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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 02-05-18, 07:09 AM   #1
Phamilton
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Experiment with larger frame, any thoughts?

I'm 5'11 1/4", 34 1/4" cycling inseam. I usually ride a 23" Raleigh Marathon and it's never felt like it fit quite right.

I have this other frame, a late 80's Fuji, it's a 25" but the top tube is only 23 1/2". According to basically everything I've ever read, it should be too big. I put it together yesterday out of boredom and rode it around for 15 minutes or so. It doesn't feel too big, though. Does it look too big? Why would this feel comfortable to me if it is so much larger than frames most people my height/build use?

If anybody requests the back story from the original post, I'll add it in the comments. It was way too wordy for me to even read.

The photo is a screen shot of a video I took, low quality, and an afterthought to the post. I can take a better one if anybody wants. I'm in the drops in this photo.

Thanks,

Joseph
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Last edited by Phamilton; 02-05-18 at 09:48 AM. Reason: Original post WAY too wordy.
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Old 02-05-18, 11:52 AM   #2
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Your position does not look awful but your back could be a bit straighter. If a straighter back happens, then you may want a longer stem. I think the size if fine and anything that may need adjusting is easily possible with no extreme measures. The proof of the pudding, as always, is your comfort.
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Old 02-05-18, 12:37 PM   #3
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At 5'9 - 5'10, I'm always between most manufacturers' 54 and 56 (ETT) frames. I know the advice is to size down because you can always make a smaller bike bigger, but that didn't work for me. My last bike I sized down to a 54, and after purchasing several stems, multiple adjustments and a year and half of riding, I never was comfortable. I just finished a build on a similar frame, but with a 56 ETT, and everything feels "right" again. For me and this frame, sizing up was the right choice.

I think you look fine on that bike, and obviously it's going to come down to how you feel on the bike and your comfort level. I think once you are able to get in a few longer rides, you'll know for sure if it is right for you.
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Old 02-05-18, 01:44 PM   #4
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I'm about the same height as you with a slightly longer inseam.
I ride a 62cm frame. For me I find it perfect. I have always preferred larger frames as I feel cramped on smaller ones.
At the end of the day if you're comfortable that is all that matters really. If you rode a smaller framed bike you'd no doubt still have the seat and bars set to something like the levels you have them at now. All you're doing is filling the `air space' that a smaller frame would give you with frame, for what would be effectively the same riding position.
In conclusion, bike size/fit looks good. Let your body and your riding tell you what is right, not what the `experts' tell you to conform with today's trend for an aggressive/competitive fit.
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Old 02-05-18, 04:12 PM   #5
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I'm always put in a 58 cm frame when I go to bike shops. But I think they only initially look at your height. They miss the fact my legs are longer than my younger son that is 6'-3". I'm 5'-11" with about a 35" inseam depending on how you measure. I've always felt better on larger frames. I miss the size of my 26" varsity which equates to a 66cm frame. Ideally I think it was 1 inch to large for me. I probably would have been better on a 25" fram.

And in the 1977 catalog I have for that Varsity, they listed a fit size based on leg length. Here is a copy/paste of that 1977 catalog page 5.


Frame size Leg Length range*

17" 26" to 30"
19" 28" to 31"
20" 29" to 32"
(53.3 cm) 21" 30" to 33"
(55.8 cm) 22" 31" to 34"
(58.4 cm) 23" 32" to 35"
(60.9 cm) 24" 33" to 36"
(63.5 cm) 25" 34" to 37"
(66.0 cm) 26" 35" to 38"

I added the metric conversion to the frame size that was given in inches then. As well I realize that bike geometry has changed somewhat since back then, so todays 60 cm frame might have tubes lengths and angles that make it fit like the sizes of bikes in my youth.

But I believe that bike sizing today is still has the same issue as then. Different people have different arm, leg and body lengths. But the sizing systems were built toward an assumed average. As well the calculators that supposedly take those measures and more into account base their size on a particular geometry or two which might not be what you are looking at in the store.

So trying a size or two in both directions seems rational and prudent to me. And as you seem to be into very old bikes too, then today's frame sizing might not work either.
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Old 02-06-18, 09:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berner View Post
Your position does not look awful but your back could be a bit straighter. If a straighter back happens, then you may want a longer stem. I think the size if fine and anything that may need adjusting is easily possible with no extreme measures. The proof of the pudding, as always, is your comfort.
Seemed counterintuitive to me at first (sizing up on frame AND longer stem) but on second thought it might make sense. I've been trying to improve flexibility (for straighter back), and on smaller bike (I've also owned 56cm) with shorter stem, only way for extra flexibility to manifest seemed to be pushing handlebars further and further down, limited by ability to breathe correctly and also neck discomfort on long rides. Fuji was actually a parts donor for the Raleigh, which I use primarily for commuting, ~15mi each way.

Snow the rest of the week here, so I won't get a chance to really try it until probably next week.
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Old 02-06-18, 09:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RocThrower View Post
At 5'9 - 5'10, I'm always between most manufacturers' 54 and 56 (ETT) frames. I know the advice is to size down because you can always make a smaller bike bigger, but that didn't work for me. My last bike I sized down to a 54, and after purchasing several stems, multiple adjustments and a year and half of riding, I never was comfortable. I just finished a build on a similar frame, but with a 56 ETT, and everything feels "right" again. For me and this frame, sizing up was the right choice.

I think you look fine on that bike, and obviously it's going to come down to how you feel on the bike and your comfort level. I think once you are able to get in a few longer rides, you'll know for sure if it is right for you.
I agree, and as I am starting to like this bike, I hope it is!

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Originally Posted by ccinnz View Post
I'm about the same height as you with a slightly longer inseam.
I ride a 62cm frame. For me I find it perfect. I have always preferred larger frames as I feel cramped on smaller ones.
At the end of the day if you're comfortable that is all that matters really. If you rode a smaller framed bike you'd no doubt still have the seat and bars set to something like the levels you have them at now. All you're doing is filling the `air space' that a smaller frame would give you with frame, for what would be effectively the same riding position.
In conclusion, bike size/fit looks good. Let your body and your riding tell you what is right, not what the `experts' tell you to conform with today's trend for an aggressive/competitive fit.
Honestly, I figured there was some "science" behind how bikes are being fit now vs. 30 years (or however long) ago. I'm not aggressive or competitive on or off the bike, so that type of fit might not be right for me. But with apparent lack of science to support the trend, it would be just that, wouldn't it? A trend? If it just comes down to how to fill the empty space, makes me wonder why it's sometimes so hotly contested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I'm always put in a 58 cm frame when I go to bike shops. But I think they only initially look at your height. They miss the fact my legs are longer than my younger son that is 6'-3". I'm 5'-11" with about a 35" inseam depending on how you measure. I've always felt better on larger frames. I miss the size of my 26" varsity which equates to a 66cm frame. Ideally I think it was 1 inch to large for me. I probably would have been better on a 25" fram.

And in the 1977 catalog I have for that Varsity, they listed a fit size based on leg length. Here is a copy/paste of that 1977 catalog page 5.


Frame size Leg Length range*

17" 26" to 30"
19" 28" to 31"
20" 29" to 32"
(53.3 cm) 21" 30" to 33"
(55.8 cm) 22" 31" to 34"
(58.4 cm) 23" 32" to 35"
(60.9 cm) 24" 33" to 36"
(63.5 cm) 25" 34" to 37"
(66.0 cm) 26" 35" to 38"

I added the metric conversion to the frame size that was given in inches then. As well I realize that bike geometry has changed somewhat since back then, so todays 60 cm frame might have tubes lengths and angles that make it fit like the sizes of bikes in my youth.

But I believe that bike sizing today is still has the same issue as then. Different people have different arm, leg and body lengths. But the sizing systems were built toward an assumed average. As well the calculators that supposedly take those measures and more into account base their size on a particular geometry or two which might not be what you are looking at in the store.

So trying a size or two in both directions seems rational and prudent to me. And as you seem to be into very old bikes too, then today's frame sizing might not work either.
Rational AND prudent? I'm blushing.

I only have one bike shop fit experience to share, but it was essentially the same. "How tall are you?" "About 6 feet" "K, you'll need a 58" There was a laminated paper chart on the wall, height vs. frame size, evidently this was all the more thought they could put into it.

Thanks all, for the replies.
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Old 02-06-18, 10:40 AM   #8
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The saddle looks quite forward in the pic.

Stand-over clearance tends to be the limiting factor for me in that situation,

but I have short-ish legs.
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Old 02-06-18, 12:36 PM   #9
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Joseph, the Fuji frame looks a little too big for you. It looks like you can make it work by having the saddle low and the stem almost on top of the headset. But that doesn't give you much wiggle room to adjust either up and down. With your longer inseam to height, you are on the right track in choosing a frame that has a little longer seat post length than top tube length.

If I were you, I would first set the saddlle position. Start with ~83% of total inseam (floor to crotch) for the height. Assuming its 34.25" then try 28.5". Then use knee over pedal spindle (KOPS) to get an idea of saddle fore/aft placement. Hold the string below your kneecap (not on it) and see if you can get the weight at the end to be over or close to the pedal spindle and ball of your foot. You might need someone else to help check it. Pedal should be in the 3 o'clock position. After that the saddle stays where it is. Adjust the angle a little up or down depending on what you like after riding on it a bit.

Then stem length is whatever you feel comfy with without being too stretched out. I like a top tube length short enough to let me have around a 140mm stem. When I'm on the brake hoods or in the drops, I see my front hub if it matters. But the top tube, torso and arm length will dictate that, not the saddle fore/aft (after its set).

Edit: Forgot to mention that I like the stem not much lower than the seat. I used to have it lower, but was having some lower back pain and am not as flexible as when I was younger. So I recently flipped my stem to raise the bars a bit. It solved the lower back pain issue for me.

Edit 2: I mention 140mm stem above but I actually have a 120mm stem on one bike and a shorter (110mm?) on another. So had a senior moment and got the length wrong. Oh well. I think the takeaway here is that I like to be a little more over the front wheel.

Last edited by ptempel; 02-08-18 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 02-06-18, 02:59 PM   #10
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What fit do you want? Go fast racer, or longer, comfortable, touring, JRA?

Of course larger is also a longer top tube , so ..shorter stem?

can you straddle the frame standing flat footed ?






...
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Old 02-06-18, 04:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
What fit do you want? Go fast racer, or longer, comfortable, touring, JRA?

Of course larger is also a longer top tube , so ..shorter stem?

can you straddle the frame standing flat footed ?

...
Yes, comfortable for long rides (30 mile RT commute, etc).

~1" standover, so it's a little snug

Re: the stem, I kind of like the reach/balance where it's at w/ 100mm, but I have a 90 and a 60 also I think in the parts pile. I want to get a 120 also just to have one around. Does it seem like quill stems longer than 120 are a little harder to come by?

Edit: worth noting this is just an extra frame so I'm not super attached. It is a little nicer than the Raleigh, little lighter, little prettier.

Last edited by Phamilton; 02-06-18 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 02-06-18, 08:42 PM   #12
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Just thinking about it a bit more - this frame is nice enough in my opinion it deserves to be built back up and kept on the road. I was kind of skirting the issue in my head, but it really rides, shifts, and stops nice. The paint isn't perfect, but it's a Celeste-y green color with pink and purple accents, not everybody's cup of tea, but I like it. I'm sure someone else would, too.

If it doesn't fit, I'll sell it, I could prob get $150-200 as spring is coming soon. I'd pay that much for a similar bike in good shape that fit well.

I'm kind of glad I got bored, and glad I got some thoughts from the community. Thanks again, all, for the helpful discussion.
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Old 02-07-18, 10:44 AM   #13
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My opinion is that the seat tube is a good height for you, but the top tube is much too short. Many older frames were built like this. You could try a much longer stem.

You need to roll your hips forward and straighten your back. Having done that, your upper arms should make a 90° angle with your torso, and with hands on hoods, forearms horizontal, your elbows should be in front of your knees, maybe a 1" gap there. Obviously this frame and stem combo is much too short.

I don't know why people ride tiny bikes, but one sure sees that a lot.
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Old 02-08-18, 07:27 AM   #14
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Some notably different assessments here.

Here are some better photos, I made no further adjustments to the bike/posture since the first photo.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_1504.JPG (115.2 KB, 78 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1508.JPG (102.7 KB, 77 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1509.JPG (95.4 KB, 78 views)
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Old 02-08-18, 07:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccinnz View Post
I'm about the same height as you with a slightly longer inseam.
I ride a 62cm frame. For me I find it perfect. I have always preferred larger frames as I feel cramped on smaller ones.
At the end of the day if you're comfortable that is all that matters really. If you rode a smaller framed bike you'd no doubt still have the seat and bars set to something like the levels you have them at now. All you're doing is filling the `air space' that a smaller frame would give you with frame, for what would be effectively the same riding position.
In conclusion, bike size/fit looks good. Let your body and your riding tell you what is right, not what the `experts' tell you to conform with today's trend for an aggressive/competitive fit.
I have always ended up with the "next larger" frame as they seem more comfortable. If you are going to use your existing drivetrain and components, what's to lose except some bar tape and cabling? Seems a science experiment might be appropriate just to answer your curiousity.
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Old 02-08-18, 02:01 PM   #16
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@berner
@woodcraft
@ptempel
@Carbonfiberboy

If not much trouble, would you mind looking at these clearer photos and advise if still in agreement with your initial assessments? I really do appreciate the feedback.
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Old 02-08-18, 04:51 PM   #17
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I think that looks pretty good. I still think a little longer stem would be good, but this is OK. Something sure looks different. Posture, position on saddle, hands? Or maybe not a longer stem, just move the saddle back until your hands feel light on the bars, or until you can briefly take your hands off the bars while riding and not slide forward on the saddle.
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Old 02-08-18, 10:38 PM   #18
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If you like it, ride it.

I'd try the saddle down & back a bit.

I had that kind of set up BITD, maybe 4" of seatpost showing.
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Old 02-09-18, 01:44 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I think that looks pretty good. I still think a little longer stem would be good, but this is OK. Something sure looks different. Posture, position on saddle, hands? Or maybe not a longer stem, just move the saddle back until your hands feel light on the bars, or until you can briefly take your hands off the bars while riding and not slide forward on the saddle.
Quote:
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If you like it, ride it.

I'd try the saddle down & back a bit.

I had that kind of set up BITD, maybe 4" of seatpost showing.
No pics yet, but I tried rolling my hips forward. At first, it was crushing my testicles and I couldn't breathe, but I moved the saddle backward and tweaked the angle until that didn't hurt anymore and I was able to move my testicles out from underneath and off to one side. Is that common, moving them to the side? To maintain that posture, I have to pull back on the bars a little when accelerating while seated to resist sliding off the back of the saddle. Does that sound right, or maybe went too far? I've always either had to push down and/or forward on my handlebars, so pulling is counterintuitive. If I didn't mention earlier in the post, I'm still pretty new to riding a road bike. It seems like it might be helpful for me to pick up a cheap trainer.
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Old 02-09-18, 02:12 PM   #20
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No pics yet, but I tried rolling my hips forward. At first, it was crushing my testicles and I couldn't breathe, but I moved the saddle backward and tweaked the angle until that didn't hurt anymore and I was able to move my testicles out from underneath and off to one side. Is that common, moving them to the side? To maintain that posture, I have to pull back on the bars a little when accelerating while seated to resist sliding off the back of the saddle. Does that sound right, or maybe went too far? I've always either had to push down and/or forward on my handlebars, so pulling is counterintuitive. If I didn't mention earlier in the post, I'm still pretty new to riding a road bike. It seems like it might be helpful for me to pick up a cheap trainer.
If you can briefly lift your hands off the bars, you have it back far enough, no further. Pulling on the bars when going hard is normal, usually up on the downstroke side and a bit back. Pushing forward on the bars is a sign you're not back far enough.

Tighter shorts should fix the balls issue. You know they're tight enough if you can barely get them over your butt. Your balls should be pulled up and held out of the way by your shorts. I usually reach down there and yank them up just before I ride. Kinda hard to be inobtrusive about it though. I probably have 10 pair which I cycle through, choosing the short according to the ride. Just the right shorts may take a bit to find.
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Old 02-09-18, 02:37 PM   #21
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At 5'10", I've put a lot of miles on about a 60cm frame. I bought it when I was 16, and it just always seemed right... until 3 decades later someone suggested it should be too big for me

I think my cargo bike is either 61 or 62, and a bit on the large side. I did drop the bottom bracket slightly during re-assembly

Anyway, my favorite point is that once you're sitting on the seat, the top tube doesn't make a whole lot of difference.
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Old 02-12-18, 05:49 PM   #22
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If you can briefly lift your hands off the bars, you have it back far enough, no further. Pulling on the bars when going hard is normal, usually up on the downstroke side and a bit back. Pushing forward on the bars is a sign you're not back far enough.

Tighter shorts should fix the balls issue. You know they're tight enough if you can barely get them over your butt. Your balls should be pulled up and held out of the way by your shorts. I usually reach down there and yank them up just before I ride. Kinda hard to be inobtrusive about it though. I probably have 10 pair which I cycle through, choosing the short according to the ride. Just the right shorts may take a bit to find.
I rode the bike at a local park today for I guess somewhere between 5-10 miles and did a couple more little tweaks to the saddle but I am pretty satisfied. When I was crouched as low as I could go in the drops my knees were almost hitting my elbows. I do think I could go for a 120mm stem eventually. I measured the top tube again and its 60cm, 23 1/2". So the frame is really tall (64cm) but not all that long. With the 100mm stem it's still pretty upright while I'm on the hoods. FWIW I have the saddle and bars adjusted to be comfortable primarily on the drops, and since the bars are comparatively high I think that's fine. The Raleigh I've been riding has a 57cm top tube for comparison. It would be very strange to think that a longer reach is what I should have been working toward but I was trying to sit on my butt before, like on an upright bike, so that sure would limit my reach. It sure is confusing, though, the bike shops put me on a 58 with an ETT of 56-57, the fit calculators all seem to want me on a 56-57 ETT w/120mm stem but I seem to be comfortable on a 60 TT w/100mm stem, maybe longer. That's a remarkable reach disparity.
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Old 02-12-18, 09:27 PM   #23
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If you've got your knees behind the pedal spindles or at least easily could if you wanted to, then no way the frame is to large-- some taller riders have larger bikes with shorter stems than 100 because they need a setback seatpost for the legs. Your saddle positon looks okay with a straight post.
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