Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Brazos River valley, south central TX
Bikes: 2005 Surly LHT; 2006 Surly CrossCheck with Extracycle; 1987 Schwinn World Sport as urban cruiser
My wife is a physical therapist and brought home from work a goniometer - a device that PTs' use to measure body angles like trunk to thigh flexibility, arm to shoulder, etc. especially when folks have orthopedic surgery and there needs to be a baseline for rehab improvement.
So we took the goniometer and measured ALL of the angles and tube lengths, etc. on her present bike. We then printed out geometries for various bike frames off the web to see which ones were closest to her present fit, a comfortable one. She is getting a new bike because the old one is heavy and slow, not because it's not comfortable, and we're looking at doing some credit-card touring this fall.
To be more specific, she wants a steel touring frame to absorb road vibration in shoulders and wrists and to be able to ride all day comfortably. When we measured the Surly Long Haul Trucker in 46 cm & 50 cm sizes, the 46 cm was either exactly matched or within 1 % of all the angles, tube lengths, etc. of her current 02 Giant Boulder step-through bike, telling us that we had a pretty close match and would be able to make finer adjustments once the frame is built up.
A goniometer can be found via the web or if you live in a large enough city, at one of the health-profession equipment stores (our is right across the street from the hospital). A bike shop 'might' have one for sale although if you go get yourself fitted at an LBS, they'll use a goniometer for measurements, too.
To be OT in closing, your present frame may or may not be 'adjustable' for more comfortable fit. When I was in the market for a new bike, I took my MTB in that I'd been riding and we started there for a fitting. The MTB had been adjusted, stem riser added, etc. so it was pretty comfortable. The new bike had a different geometry altogether and was even more comfortable...
They're beautiful handsome machines that translate energy into joy.