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Old 05-23-07, 12:57 AM   #1
abarkley
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Bargain bike - fit angst

Scrooge asks...

I have had to accept that my Peugeot road bike has had it. Virtually everything on it now doesn't work properly or is terminally worn out. It cost me next to nothing and has done what was asked of it.

Rather than getting into vintage bike restorations, I'm reluctantly looking to buy an entry level bike - naturally, it's got to be a fantastic bargain....so Internet only, no expensive bike shops.

Problem is, I think I'm a weird shape. Certainly, (barring a bit of central adiposis) somewhat gangly - but according to several bike fit calculators, also positively deformed.

The Peugeot is a 'classical' frame; 55cm seat tube, 55.5cm top tube. It feels kind of comfortable BUT I do get some hand numbness which has led others to comment that I need a longer stem (or a bigger bike)

Zinn Cycle's calculator says that I need a 55cm seat tube and a top tube length anywhere between 58.5 and 60.5cm. NOBODY makes a bike like that.

I think I've found that fantastic bargain (<400/$800)in 55cm:

http://2006.lemondbikes.com/2006_bikes/etape_e.shtml#

but the effective top tube length is 56.5cm, ie still way less than recommended. If I want the long top tube, I'll have to go to something like a 60cm frame...surely too big?

Would it be reasonable to accept I might need to fit a longer stem (and how possible is that on a bike like this?) or should I stop being so stingy and just get along to the LBS and buy what they advise?

Sorry about the long post.
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Old 05-23-07, 04:29 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abarkley
Scrooge asks...

Problem is, I think I'm a weird shape. Certainly, (barring a bit of central adiposis) somewhat gangly - but according to several bike fit calculators, also positively deformed.

The Peugeot is a 'classical' frame; 55cm seat tube, 55.5cm top tube. It feels kind of comfortable BUT I do get some hand numbness which has led others to comment that I need a longer stem (or a bigger bike)

Zinn Cycle's calculator says that I need a 55cm seat tube and a top tube length anywhere between 58.5 and 60.5cm. NOBODY makes a bike like that.

I think I've found that fantastic bargain (<400/$800)in 55cm:

http://2006.lemondbikes.com/2006_bikes/etape_e.shtml#

but the effective top tube length is 56.5cm, ie still way less than recommended. If I want the long top tube, I'll have to go to something like a 60cm frame...surely too big?

Would it be reasonable to accept I might need to fit a longer stem (and how possible is that on a bike like this?) or should I stop being so stingy and just get along to the LBS and buy what they advise?
You know the answer already.
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Old 05-23-07, 05:22 AM   #3
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Is the 55cm for the seat tube just the tube or the overall seat height??? My approach would be to go with the largest frame that will still give you a total saddle height (seat tube and seat post length) and adjust the seat post to get the right saddle height. Then adjust the size of the stem to give a longer reach to the bars. I ride a 62 and a 58 in the same model and have been able to make both work just fine by playing with the seat post height and stem lengths.

That does seem like a large difference between the seat tube and top tube though. Sounds like short legs with extremely long upper torso and arms????
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Old 05-23-07, 06:14 AM   #4
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In another forum I might make a different comment, but in 50+ there is only one answer.

You have probably scrimped your whole life from the sound of your post... Splurge and do it right.

I wouldn't suggest spending money foolishly (as I sometimes do) but if you are going to buy a bike do it right. You don't need to spend $3,000 at an LBS to get a well fitting bike, but they can help you get what you need as far as fit and components.

A long stem will help fit a bike with a shorter top tube that you need, and even though I tend to get bikes based on whether the jewels are safe from the top tube, I wouldn't hesitate to get a larger frame if it fit in other ways and just be careful of the top tube.
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Old 05-23-07, 06:18 AM   #5
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Arm 58cm (acromion process to ulnar styloid)
Inseam 83cm
Sternal notch to floor (stockinged feet) 150cm

I don't look all that weird.

Now my Brit cybercycling pals are all saying 'Sure, that Lemond's a pretty bike but look at those crappy components....you can do better than that. Peer pressure just cranked the budget up by $500.

Even less certain what I should do now..
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Old 05-23-07, 06:29 AM   #6
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On the one hand..........you dont want to spend money, I am a non spender too so I can rally for that opinion, so you go for the least expensive option.
But that is not good if you end up not liking what you have and wishing you had done something different.
On the other hand.............if you spend a liittle,, who has the definition of little, more and then the possibilities of your being satisfied with what you have are magnified.
Just some more thoughts to confuse you ........... ... ... ... ... ...peace
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Old 05-23-07, 07:43 AM   #7
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Since you are unsure of your size requirements, you will benefit from sitting on actual bikes to help you determine what sizes will work for you. The easiest place to do this kind of investigation is a bike shop with bikes of many sizes to try. Whether you use that information to buy a bike elsewhere or from the shop providing the service is an ethical question.
How much difference in price?
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Old 05-23-07, 09:10 AM   #8
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I would definitely go into a LeMond dealership and try out the Etape and Reno. The riding "cockpit" of a LeMond is longer than many other bikes - one of their design principles is the long European style of riding. Which sounds like exactly what you are looking for. The effective top tube length is a big part of this, but the seat and head angles, as well the stem are too.

When I tried out a number of compact geometry road bikes, all in the same sizes, the bike which had the most forward riding position was the LeMond Reno.
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Old 05-23-07, 09:47 AM   #9
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You all can probably guess my responsse -- if the frameset is sound, fix up the Peugeot and keep riding it!
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Old 05-23-07, 10:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
I would definitely go into a LeMond dealership and try out the Etape and Reno. The riding "cockpit" of a LeMond is longer than many other bikes - one of their design principles is the long European style of riding. Which sounds like exactly what you are looking for. The effective top tube length is a big part of this, but the seat and head angles, as well the stem are too.

When I tried out a number of compact geometry road bikes, all in the same sizes, the bike which had the most forward riding position was the LeMond Reno.
+1 and if you get crazy with the bank account, Merlin bikes generally have similar geometry.
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Old 05-23-07, 11:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abarkley
Arm 58cm (acromion process to ulnar styloid)
Inseam 83cm
Sternal notch to floor (stockinged feet) 150cm
I don't look all that weird.
Now my Brit cybercycling pals are all saying 'Sure, that Lemond's a pretty bike but look at those crappy components....you can do better than that. Peer pressure just cranked the budget up by $500.
Even less certain what I should do now..
not weird
nice thing about modern bikes is they almost all come with modern seatposts, which are much more than the measely 6 inchers we had back in the day.
And 'Compact' frame designs are great for evening out differences in body geometry, especially riders with shorter legs to longer torso relationships. That 'Lemond etape' is a compact design.

a) so you could go with a 55 cm and make the seat to bar length adjustment with a stem.

b) or even go with a slightly larger 'compact' frame, which will have a longer 'virtual' TT length and so use a shorter stem (or use the one provided on 57).

Lemonds are a good choice because they give you a good TT length, as do many of the Specialized models

I would, iffn it wuz me...

Test Ride both a 55 and 57, solely to get the 'feel'/comparison of the longer body extension of the 57, relative to the 55 (making sure your saddle position is set the same for both bikes - especially the 'setback' from BB)
Then, if the 57 feels better, measure the distance from the saddle nose to the bars.

Measure the distance from the saddle nose to the bars on the 55.

BUY THE 55 - and ask that the LBS sub the stem out, with a length that gets you close to the measurement you got from the 57, if the comfort of your body extension was better on the 57.
Why the 55? The 55 Lemond spec has a 73 deg seattube, which seems to work well for riders with leg lengths you have noted for yourself. The 57 has a 72.5 seattube angle, prolly more suited for riders with 85 cm and longer inseams. Either can be made to work, but the 72.5 angle may find you pushing the saddle more forward on the rails to get a good position. The 73 deg angle will prolly have the saddle in the middle of the rails to get the same position.

If the 55 felt best 'as is', then there ya go, you've confirmed your choice by riding the larger and longer layout of the 57...

As for choosing the 55 and adding a longer stem - its all good. A little more 'weight' fore as opposed to aft is always better for bike control and 'handling'.
If, in the future, the stock 55 steup starts feeling a little cramped, you can always go with a longer stem and get further out, with all the benefits of improved handling.

Stems can be had in lengths from 80 mm to 140 mm. Most bikes in the 55 and 57 cm range come 'stock' with 100 or 110 mm stems, so there's plenty of choice either way for future.

AS for bike choice, the etape seems like a nice machine with decent parts. But I did note that it came with the std 2 chainring setup - 53/39 and a 11/26 8 spd cassette. The Reno come with slightly higher grade components, but more importantly has a Triple crank 52/42/30 and a 9 spd 11-26 cassette. Depending on the terrain you might ride, the triple with a 9 spd offers much more in real 'climbing' gearing (or touring gears if you ever plan on carrying stuff on a tour). I always vote for more/better choices for gear range.
This all based on the 2006 bike range and comparo, as you noted in your post URL
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Old 05-23-07, 01:21 PM   #12
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Forget peer pressure. You are riding the bike and the only thing worth buying on any bike is the frame- Or at least at our end of the market.

Looking at the spec- there is nothing wrong with 8 speed Sora. It will give the same range of gears and all you will be missing is the lack of a jump between certain gears. Wheels are fine for a couple of years so they can be upgraded when and if you feel you need to. Components may be a bit heavier than the better end of the range but they will do the job well.

Only two things I would think carefully about- The Bontrager saddle- You may be a hard man but you have to be hard to ride a bontrager saddle. The other point is the Crankset gearing. That will be fine for Flatlands- but if you have any hills about- you might want a triple.
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Old 05-24-07, 08:06 AM   #13
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If it doesn't fit - you must acquit!

Jim
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Old 05-24-07, 08:59 AM   #14
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I'd encourage you to read this article and then make a decision. I think there is much crooked thinking about bike fit, and the approach in this article makes the most sense to me. Of interest to you is the thought that most people can ride a range of bike frame sizes with proper stem length and seat fore & aft positioning.

http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
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Old 05-24-07, 10:46 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by abqhudson
If it doesn't fit - you must acquit!

Jim
Actually, Johnny (Cochrane) said that!
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Old 05-29-07, 03:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abarkley
Scrooge asks...

I have had to accept that my Peugeot road bike has had it. Virtually everything on it now doesn't work properly or is terminally worn out. It cost me next to nothing and has done what was asked of it.

Rather than getting into vintage bike restorations, I'm reluctantly looking to buy an entry level bike - naturally, it's got to be a fantastic bargain....so Internet only, no expensive bike shops.

Problem is, I think I'm a weird shape. Certainly, (barring a bit of central adiposis) somewhat gangly - but according to several bike fit calculators, also positively deformed.

The Peugeot is a 'classical' frame; 55cm seat tube, 55.5cm top tube. It feels kind of comfortable BUT I do get some hand numbness which has led others to comment that I need a longer stem (or a bigger bike)

Zinn Cycle's calculator says that I need a 55cm seat tube and a top tube length anywhere between 58.5 and 60.5cm. NOBODY makes a bike like that.

I think I've found that fantastic bargain (<400/$800)in 55cm:

http://2006.lemondbikes.com/2006_bikes/etape_e.shtml#

but the effective top tube length is 56.5cm, ie still way less than recommended. If I want the long top tube, I'll have to go to something like a 60cm frame...surely too big?

Would it be reasonable to accept I might need to fit a longer stem (and how possible is that on a bike like this?) or should I stop being so stingy and just get along to the LBS and buy what they advise?

Sorry about the long post.
The $800 "bargain" isn't a bargain if you can't ride it productively. You'll need to get a good fitting.

Do you read Cycling Plus? Should be on the newsstands (sorry, at the newsagent) in London. They've lately had reviews of low cost bikes, I think in the $700-$1200 range.

Alternately you could for that much money get your Peugeot completely overhauled, or even converted into a singing, dancing, indexing modern machine, at least as faras teh wheels, gears, and brakes go. Then you would not have to deal with funny new fit issues, just all the old ones to which you have adapted.

But if you have new bike fever (remember, red ones are faster!), work with a good shop. You will need a good fitting, and even then you may have adaptation issues, especially with our older joints.

When I was 18, if I ever had sore knees they recovered in an hour. Now at 53, when I have sore knees I'm aware of it for a week, and anxious about "riding through the pain." A good fitting has helped alleviate those issues.

Pay the money. Some bargains are bad bargains.

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Old 05-29-07, 03:45 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BSLeVan
I'd encourage you to read this article and then make a decision. I think there is much crooked thinking about bike fit, and the approach in this article makes the most sense to me. Of interest to you is the thought that most people can ride a range of bike frame sizes with proper stem length and seat fore & aft positioning.

http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
BSLeVan is correct, you should read this article. However, my very recent experience is that a good shop can do me more good in fitting in FARRRR less time than i can do myself, no matter how much I read.

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Old 05-29-07, 04:41 PM   #18
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Thanks for that guys. Adopted many of your suggestions. Stap's advice on the triple is my next dilemma. Think I'll start another thread on that indecision.
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