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..lets talk bike fitting-long torso, short legs

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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.

..lets talk bike fitting-long torso, short legs

Old 12-03-20, 03:03 PM
  #1  
rajbcpa
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..lets talk bike fitting-long torso, short legs

I was born with a very long torso and a very short pair of legs....

Golf equipment and bikes have been hard to fit me.

I can fit on a frame that is 52cm and the balls of my feet just touch the ground..... however, when I ride, the length of the bike feels too short.

Can I buy a few extra-long handlebar stems, or a few seat post that allows the seats to go way, way back?

thx...
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Old 12-03-20, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by rajbcpa View Post
I can fit on a frame that is 52cm and the balls of my feet just touch the ground..... however, when I ride, the length of the bike feels too short.
first, what do you mean by this? are you talking about standover? if so, that's irrelevant to the frame size. focus on what sizing geometry suits you when you are RIDING the bike. if a bike that fits you well when you're riding it has dangerously high standover, look for a bike with a more sloping top tube. do NOT buy a bike based on standover.

what kind of riding are you doing? commuting, touring, racing, fast road riding? you need to provide more details about your goals.

regarding seated reach, you should not adjust this by moving the saddle. the saddle should be positioned to optimize pedaling efficiency and comfort by balancing your body over the cranks. the best way to achieve this is to get on a bike that is about the right size for you and adjust the saddle height and fore/aft position until it just feels right. there are formulas and obtuse ways to shortcut getting yourself close to the right position, but trial and error are the best way in the end. if you're willing to pay a fitter, they'll probably use a giant angle-finder to figure out what saddle position optimizes where your knees move during your pedal stroke, but listen to your body for the final answer.

once you have a saddle position, you need to figure out where to put your handlebar in relation to the saddle, and in relation to the cranks. most people ignore this second part, but I find it to be important because I don't glue my butt to the saddle 100% of the time. you should adjust the handlebar position by moving the stem around or using different stems. there's no shortcut for this. most road bikes use something like a 80–120mm stem. if you have to use something much longer or much shorter than that, there's a good chance that you have the wrong size frame, but lots of people have to use unusually long/ short stems for various reasons, so do what you need to do. unless you have truly mutant proportions, I would think the bike should look like a bike when you're done.

one thing to consider: look for a bike that is designed for someone your overall height, but has a long "reach" and effective top tube for it's size. there is no standard for sizing bikes, so the same rider who fits on a 54cm from manufacturer A might need a 56 or a 52 from manufacturer B.
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Old 12-03-20, 03:29 PM
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When I'm in my saddle the balls of my feet can just barely touch the ground too. That's pretty much desired, or at least for a road bike it is, perhaps some road bikers can't even do that. Regardless, there isn't anything about the size of you and your bike that we can relate to how well the bike is sized for you based on that information.

Sure you can buy either a longer stem or a seat post with more setback. But the two things affect other aspects of your bike fit. Such as where are your knees in relation to the BB. You can also get handlebars that change up how much reach you do or don't have.

Bike fit isn't a one and done thing. It evolves over time with your cycling fitness. Also the type of riding you do makes a difference.
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Old 12-03-20, 03:50 PM
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rajbcpa : If it were me I'd start by finding a good, independent professional fitter... but if you want to experiment on your own I'd definitely start with the stem. Adding more setback to the seatpost can cause hip impingement and/or knee pain if you go too far. Also, just change one thing at a time so you can track the impact of your adjustments (positive or negative). Good luck!
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Old 12-03-20, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rajbcpa View Post
I was born with a very long torso and a very short pair of legs....

Golf equipment and bikes have been hard to fit me.

I can fit on a frame that is 52cm and the balls of my feet just touch the ground..... however, when I ride, the length of the bike feels too short.

Can I buy a few extra-long handlebar stems, or a few seat post that allows the seats to go way, way back?

thx...

I have a similar issue. (I'm about 5'9" or so, but with 29" inseam. It is a familial Keltic trait.) I wound up getting a custom steel frame, and subsequently observed the frame dimensions were nearly identical to a Trek Domane 54.

My problem is that I need a sloping top tube and significant stack. I have a 53 steel 1987 Bianchi with a horizontal top tube and it is too small, except for the stand-over height.

So I would suggest looking at Bikes like Trek Domane, and comparing that fit to others. (Trek's website tells me I entered a mistake when I input my inseam.)
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Old 12-03-20, 07:31 PM
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another point to note: when we talk about fitting a bicycle and inseam, be sure you're understand the difference between "pants size" inseam and "pelvis height" inseam. the standover height listed for a bicycle only needs to be a little shorter than your anatomical inseam to be "safe".
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Old 12-05-20, 12:52 PM
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This actually isn't complicated. First, find out what frame dimensions will fit you. Use a fit calculator, this one: https://www.competitivecyclist.com/S...ulatorBike.jsp
Have someone help you take your measurements.
When you get your numbers, use the effective top tube measurement to pick your frame size. Ignore the manufacturer's frame size number, which is based on seat tube length. You don't care about that: saddle go up and down a long way, but stems can vary only a little in length. You do not adjust reach by moving the saddle. That's adjusted for balance. We adjust reach with stem length.

You can find all the frame size measurements for most manufacturers online. When fitting the bike to yourself, you can use my bike fitting primer: How can I fitting my bike
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Old 12-05-20, 05:36 PM
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Its a racing bike but look up Carpdiemracing and that Tsunami frame. Getting a custom make alu frame to suit your proportions might be a good idea.

The BMC URS 1x gravel bike would most likely have the frame reach you'd require. You'd have to look at the standover though. Possibly even put on a longer (non? URS) stem, if possible, for longer reach.

https://www.facebook.com/beachbastardsshop/ This shop in the Netherlands sells the Wikkit Q-bomb (and other models) alu dropbar frameset. Technically a beach racing frameset (clears a big 700c) but they can be built up as 2x.
Those frame have a very long reach. Seat tube length (frame standover) may be low enough on certain sizes.

Wikkit Turbo frame build https://wikkit.nl/modellen/wikkit-tu...te-strandfiets

Another idea would be to look around for fairly modern mtb frameset to build up with a dropbar. The design trend from the last few years has been long-reach in combo with short stem. Could be something out there with a lower (closer to roadbike style) bottom bracket position, and a low enough frame standover. Steep seat tube angle to suit your leg length.

Last edited by tangerineowl; 12-05-20 at 05:53 PM. Reason: txt
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Old 12-11-21, 03:00 AM
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What is best hybrid frame size for me?

Can someone please assist in determining the right frame size for my dimensions?

I'm 6'3" with a 34.6" (87.884 cm) inseam and 23" torso length and 29" arm-length. I'm realizing that while my torso is somewhat disproportionately long relative to my legs, it's my neck that's pretty long. So, what size hybrid bike frame is best for me?

According to a method described on a website there are several methods that can be used.

Using one of their methods, it's unclear if I'm a 60 cm or a 61 cm based on whether a hybrid bike fits in the category of a city bike or a road bike:


1. City bike – Leg inseam (cm) x 0,685 = Your frame size

2. Mountain bike – Leg inseam (cm) x 0,66 = Your frame size

3. Road bike – Leg inseam (cm) x 0,70 = Your frame size

Any help with this will go a long way. I'd like to start out making sure to select the right frame size. Then I'll switch out components that will work best for me.

Thank you in advance.
Lee
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Old 12-11-21, 03:34 AM
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1 inch short, 2 degrees flat. How hard is that?

Your problem with bike fit is comfort? Sore arms and shoulders? You need more setback and a slacker seat tube angle to balance your torso properly in addition to a longer stem....oops, cockpit.
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Old 12-11-21, 01:13 PM
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GhostRider, Thanks for your reply. Yes, for me comfort is the issue as I'm 48 yo and I am not as flexible as I once was. I get sore lower back, arms and shoulders, and knees from a setup that isn't optimised for comfort. I really want the next hybrid bike I get to last for a long time and be as comfortable as possible, so I want to make sure to get the correct frame size and then implement adjustments like the ones you suggested: move the saddle backward for a slacker angle; move back the saddle (more setback); and lengthen the stem. It sounds like setback should be adjusted after the bars/stem is adjusted.

But which frame size makes more sense, 60 cm or 61cm?

I'm using this bike for mostly asphalt road riding up and down hills for about 10 mile rides, but also be able to ride on mostly firmly-packed or gravel fire-roads from time to time. If I want a hybrid bike for this, does it make more sense to buy the frame first and add the components one by one separately, or buy a complete bike to begin with and then switch out components afterwards. My budget is $3k-4k. Will it be more expensive to get frame and components separately or to get the complete bike first and make adjustments (switching out components) afterwards?

If makes more sense to get the bike first and switch out components as necessary which of the following is best?

State Bicycle Co. 4130 All-Road
Cannondate Topstone
Orbea Terra Ultegra
Trek Checkpoint

Thank you,
Lee

Last edited by Lyles; 12-11-21 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 12-11-21, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Lyles View Post
GhostRider, Thanks for your reply. Yes, for me comfort is the issue as I'm 48 yo and I am not as flexible as I once was. I get sore lower back, arms and shoulders, and knees from a setup that isn't optimised for comfort. I really want the next hybrid bike I get to last for a long time and be as comfortable as possible, so I want to make sure to get the correct frame size and then implement adjustments like the ones you suggested: move the saddle backward for a slacker angle; move back the saddle (more setback); and lengthen the stem. It sounds like setback should be adjusted after the bars/stem is adjusted.

But which frame size makes more sense, 60 cm or 61cm?

I'm using this bike for mostly asphalt road riding up and down hills for about 10 mile rides, but also be able to ride on mostly firmly-packed or gravel fire-roads from time to time. If I want a hybrid bike for this, does it make more sense to buy the frame first and add the components one by one separately, or buy a complete bike to begin with and then switch out components afterwards. My budget is $3k-4k. Will it be more expensive to get frame and components separately or to get the complete bike first and make adjustments (switching out components) afterwards?

If makes more sense to get the bike first and switch out components as necessary which of the following is best?

State Bicycle Co. 4130 All-Road
Cannondate Topstone
Orbea Terra Ultegra
Trek Checkpoint

Thank you,
Lee
These kind of threads are always a 'black well/hole in the ground'. One reads one thing and suddenly the whole game and rules change.
But here goes...
A couple of things you note, relatively longer torso and shorter legs (usually accompanied by shorter arms...) , so in consideration for what you note, 'standard' rules for sizing need some adjustment, and then the actual bike comes into play - each having a 'different' feel to any rider.
If you look at 2 of the bikes you note - the Cannondale and the Trek, they 'seem' to each have different frame dims and different sizing modalities - add to that how some dims are shown in different measuring methods... So apples & watermelons... Yet, similar size designations (shown with different dims) may actually seem very similar in reality.
Will they ride the same? Prolly not...
Usually, for shorter legs and longer torso, one downsizes in frame sizing - with the proviso to have a frame with slightly longer effective top tube, to allow proper 'motor' placement - so sizing for legs and butt/saddle placement heads the list. Most other things come after...
COmplicate that with flexibilty issues, and whatever else come in to play, then the whole thing becomes a 'super computer' computation...
SO, one gets a general reference for where to place the butt and then everything else comes after - re: you comment - backwards - saddle placement FIRST, then work on bars/stem.
You seem hung on 60-61, that's not really any decision. The Real decision is all the other elements.
My guess is that 60 is prolly gonna be the same as 61.
Some things to point out. The longer the top tube, the more truck-like the handling becomes (in the longer TT lengths). Reason why quick handling bikes generally all have what might be considered 'shorter' TTs and why racers go short/small frame size and add long seatposts and stems, many sport riders do the same. Now, not everyone enjoys that, there is often a middle ground.
But a long TT bike with overly short stem will prolly not be that much fun...
so... given al that...
in your case I wouldn't buy a bike, remote, if I wasn't totally clear on what to expect. As In: I could buy a tarmac just from a listing, but ask me to buy any Trek and I'd have to have it in my sweaty hands for some time before deciding...
so online purchase of the unknow is a total crapshoot.
I would go for a good test ride on your '60' or '61', and then ride THE NExt Smaller SIze in the same bike... ignore hand placement for the test (thats an easy adjustment with stem/bar) but pay attention to the way the bike rides, road manners. The bar /hand placement will not be that drastic different in neigboring sizes. I would be shocked if you didn;t like the next size smaller bike better...
Do the same on any bike you are considering. Eventually get the saddle position set and then stems and bars can be easily set up for whatever posture you wish to start with ( in one frame size variation).
It's always more economical to get a complete bike...
but then if you don;t like a color, or want different wheels , or different saddle (very possible...), and so on - building from frame up works for someone who knows all that they want.
That's for you to decide.
Which is the best bike of the 4 ?
Bikes are more than Shimano vs Sram, or Carbon vs TI, - all these parts work really well, and generally a complete bike from a long standing manfacturer is gonna be a 'together' machine.
That's not the case for companies who just throw components on a frame they build to reach a price. Spec, Trek, Cannondale and some others are companies who have huge investments and resources in putting out spectacular bikes. A few hundred dollars savings is often ...'NOT'. know what I mean, vern?
The one you like the best... is the best.
Ride On
Yuri

Last edited by cyclezen; 12-11-21 at 10:42 PM.
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Old 12-12-21, 06:57 AM
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Dave Moulton, a long-time custom frame builder, says that he has found that a rider's height is a better parameter than inseam length for custom fitting of a frame.

Dave Moulton's Blog - Dave Moulton's Bike Blog - A Different Thought on Frame Sizing
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Old 12-12-21, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Dave Moulton, a long-time custom frame builder, says that he has found that a rider's height is a better parameter than inseam length for custom fitting of a frame.

Dave Moulton's Blog - Dave Moulton's Bike Blog - A Different Thought on Frame Sizing
I believe there's more to glean from Dave's Blog Post than just his own conclusion about frame size relative to height. Even in the age of 'compact'.
He does speak of the variations in human proportions, and then it's put aside for the expedient 'Frame by height'.
I would say that building frames for hundreds or thousands of customers (his statement), the majority of whom he never sees in person - how does one determine the most appropriate Dims to use... ? He settled on 'frame by height', prolly as the one he has most success with (least problem issues ???).
I won;t go into all the things I would note which might conflict with these general assessments, since even in a blog post - you can;t cover all bases.
And 'divining' frame specs for someone who's communicating by mail or phone (email was in infancy when he built...) is very similar to 'Fitting Your Bike' here on BF - the info is mostly incomplete and stilted by the person asking the questions, because they want to hear what they want to hear.
For decades and decades American bought road bikes too big! And many frame builders were more than happy to comply and even lead the charge.
There is too small as there is too big - but it's a smooth curve - not doctrine/dogma.
I've become an advocate of trying many bikes and then trying sizes... 2 things happen
You always learn something, which sticks with you for future reference.
When you've made the decision, you will know why you made that decision and not be second guessing down the road.... (not a given...)
so let me add a few points/considerations. just for consideration.

Recently many riders opt for a more 'upright' posture on their road oriented bike. Bike Companies have complied with offers.
so, what happens with upgright posture - the actual, effective torso length is greatly reduced... (you're more upright, less lean ), how is that applied to bikes with more conventional frame specs (like the Trek and Cannondale bikes mentioned)?

with a more upright riding posture, how does one find the 'best' saddle position? ('Best, of course, is in the eye of the beer and bike holder...)

so this being the internet, and 'fitting' is always contentious - 'frame by height', by all means...
in any case we're assured of a never ending flow of threads for the winter season (unless we find things to do...)
Ride On
Yuri
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Old 12-17-21, 10:46 AM
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The size calculators recommend a smaller bike than I would have expected as I feel cramped (not enough reach) on my current 55cm bike. Going to try moving the seat up and back more. Trying to dial in the recommend balance between size and riding position.
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Old 12-20-21, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by phobucket View Post
The size calculators recommend a smaller bike than I would have expected as I feel cramped (not enough reach) on my current 55cm bike. Going to try moving the seat up and back more. Trying to dial in the recommend balance between size and riding position.
Moving your seat is not how you fix the “cramped” feeling. You move your seat (up/down and fore/aft) to get your hips in the right location in relationship to the crank. If you start moving the seat, you could end up with a back/hip/knee discomfort or pain from being in a position that misaligns these for the pedaling motion.

If you feel like the cockpit is too close, look at changing your stem, to move the bars out and away from you. Just for reference, I’ve always trended toward frames that were a tad small (since I still right on the line fro a 54 or 52 in most manufacturers frames), and then I used longer stems to get the bars in the right spot.
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Old 12-26-21, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Dave Moulton, a long-time custom frame builder, says that he has found that a rider's height is a better parameter than inseam length for custom fitting of a frame.

Dave Moulton's Blog - Dave Moulton's Bike Blog - A Different Thought on Frame Sizing
Haven't read the link but I can totally relate to this. Based on my inseam alone (and therefore saddle height) I could get the correct saddle height on 4 different sizes of bike from most manufacturers because seatpost adjusment range is so wide. So my choice of frame size really comes down to reach and stack rather than seat tube length. Inseam alone is almost irrelevant in that choice. Canyon's online fit calculator tends to agree as it is far more sensitive to height than inseam in its frame size recommendations.
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