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  1. #1
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    Can't find my inseam size on any chart?

    I am saving up to buy a Surly LHT. I measured my inseam at 23" and I am 5'1 1/2 then when I was trying to figure out my frame size with http://www.ebicycles.com/bicycle-tools/frame-sizer calculator I noticed that the lowest inseam size is 27". This is the same on any chart I encountered. Why can't I find information below 27"? What frame size would I be? Am I just too child sized to get a respectable adult bike?

  2. #2
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I don't know of anyone your size riding a stock road bike. My wife is just a little taller than you. She rides an MTB frame fitted with drop bars and brifters (combination brake/shifter) like a road bike. The MTB triple on her bike is good for touring. Another woman about your size rides a custom Ti road frame with 650 wheels.

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    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Found a post from someone in a similar position from a few years ago- don't know if the LHT geometry has changed any since, nor do I know if the 42 will actually work for you. http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...=1#post6557777

    Good luck in your search.

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    It's between your legs, not on a chart.

    have a helper mark where you pull something up till the 'taint' says stop, mark the wall and measure.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 12-20-12 at 03:51 PM.

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    Yep ... With inseam 23" (if you measured it correctly!), it will be tough for you to fit on an adult bike.

    23" = 58.5 cm. First, you need a frame small enough that you'll be able to reach the pedals when they are all the way down, even if you have to get the saddle all the way down. The shortest crank in production is 16.5 cm, which leaves 42 cm for the seat tube. As it happens, the smallest size you can get Surly LHT in is size 42, which has an exactly 42 cm seat tube. That's tight but it might work. Most manufacturers don't go below 48.

    But then you also want to be able to stand over the bike with both feet on the ground, and that's an even bigger problem for you, because even size 42 Surly LHT has standover height of just above 27". You can't comfortably ride a bike with standover height 4" more than your inseam. My current road bike has standover 1" more than my inseam, and that's borderline acceptable only because I happen to have thick shoe soles. 4", no way, don't even bother trying.

    You might be able to find a really small bike with a MTB-type frame (strongly sloped top tube) that you'll be able to ride.

    And I'd re-measure that inseam. 23" at height 5'1" (inseam to height ratio 0.37) is a very unusual ratio. The average for adults (and even for kids over 10) is closer to 0.45.
    Last edited by hamster; 12-16-12 at 03:16 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Look at something like the Soma Buena Vista my wife is a bit shorter than you with a similar inseam. Her favorite bikes are the Raleigh Colt and a Huffy cruiser with 24" wheels. Another option might be to look at a folder. No it isn't a Surly LHT but they fit a much wider range of sizes. FWIW I am on the opposite end of the spectrum. My road frames are in the 64cm range and I hate having to use a 400mm seat post with a 110mm reach stem to get a bike frame to fit.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member mulveyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarryOnKid View Post
    I am saving up to buy a Surly LHT. I measured my inseam at 23" and I am 5'1 1/2 then when I was trying to figure out my frame size with http://www.ebicycles.com/bicycle-tools/frame-sizer calculator I noticed that the lowest inseam size is 27". This is the same on any chart I encountered. Why can't I find information below 27"? What frame size would I be? Am I just too child sized to get a respectable adult bike?
    If I were you I would go back and triple-check that measurement. My 4-10" son has a 28.5" cycling inseam, and he's pretty conventionally proportioned. Five inches smaller for someone three inches taller would be a heck of a difference.
    Knows the weight of my bike to the nearest 10 pounds.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    Looks like the LHT comes with a min. 27.5" standover on their smallest 42 cm frame. You'll need to look into another manufacturer. Should you decide to go the custom route, any builder should be able to help you. I would, however, look at those who have experience building touring bikes and fitting people with odd sizes. Rodriguez bikes (R+E Cycles) in Seattle is great, plus they work well with long distance customers.

    As far as tire size, 26" would be nice, but you may experience toe strike (toes hitting the front of tire when turning at low speeds.) It's annoying but there are pedaling techniques to avoid it. For you, 24" tire would be ideal, but 20" are more readily available everywhere in the world for BMX, youth bikes and recumbents (more variety of tires, too.) You'll have to make some compromises among 26", 24" or 20".

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    I have seen plenty of cranks shorter than 165 mm. Origin 8 makes a nice crank arm set in 165 mm, 155 mm, and 145 mm. Here's a new set on a certain auction site. I think that if you are creative and continue to become more informed, as you are here you will easily find something that works well for you. If I were you I would probably go the MTB route and find a nice, solid small framed mountain bike to convert to a touring bike. Plenty to choose from, can usually get one inexpensively.
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  10. #10
    djb
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    have a helper mark where you pull something up till the 'taint' says stop, mark the wall and measure.
    good point, I have a feeling it is common to not go up far enough when measuring--also, remember to have a pair of riding shoes on (not bare feet) and so both of these factors may add at least a couple of cms (an inch) or so.

    My wife is pretty much your height and she rides a Specialized Vita that has a sloped toptube that does not present any standover problems for her (would have to check to see what frame size it is)
    This sort of bike is fine for general riding and with rear panniers, but is not a touring bike per se, ie not as tough wheels, not as low gearing etc as a LHT but then it is much lighter for general riding so it is a tradeoff.

    Have you done any touring before? What sort of riding experience do you have?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    I would follow the advice of the folks who said remeasure. As Fietsbob advised, stand against a wall in riding shoes to make the measurement. Using a book pressed against the wall to establish a right angle to the wall pull it up tightly into your crotch. Measure this distance to the floor.

    My daughter is 5' 1" with average proportions, and rides my wife's 50 cm frame. However, a 47 cm frame would fit her a little better. Checking your measurements might be a good idea.

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Using trouser inside leg length will be too short a number..

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    This is what proportions of a 23" inseam / 5'1" person would roughly look like (my apologies to the unknown cyclist from Google Image Search whose picture I butchered to make this):

    23.jpg

  14. #14
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    Could you double-check how you are getting that measurement? My wife is 5' 1 1/2" and her inseam is 28". One way to measure is to stand in bare feet against a wall, feet 6" or less apart. Hold a clip board or thin book between your legs into your crotch, one edge of the book/clipboard against the wall. Have someone measure from the top edge of the clipboard/book to the floor. That should give a pretty good inseam estimate.

    If might be helpful if you have a bike that is working for you, to use those measurements to figure out a best size for a touring bike. Or your local bike shop might be able to help.

    I'm a custom frame builder (www.ravellobikes.com) who has built plenty of short bikes. Here's a photo of a small low-profile step-over touring bike:

    lowprofiletouringbike1 - Copy.JPG

    Good luck,

    Brian

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    I will most definitely try measuring again with the suggested techniques. I did try to figure out my own measurements, with someone else helping and a book or a clipboard perhaps I can get the most accurate number. Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll report my findings.

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    My 8yo son is on a 42cm LHT with a slammed seatpost. He definitely has negative standover, but he rides comfortably.

    I'll measure his pubic bone height when I get home and let you know what the measurement is.

  17. #17
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    ^^^ sounds like room to grow..

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    Yes, he definitely has room to grow. His PBH is 24-1/2". That leaves him about -3" of standover, but he rides the bike comfortably with flat bars (not drops, at least not this year). He does not have any problem starting or stopping, and he can put one foot on the ground without a problem.

    He is 4' 5" tall.

  19. #19
    djb
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarryOnKid View Post
    a book or a clipboard
    doesnt seem to me that a thin clipboard would be the best thing, a reasonably thick book is prob better for being more like a seat, ie allowing you to as others have suggested, to "firmly" measure, just so its more representative of how one would be with a seat in place.

  20. #20
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    Love your handle... "CarryOnKid" as it shows that you are cool with your size in life.

    Best write up I have seen on topic was on www.rodbikes.com mentioned above. He goes into specific discussions of bike size vs wheel size that most folks don't really understand and he explains it in plain language. After that; if you need to have wheels built such as 24 inch and you aren't having them built with a bike frame, recommend www.PeterWhiteCycles.com as he is the wise old wizard of wheels and builds lots of them down to 20 inch and he keeps a good stock of the odd things most shops have never heard of. A dynohub front wheel would be a good touring add also and that is a specialty of his.
    Last edited by ksisler; 12-21-12 at 11:13 AM. Reason: typo

  21. #21
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    We had LP records to pull up high to get the reference to mark on the wall .

  22. #22
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    I always use a carpenter's square.

  23. #23
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    I just remeasured with a book and evertthing and unfortunately I am still ****ing small.. 23".

  24. #24
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    I just remeasured, used a book this time and I am still at 23".

  25. #25
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    Thanks for the ride up. Just trying to get a good bike! My height is making it difficult to do that cheap.

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