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  1. #1
    Hip-star jhaber's Avatar
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    Bike Fit Discussion

    This might be the wrong forum but since it's the only place I post and I ride a fixed gear bike I am hope to have the discussion here.

    I have been wondering about bike fit a lot lately. I recently build my first good bike and spent a lot of time worrying about setting up the fit right. I posted a bunch of threads, used online calculations, and even went to a bike shop and talked to the owner about fit, getting measured in the process and having him recommend a frame size based off the frame geo and sizing of the frame I wanted.

    After reading suggestions on this board and getting suggestions from the guy that fit me I bought a certain length stem and a set back post, had him adjust everything on the bike when it was put together ect ect.

    Long story short went to a lot of effort to get fit right.

    So this past weekend I went to this amazing mechanic course at Winterborn Custom Cycles in Guelph. I took the chance to ask the owner Jay what he thought about my fit on the bike. Rode around a bit and he watched and very quickly said I should have a longer stem and no set back post. He told me a set back post should only be used on a frame designed for one and that I had too much weight over the back of the bike. He said I look a bit cramped on the bike and that the tube top was too short. I asked if the 1 cm stem change would really make a difference and he said it would make a big difference. He said even having a longer stem and no setback post would change the weight distribution from too far back to too far forward and that the only real fix was a proper tube top length.

    So this got me thinking about fit. Got me wondering if I should sell my new post and stem and replace them already after just dropping money on them. Apparently doing so would only move the problem forward on my bike

    It also got me thinking if all this worrying about fit is going overboard. I think I feel ok my bike. I think that 99.9 % of people on bikes probably aren't fit correctly and have no idea. I think most people likely couldn't tell if they were fitted correctly. Most people never adjust anything on their off the rack complete bikes.

    I am wondering if its even something worth stressing over. In a perfect world I would spend the $1500 and get a custom frame built to fit me but I bet if I took that correctly fitted built up bike to 10 different bike 'experts' each would tell me to adjust different things.

    Am I right here? Is fit just subjective? Am I worrying too much and is it really even worth stressing about?

    Looking forward to some wisdom from some fellow forum members. thx

  2. #2
    Senior Member ZiP0082's Avatar
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    My guess is that fit comes into play with rides that are 25+ miles. for short, around-town rides, I think you could get away with a bike that is too small/crampt, no problem.

  3. #3
    FNG Jabba Degrassi's Avatar
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    At least you don't have to listen to "your frame is too small buy a new one" every time you post a picture of your bike. 5'10" on a 53 Angus might sound off, but with my legs, my crotch barely clears the top-tube when I'm standing over it. I haven't measured the actual distance, but in low-rise jeans the crotch of my pants touch the top-tube, but not my actual junk. I measured my cyclist's inseam at 31" - 31.5", depending on how far I jam the measuring tape, giving me between 0.5" and 1" of clearance.

    A 56 would bring that top tube into flavour country, but does anyone listen? Nooooooooo, everyone still think I should blow $400 on a new frame.

  4. #4
    Hip-star jhaber's Avatar
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    Think "proper' fit on a off the rack frame is even possible?

    I ask because I believe that my frame is the best size of the available ones I could get. The problem is more in body proportions that can only be addressed by a full custom frame then ordering the wrong size. If i had gone for a bigger frame it would have been too tall instead of slightly too cramped. Keep in mind that according to another bike shop owner it is the proper length.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhaber View Post
    Think "proper' fit on a off the rack frame is even possible?
    Of course, there is a huge amount of adjustment available with seatposts, stems, cranks and bars. Most people won't benefit from a custom bike. Even less who don't know enough about themselves and geometry to help the builder design it.

    Weight over the back of the bike is not a reason to adjust the saddle. If you have long feet and femurs and the bike has short stays you're just going to have to live with it.

    Computed fits are piss poor methods of fitting a bike too. They vary wildly and never include enough variables.

  6. #6
    Senior Member robotkiller's Avatar
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    You can adjust to anything -- even something that is way out of proper fit. If you have ever ridden on a bike that is perfectly fit, though, it's hard to get used to anything else. Ignorance is bliss, etc.

  7. #7
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    If your regular riding doesn't cause pain in your hands, back, neck, or taint then leave it be.

  8. #8
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    A custom-made frame is not needed for most people, but when it does happen to be needed, there's no substitute if the owner cares about cycling and wants to make the most of it. It shows up in ways that those who don't need one wouldn't necessarily think about, like when a person runs out of seat rail when trying to get the saddle where it's needed. Proper fit does matter, and it need not necessarily be a paid for pro fit. You can experiment for yourself and easily see what different saddle heights and setback do for you, for example. But there is no one perfect fit, because it depends what you want to emphasize on your rides. There are tradeoffs between sheer efficiency and comfort, and there are tradeoffs between which kind of efficiency we're talking about.

  9. #9
    . bbattle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabba Degrassi View Post
    At least you don't have to listen to "your frame is too small buy a new one" every time you post a picture of your bike. 5'10" on a 53 Angus might sound off, but with my legs, my crotch barely clears the top-tube when I'm standing over it. I haven't measured the actual distance, but in low-rise jeans the crotch of my pants touch the top-tube, but not my actual junk. I measured my cyclist's inseam at 31" - 31.5", depending on how far I jam the measuring tape, giving me between 0.5" and 1" of clearance.

    A 56 would bring that top tube into flavour country, but does anyone listen? Nooooooooo, everyone still think I should blow $400 on a new frame.


    For your next frame you may want to consider compact frames(sloping top tube).

    I'm 5'8" and have the same inseam as you; I was told I have long legs for my height. My fitting had the stem shortened to 80mm and I'm riding a 54cm Orbea roadie and a 52cm San Jose.

  10. #10
    FNG Jabba Degrassi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbattle View Post
    For your next frame you may want to consider compact frames(sloping top tube).

    I'm 5'8" and have the same inseam as you; I was told I have long legs for my height. My fitting had the stem shortened to 80mm and I'm riding a 54cm Orbea roadie and a 52cm San Jose.

    You're right, a compact frame would probably suit me better, but I'm too in love with my Angus to give it up quite yet. Honestly though, it feels fine. I picked up a 110mm stem because I thought I would have to compensate for the short TT, but I found I had to move my saddle as far forward as it would go because I felt so stretched out, even with a tall technomic stem that's nearly level with the saddle. I can ride for hours on end with little or not discomfort.

    I'll be picking up a shorter, probably 90mm stem, in a short quill version soon, we'll see how that goes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabba Degrassi View Post
    You're right, a compact frame would probably suit me better, but I'm too in love with my Angus to give it up quite yet. Honestly though, it feels fine. I picked up a 110mm stem because I thought I would have to compensate for the short TT, but I found I had to move my saddle as far forward as it would go because I felt so stretched out, even with a tall technomic stem that's nearly level with the saddle. I can ride for hours on end with little or not discomfort.

    I'll be picking up a shorter, probably 90mm stem, in a short quill version soon, we'll see how that goes.
    90 an 110 are pretty short stems. For someone whose 5'10" with apparently really short legs on a 53 it seems almost absurd. Also a tall 110 is probably about the same reach as a level 100 or 90 anyway.

    Also there is no reason why should have to be able to touch the ground with both feet while not touching the tt. Especially if you're going to end up using a lot of stem rise with classic geometry.

  12. #12
    FNG Jabba Degrassi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dutret View Post
    90 an 110 are pretty short stems. For someone whose 5'10" with apparently really short legs on a 53 it seems almost absurd. Also a tall 110 is probably about the same reach as a level 100 or 90 anyway.

    Also there is no reason why should have to be able to touch the ground with both feet while not touching the tt. Especially if you're going to end up using a lot of stem rise with classic geometry.
    This is a short stem?



    I have a technomic of this length with a 225mm column. I'd hardly consider that short, especially since the longest one Nitto even makes is 120mm.

    Anyway, I don't know what to tell you. I don't feel cramped up, in fact, quite the opposite. Maybe I got little kid arms too? At any rate, since I'm running road, not track drops, I figured I could increase the saddle to bar distance a little, as it's nearly level right now, without too much discomfort.

    As for stand-over height, I'm almost sick of discussing it, as everyone seems to have a different opinion as to whether crotch clearance matters or not. I believe it does. You don't. Let's leave it at that.

  13. #13
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    One thing's for sure: people's ideas about bike fit change over time. They were different 50 years ago, different again 30 years ago, and they're different now. No reason to think, in ten or fifteen years, people won't have completely different ideas about how a bike should fit, and they'll probably look at today's average riders on their bikes and think their bikes were fitted poorly.

    This is over and above the fact that you point out, that there are lots of contradictory ideas about bike fit even among knowledgeable riders/mechanics/etc.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabba Degrassi View Post
    This is a short stem?



    I have a technomic of this length with a 225mm column. I'd hardly consider that short, especially since the longest one Nitto even makes is 120mm.
    typos. 90 and 100 are indeed fairly short. I also though the technomic had rise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jabba Degrassi View Post
    Anyway, I don't know what to tell you. I don't feel cramped up, in fact, quite the opposite. Maybe I got little kid arms too?
    perhaps if you're riding really upright your long torso may not matter as much too. Either way theres no way to know without seeing you ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jabba Degrassi View Post
    As for stand-over height, I'm almost sick of discussing it, as everyone seems to have a different opinion as to whether crotch clearance matters or not. I believe it does.
    why? I've never actually heard a reasonable reason. how often do you stand over you're bike with both feet on the ground?

  15. #15
    FNG Jabba Degrassi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dutret View Post
    why? I've never actually heard a reasonable reason. how often do you stand over you're bike with both feet on the ground?
    Quite a bit, to be honest. I don't always have room to track-stand, or sometimes the light is just too damn long. Frankly, I'm not that good at it yet. What am I supposed to do at reds until I get better? It's a basic safety issue, which, like most safety issues, such as front brakes on fixies, reflectors, lights, helmets and giant neon flags, tend to be contentions issues.

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