More Energy than Sense
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: 155 miles north of Spokane
Bikes: Thorn Sherpa, Co-Motion Custom Road, Salsa Fargo, Mercian King of Mercia and Motobecane Fantom Pro 29er
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There is no way to guess a frame size based upon your height and inseam. There are too many variables to consider regarding your dimensions as well as riding style. I personally think it's wrong to size bikes based on seat tube length and would have to say top tube length is most important, at least in my book. I had a 62cm LHT with a 59cm top tube and it fit great. Guessing I had about 3" of clearance. I now have a Thorn w/ a much short seat tube, probably by about 10cm shorter, and a 61cm top tube. I haven't measured the clearance but probably in the neighborhood of 6-8 inches. I had to install a shorter stem and the bike fits as well as the LHT. The headtube length is the same between the two bikes so bars are just as high. I like the compact geometry better for getting it in a box which I had a very hard time doing w/ the LHT.
I know this will generate some disagreement but as long as you get the bars, BB and saddle where you need them, what happens in between is not that significant. A folding bike being a good example. Haven't heard anything negative about the ride quality of a bike friday and look at the standover height. The actual top tube length is more crucial (as long as it's not too high, of course). This is where your LBS comes in and hopefully they sell custom bikes. Not that you need one but shops that sell custom usually do a better job at sizing a customer.