Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fitting Your Bike
Reload this Page >

On riding a bigger bike

Notices
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.

On riding a bigger bike

Old 07-11-21, 11:48 PM
  #1  
ShannonM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Humboldt County, CA
Posts: 436
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 193 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 180 Times in 125 Posts
On riding a bigger bike

I'm 5'11", and wear 32" pants. (I haven't measured my PBH since around 1990.) My whole cycling life, I've ridden 58 cm road bikes. The only exception was a Cannondale H300 3.9 Series that I converted into a touring bike. (That one was a 60, mostly because of the stupid way that Cannondale used to measure their frames.)

So, when I was looking for a bike last year, after 6 years without one, I shopped for 58s. Yeah, most LBSs would put me on a 56, but that's just too small.

This 1985 League Fuji was listed as a 58. (It was a singlespeed when I bought it, but it still had the levers. I swapped the rear wheel, and added a 14-26 freewheel and Suntour Superbe RD.)


As I was setting it up, I thought the seatpost was a bit low. But the bike felt great, and the only complaint I had was that the 90 mm stem was a bit too short. (IMNSHO, if a road bike requires a stem shorter than 90 or longer than 120, it's the wrong size.) So i assumed that the bike was a 58, and that I had just shrunk a bit as 50 has gotten nearer and nearer.

Then I went and measured the top tube. Not because of this bike at all, but because I've decided that I want to build a rigid MTB to drop-bar bomber touring bike conversion as my next project, and I wondered what top tube I should be looking for. I figured I'd use the Fuji as a baseline.

I go downstairs and measure the top tube. 22.5" CTC, or 57 cm. But wait... the Classic Fuji site shows the 58 cm League / Club frame with a 55.5 cm top tube. Then I look more closely at the diagram... Hey, wait a sec... the seat tube is measured from the center of the BB to the top of the seat lug! That's 24 inches. 61 cm. Which is, oddly enough, the next size up from the 58. Kinda explains that long head tube, no?

So it turns out that, for me on this bike, the frame that fits me best is the one that's "too big." Yes, there's some compromises. Standover clearance is... minimal. It's OK, but a slight tilting of the bicycle at stop signs is called for. As you can see, there's not quite enough seatpost showing for proper proportions. And yet, when I'm in the saddle and on the bars, the bike feels great... which means that it fits.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying: Bicycle fitting has no rules, only guidelines. If the bike feels right, it fits right... and if it don't, it don't. Don't scared to try a bike that seems a bit too large. You might just like it.

--Shannon
ShannonM is offline  
Old 07-12-21, 12:59 AM
  #2  
Leisesturm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 4,740
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1737 Post(s)
Liked 282 Times in 206 Posts
Back in the day those bikes were measured and sold in inches. Today they are measured and sold in cm. The translation is rather awkward. Throw away the foreign phrase book. For one thing, top tubes slope now. FWIW, I did the exact same thing you did but with a 1984 Raleigh Team USA. But, come on, don't kid yourself. If you are tilting the bike at stops. If you don't have the right amount of seat tube showing, IT IS NOT THE RIGHT SIZE. And ... as you say, that's ok, that's your right. It's your business. It's a free country. But going online and encouraging others ... that may be a bridge too far. BTW there is a name for what we like, it's called "French Fit".
Leisesturm is offline  
Old 07-12-21, 02:26 PM
  #3  
ShannonM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Humboldt County, CA
Posts: 436
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 193 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 180 Times in 125 Posts
Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Back in the day those bikes were measured and sold in inches. Today they are measured and sold in cm. The translation is rather awkward. Throw away the foreign phrase book. For one thing, top tubes slope now. FWIW, I did the exact same thing you did but with a 1984 Raleigh Team USA. But, come on, don't kid yourself. If you are tilting the bike at stops. If you don't have the right amount of seat tube showing, IT IS NOT THE RIGHT SIZE. And ... as you say, that's ok, that's your right. It's your business. It's a free country. But going online and encouraging others ... that may be a bridge too far. BTW there is a name for what we like, it's called "French Fit".
The 1985 Fuji catalog shows all the frame sizes in metric, but the increments look like inch sizes. My guess would be that they wanted to avoid the association of inch sizing with cheap bikes, but hadn't actually changed their manufacturing process yet. Later, they went to the standard 2 cm increments. I forget if Fuji picked even or odd numbers. (If memory serves, odd was more common.)

As to fitting, I was a shop rat in the mid 00s, right when compact bikes started to take over, and also when the dogma was "buy the smallest bike that you can get away with," and the manufacturers were designing their bikes around that. (Also, it lets you quote a slightly lower weight in the catalog, which matters for sales.) I've heard that that's no longer as common, but I don't know. But, when I was selling bikes, I'd encourage my recreational roadie customers to try a bike one size larger than the recommended size. Many of them ended up preferring the bigger bike, and it was also often easier to get a comfortable fit. Many didn't prefer it, and that was fine too. My goal was always to sell you a bike that fit you and that you liked a lot... imposing my preferences on my customers was never on the agenda.

It seems to me that there are big-bike people and small-bike people. I'm a big-bike people. So this post is more "here's a thing to think about and maybe try" than "this is what you should do." (Also it's a chance to talk about my bike!)

--Shannon
ShannonM is offline  
Old 07-13-21, 11:50 AM
  #4  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 17,551

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2979 Post(s)
Liked 901 Times in 684 Posts
Your fit on that bike is simply called "French Fit." That's how bikes were fit a few decades ago, when riders used the drops a lot more and before the advent of comfortable hoods. See:
https://www.google.com/search?q=fren...w=1759&bih=828

You are hardly alone.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 07-13-21, 06:34 PM
  #5  
ShannonM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Humboldt County, CA
Posts: 436
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 193 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 180 Times in 125 Posts
Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Your fit on that bike is simply called "French Fit." That's how bikes were fit a few decades ago, when riders used the drops a lot more and before the advent of comfortable hoods. See:
https://www.google.com/search?q=fren...w=1759&bih=828

You are hardly alone.
Yep. "French fit" is one of the terms. I've also heard "touring fit," although that was probably more of an 80s thing.

In this case, though, I bought the bike thinking that it was a 58, which is my usual size for even-numbered bikes, and it turned out to be a 61. If it had been advertised as such, I wouldn't have considered it. Given that the lady I bought it from clearly knew how to build a bike, (all I did was defixie it and add a bag,) I just figured she knew the size.

The 22.5" / 57 cm top tube is pretty danged short for a 24" / 61 cm frame, and is probably why the bike works as well as it does for me. I just need to put a longer stem on it, the 90 mm is too short. 100 or 110 will be just right, but gotta try 'em both.

--Shannon
ShannonM is offline  
Old 07-17-21, 07:04 AM
  #6  
anga
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 155
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 5 Posts
My bike fits similar to OP.
When the torso to PBH ratio differs from that the bike sizes are designed for, one can go custom, fit based on PBH or fit the torso.
Given that I spend more time riding than getting on or off the bike and stationary, chose to fit torso.
anga is offline  
Old 07-21-21, 07:53 AM
  #7  
johnnyace 
Le savonnier
 
johnnyace's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,497

Bikes: Mostly French

Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 620 Post(s)
Liked 278 Times in 153 Posts
Originally Posted by ShannonM View Post
I'm 5'11", and wear 32" pants. (I haven't measured my PBH since around 1990.) My whole cycling life, I've ridden 58 cm road bikes. The only exception was a Cannondale H300 3.9 Series that I converted into a touring bike. (That one was a 60, mostly because of the stupid way that Cannondale used to measure their frames.)
I'm about the same: 5'11", wear 33" pants, and I've always ridden 58cm road bikes, although I have a 55cm Peugeot PXR80 that is very comfortable. Both my Gitane TdF and my Peugeot PX10 are 58cm, but my Raleigh International is 60cm and shod with 27" wheels. Standover height is not entirely comfortable, but the bike rides like a dream. I suspect that if I put 700c wheels on it, it may very well seem too big. So maybe a 650b conversation is in order, instead. We shall see, I'm in no hurry to make any changes, just some thoughts that go through my head.
johnnyace is offline  
Old 07-21-21, 06:03 PM
  #8  
ShannonM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Humboldt County, CA
Posts: 436
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 193 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 180 Times in 125 Posts
Originally Posted by johnnyace View Post
I'm about the same: 5'11", wear 33" pants, and I've always ridden 58cm road bikes, although I have a 55cm Peugeot PXR80 that is very comfortable. Both my Gitane TdF and my Peugeot PX10 are 58cm, but my Raleigh International is 60cm and shod with 27" wheels. Standover height is not entirely comfortable, but the bike rides like a dream. I suspect that if I put 700c wheels on it, it may very well seem too big. So maybe a 650b conversation is in order, instead. We shall see, I'm in no hurry to make any changes, just some thoughts that go through my head.
If memory serves, the International came factory with 700C tubulars, with, I think, 27" clinchers as either an official option or just something that shops would do on request.

Question: Why would going from a 630 mm x 1-1/4" tire to a 622x28 mm make the bike feel bigger? If anything, I'd expect it to work the other way around.

--Shannon

PS: I hate you because you have an International and I don't. Bucket list bike.
ShannonM is offline  
Old 07-21-21, 06:20 PM
  #9  
Eyes Roll
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2021
Posts: 22
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by ShannonM View Post

Don't scared to try a bike that seems a bit too large. You might just like it.
Safety first, especially most car drivers in most cities have no idea of what the rights of bike riders on the road are, unless a car driver is/was also a bike rider. Better be safe than sorry. I'd encourage people to bikes that are a good size fit for them and pass up the larger and shorter bikes.

Nevertheless, if you are getting a larger bike:
Wear a helmet always.
Wear hand gloves so you can avoid scratches and bleeding when you put your hands on the street.
Ride slowly and do not race.
Eyes Roll is offline  
Old 07-21-21, 07:15 PM
  #10  
johnnyace 
Le savonnier
 
johnnyace's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,497

Bikes: Mostly French

Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 620 Post(s)
Liked 278 Times in 153 Posts
Originally Posted by ShannonM View Post
If memory serves, the International came factory with 700C tubulars, with, I think, 27" clinchers as either an official option or just something that shops would do on request.

Question: Why would going from a 630 mm x 1-1/4" tire to a 622x28 mm make the bike feel bigger? If anything, I'd expect it to work the other way around.

--Shannon

PS: I hate you because you have an International and I don't. Bucket list bike.
Yup, would have come with 700C tubulars originally, at least according to the 1974 catalog, which doesn't give a size, but says "Sprint Alloy," for rims, which is apparently British of the day meaning "tubulars." As they didn't make 27" tubulars (as far as I know), 700C.

Oh yes, you are correct re: tire size. At the very least, I'll get better 27" tires, as they are currently 27"x1.25" Cheng Shins. I have some 27"x1" Panaracer Paselas saved to my Amazon wishlist. But I may eventually move to a new Mavic wheelset and 700C tubulars, because well, tubulars are the bomb.

PS: If I ultimately decide that the bike is too big and don't end up riding it as a result, I'll let you know! But then, there's that question of fit for you again.
johnnyace is offline  
Old 07-21-21, 07:39 PM
  #11  
ShannonM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Humboldt County, CA
Posts: 436
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 193 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 180 Times in 125 Posts
Originally Posted by Eyes Roll View Post
Safety first, especially most car drivers in most cities have no idea of what the rights of bike riders on the road are, unless a car driver is/was also a bike rider. Better be safe than sorry. I'd encourage people to bikes that are a good size fit for them and pass up the larger and shorter bikes.

Nevertheless, if you are getting a larger bike:
Wear a helmet always.
Wear hand gloves so you can avoid scratches and bleeding when you put your hands on the street.
Ride slowly and do not race.
If I've advocated anything that's actually unsafe, then I suck and should abjectly apologize. But I really, honestly don't think I did.

--Shannon
ShannonM is offline  
Old 07-21-21, 08:54 PM
  #12  
ShannonM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Humboldt County, CA
Posts: 436
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 193 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 180 Times in 125 Posts
Originally Posted by johnnyace View Post
PS: If I ultimately decide that the bike is too big and don't end up riding it as a result, I'll let you know! But then, there's that question of fit for you again.
Actually, the fit isn't the real question.

The real question is: Copper or Green?

--Shannon
ShannonM is offline  
Old 07-21-21, 09:01 PM
  #13  
johnnyace 
Le savonnier
 
johnnyace's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,497

Bikes: Mostly French

Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 620 Post(s)
Liked 278 Times in 153 Posts
Originally Posted by ShannonM View Post
Actually, the fit isn't the real question.

The real question is: Copper or Green?

--Shannon
That's an easy one for me, as I have a "no green bikes" policy.

But for the 1974 International, at least, that question would be: Copper or Champagne?
johnnyace is offline  
Old 07-21-21, 09:28 PM
  #14  
ShannonM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Humboldt County, CA
Posts: 436
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 193 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 180 Times in 125 Posts
Originally Posted by johnnyace View Post
That's an easy one for me, as I have a "no green bikes" policy.

But for the 1974 International, at least, that question would be: Copper or Champagne?
Copper. By a lot.

As to "green bikes are bad luck," my first motorcycle was a praying-mantis-green BMW R100 with a matching Wixom Bros fairing. That color was rad, and totally worth all of the "you're gonna die!!" trash talk I got.

--Shannon

PS: One should not speak of one's 1974 Raleigh International without accompanying imagery.
ShannonM is offline  
Old 07-21-21, 09:34 PM
  #15  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 25,822
Mentioned: 205 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14007 Post(s)
Liked 2,182 Times in 1,633 Posts
I never realized my old Colnago Super was "too big" until after riding it for 30+ years, I joined Bike Forums. 60cm for 5'10".

The newer Colnago is somewhat smaller, I think 56cm. And, it is nice. But, I'm happy riding anything up to 60cm. Perhaps even slightly larger than 60cm.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 07-21-21, 09:45 PM
  #16  
johnnyace 
Le savonnier
 
johnnyace's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,497

Bikes: Mostly French

Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 620 Post(s)
Liked 278 Times in 153 Posts
Originally Posted by ShannonM View Post

As to "green bikes are bad luck," my first motorcycle was a praying-mantis-green BMW R100 with a matching Wixom Bros fairing. That color was rad, and totally worth all of the "you're gonna die!!" trash talk I got.

PS: One should not speak of one's 1974 Raleigh International without accompanying imagery.
Huh, didn't know about green bikes being bad luck, I just don't like green bikes. I'm not superstitious, anyway. Learn something new every day!

Oh, most recent pic. Currently stripped of bar tape awaiting replacement, and the Cheng Shin tires will be next. And the brake levers are now lower on the bars. Will post more pics after upgrades.

johnnyace is offline  
Old 07-21-21, 09:49 PM
  #17  
downtube42
Senior Member
 
downtube42's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 2,785

Bikes: Soma Fog Cutter, Volae Team, Priority Eight, Nimbus MUni, Trek Roscoe 6.

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 447 Post(s)
Liked 913 Times in 462 Posts
Originally Posted by johnnyace View Post
I'm about the same: 5'11", wear 33" pants, and I've always ridden 58cm road bikes, although I have a 55cm Peugeot PXR80 that is very comfortable. Both my Gitane TdF and my Peugeot PX10 are 58cm, but my Raleigh International is 60cm and shod with 27" wheels. Standover height is not entirely comfortable, but the bike rides like a dream. I suspect that if I put 700c wheels on it, it may very well seem too big. So maybe a 650b conversation is in order, instead. We shall see, I'm in no hurry to make any changes, just some thoughts that go through my head.
Yeah I've got the same legs but am 4" taller. I go for the tallest frame made just so I'm not folded up like a pretzel from the waist up. When i built up my Soma Fog Cutter I went with the 61cm frame instead of the 66cm, because 66 is stupidly big for a 33" inseam. But i should have done the 66 to have the reach and stack height my torso deserves, and 650b wheels to protect the boys.
downtube42 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

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

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.