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Fist full of seat post & stem level w/ saddle don't mix?

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Fist full of seat post & stem level w/ saddle don't mix?

Old 04-26-10, 01:45 PM
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Fist full of seat post & stem level w/ saddle don't mix?

Hi all,

I've been reading about traditional frame sizing, fit etc and I can't solve the following: the traditional road bike fit tends towards not a lot of seat post showing, basically a fist full, and a stem height level with the saddle height. It seems with a level top tube and a traditional 7 shape stem, I cannot achieve both at the same time.

The normal stem usually sticks out of the headset 12cm before max height is reached. The headset itself is another 2cm over the top tube. So the stem is at 14cm above the top tube. A fistfull of seatpost is at least 10cm, with a (traditional style) saddle that's 6-7cm tall from rail to saddle top. Assuming the top of the seat tube is level with the top tube, this still gives a 2-3cm drop (1 inch) with the max stem height.

To achieve a stem height level with the saddle, I either see less than a fist full of seat post and half an inch standover before it hits the bone, or I have to make use a tall stem. Am I missing something in the equation? Any input is appreciated. Thanks.

Last edited by spymaster; 04-26-10 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 04-26-10, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by spymaster
I've been reading about traditional frame sizing, fit etc and I can't solve the following: the traditional road bike fit tends towards not a lot of seat post showing, basically a fist full, and a stem height level with the saddle height. .
This is a school of thought for touring bike fit. Racing bikes always have had bars below the seat level...

Seriously, try to do whatever makes you more comfortable (and safer) on the bike and forget about people's fitting "rules"
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Old 04-26-10, 02:10 PM
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+1 Set it up to fit, rather than to meet some arbitrary rules.

And stand over height is grossly over-rated. I have short legs and long arms/torso. To get a bike with enough top tube length, I pretty much ignore stand over height.
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Old 04-26-10, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101
+1 Set it up to fit, rather than to meet some arbitrary rules.

And stand over height is grossly over-rated. I have short legs and long arms/torso. To get a bike with enough top tube length, I pretty much ignore stand over height.
What he said. I'm 5'9" and change, 30" inseam, and I ride a 59 cm frame. 57 is okay, but anything smaller and I feel like I'm in a clown car.
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Old 04-26-10, 03:22 PM
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Standover is grossly overrated by those who have never found out what happens once it gets too high - it can be painful. It's still ONE viable element of a good bike sizing. A rider suited for a 52 cm frame might be able to use a 54 or 55, but probably can't use a 58 or 59.
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Old 04-26-10, 03:28 PM
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If you have more or less than a fistful of seatpost, your legs will fall off.

(Clint Eastwood's hand is the standard "fistful" measurement.)
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Old 04-26-10, 03:32 PM
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I concur that its a personal thing. No bike that I can stand over comfortably will fit me with just a fistful of seatpost.
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Old 04-26-10, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
Standover is grossly overrated by those who have never found out what happens once it gets too high - it can be painful. It's still ONE viable element of a good bike sizing. A rider suited for a 52 cm frame might be able to use a 54 or 55, but probably can't use a 58 or 59.
+1 on this. Especially if:

- you have to make frequent stops and get one foot on the ground
- you are used to 'getting off the saddle' on uphills
- you are not an experience rider

I ride 52-57cm frames. My sweet spot is 54. I can ride up to 58, but on 57 and above, I have to remember to tilt the bike at stops.
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Old 04-26-10, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
Standover is grossly overrated by those who have never found out what happens once it gets too high
Its only too high when the saddle is slammed all the way down and you still cant reach the pedals. You just gotta alter your dismount...look for high curbs to step off onto and become familiar with the sign posts that will hold you up at stop lights so you don't have to get your foot out of your toe clips


wait, you wanted a bike that fits?!?

I thought this was just about how big you can go before you sing soprano
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Old 04-26-10, 04:04 PM
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I'm 5' 11" (roughly) with a 32in cycling inseam and I prefer a 55-56cm "square" (equal seat/top tubes) frame. I usually end up with a little more than fistfull of seatpost and between an inch or two of saddle-bar drop. Fine by me, even on my commuter.
Ride what's comfortable. KOPS (knee over pedal spindle) is a good way to start (though far from law), then adjust your bar height to suit your comfort.
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Old 04-26-10, 04:11 PM
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Some of the photos I have seen from the 1890 through early 1900s showed riders on, or standing beside, bikes with HUGE frames by current standards. It looked impossible for them to possibly straddle the bikes with both feet flat on the ground. Either fit standards have changed or we no longer have splid brass gonads which can take that kind of punishment.
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Old 04-26-10, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by tatfiend
Some of the photos I have seen from the 1890 through early 1900s showed riders on, or standing beside, bikes with HUGE frames by current standards. It looked impossible for them to possibly straddle the bikes with both feet flat on the ground. Either fit standards have changed or we no longer have splid brass gonads which can take that kind of punishment.
you mean something like this:



that was the TT to belly button fit.
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Old 04-26-10, 04:41 PM
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I ride with at least 2 fistfulls. The assumption is that bigger guys automatically have wider hands and it just ain't so. All of these rules start to distort more than an inch above or below average height.
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Old 04-26-10, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
Standover is grossly overrated by those who have never found out what happens once it gets too high - it can be painful. It's still ONE viable element of a good bike sizing. A rider suited for a 52 cm frame might be able to use a 54 or 55, but probably can't use a 58 or 59.
I must concede that there is increased potential for unwanted interaction with the TT as the height increases, but the only SERIOUS injury I have ever heard of came from falling down a distance onto a TT that was too LOW.

(-Obviously I am student of the "Standover is grossly overrated" school: To me, the distance from the seat to the drops and the seat to the cranks is what most matters - and stand-over height is secondary)
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Old 04-26-10, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by EjustE
you mean something like this:



that was the TT to belly button fit.
Nahhh...... that oldtimer's just a plain dang fool to ride with such a flimsy downtube....or is that a cable I see there.........Hey that IS a super cool frame afterall!!!

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Old 04-26-10, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi
Nahhh...... that oldtimer's just a plain dang fool to ride with such a flimsy downtube....or is that a cable I see there.........Hey that IS a super cool frame afterall!!!

Chombi
Gotta love the invinsible chainstays as well...
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Old 04-26-10, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by EjustE
Gotta love the invinsible chainstays as well...
Dang!! fantastic bike! I missed those absent chainstays! The BB and the drive chain must all be kept in some tension load by the down..cable. Maybe Eiffel designed this bike??
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Old 04-26-10, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by spymaster
Hi all,

I've been reading about traditional frame sizing, fit etc and I can't solve the following: the traditional road bike fit tends towards not a lot of seat post showing, basically a fist full, and a stem height level with the saddle height. It seems with a level top tube and a traditional 7 shape stem, I cannot achieve both at the same time.

The normal stem usually sticks out of the headset 12cm before max height is reached. The headset itself is another 2cm over the top tube. So the stem is at 14cm above the top tube. A fistfull of seatpost is at least 10cm, with a (traditional style) saddle that's 6-7cm tall from rail to saddle top. Assuming the top of the seat tube is level with the top tube, this still gives a 2-3cm drop (1 inch) with the max stem height.

To achieve a stem height level with the saddle, I either see less than a fist full of seat post and half an inch standover before it hits the bone, or I have to make use a tall stem. Am I missing something in the equation? Any input is appreciated. Thanks.
Assuming the frame is the right size, forget everything else, and seek a comfortable, efficient fit. Fit the drops, and everything else will be comfy. Decide how you want to ride that bike, as far as situations, routes, urban/rural, etc. Then fit it for it's predominant use, where you're comfortable, and ignore the rulesters.
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