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  1. #1
    Senior Member deepakvrao's Avatar
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    Yet another Surly LHT sizing question

    Hi Guys,

    Some of you might know that I have been looking at the Volpe for light touring and I received a lot of help here for that. Unfortunately I got a rude shock from the Bianchi India dealer [who had said he would get me the bike by Dec] yesterday, saying that they will be UNABLE to get me the bike at all.

    So I started a search again, and a Singapore dealer is willing to ship me a LHT. I had thought of a 52 but he recommends a 54.

    My height is 5'8"
    PBH is 84.5 cm or 33"

    My current road bike is a 50cm Cannondale CAAD9 which is pretty aggressively set up. The Eff TT is 52.5 and I have a 100mm 5* stem [stock]. Reach is fine and fit is good but the saddle to bar drop is 4". The head tube angle is 72.5*. The head tube length is 11.5cm.

    My previous bike was a Trek 52cm with an eff TT of 53cm and that was also a good fit.

    Now, the LHT in 54 has an Eff TT of 55.5cm and a head tube angle of 71*, so I think with the 17* stem and the taller head tube, and the bar being at saddle height or thereabouts, my reach should be about the same in the 54cm LHT as the 50cm CAAD9? Head tube length of the LHT is 18.2cm.

    I actually did a mock up of a setup like this and I found that even with an eff TT of 3 cm more, with the bar higher and closer because of taller head tube, the bar to saddle distance will be reduced by 3cm compensating for the increased TT length that the LHT will have compared to my Cdale.

    Standover height is 79.3cm for the LHT.

    I have done a search and probably read all the posts regarding LHT sizing but this is a specific question regarding reach. The Rivendell site says its better to go larger with touring bikes and also explains how the reach becomes less as the handlebar rises. Have also seen the LHT sizing spreadsheet but that really is not very conclusive.

    Really would appreciate help here.

  2. #2
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    Have you seen this spreadsheet? Not a huge data set but might be some help.

  3. #3
    Senior Member KLW2's Avatar
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    I'm 5' 8" average build and ride a 52cm LH, the fit is perfect.

  4. #4
    Senior Member KLW2's Avatar
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    Here is a sizing spreadsheet compiled by LHT users....

    http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=pdb5rlL1ns0XLxM31WpvkCw

  5. #5
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    I'm 5'7.5", and ride a 54. Love it. Fit is fine.
    DP
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Fueled by Boh's Avatar
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    Dellphinus --
    You're 5'7" and ride a 54? I'm around 5'7" and I ride a 52, and I barely have any seatpost showing. I think part of the "problem" is that my brooks has extremely high rails. How much seatpost extension do you have with your set up?

    I say "problem" because I'd like to have a bit more seatpost showing for aesthetics (the bike kind of looks too big) and because I'd like to have more options when it comes to offset seatposts. Oddly enough, while I have barely any seatpost showing, I have a massive stack of headset spacers in order to get my handlebars high enough.
    Not going to bother with Antarctica

  7. #7
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    I'm 5'8" and ride a 52cm. Going slow on rough trails with 50mm tires, I wished I had a 50cm a few times because when making a sudden stop, I found my family jewels got a little too close too fast to the top tube.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  8. #8
    Senior Member cyclotoine's Avatar
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    I find you have to size down one size with the LHT because they are way longer than anything else on the market in a given size.

    To the OP. it may be true that the reach is the same but the height of the bars is not as you point out. How does that affect you arm to torso angle I wonder? I am asking genuinely.

    Try this:

    sit as if you are on your road bike holding the bars. If you sit up bending only at the waist and keeping your arm to torso angle the same your hands come back. This means to be comfortable you must bring the bars closer to you as you raise them.

    So, if the 54cm gives you the same horizontal reach but the bars are higher it will be too long as you should get the 52.
    Last edited by cyclotoine; 11-15-09 at 01:59 AM.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    As stated above, they run a little large, both eff. tt and stand over height. Remember to look at the stand over height and realize that they quote it for only a 1.25" tire, I know with my 1.5" Marathons it was higher yet. I'm 5'10", average dimensions, and a 54 is what seemed to fit me the best.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fueled by Boh View Post
    Dellphinus --
    You're 5'7" and ride a 54? I'm around 5'7" and I ride a 52, and I barely have any seatpost showing. I think part of the "problem" is that my brooks has extremely high rails. How much seatpost extension do you have with your set up?

    I say "problem" because I'd like to have a bit more seatpost showing for aesthetics (the bike kind of looks too big) and because I'd like to have more options when it comes to offset seatposts. Oddly enough, while I have barely any seatpost showing, I have a massive stack of headset spacers in order to get my handlebars high enough.
    'Bout a fistfull.
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    DP
    04 Specialized Expedition Sport
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  11. #11
    Senior Member cyclotoine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dellphinus View Post
    'Bout a fistfull.
    I suppose the more important question is: what kind of bars and stem are you using?
    1 Super Record bike, 1 Nuovo Record bike, 1 Pista, 1 Road, 1 Cyclocross/Allrounder, 1 MTB, 1 Touring, 1 Fixed gear

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclotoine View Post
    I suppose the more important question is: what kind of bars and stem are you using?
    He asked about how much seatpost I had showing. Don't see how the bars and stem could be more important in answering that question?

    But, FWIW, Ritchie Biomax bar, and an 8 cm stem, flipped.
    DP
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  13. #13
    Senior Member deepakvrao's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. For some reason I was unable to access BF the last two days.

    Funnily the general concensus at the Surly Google groups is that someone with my dimensions would be best suited with a 54, while here its a 52.

    As the standover height is fine with the 54, and its in stock, I think I will order that with a 90cm stem, and the option to switch to a 75cm stem if required.

  14. #14
    Dropped again guadzilla's Avatar
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    Deepak, I am 6'0" with a 35.4" PBH and ride a 58cm LHT, but would be equally happy with a 56cm. In fact, I am going to be shortening the reach on mine with a shorter, more steeply angled stem.

    One thing to be careful of - because of the relatively less steep seatpost, you'll have to move your saddle forwards to get same knee/pedal alignment as with a road bike (this is what caused my knee problems that I mentioned on BZ). So to some extent, this may compensate for part of the bike's longer ETT.

    V.
    Peace is knowing someone else is suffering more than you are.

  15. #15
    Senior Member deepakvrao's Avatar
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    Vandit,

    Was thinking of getting the 54 with maybe a 90 or 80mm stem. Meanwhile Lynten has suggested a non setback seat post, which will effectively reduce reach by more than 2cm. Any thoughts? It will move the saddle forward too but dunno what other effects a non setback post has.

    Dellphinus,

    How does a 8cm stem affect the handling?

  16. #16
    One legged rider
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    Im 5'8.5" and ride a 56cm. I ride a 54 on regular road bikes like a CAAD9, but I like to be a little stretched out.
    My 56 is comfortable but I would not want to go any bigger.

  17. #17
    Dropped again guadzilla's Avatar
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    I am thinking of a non setback post as well, actually - here is a very interesting article on fit, that really boils everything down to 2 measurements: reach and stack:
    http://www.slowtwitch.com/Bike_Fit/C...er_One_95.html

    I dont see why a setback vs non-setback post should make a difference.

    I use short stems - 90mm on my BMC and 70mm on my Trek. It is a little twitchier, but nothing particularly bad. I've been able to control a couple of skids without any problems.

    V.
    Peace is knowing someone else is suffering more than you are.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by KLW2 View Post
    Here is a sizing spreadsheet compiled by LHT users....

    http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=pdb5rlL1ns0XLxM31WpvkCw
    It's cool that someone created this spreadsheet, but there are two very important bits of info missing; rider height and inseam. Might as well post the LHT's catalog if there's nothing to compare...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by deepakvrao View Post
    Thanks guys. For some reason I was unable to access BF the last two days.

    Funnily the general concensus at the Surly Google groups is that someone with my dimensions would be best suited with a 54, while here its a 52.

    As the standover height is fine with the 54, and its in stock, I think I will order that with a 90cm stem, and the option to switch to a 75cm stem if required.
    I think you made the right decision. It's better to get the right frame for your legs and then change the stem length to fit your reach, than to be stuck with a frame that doesn't fit your inseam. Check out this chart - according to it, you should be riding a 54 to 56 based on height, or a 57 based on inseam.* This tells me that you probably have A LOT of seatpost showing on that Cannondale to fit comfortably - indeed, you have a 50cm bike with a 52.5cm TTH, so that bike is probably too small for you.

    So I would definitely go with at least a 54 for a touring bike, since the goal of a touring bike is not time trials and huge saddle-to-bar drop, but rather a more upright riding position and a higher handlebar that is closer to level with the saddle. If your Trek was comfortable (53cm TTH), then a 54 LHT should be as well, since the TTH is only 53.5.

    *In the past I've noticed that this particular chart tends to choose larger frames than other charts, resulting in a more upright riding position. It's probably not a good chart if you're sizing a racing bike, but I think it works well for commuter bikes and tourers.

  20. #20
    Senior Member deepakvrao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benajah View Post
    Im 5'8.5" and ride a 56cm. I ride a 54 on regular road bikes like a CAAD9, but I like to be a little stretched out.
    My 56 is comfortable but I would not want to go any bigger.
    Thanks - that helps

    Quote Originally Posted by vkalia View Post
    I am thinking of a non setback post as well, actually - here is a very interesting article on fit, that really boils everything down to 2 measurements: reach and stack:
    http://www.slowtwitch.com/Bike_Fit/C...er_One_95.html

    I dont see why a setback vs non-setback post should make a difference.

    I use short stems - 90mm on my BMC and 70mm on my Trek. It is a little twitchier, but nothing particularly bad. I've been able to control a couple of skids without any problems.

    V.

    Read in a lot of forums that seat setback should never be used for reach adjustment.

    Also from what reading I have done, its easier to have shorter stems on touring geometries than on racing geometries.

    Quote Originally Posted by SEE JAY View Post
    It's cool that someone created this spreadsheet, but there are two very important bits of info missing; rider height and inseam. Might as well post the LHT's catalog if there's nothing to compare...
    Click on the sizing link at the bottom and you get all the info.

    Quote Originally Posted by thermador View Post
    I think you made the right decision. It's better to get the right frame for your legs and then change the stem length to fit your reach, than to be stuck with a frame that doesn't fit your inseam. Check out this chart - according to it, you should be riding a 54 to 56 based on height, or a 57 based on inseam.* This tells me that you probably have A LOT of seatpost showing on that Cannondale to fit comfortably - indeed, you have a 50cm bike with a 52.5cm TTH, so that bike is probably too small for you.

    So I would definitely go with at least a 54 for a touring bike, since the goal of a touring bike is not time trials and huge saddle-to-bar drop, but rather a more upright riding position and a higher handlebar that is closer to level with the saddle. If your Trek was comfortable (53cm TTH), then a 54 LHT should be as well, since the TTH is only 53.5.

    *In the past I've noticed that this particular chart tends to choose larger frames than other charts, resulting in a more upright riding position. It's probably not a good chart if you're sizing a racing bike, but I think it works well for commuter bikes and tourers.
    Yes, I have a LOT of seatpost showing, and a very aggressive saddle to bar drop on the Cdale. If I had to do it over, I would get the 52 Cdale and put a shorter stem, but now I am quite comfortable on it. I think the LBS where I bought it should have told me these things as I was quite a newbie at the time.

    Thanks for the chart. BTW what is TTH?

  21. #21
    Senior Member cyclotoine's Avatar
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    Deepak, I ride a road bike with 5 inches of drop and am quite comfortable.

    Contrary to what most people think drop can be pretty irrelevant compared to reach.

    Reach is everything... everything.

    If you buy a bike that is too long not matter how high or low the bars are you will never be comfortable.

    My personal experience is that many people end up with a LHT that is at least a size too big because of the outrageously long top tube. We have had women come into our shop totally uncomfortable with the handlebars in the sky. We throw the bike in the trainer and can only conclude it is impossible to make the reach short enough because the bars would have to be at the steartube etc... I see it all the time.

    If you buy a 54... don't way I didn't warn you.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member deepakvrao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclotoine View Post
    I find you have to size down one size with the LHT because they are way longer than anything else on the market in a given size.

    To the OP. it may be true that the reach is the same but the height of the bars is not as you point out. How does that affect you arm to torso angle I wonder? I am asking genuinely.

    Try this:

    sit as if you are on your road bike holding the bars. If you sit up bending only at the waist and keeping your arm to torso angle the same your hands come back. This means to be comfortable you must bring the bars closer to you as you raise them.

    So, if the 54cm gives you the same horizontal reach but the bars are higher it will be too long as you should get the 52.
    I did exactly what you suggested and you are absolutely right. I would need a shorter total reach, and thats why have decided on a 54 with either a 60mm 35*, 75mm 35* or 80mm stem.

    I think short high rise stems are quite acceptable on touring bikes? SO I'll dial in the reach with the stem, and pray that I wont later say 'should have listened to cycltoine'

  23. #23
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    Most professional bike fitters that I have met will tell you that if you have to go to a 60 or even a 70 mm stem then your bike is likely too large. But maybe you have an unusually short torso for your height.

  24. #24
    Senior Member deepakvrao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robow View Post
    Most professional bike fitters that I have met will tell you that if you have to go to a 60 or even a 70 mm stem then your bike is likely too large. But maybe you have an unusually short torso for your height.
    I know - and thats why the indecision between 52/54. Plus, I do have longer legs than normal I think. Most guys 5'8" have inseams around 30-31" while I have 33' [maybe a wee bit more].

    I thought that lot of Surly riders have short stems because of the long TTs?

    I mailed Surly with all the details and this is what they said:

    Hi Deepak,

    I think a 54cm would be fine for you considering that you will be
    getting the bars up so much higher on the LHT than on your Cannondale.

    You could get roughly the same reach by going to an 80mm stem if need
    be.

    I could confuse you even further, but I don’t think you want that. In
    the end, I think you’d fit fine on either the 52 or 54, but I think
    the 54 would be better.

    For reference, you’re about an inch shorter than me and I fit right
    between a 54 and a 56, but alas we don’t make a 55 so I’m stuck in a
    series of compromises.

    Let me know if you have any further questions.

    Cheers,
    Johnny

  25. #25
    Senior Member cyclotoine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deepakvrao View Post

    You could get roughly the same reach by going to an 80mm stem if need
    be.
    See my above post to see what this is simply not applicable.

    Surly is the last place to get advice fitment, they are the ones building bikes with absurdly long top tubes in the first place. I think the reason is so that the bike can be used with either drop bars or flat bars. I say if you plan to run flat bars then a 54 is fine, if it's drop you want I still suggest a 52.

    My girlfriend is 5'5" and I have her on a 46 for the reach to be correct where she would normally ride something more like a 50cm with a 50-52cm top tube.
    1 Super Record bike, 1 Nuovo Record bike, 1 Pista, 1 Road, 1 Cyclocross/Allrounder, 1 MTB, 1 Touring, 1 Fixed gear

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