someone posted sheldon browns website.
I would definately visit it, the man knows his stuff.
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Old 01-28-05, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by midgie
You can email todd@heronbicycles.com. He can explain the geometry and sizing. You can also purchase the frame its self from tullios,which is a shop he owns. If they made a frame small enough for me thats what I would be riding. Being 5'2" and a woman with no torso length to speak of, I'm still serching for the perfect fit also. Most toptubes are too long. I noticed someone posted sheldon browns website.
I would definately visit it, the man knows his stuff.
They look nice, but they are a bit pricy for me.
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Old 01-28-05, 04:01 PM
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try specialized bicycles, I'm pretty sure they do a steel frame road bike. If it doesn't have to be steel, their sequoia is great. Its a comfort road/touring with an adjustable stem and body geometry bars.
I've worked on and sold specialized for the past 4 years, love the company. Just wish they'd make a womens specific sequoia.
Their saddles are the most comfortable and I love their new barphat. I've got the 4.5 on my allez vita
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Old 01-28-05, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Ziemas
Some do ride, but only mountain bikes. It's really depressing...
i faced the same problem as you do, steel touring frames are hard to come by around here because nobody´s doing it, ironically we make the bikes. the rivendell site michel mentioned is a good source, i followed its instructions and bought a 54cm frame through spicercycles which arrived last night.

i was stucked between 2 sizes and i went for the bigger one.
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Old 01-30-05, 12:14 AM
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Zie
since you are not in a situation to get professional help lets try this, give us the following

1. your height,
2.your inseam (standing barefoot, back to wall place a book about 1" thick comfortably against your crotch and then measure from floor to top of book)
3 your weight
4 arm length , with arm outstretched to your side measure from the intersection of your shoulder bone and arm (socket)to your knuckles
5 do you normaly ride with the handle bars above or below the seat? how many CM above or below?
6. On the bike that is too large m tell us what you like and don't like about it in relation to comfort
7. what is your past Cycling experince ?

Chances are one or more of us maybe be close enough to your physique size to offer you an idea what may fit.

Rick
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Old 01-30-05, 02:13 AM
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Originally Posted by velonomad
Zie
since you are not in a situation to get professional help lets try this, give us the following

1. your height,
2.your inseam (standing barefoot, back to wall place a book about 1" thick comfortably against your crotch and then measure from floor to top of book)
3 your weight
4 arm length , with arm outstretched to your side measure from the intersection of your shoulder bone and arm (socket)to your knuckles
5 do you normaly ride with the handle bars above or below the seat? how many CM above or below?
6. On the bike that is too large m tell us what you like and don't like about it in relation to comfort
7. what is your past Cycling experince ?

Chances are one or more of us maybe be close enough to your physique size to offer you an idea what may fit.

Rick
Height 182 cm
Inseam 89.6
Weight 82kg
Arm length 63.5cm

I like to ride with the bars about the same height as the seat. Some times a cm or so lower, depending on the bike.

The bike that is too large is 62cm Torelli cycrocross. It is comfortable, I like it a lot, but the top tube seems a little bit high.

As for experence, I'm a die hard commuter. I've commuted for years. I've also done some short touring. I really want to by a frame that's *right*for me as I spend so much time biking. Thhnks for the help.
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Old 01-30-05, 09:41 AM
  #17  
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Just an idea, Check out the Fahrrad Manufaktur T400 http://www.fahrradmanufaktur.de I have no idea id it's good or not but it's one of the bikes I'm looking into buying at the moment. The others being a Thorn Raven Tour or a Bob Jackson. I live in Japan and getting touring bikes here is pretty difficult too. They might well be manufactured here but it looks like they're all exported!

You can get some info in English about the T400 at
http://www.bikefix.co.uk/b-fahrrad.html

Like I said I've no idea if it's good but the price is moderate. Certainly more affordable than a Rivendell or high end Co-motion or whatever. Though probably not as good as those bikes of course. The frame is made by Fort in the Czech Rep. Largest size is 59cm whick maybe could be ideal for you.

Best of luck getting a good size bike
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Old 01-30-05, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by hardtail
The frame is made by Fort in the Czech Rep. Largest size is 59cm whick maybe could be ideal for you.
I've been checking out Fort online today. I've seen a bunch of them around town, but I just assumed that they were an Asian junk bike. Seems I was wrong. Here are a couple of site about Fort if you are interested.
http://www.fortframes.cz/english/index.html
http://www.fortframes.com
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Old 01-30-05, 08:15 PM
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You are about the same as I for inseam length , 3 cm shorter in arm length and about 3 cm shorter in height. For a traditional touring bike like a Rivendale or Trek 520, 63 cm is about correct allowing you to straddle the top tube with about 2-3 cm of clearance to your crotch. at this size the handlebar height will likely be within the adjustment range that you like.

But wait a second! your 62cm Cyclocross bike is too large! why would the touring bike fit when the cyclocross doesn't? Cyclocross bikes usually have a Bottom bracket height that is 2 cm or more higher than a traditional touring bike. If you were riding a Cyclocross bike that was a centmeter shorter it would probaly fit you a lot better.

Another part of the sizing question has a lot to do with personal preferences. You may like a comfortable standover height with extra space between your crotch and the top tube whereas someone like myself prefers a more traditional fit using a taller frame that allows a higher handle bar adjustment at the sacrafice of crotch clearance In consideration of that and your arm length and height (assuming you like the classic touring profile of having your back at about 45 degrees in a forward position ) Road frames and touring frames are usually close in bottom bracket height. The reccommendation you got for a 61 x 58 frame should be a pretty good fit. You may however have to get a longer/taller stem like a Nitto or the type that angles up like on a Mountain Bike to get your bars up to a comfortable level. Don't go under 58cm for top tube length otherwise you are going to be using longer stems and shifting your weight forward. that isn't comfortable or conducive to good handling IMO on a touring bike.
Another factor is that some touring bikes come with sloping top tubes. on average they seem to drop about 4-5 cm if that is the case you need to look at the standover height to determine the proper size of bike. not everyone measures bikes the same and seat tube lengths they publish can be misleading and confusing.

If you are buying a bare frame , you may not get a dimension for standover height or bottom bracket height, you may get a dimension for "bottom bracket drop" this is a measurement from a line drawn through the wheel axles and then measured down to the center of the bottom bracket ( crank). usually this is a dimension between 6.0 to 8.5 centimeters for a 70cm wheel. to estimate standover height use the radius of a 70 cm wheel ( roughly the diameter of 700 x 40 tire) ,subtract the bottom bracket drop from the radius of 35cm then add the seat tube height. For example: a 60 cm frame using 70 cm wheels and with a bottom bracket drop of 7 cm 60+( 35-7)= 88 cm. This will give you a rough idea of what the standover will be. Because of the angle of the seat tube this measurement will be about 1-1.5 cm longer than the actual standover on most frames, On sloping top tube frames this method will not work with *virtual* sizing/ seat tube lengths.

I hope this helps.

Last edited by velonomad; 01-30-05 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 01-30-05, 08:33 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Ziemas
I've been checking out Fort online today. I've seen a bunch of them around town, but I just assumed that they were an Asian junk bike. Seems I was wrong. Here are a couple of site about Fort if you are interested.
http://www.fortframes.cz/english/index.html
http://www.fortframes.com
to sort of go along with my previous post about sizing,,,,,
If you look at the specs for the Fort trekking bike which I assume they are calling a touring bike you will notice the bottom bracket drop is only 6 cm. a touring bike should be closer to 7.5-8 cm. Apparently they are using the cyclocross frame for touring, This raises the center of gravity which affects handling and stabilty

Using the 58cm frame for an example . we can subtract 6 cm BB drop from the 35 cm wheel radius then add in the 58cm frame size to give us a sum of 87 cm subtract 1 centimeter to correct for the seat tube angle and you should have a mininum standover of 86 cm. with your 89 cm inseam that should give you at least 3 cm clearance with a 700 x 40 tire and about 4 cm clearance with a 700x 28 tire

Last edited by velonomad; 01-30-05 at 10:24 PM.
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Old 01-31-05, 06:26 AM
  #21  
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Thanks for the clear and concise reply, Velonomad. I really like the cx frame that I have, the problem is that I do a lot of riding in the city under snowy and icy conditions which often calls for a quick foot plant. The high bar on the cx is a cause of problems.

You seem to know quite a bit about geometry. How do you think the Fort will ride for light touring/commuting? It is one of the only ones that I can find in Latvia. The price is reasonable, 95 euro for the frame, 25 for the fork. The shipping is steep at 130 euro. Thanks.
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Old 01-31-05, 02:13 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by velonomad
Apparently they are using the cyclocross frame for touring, This raises the center of gravity which affects handling and stabilty
The American site is using a cyclocross frame as a tourer. The European site has dedicated frames that differ from the American site.

See cycling->products-> frames-> trekking -> TR.90

http://www.fortframes.cz/english/index.html
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Old 02-01-05, 04:01 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Ziemas
The American site is using a cyclocross frame as a tourer. The European site has dedicated frames that differ from the American site.

See cycling->products-> frames-> trekking -> TR.90

http://www.fortframes.cz/english/index.html
Geometry alone doesn't tell you how a bike will l ride. but judging from the numbers alone It should ride very well. In a perfect world,the only two items I would rather be different is a lower bottom bracket and a bit less steering trail which only means the bike will have a stronger tendancy to go straight and thus will require a bit more input to turn, But IMO they are both very minor issues ( every bike has compromises) IMO the TR.90 in a 58 cm should fit with plenty of clearance and will work well for commuting and light touring. One thing to keep in mind though, Usually the steering tube on the fork comes very long(280-300 mm) so you can cut it down to size. do not cut the fork steering tube till the bike is completely assembled and you can sit on it to check handle bar height. you may find you want the whole length.
Good luck!

Rick Krough
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Old 02-02-05, 04:03 AM
  #24  
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Velonomad- Once again, thanks. Your input has been very helpful. It's really appreciated! I'll post agian when the bike is complete. Ziemas.
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Old 02-02-05, 07:53 AM
  #25  
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Ziemas,

If you go for the Fort bike I'd be interested to hear about how you find it. Currently I'm looking at several bikes, but am finding it difficult to make a decision because I can't actually test ride any of the bikes I'm considering.

Anyway if you do go for the Fort frame best of luck and a post about how you find it would be appreciated.
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