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Bike fit for long legs and short torso.

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Bike fit for long legs and short torso.

Old 06-06-09, 09:39 PM
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nauboone
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Bike fit for long legs and short torso.

Today I realized I have a problem with bike fit.

I want to buy a new "road sport" type bike. This is like a road bike with a more relaxed geometry. I want to use it for local century rides and light touring. I don't ride that fast and I'm not interested in racing. So comfort is a higher priority than speed. It's hilly where I live (SF bay area).

My research thus far has led me to the following frames (I'm leaning towards steel):
1. Soma Smoothie ES
2. Surly Pacer
3. Salsa Casseroll
4. Bianchi Vigorelli
5. Ritchey Breakaway

I've test ridden the Soma Smoothies ES and the Ritchey Breakaway, both 58 cm size. I'm 5'11" with a 32 in inseam. 150 lbs. Every time I test ride a bike the mechanic makes a guess of how high the saddle should be and it's always waaaaay too low. Now I just carry an allen key with me to raise it about 2 - 3 inches. The top tubes on both of the above-mentioned bikes feels like they're at the right height. But the handlebars feel waaaaaay too far out in front. Ok, maybe 2 to 3 inches too far. These test-ride bikes always have drop handlebars and 110 mm stems.

So it seems I have extra long legs and a short torso for my height. So who makes a bike for me? Any recommendations?

Might another style of bicycle than "road sport" work for me? Maybe road racing?

Thanks.
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Old 06-06-09, 09:54 PM
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If you're far out of square, it can be a tough fit. You should probably look into a fitting more indepth than "this looks about right". There are a few online fitting tools that will give you an idea of what you need.
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Old 06-06-09, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by nauboone View Post
Today I realized I have a problem with bike fit.

I want to buy a new "road sport" type bike. This is like a road bike with a more relaxed geometry. I want to use it for local century rides and light touring. I don't ride that fast and I'm not interested in racing. So comfort is a higher priority than speed. It's hilly where I live (SF bay area).

......(snip).......

So it seems I have extra long legs and a short torso for my height. So who makes a bike for me? Any recommendations?

Might another style of bicycle than "road sport" work for me? Maybe road racing?

Thanks.
You may be jumping to conclusions. Your inseam isn't particularly long for your height, so your torso is, correspondingly, not particularly short. What you are likely noticing is what just about everyone who hasn't ridden a road bike before notices when they try one - you have to bend and reach for the bars.

On the bikes you have in mind the geometry places the bars closer and higher up already, so you might plan on getting a bike that fits your leg length and then work on your flexibility and form gradually. You can even get an adjustable stem if you want to move things around, but chances are after some time you'll find the standard "road bike position" is pretty comfortable (especially on one of the "relaxed fit" bikes), and a fairly normal set-up should work fine.

Good luck, and don't get discouraged if things don't feel right immediately.
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Old 06-06-09, 10:36 PM
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your inseam is pretty normal for your height.
5'7 with 31~32" is on the long leg side for instance.

maybe your arms are shorter than average?
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Old 06-06-09, 10:38 PM
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At 5'11" with 32" inseam (I'm guessing you are talking about your pants inseam) you do not have exceptionally long legs for your heignt. For example I am 6' and have a 35.5" pants inseam. My legs are very long for my height. 32" is a common inseam for someone your height. Sounds more like you are on a frame that is too big for you.
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Old 06-06-09, 10:46 PM
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Women's specific bikes are made for people with longer legs and shorter torsos. However, they often only come in pink and white with floral decals.

I agree with some of the others and think you should just try a smaller frame. I'm 5'6" and I ride a 49cm with a 51cm top tube. Most online sizing charts tell me that I need a 52-54cm bicycle.
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Old 06-06-09, 11:03 PM
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Buy a bike with the correct top tube measurement, and your fit will fall into place. You might have to run a few spacers if you don't like too much drop, but it'll be fine.
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Old 06-07-09, 05:49 AM
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get as much spacers under the stem as the fork steerer will allow and use a stem that is flipped up.
aim for bars that are higher than the saddle.

one thing that makes a huge difference is how high the bars are.
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Old 06-07-09, 06:02 AM
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You might also consider a road bike with semi flat bars. An upright seating posture might be what you are looking for. Like a Specialized Sirrus.
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Old 06-07-09, 06:28 AM
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Your inseam doesn't seem to be that long. I'm 5'8 with a 33" inseam.
Can you test ride all of the bikes you mentioned? Make sure you get a pro-fit as well.
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Old 06-07-09, 09:31 AM
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for the bars, you might want to use short reach bars, like FSA compact.

maybe even campy levers, since shimano levers have more reach than campy levers.
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Old 06-07-09, 09:57 AM
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Assuming you measured properly I need to agree with the others here. I'm 6' and have a 35.8 cycling inseam. (Classic long legs, short torso.) 32 inch inseam at 5'11" is not particularly long.

Just found this on the mtbr forum; it's as good of a description as any of how to measure your cycling inseam:
"If you have a lycra bike shorts wear it. Get a marker/pen, a 1 to 2 inch book and a tape measure. Stand with your back on the wall, barefooted with feet 6-8 inches apart. Stick the book between your legs and ram it up to your crotch until it stops. Mark the wall where the top of the book meets your crotch. Measure. That will be your cycling inseam."
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Old 06-07-09, 10:19 AM
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I have the same problem, I downsized from 56 and to 54 and I'm pretty happy.
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Old 06-07-09, 10:41 AM
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What would be more relevant is an accurate saddle height, not what you think to be your inseam.

A 32 inch cycling inseam would be short for your height, since it would only yield a saddle height in the 70-72cm range.

Perhaps you're posting a pants inseam?

FWIW, there is no way that the bars will be 2-3 inches greater in reach than you need. That's 5-7cm and TT lengths rarely vary by more the 1-2cm between brands, for a given frame size.
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Old 06-07-09, 10:57 AM
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I'm 5'11" with about the same inseam and weight and I ride a 56cm. It seems to be a good fit for me. I think that you should at least test ride one in that size and I wouldn't be surprised if it's a good fit. It should make the reach to the bars shorter also.
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Old 06-07-09, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by nauboone View Post
Today I realized I have a problem with bike fit.

I want to buy a new "road sport" type bike. This is like a road bike with a more relaxed geometry. I want to use it for local century rides and light touring. I don't ride that fast and I'm not interested in racing. So comfort is a higher priority than speed. It's hilly where I live (SF bay area).

My research thus far has led me to the following frames (I'm leaning towards steel):
1. Soma Smoothie ES
2. Surly Pacer
3. Salsa Casseroll
4. Bianchi Vigorelli
5. Ritchey Breakaway

I've test ridden the Soma Smoothies ES and the Ritchey Breakaway, both 58 cm size. I'm 5'11" with a 32 in inseam. 150 lbs. Every time I test ride a bike the mechanic makes a guess of how high the saddle should be and it's always waaaaay too low. Now I just carry an allen key with me to raise it about 2 - 3 inches. The top tubes on both of the above-mentioned bikes feels like they're at the right height. But the handlebars feel waaaaaay too far out in front. Ok, maybe 2 to 3 inches too far. These test-ride bikes always have drop handlebars and 110 mm stems.

So it seems I have extra long legs and a short torso for my height. So who makes a bike for me? Any recommendations?

Might another style of bicycle than "road sport" work for me? Maybe road racing?

Thanks.

Sounds like you might try different type bars on one of those bikes to make it more comfy...
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Old 06-07-09, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Gambutrol View Post
Women's specific bikes are made for people with longer legs and shorter torsos. However, they often only come in pink and white with floral decals.

I agree with some of the others and think you should just try a smaller frame. I'm 5'6" and I ride a 49cm with a 51cm top tube. Most online sizing charts tell me that I need a 52-54cm bicycle.
I'm 5'6" and my inseam, measured as for cycling, is 81.8 cm or 32 inches. Most charts say I should have a 54 cm frame. I'm pretty comfortable on a frame with a 52 cm c-c seat tube and a 52 to 55 cm top tube. I'm looking for a good cheap 54 cm frame to try.

If your 32 inch inseam is measured the same way as mine, with a book shoved up your crotch to the pubic bone and bare feet, you probably need a 54 cm frame. Such a frame will have a shorter top tube than a 58 cm.
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Old 06-07-09, 02:43 PM
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When you raise the seat do you also move it forward at the same time? If not, then raising the seat causes it to move rearward due to the angle of the seat tube. If this is the case, then your raising the seat actually pushes you back on the bike and away from the bars. This makes you reach for the bars and be uncomfortable.
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Old 06-10-09, 08:04 AM
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Amazing, there is a consensus among cyclists. It does make sense what y'all are saying, that I'm just not used to the road bike posture. I haven't ridden a bike with drop handlebars before.

Yes, 32 inches is my pants inseam. My "cycling inseam" or "pubic bone height" as Rivendell calls it, is 34 inches. My saddle height is 76 cm above the bottom bracket, and 104 cm above the ground.

I don't think I have particularly short arms. I've always felt I have long legs and long arms, relative to other people. But especially long legs, since my saddle is obviously higher than anyone of my height.

How do I determine the "correct" tob tube measurement for me?
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Old 06-10-09, 08:12 AM
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Have you tried any of the online fit calculators? I and many others found this one to be great. https://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...der=M&units=cm
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Old 06-10-09, 08:28 AM
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If those bikes fit just swap out the 110mm stem for a 90mm...any shorter and it affects handling. I WOULD measure out the fit calc. though!
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Old 06-10-09, 10:52 AM
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I'm 5'4" with 31.30" inseam. I just saw a bike fit specialist (basic fit) and he said that I should have gone with a smaller frame (than my current Specialized Tarmac in size XS). My impression is if you have a short torso, a small frame is the way to go.
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Old 06-10-09, 11:13 AM
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Top tube measurement is key. I also have long legs (34" inseam) and an average torso. So I go for Italian frames that have shorter top tubes. For me, 56-57cm top tubes work best. I also have shorter reach bars (Ritchey WCS Road classic).
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Old 06-10-09, 11:18 AM
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I'm 5'11 and my inseam (pubic bone, not pants) is 35". All three online bike calculators I tried suggested a 60cm size frame. That's what I ride. I may have to shorten the stem to a 100mm or 90mm as I find myself stretched out while riding on the hoods. I feel good in the drops though so it may just be a matter of getting use to the new position after riding a hybrid and being upright for so long.
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Old 06-10-09, 11:26 AM
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I'm 5'11" also with an inseam of 33.5". My fitter thought I should have a larger bike till we worked on reach and so I ended up with my post almost to max insertion and a 90mm stem with short and shallow bars. (4" saddle to bar drop with stem flipped up :9)

I'm on a Felt F85 56cm
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