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  1. #1
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    Help me with my fit

    Per my previous post I have been trying to dial in the fit of my new Cross Check. I had a coworker take some pictures of me on the bike (hard to get an accurate riding representation without moving)

    Based on the picture I would like some opinions on the fit and how I can better dial it in. Or if I should take it back to REI where I got it and return it (and probably not be able to get a bigger size from them). I felt like the bars were too low so I got an adjustable stem which is at 15 degrees in the photo. I tried it at 25 yesterday and was not that comfortable. I have plenty of seat stem available to raise that more but at the current height I feel like my leg is almost too extended at the bottom yet it also feels a little cramped at the top of the my rotation.
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Not even remotely qualified to even begin offering advice on how to fit a person to a bike, but I do want to ask a question for clarification. After you set that stem to 25 degrees and stated that it wasn't all that comfortable, could you elaborate a bit? Like maybe it felt a bit cramped? If so, the culprit is likely that stem- as you raise the bars with it, you are also reducing the distance (reach).

    I'd say just take it to REI, put it on a set of rollers, and have them eyeball it.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member megalowmatt's Avatar
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    Out of curiosity, how tall are you and what size is the frame? In both pictures just eyeballing your posture it looks like your upper body is too far forward, but maybe it's just me. If you drew a straight line down from your nose, it looks as though you would be looking down over the front of the stem & bars.

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    Senior Member GP's Avatar
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    Don't try to get the correct fit using a couple of pictures posted to an internet forum. Take it back to the shop and have them get you close. Then carry some allen wrenches with you and tweak it until you're comfortable. I've had bikes that I made no adjustments and bikes that I've fooled with for a month.

  5. #5
    Senior Member megalowmatt's Avatar
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    I agree, take it back but I just saw your other post and are you sure that's a 54? The Cross Check geometry chart says the 54 has a 56cm effective top tube, which you would think is good for somebody that's 5'10", but maybe the head tube length others were referring to is the culprit here.

  6. #6
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Best rule of thumb for seat height; when the pedal is straight down 6:00, and your leg knee-locked straight, you want your HEEL (not toe or ball) to graze the pedal. Then when the BALL of your foot is on the pedal you should have pretty-close-to-optimal knee bend at bottom of stroke.

    Your first pic shows drive side pedal at more like 4:00, so can't tell anything. Second pic shows NDS pedal at 6:00, and your heel drops significantly lower, so I'd say you need to raise your seat at least an inch, maybe more.

    After you get seat height right, then there are lots of variables to play around with in the cockpit department, but I don't know if there are any rock-solid rules of thumb, as it's a matter of personal preference and riding style whether to set for more upright or more bent-over. It's good you have an adjustable stem to experiment with. You've tried different angles, but try also rotating the handlebars forward (down) and backwards (up) in the stem as well, maybe also take the stem cap off, and move the stem/spacers around to try different stem heights. That's three variables (stem height, stem angle, handlebar angle), try riding a decent-length fixed course (around a couple blocks, at least 1/2mi) between changes, only change one thing at a time, try to figure out what feels good for you.

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    Thanks guys. The bike is a 54 and I am about 5'10". The pictures I posted probably aren't great because I don't have a stand to keep the bike stable so I had to balance against something for the picture. I don't really trust any of the people that I have dealt with in the bike department at the REI so if I bring it back it will probably be to get my money back and go to an LBS for a different bike

  8. #8
    Senior Member ratell's Avatar
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    Some of the best money I've spent was for a full bike fitting. It's not cheap, but your fit will be right.
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  9. #9
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    Look at the second pic. If you draw a line up the header then you see your entire shoulders and arms ahead of the line.
    It just doesn't seem to be proper. But then I never rode drops.

  10. #10
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    I would raise your seatpost by an inch or so.

    The frame looks like a 52 cm, anyway it seems a little small for you. Thus the handlebars are quite a bit lower than the saddle. That is an aggressive racy position, which you may not like or need.

    Also you may not have quite enough room between saddle and handlebar. A rule of thumb I use is that when you look at the front axle, the tops of the handlebar (the part that is clamped in the stem) should "appear to be" in line with, or forward of, the axle.

    Bottom line, if the bike is not comfortable after you raise the seatpost, go to a good bike shop and get fitted for a bike, even with the same model Surly.
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  11. #11
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    Thanks. I raised the seat and rode home and it was definitely more comfortable but when I'm riding on the hoods I feel like I could be stretched out another inch and still be comfortable.

    To make things more confusing, I just measured my other bike which is a cheap single speed with bullhorns that is sold as a 57 and frankly feels a little big for me and the effective top tube is almost exactly the same (22"). My old bike has at least 1" higher stand over and feels taller in general which I don't like. I guess it goes to show that no two bikes are the same, fit is subjective and varies from bike to bike.

  12. #12
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Measure the touch points - saddle to pedal (pedal at farthest from saddle), saddle to bar, see what is different.

    You can also push the saddle all the way rearward in the seatpost clamp.

    But maybe you should test ride some Surleys in a size or two larger. REI has a good return policy, I think.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    Measure the touch points - saddle to pedal (pedal at farthest from saddle), saddle to bar, see what is different.

    You can also push the saddle all the way rearward in the seatpost clamp.

    But maybe you should test ride some Surleys in a size or two larger. REI has a good return policy, I think.
    Good idea. On my old bike I got 35" and 31.5" and on the Surly I got 36.5" (after raising saddle today) and 32.5" So it seems like it's just in my head?

    For what it's worth, I went to a well respected LBS to test some other bikes before I bought this and the guy said that by sizing me up (nothing scientific that he would put me on a 54 for most road bikes. Of course I test rode a Raleigh and KHS road bike in those sizes and didn't feel 100% comfortable. I think I am probably between sizes on the Cross Check and could make 54 or 56 work but I have a feeling neither would be a perfect fit so maybe this just isn't the right bike for me. REI will definitely take it back. They just changed their return policy but I still have over 11 months to ride it and get my money back ...not that I'd do that

  14. #14
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
    Look at the second pic. If you draw a line up the header then you see your entire shoulders and arms ahead of the line.
    It just doesn't seem to be proper. But then I never rode drops.
    That's interesting, never heard that fit measurement. But surely that steerer tube is pointing at the nipples, where thinking about it it should point maybe more at the face

  15. #15
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
    Thanks guys. The bike is a 54 and I am about 5'10".
    FWIW I'm 6" and I ride a 60cm CrossCheck. But I subscribe to the "GP/Riv" school of sizing, which tends to larger frames, and "just a fistful" of seatpost.

  16. #16
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
    For what it's worth, I went to a well respected LBS to test some other bikes before I bought this and the guy said that by sizing me up (nothing scientific that he would put me on a 54 for most road bikes. Of course I test rode a Raleigh and KHS road bike in those sizes and didn't feel 100% comfortable.
    That suggests to me that you should read this article for a different perspective on sizing. This LBS guy is probably sizing you for road racing -- not through bad intentions, just because it's all he knows, or all he has been trained for. I bet you would love a 58cm CrossCheck. Dude, I live in Poway, that's pretty far from Glendale, but if you feel like taking a road trip I'd be glad to let you test drive my 60.

  17. #17
    Senior Member megalowmatt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
    That's interesting, never heard that fit measurement. But surely that steerer tube is pointing at the nipples, where thinking about it it should point maybe more at the face
    I think it's more of an observation than a measurement. I tend to agree with Gambler in that it seems rms13's upper body is too far forward. The second picture is a little deceiving, though because he's further forward on the saddle than the first but overall his body/arm angle is less than 45 degrees and his nose looks to be even with the tip of the stem.

    Personally, that position is not even conducive to road riding/racing, as most would probably prefer to be a bit more stretched out than that.

  18. #18
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    I realized your old bike has bullhorns. Possibly they place your hands further forward of the bar top, than the hoods position of your Surly's drops. I've not used bullhorns much.

    How much stand over (crotch) clearance do you have on the Surly? You don't need a lot, this isn't a mountain bike.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    I realized your old bike has bullhorns. Possibly they place your hands further forward of the bar top, than the hoods position of your Surly's drops. I've not used bullhorns much.

    How much stand over (crotch) clearance do you have on the Surly? You don't need a lot, this isn't a mountain bike.
    I have a good 2.5" on the Surly, but I've read that because it's cyclocross style frame that you should have a little more clearance. My old bike has about 1" and yes I'm usually on the ends of the bullhorns which extends me out more but riding the main part of the horns is supposed to be equivalent to hoods

  20. #20
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    If you're not riding cyclocross, you won't need the extra clearance. Personally, I think the frame looks about a size too small -- I'd go a size up, maybe shorten the stem a little, and put a little bend in the elbows.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    If you're not riding cyclocross, you won't need the extra clearance. Personally, I think the frame looks about a size too small -- I'd go a size up, maybe shorten the stem a little, and put a little bend in the elbows.
    I agree with those who think the frame is a 52cm. That said I'm riding a 52cm frame and I am 5'10" like the o.p. It was commuterized and switched over to flat bars (riser bars... 3" rise) by a previous owner. It has an adjustable 110mm stem angled very definitely skyward. Extra long seatpost. It works. Handlebars are about 1.5" above seat height. I like anywhere from 35" to 36" between top of seat and extended pedal. Effective top tube is about 22.5". This is the only way a 5'10" guy can ride a 52cm frame. My only drop-bar bike is a very recent purchase and I am still sorting it out but here are the salients: frame size: 60cm (old school level top tube). Bars about level with seat. Top tube is about 22.5". This is the most constant dimension of all my many bikes. Stem is 100mm. The fit of this bike passes all the "tests" that I see online i.e. in the hoods the front hub is exactly blocked by the bars. Fingertips just touch the bars with elbow on the saddle nose. Elbows can be bent the 15* recommended but this is new territory. My body doesn't like it yet... ... I think that is the key... I don't know how old the o.p. is but I am 54. I am tempted to put a 90mm or even an 80mm stem on this beast of a road racer but... I wouldn't have a road racer anymore. So I plan to work with things as they are for awhile. REI should never have sold a 52cm drop-bar bike to someone 5'10" so the o.p. may be right to view them with misgivings. Didn't anyone mention the Competitive Cyclist fit calculator yet? It's not just for racers. That's where I'd start.

    H

  22. #22
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    Man, the more I look at these pics, the more I think everything is wrong...but that's not helpful. The bike can be made comfortably rideable I'm sure, but we really need better pics. Can the OP get the bike on a stationary trainer and get some square-on shots with the right leg both at the top and bottom of the stroke while positioned most comfortably on the bike? Don't forget to put a block, book, or some kind of riser under the front wheel so the bike is level.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  23. #23
    Senior Member JAG410's Avatar
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    I had a CC for a couple years and struggled with fit the entire time I owned it. I'm 5'11 with short legs/long torso and I rode a 56cm. I should have been on a 54cm. In your case, I think that 54 is too small for you, and I'd suggest riding a 56cm to see if that gets you where you want to be. FWIW, my road bikes are 57cm and my mountain bikes (both Surly) are 18". CC sizing doesn't translate to other "normal" bike sizes!

  24. #24
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    The bike looks too small for you. I agree with everyone who thinks it looks more like a 52cm than a 54cm. You can sort out the saddle height easily enough, but you seem to have nowhere near enough reach. If you got into anything approaching an aero position in the drops, your knees and elbows would overlap dramatically. That's how it looks from the pictures, anyway.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  25. #25
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    The bike is a 54 and I am about 5'10".
    Saying nothing about stand-over height, you may have shorter legs..

    I'm about that height, a level toptube 57 x 57 9cm stem is on my tourist setup cross bike.

    other options if the stand over height is Right, then an un cut, replacement fork can be substituted,
    for more spacers , & height, to bring the stem and bars Up.

    and the bars re wrapped so as to allow moving the brakes up further,
    perhaps, just rotate the bars to make the upper ramp level , not the ends of the bar at the bottom.

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