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  1. #1
    Senior Member bikexcountry's Avatar
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    Same fit for a touring bike?

    Hi everybody,

    As you may know from my other posts, I am biking across country this summer. I still need a lot of help, so check out my other posts.

    I recently got fitted for a road bike at a local bike shop, they found I need a 54cm frame and adjusted it from there. I wanted to get fitted with a touring bike, but none of the three local stores had any in stock. Jack's had only road bikes, same at Rock'n'Road, and Performance (where I was fitted) carried a

    So, when I purchase my touring bicycle, will I need a bike with the same fit as a road bike, ie the same frame size.

    I am 5'11, 140 lbs, what size crank shaft would you recommend? My legs are 32". What position should the stem (and therefore the handlebars) be at? I read online that the best is about saddle height. Thanks for the help everyone!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    If you felt reasonably comfortable on the 54, buy the same size touring bike with confidence that you can tweek the fit with the help of your lbs. Most everybody does after riding a new bike for several consecutive hours. Few have body geometry that exactly matches the standards used by frame makers. Being young and agile, likely not to be a big issue for you.

    Can't help much with crank length, other than to observe that it is rarely an issue.

    Matching gearing to your pedaling strength and the terrain expected is another tweek you'll be considering. Most likely the gearing that comes with the bike will work ok for you, tho it's often higher than many need. But again, you're very young. Makes a big difference.

    Bar position relative to how stetched you'll be can be adjusted by stem length and height with head tube spacers. You may prefer a lower bar height and more stretch than usual, considering your age. You're right though that many tourist prefer the bar at near saddle height. You need to ride the bike you chose for many hours to know exactly what tweeks you want to make. Heck, maybe none.

    Important to not get too bogged down with fit minutiae, especially at your age. You'll be able to make about any touring bike near your size requirement work for you. Or, for that matter, nearly any bike, touring or otherwise. Even a go fast road bike by cutting gear weight to a bare minimum.
    Last edited by Cyclebum; 05-07-12 at 11:04 AM. Reason: remove errorneous statement
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  3. #3
    Senior Member bikexcountry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    If you felt reasonably comfortable on the 54, buy the same size touring bike with confidence that you can tweek the fit with the help of your lbs.
    Very helpful, thanks!

    What does lbs mean, sorry?

  4. #4
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    Local Bike Store.

  5. #5
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    The fit and position on a touring bike may be different than what you want in a road bike... most road riders like a certain amount of drop between the saddle and bars to get as low and aero as possible while many touring cyclist prefer a level saddle to bar or even like their bars a little higher as it lens itself for greater comfort when the days and miles start piling up.

    Road riders will look at a bike with a level bar / saddle and many will say to "slam that stem" as they do not understand the difference in fit.

    One thing that is beneficial on a touring bike is to have a stem that is adjustable (there are a few ways to do this) so you can raise and lower your bar position... after some days of riding with a lower bar you might find yourself wishing to sit up a little and un-weight your hands and arms. This is why one often sees touring bikes with longer steerers on thread-less systems, quill stems allow for adjustment, and some folks use an independently adjustable stem.

    Road bike:



    Touring bike:


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Obviously, the shorter the crank, the faster you'll have to spin to cover the same distance in any gear.
    This is incorrect. The distance traveled by the bicycle for each crank rotation will be the same (assuming the same bicycle and the same front-rear gear combination), regardless of the crank arm length.

    With longer crank arms, you have more leverage so you can pedal with a slightly higher gear.

  7. #7
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    bikexcountry, I built my first (and likely last because it works so well) touring bike last year. I started with how my road frames are fitted and slowly evolved to a more relaxed position, primarily stem height. Seems more associated with my attitude when riding the touring bike vs. the road bike, YMMV.

    Brad

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikexcountry View Post
    I wanted to get fitted with a touring bike, but none of the three local stores had any in stock. Jack's had only road bikes, same at Rock'n'Road, and Performance (where I was fitted) carried a

    So, when I purchase my touring bicycle, will I need a bike with the same fit as a road bike, ie the same frame size.

    I am 5'11, 140 lbs, what size crank shaft would you recommend? My legs are 32". What position should the stem (and therefore the handlebars) be at? I read online that the best is about saddle height. Thanks for the help everyone!
    You've got more important things to think about than crank length. RocknRoad sells Specialized bikes. The cheapest TriCross would make a wonderful touring bike for someone who weighs 140lbs as long as you don't overload things. If you don't overload things everything will be happier and last longer. If you overload things you use up more energy and stuff breaks more often especially if you tend to be lazy or forgetfull.

    Some bike shops conduct bike maintenance classes, it would be worth attending one. If there's an REI near you check out their bikes.

    I would think you're closer to a 56cm than 54 cm but either way if you're fitted for a road bike for racing or fast club riding your bars are probably lower than what you'd ride for touring.

  9. #9
    Senior Member bikexcountry's Avatar
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    Performance carried a cross training I think it was called (just going back and seeing I left that out), they said that would be an ok bike to tour on, opinions?

  10. #10
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Personally, I like my touring rig to have a smaller frame than my road bikes. I ride 56-58, but my heavy load tourer is 54. I tend to ride more upright on my tourer, want a shorter top tube. So, I think it comes down to personal preference. Your preferences will change with time and experience, don't rush it. And, my 5'11 son road a 56cm for a few years then developed shoulder-neck problems from over-reaching, now he rides a 54...big is not always better.

  11. #11
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I like my touring bikes to be set up as close to my road bike as possible. Low bars and all. I think I am in the minority though.

  12. #12
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
    Personally, I like my touring rig to have a smaller frame than my road bikes. I ride 56-58, but my heavy load tourer is 54. I tend to ride more upright on my tourer, want a shorter top tube. So, I think it comes down to personal preference. Your preferences will change with time and experience, don't rush it. And, my 5'11 son road a 56cm for a few years then developed shoulder-neck problems from over-reaching, now he rides a 54...big is not always better.
    Good advice... it can be tough to find a bicycle that has a top tube that is shorter than the seat tube so one has to move down a frame size and make adjustments to the the bicycle to dial in the fit and it is easier to adapt to a smaller bike that one that is too large.

    Everyone has a range of fit and the most crucial measurement is the top tube and reach which can be modified with different stems and dealing with a smaller bike is easier that trying to get a good fit on a bike that is too large.

    Some distance riders like to ride a smaller frame while others prefer a frame that is the largest they can ride comfortably which may be a size up from their regular road bike and in some cases, the set up on different sized bicycles can give you a position and effective reach that is nearly identical.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikexcountry View Post
    Performance carried a cross training I think it was called (just going back and seeing I left that out), they said that would be an ok bike to tour on, opinions?
    You'll have to come up with the actual name of the bicycle for anyone to give an opinion. If by "cross training" you mean cyclo-cross then yes a "cyclo-cross" bike could be "ok" depending on the bike and the load. The thing to remember is that cyclo-cross is a type of racing so load carrying really isn't in their design goal so some may have wheels that aren't up to heavy abuse.

    Given that you're light that's great but if you decide the carry the kitchen sink, 40lbs+, you will want heavy touring wheels and not light racing wheels, even if they are wheels on an "ok" cyclo-cross bike. If you look at touring bikes most will have 36 spokes and medium heavy rims, most cyclo-cross bikes will have 32 spokes and relatively light rims. The frame and gearing may be ok for touring but the rear wheel might be at it's limits for durability if you load up the rear wheel with a lot of weight. Stuffed large panniers, tent and sleeping bag on the rear wheel is a lot of weight.
    If you load the front wheel with another set of panniers because you have more stuff to carry your bike weighs more and you'll be less able to maneuver away from rocks and ruts at speed so you'll plow through them. This is where racing wheels aren't up to the task of carrying weight and smashing through rough surfaces.
    So if you are considering cyclocross bikes consider carrying lighter loads or possibly changing the rear wheel or both wheels.

  14. #14
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    Being fit for a bike is not the same thing as being fit, which will not necessarily have a bike involved. Most bike stores have ignorant staff, or they want to steer you towards the stock they have. Some do have competent staff, but it gets real difficult with all the different styles of riding, bikes, physical issues, etc...

    Check the results yourself, you can try this road calculator, french fit is the one I use.

    http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...der=M&units=in

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seb71 View Post
    This is incorrect. The distance traveled by the bicycle for each crank rotation will be the same (assuming the same bicycle and the same front-rear gear combination), regardless of the crank arm length.

    With longer crank arms, you have more leverage so you can pedal with a slightly higher gear.

    I run it as a fit thing. I want to have the same kind of leg displacement as another rider on the assumption there is an efficient ideal of knee bend, etc.... As a taller rider, I like to have a "correct" to small size crank. I figure I am already a fractions stronger to start with, so I don't need more leverage to run a given gear. But of course I will have that also just on size and fit.

    Here is a calculator from Zinn Cycles:

    Why custom cranks and how long to get them? Here is the formula I recommend:
    Crank length (mm) = Inseam (mm) X 0.216
    Or, more conservatively for tall riders:
    Crank length (mm) = Inseam (mm) X 0.21

  16. #16
    ghost on a machine Bike Hermit's Avatar
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    Unless one is racing, Grant Petersen's fit philosophy is pretty good.
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  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    54cm frame and 5'11" either the Top tube steeply slopes or you have short legs .

  18. #18
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    My view is that for a touring bike, one should buy the biggest that can be made to fit. Obviously, if the bike is too big, it is too big, and there's nothing to be done about that. But the bigger the frame, the taller the head tube, and the shorter the effective reach. So one stays comfortable on long days.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  19. #19
    ghost on a machine Bike Hermit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikexcountry View Post
    Hi everybody,

    As you may know from my other posts, I am biking across country this summer. I still need a lot of help, so check out my other posts.

    I recently got fitted for a road bike at a local bike shop, they found I need a 54cm frame and adjusted it from there. I wanted to get fitted with a touring bike, but none of the three local stores had any in stock. Jack's had only road bikes, same at Rock'n'Road, and Performance (where I was fitted) carried a

    So, when I purchase my touring bicycle, will I need a bike with the same fit as a road bike, ie the same frame size.

    I am 5'11, 140 lbs, what size crank shaft would you recommend? My legs are 32". What position should the stem (and therefore the handlebars) be at? I read online that the best is about saddle height. Thanks for the help everyone!
    A modern "road bike" probably has a "compact geometry" In other words a 54cm bike (a measurement to the top of the seat tube from the bottom bracket) might have an effective top tube length of 56cm or more. The top tube measurement is actually the most important one to know.
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  20. #20
    meow bostongarden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bike Hermit View Post
    Unless one is racing, Grant Petersen's fit philosophy is pretty good.
    I improvise on it a bit, but, I still use an approach similar to this today with my fit for road racing. It might be a carryover from racing an RB-1 back in the early to mid 1990s (and then again when I came back to racing in 2008). My RB-1 is arguably "too big," but, I stretch out nice and feel great on it when I move the bars up. However, my current racing machine -- Cannondale System Six -- is arguably "too small;" but, I compensate with a flipped up longish stem. They both feel right to me!

    For a touring bike -- I've only test ridden them while getting one for my son -- I like a fit that is similar to my current-bike road fit with respect to top tube. But, there is little if any saddle to bar drop the way I liked it -- nice and touring comfy in my mind. Now, mind you, this was only a test ride. But, being more upright than on my road frame, I think I would be, at worst, as pleased over a long distance.

  21. #21
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bike Hermit View Post
    Unless one is racing, Grant Petersen's fit philosophy is pretty good.
    Pretty good save for his attachment to using a fairly obscure measuring system when everyone but a few mad Englishmen has been using the centre to centre for the last 100 years.


  22. #22
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Pretty good save for his attachment to using a fairly obscure measuring system when everyone but a few mad Englishmen has been using the centre to centre for the last 100 years.

    That must be your Italian heritage speaking. Anyway, we don't say mad, we say eccentric...
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  23. #23
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    That must be your Italian heritage speaking. Anyway, we don't say mad, we say eccentric...
    It is the Northern Irish and Highland Scottish heritage speaking ...

    Not that I do not love my English bicycles.

  24. #24
    Senior Member bikexcountry's Avatar
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    I found this bike http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/bik/2997787380.html on craigslist, any opinions? The bike is a 56 so I think I could fit on it and take it to my lbs to get it adjusted.

    Also saw a lot of bikes on ebay selling for around $500-600 used, would you recommend this path? I thought of getting fitted at a local bike shop (paying the employees for their time of course) then buying a similar bike on ebay? Or is this unethical, should I get fitted in a bike shop with the intention of purchasing the bike?

  25. #25
    Senior Member bikexcountry's Avatar
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    This was one of the ones I liked, http://www.ebay.com/itm/Novara-Rando...item25703311e3.

    It seems to be fully equipped, with fenders and a pannier rack.

    Has a 22" reynolds 520 frame. 22" is about 55cm, just perfect fit I would think. The reynolds 520 frame seemed to be high quality (my search showed up some other links from the bike forum) but I could be wrong, opinions on that?

    Ultegra shifters, I looked them up and they are around $70, which I gathered is low-middling quality? I don't know much about components so I could use some advice!

    KMC chain

    Shimano Tiagra crankset and derailleur...

    You get the idea, check out the bike and leave me some feedback.

    Thanks for all the help guys!

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