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  1. #1
    26 tpi nut. sailorbenjamin's Avatar
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    Ever measure yourself, C-C?

    I'm starting a project where I measure very carefully the frames I really like to ride. My wife who teaches yoga sometimes brings up the point that it's all related to the proportions of our bodies and then I add that it's all about how a person rides.
    I know how to measure top tube and seat tube and all that but exactly how should I measure my thigh and my calf and my foot and how does that relate to my top tube and my seat tube and the angle between the two?
    I have spoken.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mazdaspeed's Avatar
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    Interesting, they omit three measurement that I've always considered very important. Foot size is an imporatant factor in saddle height and seat tube length. Shoulder width relates to bar width. Hand size will dictate the bar curve and drop.

    As for measuring myself, no, I've never done it. You can't measure yourself with sufficient accuracy. Though I have been measured, several times, and I've done dozens (perhaps hundreds?) of other cyclists, in my roles as a coach and an LBS manager.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Capecodder's Avatar
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    Amy, I'll always remember you...... I miss you so much, for you filled my days with so much joy.

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    I think "fit" is one way today's cyclists try to buy performance. Whenever the discussion veers into measuring bone length and adjusting things by a millimeter or two, I like to put up this picture of Sean Kelly:



    Renowned for being arguably the best all-around professional in the 1980s, as well as for having the worst position on the bike of any pro anyone could remember.

    So to my way of thinking, we're better off getting our positions "into the neighborhood" using either common and widely recognized formulas or the advice of a decent bike racer, and then putting our time and energy into riding as much as possible.

  6. #6
    Gearhead old's'cool's Avatar
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    +1. I just buy bikes with frames in my size range, and adjust saddle, bar, & stem to my comfort; including changing to a shorter/longer stem & longer seatpost, if necessary.
    Last edited by old's'cool; 12-31-11 at 06:16 PM. Reason: longer seatpost if necessary
    Geoff
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  7. #7
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    Sometimes I think "whatever works" is about as exact as you can get, but many custom builders seem to really know how to do it right. I've heard lots of things about custom bikes, and "it doesn't fit" has yet to be something I've come across.

    T-Mar raises a good point. You should always consider the contact points on the bike, and foot size/shoe type make a difference, the bars are hugely important, as well as the saddle. If the bars or saddle are all wrong, the fit of the bike itself becomes less of an issue, no matter how good it is.

    I've been a guinea pig on more treadmills than I care to remember, but I do remember one study that measured outside leg length, and relative lengths of femur, tibia, along with torso dimensions and arm bone lengths, also for some bio-mechanical study back pre-Windows. I think the results indicated I'd never run a 5-min. mile, or a 2:30 marathon. They were right, 4:08 and 2:20:57.

    I still feel winning on bikes, and running, is 75% based on the ability to suffer, but taking the suffering out of the bike fit would seem to make sense.

    I'd measure myself, but if my wife caught me, I'd never hear the end of it.
    Last edited by RobbieTunes; 12-31-11 at 12:11 PM.

    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻

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  8. #8
    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
    Interesting, they omit three measurement that I've always considered very important. Foot size is an imporatant factor in saddle height and seat tube length. Shoulder width relates to bar width. Hand size will dictate the bar curve and drop.
    ......
    ^ Terrific insight on yet one more reason why there is such a range of preferences among people with the same nominal bike inseam.
    - Auchen

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
    I think "fit" is one way today's cyclists try to buy performance.
    True, but if you are more comfortable then it is easier to perform at your best.
    Some folk's position is so whacked that they risk doing damage to themselves long term.
    When I see bikes imaged here that show a BF members favorite ride with the saddle tilting 10° or more up or down, they are showing all that they are taking extreme measures to get the bike comfortable underneath them.

    Shoe size does make a difference, but that is still not all, I have really big heels compared to many, measure from my approx ankle rotation point and the ball of my foot and I would be similar to someone with a 2 size plus smaller shoe.

    I am now more inclined to measure the range of angle change between my upper and lower leg, and keeping in mind where my knee is over the pedal. This cannot be done alone, a camera helps with a telephoto though.

    Seat tube angle is either what one uses as a guide by the builder to where to place the seat or you work around it to get the saddle where you want. As most of us here are obtaining bikes that were not made bespoke for us, one adjusts the saddle to where it works.

    On most of my bikes I use the same bend of bar and same saddle, so measures are easier. On bikes that differ, I need to be more careful.

    That all written, humans are extremely adaptable, a cm one way or another often is not significant, unless one is racing. When I raced, I was growing, what a chase it was. I was given a photo of me on my track bike once, Whoa! Time for a new stem.

  10. #10
    Senior Member kc0yef's Avatar
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    One bike I have my heel actually hits the Rear Skewer interesting...The Q was too small on the bike and my handlebars when I added 6cm and went to 44cm I could breath for the first time on a bike also relating to the top tube length I have a long back so a longer top tube stretched me out... Fit is such an important thing get someone to measure you...really!

  11. #11
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    "It's another way to obsess." - my sweetie Sharon.
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
    jimmuller

  12. #12
    Hoarder Pur Sang non-fixie's Avatar
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    Interesting thread. I've entered my (same) measurements on three different websites, and they came up with different results. F.i. they seem to agree on overall reach (about 70 cm's for me), but not on the saddle height in relation to the BB. The maximum difference there is over 6 cm's! I've compared the outcomes with one of my favorite bikes. That turned out to be close to what the Competitive Cyclist calls the French Fit, with the exception of the overall reach (top tube + stem). My top tube (or stem) seems to be about 5 cm's too short. As it happens I've just acquired a nice Koga-Miyata ('93 RoadWinner) that is close to the ideal French Fit, so I'll be trying that tomorrow, weather permitting.

  13. #13
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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  14. #14
    Wrench Savant balindamood's Avatar
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    I put every bike on mine on a trainer and ride it for a bit until I get it to feel right. I then ride it outside for a while, and wind up making more subtle adjustments. I have found that different bikes have slightly different measurements (saddle to bars, etc). I do not know why this is, and can only attribute it to slightly different equipment.
    "Where you come from is gone;
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    and where you are ain't no good unless you can get away from it."

  15. #15
    Riding like its 1990 thenomad's Avatar
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    I was just marveling at some of the oddball bike setups on the sat morning ride today. I'm not one to tell someone else how to set up their bike unless they ask but there are some real doosies out there. Usually its the weekend warrior who gets 40-50 in on the weekend but maybe not much more.
    All of them have "better bikes" than me as I'm on the token 9sp steel steed, but I feel bad that most of them probably went to the LBS and were given "what they had" on the floor with a crank on the seatpost and a swap of the pedals. Over time they try to fix what hurts and end up with things I saw today:
    Saddles maxed forward/rearward or angled oddly
    Saddles too low or too high
    Bars rotated forward so far the ergo bend is horizontal
    No spacers but a riser stem
    Knees angled way outward
    Super stretched out with locked elbows just to ride on the hoods.
    Stem/Bars slammed "race style" but rotated hoods up high and cant use the drops

    Granted, this was the pack at the back, not the fast front group but I still feel bad as they must be suffering.

    There's a certain connection one has riding a bike that not only fits but one that you built from the ground up, knowing you tightened every bolt and lubricated every bearing. (Its even nicer when your bike rides quieter and shifts snappier than most others as well.)
    My blog about rides, bikes and builds: ridesgoneby.blogspot.com

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
    I've experimented a lot with "C&V" fit, beginning with the CONI method and working my way back to the early years of the sport. I have one bike set up based upon the advice of top racers of the 20s: saddle nose 5 cm. behind the BB spindle, height set by "heels on the pedals without rocking", saddle-to-bar based upon elbow to first knuckle, and bars at the same height as the stem. It's extremely comfortable - as you'd expect, from a time when TdF stages were occasionally in excess of 300 miles - and as efficient (for my typical 18 MPH, anyway) as anything else.

    Those years of experimentation play a big role in my opinion that fit isn't nearly as important as many modern riders are led to believe. Yes, it's possible to get it really wrong and suffer because of it, but I firmly believe it's not the dark magic the $200+ "fit gurus" would have us believe.

  17. #17
    Ride More seedsbelize's Avatar
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    I raise the saddle until my achilles tendon starts hurting; then drop it back down a little..

    Life is is too short to care what others think of your bike.

  18. #18
    Steel is real, baby! frpax's Avatar
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    I always marvel at these "fit" threads.

  19. #19
    iab
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    Senior Member iab's Avatar
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    Never went to a professional fitter. Never measured myself, . Never used an online calculator.

    But through trial and error, I found a 57-58 fits about right. I have 4 bikes, all of which were setup completely independent from each other. I'd futz with the seat, seatpost, stem and bars. Buy a longer or shorter something when the bike seemed "off'. Earlier this summer for funsies I compared all 4 setups. All of the seats and bars were all within a half a centimeter. The only thing that was different was the relative position of the BB to the seat and bars. And that's beacause of the different frame geometries over the 75 year span of my bikes.

    Just ride until it feels right. Don't worry about what someone else says is "correct".

  20. #20
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iab View Post
    Never went to a professional fitter. Never measured myself, . Never used an online calculator.
    Me neither too, umph.

    Quote Originally Posted by iab View Post
    ...for funsies I compared all 4 setups. All of the seats and bars were all within a half a centimeter.
    Me too. 'xcept it wasn't that many bikes.
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
    jimmuller

  21. #21
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    When I started out there was the CONI method and I have been though the Guimard, Borysewicz, Koechli and NECA methods, among others. IMO, all these do is get you into the ballpark. From there, you need a coach or fitter who can ask the proper questions about how you feel on the bicycle, in certain conditions, in order to fine tune the position. Also, the position is not fixed in stone but is dynamic and will change as we develop and age. Lastly, the body is a remarkly adaptive structure and can perform well in vastly different positions, if given the time to adapt. Sean Kelly is a prime example but my favourite is the radical Merckx rode by Bauer in the 1993 Paris-Roubaix. It had a super slack seat angle, super long chainstays and a knee over the bottom bracket postion. Despite the truly radical position, he finished a respectable 21st, on a machine most of us wouldn't even consider riding.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
    When I started out there was the CONI method and I have been though the Guimard, Borysewicz, Koechli and NECA methods, among others. ...
    That reminds me of Norman Hill, who coached a number of the North Hollywood Wheelmen for a time around 1974-75. He had almost all the guys, Juniors, using large toe clips and other absolutes. ?! These guys were under gear limits, 44x14 max. A low cadence hill climbing set up was not the winning ticket.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by repechage View Post
    That reminds me of Norman Hill, who coached a number of the North Hollywood Wheelmen for a time around 1974-75. He had almost all the guys, Juniors, using large toe clips and other absolutes. ?! These guys were under gear limits, 44x14 max. A low cadence hill climbing set up was not the winning ticket.
    Wow, that's low. I seem to recall the Junior limit being 50 x14T at the time, at least that's what I recall riding. I know there was lots of concern about learning to spin and not blowing out your knees, but that is extreme. I only ever had problems with the gearing limit on one occasion. It was a race with a mixed field and I was with the lead pack of Seniors when the course changed direction and hit a very long, flat, open area with a strong tailwind. I was spun out with the 50 x 14T and eventually lost contact, finishing the race by myself.

  24. #24
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    The 12-and-under limit in my day was 50x16. I still have some "custom" Regina straight blocks: 16-17-18-19-20-21. Field sprints were all about who could get to the last corner first. After that is was a 200 RPM parade to the line.

  25. #25
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    what ever happened to NEC's "Fit Kit"?


    I do agree with SixJours that sometimes fit is over rated and taken to extremes. if your comfortable on the bike go ride it. I am not certain about the rest of you but I I doubt on a 20 mile ride my bum stays in the same spot on the saddle more than a few miles at time. you don't always sit back down in the exact same spot after stopping, you slide back at times when climbing, and don't get me started on moving on the bars. general fit is important but I think there is a limit esp if you have several different bikes
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto, '90 Campione del Fausto Giamondi Specialisma Italiano Mundo, '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '86 Volpe, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '09 Motobecane SS, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

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