made to measure or not
I have a problem that has been bothering me for a long time. I have been riding road bikes since the age of 15 (for 20 years), I spent two years in Switzerland and while working as a bike courier, I was advised by someone who was a professional frame builder, to get a made to measure frame. This because I have noticably short legs and a long torso ( I am 175 cm) . I suffered from lower back pain for many years and was constantly adjusting the stem seat height, This guy measured me a told me that I would need a made to measure bike with a 53.5 seat tube and 56 top tube, and I would never be able to find an off the peg frame with these dimensions.
Please can someone help me out here- can I find an off the peg frame and achieve the correct fit with different stem lengths etc?
Do I need a made to measure frame for a mountain bike or does it only apply to road frames? At the moment I am living in a country with no frame builders so I might have to go abroad for this.
Finally is it possible to find a made to measure frame that would be on apar with the higher end frames;litespeed moots aegis. I would really appreciate any feedback and apologize for the length of the message.
More information is needed to answer your question of fit, for example, you didn't mention seat angle or how the seat tube was measured ie, center to center or center to top.
FYI, a Litespeed 55cm frame (C-T) is approx. 53.5cm C-C. The top tube is 55.5 which is very close to your needs assuming you can use a 73 degree seat angle. Of course, if you by a sloping top tube frame with a 56cm top tube you don't need to worry about seat tube length at all.
Common fit problem with many people is when they wind up with a large height difference between the handlebars and the seat. The bent over riding position is great for racers not no so good for most cruisers with a bad back. Pay attention to head tube length, paying particular attention to what kind of headset is installed - integrated or regular; for regular you need to add the headset height to compare between the two types. Try to find a frame with a tall head tube if you want more comfort.