Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fifty Plus (50+)
Reload this Page >

Frame size preference.

Notices
Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Frame size preference.

Old 07-12-22, 08:10 PM
  #1  
Helderberg
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Helderberg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Rolesville NC
Posts: 816

Bikes: Had an old Columbia in the 80's, here a used Schwinn hybrid, now a Cannondale Quick 3 and a Topstone 105..

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 249 Post(s)
Liked 305 Times in 138 Posts
Frame size preference.

If you had to have one or the other would you rather have a frame one size too large or one size too small? You could do anything after to the bike to adjust it except alter the frame.
Still a very limited supply of bike sizes not to mention models. I have a bike, two actually but the wrong sizes, and I should just wait it out until supply catches up to the wait lists but I am not getting any younger.
Thanks in advance, Frank.
Helderberg is offline  
Old 07-12-22, 10:51 PM
  #2  
terrymorse 
climber has-been
 
terrymorse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Posts: 5,410

Bikes: Scott Addict R1

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1896 Post(s)
Liked 1,832 Times in 959 Posts
It’s much easier to adjust the fit on a too small frame than on a too large frame.

Adjustments:
  • a longer seatpost
  • a longer stem, flipped up
__________________
Ride, Rest, Repeat


Last edited by terrymorse; 07-28-22 at 03:59 PM.
terrymorse is offline  
Old 07-13-22, 05:25 AM
  #3  
thehammerdog
Senior Member
 
thehammerdog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: NWNJ
Posts: 3,692

Bikes: Road bike is a Carbon Bianchi C2C & Grandis (1980's), Gary Fisher Mt Bike, Trek Tandem & Mongoose SS MTB circa 1992.

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 719 Post(s)
Liked 344 Times in 224 Posts
Originally Posted by Helderberg View Post
If you had to have one or the other would you rather have a frame one size too large or one size too small? You could do anything after to the bike to adjust it except alter the frame.
Still a very limited supply of bike sizes not to mention models. I have a bike, two actually but the wrong sizes, and I should just wait it out until supply catches up to the wait lists but I am not getting any younger.
Thanks in advance, Frank.
i find a size down to be best..usually ride 56 have 54 / 55 not sure and actually like riding them more.
thehammerdog is offline  
Likes For thehammerdog:
Old 07-13-22, 07:14 AM
  #4  
easyupbug 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,379

Bikes: too many sparkly Italians, some sweet Americans and a couple interesting Japanese

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 477 Post(s)
Liked 425 Times in 311 Posts
The above is my experience as well. Now in my 70s with old man shrinking disease smaller frames get the time and my 58s do not get any time at all.
easyupbug is offline  
Likes For easyupbug:
Old 07-13-22, 07:32 AM
  #5  
Helderberg
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Helderberg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Rolesville NC
Posts: 816

Bikes: Had an old Columbia in the 80's, here a used Schwinn hybrid, now a Cannondale Quick 3 and a Topstone 105..

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 249 Post(s)
Liked 305 Times in 138 Posts
Originally Posted by easyupbug View Post
The above is my experience as well. Now in my 70s with old man shrinking disease smaller frames get the time and my 58s do not get any time at all.
This seems to be my issue. I have, in the past, been able to take a size larger frame and make it work with stem and seat post. That has changed now that I am 73, pushing 74, I have found that I am not comfortable on the frames I have. I believe I need to got get a good test ride on a smaller size and possibly a more upright seated position on the bike. My drop-bar days seem to be over, unfortunately.
Frank.
Helderberg is offline  
Likes For Helderberg:
Old 07-13-22, 07:33 AM
  #6  
Helderberg
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Helderberg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Rolesville NC
Posts: 816

Bikes: Had an old Columbia in the 80's, here a used Schwinn hybrid, now a Cannondale Quick 3 and a Topstone 105..

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 249 Post(s)
Liked 305 Times in 138 Posts
Originally Posted by easyupbug View Post
The above is my experience as well. Now in my 70s with old man shrinking disease smaller frames get the time and my 58s do not get any time at all.
This seems to be my issue. I have, in the past, been able to take a size larger frame and make it work with stem and seat post. That has changed now that I am 73, pushing 74, I have found that I am not comfortable on the frames I have. I believe I need to got get a good test ride on a smaller size and possibly a more upright seated position on the bike. My drop-bar days seem to be over, unfortunately.
Frank.
Helderberg is offline  
Likes For Helderberg:
Old 07-13-22, 07:40 AM
  #7  
easyupbug 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,379

Bikes: too many sparkly Italians, some sweet Americans and a couple interesting Japanese

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 477 Post(s)
Liked 425 Times in 311 Posts
Originally Posted by Helderberg View Post
This seems to be my issue. I have, in the past, been able to take a size larger frame and make it work with stem and seat post. That has changed now that I am 73, pushing 74, I have found that I am not comfortable on the frames I have. I believe I need to got get a good test ride on a smaller size and possibly a more upright seated position on the bike. My drop-bar days seem to be over, unfortunately.
Frank.
Exactly, I still can get into the newer style bars with less drop and on the shorter TTs but pretty much only on declines. On bad arthritis days I am on a trike and enjoying it.
easyupbug is offline  
Likes For easyupbug:
Old 07-13-22, 08:16 AM
  #8  
Moisture
Drip, Drip.
 
Moisture's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Southern Ontario
Posts: 1,575

Bikes: Trek Verve E bike, Felt Doctrine 4 XC, Opus Horizon Apex 1

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1033 Post(s)
Liked 190 Times in 160 Posts
If your arm span is longer than average, you will probably feel more inclined to go a size up. Or vice versa.
Moisture is offline  
Likes For Moisture:
Old 07-13-22, 08:51 AM
  #9  
terrymorse 
climber has-been
 
terrymorse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Posts: 5,410

Bikes: Scott Addict R1

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1896 Post(s)
Liked 1,832 Times in 959 Posts
Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
If your arm span is longer than average, you will probably feel more inclined to go a size up. Or vice versa.
I'm not so sure about that. Long arms suggests a short torso, so a shorter top tube length would be more comfortable.

Long arms do tend to like a larger bar drop, though, which is also easier to accommodate on a smaller frame.
__________________
Ride, Rest, Repeat

terrymorse is offline  
Likes For terrymorse:
Old 07-13-22, 09:06 AM
  #10  
zacster
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Brooklyn NY
Posts: 7,456

Bikes: Kuota Kredo/Chorus, Trek 7000 commuter, Trek 8000 MTB and a few others

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Liked 351 Times in 276 Posts
I had the opportunity to test this out just the other day. I built up a 48 frame for my daughter, while I ride a 51. When I took her new bike out for a shake out ride I was perfectly comfortable on it with the saddle height adjusted for me and could've ridden it the whole day that way. Next week I'm going to visit my son in Seattle and he has my old Davidson which was sized the old way with a horizontal top tube vs. the current sloping ones. After I had my current bike built I felt that this bike was slightly too big even though the frame was custom built for me. I'll see how it feels.

As an aside, I'll have to visit Davidson's shop with my '81 bike. The last time he saw it, he looked at it completely puzzled because the graphics were a mix of his old style and newer ones but that was already over 20 years ago. After he built the frame, Charles Hadrann from Wright Bros. Cycles added all the components. His shop is now just down the street from Davidson's. And these guys must be old! I'm 67 and they were older than me when I had this made. But maybe not that much older since I was just 26 and anybody that was 30 seemed old at the time. Now we're just a bunch of old farts.
zacster is offline  
Likes For zacster:
Old 07-13-22, 09:16 AM
  #11  
Moisture
Drip, Drip.
 
Moisture's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Southern Ontario
Posts: 1,575

Bikes: Trek Verve E bike, Felt Doctrine 4 XC, Opus Horizon Apex 1

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1033 Post(s)
Liked 190 Times in 160 Posts
Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I'm not so sure about that. Long arms suggests a short torso, so a shorter top tube length would be more comfortable.

Long arms do tend to like a larger bar drop, though, which is also easier to accommodate on a smaller frame.
I read on a sizing chart somewhere - I believe it was canyon? Can't remember. But they said if you are between sizes, and your arm span is longer than your height, go a size up.

I am 190cm, with an 88cm inseam, and very long arms. I like to ride with a bar drop on all my bikes these days. I tend to opt for longer than stock stems on my XL bikes.

So you are right, that generally speaking long armed people probably have relatively short torsos. But i still have a preference for long top tubes and stems. For reference, my E bike which came stock with a 105mm stem, has been fitted with a 150mm stem last night. I'm using swept back bars on it -

Moisture is offline  
Likes For Moisture:
Old 07-13-22, 12:40 PM
  #12  
Helderberg
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Helderberg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Rolesville NC
Posts: 816

Bikes: Had an old Columbia in the 80's, here a used Schwinn hybrid, now a Cannondale Quick 3 and a Topstone 105..

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 249 Post(s)
Liked 305 Times in 138 Posts
Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
I read on a sizing chart somewhere - I believe it was canyon? Can't remember. But they said if you are between sizes, and your arm span is longer than your height, go a size up.

I am 190cm, with an 88cm inseam, and very long arms. I like to ride with a bar drop on all my bikes these days. I tend to opt for longer than stock stems on my XL bikes.

So you are right, that generally speaking long armed people probably have relatively short torsos. But i still have a preference for long top tubes and stems. For reference, my E bike which came stock with a 105mm stem, has been fitted with a 150mm stem last night. I'm using swept back bars on it -

These bars are interesting. The photo below is a setup that I tried but did not feel comfortable with at the time. Who knows what will happen in the future.
Frank.

Helderberg is offline  
Old 07-13-22, 01:09 PM
  #13  
Moisture
Drip, Drip.
 
Moisture's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Southern Ontario
Posts: 1,575

Bikes: Trek Verve E bike, Felt Doctrine 4 XC, Opus Horizon Apex 1

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1033 Post(s)
Liked 190 Times in 160 Posts
Rolla The way I am holding the bar now, my grip is swept back about 2.5-3cm behind the stem clamp line, at the very most. It is equivalent to having a 120mm or so stem with regular bars.
Moisture is offline  
Likes For Moisture:
Old 07-13-22, 01:47 PM
  #14  
greatbasin
Full Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Posts: 214
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 157 Post(s)
Liked 77 Times in 60 Posts
If you make the bicycle fit, then the frame was not a size too small or a size too large. Too large and too small are sizes where the stem, handlebars, and seatpost that you want to use do not result in a good fit. However, there are a lot of frame size finding methods out there with a purpose to help buyers find the "right" size frame to buy. If a person determines their "correct" frame size using one of these methods, what will result from buying and trying to fit a frame a size smaller or larger than the method specifies?

Buying a smaller size frame on a modern road bike (last 25 years perhaps) will probably result in a lower bar position. These bikes tend to have a low stack-to-reach ratio. Even the small sizes are long-reach compared to vintage bikes. So the most consequential result is that you'll have a low bar position, which in some cases may be desirable. It can be counter-acted with a taller steerer or stem which can become problematic at extremes but should be fine if the change is only the 1cm or so between sizes. If the frame is small enough, the seat-tube angle can also be steeper to avoid toe-overlap. This often becomes a factor with sizes below 54cm, like 51cm or 48cm and so on. It may not be a big deal, but it is a difference.

Buying a larger frame, traditionally, with the level top-tube, the problem was excessive stand-over height. The rider might have to lean the bike over to dismount the saddle or risk the top tube impacting their groin. At some point, it also becomes impossible to lower the seat sufficiently as the seat cannot be pushed below the joint with the top tube. With modern road geometry, an excessively large frame may have too much reach. If we're talking one or two frame sizes, this can be counter-acted with a shorter stem or by pushing the seat forward on the post. These actions have some consequence in the steering and effective seat tube angle.

My road bike is a size smaller than the sizing methods suggest. The result is the bars are well-below the seat and a very aggressive riding position. I read that some pros ride a size or two small intentionally. I did it only because of a good deal on a used Bianchi. I did for a while bring the bars up to seat-height with a riser stem. That worked very effectively and I was able to ride 12 hours on it without discomfort. I've gone back to the original stem to sell the bike. It's probably better this way for shorter, aggressive rides, but I ride my touring bike more.

My (vintage) touring bike frame is two sizes larger than a road-bike sizing method would suggest. Again, I got it primarily because it was available and I liked it better than other available bikes. The stand-over height isn't excessive. I can straddle it with clearance. There is not a lot of seat post showing, but the seat is at the correct height and could be adjusted lower still. Since I am using touring bars (it came with north road and I put on albatross), the reach is not excessive at all because my bars come the completely opposite direction that drop bars do from the head. So in fact, unless I was using drop, bull or tri-bars, the sizing methods would suggest a frame with too little reach.

The frame-size finding methods are useful, but they are just a starting point. You can make many adjustments, though some will cost additional parts. Knowing what you want to do to the bike and with the bike in advance of selecting the size will help.
greatbasin is offline  
Likes For greatbasin:
Old 07-13-22, 05:47 PM
  #15  
thehammerdog
Senior Member
 
thehammerdog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: NWNJ
Posts: 3,692

Bikes: Road bike is a Carbon Bianchi C2C & Grandis (1980's), Gary Fisher Mt Bike, Trek Tandem & Mongoose SS MTB circa 1992.

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 719 Post(s)
Liked 344 Times in 224 Posts
my flexibility or lack there of is an issue as lifting leg over bike can be difficult on a not so flexy day...on smaller frames it is easier.
thehammerdog is offline  
Likes For thehammerdog:
Old 07-14-22, 08:33 AM
  #16  
Clyde1820
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 1,773

Bikes: 1996 Trek 970 ZX 2x11

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 565 Post(s)
Liked 478 Times in 362 Posts
would you rather have a frame one size too large or one size too small?
I've always tended to feel more comfortable and be capable of riding in the saddle longer on a frame that (according to conventional wisdom) is deemed "too small."

Having relatively short legs and being long-waisted, but preferring a more-upright riding posture, I've generally found a bike that's a couple of sizes smaller (based on ST and TT measurements) works better, and can be made to fit better. But, that's me.

I'd be a stellar candidate for a custom geometry. Much shorter reach, greater stack, an appropriate orientation (of course) of saddle position to cranks.

Current bike: a 15" Trek 970 MTB, with riser stem, swept/riser bars, 165mm crank arms (probably should be 160mm) ... yet I'm ~5'9" with a longer torso and shorter-than-usual inseam. Most typical bikes have me stretched out like a 2x12, yet that's never been how I've ridden. So long as I get the saddle to crank position about right, on such a seemingly-puny bike (for my stature) I can fiddle with stem+bars to get it comfortable; whereas I can't achieve this on a typical larger, "right-sized" frame.

Of course, everyone's limb lengths, riding posture and fitness differs. But the above works well enough for me.
Clyde1820 is offline  
Old 07-14-22, 09:55 AM
  #17  
himespau 
Senior Member
 
himespau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 13,222
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3718 Post(s)
Liked 2,531 Times in 1,507 Posts
Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Itís much easier to adjust the fit on a too small frame than on a too large frame.
  • a longer seatpost
  • a longer stem, flipped up
This, unless it has an unusually short top tube (or similar top tube length across sizes) and your goal is to raise the bars higher than the shorter head tube of the smaller size will allow (without all sorts of extenders).
himespau is offline  
Likes For himespau:
Old 07-14-22, 10:47 AM
  #18  
bruce19
Senior Member
 
bruce19's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lebanon (Liberty Hill), CT
Posts: 8,247

Bikes: CAAD 12, MASI Gran Criterium S, Colnago World Cup CX & Guru steel

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1635 Post(s)
Liked 1,122 Times in 656 Posts
40 yrs ago when I began cycling I was 5' 10 1/2" with a 32.5" inseam. At age 76 I am 5' 8 1/2" but with the same inseam. Back then a 54/55 was perfect for me. And, that is also true today. If I had to choose between a frame too big or too small I'd go with smaller to save weight. Otherwise Pagacar will start dropping me.
bruce19 is offline  
Likes For bruce19:
Old 07-14-22, 11:07 AM
  #19  
Helderberg
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Helderberg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Rolesville NC
Posts: 816

Bikes: Had an old Columbia in the 80's, here a used Schwinn hybrid, now a Cannondale Quick 3 and a Topstone 105..

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 249 Post(s)
Liked 305 Times in 138 Posts
Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
What is it with internet forums and absurd hypothetical questions? Why would anyone ever be forced to choose between a too-small frame and a too-large frame (...unless they were irrationally impatient)?
So sorry that my question has offended you so much. I did not mean to upset you with my "irrational" question. Please accept my sincere apology as I will certainly try to not upset you in the future.
Respectfully, Frank.
Helderberg is offline  
Old 07-14-22, 11:13 AM
  #20  
Clyde1820
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 1,773

Bikes: 1996 Trek 970 ZX 2x11

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 565 Post(s)
Liked 478 Times in 362 Posts
Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
What is it with internet forums and absurd hypothetical questions? Why would anyone ever be forced to choose between a too-small frame and a too-large frame (...unless they were irrationally impatient)?
Given what we've been through, with this Covid mess the past two+ years, numerous people have been forced to choose what's available versus what they'd prefer. Just as an example.

In a normal world, might seem absurd to imagine someone would be required to choose. From the viewpoint of "the land of plenty" and uninterrupted supply chains, it's hard to appreciate. Though, I suspect in many countries (and "backwaters") it's not altogether rare to find that only certain models and sizes are available. Effectively forcing a person to choose between having a ride and not having one. One could wait a year or two, sure, but ...
Clyde1820 is offline  
Likes For Clyde1820:
Old 07-14-22, 11:18 AM
  #21  
Helderberg
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Helderberg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Rolesville NC
Posts: 816

Bikes: Had an old Columbia in the 80's, here a used Schwinn hybrid, now a Cannondale Quick 3 and a Topstone 105..

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 249 Post(s)
Liked 305 Times in 138 Posts
Originally Posted by Clyde1820 View Post
I've always tended to feel more comfortable and be capable of riding in the saddle longer on a frame that (according to conventional wisdom) is deemed "too small."

Having relatively short legs and being long-waisted, but preferring a more-upright riding posture, I've generally found a bike that's a couple of sizes smaller (based on ST and TT measurements) works better, and can be made to fit better. But, that's me.

I'd be a stellar candidate for a custom geometry. Much shorter reach, greater stack, an appropriate orientation (of course) of saddle position to cranks.

Current bike: a 15" Trek 970 MTB, with riser stem, swept/riser bars, 165mm crank arms (probably should be 160mm) ... yet I'm ~5'9" with a longer torso and shorter-than-usual inseam. Most typical bikes have me stretched out like a 2x12, yet that's never been how I've ridden. So long as I get the saddle to crank position about right, on such a seemingly-puny bike (for my stature) I can fiddle with stem+bars to get it comfortable; whereas I can't achieve this on a typical larger, "right-sized" frame.

Of course, everyone's limb lengths, riding posture and fitness differs. But the above works well enough for me.

Do you feel the shorter wheelbase is an issue? I have always gone up a size frame if there was a significant difference in wheelbase. I like the stability of a longer wheelbase but now, as I am shrinking with old age, the larger frame seems to cause too many other issues with my back and shoulders. I am probably between two different styles/sizes of frames and need to look into a custom frame. That said I question how much time I have left on a bike as the back surgery I had in 2001 seems to be catching up to me at 73. I might just take up walking for exercise and sell the bikes. Very frustrating. Thanks again to all that have tried to post a positive response and know I do appreciate you taking the time to respond.
Frank.
Helderberg is offline  
Old 07-14-22, 11:28 AM
  #22  
Clyde1820
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 1,773

Bikes: 1996 Trek 970 ZX 2x11

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 565 Post(s)
Liked 478 Times in 362 Posts
Originally Posted by Helderberg View Post
Do you feel the shorter wheelbase is an issue? I have always gone up a size frame if there was a significant difference in wheelbase. I like the stability of a longer wheelbase but now, as I am shrinking with old age, the larger frame seems to cause too many other issues with my back and shoulders. I am probably between two different styles/sizes of frames and need to look into a custom frame. That said I question how much time I have left on a bike as the back surgery I had in 2001 seems to be catching up to me at 73. I might just take up walking for exercise and sell the bikes. Very frustrating. Thanks again to all that have tried to post a positive response and know I do appreciate you taking the time to respond.
Frank.
Yeah, I generally much prefer a longer wheelbase. Whereas with most bikes the smaller sizes can really jump down in wheelbase length. (My preference is in the Rivendell Clem Smith Jr. range, give or take, if I had my druthers.) But I wouldn't say it's an issue, as such.

Old injuries from running, myself. So, I'm in much the same boat with respect to how long I might have left for cycling. But a smaller frame with fairly upright posture seems to work; and a rower seems to work. Assuming the fit is "right."

I've also been considering custom geometry. Haven't yet sprung for that. But I'm sure R&E Cycles (Rodriguez) will be getting a call from me, at some point. I hear they have one with my name on it ... once we get past the custom specs, step-through frame and other doo-dads.
Clyde1820 is offline  
Likes For Clyde1820:
Old 07-14-22, 11:32 AM
  #23  
79pmooney
Senior Member
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 11,488

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 119 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3978 Post(s)
Liked 2,868 Times in 1,869 Posts
There's another aspect to this I haven't seen mentioned. (Granted, I haven't read every post.) Weight balance between the wheels. I started my adult life at 6'1/2" with long legs and very long arms. I come far forward (if the bike allows) when I stand. I also sit forward on the seat both going hard on the flat and on hairy descents. So, bikes with either short front ends or long rear ends (again, for me) will be light on the rear wheel. Any dirt on the road and I skid the wheel climbing standing. Bumpy corners on descents are scary. But a bike with a long front end and short chainstays solves both these problems for me. (Well, bumpy cornering takes some other things being right also.

So, just getting the fit right does not necessarily get me a "good" bike. I take this seriously. Before buying a bike, I measure up the frame, draw it up on my CAD program overlaid with my other frames, see what I need for stem and seatpost to get the fit AND locate my center of gravity between the wheels. For me, very few frames pass both criteria. For most it is a matter off how much "not quite right" I am willing to accept.

I'd wanted a titanium bike since I did a quick ride on a Merlin in 1990. Early auts I created a program that calculated the needed stem and seatpos plus weight balance from the specs in brochures simply to quickly see what titanium bikes were worth investigating further now that Lightspeed, Merlin and others has several models and I was in a place where I could afford a $4000 dream bike. Eye opening. $4000 wasn't going to get me a dream bike, just a "B" fit or handling. So I now own two ti bikes that do it all but I had to pay the extra k for custom.

And all this has taken me (well, one bike) down a rabbit hole. Long top tube and front end, steep-ish to get the handling I love, short chainstays all seem to add up to high speed shimmy; not a major problem 14 years ago but now in my late 60s, I'm not as strong or fearless and have become part of the problem. (I thought I was doing myself a favor by getting a bike long enough that I could ride it with a 120 stem for perfect fit. Easy to find plus every racer of my generation knows Eddy Merckx and God both rode 120s. Now I know my ridiculously long stems on my other bikes are reliable wobble dampers.)

Oh, I could solve some of the weight balance issues by simply sitting further back on the saddle. Yes. And have a bike where I have to watch how I'm riding and force myself out of the sweet comfortable place my body loves to keep the bike happy. So instead of it being "my bike", I am the bike's "rider" and I am supposed to do what it wants. No thanks. I raced a bike long ago that worked perfectly without me making any compromises. I want and expect that.

All that said, I just purchased a 40yo frame from a forumite, Japanese race bike. I know a couple of measurements, no angles. Rust and $75 so not a lot to lose. I'll measure it up when I get it, stem and post accordingly, throw some parts and wheels on, ride it and see if it's a keeper. What I do know is that I have owned two Japanese race bikes of that era that were sublime fits. Maybe this Pro Miyata will share some DNA with my old Fuji Pro. If it does, I might be riding this rusty mess a long time!
79pmooney is offline  
Likes For 79pmooney:
Old 07-14-22, 12:17 PM
  #24  
Helderberg
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Helderberg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Rolesville NC
Posts: 816

Bikes: Had an old Columbia in the 80's, here a used Schwinn hybrid, now a Cannondale Quick 3 and a Topstone 105..

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 249 Post(s)
Liked 305 Times in 138 Posts
Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
There's another aspect to this I haven't seen mentioned. (Granted, I haven't read every post.) Weight balance between the wheels. I started my adult life at 6'1/2" with long legs and very long arms. I come far forward (if the bike allows) when I stand. I also sit forward on the seat both going hard on the flat and on hairy descents. So, bikes with either short front ends or long rear ends (again, for me) will be light on the rear wheel. Any dirt on the road and I skid the wheel climbing standing. Bumpy corners on descents are scary. But a bike with a long front end and short chainstays solves both these problems for me. (Well, bumpy cornering takes some other things being right also.

So, just getting the fit right does not necessarily get me a "good" bike. I take this seriously. Before buying a bike, I measure up the frame, draw it up on my CAD program overlaid with my other frames, see what I need for stem and seatpost to get the fit AND locate my center of gravity between the wheels. For me, very few frames pass both criteria. For most it is a matter off how much "not quite right" I am willing to accept.

I'd wanted a titanium bike since I did a quick ride on a Merlin in 1990. Early auts I created a program that calculated the needed stem and seatpos plus weight balance from the specs in brochures simply to quickly see what titanium bikes were worth investigating further now that Lightspeed, Merlin and others has several models and I was in a place where I could afford a $4000 dream bike. Eye opening. $4000 wasn't going to get me a dream bike, just a "B" fit or handling. So I now own two ti bikes that do it all but I had to pay the extra k for custom.

And all this has taken me (well, one bike) down a rabbit hole. Long top tube and front end, steep-ish to get the handling I love, short chainstays all seem to add up to high speed shimmy; not a major problem 14 years ago but now in my late 60s, I'm not as strong or fearless and have become part of the problem. (I thought I was doing myself a favor by getting a bike long enough that I could ride it with a 120 stem for perfect fit. Easy to find plus every racer of my generation knows Eddy Merckx and God both rode 120s. Now I know my ridiculously long stems on my other bikes are reliable wobble dampers.)

Oh, I could solve some of the weight balance issues by simply sitting further back on the saddle. Yes. And have a bike where I have to watch how I'm riding and force myself out of the sweet comfortable place my body loves to keep the bike happy. So instead of it being "my bike", I am the bike's "rider" and I am supposed to do what it wants. No thanks. I raced a bike long ago that worked perfectly without me making any compromises. I want and expect that.

All that said, I just purchased a 40yo frame from a forumite, Japanese race bike. I know a couple of measurements, no angles. Rust and $75 so not a lot to lose. I'll measure it up when I get it, stem and post accordingly, throw some parts and wheels on, ride it and see if it's a keeper. What I do know is that I have owned two Japanese race bikes of that era that were sublime fits. Maybe this Pro Miyata will share some DNA with my old Fuji Pro. If it does, I might be riding this rusty mess a long time!
Balance, had not given that enough thought. I have been using "Bike Insights" frame overlay site to help me with my search for a new bike. I have rejected more than a few makes that have short chainstays or toe overlap. The lack of inventory at area bike shops is frustrating in that I can't go and ride a bike to see how it actually feels instead of looking at stick figure overlays. I fully realize that this is a problem for all of us, not just me. I am just venting I guess. I have had to use a very short stem with a 35 or 40 deg rise to keep my back from screaming after just 25 miles but this is not the cure-all I want as I can not get much more without a lot of backaches. My concern is that by moving down to a small from the medium I ride, I will cause instability in the ride on the highspeed downhills that are so prevalent here in my area. I don't want to have to drag the brakes as that kills any momentum I might use to help on the way up the other side. I really like my Topstone alloy, 105 11 sp, changed the cranks to 165mm and 37mm tires. It is just too long for me even with the short stem. I stretch and core exercise but the damage was done from two blown-out discs and spinal surgery has left me with too much scar tissue I believe. This is the reasoning I am using to move to a hybrid/fitness style to get a more upright position without going to a cruiser, straight up seating, as that is the worst as it stacks my spine and the bumps are brutal. I am thinking that walking is my next best idea and biking is going to be an around-the-block occasionally type of thing.
Thanks again all, Frank.
Frank.
Helderberg is offline  
Old 07-14-22, 12:52 PM
  #25  
Clyde1820
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 1,773

Bikes: 1996 Trek 970 ZX 2x11

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 565 Post(s)
Liked 478 Times in 362 Posts
Originally Posted by Helderberg View Post
... to move to a hybrid/fitness style to get a more upright position without going to a cruiser, straight up seating, as that is the worst as it stacks my spine and the bumps are brutal. I am thinking that walking is my next best idea and biking is going to be an around-the-block occasionally type of thing.
One thing that's helped me avoid much jarring, with a more-upright riding position, is a sprung saddle and a suspension seatpost.

Such as:
Brooks B67 Aged saddle
Cirrus Kinekt Active Suspension seatpost

Definitely helps take the edge off bumps and judders from the road surface.
Clyde1820 is offline  
Likes For Clyde1820:

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.