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comfort vs convention

Old 06-01-10, 09:01 PM
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comfort vs convention

so i needed to go with a 64cm frame to accomodate my inseam (i am 6'3"), on a 61cm frame i was maxing out the seatpost and didn't like that.

i currently have a 12* 90mm stem that i am riding with, and it is fairly comfortable, but i feel a bit stretched out... i ordered my wife a 70mm 35* stem, and tried it on my bike tonight just on the trainer, it feels more comfortable, and i seem like i can get a bit more bend in my elbows versus the other stem. However, the old convention of the handlebars splitting the front hub is way off, my bars are behind the hub by quite a bit. I am going to get some pics tomorrow of each setup while riding to compare on my computer and can probably post them up...

anyhow, is there a reason i shouldn't be doing this? I am riding a century this weekend, and with the stem i have on, i end up with locked arms and a very stiff neck, not to mention some tension in my left rhomboids (all of my problems are on the left for some reason). Is weight distribution going to be seriously affected?

I am also going to play a little bit with fore/aft seat position +/- 10mm or so to see where i get, cause 6+ hours in the saddle is going to be loooong
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Old 06-01-10, 09:12 PM
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I'm not sure what you are asking. Unless you have some very unusual body dimensions, there's no reason for someome 6'3" to need a 64cm frame. My suggestion is find a good bike store with an experiened fitter and get a proper sizing. If your wife's 70mm stem with a 35 degree angle (assume that's what you mean) feels comfortable, you don't have a good fit.
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Old 06-01-10, 09:23 PM
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I don't have the short-term answer you're looking for. I do know that a shorter stem is not going to cure the problem of the top tube being too long.

It sounds like you're built like I am, all legs and no torso. When I buy bikes I completely ignore the "size"--which is based on seat tube--and pay attention to the top tube length. Even so, it's hard to find bikes built in the same proportion as I am, and I'm five inches shorter overall than you. To solve the problem for me, I'm looking at full-custom frames. They can be less expensive than you might think.

It doesn't help you for this weekend, but you may want to start thinking along these lines.
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Old 06-02-10, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by StanSeven
I'm not sure what you are asking. Unless you have some very unusual body dimensions, there's no reason for someome 6'3" to need a 64cm frame. My suggestion is find a good bike store with an experiened fitter and get a proper sizing. If your wife's 70mm stem with a 35 degree angle (assume that's what you mean) feels comfortable, you don't have a good fit.
If I could figure out a way to say "WRONG!" respectfully, I'd do it, but I can't, so I'll just have to blurt it out. I'm just a hair over 6'3", and I rode for decades on 62 and a few 60cm frames because that's what bike shops told me I needed (those are also the largest frames many companies make and most shops stock, which may have been a factor). When I ordered my midlife crisis Atlantis five years ago, I took Rivendell's advice and bought a 64, even though I worried it would be too big. I was instantly more comfortable than I'd been on a bike in 40 years--I was able to spend 25 percent more time in the saddle on the first day, which eventually helped my fitness level enormously.
A year later, I got a killer deal on a used Rambouillet (also from Rivendell) in a 65cm. Based on my experience with the Atlantis, I bought it, and it's at least as comfortable as the Rambo.
When I look at my old bikes now, I see lots of signs of too-smallness, mainly loooong seatposts and quill stems racked up as far as they'll go, plus a few millimeters, which still left me a long reach down to the bars. The current trend to small frames (supposedly lighter and stiffer) is fairly recent, just the last 15 years or so. In the old days (I started riding in college in the early '70s), one of the rough guides to frame size was to set the saddle where you needed it, then close your fist around the seatpost. If your hand didn't cover the entire exposed portion of the post, the frame was too small. Nobody follows that now, and bikes sized that way look funny even to me. But 64 isn't an unreasonable size for a 6'3" rider.
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Old 06-02-10, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Dog
If I could figure out a way to say "WRONG!" respectfully, I'd do it, but I can't, so I'll just have to blurt it out. I'm just a hair over 6'3", and I rode for decades on 62 and a few 60cm frames because that's what bike shops told me I needed (those are also the largest frames many companies make and most shops stock, which may have been a factor). When I ordered my midlife crisis Atlantis five years ago, I took Rivendell's advice and bought a 64, even though I worried it would be too big. I was instantly more comfortable than I'd been on a bike in 40 years--I was able to spend 25 percent more time in the saddle on the first day, which eventually helped my fitness level enormously.
A year later, I got a killer deal on a used Rambouillet (also from Rivendell) in a 65cm. Based on my experience with the Atlantis, I bought it, and it's at least as comfortable as the Rambo.
When I look at my old bikes now, I see lots of signs of too-smallness, mainly loooong seatposts and quill stems racked up as far as they'll go, plus a few millimeters, which still left me a long reach down to the bars. The current trend to small frames (supposedly lighter and stiffer) is fairly recent, just the last 15 years or so. In the old days (I started riding in college in the early '70s), one of the rough guides to frame size was to set the saddle where you needed it, then close your fist around the seatpost. If your hand didn't cover the entire exposed portion of the post, the frame was too small. Nobody follows that now, and bikes sized that way look funny even to me. But 64 isn't an unreasonable size for a 6'3" rider.
i obviously tend to agree with velo dog. My original question was based around the old convention of your handlebars should cover your front hub to your eye... i was wondering if they were behind the hub to my eye would i see any performance or dangerous handling changes. I feel pretty good with my 12* 100mm but since it is my first year riding more than to an icecream store and on a road bike, obviously my body will have to adapt to the position over the course of this season. I was thinking about riding the century this weekend with the more upright stem (wife's) for comfort. I may even bring both stems just in case.
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Old 06-02-10, 07:23 PM
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this guy seems to be quite a ways forward
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Old 06-03-10, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Velo Dog
In the old days (I started riding in college in the early '70s), one of the rough guides to frame size was to set the saddle where you needed it, then close your fist around the seatpost. If your hand didn't cover the entire exposed portion of the post, the frame was too small. Nobody follows that now, and bikes sized that way look funny even to me. But 64 isn't an unreasonable size for a 6'3" rider.
This was a rule for bikes with horizontal top-tubes.

In modern days, seat tube measurements are worthless for comparing bicycles, especially when the particular models aren't mentioned.

The important measurement is effective horizontal top tube length because this can't be adjusted very much.
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Old 06-03-10, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
In modern days, seat tube measurements are worthless for comparing bicycles, especially when the particular models aren't mentioned.
Not worthless, just of secondary importance.

Top tube length is primary, but if you have exceptionally long or short legs, the seat tube is definitely a concern.
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Old 06-03-10, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by x136
Not worthless, just of secondary importance.

Top tube length is primary, but if you have exceptionally long or short legs, the seat tube is definitely a concern.
You are misreading what I said.

"In modern days, seat tube measurements are worthless for comparing bicycles, especially when the particular models aren't mentioned".

Clearly, the bicycle has to fit (and the seat tube length is somewhat related to that fit!) but the currently-common sloping toptubes make seat tube length numbers hard to use without having any idea what particular bicycle they measure!

Last edited by njkayaker; 06-03-10 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 06-03-10, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by adam_mac84
so i needed to go with a 64cm frame to accomodate my inseam (i am 6'3"), on a 61cm frame i was maxing out the seatpost and didn't like that.

i currently have a 12* 90mm stem that i am riding with, and it is fairly comfortable, but i feel a bit stretched out... i ordered my wife a 70mm 35* stem, and tried it on my bike tonight just on the trainer, it feels more comfortable, and i seem like i can get a bit more bend in my elbows versus the other stem. However, the old convention of the handlebars splitting the front hub is way off, my bars are behind the hub by quite a bit. I am going to get some pics tomorrow of each setup while riding to compare on my computer and can probably post them up...

anyhow, is there a reason i shouldn't be doing this? I am riding a century this weekend, and with the stem i have on, i end up with locked arms and a very stiff neck, not to mention some tension in my left rhomboids (all of my problems are on the left for some reason). Is weight distribution going to be seriously affected?

I am also going to play a little bit with fore/aft seat position +/- 10mm or so to see where i get, cause 6+ hours in the saddle is going to be loooong
Why not just get a longer seat post? Then you won't be maxing it out.
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Old 06-03-10, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Cone Wrench
Why not just get a longer seat post? Then you won't be maxing it out.
That doesn't appear to be his problem.

He has (some sort of) 64 frame (and no seat post length problem). The "longer seat post" solution would apply to the 61cm frame that he doesn't have.

The OP is really asking about stem length.
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Old 06-03-10, 02:00 PM
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If you are all leg and no torso then you need a high, short bike.
You can help matters by putting longer cranks on rather than a larger frame size.
As long as you have cornering clearance get the longest cranks you can find (which is probably 175 but maybe 180).

On a given frame size, the effect on 1cm extra crank length is that you place the saddle 1cm down and 1cm forward. Note this shortens the reach by 1cm but your legs still have room to move.
The bar/hub thing is just backward thinking. It happens to be the case for an average Italian club rider on an average Italian bike in the 1970s. I have always seen my hubs .
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Old 06-03-10, 02:03 PM
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OP: Consider getting a probike fitting.
I'm 6'2" and have been VERY happy with my 63cm Felt. I've been to three different fitters* so far this millennium. For decades, I accepted that any ride over 70 miles is going to result in some pain, but now I can ride centuries (or more) with no back or knee pain, and last weekend I even noticed getting a mild ***** while riding along the beach during a solo century. (Memorial Day crowds at the beaches.)
It feels admittedly stupid to pay some dude more than $100 to aim a lazer at your knees while you pedal, then shift around your seat & cleats a few millimeters, but it made all the difference for me!

Screw convention!
It's so much easier to pedal with good form through the whole century when your back or your junk aren't hurting.
For years I subscribed to the commonly-held belief that Brooks saddles were the end-all-be-all for comfort. But now I'm MUCH, MUCH happier with my Specialized Avatar with the center channel cut out to protect my junk. (I tried 6 other saddles before deciding the Avatar (and the Alias to a certain degree) fit the shape of my junk best.)

Get a pro-bike fitting. Try different seats and different shorts.

*1st one tried to sell me a smaller frame
2nd one (Nate Loyal) was PERFECT
3rd one was to incorporate a new (and much, much better) seat; and despite my not mentioning my previous fitting with Nate Loyal, he noted after 1.5 hours of measuring me & bike, that my position with the existing seat was 'almost perfect.''
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Old 06-03-10, 03:40 PM
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yes, i plan on getting fitted after the season... ultimately, the bike ive got currently is the bike i have. I have been searching the google alot for more info on this topic, and it seems that if someone happens to cut a steering tube too short, people are OK recommending a higher rise stem or such, but if someone feels too stretched out with a stock stem that came on their bike it's because they didn't get a professional 4 hour fitting.

That being said, as a physical therapist, i do understand the importance of fit and form during athletic activities. Which is why I will be putting on the shorter hi-rise stem for the century. I was having some thoracic and cervical musculature issues after 50mi with my other stem. I will likely throw the longer stem into my seat bag just in case it ends up being horrible... the fifteen miles i did yesterday was the most comfortable I have ever ridden.

It looks like a smaller frame with longer cranks may have been the answer, but the cards i can play right now are for a longer top tube with shorter stem. As i said above, it is kind of interesting that in one instance a shorter or hi-rise stem is OK, but in others it is not. That is what i was trying to investigate with this thread
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Old 06-03-10, 06:24 PM
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heres a vid of 3 riding positions 2 with the shorty and one with the longer stem... let me know which of the 3 you'd say is the best riding position.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vUrAEwHmVQ

Last edited by adam_mac84; 06-03-10 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 06-03-10, 07:17 PM
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I could barely see your bars and it would have helped if you showed the empty bike for 2 secs between...


I vote for the shorter stem. Yes, they were 50 to 70mm in the good old days. I am a minority voice these days, but i hate 100mm stems. Going from the old to the new style, on 2 bikes, feels SO awkward.
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Old 06-03-10, 07:24 PM
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yes, the video was dark (was in the basement). i am looking more at my body position and arm position as well as knee to pedal alignment... obviously on my computer at full res is much better... sorry for the quality
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