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C&V road bike for long femurs/short torso?

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C&V road bike for long femurs/short torso?

Old 07-26-16, 11:52 PM
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C&V road bike for long femurs/short torso?

I've just learned something that may explain a lot of the fit issues I've fought with, which is that I have relatively long femurs. I find it hard to get the saddle back far enough to maintain proper balance when I take my hands off the bars. This is made even worse by modern frames in my size (which tend to have a 74 or steeper seat tube angle) and a preference for leather saddles (which are already hard to set far back on their own).

So now I'm wondering what I should keep an eye out for, that would help. I'm thinking like 72 seat tube angle (or shallower), or maybe 73 with a 27.2mm seatpost diameter (so that I can use an extra long setback seatpost).

Current bikes range from 73 with 26.4mm seatpost (so the most setback I can get is ~20mm with a regular LaPrade style) to 74 and 74.5 with 27.2mm VO seatposts with 30.2mm of setback (which basically works out to the same effective seat tube angle as the 73 bike with a standard seatpost).

I run into that falling-forward problem on all of the aforementioned bikes, even with my saddles set as far back as they can go. Is there anything out there for me?
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Old 07-27-16, 05:31 AM
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This is a big part of what we mean when we talk about a frame providing a good fit for a particular rider, but I would think you could get some relief by choosing a handlebar stem with an appropriate forward reach and then adjusting its height appropriately. Among 1970 vintage bicycles I have owned, the Nishiki (73 degrees parallel) had a proportionately very short top tube and the Peugeot UO-8 (72 degrees parallel) had a very long one.

Is your saddle nosed too far downward, which in turn creates load on the hands and a falling-forward feeling? Does bringing up the nose just a bit provide some relief?
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Old 07-27-16, 05:44 AM
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Italian bikes and French rando bikes pretty much always have short top tubes. You can also also think about shortening your your stem reach by a cm or 2.
I'm 6'3" and all limbs (short torso). My old bike boom 25-1/2" Raleigh fits me like a glove with the correct cockpit setup, and is my benchmark for starting measurements whenever I build another bike.
On that particular bike, I also like Thomson zero-offset seatpost, which conveniently comes in 25.4mm.
If you want the maximum seatpost offset available (37mm), only in 27.2mm seatpost diameter, it's the Nitto S84 lugged Cr-Mo post, which you can find for the best price in Japan - it was designed from the start to move Brooks saddles farther back
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Old 07-27-16, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
This is a big part of what we mean when we talk about a frame providing a good fit for a particular rider, but I would think you could get some relief by choosing a handlebar stem with an appropriate forward reach and then adjusting its height appropriately. Among 1970 vintage bicycles I have owned, the Nishiki (73 degrees parallel) had a proportionately very short top tube and the Peugeot UO-8 (72 degrees parallel) had a very long one.

Is your saddle nosed too far downward, which in turn creates load on the hands and a falling-forward feeling? Does bringing up the nose just a bit provide some relief?
My 58cm Shogun has a 55cm top tube and is, to the best of my knowledge, 73 parallel. It's maybe a tiny bit long for me, but I can ride it without undue discomfort, and I like how it handles. If it fit a 27.2mm seatpost, I'd probably be fine in terms of being able to get the saddle back far enough...but then I'd probably be pretty stretched out. It's a bit taller than what I normally ride, but the height makes it easy to get the handlebar to the right height without a tall stem...plus, I got the frame for free!

I do have my saddles adjusted with the noses tilted upward, here are my most easily accessible-to-photograph road bikes with leather saddles:



It's a fine line between having the nose up enough to keep me from sliding forward, and being uncomfortable.

Originally Posted by bulldog1935 View Post
Italian bikes and French rando bikes pretty much always have short top tubes. You can also also think about shortening your your stem reach by a cm or 2.
I'm 6'3" and all limbs (short torso). My old bike boom 25-1/2" Raleigh fits me like a glove with the correct cockpit setup, and is my benchmark for starting measurements whenever I build another bike.
On that particular bike, I also like Thomson zero-offset seatpost, which conveniently comes in 25.4mm.
If you want the maximum seatpost offset available (37mm), only in 27.2mm seatpost diameter, it's the Nitto S84 lugged Cr-Mo post, which you can find for the best price in Japan - it was designed from the start to move Brooks saddles farther back
I'm familiar with that Nitto post, but it's quite expensive, and still limited by only being available in 27.2mm diameter. The VO Grand Cru seatpost has the same limitation. What's out there for C&V type stuff with that seatpost size?
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Old 07-27-16, 11:59 AM
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If too little setback is the issue:

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Old 07-27-16, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
If too little setback is the issue:

What is that? Tell me more!
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Old 07-27-16, 02:29 PM
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Man, I have the opposite problem: Short legs and long arms! I find for me something like a 54 seat tube x 57 top tube works best. Tough to find.
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Old 07-27-16, 02:37 PM
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That seatpost is early mountain bike tech. It allows you to slam your seat all the way back for an off road descent. Moving you center of gravity back in this situation is helpful. Most people found it easier just to slide back or even behind your seat, so these things died out.

RE: the OP

I guess my build also leans somewhat in the long femur shorter torso direction. I never really had the problem you are having, and I'm not sure I even understand it. Are you having trouble riding no hands, or one handed? Sounds kind of like you are having trouble compensating for extra weight on one side of the bars when you go for a water bottle or something??

If that's the case, yeah, you may be happier with a more relaxed road geometry. Something like 73 parallel with neutral trail is going to be easy to ride no hands. No problem for me to ride my old Masi (73.5 parallel) endlessly no hands, and it always feels very neutral and natural.

Also, double check the headset adjustment. A hs that is too tight will negatively affect handling and no hands riding.

These days I do in fact ride 72 parallel. It does work well with leather saddles since it's kind of what they were designed for. Both my old PX10 and new Mercian have what might be called traditional touring geometry. The PX is actually a bit divey because of the moderately high trail, though at high speeds it is on rails.
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Old 07-27-16, 03:07 PM
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What dimensions are you looking for in ST and TT?
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Old 07-27-16, 03:08 PM
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I'm 6' tall with a 36" leg length, so half of my overall height is in my legs. Bikes that fit me best generally have 60 - 61cm seat tubes with 56cm top tubes. Such short top tubes are rare in stock frames, but they're out there.

In 1989, for example, Schwinn offered a short top tube option for smaller frame size Paramounts to fit long legged riders.

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Old 07-27-16, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
Man, I have the opposite problem: Short legs and long arms! I find for me something like a 54 seat tube x 57 top tube works best. Tough to find.
My Panasonic Sport 500 is pretty much exactly those dimensions
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Old 07-27-16, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
That seatpost is early mountain bike tech. It allows you to slam your seat all the way back for an off road descent. Moving you center of gravity back in this situation is helpful. Most people found it easier just to slide back or even behind your seat, so these things died out.

RE: the OP

I guess my build also leans somewhat in the long femur shorter torso direction. I never really had the problem you are having, and I'm not sure I even understand it. Are you having trouble riding no hands, or one handed? Sounds kind of like you are having trouble compensating for extra weight on one side of the bars when you go for a water bottle or something??

If that's the case, yeah, you may be happier with a more relaxed road geometry. Something like 73 parallel with neutral trail is going to be easy to ride no hands. No problem for me to ride my old Masi (73.5 parallel) endlessly no hands, and it always feels very neutral and natural.

Also, double check the headset adjustment. A hs that is too tight will negatively affect handling and no hands riding.

These days I do in fact ride 72 parallel. It does work well with leather saddles since it's kind of what they were designed for. Both my old PX10 and new Mercian have what might be called traditional touring geometry. The PX is actually a bit divey because of the moderately high trail, though at high speeds it is on rails.
The issue is really that I can't get enough weight off of my hands, unless I'm constantly pedaling hard, and again, this is already with my saddle as far back as it goes and the saddle nose tilted a little bit upward. I think it's Steve Hogg who recommends the test of riding in your primary position, and taking your hands off the bars without changing position; the goal being that you should be able to maintain it without falling forward. That's what I was referring to when I mentioned taking my hands off. In general, I have no trouble riding no-hands, but even in the bolt-upright position that I can do that in, I have to actively use my legs to keep me from sliding forward.

Originally Posted by philbob57 View Post
What dimensions are you looking for in ST and TT?
ST can be up to 58cm depending on BB height. I can't easily give you a definitive answer on the TT length, because I've yet to find the bike with the right ST angle, and of course the TT length is affected by this. Likely not more than about 55cm, but that's what my 73deg bike has, and I'm still trying to get the saddle back more.
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Old 07-27-16, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by agmetal View Post
What is that? Tell me more!
SR MTE-100 seatpost. Found it on my Union Randonneur, which I bought because my curiosity got the better of me. And it was cheap. And I liked the parts.

As bought, and apparently pretty much stock:

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Old 07-27-16, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Scooper View Post
I'm 6' tall with a 36" leg length, so half of my overall height is in my legs. Bikes that fit me best generally have 60 - 61cm seat tubes with 56cm top tubes. Such short top tubes are rare in stock frames, but they're out there.

In 1989, for example, Schwinn offered a short top tube option for smaller frame size Paramounts to fit long legged riders.

Look at those seat tube angles, though! They make my 74.5deg bikes seem relaxed! I'd never be able to ride that comfortably
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Old 07-27-16, 05:22 PM
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I am in the same situation. 6'1" with a 36" inseam. My most comfortable bike is my '81 Bianchi Limited. ST = 61ctc and TT = 58ctc. I also have a short stem (100) and short reach handlebars.
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Old 07-27-16, 05:48 PM
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You might want to checkout Miyata's think 58/55 60/56 63/57

look toward the bottom of this

Miyata Bicycle Catalogs: Miyata Catalog 1989
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Old 07-27-16, 07:01 PM
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I don't know about specific models, but relying on seat tube and top tube length might not be the best way to go. I've learned that frame stack and reach are better indicators of what fits me. Try measuring whatever you have that seems to fit the best and compare that to others:

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Old 07-27-16, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
Man, I have the opposite problem: Short legs and long arms! I find for me something like a 54 seat tube x 57 top tube works best. Tough to find.
Anything Italian prior to 1955 should do you just fine.
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Old 07-27-16, 09:20 PM
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I'm built like Scooper, Essthreetee and nlerner - 6'0" with a 36" (91 cm) inseam. I was 6' 1.5" years ago, but my torso has shrunk over the last decade or so (I'm 67). Thankfully I can still ride the same bikes, but have shortened the cockpits. Both the Miyata 912 and Marinoni Sport Touring are 62cm ctc with 58cm TT's, albeit with relatively steep geometry (around 74deg parallel). I use short reach bars (love the Soma Highway One) and 80-100mm stems, with bars about 2cm below the saddle. They're comfortable for any distance, and I'm happy with the steering - both have about 45mm of trail using 28-32mm tires.

But I can relate to the OP's problem, since I also need leather saddles and have to deal with their short rails, and might like the saddles farther back to keep my hands from getting "buzzy". I plan to try a Rivet Independence at some point on the Miyata, which can't take a 27.2 seatpost. Can anyone comment on whether that saddle slides farther back, compared to a Berthoud or Brooks?

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Old 07-27-16, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Dfrost View Post
I'm built like Scooper, Essthreetee and nlerner - 6'0" with a 36" (91 cm) inseam. I was 6' 1.5" years ago, but my torso has shrunk over the last decade or so (I'm 67). Thankfully I can still ride the same bikes, but have shortened the cockpits. Both the Miyata 912 and Marinoni Sport Touring are 62cm ctc with 58cm TT's, albeit with relatively steep geometry (around 74deg parallel). I use short reach bars (love the Soma Highway One) and 80-100mm stems, with bars about 2cm below the saddle. They're comfortable for any distance, and I'm happy with the steering - both have about 45mm of trail using 28-32mm tires.

But I can relate to the OP's problem, since I also need leather saddles and have to deal with their short rails, and might like the saddles farther back to keep my hands from getting "buzzy". I plan to try a Rivet Independence at some point on the Miyata, which can't take a 27.2 seatpost. Can anyone comment on whether that saddle slides farther back, compared to a Berthoud or Brooks?
I tried the Independence Allroad for a few minutes, but the shape really didn't work for me. The dimensions are very similar to the Berthoud Aspin (which I love and now have two of), but it felt like it had an arch shape that was trying to split me in two, and I just couldn't get comfortable on it. I bought a second Aspin as a result. The difference in available setback is only slight...maybe 5mm, which wasn't enough to notice any real difference, but I also, as mentioned, just couldn't get comfortable on the Rivet regardless.
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Old 07-28-16, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by agmetal View Post
I think it's Steve Hogg who recommends the test of riding in your primary position, and taking your hands off the bars without changing position; the goal being that you should be able to maintain it without falling forward. That's what I was referring to when I mentioned taking my hands off.
I'll admit that I do not understand what your Mr Hogg is saying. I'm very comfortable on all my frames and am also a pretty slim old cuss with decent core strength. Despite that I cannot just take my hands off without changing position and ride for more than a few seconds. I'm generally leaned comfortably over, riding the top, ramps or hoods most of the time, maybe 20% of the time in the drops. Does your Mr Hogg say that I should easily and long term just lift my hands and ride merrily along? Nope. For no hands riding I need to shift my CG back to where Mr Hogg would fail me. This makes no sense to this old woodworker/tractor mechanic. I do move my hands/change positions constantly - for variety and to prevent numbness. I do that normally, on the mtn bikes on the mowers, on the tractor, on the tools.

BTW: my frames are in the 58cm ST range and 73 deg parallel range with the reach set the same on all of them. 30 mile rides are a regular event and I hardly plan for metric centuries anymore. They all use old Vetta TriShock saddles set about mid range with the nose tilted slightly down so my sit bones are nicely up on the rear of the saddle - back 'on the rivets' where I trained them to sit.
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Old 07-28-16, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I don't know about specific models, but relying on seat tube and top tube length might not be the best way to go. I've learned that frame stack and reach are better indicators of what fits me. Try measuring whatever you have that seems to fit the best and compare that to others:

Handlebar reach is also not good enough because the handlebars themselves and the hoods make a huge difference. When I converted my bike from non-aero C&V brake levers to modern STI hoods, the increase in effective reach was probably a whopping 20mm.
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Old 07-28-16, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
Anything Italian prior to 1955 should do you just fine.
That makes sense, since I inherited these dimensions from my father.
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Old 07-28-16, 09:47 AM
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To the OP, I have a similar build. My preferred reach is around 380-390mm and stack 600mm+. Take the time to take good measurements and use an online fit calculator to give you some numbers to go on. Plenty of people will tell you, "well, I can ride all sorts of different size frames" and "the human body is adaptable". That's fine, but I've moved on and have realized there is something better than "good enough". My stack/reach preference strikes some people as way out of whack, but if you meet me I don't think you would say that my frame is disproportional.

Originally Posted by ppg677 View Post
Handlebar reach is also not good enough because the handlebars themselves and the hoods make a huge difference. When I converted my bike from non-aero C&V brake levers to modern STI hoods, the increase in effective reach was probably a whopping 20mm.
That doesn't really matter. You should be apply your own preferred stem and handlebar measurements to a given frame reach number and determine your own fit. I've never seen handlebar reach listed without frame reach. I don't pay any attention to the former if it is listed.

I agree with what nlerner posted. I started keeping a spreadsheet with the geometry measurements of bikes I own, have owned or am interested in owning. Comparing these numbers and then thinking about how those bikes that I've ridden felt has been illuminating. ST and TT measurements can get you pretty close when talking about classic 70s and 80s road bikes, but more figures are extremely helpful.

Some things to consider.

More or less, your saddle height and setback should be a static number. This may change if you ride bikes with different crank lengths and various pedals, but I like to keep those pretty damn close on any bicycle.

Saddle position is tied to one thing, the bottom bracket. That is why frame reach is such a valuable measurement. It too is tied to the BB. For me, frame reach and stack are first numbers I want when looking at a frame.

Frame stack is also tied to the BB and will tell me if I am able to get my desired bar position in relation to my saddle with a stem/spacer/bar combo that is acceptable to me.

Formulas are easily found on the internet. You can use a tape measure to pretty accurately measure bicycle tubes. What's a bit more difficult are the ST and HT angles and TT slope. I've found taking the average of several measurements using a $30 digital angle finder to be plenty accurate.

Originally Posted by agmetal View Post
I tried the Independence Allroad for a few minutes, but the shape really didn't work for me. The dimensions are very similar to the Berthoud Aspin (which I love and now have two of), but it felt like it had an arch shape that was trying to split me in two, and I just couldn't get comfortable on it. I bought a second Aspin as a result. The difference in available setback is only slight...maybe 5mm, which wasn't enough to notice any real difference, but I also, as mentioned, just couldn't get comfortable on the Rivet regardless.
Agreed. I have an Independence and it will slide further back than a Brooks Pro, but not by much.
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Old 07-28-16, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Scooper View Post
I'm 6' tall with a 36" leg length, so half of my overall height is in my legs. Bikes that fit me best generally have 60 - 61cm seat tubes with 56cm top tubes. Such short top tubes are rare in stock frames, but they're out there.
Scooper, give my contact information to the future executor of your estate, please. If any of your bikes leave the family they should go to someone whom they fit extremely well.
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