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Short legs, long torso, first road bike

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Short legs, long torso, first road bike

Old 04-25-20, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by joseruivo View Post
Maybe not your decisive point, but you *must* assure that the standover height allows to get your leg over the top tube and nopt compress your balls on the tube.
I've been riding a 1987 Bianchi (since 1987) whose frame is too small, because this is how it was sized. (Even that frame technically doesn't have enough standover clearance.) With a freakishly long stem and large-setback seat-post, I am able to ride it, but it has always been sub-optimal. For people with short legs relative to height (Celtic, Asian, many others), this winds up being quite problematic, and it is exacerbated by having a horizontal top tube. The reality is that whenever you partially dismount on a bike, you lean the bike over, so this clearance problem rarely manifests itself. On the other hand, one can crash in such a way as to come down hard on the top tube, regardless of how much clearance there is.

On mountain bikes, this problem doesn't arise for most modern frames. I'm actually most comfortable on a "large" sized XC bike.

Last edited by Cyclist0108; 04-25-20 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 04-25-20, 02:49 PM
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If you have relatively short legs and longer torso (as opposed to longer arms), I recommend looking for a bike from the '70s, before square geometries became standard. Some makers kept the same TT length and varied the ST. If you need a smaller frame, you'll have a relatively longer TT. My '73 MKM frame is a 21 with a 22" TT ... and fits within a CM of Competitive Cycling's calculator for French Fit in virtually all measurements. (That's pure serendipity.)

Having come down on the TT of a bike that was too large (58 CM), I want that 1" between me and the tube. I would suggest strongly to anyone I liked who is looking for a bike to go for that 1", too.

This post is at least half serious - it's one way for some people to get a bike that fits without going custom....

Last edited by philbob57; 04-25-20 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 04-25-20, 03:19 PM
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I am 6'2". I have the torso of a 6'6" guy and the legs of a 5'11" guy. According to my height, a 60-61cm frame should be ideal for me. I've ridden, and felt best fitted to, 58cm frames all my life. 60-61cm feels too big immediately.
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Old 04-25-20, 03:21 PM
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I think there are solutions out there, if you know where to look. I got a custom frame, and in retrospect it is nearly identical to a vanilla Domane 54cm (apart from being steel). The only other way I think is to get a good fitting and set of measurements, and then go hunting using something like this: https://geometrygeeks.bike

Also, here is a bike fit calculator: https://www.competitivecyclist.com/S...ulatorBike.jsp

Last edited by Cyclist0108; 04-25-20 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 04-25-20, 04:45 PM
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Not that easy to know some things. How are you measuring inseam? With shoes on? To cuff of trousers or to ground? All the way to pubic bone or to where your tailor measures?

Just measured the four bikes I use regularly. Two of them have standover higher than my inseam, by any measure I might devise. It is never a problem. No good explanation for that but so it goes.

Most modern bikes have incredibly high bottom brackets. They cover for this by changing how BB height is measured. Sloping top tubes and ultra long seatposts change everything.

Another factor that changes everything is flexibility. Torso length is accommodated with longer stems and handlebars with more reach. If you lack flexibility maybe you don’t need or want reach. If super flexible you might be happy simply by slamming the stock stem and riding in the drops all the time.

Try some bikes. As many as you can. It has to be good the first time. Occasionally a bike will grow on you. Mostly if it starts bad it won’t get better
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Old 04-27-20, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Not that easy to know some things. How are you measuring inseam? With shoes on? To cuff of trousers or to ground? All the way to pubic bone or to where your tailor measure?
I measure with no shoes, holding a book between the thighs and asking my wife to do a mark on the wall. It is pressed against the tender parts.

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Old 04-27-20, 07:36 PM
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I'm 6'2 with 28 inch inseem teeny legs. Do yourself a favor and ride upright, don't be like all the sheep who think they are the next eric froom be comfortable, especially with this body type!
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Old 05-20-20, 08:50 AM
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Some updates, once I had the opportunity to go to a bikefitter and test some bikes.

Apparently, there is no substitute for a test ride. I've tested bikes from size 51 up to size 56 and there is low correlation between size and feeling comfortable on the bike.

Some impressions:
Orbea Avant size 53: stack is ok but reach is too short. Would need longer stem. Standover height and minimum seat post height are okay.
Trek Domane 56: reach is okay, stack is too high for my taste. Standover height is okay, but minimum seat post is not. Would probably need a shorter seat post (and lose some compliance) and play with spacers/stem angle.
BMC Roadmachine 51: Reach is almost ok but stack is too low. Standover height is okay and also minimum seat height. Would work with a flipped, longer stem.
BMC Roadmachine 54: Reach is almost the same as the 51 and stack is just right. Standover height is too high, though. Also issues with minimum seatpost height.
Rose Reveal 53: Reach is a bit on the short side but is almost there. Stack is perfect. Standover height is okay and seat height is a few millimeters away from ideal. Would work with a longer stem and shorter cranks.

So, after testing some bikes, I still haven't decided. But it is clear to me that due to my challenging proportions, I should never buy a bike without a test ride.
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Old 05-20-20, 11:00 AM
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If you're used to riding hybrid & mtn bikes,

it would be hard to tell what best reach would be since it takes a while to adapt to road bike riding position, and it changes with fitness and experience.

Like buying shoes first thing in the morning and finding out later that your feet swell 1/2 size by afternoon.

Having some seatpost showing is good, and stem length with room to go longer or shorter later if wanted, but a test ride is a lot about

how nimble/stable the bike feels, how stiff/comfortable, and details like handlebar and brake hood shape, IMO.
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Old 05-19-22, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
Buy for your reach and don't worry about stand over. I am 5'8" but have long legs and arms, but a short torso for my hight. I have come to find out I am more comfortable on a road bike a size up from what is recomended. Most recomend 52-54cm frames for me but my most comfortable bikes are now 55 and 56cm. If the theoretical reach is a little bit long, and you plan to raise the handlebars, that also brings them back.
I realize this is an old thread, but I had to comment on this. I had the exact same philosophy but now have to replace my bike because I got shorter (an inch!) with age and have no top tube clearance now. Iím not all that old (in my mind) either. So if youíre going to invest a lot in the bike, make sure you allow for this.
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Old 05-19-22, 09:31 AM
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I’ve lost a good 1/2” over the years and now 5’ 8-1/4” with an inseam of less than 30”. I’ve been riding 56cm bikes for a number of years and have never had good stand over. I can probably lift the wheels off the ground less than an inch when I’m straddling the top tube. I have about 1-1/2” of seatpost showing.

But I’ve always leaned the bike when coming to a stop so it hasn’t been an issue, even on emergency stops. The downside is always leaning a particular direction so if I lean the opposite way I can’t react fast enough and I’m down.

Since I have a longer torso, I like the longer top tube and it is quite comfortable. But there are limits to how large as I rode our son’s 60cm and while it rides nice, stopping had to be very planned and deliberate which doesn’t translate well to the real world.

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Old 05-19-22, 11:54 AM
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So you would want a lower SOH but a longer TT or the ability to swap to a larger stem.

I would avoid higher end Canyon's with their all in one cockpits since finding cockpits to swap can be hard and Canyon USA does not swap cockpits for free anymore.
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Old 05-19-22, 02:10 PM
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I'm 5'10" with a 30" inseam, and it can be even more complicated than that. Turns out my thighs are really long and shins are short. That made seat tube angle my #1 priority just to get the saddle with a 25mm setback seatpost far enough back. Hope your fitter gave you something like that to think about. As you find more bikes that do and don't fit you, you'll start to realize what to look for in geometry.
It's like riding a bicycle
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Old 05-26-22, 08:52 AM
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I'm 5'10" with a 30 inch inseam. If you go by the formulas given by most manufacturers, that puts me on a 54" bike. My LBS let me ride both the 54 & 56 and I was way more comfortable on the 56. I think the inseam factor is overrated. As long as you can comfortably stand over the top tube with both feet on the ground, you're fine. Think of it this way: It's more important that the bike fits you while you're riding it than when you're standing over it, right? One caveat. I did have to go with a shorter seat post. They swapped the seat post from the 54 with the 56 and I was good to go. I ultimately ended up going for a bike fitting a month later, which was pretty much a waste of money, unless you count my piece of mind. The bike was close to a perfect fit. Really, they helped me more with my cleats than anything else.
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