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How much does fashion play a role in frame size selection?

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How much does fashion play a role in frame size selection?

Old 06-25-20, 03:31 PM
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How much does fashion play a role in frame size selection?

Iím 41 years old, and I carry an extra 20-25 pounds on my frame. Iím 200lbs just shy of 5í10Ē, but a short-back. My cycling inseam is 88.25cm using the book on the wall method. Iíve been car free for a few years, and ride a steady 12.5 mph in varied terrain, some road, some gravel, short but steep hills here and their, Strava says I average about 12.3-12.5mph pretty regularly.

At my height I was riding 56/7cm bikes, or 22.5Ē treks. Then I found a 60cm Miyata 710 and it all changed. That was 2 years ago. Bumping up a frame size means bars that approach saddle height, and itís great. I have found I prefer my bars 1-2 cm below my saddle. Itís on the Frenchy-er side of fits, and I think of it as my purposeful touring position.

On a 24Ē Trek it looks like this:




Very classic, very French, very randonneur.

So I sold off my 22.5ís and my 57ís and cornered the market on 24Ē touring Treks. Done and, done, right?

Well behind my back I had a 57cm Miyata 1000LT, that I wanted to try to make work...



See what I mean? A little aggressive for my French fit touring style.

So three replacement stems later, I have one that pretty closely duplicates the position of the comfy bike.



Here it is solo...

Lined up at the seat tube...

And lined up at the head tube.


Well, to my eye it looks like a frame thatís one size too small, but Iíve had modern frame riders comment that my preferred frame is too big, but for me, itís comfortable.

I took that too small frame out on my Strava rides, and itís consistently a mile an hour faster. I think itís due to two things.

1) the hoods are almost directly above the front wheel hub, and just a shade in front of it. Having my hands in front of the tires contact point seems to make this rock solid on downhills. Itís VERY noticeably more stable at high speeds and descents. Carving through downhill switchbacks is shear joy on the Miyata.

B) The tubing is stiffer, and being a smaller size also increases its rigidity. Climbing with the Trek I can hear the tire brush the fender at high effort, so I donít push as hard up hill.

So it rides nice, I do have to concentrate more while climbing because the long steering stem makes it easy to lever the front off line, but Iím already getting used to it after my second ride. I donít think thatís a deal breaker. The downhill stability is worth it to me.

But I canít help but thinking it looks like a small bike, with compensating parts. Then I come across this add for a Surly LHT.



Yeah my stem has a bit more reach, but it looks very much like how Iíve set up my Miyata. Saddle height, stem height, the bars ending at the headtube toptube intersect point.

So whatís going on here?
Is the Trek ďtoo bigĒ? The Miyata ďtoo smallĒ? Are both food fits as long as the contact points are in the right place? Is the Miyata set up a modern fit, and the Trek set up a vintage fit?

I thought I had my fit, the fit that works for me, even if it had nay sayers, all sorted out. Now Iíve set up the Miyata, and I like the long stem, being out over the bars. It is so planted.

Anyone else gone through a similar experience?
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Old 06-25-20, 03:58 PM
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For me, fit is about comfort, performance, and maintaining injury free riding; within reason or a perceived size preference. My bikes are slightly too big, 56cm. Our son has a 60cm, I'm 5'9" (29.5" inseam) and even though I can dial it in pretty close to what I like (the top tube is 2cm longer), it just feels enormously too big. The seat is not slammed down on the seat tube, but I just don't feel comfortable on it at all. With my 56cm bikes I don't have the perception that they are too big for me. They just seem perfect. In reality I should be on a 54cm or less. My perception doesn't think so.

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Old 06-25-20, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
For me, fit is about comfort, performance, and maintaining injury free riding; within reason or a perceived size preference. My bikes are slightly too big, 56cm. Our son has a 60cm, I'm 5'9" (29.5" inseam) and even though I can dial it in pretty close to what I like (the top tube is 2cm longer), it just feels enormously too big. The seat is not slammed down on the seat tube, but I just don't feel comfortable on it at all. With my 56cm bikes I don't have the perception that they are too big for me. They just seem perfect. In reality I should be on a 54cm or less. My perception doesn't think so.

John
Weíre about the same height, which is why I started with 56/7 miyatas and 22.5Ē Treks. But my inseem is 34.75Ē. If we sat on a bench youíd be five inches taller than me, but weíd be about the same standing up!
I was just surprised at how good the Miyata feels and how fast it is. Its odd being so high above the top tube, but it seems close to how a more modern compact frame would be fitted to me?
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Old 06-25-20, 04:36 PM
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To misquote Dr Seuss...

It could be your saddle wasn't set at the correct height.

It could be, perhaps, that your stem was too slight.

But I think that the most likely reason of all

May have been that your frameset was two sizes too small.
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Old 06-25-20, 04:47 PM
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For me, it seems like fit is ever evolving as the physique and ability change. This year, I've been lowering and replacing stems and saddles and experimenting with wider bars.

Recently, on my grocery getter, I lowered the saddle maybe 1cm after replacing the stem with a shorter one. I hadn't changed the saddle height in years. Why all the sudden did the saddle feel way too tall on only this bike? Seemed very weird, like someone had played a joke, ŗ la Amťlie.
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Old 06-25-20, 06:54 PM
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My fit? At 62, now that I'm age shrunk, I'm only 5'8" on a good day and still ride my 57cm-23" frame bikes. Long of torso and arms, but short of inseam. Yeah, 'the boys' are a bit compromised if I stand flat-footed over the bike, but who does that anyway? Never a problem in 45 years... I still prefer the more 'stretched-out' longer-toptube fit. Pics as-ridden:








Fit what you want!!!

.
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Old 06-25-20, 07:11 PM
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I think youíre riding faster on the Miyata so nobody notices that stem. 😉1 mile per hour faster is pretty significant on the same course At those speeds. How do you measure your effort? And one last observation: your seat looks too far back on the trek. Especially if it on the large size.
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Old 06-25-20, 07:47 PM
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Nothing wrong with having a go faster kind of bike in the mix. As long as there's no discomfort while riding, a range of sizes can work for some people. I'm 5'10" and ride bikes from 55 to 58. I have had nice rides on 25" Schwinn Le Tours, but prefer smaller. My UO-8 was on the larger side for me, but it was super comfortable. If you can get the contact points in a good place, and end the rides with a smile on your face, then ride on. You have to remember, bikes may be machines, but people aren't. Not everything can be quantified. Some people have a longer leg than the other. Some are more flexible. Some find that what felt good for years suddenly doesn't. Some get professionally fit and still don't feel comfortable. You know your body better than anyone, so as far as the Miyata, well, N+1.
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Old 06-25-20, 08:25 PM
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IMHO: Assuming that your reach is about the same on both bikes, the top tube on the Miyata is waaaay too short for you. That stem is scary! The Trek looks only slightly too large, but is a much better fit. There are many variables that affect a bikeís speed, but I seriously doubt that the Miyata is faster because of your position way out over the front wheel.

The obvious question is that if the 24Ē (61cm) Trek is a little too large, and the 57cm Miyata is way to small, why not look for something in the 59cm range?
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Old 06-25-20, 09:08 PM
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I honestly think the Trek set up as is looks perfectly fine! nicely proportioned with regard to saddle and stem height above the top tube, as well as saddle position. The Miyata looks like you made a too-small frame fit you, but it doesn't look dangerous or massively awkward.
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Old 06-25-20, 09:42 PM
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Stack and reach are far more useful measurements than tube length. As long as you can set up a bike with those measurements dialed in, size does not matter.

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Old 06-25-20, 09:49 PM
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Bike fit is a funny thing, most of my life I thought I had short legs and a long torso, after asking questions, doing the required reading and getting some well informed help to get actual accurate measurements of my body, as a 180 pound member of the 5' 9" club I discovered I'm a fairly average build with a 31 1/2" cycling inseam and I prefer a 52.5 to 53 cm. c.t.c. seat tube and a 53 cm. c.t.c. top tube frame.
My preferred stem length is 95 to 100mm and am currently running a 95 mm. stem.
crank length is 170
Seat height is 70 cm. from center of bottom bracket to top of seat and the seat is a tick forward of centered on the rails.
Handlebar drop is 7 cm. from seat top to top of handlebar, the bar is a Merckx bend (Giro D' Italia).
So the fit for me has been an evolutionary and on going process that is giving great results in comfort, perceived performance, and endurance over the last few months. The best part is all it cost was a notebook to keep track of the settings.
I would also like to say THANK YOU to the many forum members that provided me with advise on getting the fit dialed in.



: Mike
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Old 06-25-20, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
I think youíre riding faster on the Miyata so nobody notices that stem. 😉1 mile per hour faster is pretty significant on the same course At those speeds. How do you measure your effort? And one last observation: your seat looks too far back on the trek. Especially if it on the large size.
agreed!

I just have a Strava app, but I can see on the app that my uphill times are MUCH faster on the Miyata. Like I mentioned, the bike does not twist on big efforts, and the watts estimation on Strava shows in the 80ís on the Trek, and in the 108 area on the Miyata. Itís a lot more comfortable to lean into the Miyata in the uphills.

Looking at the data Iím about 12.2mph 11.9, 12.1 on the Trek and 13.1, 13.3 or so on the Miyata.

I donít think the stem ďmakes me fasterĒ I think the frame letís me go harder uphill, and the forward position has me touching the brakes less on the downhills.

Other difference is tires. Both have 27Ē but the Trek has 1 1/4Ē while the Miyata has 1 1/8Ē width on it.

I do think the seat looks to far back on the Trek, good eye, Iíll check the bolt tightness tomorrow, make sure nothings sliding. I also want to swap saddles. The brown one needs breaking in, and thatíll be more pleasant on the Trek.

I wonder what would happen if I ditched the Treks fenders and rode it with no scraping...
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Old 06-25-20, 10:13 PM
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I bet the speed difference is mostly a result of the tires. Trek has Marathons, which are slooow.
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Old 06-25-20, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by SuperLJ View Post
IMHO: Assuming that your reach is about the same on both bikes, the top tube on the Miyata is waaaay too short for you. That stem is scary! The Trek looks only slightly too large, but is a much better fit. There are many variables that affect a bikeís speed, but I seriously doubt that the Miyata is faster because of your position way out over the front wheel.

The obvious question is that if the 24Ē (61cm) Trek is a little too large, and the 57cm Miyata is way to small, why not look for something in the 59cm range?

Trek doesnít share dimensions of different sizes until Ď85, but in that catalog the 24Ē size is shown with a 59.9 seat tube on the 720, and a 59.6 ST on the 620, so assuming they didnít change the geometry too much, the Trek isnít even fully 60cms (CtC) while I believe Miyata measured CtT, at least in the older catalogs, thatís where the lines indicate, so itís likely closer to 56 or 56.5 CtC.






Looking at these specs sheets Iím shocked the BB higher on the Miyata, Iíll have to check crank lengths, because it feels like Iím in danger of dragging a pedal. Could be another difference.






Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel View Post
I honestly think the Trek set up as is looks perfectly fine! nicely proportioned with regard to saddle and stem height above the top tube, as well as saddle position. The Miyata looks like you made a too-small frame fit you, but it doesn't look dangerous or massively awkward.
That was my take as well, and then I found that LHT. Is that how a current bike is fitted? Because it looks like a too small frame fitted with a long tall stem, and a tall post. Thatís where my fashion question came in. Is it in style, or more modern to have a smaller frame fitted with longer components? Iíve seen compact frames, but the LHT is a purpose built tourer, with a nearly level top tube. I would have expected them to look more like how the Trek is outfitted.


Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Stack and reach are far more useful measurements than tube length. As long as you can set up a bike with those measurements dialed in, size does not matter.

Iíll dig out a plumb and a tape rule and see whatís up, I would LOVE to see how these two bikes stack up. I appreciate that diagram!
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Old 06-25-20, 10:49 PM
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I actually used my 1984 720 on training rides a couple of times when my road bike was out of commission.

The bike sure wasn't fast when high pedaling efforts arose. I attributed this to the long wheelbase and chainstays, and to the light frame tubing.

But it rides like a Cadillac!
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Old 06-25-20, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Chr0m0ly View Post
That was my take as well, and then I found that LHT. Is that how a current bike is fitted? Because it looks like a too small frame fitted with a long tall stem, and a tall post. Thatís where my fashion question came in. Is it in style, or more modern to have a smaller frame fitted with longer components? Iíve seen compact frames, but the LHT is a purpose built tourer, with a nearly level top tube. I would have expected them to look more like how the Trek is outfitted.
Surly has had bonkers geometry for quite some time. It's pretty irritating to a traditional geometry purist/logical thinker like me. Frames with top tube lengths far longer than they should be. It's like they looked at old Klein and Calfee geometries and then exaggerated them. Surly is an outlier, plain and simple, IMO. If you want some heads more properly connected to shoulders, then Soma is a much better bet. Surly, with their mega long top tubes, has slightly longer head tube lengths, and then a billion spacers on super ultra long steerers. It makes no sense. A lower top tube and cantilevered steerer/stem/bar setup for what? It's no mixte frameset, which has obvious and massive practicality benefits. Maybe it's just 'the Surly way' or who knows what. All the sloping top tube bike makers still have it pretty much correct. I do not hold Surly bikes in high regard, mostly for this reason, as that 'geometry' helps no one. Their 'fashion' is incorrect (per traditional geo), ugly, and not to be emulated, IMO. [I am editing out and not saying anything more past this point as it is unnecessary and I've made my point. Your Trek and anything else similar is proven and IMO how it should generally be. 35 years on, it still looks done properly.]
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Old 06-25-20, 11:58 PM
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The Trek is correctly sized for you, based on the standards of the time.

Sure, fashion plays some role. As the 80s progressed, smaller frames became more fashionable. Better for stiffness, lightness, and aerodynamics. If you're a non racer, those are irrelevant.

PS. Don't descend on the hoods. Use the drops.
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Old 06-26-20, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
I actually used my 1984 720 on training rides a couple of times when my road bike was out of commission.

The bike sure wasn't fast when high pedaling efforts arose. I attributed this to the long wheelbase and chainstays, and to the light frame tubing.

But it rides like a Cadillac!
Donít get me wring, I LOVE that Trek, their is a LOT more to being an awesome bike than pure speed climbing ability. That frame that gives up a little in the hills is amazing, AMAZING on gravel. When it gets up to speed, it just floats along. For really long days I think the nod goes to the Trek.


Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel View Post
Surly has had bonkers geometry for quite some time. It's pretty irritating to a traditional geometry purist/logical thinker like me. Frames with top tube lengths far longer than they should be. It's like they looked at old Klein and Calfee geometries and then exaggerated them. Surly is an outlier, plain and simple, IMO. If you want some heads more properly connected to shoulders, then Soma is a much better bet. Surly, with their mega long top tubes, has slightly longer head tube lengths, and then a billion spacers on super ultra long steerers. It makes no sense. A lower top tube and cantilevered steerer/stem/bar setup for what? It's no mixte frameset, which has obvious and massive practicality benefits. Maybe it's just 'the Surly way' or who knows what. All the sloping top tube bike makers still have it pretty much correct. I do not hold Surly bikes in high regard, mostly for this reason, as that 'geometry' helps no one. Their 'fashion' is incorrect (per traditional geo), ugly, and not to be emulated, IMO. [I am editing out and not saying anything more past this point as it is unnecessary and I've made my point. Your Trek and anything else similar is proven and IMO how it should generally be. 35 years on, it still looks done properly.]
This is more the answer I was looking for. The Miyata looks off, and so does the Surly, so I was trying to find out if that ďoffĒ look was a sign of the times.

Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
The Trek is correctly sized for you, based on the standards of the time.

Sure, fashion plays some role. As the 80s progressed, smaller frames became more fashionable. Better for stiffness, lightness, and aerodynamics. If you're a non racer, those are irrelevant.

PS. Don't descend on the hoods. Use the drops.
Never descend on the hoods, Itís faster and more fun in the drops, I like to really flatten out and see how fast I can get in the little hills around town. And if your going to play that game, Itís a good idea to have good brake leverage. In fact one of the reasons I like the French set up is I can ride about 60-75 percent of the time in the drops. I donít really use the tops very much, just to stretch.
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Old 06-26-20, 01:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Chr0m0ly View Post
This is more the answer I was looking for. The Miyata looks off, and so does the Surly, so I was trying to find out if that ďoffĒ look was a sign of the times.
As a tall guy and thus a rider of tall bikes, I work to avoid a bike looking gangly or gawky. Balancing proportion, a good rake/"set", my fitment requirements, comfort and riding style. 63-64cm frames are my sweet spot. Above 64-65cm, the top tube gets to be too high and thus interferes when rocking the bike back and forth when out of the saddle (hits the inner thighs too early, limiting range of angle). Comfort is high--a good thing--but riding style is slightly limited. Proportion or rake/"set" may also take a hit in my mind (regardless if others notice). I do need to be comfortable and safe on the bike, but as a designer, the bike is a work of art to an extent, and I want it to look good just by itself.

I don't think there is a unified sign of the times look. It's so fragmented now. Add in low-volume production builders, custom builders, and it's all over the map. It just depends on what you're looking for. Some brands kept the traditional geometry faith for a lot longer than any of us have kept track of, but I couldn't tell you where to look, really. With the rise of 650B and fat tire bikes and the alt/formerly-known-as-hipster/dandy indie style and intentionally-not-a-roadie frame design trend, it's a free-for-all. I'm personally not a fan of the steel-toed Ugg boots on a lanky super model look, but that's 650x55mm tire-clad steel gravel frames now.
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Old 06-26-20, 04:17 AM
  #21  
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The degree that fashion plays in bicycle fit is directly proportional to the cyclist's vanity. Ideally, bicycle fitting is all about comfort, bio-mechanical efficiency and aerodynamics, Trade-offs between the three come down to intended use. Now, having said that, I've come across cyclists who thought they were comfortable and efficient on their bicycle, until I made some tweaks to their positions. All the "rules" about bicycle fit are only guidelines that get you into the ballpark. After that you you have to observe, ask the right questions to the cyclist and properly interpret the answers. Cyclists self-fitting themselves is the equivalent of doctors self-medicating. Half the time, they can't see the forest for the trees.
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Old 06-26-20, 06:58 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by samkl View Post
I bet the speed difference is mostly a result of the tires. Trek has Marathons, which are slooow.
+1

There’s your 1mph difference right there.
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