Touring - Does my '75 touring bike actually fit me?
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01-20-08, 04:58 AM
Just got my hands on a '75 Fuji America but I'm not sure if it really fits me. It's my first road bike and things started off feeling very unnatural. I'm a week into riding and it's starting to feel better, but I'd rather know now if I'm adapting to a bike that will kill me on a month-long trip.
58cm frame seems small for a 6'1" guy (2" of standover clearance)
but top tube length is on par with the largest-size Trek 520
Height: 185cm = 6'1"
Saddle Height: 79cm
Frame: 58cm = 23" center-top
Top Tube: 58.5cm center-center
Chainstay: 43 cm
Standover: 84cm so 2" of clearance
Wheels/Rims: ISO 630mm (more than 700C = ISO 622mm)
Sheldon (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-sizing.html#toptube) says top tube matters most so ... good?
Rivendell's chart (http://www.rivbike.com/article/bike_fit/choosing_a_frame_size) says I should be riding a 60-63cm frame so ... bad?
But larger tires on '75 Fuji means smaller frame for taller bike so ... good?
Still, with the handlebar stem at it's min. insertion point, I've got 8cm = 3" vertical between the saddle and the bars. Looked in LBS and their road bikes are all set up this way, but I plan on touring and want to be comfortable.
So wise forum members:
A. Bike is too small. Get larger bike.
B. Frame is fine. Get longer stem; handlebars should be at least equal with saddle.
C. Bike is aces. You'll get used to, nay, grow to love low handlebars.
'75 Component Specs (http://www.classicrendezvous.com/Japan/Fuji/Fuji75specs.htm)
Page from following year's Catalog (http://bulgier.net/pics/bike/Catalogs/Fuji-76/Page04-05.JPG): "bike designed especially for the long distance tourer or cycle camper with an eye on the budget but wishes no compromise on quality or performance"
01-20-08, 06:15 AM
Rivendell would fit me two sizes larger than I would want. Bar height sounds good to me. It sounds fine to me.
FWIW: I went coast to coast on the TA this summer (4,244 miles in 73 days) on a bike with what sounds like a similar fit (my bars might be a bit lower). I considered the fit perfect for me and had no comfort problems.
Only you can say what fits best for you, but I think the big frame, high bars thing is overrated.
01-20-08, 07:56 AM
In My exp rivendell ALWAYS assumes that EVERY ONE has a long torso and short armes. HIS peddle hight systum (that depends on the specific PBH ) works great. Assuming aney masurement with bike fit usualy sucks. I eventuly found a fit systum that measures torso and armes, it is very helpful.
Rivendell loyalist here. 5'9" with a "61" frame. Aesthetics are important to me. A tall bicycle relative to my height just seems right and I love the look of 700mm wheels. On the practical side, I think it feels nice to stretch out a little bit while riding. I sure want my legs to extend to their full length. I found Peterson's suggestion about having the bars slightly higher than the seat to be brilliant: balance one's weight between the bars and the seat and everybody's happy.
01-20-08, 08:35 AM
Try putting an old MTB stem on to raise the bars. It's all a matter of personal choice anyhow-- what you have now is the standard road set up. Some touring bikes have the bars a little higher.
Lots of people on this forum think that the Rivendell Reader is the Holy Bible of cycling. It's not. Grant Petersen is a smart guy and he's a good read, but I don't think he knows more about bikes than say, Bruce Gordon. According to Grant, I need at least a 60cm frame, Gordon suggests a 54cm. Both bike gurus are completely wrong on this.
So go find a different stem or two and experiment to you get it right for yourself. It's not rocket sience after all.
01-20-08, 08:58 AM
For a touring bike I would suggest getting the bars even with the height of the saddle. On a tour you want to be able to look around and enjoy the sights. The lower the bars are the hard it is to do this.
01-20-08, 09:15 AM
For a touring bike I would suggest getting the bikes even with the height of the saddle. On a tour you want to be able to look around and enjoy the sights. The lower the bars are the hard it is to do this.
Find a new high rise stem and try it for another week or two.
01-20-08, 09:17 AM
ALL of my touring bikes over the years have been set up with the bars slightly higher than the saddle, aerodynamics are secondary to comfort on tour. Racing bikes are set up with the handlebars lower than the seat...I can no longer ride a bike like that. To each their own, I have seen people on transcontinental tours on Huffy 10 speeds with the "wino ryder" bars, and at least a couple of them made the trip they planned.
01-20-08, 09:30 AM
Find a new high rise stem and try it for another week or two.
01-20-08, 11:56 AM
There is more to bike fit than standover height, which you are catching asking about length of toptube. It's not infallible, but the KOPS setting is a good one to start with after getting the saddle height about right.
KOPS Knee over Pedal Spindle - With cranks at 3 and 9 o'clock a short weighted string held against the bump below the front of the knee should intersect the pedal spindle. Basically this sets the saddle fore and aft ABOUT right.
Then, your eyes shouldn't see the front axle, being blocked by the top of the handlebar. This HELPS set stem length.
Note that raising HB will slightly move bars back, raising seat slightly takes seat back.
This is just a starting point. Longer thigh than 'normal', shorter arms than 'normal', longer torso than 'normal' will throw off one or more of these 'settings'. And obviously, type of saddle, comfort spot on saddle needs to be determined with some seat time first.
So - Seat height right first. And depending on fitness, that can change some. Then get the fore and aft set. That can change some - more forward can give a bit better spin; back can give a bit better seated climbing power. Then stem length. That can change with fitness also. Your arms are your body's shock absorbers so time riding allows for elbows bending a bit more as arm strength /endurance improves.
You can get stems with longer shaft. I don't know if there are any readily available with different angles. Early mountain bikes did have them. There were drop bars that had a slight rise along the tops to get an extra inch if height- usually labeled touring or randonneuring. Maybe in the back bins of a local coop. Or you can put more padding on top of bars to get a bit of a raise effect also.
Lots of tour bikes had bars lower than saddle. My old Trek touring was set up that way. There is a power advantage to having back flatter (more horiz) as it stretches hamstrings. It isn't just aerodynamics.
So, to some extent more seat time will help figure stuff out. If there is a real pain, sort out the cause, don't try to 'ride through it'.
01-20-08, 12:38 PM
You could try a Salsa 120 mm 0 degree roadstem. Top tube length seems OK.
01-20-08, 04:32 PM
Just a bit of further comment to sort of put some perspective on the comments so far...
I met a lot of long distance tourists this summer on the transamerica and I can say that there is no widespread acceptance of any particular handlebar height. On this and some other forums the dogma is that the seat belongs at or a bit above the saddle in height. Out on the road there was no such consensus. The range was a somewhat evenly distributed continuum from 1 or 2 inches above to 3 or 4 inches below the saddle. There was one guy whose bars were 6 inches above the saddle. Everyone was doing fine.
IMO there is no reason to have the bars higher for a yearlong ride than a 1 day ride. In fact on the long haul you will have more time to become used to whatever position you use, while if you just ride now and then around home you are limited by lack of conditioning. Actually on the long haul, bike fit issues were MUCH less than when doing a century once in a while.
On the long tour we started out with relatively low mileage per day and worked up. If there were any issues along the way we made minor adjustments. My bars started 3-4" below the saddle and stayed there. My two companions, who hadn't ridden much before the tour started with their bars above the saddle a bit and moved them up and down over the first week or so, but after that tended to like them a bit lower as time went on.
The bottom line is this... Do what seems be the best balance between efficiency and comfort for you, but don't assume that it is right based on a majority opinion here. Also don't automatically assume that higher equals more comfortable in the long haul.
01-20-08, 04:52 PM
Always a tough call. Especially if (like me:() you do not conform to a standard pattern body format.
I'm 5'7" tall, with long legs and short trunk, so I am always stuck making compromises. A comfortable seat tube height for me would be 57.5 to 58 cm (c-c). Standover height for me is fine at just under 33 inches. I'm most comfortable because of my age (and flexibility issues concerning my back and neck) riding with my handlebars roughly level with or just below the saddle level.
Unfortunately, with a typical (what most manufacturers consider proportionate) top tube length, I am stuck reaching way too far forward with a normal length stem. A short (40-50 mm) stem combined with the typical longer seat tube is one alternative, but then this changes the feel of the steering from how the bike was intended to handle.
By some "top tube based" calculations, I "should" be riding a bike with only a 53-54 cm top tube and a 90-100 mm stem. But, this would fit me to a bike with a similar seat tube length. Then my seat post would need to be raised extremely high and the handlebars also would need to be set maybe 7" or more above the top tube (typical Nitto Technomic territory). This just looks silly - like I'm trying to ride a bicycle which was stolen from a child.
And, it's even more ridiculous if I try to fit onto a bike with a threadless stem - which would force me to use an adjustable (swivel) stem pointing almost straight up. And, modern compact frames tend to have even longer "effective" top tube lengths, so I would be fitted for an even smaller frameset!
So, I always look for a bike with a short-ish top tube, a "reasonable" seat tube height, and then suffer through whatever required adjustments from there. Ultimately, the logical final solution would be to simply have a semi-custom bike built to better fit me... or, a full custom bike to actually both fit me and meet all my intended needs for the bike.
Good Luck in YOUR personal challenge! :(
01-20-08, 05:39 PM
Thanks everyone! I'll keep her. I've got a few more months till I tour, so lots of time to adjust and experiment. I ride every day right now, to get around campus, but never more than 1mi at a time. When I graduate in March I'll have a lot more time to take long rides and tweak configurations.
On the whole Rivendell-sizing thing, I think people listen to what Grant says because he writes in a strong, certain, assertive voice whereas everywhere else on the web says "well, different strokes for different folks." When you're getting started, with no guru to consult, and no idea what a reasonable range is, you just want some hard numbers to start with.
01-20-08, 08:48 PM
True enough about the guru thing.....and Rivendell is chock full of good stuff, even if I think they are a little kooky on the frame sizing stuff. Over the years, I've heard so many crazy ideas about frame size....no one really has the answer.
I guess the next step for your journey would be to hunt down an MTB stem (or two) and get the bike dialed in.
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