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Fitting Your Bike Are you confused about how you should fit a bike to your particular body dimensions? Have you been reading, found the terms Merxx or French Fit, and don’t know what you need? Every style of riding is different- in how you fit the bike to you, and the sizing of the bike itself. It’s more than just measuring your height, reach and inseam. With the help of Bike Fitting, you’ll be able to find the right fit for your frame size, style of riding, and your particular dimensions. Here ya’ go…..the location for everything fit related.

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Old 12-07-17, 10:01 AM   #1
lvabd
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Any roadie steel frame with effective top tube <51cm?

hello!

I am 1.67m, and ride on long-ish distances, Audax type. Comfort is key, but not considering 26" due to efficiency requirements

I currently have an old fashion Thorn Brevet, with an effective top tube CC of 51cm, but fitted with a short 5cm stem. That is still a wee bit too long.

Do you know any steel frame, 700c or 650b/c with a top tube around 49cm, and that would be less than 600 £, fork included (carbon or steel), and if possible UK or Europe made...? (I am aware of Isen or of Hartley and many other custom bikes, but that's not an option, according to my banker)
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Old 12-07-17, 10:19 AM   #2
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Surly Straggler 650b, 38cm (not EU made)
Canyon Endurace, 2XS or 3XS (but it's aluminum)

It's worth looking closely at the frame's reach, rather than effective top tube length. A lot of small bikes use steep seat angles to shrink with length of the top tube without actually making the bike fit better. Reach of 350mm seems to be the lower limit on 700c frames. Have you had a professional bike fit?
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Old 12-07-17, 11:40 AM   #3
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Not a direct answer, just wondered how did you decide on the effective TT length.
Super-short torso? Meaning 820+ mm inseam?

For reference: 167 cm myself, 783 mm inseam, my eff. TT preferences have always been 515-545 mm since I stopped growing up in ~1978.
Once I focused on longer distances some 10 years ago, the TT length went up.
My current long-distance bikes (used for 80-120 miles daily) have effective top tubes of 535 and 545 mm respectively, both have 90 mm stems.
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Old 12-07-17, 05:21 PM   #4
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Comfort is key, but not considering 26" due to efficiency requirements
I'm supportive of your quest, but I would challenge the above. What "efficiency requirements" would preclude 26" wheels? There are a few fast-rolling tires in that size, and smaller wheels are key for good geometry on smaller frames.
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Old 12-08-17, 02:18 AM   #5
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Surly Straggler 650b, 38cm (not EU made)
Canyon Endurace, 2XS or 3XS (but it's aluminum)

It's worth looking closely at the frame's reach, rather than effective top tube length. A lot of small bikes use steep seat angles to shrink with length of the top tube without actually making the bike fit better. Reach of 350mm seems to be the lower limit on 700c frames. Have you had a professional bike fit?
I also found out that I need a rather big setback, so steep angles for seattube would put me too much "on top" of my feet...? I only notice that on my Thorn, I need the saddle to be quite far back to relieve weight off my hands

Yes I had a pro bike fit. Somehow, it just doesn't work. He adviced me on a 50 cm long haul trucker (for touring): there was absolutely now way that I could ride a 50cm LHT with drop bars without terrible pain in my shoulders. changed to straight mtb, and now even swept back bars. partly because of wrist pain and because I don't really like touring on drops

thanks yes, true, I completely skipped the geometry of the Straggler. Great bike, on top of my list now. thanks!
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Old 12-08-17, 02:29 AM   #6
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Not a direct answer, just wondered how did you decide on the effective TT length.
Super-short torso? Meaning 820+ mm inseam?

For reference: 167 cm myself, 783 mm inseam, my eff. TT preferences have always been 515-545 mm since I stopped growing up in ~1978.
Once I focused on longer distances some 10 years ago, the TT length went up.
My current long-distance bikes (used for 80-120 miles daily) have effective top tubes of 535 and 545 mm respectively, both have 90 mm stems.

Very good question. Pro bike fit was setting reach at 53 cm. Then I got a 53cm TT bike (50cm LHT). Wayyyyy to big for me to ride with drop bars. I figured that out very quickly, it was just so so wrong (but anyway didn't like drops for touring)
Then the Thorn Brevet I ride for Audax, with a 51cm TT... seemed alright until approximately 150km. Then pain, everywhere. I tried that many times, but no. Ended up with a short stem on it. Now the angle between my torso and my arms is 90 degrees (and not 100 or so as before), so I think I am getting there. Pain starts at 200k. But I believe I would be more comfy on something shorter (and with a stem of a normal length instead of 5cm)

I did a lot of googling, and it seems to me that I possibly have a short torso (80cm inseam), and I tend to ride with a back quite "arched", not straight (no matter the saddle). I would actually be willing to try having more drop between saddle and handlebar (so far same height), but that would mean an even shorter top tube than what I am looking for now. I had found a video of a pro bike fit who was explaining that there can be a large difference in ideal TT between two persons of exactly the same proportions, simply due to natural back and pelvis positionning. But I am not a bike fit pro at all, so I am mostly relying on my feelings, although yes, it does seem odd to me that I need such a short TT
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Old 12-08-17, 08:18 AM   #7
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You're heading rapidly toward a "Dutch bike", "roadster", "step-thru frame" or similar very laid back frame. Are there any Electra, Pashley, or Public dealers near you?
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Old 12-08-17, 12:41 PM   #8
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You're heading rapidly toward a "Dutch bike", "roadster", "step-thru frame" or similar very laid back frame. Are there any Electra, Pashley, or Public dealers near you?
Are you talking about 600k ... on a dutch bike? mmmh I will need some serious convincing there.... why that suggestion? I actually think I need much more drop between saddle and handlebars...!
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Old 12-08-17, 01:03 PM   #9
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Are you talking about 600k ... on a dutch bike? mmmh I will need some serious convincing there.... why that suggestion? I actually think I need much more drop between saddle and handlebars...!
Well, you've mentioned needing a fairly slack seat angle and a short top tube. Putting those two together eliminates most road, touring, or triathlon bikes, including the children's versions of those. Dutch-style bikes tend to have a slack seat angle, and a variety of top tube lengths. The game here is finding a frame, right? You seem to be after a seat angle less than 73 degrees, and reach less than 350mm. Do you know what stack measurement you would need (or handlebar height)?

I think your measurements are within the range of normal. I think it would be worth finding another bike fitter before shopping for another bike.
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Old 12-08-17, 04:45 PM   #10
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How about this on ebay?
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Youngs-45...4AAOSwV4BZ2O9H

You could ask the seller, the top tube length. It has mounting points on the fork and frame.
Looks like there is room for some new wider tyres for comfort on those long rides .e.g. Compass 28s.

The smaller frames generally still have that steeper seat tube angle.
To get around this, you can shop around for a seatpost with a longer setback, e.g. 35mm setback.

Switch out the saddle for one you like, give it a clean/tune up/new small parts.


or this?
https://www.gumtree.com/p/bicycles/t...al-/1277495779


Edit: If its still for sale, here's a Justin Burls Columbus Spirit 50cm ETT frame (no fork) for 495:-
http://burls.co.uk/titanium_stock.php
^ its the dark blue/purple steel frame, third from the bottom. Click on 'Open' and you'll see a detailed frame geo drawing.

Edit#2:-
https://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/ribbl...nter-frameset/
498mm ETT on the XS/44. Good price.

Last edited by tangerineowl; 12-09-17 at 01:27 AM. Reason: txt
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Old 12-09-17, 03:27 AM   #11
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[QUOTE=tangerineowl;20041628]How about this on ebay?
QUOTE]

Thanks a lot tnagerineowl! had no idea such a world existed (even less in the UK, where it seemed to me that the average bike was 58cm) thanks!!
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Old 12-09-17, 03:46 PM   #12
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Two possibilities that I know of:

All-City Macho Man 43cm 650b -- ETT 495mm, reach 360mm.

Salsa Vaya 49.5cm 700c -- ETT 495mm, reach 354mm.
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Old 12-09-17, 04:37 PM   #13
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Short reach, lots of saddle setback, AND 700c wheels? No. Your out of luck. Not even a skilled custom builder could do this. The problem is the large wheels which get in the way and ARE the limiting factor when it comes to short reach.

If you can find a bike with 26" wheels that works for you then count yourself lucky. I'm a little shorter than you but I need 24" wheels to get the geometry to work for me. Going to smaller wheels is your only option or you will have to deal with steep seat tube angles instead.
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Old 12-11-17, 07:29 AM   #14
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Short reach, lots of saddle setback, AND 700c wheels? No. Your out of luck. Not even a skilled custom builder could do this. The problem is the large wheels which get in the way and ARE the limiting factor when it comes to short reach.

If you can find a bike with 26" wheels that works for you then count yourself lucky. I'm a little shorter than you but I need 24" wheels to get the geometry to work for me. Going to smaller wheels is your only option or you will have to deal with steep seat tube angles instead.
HI Anthony

no I mentioned 650b/c. There are many bike builders who make short reach bikes (typically "square" geometry: 49cm seat tube and 49 top tube for example, have a look at Isen or Hartley for example), with 650b/c, that is very easy to find. My problem is not to find such bikes, it's their price (>1000£), hence my post. Cheers!
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Old 12-11-17, 03:43 PM   #15
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https://www.ebay.de/itm/Rennrad-Dacc...EAAOSwVC1Z2i5k

^ There's a beautiful Dura-Ace group, 49cm ETT bike in Germany.
A couple hundred over your price range, but I thought I'd post it anyway

A quick flight over to grab the bike. You could ride it back!

Last edited by tangerineowl; 12-11-17 at 03:49 PM. Reason: txt
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Old 12-11-17, 04:47 PM   #16
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HI Anthony

no I mentioned 650b/c. There are many bike builders who make short reach bikes (typically "square" geometry: 49cm seat tube and 49 top tube for example, have a look at Isen or Hartley for example), with 650b/c, that is very easy to find. My problem is not to find such bikes, it's their price (>1000£), hence my post. Cheers!
650b and 650c are SO completely different that you shouldn't put them together. 650b are quite large and depending on tire size aren't really smaller than 700c anyway. 650c IS smaller because they are only really available with skinny high performance tires.

Your problem is that larger wheels hit the down-tube if you try to make the Reach short, so the wheel size is the limiting factor when it comes to short reach. Even if you could get around this by having "miracle" frame materials and removing the down-tube you will still have the issue of horrendous toe overlap.

ANY small framed, large wheeled bike will have a very steep seat tube angle so that the manufacturer can quote a short top tube spec on a piece of paper but you already know that this puts a LOT of weight forwards onto your hands and shoulders.

Your only hope at finding anything suitable with a short reach and reasonable seat tube angle is to start looking at 26" wheeled bikes and even that isn't going to be easy. You will still find plenty of bikes with steep seat tube angles.

What you WANT, unfortunately belongs to an alternative universe where the laws of geometry can be bent at will. Here in our Universe you will need to look at smaller wheeled bikes or suffer from poor fit on larger wheeled bikes.
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Old 12-11-17, 05:12 PM   #17
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Well, I can see one way that 700C wheels could work on smaller frames. But it would take a very unfashionably long wheelbase to do it.
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Old 12-12-17, 04:05 AM   #18
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Well, I can see one way that 700C wheels could work on smaller frames. But it would take a very unfashionably long wheelbase to do it.
Yes that's true. You could have a REALLY slack head tube angle plus LOTS of fork rake to push the front wheel forwards. You'd have to work it out on paper and I'm not sure how much it would help.
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Old 12-12-17, 04:56 AM   #19
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Welcome to my world. I'm actually shorter than you and my 50 cm disc trucker fits me great with a 100mm stem. The straggler is longer in standover and reach so I would take a smaller size. You are like me and need a 26" bike.
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Old 12-12-17, 09:54 AM   #20
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Yes that's true. You could have a REALLY slack head tube angle plus LOTS of fork rake to push the front wheel forwards. You'd have to work it out on paper and I'm not sure how much it would help.
That and looong chainstays to allow the seat tube to be at a normal angle. Anybody who came up in the crit bike era would just shake their head.
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Old 12-13-17, 05:55 AM   #21
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That and looong chainstays to allow the seat tube to be at a normal angle. Anybody who came up in the crit bike era would just shake their head.
I don't believe that its short chain stays that dictate steep seat tube angles. Its more a case of wanting a certain top tube length on a spec sheet and this top tube length necessitates a steep seat tube angle.

The designer then looks at the design on paper and goes, that looks CRAP with all that space there. Lets shorten the chain-stays. Then we will use it as a USF (unique selling feature). The punters won't know better.
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Old 12-13-17, 11:27 AM   #22
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I don't believe that its short chain stays that dictate steep seat tube angles. Its more a case of wanting a certain top tube length on a spec sheet and this top tube length necessitates a steep seat tube angle.

The designer then looks at the design on paper and goes, that looks CRAP with all that space there. Lets shorten the chain-stays. Then we will use it as a USF (unique selling feature). The punters won't know better.
That could be. I always figured that the rear wheel was brought forward to maintain some kind of balance as the front wheel came in, and the seat tube angle needed to be steepened to avoid interference (curved seat tubes avoid that, but at extra cost of course.)
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Old 12-13-17, 12:13 PM   #23
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I would recommend a second opinion on the "I'm short, and need a shallow seat tube angle." Theory. Sounds fishy to me, (illogical). I am the same height and leg length, and whenever I ride a bike with a less than 74 degree seat angle, I end up only able to "push gears" instead of spin. If you believe a steep seat angle increases hand pressure, there may be other causes; Seat tilted down, handlebars too low. By using flip-flop (sandles) as under the handle bar tape padding can really help your hands. Pain in the shoulders sounds like a muscle imbalance/ weakness issue. That is my opinion, which I am entitled to.
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Old 12-16-17, 07:24 AM   #24
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I'm slightly taller than you but your legs are slightly longer, and I ride bikes with 54cm top tubes and 800mm stel. , so I'm puzzled by your posts. But then I don't ride 150km brevets. Perhaps someone on the longdistance forum has had similar problems.

If I start to hurt, I stop. Pain is your body's way of telling you that something is wrong.
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