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  1. #1
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    MOST important measurement

    Seat tube range c-c 58.0 - 58.5 59.2 - 59.7 60.9 - 61.4
    Seat tube range c-t 59.8 - 60.3 61.0 - 61.5 62.7 - 63.2
    Top tube length 55.2 - 55.6 55.2 - 55.6 56.4 - 56.8
    Stem Length 11.7 - 12.3 10.6 - 11.2 10.8 - 11.4
    BB-Saddle Position 76.8 - 78.8 76.0 - 78.0 74.3 - 76.3
    Saddle-Handlebar 55.7 - 56.3 56.5 - 57.1 58.2 - 58.8
    Saddle Setback 7.9 - 8.3 9.1 - 9.5 8.6 - 9.0

    here are some #'s from competative cyclist (competative, eddy, french fits). I have been lurking for a while, and reading alot. Long story short, i am 6'3 and have been to many LBSs, where i have been 'suggested' anything from 58-64 cm frames. Shops that had a 58 as their largest in stock seemed to suggest that size.

    anyhow. i am borrowing my dad's 61cm motobecane fantom cx. He got it to get into cyclocross and didn't want to drop 1k on a bike to see if he is interested.

    anyhow, let's not discuss BD in this forum, but rather how i can try to set up his bike (i have ridden about 50 miles so far) to get ideas of where i want to go when i buy my own bike. I have been using the french fit to set things up. I estimated most things in regard to a few measurements that i was familiar with (i am a physical therapist, so i understand anatomy/physiology/kinesiology pretty well).

    I currently have it set up to get measurements suggested on the calculator for bottom bracket to seat and seat to handlebars. The seat feels quite low to me, but i am willing to give it a try. where would you guru's suggest starting for setup to tweak from there?

  2. #2
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    one more note... this information is also relevant because my wife wants to get into cycling and HATES her mountain bike, so much she won't even ride it to the icecream store cause her knees (not the joint) hurt. I am not impressed with my LBS, because unless i spend 350 to get on the Seratta (or whatever it's called) they basially just go with the same #'s as i can get from an online calculator. unfortionately she will be getting a fairly low end bike because i am not going to drop big $$ on something she won't stick with, while on the other hand, if i put her on a crappy bike will it be 'worse' to ride, or is it all about fit?

  3. #3
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    You've hit on a sad but important truth about bike shops: Many will try to sell you what they have in stock. I'm 6'4", and over the years they've tried to put me on 62s, 60s and even 58s. When I bought my Atlantis, Rivendell suggested a 65. I thought it would be too tall and ordered a 64, which was instantly more comfortable than any bike i'd ever owned...but I have a sneaking suspicion I should have gone one cm bigger.
    I'm not even going to try to wade through that thicket of numbers up there, but saddle height is pretty easy to figure out. If it feels too low, it probably IS too low. Are you getting close to full leg extension at the bottom of the pedal stroke? If not, raise the saddle a little and go for a ride. Move it a little at a time, no more than a quarter inch, then an eighth, until you're in a place that feels good. An old guide that still works: Support yourself against a wall or pole and have somebody watch from behind while you pedal briskly backward. Raise the saddle until your hips rock from side to side as you pedal, then lower it until they stop.
    There's been a crapload of stuff written about bike fit, some of it accurate. Google something like "bicycle fit" and work from there. Personally I don't trust universal formulas, like "Measurement X should be 83 percent of the distance between your iliac crest and your lateral epicondyle," but they'll at least give you a starting place. I've been riding for decades, and some of the things that work for me are outside the range of what's considered ideal for bike setup. Screw it; I'm 64 years old and I'm going to ride what feels good.

  4. #4
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    I've been riding for decades, and some of the things that work for me are outside the range of what's considered ideal for bike setup. Screw it; I'm 64 years old and I'm going to ride what feels good.

    Ditto. Find a shop that does fittings, get measured, and then go shopping for a bike. Around here, there's a fitting expert who doesn't just measure the body, he takes into account flexibility, riding style, and personal preference. A "full fitting" can cost a couple hundred dollars. He's also taught quite a few of the local sales people, so the "sell what's in stock" philosophy is less apparent. Still around, but not as powerful- bike buyers are better informed.
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  5. #5
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adam_mac84 View Post
    one more note... this information is also relevant because my wife wants to get into cycling and HATES her mountain bike, so much she won't even ride it to the icecream store cause her knees (not the joint) hurt. I am not impressed with my LBS, because unless i spend 350 to get on the Seratta (or whatever it's called) they basially just go with the same #'s as i can get from an online calculator. unfortionately she will be getting a fairly low end bike because i am not going to drop big $$ on something she won't stick with, while on the other hand, if i put her on a crappy bike will it be 'worse' to ride, or is it all about fit?
    If it's a typical mountain bike and she's a typical woman, she's probably stretched too far reaching from the seat to the bars. It sounds like you've tried to compensate for this by lowering the seat, which hurts her knees.

    Do her and yourself a favor and get her the right bike. There are some bikes that are sold in "women's specific" designs. These will fit her better and make riding a much more pleasant experience.

    Try finding a bike club that offers beginner's rides or women's rides. They may have a better idea of what bikes to look at and what shops to visit.
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  6. #6
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    The french fit is the starting point.my saddle is a bit higher than the inseam x .883.Depends on how your foot works on pedal.Riding with heel up or heel down or just flat will alter that formula some.You got the right idea going on.As far as your wife goes,its a risk spending more and her not riding.However better to get something she enjoys and she probably will ride it.Crappy bikes are no fun to ride. Sell mountain bike to help offset cost of her new bike.

  7. #7
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    First thing to do when buying a bike is to find the right LBS. One that wants you to come back so will treat you right. Too many are just interested in selling you the bike and that will not always be the right one for you.

    But that 58 to 64 cm frame size that has been recommended- All those sizes could be right. Not all manufacturers use the same system to size their bikes. Especially if they are talking Compact frames.

    3 years ago I changed from MTB's to Road bikes and after 16years of MTB's I knew the size I needed. No I didn't as I did buy a bike of the wrong size- and that was my choice.

    Giant OCR and they are a compact frame. I am on the short size so I tried the "XS" , Sizing from 46 to 51, and The "S" which is 49 to 54 .Feel of the bike and I chose the XS. Seat post length does not matter on this type of frame- or any other really- as it is adjustable. Bar height and distance from the saddle is the same as bar stems can be changed. Within a month I was feeling cramped so on went a longer stem that also raised the bar height. Felt OK but a year later and back to the LBS for a better bike. I fit a 51cm. So top end of the "XS" and mid of the "S"

    The more critical size for fitting a bike is the top tube length. This can still be altered a bit with a change of stem. But then comes in the problem in that if you are talking conventional frames (Non Compact)- then the Style of the bike has a bearing on the top tube length. Is it a Comfort- Sport-Fitness or race geometry bike. To fit my favoured 53,5 cm top tube length- in the race geometry bike I bought- it is a 51cm frame. But in a comfort it can be as high as a 54- and with a bit of adjustment- it could be made from a 49cm frame.

    So My advice is to find the right LBS. But remember that there is still a problem. All your first bike is going to tell you is what your second bike will be. After a few months riding- you will almost know what you want in a bike- the quality- ride characteristics and size.

    3 bikes attached- The OCR in "XS"-- The TCR in "S" and the Boreas in 51. All fit me but you can see the difference in set up on bar and saddle position.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    How tall are you?

    61 cm is a big bike. There is no "single most important" dimension. Everything works together.

  9. #9
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    i am 6'3 (might have stated that in the jumbled mess above), inseam is around 90cm which is 35.4 in. wingspan right around 6'3. i think the problem with the bike i am borrowing to 'trial fit' is that when the saddle is where i want it, the handlebars are too low and i have too much weight on my hands (for a newbie fitness rider at least)

  10. #10
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adam_mac84 View Post
    i am 6'3 (might have stated that in the jumbled mess above), inseam is around 90cm which is 35.4 in. wingspan right around 6'3. i think the problem with the bike i am borrowing to 'trial fit' is that when the saddle is where i want it, the handlebars are too low and i have too much weight on my hands (for a newbie fitness rider at least)
    How much drop do you have from the saddle to the top of the handlebar? More than 2 inches iis too much for me but some racer-types seem to be comfortable with up to 5". If you buy a stock road bike in the typically recommended size, you'll generally wind up with 3" to 5" drop.

  11. #11
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    with the saddle up where i feel comfortable with it, id say >/=3 inches or so.

    should i be thinking about a longer crank possibly? probably not with cross eh? i also have problems with my big size 13's heel of my shoe striking the rear frame bar on occasions (the one by the chain)

  12. #12
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Crank length is not one of the important ones. With your size- The ideal will probably be a 175mm crank and the bike may have a 170 fitted. 5mm is not going to be a problem. If a 165 is fitted it could be. I ride with a variety of lengths from 165 to 175 on various bikes- for various uses- and even 10mm is not really a problem but I have an inseam of 30"

    3" drop from saddle to bar is not excessive for some riders. I have that on the race geometry and the only time it will cause a problem is after about 60 miles into a long ride. Depends how flexible you are. But the stem can be changed to give a "Higher" rise if required. Feet hitting the chain stays is a matter of position of the feet on the pedals. Start practising with the toes pointing in on the pedals. This will keep the heels from hitting- but may take some practice. It may also cause some knee pain so something you will have to practice and keep an eye on.
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  13. #13
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adam_mac84 View Post
    with the saddle up where i feel comfortable with it, id say >/=3 inches or so.

    should i be thinking about a longer crank possibly? probably not with cross eh? i also have problems with my big size 13's heel of my shoe striking the rear frame bar on occasions (the one by the chain)
    I'm 6-foot-4, and my bikes have 170mm, 172.5mm, 175mm, and 180mm cranks. Crank length is fairly unimportant until everything else is taken into account. My size 13 shoes hit the swingarm on my ATB, but it's pretty wide there. Not a problem on my other bikes.
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