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  1. #1
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    Sheldon Brown is wrong!!??

    Now that I've shocked and angered you...

    Whilst I generally believe Sheldon Brown to be accurate in most of the bicycle related information he dishes out, I have to take umberance with his advice regarding bicycle sizing.

    "Up until the early '80's, this was a fairly easy question to answer. You would stand over the frame of a bike, and if there was an inch or two between the top of the top tube and your tender parts, that was the right size"

    Really?, maybe this is an American thing as if you could stand over a frame without leaning slightly to one side here in the UK the frame was generally thought of as being too small, granted it seems we had rather more choice when it came to frame sizing than yourself (frames would usually be sized in 1/2 or 1 inch steps).

    "It is obvious why you shouldn't have a bike that is too tall to stand over with a reasonable safety margin (although even this sizing practice was not universally accepted for the first 30 or 40 years of the diamond frame.)

    On the other hand, why shouldn't you ride a "too small" bike? "Because the seat and handlebars will be too low!" That was a good objection ten years ago, when tall seatposts were a rarity and quality handlebar stems were available in a variety of forward extensions but only one (short) height.

    All that was before the mass production of the mountain bike. Now 250 mm and 300 mm seatposts are stock items, and a variety of excellent handlebar stems are available"


    There is little need to stand over a bicycle with both feet flat on the ground, it easy to learn to lean to one side, as used to be the case(up to the 1980's, not turn of the century). This is not dangerous.

    Ultra long seatposts and stems are a kludge, they aren't as strong as frame tubing, long quill stems exacerbate the fact the the plug/wedge is the only bit holding the stem to the frame and the whole thing looks dreadfully ugly.

    "With the smaller frame sizes used now, the "7" shaped stem is an atavism, a stylistic holdover from an obsolete technology. An extended "7" stem is two sides of a triangle. A stem that follows the diagonal, directly from just above the headset to the handlebar clamp makes more sense geometrically. Such a stem would be as strong as a similarly made "7" stem, but substantially lighter. It would also be more crash-worthy. Modern Allen-bolt stems are certainly safer than the old style that had a protruding hex head and a sharp rear corner, but the shape is still a threat to the rider's groin in a collision.

    There is a trend to use "mountain-bike type" stems on road bikes, and it really makes a lot of sense. All that the "7" stem has going for it is tradition."


    If a riders groin is near enough the 7 stem that there's danger of a collision then all their weight is going to be so far forward that the rear wheel is lifting and they are destined to go over the bars, rather than collide with the stem.

    Mountain style quill stems are ugly and a kludge for frames that are too small and once again are exacerbating the problem of an ill fitting stem held in solely by a plug/wedge.

    "This isn't nearly as common as it used to be, since the abandonment of a slavish dedication to the level top tube, but used to be widespread."

    And what was wrong with a level top tube, at least we knew where we stood regarding frame sizing. These days there is all manner of fit kits and other voodoo just to fit a bicycle. The compact frame may be slightly stiffer, but the long old seatpost and stem needed are far flexier than a properly fitting traditional frame would be.

    Why buy a frame and then have to buy aftermarket components just to fit the damn thing, buy the right size frame first time round.

    Lastly, by the time most people get the handlebars high enough to be comfortable for general riding, they've found the top tube is now far too short, as their reach has improved from their elbows being bent at much nearer to right angles than when the stem was further down.

  2. #2
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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  3. #3
    40 something and counting forensicchemist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey View Post
    Will you share?

  4. #4
    as seen on crimewatch rea1high's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlyselassie View Post
    Now that I've shocked and angered you...

    Whilst I generally believe Sheldon Brown to be accurate in most of the bicycle related information he dishes out, I have to take umberance with his advice regarding bicycle sizing.

    "Up until the early '80's, this was a fairly easy question to answer. You would stand over the frame of a bike, and if there was an inch or two between the top of the top tube and your tender parts, that was the right size"

    (frames would usually be sized in 1/2 or 1 inch steps).
    errm... that's the way bikes were sized in my experience. Not sure about the 1/2 or 1 inch size steps either? that would mean a lot of different size bikes. Like i said, I don't know about that though.
    This is not Nam. This is bowling. There are rules

  5. #5
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    Half inch steps were definitely less common and not throughout the entire size range, most manufacturers I know of would size in 1 inch steps, at least at the larger end of the scale.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlyselassie View Post
    Whilst I generally believe Sheldon Brown to be accurate in most of the bicycle related information he dishes out, I have to take umberance with his advice regarding bicycle sizing.
    you seem to object to the reality of current bicycles rather than anything Sheldon Brown is reporting. In fact, you are not disagreeing with anything he is saying.

    You clearly disagree with current bicycle technology and are using Sheldon Brown's rather objective reporting of the facts to pick a fight. Terrible way to use the forums.

    I wouldn't normally respond to threads like this but I do think SB is a good resource, like any FREE information, he isn't forcing it on people. My impression is that SB is someone who loves cycling and all the wonderful details, tries to be factual and informative.

  7. #7
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    Why anyone except maybe a troll would try to make this controversial is beyond me.

    It's the way it was done.

    - Stan

  8. #8
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    Not necessarily pick a fight, but definitely create argument towards greating understanding.

    Indeed, I think most frames today are sized too small for x rider, Sheldon Brown's advice seems to sway towards these overly small frames. Given that he is so widely followed, I decided to give you my own take, as I don't particularly agree with his advice.

    It's not personal.

  9. #9
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    oh, you better get your flame suit on, highlyselassie


    Oh and what the hell is an "umberance" or are you just making that up ?


    thought so

    here is the word you are looking for: umbrage

    but u r using it wrong.

    Umbrage: a feeling of pique or resentment at some often fancied slight or insult <took umbrage at the speaker's remarks>

    How did SB slight you, pray tell ?


    that's fail twice for you, zero for SB. score: [Asses Lie Highly -2 ]:[ SB 0 ]...SB wins



    if you are gonna open yer hole and try to slight SB
    who pretty much is bikes and biking, and knows a
    lot more about it, you better be good at it.


    Hey I can find this in your username: Asses Lie Highly
    I think it is appropriate.
    Last edited by edzo; 01-04-08 at 01:12 PM.

  10. #10
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    To be honest, stan. Frame sizing has been perceived differently at different times of the last century, but by the 50's in the UK and on the continent imo a good standard had been set.

    The advert you show is American, again it may of always been different over there...

  11. #11
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    I don't see how any of these points this person is making are anything other than a slight difference of opinion (mixed with a bit of misinterpretation) with Sheldon.

    Over a fairly subjective issue as well.
    Who cares? Size your bike the way you want to...

  12. #12
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    I think the point of this post is for the OP to be able to hoist himself up onto the canvas with the enviably great Sheldon Brown. But just because you have put yourself in the ring doesn't mean much. In fact I'm not even certain you've thrown a punch.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Thumpic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portis View Post
    I think the point of this post is for the OP to be able to hoist himself up onto the canvas with the enviably great Sheldon Brown. But just because you have put yourself in the ring doesn't mean much. In fact I'm not even certain you've thrown a punch.
    Thumpic....

    Green is the new "CHEAP"

  14. #14
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    Any arguments against my points will be gladly taken, once the faith has been defended thoroughly enough.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by edzo View Post
    oh, you better get your flame suit on, highlyselassie


    Oh and what the hell is an "umberance" or are you just making that up ?


    thought so

    here is the word you are looking for: umbrage

    but u r using it wrong.

    Umbrage: a feeling of pique or resentment at some often fancied slight or insult <took umbrage at the speaker's remarks>

    How did SB slight you, pray tell ?


    that's fail twice for you, zero for SB. score 2 - 0...SB wins



    if you are gonna open yer hole and try to slight SB
    who pretty much is bikes and biking, and knows a
    lot more about it, you better be good at it.


    Hey I can find this in your username: Asses Lie Highly
    I think it is appropriate.
    Hey, 13-year old.
    Shouldn't the score be -2 against 0 if he is down by 2 against Sheldon?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portis View Post
    I think the point of this post is for the OP to be able to hoist himself up onto the canvas with the enviably great Sheldon Brown. But just because you have put yourself in the ring doesn't mean much. In fact I'm not even certain you've thrown a punch.

    holy crap Portis you are some type of super genius
    I bow deeply

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by awc380 View Post
    Hey, 13-year old.
    Shouldn't the score be -2 against 0 if he is down by 2 against Sheldon?
    fixed. and I am 113 years old, give me some credit

  18. #18
    Senior Member Thumpic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stacey View Post
    ......best post so far.......and not a single word was thrown..........
    Thumpic....

    Green is the new "CHEAP"

  19. #19
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by what highlyselassie is basically saying View Post
    I've got too much time on my hands and would like your attention to be paid to me and so I've taken Sheldon's generalities regarding bicycle sizing and turned them into absolutes in order to have a starting point for my "argument" which uses my own personal arbitrary observations as if they're somehow facts the world at large agrees on. Please indulge me.

    I fixed this for you.
    fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
    "Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimJ View Post
    I fixed this for you.

    that's one way to say it. harsh but it's a rainy friday and pretty funny sitting here.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Thumpic's Avatar
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    maybe next time you start your thread like this....."Hey Mr. Brown..'scuse me a minute....are you sure about this???"
    Last edited by Thumpic; 01-04-08 at 01:48 PM. Reason: cus' i screwed it up........
    Thumpic....

    Green is the new "CHEAP"

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpic View Post
    maybe next time you start your post like this....."Hey Mr. Brown..'scuse me a minute....are you sure about this???"
    this.

    arguments are OK,
    but the title of a thread could have been better

  23. #23
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    The title was inspirational.

  24. #24
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    highlyselassie,
    I'm a bit unclear;are you saying that a frame that requires a small sideways tilt at rest is properly sized?
    Now,I do see your point;I'm short 5'5" and my first really good bike-Bottechia Pro-in 1974 was a 21.5 or 22" frame.I did have to slightly tilt it at rest.The upside of the too big frame was that I wasn't bent over as far to get into the drops)or to ride with hands on top(most of the time).The tall frame meant that the seat was sitting just above the frame-it was below or level with the handlebars.A properly sized road bike had the seat above the handle bars,and it was less comfortable.
    This was fine 99.9% of the time.HOWEVER, occasionally, you lose control,hit a bump,screw up,whatever.Your feet bounce off the pedals, or you take them out of the toe clips,and try to stand on the ground-while moving-for "some" reason.I promise you,when your groin bounces on the top tube,you remember it.If you are lucky, it is metal to bone contact-which just hurts like heck.Not so lucky, it is metal to "soft parts" contact with your full weight squashing/bruising/hitting smashing your soft parts into the top tube.
    Yes,this can happen with 1" clearance, but it is much more likely to happen with no(or negative when you tilt) clearance.The blow is harder with no clearance also.
    Better have a bike with some top tube soft parts clearance.Have your groin bounce off the top tube, it will make that clear.
    Thanks,
    Charlie
    PS I now have bikes with tall stems, or old fashioned handlebars so I can sit upright-works fine.I have plenty of clearance.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoebeisis View Post
    Better have a bike with some top tube soft parts clearance.Have your groin bounce off the top tube, it will make that clear.
    Maybe highlyselassie is really just trying to imply that the British have bigger soft parts making it more difficult to straddle a puny American frame without tiltage. I think I take umberance to that remark.

    Eric "dresses on the left to avoid the top tube" J

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