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  1. #1
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    This bike too small for me? Advice please

    I have a great Miyata 615 touring bike that I am unsure about. The fit of the cockpit feels great, but the standover height and leg length feels a bit small. I run into this problem with most bikes because I have a short torso and long legs. Generally, I ride a 56 cm road bike and like a bike that is about 32" standover. Most touring bikes go from this size (54 cm) to 57 cm, which is a little big. This bike is 31" and just feels short to me with about 2" of clearance above the top tube There needs to be a lot seat post showing for me to get the correct leg reach. I've attached a couple pictures, and in truth, I would like to raise the seat another half inch ro so. Does the bike appear to fit me? Or should I be looking for a bigger bike? I do have a technomic stem with a shorter reach I can install to bring the bars up to seat height.

    I appreciate any input and advice you can offer.
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    Last edited by Ciufalon; 05-17-09 at 05:16 PM. Reason: my photos didn't show up
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  2. #2
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    If you can get the saddle to the right height for you and the cockpit still feels comfortable, the bike fits you fine. Sometimes it's difficult to get the handlebars to a comfortable height relative to the saddle on a frame that's too small. If that's not a problem for you on this frame, you're good to go. I prefer a short cockpit myself and tend to ride a smaller frame than I could otherwise fit on if I was willing to stretch forward more.

    Standover height is nothing more than a safety feature required by the CPSC. It has nothing to do with bike fit.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your insight. I guess I am just use to feeling a larger frame beneath me and my legs more stretched out when I ride.
    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member EatMyA**'s Avatar
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    Fit is very personal and I agree with xyzyy.

    Do you like how the handling feels?

    Do you like the muscles that are being used in that setup?

    Are you comfortable?

    If you do its great. You look like your seat height can go up even more like you said. Get your forward and back saddle position to where your KNEES are most comfortable.

    Then its just the reach that you have get dialed in by messing with the stem height or lenght. Get this to a position where your BACK is most comfortable.

    Then tilt your saddle to where your sit bones and sensitive areas are most comfortable in different positions without sliding.

    See how all this plays together, and finally see if you can tolerate the change in handling that comes with that.

    Notice its all about where "YOU" are comfortable.

    Like you I need a frame with a shorter top tube than one my "correct size" will offer. For that reason I use a smaller frame as my other option would be a frame "my size" with a much more aggressive geometry.

    Good Luck!

    Edit: Forgot to add to tilt your handlebars into a position that your WRISTS are comfortable in. You probably know all of this already but maybe someone stumbles into your thread and reads something that helps them. Hope you don't think I am being condesiending.
    Last edited by EatMyA**; 05-17-09 at 07:36 PM.

  5. #5
    Surf Bum
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    I'm not a fit specialist but your leg is way straighter than I normally see (in other words, your seat looks too high). It's a little hard to tell since you took the pics with your foot flat at the bottom of the stroke instead of heel up like it would be when actually pedaling, but it looks like a long reach to me.

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    At any rate, I gotta say...that's one heck of a nice bike.

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    Thanks everyone

    I really appreciate everyone giving me their input. I was worried about staying with a bike that is not the correct size for me, but that feel really good for reach. I have put on the technomic stem I have and took it out for a spin. It gives me a very upright position that feels almost too good. I was surprised to hear my leg looks too straight because I normally ride with my legs more stretched out. Any way, I think all the advice about it being fine to ride a smaller bike if it fits better and provides a more comfortable ride is what I needed to hear. I've attached a couple more pics with the new stem on the bike (it's a long stem!).
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  8. #8
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Raise Dat Stem!

    by Bob Gordon

    A flat back is one of the hallmarks of an experienced cyclist, particularly a racer, and over the years I have seen the prevailing attitudes towards rider positioning devolve to the point where if you don't cycle with your back parallel to the ground, you're cast off as a beginner.

    But like many other concepts recreational riders adopt, the low back originated in the professional ranks after extensive research in aerodynamics proved this would help the fast go faster. Competitive athletes routinely sacrifice both their short and long term health for the express purpose of winning, but you may have a different agenda.

    Lower back disc problems peak the ages of 30 and 50. There are many causes, but if your back pain is exacerbated by riding, it's a good bet the cause is bouncing around on your bike while your lower spine is extensively flexed (loss of lower back arch). A low, forward torso causes the inner portion of the disc (the nucleus purposes) to press back against the outer restraining fibers (the annulus fibroses). This pressure eventually causes the disc to bulge or herniate. The nearby nerves get squeezed, and the next thing you know, someone like me is telling you you have sciatica.

    Cycling mitigates some of the problems of a habitually flexed lumbar spine because of the "bridge effect" that's created by resting some of your weight on your hands. But the lumbar region and its soft tissues are still at risk just by being continuously hyper flexed, and if you sit all day at your job, the danger is compounded.

    On the flip side, cycling entirely upright does not solve the problem either. True, the inter-vertebral discs and spinal ligaments are in a more neutral position and absorb shock better, but the load is now transmitted axially, which is fatiguing and jarring. Also, in a bolt-upright position you can't use your gluteus or hamstrings to great advantage, which means your thighs (quadriceps) get overworked, you lose a lot of power, the unused hamstrings and gluteal muscles go flabby, and you catch all that wind. It's hard to be happy about all that, racer or no.

    There is, however, a position that allows good performance while minimizing risk of lower back injury. I like a stem height and length that puts your back about 50 degrees from horizontal, while your arms and legs bend slightly at the elbows, as shown in figure 2 up there. To achieve this, you'll probably have to raise your bars, and assuming you want to keep the same bar style (as opposed to riding with stingray bars or something), that usually means getting another stem, one with a taller quill or a steep rise to it. If you hit the sweet spot, a photo of you from the side will reveal a nice pyramid composed of top tube, torso and arms.'

    ......position is personal preference. But it looks to me like the stem is a bit short. Ideally, on a tourer, the bars are close to the height of the saddle; and you are bent over just enough to ride well. Bob Gordon likes 50 degrees, I am more like 60. But some bend is needed to get your backside involved in pedalling.
    Last edited by late; 05-17-09 at 08:13 PM.
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  9. #9
    some new kind of kick Suttree's Avatar
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    I think the fit is horrible and you should sell that bike to me.

  10. #10
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    Maybe i'm the only one here who thinks your way back in the cockpit. Leg extension looks good based on the pictures but................ you look to far back. Not by a little either. That will cause a whole new kettle of worms though.
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    raised the stem

    Thanks for that great reply. The pictures I added just above your post show the technomic stem I put on the bike. Here I've added pics showing how upright I am now and I think I have about a 60 degree angle to my back. If I need more forward bend I can lower the new longer stem or move the seat back and be more bent over. As it is, my position is very upright and feels really good. The bars might even be a slight bit above the seat height. I just recently got the bike and it's nice to know I didn't get a bad size. Wasn't quite sure if I should stick with it, but it seems like it will work fine since it's comfortable for my torso length. Funny thing, I had a Univega Gran Tourismo the same size a few months ago and sold it because I thought it was too small. Just been having a hard time getting a good fit on a tourer. I guess there is no rule of thumb for size other than it feels very comfortable for the long hours and miles spent touring.
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  12. #12
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    I think the bike is too small. You have a lot of steer tube and seatpost and you still need to raise that stem.

  13. #13
    ah.... sure. kayakdiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuan View Post
    I think the bike is too small. You have a lot of steer tube and seatpost and you still need to raise that stem.
    I'm more in line with this thinking. You looked cramped.
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  14. #14
    GO BIG RED norwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciufalon View Post
    I really appreciate everyone giving me their input. I was worried about staying with a bike that is not the correct size for me, but that feel really good for reach. I have put on the technomic stem I have and took it out for a spin. It gives me a very upright position that feels almost too good. I was surprised to hear my leg looks too straight because I normally ride with my legs more stretched out. Any way, I think all the advice about it being fine to ride a smaller bike if it fits better and provides a more comfortable ride is what I needed to hear. I've attached a couple more pics with the new stem on the bike (it's a long stem!).
    Thats a Technomic? A Nitto Technomic? I have never seen one with an upswept extention before. Interesting.
    FWIW I think your bike looks a little on the small side for you. I say that as one who has a couple bikes set up much the same as yours. You could easily ride a size (or two) bigger. But if you're comfortable, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.
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    Not a Nitto technomic

    The stem is not a Nitto technomic. I thought technomic just refers to a long stem that can raise the bars up. I have a Nitto technomic (not upswept) on my other bike. This stem is just an interesting one I got along the way and really like because it has a very short reach and gets bars up high!

    Hmmm... from the last few responses, I guess I will ride the bike a while and see how it feels or grows on me. I had a Miyata 610 that was a size 57 cm and it was just slightly too big at 32.5"-33" standover height. Maybe the differece is that this bike has 700 wheels and the other one had 27" wheels? Could that be it?
    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
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  16. #16
    GO BIG RED norwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciufalon View Post
    The stem is not a Nitto technomic. I thought technomic just refers to a long stem that can raise the bars up. I have a Nitto technomic (not upswept) on my other bike. This stem is just an interesting one I got along the way and really like because it has a very short reach and gets bars up high!

    Hmmm... from the last few responses, I guess I will ride the bike a while and see how it feels or grows on me. I had a Miyata 610 that was a size 57 cm and it was just slightly too big at 32.5"-33" standover height. Maybe the differece is that this bike has 700 wheels and the other one had 27" wheels? Could that be it?
    Correct me if I'm wrong but "Technomic" is a trade name of Nitto. I've never seen it's use regarding any other brand stem.

    27" wheels (as well as bigger tires) would make some difference in standover height. The point is don't let standover hgt. be the main determining factor in bike fit. It's really not that important. A properly sized conventional diamond road-frame bike shouldn't need that much seatpost showing or stem showing to get the bars level with the saddle. Not that a bike slightly too small or slightly too big can't be adapted with seatpost and stem to fit just fine. They can. So many people think nothing of recommending a small frame and adjusting the fit with a longer seatpost and/or stem but recoil in horror at the thought of less seatpost and perhaps a shorter stem.
    So if your bike fits, ride it.
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  17. #17
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    Well, I am currently in the process of trying to get a 23" touring bike and if I am able to, will see how that one fits for comfort. Judging by what has been said, it makes sense that the most important thing should be comfort and not frame size. You are probably right about technomic being proprietary to Nitto and I was just unaware of that. My other bikes are larger and have less post and stem showing, and that is generally what I go for, but I have had a heck of a hard time finding a touring bike that is just my size - 56 cm. Especially, because I like lugged, steel frame bikes. This one will get me around for now and I will see if I get use to it and like the smaller frame, because it is very comfortable with regard to reach.
    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
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  18. #18
    Toeclips are real delver's Avatar
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    Just to show you something, my miyata 1000 is a 54c, and I usualy ride a 58, with some 60c bikes in the mix. But because it is an outstanding touring bike I have it set up so that I can ride it comfortably for days on end, 70-100 miles a day. It looks goofy with the long stem and post, but side by side with all my other bikes the seat, and BB are lined up the same, and the bars are a bit higher on this bike than the others.




    Like I said, it sure looks funny, but its my go to bike for loaded touring. To date, about 2500 miles on it.
    Oh, and I am not telling anyone that this is right, just that strange things can work. If I ever find another 1000 in a 23 to 25 inch frame for five bucks like I did this one, I would go for it.
    Last edited by delver; 05-17-09 at 11:10 PM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    You could get a frame like the Surly LHT for a few hundred bucks and swap parts.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    The LHT frame cost me $400 - not chicken feed.

    I don't worry about what I look like - just about how I feel and how comfortable I am. I'd suggest riding the bike you have. Make a few tweaks here and there - raise and lower the saddle by 1/8 inch at a time. Slide the saddle forwards and backwards a tiny bit at a time. Raise and lower the stem a tiny bit. Each time you make an adjustment, ride it for several miles and see how it feels. I think you can get that bike dialed in so it feels just right.

    I had a similar problem on an old Nashbar tourer. The seatpost was out a long way but the stem was at its limit. I thought "real" riders were okay with their bars down below their saddles, but I was having problems with numb hands during and after tours. I did some research and it seemed that raising the bars might help, so I bought a Nitto Technomic stem. It did the trick. It might look funny to some, but the bike felt much more comfortable and the numbness problem went away.

    Is your stem a Nitto Dirt Drop? I put one of those on my old Stumpjumper (which has become my shopping bicycle) and it feels much more comfortable. It looks a little goofy, but who cares?

  21. #21
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    I have a Nitto Dirt Drop on another bike and it does look a little funny, but I like it much better. This stem is an old SR that is very long and I can get the bars up high! You are right, that it might look a little odd to some, but I am more concerned with comfort and good fit than looks. Right now it feels very good, and I will slowly dial it in a bit at a time until it feels perfect. It is difficult to find short top tubes on bikes that are a little bigger and this really feels great. So I am going to take the advice of those who advocate for comfort and fit over looks. Though I too do not like a lot of post and stem, I also don't like having to lean heavily on my hands. Especially for long periods of time! Thanks for everyone sharing their thoughts and ideas.
    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
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