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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 10-20-07, 11:21 PM   #1
molinee
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Correct Top Tube Length/Stem Question...

I think I have read somewhere where when you are stretched out over the top tube and it is the correct length with the correct stem and seat height .... You should be able to put your arms behind your back and just sit straight up. Is this correct or did I dream it somewhere. Seems like all the bikes I have had over the years if I removed my arms I would fall on my face. I have a long torso so am leaning quite a bit forward. Any thoughts on this appreciated.
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Old 10-24-07, 02:35 AM   #2
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... must a been a dream
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Old 10-24-07, 07:18 AM   #3
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Ya, I'd say so.

Do a few Google searches on bike fitting, that should turn up some helpful articles. Really though, I'd try to develop a relationship w/ a local bike shop and try out a few stem lengths is you're unsure of your setup. I know we have dozens and dozens of pull-off stems from new bikes. If you were to talk into my shop I'd let you "pay" for one of them and then experiement w/ length until you figure out what works best.

Cross is funny for bike fitting because of the extra abuse your body is soaking up vs. road riding. A lot of people go slightly shorter (1cm) vs their road bike and make a really good effort to be sure your position on the hoods is as comfortable as possible. Depending on what category you race in/your style of riding, you may spend the whole race on the hoods so try to avoid them being tilted forward too much or nasty "up and down" shapes. A lot of the time you need to rotate the bars up and the levers down to create a nice flat platform for your hands. In my experience, it's easier to do this with Campy/SRAM than Shimano, and some of the more compact drop bar designs might be too short in the top of the curves if you've got big hands.

Any "just do this one measurement/test and you're set" system is doomed to fail. There are too many factors: past injuries, specifics of your bike setup, personal preferences, etc. Try a few things out during training rides and see what works best.
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Old 10-24-07, 07:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by molinee View Post
I think I have read somewhere where when you are stretched out over the top tube and it is the correct length with the correct stem and seat height .... You should be able to put your arms behind your back and just sit straight up. Is this correct or did I dream it somewhere. Seems like all the bikes I have had over the years if I removed my arms I would fall on my face. I have a long torso so am leaning quite a bit forward. Any thoughts on this appreciated.
I've seen this, and I'm almost certain it was on an earlier version of the Rivendell site. It's a position that can be reached by raising your stem (if it's got a long enough quill- some do not) so that your bar is level with your saddle. Takes some of the weight off your hands and wrists and puts it on the saddle. It also keeps you from being hunched over like a professional racer.

Sounds like good advice for a comfortable position and a good start to a lifetime of pain-free riding of almost any kind. You may not make the podium at the local weekend warrior competition, if that's of any importance.
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