Originally Posted by Persuade NYC
Any tips on getting a bike to fit better?
This is another area I spent alot of time with this past summer. I'd just like to say that this is the stuff that works for me so feel free to ignore any of it.
I think the first thing to decide is the proper seat tube angle. For me, if the geometery is too steep I end up with too much weight on my hands and wrists. Unfortunately the correct seat tube angle is function of your body's center of gravity. Well ... a triathelete or time trialist might disagree but I'm talking about normal day-to-day riding here.
Regardless, measuring the body's c.o.g. is difficult to do so a simpler way is to try different frame geometries.
What I did was to cut 3 little cardboard triangles of 72, 72.5, and 73 degrees. Then I went to an LBS (recycled cycles) and sat on a bunch of frames. I found that for me, the most comfortable was 72 degrees. That's pretty slack but I have a high center of gravity (not because I'm built like Ahhhh-nold but because my legs are short for my height and I have a gut).
Once the seat tube angle is known then the top tube length is a good next step. There's lots of sites (see below) that'll help you figure that out....for me it was 61 cm (C-C) with a 120mm stem. Finally, seat tube length can be determined.
Having said all that, I've found that there are ways of fudging a decent fit. I have a Surly Steamroller that should be painful for me to ride due to its 73 degree seat tube angle and too short for me top tube, but its not. I have long seat rails and when push back, it not only effectively slackens the seat tube angle but increases the top tube length too. I also found that by raising the bars (or angle of bullhorns) I can make an otherwise uncomfortable ride ...rather sweet.
If you have 100 bucks to burn, a fit-kit/size-cycle session at an LBS is a good way to nail down the right fit for you.
Below are some interesting sites. Bike fit is a bit like religion, these sites conflict in several areas. Check them out and figure out what works for you. As simple as it is, the Cycling Tech Center site is a good place to start. The BSN site will require alot more effort on your part but there's alot to be learned playing with their calculator.
Peter White Cycles
BSN online fit calculator
Cycling Tech Center
Anyway this is what has worked for me ... good luck