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  1. #1
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    A Question of Size...

    Hi all! I'm about to enter the biking hobby and have a question about frame sizes. I'm an average height I would guess, 5 foot 8 on a "good" day, but I have rather short legs, inseam "almost" 28 inches. I would like to get a decent road bike, but the stand over height of most of them even in small frame sizes exceeds my inseam measurement. Extra small frames are better in that regard, but I'm concerned about the fit of the rest of the bike. I also weigh about 215# also, and wonder if the smaller framed bikes would handle it! Any suggestions for me other than a custom built bike? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    just say 52 centimeter and that is your size right there.


    then all you need is

    a top tube length you like or stem length.

    small frame bikes handle weight better anyway

  3. #3
    Senior Member edp773's Avatar
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    Have you considered a bike with an angled top tube. Look at bikes like the 2005 Trek 1000c or 2006 Pilot 1.0, and this would give you an idea of entry level road bikes with a lower top tube.

    http://www2.trekbikes.com/bikes/bike...id=1402000&f=2
    Born Again Bicyclist! I found my Faith.

    Giant Cypress, GF Wahoo, Trek 7.3FX, Schwinn Sprint

  4. #4
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    Folks are often using two different numbers as leg length. For buying a bike, leg length is the measurement from a level floor up to the pubic bone. A person who wears 28 inch inseam slacks might have a "bike" leg length of 30 inches or 31 inches.

    A starting place in bike fit is to go to the bike store with the shoes you will use for riding, or just some thick soled running shoes. Stand flat footed over the bike as close to the stem as you can get. If the top bar brushes against the crotch of your jeans, that bike might be in your size range. If the top bar presses against your crotch enough to be unpleasant, that bike is too tall.

    Many bikes, especially hybrids and mountain bikes, have a top bar that slopes down sharply from the stem back to the seat tube. That means that even if you can "just" barely stand over a bike when you are up against the stem, you will have a lot of clearance when you are standing closer to the saddle.

    Figure out what style of bike you want: a mountain bike, a hybrid, or a road bike. Then have two or three shops give you their thoughts on the best size. Compare their advice and ignore shops who would put you on bikes that are much smaller or larger than the majority of shops suggest.

    New riders often report severe pain in the neck, back and hands. That is because their shop has set up the bars to be three or four inches lower than the saddle, forcing the rider down into a position with their nose against the front tire. If a bike will not allow you to have the option to set the bars level with the top of the saddle, that bike is too small, and you will never be able to get comfortable on that bike.

    A new rider will be most comfortable with the bars level with the saddle. As the rider gets stronger and more experienced, the time may come to lower the bars an inch or two. But, the "day one" position that works best is with the bars level with the top of the saddle.

  5. #5
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    I have a pants inseam of 29" and am 6 feet tall.

    So, it is a challenge getting a bike that fits me. I bought a Lemond Buenos Aires in 1999, and that is what I use.

    On a road bike, the least important measurement is the standover height. In 30,000+ miles the past few years, I have never had a "problem" with my roadies in that regard.

    Good luck.

    A compact frame might be your best answer.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  6. #6
    Barbieri Telefonico huhenio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edp773
    Have you considered a bike with an angled top tube. Look at bikes like the 2005 Trek 1000c or 2006 Pilot 1.0, and this would give you an idea of entry level road bikes with a lower top tube.

    http://www2.trekbikes.com/bikes/bike...id=1402000&f=2
    Exacly my thoughts ... I thought they are called "compact frames"
    Giving Haircuts Over The Phone

  7. #7
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by huhenio
    Exacly my thoughts ...
    Not mine. I read the Thread title and thought it was a riff on the thread about Bicyling Mag and performance enhancing ads.

    Oh well. As you were.

  8. #8
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Different manufacturers size their frames differently. In my bike shed I have 3 frames- a 15" bianchi, a 17" kona and a Large/medium Tandem. All 3 bikes fit me perfectly- including the 2 sizes on the Tandem. The only thing to do is try the bikes and find one that fits you. I even ride a 19" kona, with the saddle right forward and a shorter stem so even "Wrongly" sized frames can be improved. On the weight thingy- Any modern frame will be able to take that weight. What may not are items like seat stems on the Lightweight bikes and wheels may cause a problem on some of the cheaper bikes. Only mod for weight that I would suggest is wider tyres to add a little more comfort.

    Incidentally, I am 5'6" short and a 29" inside leg.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  9. #9
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    Thank you all for the info. I haven't been to any bike shop to try out any particular bikes yet. I've been checking out the bike manufacturers web sites and this forum to get an idea of what is out there. Angled top tubes look fine to me, so that isn't a problem. But, even the Trek Pilot that edp733 suggested with an extra small 50 cm frame still has a listed stand over height of 28.4 inches which is more than my inseam while wearing shoes. I have found some bikes with shorter stand over heights and all of them are supposedly for people much shorter than I am, and that's why my concern about the other dimensions of the bike. Am I missing something?

  10. #10
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    You can NOT get fitted for a bike on the Bike Forums. Find four or five good bike shops in your neighborhood. Visit them on a Wednesday or Thursday afternoon when they are likely to not be real busy. Look at a bunch of bikes. Stand over them. If you stand over a bike, and the top bar is pressing firmly against your crotch, that bike is too tall. (The bikes that fit me best have top tubes that lightly brush my jeans when I stand over them...brushing, not pressing).

    Every type of bike has its own fit assets/problems. You don't get fitted for "bikes in general". You get fitted for the exact model of bike that you have decided to purchase. If I were buying a Trek 1200, I might visit three different Trek dealers and let all three dealers give me their opinions on fit. And, I would not just be looking at the bike. I'd be figuring out which of the three shops I'm most comfortable with...which one do I think will spend the most time and effort getting the bike set up for me.

    So, get off the Forums, and get thee to a bike shop...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston

    So, get off the Forums, and get thee to a bike shop...

    The best advice so far...lol

  12. #12
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Hmm, it's going to be hard finding a 52cm bike with 56cm top-tube...

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