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Bike Fitting

Old 07-18-04, 02:29 PM
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grid
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Bike Fitting

I am in the market for a new road bike and am trying to measure myself for the correct frame size. This will be my first bike ever. Yes, I am a really fresh newbie. There are several sites that go through how to measure inseam length for standover height. Should I measure inseam length with or without shoes on? I do not own cycling shoes yet so will it be ok to wear running shoes to measure? BTW, I am 154.8cm tall with inseam of 69.2cm (no shoes.) Torso length from sternal notch to crotch is 55cm and arm length is 54cm.

It's kind of difficult for me to go and try out several different bikes because there are almost no bike shops where I live that carry anything in my size. The salespeople I've talked to keep steering me towards aluminum bikes which I'm not interested in. I am considering either the litespeed bella or the merlin camena. Anyone out there have any experience or opinions on these bikes?

Thanks in advance for any advice you have.
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Old 07-18-04, 03:05 PM
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Hi,
Your bike shop will fit you. With the Litespeed, it's likely to be medium, but that depends. I have some things you might want to think about. My bike is a road bike, like the Bella. But I have, in addition to the roadie brakes, a set of Mtn bike brake levers on it.
You may have seen this on other bikes. As somebody new to bikes, having brakes at hand when you are on top can be a very good thing.

Also as someone new to cycling, I'd think you'd want the bike built up with a triple ring crank. The Bella is a double, and hills are extremely hard with a double.You should be able to order it as a triple. The wheels look like they are semi-aero. I have rims like that, they are fast but have a harder ride. A wheel made with Mavic Open Pro rims will be as fast, but have a nicer ride. That is what I did for my wife, and I reccomend it for you.

The Bella is a great looking sport/performance bike. It is the bicycle equivalent of a $40K sports car. Great bike, but a little much for a beginner without some adjustments. Good luck, and take all the time you need. Patience now will reward you immensely later.

Last edited by late; 07-18-04 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 07-20-04, 09:47 AM
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This is how my LBS fitted me. My LBS is 45 min. drive away--on interstate roads--so like me you may need to travel a bit.

Anyway, I am 5'4" with a 70cm inseam on right leg--72.5 on left--so I can be a bit hard to fit. Using my short leg, I placed my heal on the peddle and sat on the saddle. My leg was to have a slight bend in it--not locked out. If I could not do this the bike is too big. I found I need no larger than a 15" frame.

They don't make bikes much smaller than that for an adult. A child's bike is just much too small. Yes I did think if that would not work

Edit: Okay I think I really goofed doing my conversions. 70 amd 72.5 sounds too long. My Right leg is 28" inseam and my left is just a thread over 29.

Last edited by glenghillie; 07-23-04 at 07:56 PM. Reason: mistake
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Old 07-20-04, 10:25 AM
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155 cm ~ 61 in ~ 5 ft 1 in
I think a Medium is way too big for you, probably more like a Small (I ride a Litespeed compact sm).

Note that Merlin generally has longer top tube lengths than Litespeed. E.g., some people who can't fit a Merlin Agilis can fit a Litespeed Siena because of this, so take that into account.

Some women have short legs or short torso; others are just smaller (proportionally to a man). Thus, don't just consider a WSD-type of frame.

Given your size, I would choose Ti or Carbon. If I got Al, I'd make sure it had Carbon stays on it, but I'd probably just avoid Al altogether. A good Carbon bike you might consider is the Giant TCR Composite series. It may be in your price range as well.

Generally, Litespeed and Merlin try to dump their inventory around Sep so you may find some good prices then (I bought mine in Sep of 02 for ~35% off MSRP.

Whatever you do, try to spend your money [a] frame-fork [b] wheelset [c] components in THAT order. E.g., Bike A has a superior frame, better wheels with a 105-Ultegra build and Bike B has a lesser frame but full Ultegra build. Assuming you can choose between either, "A" is a no-brainer decision.

Best.
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Old 07-20-04, 10:59 AM
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Measure the inseam WITHOUT shoes on. That is the accurate fitting for your bike.

If you feel like you can't trust the bike shop you're dealing with, definitely try to find another LBS. I know it's difficult because you don't live close to very many, but let's hope you can get some good shops to go to from someone on bikeforums that live in your are. What city do you live in?

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Old 07-20-04, 05:10 PM
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Glenghillie,
I have one leg longer than the other. I put a shim under the cleat of my road shoe. That helped a lot. Another option is custom length cranks. Which is expensive. Because your body will have adjusted to the difference in your legs, you don't need a change that covers the leg length difference. From what I've read, I came away with the impresson you try someting and see if it works. And if it doesn't, you try something else. But I was very pleased with my shim. I imagine you can shim most pedals, I use Eggbeaters and they came with a shim. I used one on my left cleat, but I found it was too thick and took a grinder to it. After I made it a little thinner it worked nicely.
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Old 07-20-04, 05:33 PM
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Since you're going with a higher end frame you shouldn't mind the cost of a "fit". Heck, just for the sake of comfort and preventing injuries one should get a "fit" before buying any priced bike. I'm sure you can find a LBS that has a certified fitter available. Look for the nearest Serotta dealer. They will most likely have a Serotta fit bike and a certified fitter who knows how to use it.

Measuring yourself for a bike is not an easy task. Good luck.
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Old 07-20-04, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by late
Glenghillie,
I have one leg longer than the other. I put a shim under the cleat of my road shoe. That helped a lot. Another option is custom length cranks. Which is expensive. Because your body will have adjusted to the difference in your legs, you don't need a change that covers the leg length difference. From what I've read, I came away with the impresson you try someting and see if it works. And if it doesn't, you try something else. But I was very pleased with my shim. I imagine you can shim most pedals, I use Eggbeaters and they came with a shim. I used one on my left cleat, but I found it was too thick and took a grinder to it. After I made it a little thinner it worked nicely.

I was put in a 1" total foot lift by a Dr about 5 years ago, after a month I had sever arthritic pain in my joint. I was 28 at the time. I figure at 33 my body is accustomed to it. I usually only notice that my right leg doesn't straighten as much. As it is all in my femur, and apperently has been all my life (explains why I "walked like a quarterback" when I was young) I have compensated pretty well.

I do like the shim idea. Nothing like a low tech solution to what can be a serious problem.
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Old 07-21-04, 06:58 AM
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Wait, you had the pain in the joint AFTER you were put in the total foot lift?

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Old 07-21-04, 07:52 AM
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Yup, my spin and pelvis had 28 years to adjust and tilt. The lift make my ball of my femur jam into the joint. Hips and spin did not adjust as quickly as the leg did to the lift.
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Old 07-21-04, 07:58 AM
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Just as a casual observer, I would ask if you've considered physical therapy. And I am just asking... but did you ever consider seeing another physician? I mean, corrective surgery is supposed to make things BETTER, not worse. That pain in the joint thing worries me.

Ask your doctor if they can refer you to a physical therapist- they can give you exercises and therapy to help alleviate that pain, I would imagine.

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Old 07-21-04, 10:09 AM
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Been there, done that. The only time you can really tell is if you 1) measure my legs or 2) see me walking barefoot. I did see another orthodeapic surgeon and her said the 1st was an idiot. I was too old to make an adjustment like that.

The first also told me I would have to choose between playing soccer, when I lost weight, or pain. I siad I would have to find a good pair of boots. He didn't like my response. That was the last time I say him. He closed his doors a few months later to go to a "big city." This is a guy that put me on arthritis meds and when I told him I started having pain in my knees I had never had before 1 week after starting the meds he told me I was wrong that the meds were the reason. I should have known then, but the shoes were already being fitted with new soles. Now I have an odd pair of birks I need to get re-soled. GOtta do that one of these days.
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Old 07-21-04, 11:04 AM
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For women, especially short ones like ourselves, standover and inseam are only part of the consideration of "fit". The biggie is top tube length. Most of us have longer legs in proportion to arms than men, so this becomes an issue of primary importance.

At 5'4", inseam 29, here's my progression of road bike measurements: Put myself on a Trek 2200 50cm mens' bike to start, in 2001. No fit at the shop, no knowledge at hand. It was all "eye balling" and it was the smallest bike they could get in for me. No one brought up the issue of "fit" and I was totally ignorant, so I went along. Granted, it being my first road bike, it took some getting used to the drop bars, so I soldiered on, thinking eventually I would. Over a year, to be exact. But I still was having problems with neck and shoulder pain due an old injury of the neck that was now flaring up. I went out in search of a remedy...

Many people told me many things: you need to give it some time; you need to build up your upper body strength; get a shorter stem; raise the handlebars; slide the saddle forward; do stretching exercises...the list of advice went on and on. None of it worked, though I tried it all.

Eventually, I sought out another bike and wound up with a 52cm compact frame Specialized Allez road bike. The compact frame was touted as the solution for me by several shops, including one run by a woman (a tall woman). I fit nicely on it, except after another year of riding it, I was still in agony after a 10 mile ride. Turns out the top tube reach was longer, even though the frame was compact, but it fit me otherwise (reach to pedals, etc.), so I rode it more and it hurt more. And oh, yeah, I LOVED the look of that bike....still lust after it...gloss black with silver trim. Broke my heart to get off that bike, but I had muscle spasms, migraines, chronic neck and shoulder pain from hyperextending my neck to look forward.

By this time (last year), my local shop now had a "Fit Kit" and I finally got someone to fit me out scientifically. Of the bikes I was considering, here's what played out as my "optimal" fit: Lemond 49cm WSD, Specialized Sequoia size Small, Trek WSD 51cm.
These were all the ones I had presented as of interest to me, so we worked with these. Any manufacturer's bike could be plugged into the formula, so you could easily order that it revealed was right for you.

These were all considered "perfect fits". They took into consideration: height, inseam, leg and arm length, shoulder width, flexibility, stem length, saddle height, riding style (recreational, performance, racing, comfort). It was really a helpful experience.

By this time (last fall) I had sucumbed to riding a hybrid as my "roadie" because of my issues with neck pain, etc. More upright seating. Well, good news is that now I am finally in the process of going back to a "real road bike", the Specialized Sequoia, in a size Small. It's not the coolest lookin' bike in the shop, nor the priciest, but it sure is the most comfortable and it will give me the road bike experience that I missed and hungered for. I also ride a recumbent and a mountain bike...no problems with those.

Bottem line? Make it fit the first time...don't go through what I and others have gone through, if you can help it. If you have to, travel out of town (call ahead first) to check out bikes or to get professionally fitted to a road bike. It will save you a whole lot of time and frustration. Lastly, know that if you are a total newbie, give it at least a year to start to feel comfortable on this frame geometry. I wish you luck in your search!
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Old 07-21-04, 11:53 AM
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Check out some of the readings at
http://www.myra-simon.com/bike/tips.html
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Old 07-21-04, 12:05 PM
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yep... as a shortie (5'2") i was shocked at the first LBS when they said "she's got long legs"... me? little ole me?
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Old 07-21-04, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by late
Glenghillie,
I have one leg longer than the other. I put a shim under the cleat of my road shoe. That helped a lot. Another option is custom length cranks.
Actually, these adjustments address two different issues. If the difference is mostly in the upper leg, then your pedal stroke will be different and, if it's great enough, different length crank arms would be in order. You would also want to set the cleat so that it puts the foot with the longer upper leg further forward.

If the difference is mostly in the lower leg, then the cleat shim for the shorter leg is in order.

I happen to have both. My legs are about the same length, but the left has a longer upper leg, shorter lower leg. So the left cleat is set to put my left foot further forward, and it's shimmed.
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Old 07-23-04, 03:29 PM
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Another solution might be a custom steel frame. There are shops near me where you can get a custom frame for about $1,100. Shop around for components and you could probably be into a bike like this for a little over $2k.
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