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Abnormally long legs?

Old 03-07-14, 09:29 AM
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belacqua
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Abnormally long legs?

I'm starting to wonder if I have them. My inseam is 35.5" and I'm 6.0 feet tall. The competitivecyclist fit calculator says I should shoot for a 61-63cm frame with a 53-54cm TT !?

I never doubted my 58cm frames until my collection grew to include 60cms and 61cms. Now I wonder if I'm too stretched out on all of them.

Is anyone else in this same boat? How do you usually set up your rigs?

Note: posting this in C&V because you are the ones I trust. And because I suspect the only way forward for me is more 1980s steel.
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Old 03-07-14, 11:11 AM
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I expect you are the in upper extreme of the leg-length bell curve for us six footers. I'm up the curve just a bit at 6 feet with a 34 inch inseam. My pro fitter's exact quote is "you have freakishly long femurs". For me that means short torso. I have worked with him on only one of my C&V era bikes and he proclaimed the fit right on. Intuitively I knew it was really close as it feels better than any of the others.

The bike is a mid 80s Dutch built custom frame (not for me), with the original Cinelli bars and stem and original full Campy components. 59cm center of BB to top, 57cm top tube. The SR seat post has 120mm exposed, and the stem is a 110mm.

My only modern bike is my time trial ride and it is a 55cm Kestrel, but the fitter installed a very short stem and the seat is quite high.

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Old 03-07-14, 12:53 PM
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Another 6 footer here. I have ridden 58cm/23" bikes my whole life (more than 40 years). Then a year or so ago I found a 1992 Schwinn Paramount frameset, at 62cm, that I could afford to buy. I checked myself out on a friend's 63cm Raleigh, with flat tires, and found I could just stand over it with shoes on. So I bought the Paramount, and it fits me like no other. I love it! I had to put a 60mm stem on it, and move the saddle all the way forward. And I recently found some 28mm tires that I can use with it. It has become the bike I reach for practically every time.
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Old 03-07-14, 01:03 PM
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Judging by your spelling of abnormally, I'm thinking you have long fingers, too!

Based on your measurements, I'd say, yes, you do have long legs for your height. A picture of your setup might help.

I'm in the opposite boat: shortish legs, longer torso. I'm 5'11". My ideal setup is ~56cm seat tube & ~57 top tube, ctc, with ~110cm stem and saddle pushed back on the rails. I can ride a 58cm, but the standover height on a 60cm+ frame is an issue.

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Old 03-07-14, 01:11 PM
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I'm 6'0" with 33.5 inseam and I like the 62-63cm size in most bikes, too. But with my long arms, I'm most happy on a bike that also has a 60cm top tube, and a stem of around 100mm.

But yeah, 35.5 is crazy long legs for six-footer. Have any trouble fitting comfortably in your car? I had to block up (about an inch) the front mounting points of the driver's seat on my ancient Subaru to get a good fit.
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Old 03-07-14, 01:14 PM
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35.5" - that is your FULL cycling inseam? Pressure on the perineum?

I am 6'3.5" my FULL cycling inseam is 37" and had my left femur shortened by 2cm so it matched the right more closely (which I broke on a growth plate when I was 15 and resulted in stunted growth in that bone). I ride 60-62 and prefer a 58-59 top tube. I generally rider zero offset posts not to adjust the length but to ensure a comfortable relationship with my pedals/BB and I prefer a 180mm crank for most types of riding (road/TT/touring/cx/hardtail MTB).

Yes 37" that means the rest of my is 38.5 about 50/50. Your proportions seem normal to me. Top tube length is your greatest concern. Are you comfortable? If yes you are not too stretched out. Do you have pain? Where and under what conditions? Is this pain specific to certain set-ups? What is different about those bikes?

Many fitters comment that taller people have long femurs but really they are proportional in most cases. They seem longer because the fitter struggles because they are fitting for 175 cranks for people from about 5'10" and up. If my femurs hadn't been shortened I would ride with my saddle in a more normal position instead of forward of center on a zero offset post. I build myself a bike last year with a 74 degree seat tube to combat the poor aesthetic of the forward of center saddle position.

There are two reasons to get a professional fit as a seasoned cyclist (one more for new cyclists).

1. You have pain
2. You are comfortable but want to optimize your power

If you are new to cycling it is a good idea to increase the chance of have a pleasurable riding experience.

BTW: 32-33" as advertised pant leg length fits me quite well which is not surprising when you think there is an extra perhaps 2" of room required below the perineum in your pants and another 2" from the end of the pant leg to the ground, I go have high arches.
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Old 03-07-14, 01:24 PM
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I'm 6' 0" tall with 35.5" leg length (pressure into the pubic bone to the floor in bare feet) the same as you. With half of our overall height in our legs, our leg length is toward the end of the bell curve. My best fit is on 61cm c-t frames with 56cm c-c top tubes.
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Old 03-07-14, 01:54 PM
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There are two reasons to get a professional fit as a seasoned cyclist (one more for new cyclists).

1. You have pain
2. You are comfortable but want to optimize your power
+ 525

1. I'm not in pain.
2. My TdF days only occur on solo rides.

I'm 5'6" and wear a 30" inseam trouser. My C-BB to saddle pelvic weld is 29" I never really cared much about crank arm length, and still don't. I've been riding 56cm C&V bikes for years, and rode a couple of 58's "ok."

Every shop that has fit me says 52cm-54cm. One shop recently insisted a 53cm Torelli would be perfect. I've tried 54.5 in a Paramount, 54 in a Centurion Prestige, a Marin Portofino, a Centurion Lemans RS, a Centurion Facet, a Douglas Motive, a Kestrel Talon and a Trek Y-Foil. Despite duplicating the dimensions the best I could on each bike, I had lower back pain on every 54cm. I tried seatpost variations, saddle movement, and stem changes.

56cm is my size, and 55-56cm top tube seems to be right on, comfortable all day. I've never bought a new bike, so my fit was already someone else's, anyway.

My only non-56cm bike is my modern Merckx, and that is a Merckx "48." It measures out about the same, "effectively," and is my only bike with a 100mm stem. Everything else is 80-90.

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Old 03-07-14, 02:22 PM
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I am 5'11 and have a 34.75" cycling inseam. I find that the best fit I ever had was a 24.75" Holdsworth, hd a shortish TT, not sure the length,but the wheelbase was 39.75 if I recall, 1.75 inch rake. Had a 110 mm stem, was a great fit. What i found was that even at a low weight like 170 lbs, I needed a drop from saddle to bar of 1-2" or my thigh would hit my lower rib cage, as I have a short fat torso.
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Old 03-07-14, 03:23 PM
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I think I'm in a similar boat but scaled down. I'm only 5'8 but have a 32.75 cycling inseam (tight to crotch). Based on inseam length that puts me on a 56cm, but then I have to run an 80mm stem and sometimes I still feel too stretched out. I've tried 54cm frames but because I'm not super flexible and like my bar 1in below saddle, I end up with a lot of exposed stem which looks odd. My ideal frame is probably a 56cm ST with 54cm TT but it doesn't seem very common. It seems most frames run toward a short seat tube with long top tube, but maybe it's that phenomenom where the thing you need always seems to be the hardest to find.

What I really need to do is work on my flexibility.
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Old 03-07-14, 03:39 PM
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You'll notice most pros ride small frames with massive saddle to bar drop.

eg

If you road as much as they do your fit for fast road riding would evolve in this direction. You're always pushing yourself, intervals, hill repeats, longer, further faster.

My fit evolved like this when I did more riding also. I found that that the beginning of the season I felt stretched and by the end I felt comfortable if not cramped. I'd start rides on the tops/curves and end with my hands almost hanging over the hoods.. Your muscles loosen up and your torso naturally falls forwards as you try to maximize your power. Fit is very dynamic..

This was a comfortable casual to semi fast fit:


and this is a comfortable fast fit for me (please note this is the initial build and them stem is now "slammed" and the fork cut to match:



The take home message is that your fit is relative to the style of riding you are doing and your fitness (not your inherent flexibility though you can work on these). Your fit will change over the course of a season and your lifetime.
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Old 03-07-14, 03:49 PM
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I am 5'8.5" with 33.5" cycling inseam. My road bike is 56cm with a 56cm top tube. I use a 100mm stem. Attached is a pic.

61-63 for you sounds on the big side. I would think 59-61 would fit better.
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Old 03-07-14, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclotoine View Post
35.5" - that is your FULL cycling inseam? Pressure on the perineum?
Sorry, those are the pants I buy; 33" or 34". I just looked up how to measure "cycling inseam" so I guess I'm actually ready to join this discussion now That comes to 35.25" So it looks like 63cm is not outrageous for me. I have long/big feet, too, so that effectively adds a bit of leg length, once you're up and pedaling.

All my bikes in 63cm are pretty much French Fit for me; never more than about 4" of seatpost showing & the top of the bars from 1 - 2" lower than the middle of the seat.
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Old 03-07-14, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
Naw, those are the pants I buy; 33" or 34". So it looks like 63cm is not outrageous for me. All my bikes that size are pretty much French Fit for me; never more than about 4" of seatpost showing & top of the bars from 1 - 2" lower than the middle of the seat.
As you can see a traditional 62cm frame for me is an eddy fit at best (if not almost competitive fit) and that is with 185 mm cranks!
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Old 03-07-14, 05:21 PM
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thanks everyone, this is really informative.

Scooper: have you found production 61cm frames with top tubes that short, or is that how you ended up with the Waterford?

Cyclotoine: that's insightful. In fact the 58 does feel better after a few months of warm weather.
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Old 03-07-14, 05:22 PM
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When I take winters off, I start the spring with about a 2" drop from saddle to top of the bar. By June, I'm into about 3" and that's where my comfort level ends.

The massive drop that many pro's use accomplishes several things: it allows them to use a smaller frame, as the long drop helps "extend" the top tube. it allows them to use a smaller, and therefore lighter and stiffer frame. a small frame is more aero than an identical larger frame (less frontal area). it allows them to level their torso and diminish the "sail" effect of a more upright torso. They train their bodies to accept that drop. I've not yet met one that thought it was comfortable until he/she had done a lot of mileage. One of them told me he liked hills because it gave him a chance to get out of that tuck once in a while. There is also a mini-trend of some pro's going to 38cm bars, combined with the deep drop, to be more aero on a road bike. The current world TT champion uses an arched back, and I'm sure others will try it.

The same LBS that fitted the NC road champion on a 60cm Trek 200 in 1993 put him on a 56cm Kestrel in 2006, and then back on a 60cm Tarmac last year. Go figure. I'd rather stretch than scrunch.

I'm told that, as I continue to age, I'll probably have to drop to a 54cm frame. It's going to be hard to find duplicates of my frames in 54cm....That will likely be when I sell all and go with 1 custom.
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Old 03-07-14, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
When I take winters off, I start the spring with about a 2" drop from saddle to top of the bar. By June, I'm into about 3" and that's where my comfort level ends.

The massive drop that many pro's use accomplishes several things: it allows them to use a smaller frame, as the long drop helps "extend" the top tube. it allows them to use a smaller, and therefore lighter and stiffer frame. a small frame is more aero than an identical larger frame (less frontal area). it allows them to level their torso and diminish the "sail" effect of a more upright torso. They train their bodies to accept that drop. I've not yet met one that thought it was comfortable until he/she had done a lot of mileage. One of them told me he liked hills because it gave him a chance to get out of that tuck once in a while. There is also a mini-trend of some pro's going to 38cm bars, combined with the deep drop, to be more aero on a road bike. The current world TT champion uses an arched back, and I'm sure others will try it.

The same LBS that fitted the NC road champion on a 60cm Trek 200 in 1993 put him on a 56cm Kestrel in 2006, and then back on a 60cm Tarmac last year. Go figure. I'd rather stretch than scrunch.

I'm told that, as I continue to age, I'll probably have to drop to a 54cm frame. It's going to be hard to find duplicates of my frames in 54cm....That will likely be when I sell all and go with 1 custom.

There is one very VERY important point you missed. Power. By closing the hip angle you increase power. I agree it is not always comfortable, but it has to be comfortable enough that it doesn't cause fatigue to the point of performance loss.
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Old 03-07-14, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
+ 525

Every shop that has fit me says 52cm-54cm. One shop recently insisted a 53cm Torelli would be perfect. I've tried 54.5 in a Paramount, 54 in a Centurion Prestige, a Marin Portofino, a Centurion Lemans RS, a Centurion Facet, a Douglas Motive, a Kestrel Talon and a Trek Y-Foil. Despite duplicating the dimensions the best I could on each bike, I had lower back pain on every 54cm. I tried seatpost variations, saddle movement, and stem changes.
The one and only time a bike shop fit me, they sold me a 56. That bike caused me so much pain that I swore off drop bars completely for a number of years. If I'm told I'm in between, I select the larger one every time. But then, I no longer buy new bikes.
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