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  1. #1
    THE NEW EVOLUTION gulfcoast's Avatar
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    Long Legs + Short Torso = What frameset?

    I have been a having a very difficult time finding the proper fitting frameset for my measurements. I am 6'1 with long legs (91.3cm pelvic inseam) and short torso and arm reach, so you can see I am far from symetrical. I am looking for a STEEL frameset with a long seat tube and a short top tube. Does anyone know of any STEEL frames that lean in this direction. Many have suggested a custom build, but I have shallow pockets and that is way out reach for me. Other suggestions have been the vintage 70's frames, but those are few and far between these days and most are not in the best condition. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    VOTE FOR KEN WIND Ken Wind's Avatar
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    If anybody doesn't know, that would be a 35.9" inseam. I'm just shy of 5' 11" and I have a 32" inseam.

    Have you tried any bikes yet? What kind of bike (besides steel) do you want? A shorter stem might help solve the problem. The Jamis Aurora seems like it has a shorter top tube than the seat tube in the larger sizes, so that's worth checking out. All their road bikes might be like that too.

  3. #3
    THE NEW EVOLUTION gulfcoast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Wind View Post
    If anybody doesn't know, that would be a 35.9" inseam. I'm just shy of 5' 11" and I have a 32" inseam.

    Have you tried any bikes yet? What kind of bike (besides steel) do you want? A shorter stem might help solve the problem. The Jamis Aurora seems like it has a shorter top tube than the seat tube in the larger sizes, so that's worth checking out. All their road bikes might be like that too.
    The type of bike I am looking for is a fast commuter. Something that can I can navigate traffic efficiently and cruise long distances occasionally (A blend of SPEED and Relative comfort). Bikes I have already checked out have been surly, bianchi, salsa, and few geometry charts of others.

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    misanthrope
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    I was kind of in the same boat as you when I was looking. I'm 6'1 w/ just over a 35" inseam. I was in the market for a fixed gear and I ended up with an IRO Mark V. 59cm frame w/ a 100mm stem and 2" of spacers on the headset (to avoid massive bar/seat drop). I put about 20-30 miles on it on weekdays and 50+ on Saturdays comfortably.

    That was my solution, ymmv.

  5. #5
    ex-everything. soze's Avatar
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    I have the same issue (5'9", 32" clothing inseam) and I ended up ordering a Cross-check frame that should be in on Thursday. I've got dinky little T-Rex arms, it seems. There was only 1cm difference in standover between the 50cm and 52cm frames but the top tube was much shorter, so I'm hoping it will work out well for me. I've been on a 53cm Steamroller for the past few years with an 80mm stem, so I kind of knew that the almost 55cm top tube wasn't going to hack it for drop bars.

  6. #6
    Senior Member greenstork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soze View Post
    I have the same issue (5'9", 32" clothing inseam) and I ended up ordering a Cross-check frame that should be in on Thursday. I've got dinky little T-Rex arms, it seems. There was only 1cm difference in standover between the 50cm and 52cm frames but the top tube was much shorter, so I'm hoping it will work out well for me. I've been on a 53cm Steamroller for the past few years with an 80mm stem, so I kind of knew that the almost 55cm top tube wasn't going to hack it for drop bars.
    Strange, I've always thought Cross-Checks have a relatively long top tube. To each their own...

  7. #7
    Senior Member greenstork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gulfcoast View Post
    I have been a having a very difficult time finding the proper fitting frameset for my measurements. I am 6'1 with long legs (91.3cm pelvic inseam) and short torso and arm reach, so you can see I am far from symetrical. I am looking for a STEEL frameset with a long seat tube and a short top tube. Does anyone know of any STEEL frames that lean in this direction. Many have suggested a custom build, but I have shallow pockets and that is way out reach for me. Other suggestions have been the vintage 70's frames, but those are few and far between these days and most are not in the best condition. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    What is your budget for a fully equipped bike, including shoes, pedals, bags/panniers, racks, etc.?

  8. #8
    VOTE FOR KEN WIND Ken Wind's Avatar
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    I've heard that Surly bikes in general have long top tubes, but it doesn't seem that way to me. Lemond frames usually have long top tubes.

    Do you want a frameset, complete bike, or anything that will fit?

  9. #9
    bored of "Senior Member"
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    Lenard Zinn specializes in frames for mutants. But even if you don't want a custom job, his website has a frame size calculator (google him). That would give you a top tube length to hone in on, just make sure you get plenty of seat tube.

    I like the Surly Cross-Check myself. I'm 6'5" but got their 60cm since they do run long, added a Thompson Elite 410 so I had plenty of length (MORE than enough). Unfortunately am still bulding, so I only have my test rides to speak explicitly to.

  10. #10
    THE NEW EVOLUTION gulfcoast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenstork View Post
    What is your budget for a fully equipped bike, including shoes, pedals, bags/panniers, racks, etc.?
    My budget for a fully equipped bike - $1000.00

  11. #11
    DNPAIMFB pinkrobe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gulfcoast View Post
    My budget for a fully equipped bike - $1000.00
    I'd go with a used bike for starters. You will need to modify whatever bike you buy, so save some money for the changes. Choose your frame based on top tube length, not on seat tube length. Something with a 56 or maybe even a 54 cm TT might work. You will likely have to crank up the seat height a lot - a 420mm seat post should do the trick. A bike with a steeper seat tube angle may help - 74+ if you can get it. You will need a short-reach high-rise stem as well, just to keep your head higher than your butt. Rotating your handlebars up a bit should help too. Test ride as many bikes as possible. You may be surprised by what feels good.

    Oh, don't get too hooked on steel. Wheels and tires make a bigger difference to the ride. My $0.02...

    Good luck with your search.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Gios Compact Pros have relatively short top tubes, but steep seat tube angles so they fit longer than they might seem. Eddy Merckx steel frames probably have about the shortest effective top tubes because of their relaxed seat tube angles, but good luck finding one. Used Merckx frames come up for sale on eBay all the time but can be pricy.

    For your budget, your best bet might be to find an older Japanese sport touring frame such as Miyata, many of which have relatively short top tubes, particularly in larger sizes.

    Those people recommending Surlys don't understand frame geometry charts very well. Surlys have relatively long top tubes and short head tubes, probably the opposite of what you are looking for -- unless you don't mind using a stack of spacers about 4" tall below your stem.

  13. #13
    THE NEW EVOLUTION gulfcoast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
    Gios Compact Pros have relatively short top tubes, but steep seat tube angles so they fit longer than they might seem. Eddy Merckx steel frames probably have about the shortest effective top tubes because of their relaxed seat tube angles, but good luck finding one. Used Merckx frames come up for sale on eBay all the time but can be pricy.

    For your budget, your best bet might be to find an older Japanese sport touring frame such as Miyata, many of which have relatively short top tubes, particularly in larger sizes.

    Those people recommending Surlys don't understand frame geometry charts very well. Surlys have relatively long top tubes and short head tubes, probably the opposite of what you are looking for -- unless you don't mind using a stack of spacers about 4" tall below your stem.
    I agree that surly frames have relatively long top tubes. I have tried the cross check, LHT, and Pacer.
    The search continues................

  14. #14
    Luddite
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    +1 on the 80's Japanese bikes in the larger frame sizes- my 63 cm Univega Gran Turismo has a top tupe of only 56 cm. I picked it up for a hundred bux, changed out some components, and it really rocks as a tourer/commuter.

  15. #15
    Senior Member greenstork's Avatar
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    There is a stunning (green) Schwinn Paramount P13 on sale on eBay right now and it's probably in your size. I think it will stay below $1000 but who knows.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Schwinn-Paramoun...QQcmdZViewItem

    The nice thing about a bike that this is that if you keep it in good condition, it will likely never lose it's value and may even go up in value over time. Think of it as an investment.

  16. #16
    THE NEW EVOLUTION gulfcoast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenstork View Post
    There is a stunning (green) Schwinn Paramount P13 on sale on eBay right now and it's probably in your size. I think it will stay below $1000 but who knows.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Schwinn-Paramoun...QQcmdZViewItem

    The nice thing about a bike that this is that if you keep it in good condition, it will likely never lose it's value and may even go up in value over time. Think of it as an investment.
    Thanks for the interest in my search. I appreciate the help!

  17. #17
    Senior Member greenstork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gulfcoast View Post
    Thanks for the interest in my search. I appreciate the help!
    I actually have a saved eBay search for Schwinn Paramount and I've been looking for myself but I thought this might work for you too, being a taller guy.

  18. #18
    JRA. BikEthan's Avatar
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    Without going for a used bike you'll likely have to get something custom to have it fit like a normal bike without a ton of spacers, new stem, new seat post etc... etc... etc... I'm 6'2" with 37" legs, and in the long run I decided to bite the bullet and get a Rivendell (dodges). The Trek 520 (higher than your state price range but you might be able to find one on close-out) comes in a 25" (63.5cm) frame that felt pretty close to right for me, so that size or a size smaller would probably work great (if you can find one on close-out).

  19. #19
    Can't ride enough! Da Tinker's Avatar
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    Got the same issue myself. Look at some of the steel Fuji road bikes. The larer frames run to a shorter top tube.

    Fortunately, I was able to put together enough money for a custom frame from I Fab.
    Happiness begins with facing life with a smile & a wink.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikEthan View Post
    Without going for a used bike you'll likely have to get something custom to have it fit like a normal bike without a ton of spacers, new stem, new seat post etc... etc... etc... I'm 6'2" with 37" legs, and in the long run I decided to bite the bullet and get a Rivendell (dodges). The Trek 520 (higher than your state price range but you might be able to find one on close-out) comes in a 25" (63.5cm) frame that felt pretty close to right for me, so that size or a size smaller would probably work great (if you can find one on close-out).
    I concur with Bikethan. I'm 6'1 1/2", with a 36" inseam, and I ride a 25" Trek 520. I put on a Nitto stem in order to bring the bars up a little higher, but other than that, it fits pretty good. It should fit you.

  21. #21
    break-beats turtle77's Avatar
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    My friend, you and I have almost the same measurements.

    Let me give you my experience:

    I also wanted a fast commuter/ light touring bike, so I bought a 56cm Cross-Check because I thought a shorter top tube was the way to go. Makes sense, right? At least, it makes sense based on what a lot of people here have been saying.

    The problem ended up being that with the smaller frame, of course I had to pull the seat out very high. Well, because the seat tube is angled, the more one pulls the saddle out of the bike, the further back it will go. Not only that, but then the bars will of course end up being a lot lower than the saddle. Luckily, I had planned for this and I had left the fork uncut and bought a bunch of spacers so that I could put the bars up high too.
    But long story short, it didn't work out very well. Aside from looking completely ridiculous, it ended up not being very comfortable and overall it was a pretty expensive mistake.

    So I started looking for other answers. The Rivendell website claims that a larger frame is better (http://www.rivbike.com/article/bike_...izing_position), and after going through a lot of skepticism, I tried it out. I decided to go with a 62cm Cross-Check.

    Instantly, it made more sense. With the bigger frame, I was able to keep the seat post around a fist-length coming out of the frame and keep the stem coming right off the headset with no spacers. While I was initially worried about standover height, it became a non-issue. Sure, my "junk" would maybe connect with the top tube if I jumped off the seat and bent my legs, but not to the point of worry. And, c'mon, let's be honest, when was the last time you needed to actually do that? I've had the bike for well over a year and it's never been a problem. I can comfortably stand over the top tube- that's fine with me. I started out with a 110mm stem and rode it that way for a while. It was pretty comfortable. I ended up shortening it to, I think, 60mm and it feels a little more comfy (and NO, my steering isn't weird). But, either way, not bad. It looks pretty cool, too, with the shorter stem - kinda like an old European motorcycle, or something.

    So I ended up also trying out a Lemond road bike in a bigger frame size becaue I loved the look of the bike and the price was right on a closeout. Even with the notoriously long Lemond top tube, it was still comfortable. I bought it. It's a 61cm and actually bigger than my 62cm Surly, but I can totally ride long distances on either with no numbness.

    So there you have it. A completely contradictory opinion. But I am also 6'1" and have a very similar pelvic inseam size as well. I would just recommend trying out a larger frame too, to see if that maybe works. It did for me.

  22. #22
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    I had the same problem for years and finally figured out what worked for me. I am 6"1" with an 89cm pelvic inseam. I can ride a 58cm frame but am more comfortable on a 60cm. I ride an Easton Mountain Bike seat post that is laid back 2.5CM, a DirtDrop stem, which has a short reach,f rom Rivendell and 175mm cranks. The saddle can be moved back or forth until comfortable. I also use 'KneeSavers' between the pedals and the crank arms because my stance at 6'1" is wider than the usual distance between pedals. As an added benefit with the Knee Savers I don't get leg cramps anymore after 50 miles, due to a forced, clipped -in pedal stance. I use a laid back BMX seat post on another bike - It is a Pyramid brand - 1" OD and can be spaced up to the seat tube size. A bike with a 57mm top tube, c.c., is a good second measurement to take for a good fit. It prevents the need to stretch for the handle bar and allows you to play with the stem length to get what works best for you. A 57mm top tube is easier to find on a 58cm frame than on a 60cm frame. Hope this helps a bit.
    bnr40

  23. #23
    Senior Member climbhoser's Avatar
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    I am 5'10" with a 34.25" cycling inseam

    I feel your pain.

    In my experience, 'cross bikes can offer what you're looking for. Typically they have a shorter top tube than a road bike of the same size. I ride a Surly Crosscheck and I went down a size. I fit right around a 57 or even a 58 in some cases, but I got the 56 and couldn't be happier.

    Add spacers on up front and get a short stem and you're set. Also, 3 speed bars (Wald 8095) or H-Bars are really helpful.

    Also, yes, I have short arms, so I'm tellin' ya the truth.

    The Crosscheck is heavier, but it's got the 'cross geometry, it's steel, and it's as speedy as you can ride! It's a nice bike.

  24. #24
    THE NEW EVOLUTION gulfcoast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turtle77 View Post
    My friend, you and I have almost the same measurements.

    Let me give you my experience:

    I also wanted a fast commuter/ light touring bike, so I bought a 56cm Cross-Check because I thought a shorter top tube was the way to go. Makes sense, right? At least, it makes sense based on what a lot of people here have been saying.

    The problem ended up being that with the smaller frame, of course I had to pull the seat out very high. Well, because the seat tube is angled, the more one pulls the saddle out of the bike, the further back it will go. Not only that, but then the bars will of course end up being a lot lower than the saddle. Luckily, I had planned for this and I had left the fork uncut and bought a bunch of spacers so that I could put the bars up high too.
    But long story short, it didn't work out very well. Aside from looking completely ridiculous, it ended up not being very comfortable and overall it was a pretty expensive mistake.

    So I started looking for other answers. The Rivendell website claims that a larger frame is better (http://www.rivbike.com/article/bike_...izing_position), and after going through a lot of skepticism, I tried it out. I decided to go with a 62cm Cross-Check.

    Instantly, it made more sense. With the bigger frame, I was able to keep the seat post around a fist-length coming out of the frame and keep the stem coming right off the headset with no spacers. While I was initially worried about standover height, it became a non-issue. Sure, my "junk" would maybe connect with the top tube if I jumped off the seat and bent my legs, but not to the point of worry. And, c'mon, let's be honest, when was the last time you needed to actually do that? I've had the bike for well over a year and it's never been a problem. I can comfortably stand over the top tube- that's fine with me. I started out with a 110mm stem and rode it that way for a while. It was pretty comfortable. I ended up shortening it to, I think, 60mm and it feels a little more comfy (and NO, my steering isn't weird). But, either way, not bad. It looks pretty cool, too, with the shorter stem - kinda like an old European motorcycle, or something.

    So I ended up also trying out a Lemond road bike in a bigger frame size becaue I loved the look of the bike and the price was right on a closeout. Even with the notoriously long Lemond top tube, it was still comfortable. I bought it. It's a 61cm and actually bigger than my 62cm Surly, but I can totally ride long distances on either with no numbness.

    So there you have it. A completely contradictory opinion. But I am also 6'1" and have a very similar pelvic inseam size as well. I would just recommend trying out a larger frame too, to see if that maybe works. It did for me.
    Thanks for the insight. I have looking at the Gunnar Cross Hairs (which can be customized), Jamis Aurora, and Soma Smoothie ES.

  25. #25
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Gulfcoast -- Here are a few other options to consider:

    -- Salsa Casseroll. Don't let the compact geometry throw you off. Figure the sizing by the effective (or horizontal) top tube length. This is a great all-purpose frame with eyelets and braze-ons for racks and fenders, and not too heavy.

    -- Soma Smoothie or ES. Also compact geometry but not as much so as the Salsa. Has eyelets and braze-ons as well.

    -- Gunnar. (already on your list)

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