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  1. #1
    Junior Member walnuts's Avatar
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    Need friendly advice on Cannondale sizing.

    Hello,
    We are looking at a Cannondale RT1000. The local bike shop here has only L/S. He said that it should be a good fit for us. Any advice on what others are riding would be greatly appreciated.

    I'm 5'8" and my wife is 5'5". I don't want to be too cramped up...but on the other hand, I don't want to be too stretched out. We had a KHS Tandemania and I felt like it was too small for us. It was a 18X16 I believe.

    Thanks for the advice.

    Walnuts

  2. #2
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Throw your leg over the bike . . . you should be able to straddle the toptube with both feet spread out and flat on the ground. Toptube should NOT touch your crotch area and have a bit of space with your butt hitting the nose of the saddle. If that's the case, it 'just' fits. Ideally, a bit more crotch room than that is desirable. As for reach, it's cheap to buy a shorter/longer stem.
    Then test ride it!
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  3. #3
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Be cautious with standover height on Cannondales. They use a stepped front top tube that provides very generous standover height, moreso that a rider would obtain on a conventional frame.

    They should allow you to take it out for a test ride which should eliminate any doubts about fit... assuming you can remain objective and not fall prey to too many fitting "tricks" or compromises that might be suggested if the frame isn't a good fit.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 12-31-06 at 09:31 AM.

  4. #4
    Bill G Bill G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walnuts
    Hello,
    We are looking at a Cannondale RT1000. The local bike shop here has only L/S. He said that it should be a good fit for us. Any advice on what others are riding would be greatly appreciated.

    I'm 5'8" and my wife is 5'5". I don't want to be too cramped up...but on the other hand, I don't want to be too stretched out. We had a KHS Tandemania and I felt like it was too small for us. It was a 18X16 I believe.

    Thanks for the advice.

    Walnuts
    The Normal rule of thumb is to ride the smaller size that fits you. With most tandems they cross over such as a M/S in a Cannondale RT1000 has a 54.6 CM or 21.5" top tube measured vertical due to the sloping top tube. The height range for this size is aprox 5.5" to 5.10" tall depending on stem used with a stand over height of 28.3"

    The L/S on the RT1000 has a 56.1 CM or 22.1" top tube and fits a rider from aprox 5.8" to 6.1" tall depending on stem used with a stand over height of 30.3" ( More than likley you would have to use a really short stem with the L/S size like say a 80MM to 90MM to make it fit, I would try to avoid this if possible)

    I would say the M/S would be the better fit for a guy that is 5.8" tall and the Stoker compartment will be no problem for your wife at 5.5" tall.

    I am 5.8 1/2 " tall myself with a 31" true inseam and my wife is 5.4" tall with a 30" true inseam. We owned and rode a Cannondale RT1000 for a long time and the size we road was a M/S with a 100MM stem and it fit perfect, also the lower stand over height helps a lot with a tandem.

    I got these specs from my old Cannondale catalog from when we purchased our RT1000, I hope this helps.

    Don't get me wrong some bike shops will try to put you on the wrong size tandem just to sell what they have on the floor.

    Good Luck,
    Bill G
    Last edited by Bill G; 12-30-06 at 09:15 PM.
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    I also think that the L/S will be too large for you. I'm 5'9" and my stoker is 5'2". The M/S Canondale fits us fine. They come with a 90 stem so you might have to ask them to trade for a longer one. I use a 120.

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    I'm 5'8" also. I have not seen a Tandem in a large that I would fit (not to say that someone does not make one). The above posts have the stats. I can only offer that it sounds too big for you. Sounds like you have a test ride in your future.

    Good Luck.

  7. #7
    SDS
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    Transferable measurements are the key to fitting a bike that is new to a rider. With a few simple measurements from a bike that is known to fit perfectly, you can assess and optimize the fit of another bike.

    With a tape measure:

    1. Measure from the center of the bottom bracket spindle, parallel to the seatpost, to the top of the saddle. Set the new bike to be the same, with the same saddle setback and tilt. This does suppose that the seat tube angles are the same.

    2. Measure from the center of the seatpost, parallel to the ground, to the center of the top (or bottom) of the center of the handlebars. Set the new bike to be the same.

    3. From the ground, measure straight up to the top of the saddle and the top of the handlebars. Set the difference between the saddle height and the handlebar height to be the same.

    With a tape measure, and these measurements for the captain and stoker written down and in hand, you are ready to visit the bike shop and to start measuring bikes to see if they fit. A less important consideration is the length of the stoker compartment (almost always longer is better), easily assessed by measuring horizontally between the bottom bracket spindles. You can find that measurement in the back of the Cannondale catalog in the frame dimensions table, listed as a "horizontal rear top tube length," for an L/S, 27.1". That seems a little short to me, so I would be inclined to look around and to see what else is available. Your stoker stem length will be the 27.1", minus the single bike fit measurement between the center of the seatpost and the center of the handlebars. It's nice to get at least six inches, more is better.

    "Throw your leg over the bike . . . you should be able to straddle the toptube with both feet spread out and flat on the ground. Toptube should NOT touch your crotch area and have a bit of space with your butt hitting the nose of the saddle. If that's the case, it 'just' fits. Ideally, a bit more crotch room than that is desirable."

    If the correct relationship between the location of the cranks (we neglect crankarm length here) and the saddle and the handlebars can be set, then the bike fits FOR RIDING. Consider, for example, the high-wheelers popular about a hundred years ago before the introduction of the chain-driven, equal-sized-wheel safety bicycle. Obviously, nobody was going to straddle the "toptube" to start on any of those bikes, but they were considered to fit for riding. The normal standard for a single bike with a horizontal toptube (not a sloping toptube "compact frame" that is more common on road bikes now) is an inch of clearance between the top tube and the crotch, with the feet CLOSE TOGETHER. To say the feet must be spread out may force a change to a smaller frame, and while long seatposts can be pulled out to establish the correct saddle height, the smaller frame may make it more difficult or impossible to establish the correct handlebar height and distance because it may have shorter top tubes and a lower starting point for the handlebar stem. Just getting pushed to the edge of the range of normal stems can be a problem when shopping and buying, because if you change your mind later, an oddball stem can be expensive or hard to find.

    Is it necessary for a tandem to fit with both feet spread out and flat on the ground? For riding, as noted above, no. Certainly not for mounting either, because as long as it fits at least as well as a single bike, it fits for standing over the top tube. By deduction, that leaves starting and stopping.

    If you look at single bike riders starting as a group at the beginning of a pay ride / rally start, they almost always (few can reliably hold a good track stand) start with one foot clipped into the pedal, and one foot on the ground, usually with a slight lean of the bike toward the foot on the ground. They stop the same way. It's easy to start and stop a tandem with one captain foot and one stoker foot on the ground. It's obviously not a fit requirement or even a good idea to fit a new (new to the team) tandem to the captain with ".....both feet spread out and flat on the ground."

  8. #8
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    We have a L/S RT1000, I am 5'10" my wife is 5'3", the bike fits us fine. I have a 30" inseam, we have 7" of seat post extended on the Capt. and 6" of post on the stoker.
    Hope this helps.
    Gal. 2:20

  9. #9
    Bill G Bill G's Avatar
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    Another poster posted a longer post above mentioning the Stoker or rear compartment horizontal top tube length, do not worry about it, the poster is off a little on his tandem fitting ideas for the stoker compartment. The 27.1" or 68.8 CM rear stoker top tube on the Cannondale RT1000 will be fine. Some manufactures use a 28" or 71.1 CM rear horizontal top tube length adding about an inch to the rear top tube.

    The 27.1" or 68.8 CM rear horizontal stoker top tube length will be more than fine for a person only 5.5" tall like your wife. You will have plenty of adjustment for her fit up.

    Your main concern if you like the tandem should be getting the captains compartment to fit you right.

    Like others and myself have said it looks as if the L/S may be a little on the big side for a guy that is 5.8" tall.

    In the Cannondale brand tandem you will be just fine on a M/S size tandem for both you and your wife. As far as fit go's, the M/S should again fit between a 5.5" to 5.10" captain with no problems. Your height falls right in the middle of this range, you should be good to go on a M/S with the right stem to fit your upper body, arm length or reach taking into consideration torso length needs to make it all come together.


    Good Luck,
    Bill G
    Last edited by Bill G; 12-31-06 at 12:43 PM.
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  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I Ride a Dale Mountain Tandem and we have a L/M. Pilot is 6'2" and I am 5'6". Attachment is of us ridfing and if you look at the amount of Seat post exposed- You will see that we could both have gone for a slightly larger frame. Standover height dictated that we did not go for the larger frame but seat height is a personal thing. I can, with only seat height adjustment, Ride on the front. So a 5'6" rider can ride on the Large front section.
    Standover is not something we really worry about though- but Top tube length is. Even I find the front comfortable so the only thing to do is get on the bike- adjust it to your size and test ride it.

    Incidentally- On the length of stokers seat post- Think of having to fit a suspension post in the Future, if it does not come as standard.
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  11. #11
    Bill G Bill G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    I Ride a Dale Mountain Tandem and we have a L/M. Pilot is 6'2" and I am 5'6". Attachment is of us ridfing and if you look at the amount of Seat post exposed- You will see that we could both have gone for a slightly larger frame. Standover height dictated that we did not go for the larger frame but seat height is a personal thing. I can, with only seat height adjustment, Ride on the front. So a 5'6" rider can ride on the Large front section.
    Standover is not something we really worry about though- but Top tube length is. Even I find the front comfortable so the only thing to do is get on the bike- adjust it to your size and test ride it.

    Incidentally- On the length of stokers seat post- Think of having to fit a suspension post in the Future, if it does not come as standard.

    What your saying is true and can be done, but the question would be is your reach correct if you do what your saying? Yes you may be able to ride up front by only making a seat height adjustment, but if the frame top tube up front is a large and the length is 23" or 58.4 CM due to Cannondales mountain tandems geometry or specs being a little diffrent than the road tandem specs. The road tandem top tube in the L/S is 22.1" or 56.1 CM just a little shorter.

    A rider of 5.6" would be too streched out if it normaly fit a pilot of 6.2" tall, even with a shorter stem it would have too much reach for a rider of 5.6". No doubt, a shorter rider could ride it but would the fit be right? I would have to say no.

    Again, proper fit is key on any tandem or bike for overall comfort and performance. A tandem team laying down cold hard cash to a bike shop should get a tandem that fits right not one that they can ride that is to big for them. Sure they can make it work just because they can lower the seat height and put a really short stem on it and get by.

    Also the rear seat tube length is the same on both the M/S and the L/S and would have no bearing on room for a shock seat post between frame sizes.

    The original poster in the orignal thread asked if a L/S would fit him at 5.8" tall as the captain of the tandem team, most feel it would be too big even though he could do what you sugest and make it work


    Just my 2 cents, proper bike fit is critical to a cyclist, more than they know.

    Bill G
    Last edited by Bill G; 01-02-07 at 06:01 PM.
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  12. #12
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill G
    What your saying is true and can be done, but the question would be is your reach correct if you do what your saying? Yes you may be able to ride up front by only making a seat height adjustment, but if the frame top tube up front is a large and the length is 23" or 58.4 CM due to Cannondales mountain tandems geometry or specs being a little diffrent than the road tandem specs. The road tandem top tube in the L/S is 22.1" or 56.1 CM just a little shorter.

    A rider of 5.6" would be too streched out if it normaly fit a pilot of 6.2" tall, even with a shorter stem it would have too much reach for a rider of 5.6". No doubt, a shorter rider could ride it but would the fit be right? I would have to say no.

    Again, proper fit is key on any tandem or bike for overall comfort and performance. A tandem team laying down cold hard cash to a bike shop should get a tandem that fits right not one that they can ride that is to big for them. Sure they can make it work just because they can lower the seat height and put a really short stem on it and get by.

    Also the rear seat tube length is the same on both the M/S and the L/S and would have no bearing on room for a shock seat post between frame sizes.

    The original poster in the orignal thread asked if a L/S would fit him at 5.8" tall as the captain of the tandem team, most feel it would be too big even though he could do what you sugest and make it work


    Just my 2 cents, proper bike fit is critical to a cyclist, more than they know.

    Bill G
    Valid points but to a certain extent- I compromise my riding position on the Tandem, in comparison to my Solo. I sit a lot more upright on the Tandem as stoker- and Changing to the pilots position- is almost identical to the solo. Only difference being that the bars are just a bit higher.

    If the M/S and L/S have the same stokers seat tube length- then it would also point to the matter of fitting the bike to you. I presume then that the difference between an S and an M rear cockpit is on seat tube length. The only way to check for comfort is to try the bikes.

    I can assure you that I did not just buy a Tandem off the shelf and it was perfect. A lot of adjustment had to go on to get the thing to fit- and a lot of changing of parts aswell. What we did ensure in the first place though- was that the frame would be able to take the adjustments we wanted to make, and was the size that would take the adjustment and be comfortable. Bike fit is as you say-Very important and without that a bike does not work the same.
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  13. #13
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    dude, you need to find out what size you are. And not here. Go to a decent bike shop and ask around like you're going to buy a single. Get some sense what the TOPTUBE measurement is you'd need. Ride that size and see... Ditto for yer spouse. Seattube height is not how you fit a bike. The seat adjusts. Toptube is teh measure you work off of.

    I have a Cannondale L/S. I'm 6' tall and the spouse is 5'3". You'd be going from an 18" toptube to a 22.5. NOt for nothing, but I measure change in a bike by a portion of a centimeter, not 4". Don't buy without doing some more investigating. And opinion such as you get on websites like this are often baseless opinions. Go ride some frames, see what works, buy what works.

  14. #14
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElRey
    ...And opinion such as you get on websites like this are often baseless opinions.


    Say it ain't so!!!!!
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 01-02-07 at 06:31 AM.

  15. #15
    Bill G Bill G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElRey
    Get some sense what the TOPTUBE measurement is you'd need. Ride that size and see... Ditto for yer spouse. Seattube height is not how you fit a bike. The seat adjusts. Toptube is teh measure you work off of.

    I have a Cannondale L/S. I'm 6' tall and the spouse is 5'3". You'd be going from an 18" toptube to a 22.5. NOt for nothing, but I measure change in a bike by a portion of a centimeter, not 4".


    My point exactly ElRey. What your saying is what I was trying to exsplain in a nice way. Proper Top tube length is key, not seat tube length and there is no way a 5.6" rider can trade places with a 6.2" rider with the same bike or tandem and it be the right fit just because you lowered the seat down. Yes sir you are right, fit is done in portions of a centimeter not 3" and 4".

    Yes, go to a good shop and learn about how to fit a bike or tandem. Get a proper feel for your fit and needs from a pro that does proper fit up and learn what you need. Any shop that is worth its salt will have a guy on staff that can help in this area of need.


    With respect I say this.... There are a lot of people on this forum that know what there talking about and give good advice. There are also a few every now and then that do not because they don't know any better, but everyone means well.

    Take Care,
    Bill G
    Last edited by Bill G; 01-02-07 at 06:09 PM.
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  16. #16
    Pepperoni Power ROJA's Avatar
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    The advice here is good. That said, I ride an older C'dale (RT2000 from ~1997) in size L/S (I think) and it works well for us. I am 5'9" with a 33" inseam and she is about 5'4"

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    NO offense to anyone here, but when one is new enough to cycling that he/she can't get within an inch or so of good fit alone, I do think it's time for some remedial bike shop visiting to ride a bit and see what they see. I, like many of us, have gottne bit by a shp wanting to sell what's on the floor. BUt several rides should clear up what size is being sought. I think????

  18. #18
    Senior Member bockwho's Avatar
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    were on a m/s with the steped top tube and im 511 with the L/s was too much for me in the arms... not by much
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  19. #19
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    I agree with ElRey. Find two things .... the right size and a new bike shop. Seems your LBS is too interested in clearing his inventory and not thinking about you. Our LBS duplicated our single fits to our new Trek T2000. It took time and effort but the results were worth it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill G
    Another poster posted a longer post above mentioning the Stoker or rear compartment horizontal top tube length, do not worry about it, the poster is off a little on his tandem fitting ideas for the stoker compartment. The 27.1" or 68.8 CM rear stoker top tube on the Cannondale RT1000 will be fine. Some manufactures use a 28" or 71.1 CM rear horizontal top tube length adding about an inch to the rear top tube.

    The 27.1" or 68.8 CM rear horizontal stoker top tube length will be more than fine for a person only 5.5" tall like your wife. You will have plenty of adjustment for her fit up.

    Your main concern if you like the tandem should be getting the captains compartment to fit you right.

    Like others and myself have said it looks as if the L/S may be a little on the big side for a guy that is 5.8" tall.

    In the Cannondale brand tandem you will be just fine on a M/S size tandem for both you and your wife. As far as fit go's, the M/S should again fit between a 5.5" to 5.10" captain with no problems. Your height falls right in the middle of this range, you should be good to go on a M/S with the right stem to fit your upper body, arm length or reach taking into consideration torso length needs to make it all come together.


    Good Luck,
    Bill G
    I do not agree on things said here that rear compartiment does not really matter and you should mainly focus on the captain fitting.

    We own a Cdale M/S RT1000 and I am the stoker and am 5'6".
    I know things can be different for every person but I am really too cramped in the rear compartiment, really uncomfortable.
    I know the tandem is not properly sized for us but I had no choice because I would need a custom model because girlfriend is in front and measure 5'4", so with the money I had, it was this or nothing.

    Just to say that having a tandem with the fit for the stocker as important as the captain is essential because both ride on the bike and to ride happy, got to fit right.

    My opinion

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by walnuts
    Hello,
    We are looking at a Cannondale RT1000. The local bike shop here has only L/S. He said that it should be a good fit for us. Any advice on what others are riding would be greatly appreciated.

    I'm 5'8" and my wife is 5'5". I don't want to be too cramped up...but on the other hand, I don't want to be too stretched out. We had a KHS Tandemania and I felt like it was too small for us. It was a 18X16 I believe.

    Thanks for the advice.

    Walnuts
    Here's a question. We have a M/S Cannondale and it is fit exactly the same as our single bikes. I'm 5'9" and my stoker is 5'2". We were talking to a dealer from the east and he said our frame was too small for us. Maybe he was trying to get us to buy another frame but we were not looking at the time. Do some dealers prefer to put their customers on larger frames?

  22. #22
    Bill G Bill G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmac
    Here's a question. We have a M/S Cannondale and it is fit exactly the same as our single bikes. I'm 5'9" and my stoker is 5'2". We were talking to a dealer from the east and he said our frame was too small for us. Maybe he was trying to get us to buy another frame but we were not looking at the time. Do some dealers prefer to put their customers on larger frames?

    At 5.9" the M/S should be just fine for you, more than likley the L/S would stretch you out a little to much. The M/S should fit riders from about 5.7" to around 5.10" no problem and your right in the right fit range for that size tandem, if it feels right stick with what you got.....

    When we had our Cannondale tandem, we rode the M/S and I am 5.8 1/2" tall, the wife is 5.4" tall and the fit was great..

    Take Care,
    Bill G
    Co-Motion Custom Primera Tandem (AKA The Marrage Counselor)
    da Vinci Custom Joint Venture 700 Tandem (AKA The Marrage Therapist)

  23. #23
    GO Floyd Landis, Go! Linda & Lew's Avatar
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    Hi All!
    My wife is 5' 8" and I 6' 5". We ride a Cannondale that is a J/L and it feels perfect to us. Your not going to know
    if it fits unless you try it. Hey, I don't buy shoes unless I try them on.....so when your talking about a couple grand....don't take any chances and shop at least a few dealers.
    R 300 Cannondale
    Early 70's Free Spirit Tandem
    2006 Cannondale Tandem

  24. #24
    Bill G Bill G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie50
    I do not agree on things said here that rear compartiment does not really matter and you should mainly focus on the captain fitting.

    We own a Cdale M/S RT1000 and I am the stoker and am 5'6".
    I know things can be different for every person but I am really too cramped in the rear compartiment, really uncomfortable.
    I know the tandem is not properly sized for us but I had no choice because I would need a custom model because girlfriend is in front and measure 5'4", so with the money I had, it was this or nothing.

    Just to say that having a tandem with the fit for the stocker as important as the captain is essential because both ride on the bike and to ride happy, got to fit right.

    My opinion

    My POINT was that there should be plenty of adjustment in the stoker compartment for a wide range of height in stokers. I did not mean to or say that stoker fit was not as important as the captains compartment as far as proper fit is concerned.

    Back to the original POINT.. it was that the captains compartment has to be the right size for the captain due to it not having the range of adjustability that the stokers compartment has, most stoker compartments will adjust from a short rider to a reasonably tall rider, the captains compartment will not.......

    Also at 5.6" you should have enough adjustment with the right bars and stoker stem to not feel cramped. Most stoker compartments on a standard tandem with a 27" or 28" rear top tube should and can handle riders taller than you with the proper adjustments.

    Take Care,
    Bill G
    Last edited by Bill G; 02-27-07 at 07:49 PM.
    Co-Motion Custom Primera Tandem (AKA The Marrage Counselor)
    da Vinci Custom Joint Venture 700 Tandem (AKA The Marrage Therapist)

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