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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-23-07, 10:22 AM   #1
breadbin
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Would the extra weight make my bike feel too small?

Hi, I have been using a 56cm road bike with 56cm top tube and feel it is too small for me even though it should be too big for me. I was wondering if this is a weight issue. I have a 32" inseam and I am 5' 10" so the experts think a 54cm bike should suit. I thought I might have a long torso but it appears I am normal enough. A 56 should be too big but I feel cramped in the cockpit. I am about 220lbs and if I was 180lbs would it still feel too small? Does anyone else have experience with this? Thanks
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Old 08-23-07, 10:29 AM   #2
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That actually sounds about right. I'm 5'6" and have a 19" ride. That converts to about 48 CM, but I have the seat up kind of high. When I stand over the top tube, I'm just about hitting it with my crotch. That's how the LBS guys figured I wanted the 19" bike.

I'm 210 pounds and don't feel that the bike is too small for me. What kind of bike is is? Is it a MTB or roadster that you can ride sitting in a more upright posture, or is it a roadie that you hunch over. Changing your riding posture might make the difference.
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Old 08-23-07, 10:32 AM   #3
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hey breadbin, I am 5'11" and 250 (fairly muscular) and I ride a 56cm bike. It feels pretty comfortable, but I am coming down from 315 and I feel a little more roomy with everything. I would suspect that you may need to play around with saddle height and position fore and aft(this made a big difference for me), as well as handlebar position. if the handlebars are too close to your knees the cockpit will feel pretty cramped.
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Old 08-23-07, 10:34 AM   #4
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When you say too small.. do you want to push your butt back, or be more stretched out?

Ever consider a longer and/or lower stem and/or a seatpost with more setback?

Are you sure your seat is high enough?
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Old 08-24-07, 01:20 AM   #5
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When you say too small.. do you want to push your butt back, or be more stretched out?

Ever consider a longer and/or lower stem and/or a seatpost with more setback?

Are you sure your seat is high enough?
Hi, the seat height is fine, I feel like my back is too straight and my arms are too long. Basically that the handlebars are too close to me. I feel like stretching out my arms another couple of inches. The saddle fore aft is fine as far as I can tell although a seat post with setback might be worth a look. The stem I have is 140mm.

How would I know if I had long arms? I can stand up and place my palms flat on the floor without bending my knees! Does that qualify?

Thanks
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Old 08-24-07, 05:45 AM   #6
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OK,
try a 160 stem. You might want to get the bars lower as well.
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Old 08-24-07, 06:17 AM   #7
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Do you have any pictrures of yourself on the bike to post? That would help.
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Old 08-24-07, 07:31 AM   #8
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From what I have read it seems more likely that you may find a correctly fitting bike to be too large. This is because you have extra 'padding' around some places - most noticeably your bum. So as you loose this padding you gradually increase the height of your saddle.

I think Tom mentioned this although he said it more eloquently.
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Old 08-24-07, 08:48 AM   #9
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Do you have any pictrures of yourself on the bike to post? That would help.
Forget pictures of the bike... I want to see photos of him standing with straight knees and his palms on the floor!
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Old 08-24-07, 02:23 PM   #10
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Try this test breadbin

Place your elbow against the front of the seat with your hand straight out like a handshake. If you have an mtb, your finger tips should reach, and just touch, head tube bolt. For a road bike, your tips should reach halfway between the center of the bolt and the handelbar. I've heard this "ballpark fit" method from several bike fitting sources. Maybe it will help you to at least have a benchmark.
Hope you get your fit resolved.
Ed
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Old 08-25-07, 02:33 AM   #11
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Place your elbow against the front of the seat with your hand straight out like a handshake. If you have an mtb, your finger tips should reach, and just touch, head tube bolt. For a road bike, your tips should reach halfway between the center of the bolt and the handelbar. I've heard this "ballpark fit" method from several bike fitting sources. Maybe it will help you to at least have a benchmark.
Hope you get your fit resolved.
Ed
Thanks for that, I hope so too. I think it is all in my head. I *seem* to fit the bike perfectly but just feel uncomfortable riding it and maybe that is why I think it is too small. I think alot of it has to do with my core stability or lack of. All of my excess weight is on my top half.
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Old 08-25-07, 08:25 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by BlueMtn006 View Post
Place your elbow against the front of the seat with your hand straight out like a handshake. If you have an mtb, your finger tips should reach, and just touch, head tube bolt. For a road bike, your tips should reach halfway between the center of the bolt and the handelbar. I've heard this "ballpark fit" method from several bike fitting sources. Maybe it will help you to at least have a benchmark.
Hope you get your fit resolved.
Ed
I can't believe this works. There's such a huge difference in how long seats are... not to mention the difference in mens and women's saddle. I'll bet there's 6 inches difference between my male and female brooks models.
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Old 08-25-07, 09:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breadbin View Post
Hi, I have been using a 56cm road bike with 56cm top tube and feel it is too small for me even though it should be too big for me. I was wondering if this is a weight issue. I have a 32" inseam and I am 5' 10" so the experts think a 54cm bike should suit. I thought I might have a long torso but it appears I am normal enough. A 56 should be too big but I feel cramped in the cockpit. I am about 220lbs and if I was 180lbs would it still feel too small? Does anyone else have experience with this? Thanks
Weight probably has little to do with it, but build does, take 3 guys, all 6' tall, one has a 28" inseam, one a 32" inseam, and one a 36" inseam, all take different length pants, and all three really need different bike sizes as well, one needs a shorter seat tube, but longer top tube, one is probably fine with a normal bike, and the third really needs a longer seat tube,and shorter top tube. Different manufacturers use different ratios of seat tube to top tube length, and the difference is often a cm or so, but that can be enough, to make one bike better then another.
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Old 08-25-07, 05:18 PM   #14
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It is meant to gauge YOUR saddle distance, not to take into account every possible length of saddle on the market In addition you should be able to MOVE the saddle (not just accept your centered position) to attain this distance - without having to move the saddle to the ends of the rails. If the rails are too short to get this distance - new frame needed.
Hope this helps explain this sizing tip I read about from the pro fitters.
Regards
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Old 08-25-07, 05:39 PM   #15
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Ed, I'm still not getting it. You put your elbow on the nose of the saddle, right?
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Old 08-25-07, 05:40 PM   #16
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breadbin move the seat back on the rails all almost to the end (supposedly right at the end is not good for the rails) if your weight is concentrated in your top half you need to move your center of gravity back and, like some people said here try a longer stem if the saddle movement isn't enough
your cramped feeling may be partly in your mind but listen to your mind too! that's your subconscious speaking to you, which usually doesn't lie

by the way, i checked my kona dew position with the arm distance method from the saddle and i am precisely at fingertips in the middle of the stem i hadn't checked it after tweeking to a perfect position for me but i wanted to let you know that it seems to work also just make sure your seat is high enough (it will probably feel too high - even a little crazy lol - until you get used to it) a low seat can make you feel cramped sorta like an adult riding a kid's bike just be able to put the balls of your feet to the ground and when you get good you can even move more to the toes when you set your feet down to rest

good luck and keep us posted! i am sure you'll get it right

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Old 08-25-07, 05:46 PM   #17
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yeah solveg elbow against the front tip of the saddle hand in handshake position (sideways) fingertips extended mtb should touch the head tube bolt and roadie fingertips go halfway up the stem like i just told breadbin my tips are exactly halfway up my kona dew stem i had been tweeking my position too and i tweeked it right there lol i guess these pro fitters know the xen part of fitting - unreal
also solveg i'd be interested in where your finger tips are if you have the chance to test it and post
thanks
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Old 08-25-07, 05:59 PM   #18
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OK, I did it. Two bikes, identical bars and stems.:

Atlantis, Brooks B-17, my fingertips were halfway between the stem and the bars.

Bridgestone, brooks woman's model with tiny nose, set up to fit the same as the atlantis, my fingertips did not reach the stem....

It seems like a really useful way of measuring, though, if you have a normal racing saddle.

Edit: Oh wait... I just reread your post and you said halfway up the stem.... so now I think I did it wrong... Are you saying that the elbow stays "hinged" and you basically see where your fingertips touch the bike, high-to-low? I was measuring more of a horizontal thing...
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Old 08-25-07, 06:13 PM   #19
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solveg i should have mentioned i inverted the stem on my Kona today to get a flat stem and a lower racing/road style position after each short test ride i tweaked my seat position back and forth and rolled the bars around until i felt spot on i didn't do the fingertip test again until after i recommended it to breadbin on here and it worked again so the people that are wondering what a good position is, at least they can replicate the reach of others who have a good fit i've been looked at by a few 30 year shop owners and they all feel i am in good position with arms slightly bent and supple back at around 45 degrees a good solid hybrid riding position they tell me
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Old 08-25-07, 06:22 PM   #20
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solveg yeah the elbow stays hinged stand alongside the bike facing the same way then move into the bike and make a flat handshake (straight up flat hand like a karate chop) with fingers stretched out then place your elbow inside the plane of the bike against the seat tip then see where your longest fingertip (the middle one) reaches
hope that's clearer
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Old 08-25-07, 07:09 PM   #21
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solveg i found a website showing the method look at the top center of the page

breadbin have a look too

http://best.bc.ca/_etc/pdfs/CCE_Choosing.pdf
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Old 08-25-07, 07:23 PM   #22
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Interesting.. I tried it on my bike, which I've wondered for a while if it's too small. With my elbow against the nose of the saddle, my fingers just touch the bolt at the center of my handlebars. I assume a comfort bike should fit more like a mtb?



Edit: According to that diagram in the post above, I guess it's a pretty close fit! I just ordered a setback seatpost, but I still think that'll be good - I've got my seat all the way back on the rails.

Last edited by BeckyW; 08-25-07 at 07:28 PM. Reason: new info
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Old 08-25-07, 07:33 PM   #23
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OK. That diagram was the way I measured my bikes.

I think it's a pretty slick thing, but it doesn't work if you have a short-nosed women's saddle (fingers come inches short of stem). But, yeah! That's how the Atlantis fits, and it feels good.

Cool.
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Old 08-25-07, 07:41 PM   #24
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Here's a photo of how short the nose is on the woman's brooks compared to the group shot of the men's saddles.



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Old 08-25-07, 07:42 PM   #25
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ooooh that's a pretty saddle!
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