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  1. #1
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    The Rivendale fit? or "French Fit"

    Lately I've been pondering my most comfortable bicycles. The largest bicycle that I can fit has always been the most comfortable. Even with little to no private part clearance I've had good results. My most comfortable bike had a 25 inch seat tube. I am merely six foot tall even...I do wear regular shoes with platform pedals.

    As much as I want to use clipless pedals I can't find a shoe that works with my wide feet. Even the Sidi Mega is not wide enough for me. So with my shoes and taller souls my height is roughly six foot one...Perhaps a 62-63CM frame is too large but it seems to work for me.

    Is anyone else here comfortable on large bikes? I was comfortable on a 56CM frame but I had lots of seatpost sticking out and had to use a 140 sized stem.

    It seems that on the largest possible frame I have exactly one fist of seatpost. This also means the head tube is typically longer putting me more upright.

    As I type this I'm nervous about bidding on a large frame on ebay. It just might be too big...but I might as well give it ago...Tange Prestige Baby! aww yeah!

  2. #2
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    I am riding a larger frame also. I rode 58 and 59 cm frames for a long time. Now with age and less flexibility I ride anything from a 60-62cm. My favorite ride right now is a 62cm Gitane. Just a couple inches of post showing, but its a very comfortable ride.

  3. #3
    Senior Member poprad's Avatar
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    I concur, of all my bikes my largest frame (a 62cm) fits me best, but it's a custom with a short TT. I think my best move was to get a professional fit from a local Portland guy who really knows his business working with pro teams and such. He explained why I prefer the shorter TT, and convinced me to just try setting my bars a bit lower. After the session I walked away with a set of dimensions from contact point to contact point that works best for my body, and is independant of frame size, seatpost type, stem reach, crank length etc. Knowing what my personal numbers are I can now set up any of my bikes to have very similar point-to-point dimensions and feel very similar. It's really more having the relationship of saddle, pedal, and bar surfaces down pat than it is frame size, although an appropriately sized frame makes reaching that goal easier.

    The session wasn't cheap, but nothing worth the time usually is.
    I live in search of finest examples of the 3 B's: Bikes, Beans (coffee), and Beer

  4. #4
    Senior Member ScottRyder's Avatar
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    Same here, I grew up riding a 58 cm, now I'm on 60 to 62 cm. If I were to go to my LBS, they'd probably fit to a 56 cm or so. Seeing that I spend 99.9% of the time riding, rather than standing over the top tube, it's a good fit.

    Scott

  5. #5
    Ellensburg, WA scozim's Avatar
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    I've typically ridden 53-54 cm frames - 30 in inseam. The latest is a 56cm (22" in Trek's terms) and has been a surprisingly nice fit. I just hope I don't have to do an emergency dismount very often as my voice could go up a couple of octaves.
    1984 Gitane Sprint; 1984 Gitane Tour de France;1982 Trek 610; 1980's Univega Supra Sport; 1975 Teledyne Titan;1984 Peugeot PSV10N; 1968 Peugeot PL8; ;1982 Nishiki Marina 12; 1977 Peugeot PX-10; 1987 Trek 800 Antelope (touring/commuting set up); 1981 Trek 510; 1993 or 1994 Scott Comp Racing mtb; 1996 Klein Pulse II mtb; 1980's Peugeot Limestone hybrid;

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  6. #6
    Senior Member tugrul's Avatar
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    I'm just shy of 6'1" and I had this 25" Fuji Espree briefly before giving it to a slightly shorter friend.



    I really need to make room for a 25" bike in my current fleet of 24"/23.5"/23" bikes. Ideally it would have been my Raleigh Supercourse, but I have it in 23.5", and 25.5" might be a hair much. Prefer to find something with at most 23" top tube.

  7. #7
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    Yep. this is exactly what happened to me. I was fitted to a 56 by a bunch of roadies at my former LBS. Then I moved to DC and learned more about fit, and ride a 60cm surly. It's much, much more comfortable and I still can stand over it by 1". I'll back the notion that you should ride the largest bike you can that still fits.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    Supposedly I should ride a 54-56 (and I sometimes do), but I am much more comfortable on a 60-62. The (usually) longer top tube and the taller head tube make riding much less tiring.

    Conversely, if I find myself riding the hoods more than 10 or 20% of the time, I know the bike is too small.
    - Auchen

  9. #9
    Senior Member ftwelder's Avatar
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    My most comfortable bike is a really big VoyageurII that has a malfunctioning shifter. I seem to pick that one when I head to the post office or hardware store, having forgotten it is tricky to shift.

  10. #10
    Chrome Freak Rabid Koala's Avatar
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    I am 6'1" and ride large frames. Due to a deformed vertebrae in my neck, I find it painful to look up while riding a smaller frame. Most of my bikes have less than the fist full of seatpost, depending on what kind of seat I am using.
    1971 Paramount P-13 Chrome
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  11. #11
    Senior Member vettefrc2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tugrul View Post
    I'm just shy of 6'1" and I had this 25" Fuji Espree briefly before giving it to a slightly shorter friend.



    I really need to make room for a 25" bike in my current fleet of 24"/23.5"/23" bikes. Ideally it would have been my Raleigh Supercourse, but I have it in 23.5", and 25.5" might be a hair much. Prefer to find something with at most 23" top tube.
    That looks like a 27" frame.

  12. #12
    Wrench Savant balindamood's Avatar
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    When I was racing as a junior, I had a 54cm Univega (Gran Premio). Just before I turned 18, I shot up about 3 inches and got a Peugeot PSN10. I got it large for me (60 cm) figuring I probably would probably grow into it. I never did (shoulda got an 58cm). Never the less, I road the snot out of it and raced for the next 4-5 years, and it always did seem a bit more comfy than the other bikes I raced that technically fit (3Rensho, and Guerciotti). Occasionally one of my racing mates would give me a bit of ribbing over it, but my coach never did.
    "Where you come from is gone;
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  13. #13
    Senior Member tugrul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vettefrc2000 View Post
    That looks like a 27" frame.


    I'm sure that's where the seat post would be if I tried to ride that.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    I prefer the Rivendell fit. Having the bars 5-6 inches below the seat just does not work for me. Willing to bet it's many riders pick the fit for style than practicality.

  15. #15
    perpetually frazzled mickey85's Avatar
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    A 58cm gives me a "fistful" of seatpost at just shy of 6' tall. I find that I prefer the 58's, but I also have a 56 and a 62. The 62 is about at my limit for height, and the 56 is about at the limit the other way around. I simply couldn't do drops on anything smaller than 56.

    That said, I've got a 21 and 22" Sports-style bike, both with uprights, and they're pretty nice...
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  16. #16
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    I prefer a bit larger than what the LBS would recommend. Of course, the use of the bike makes a difference. A go-fast will be fine a bit smaller, while a distance rider is more comfortable a bit larger.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  17. #17
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    Odd how many of us ride frames that are 'too big'. I'm as guilty as anyone with 56-7 cm bikes in the stable and a 29" inseam. The only 54cm that feels just right is the Gitane, but I suspect that other factors are in play as well.

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    You know it's going to be a good day when the stem and seatpost come right out.

  18. #18
    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    I am not sure why they call it the Rivendell fit... Isn't it just the traditional fit?

    Based on what is most commonly available for sale here today, I'd have to say that the median size for a 70's-era English or French bike was 23-24", while the height of the average European male was 5'8" .

    So why do I often hear people today (most of whom are slightly taller than 5'8") refer to the 24" bikes as "huge", or the 25" frames as "freakishly large"?
    - Auchen

  19. #19
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
    I am not sure why they call it the Rivendell fit... Isn't it just the traditional fit?

    Based on what is most commonly available for sale here today, I'd have to say that the median size for a 70's-era English or French bike was 23-24", while the height of the average European male was 5'8" .

    So why do I often hear people today (most of whom are slightly taller than 5'8") refer to the 24" bikes as "huge", or the 25" frames as "freakishly large"?
    I'm 5' 9" and of rather "normal" proportions. I have a 23.5" bike, and that's at the limit of what I'd consider riding. To me, anything larger I might call "huge".
    The search for inner peace continues...

  20. #20
    Senior Member mudboy's Avatar
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    Having just sold a "Rivendell sized" actual Rivendell, I disagree. Too big is too big. I felt like I was riding a clown bike on the high wire.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member tugrul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudboy View Post
    Having just sold a "Rivendell sized" actual Rivendell, I disagree. Too big is too big. I felt like I was riding a clown bike on the high wire.


    How much larger than usual was the Rivendell?

  22. #22
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I am partial to the French fit and most of my bikes fall into the 55/55 category while my Gran Sport is a 52/54 with a Merckx fit and more than a fist full of seatpost.

    I am five foot nine and a bit and have a 32.5 inch riding inseam and do like to get stretched out on my bikes.

  23. #23
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    You called?

    My bikes range from 54cm to 58cm. All fit perfectly. It's all in the set-up, stem length, rise, etc.

    What your can't change is the relative location of the bottom bracket to the allowable seat adjustment, center of gravity, length and top heavy characteristics. Assuming you can get your knee position correct on a small or large frame, then you can size it for youself..though you might have to pop for a different stem.

    One thing I'll admit, big/long bikes can't handle like small frames (and they're heavier). My ss urban rider is a 54, but my cafe racer, geared for long smooth drags and hammering, is a very comfortable 58cm.

  24. #24
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    I used Riv's sizing page, though I would never actually purchase a Riv bike when I can get a comparable bike for 1/3 the price. I'm starting to ease-up on Rivendell, and I dig a lot of what they say, but $ is $ -- that's another thread though.

    The Riv sizing chart works quite well for sizing a Surly LHT though, that's for sure . I would think that it would pretty much get you in the ballpark of a comfortable frame that you don't have to jack the handelbars too much even on other bicycles....but I'm not sure honestly.
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

  25. #25
    Dolce far niente bigbossman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
    .... if I find myself riding the hoods more than 10 or 20% of the time, I know the bike is too small.
    Could you expound on this? Just curious what you mean......
    "Love is not the dying moan of a distant violin, it’s the triumphant twang of a bedspring."

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