Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

How can I tell if a bike isn't tall enough?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

How can I tell if a bike isn't tall enough?

Reply

Old 06-13-12, 07:19 PM
  #1  
blargman
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Owosso, MI
Posts: 182

Bikes: GT GT-R Series 3.0

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
How can I tell if a bike isn't tall enough?

I'm curious what are some of the things that indicate that? I noticed my GT Series 3 bike is a large.
http://www.rei.com/sizefinder/GTRoadTouring09.html
I'm 6'4" with a 36" inseam.

It feels a bit compact but might be ok.

http://www.ebicycles.com/bicycle-too....4&b=Calculate
If I go by this, it says I need a 62cm bike? I haven't found many on wiggle or otherwise that make them that big. They top out at like 58cm for most. Is 58cm the seat tube minus the extendable top seat tube part? I sthat could go up 4cm easily enough.
blargman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-12, 07:47 PM
  #2  
svtmike
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 2,745

Bikes: S-Works Roubaix SL2^H4, Secteur Sport, TriCross, Kaffenback, Lurcher 29er

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Usually the most critical measurement is the horizontal top tube length (also called the effective top tube length). You can use different length stems to get some adjustability to the reach but other than that it's pretty much fixed, less so than the seat height. As long as you are below the minimum insertion point for your seatpost, there's a much larger range of adjustment possible on the saddle height.

I'm an inch shorter than you with a 34" inseam and I ride bikes with 59-60cm top tube lengths. I feel very compressed on a bike with only a 56-57cm top tube.
svtmike is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-12, 08:17 PM
  #3  
blargman
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Owosso, MI
Posts: 182

Bikes: GT GT-R Series 3.0

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Whats the best way for measuring/analyzing top tube length proper length? It does feel like I am a bit over top of the handlebars a bit.
blargman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-12, 08:39 PM
  #4  
Velo Dog
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Northern Nevada
Posts: 3,811
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
I'm 6'4", too, and I rode 62cm bikes for years (that's what shops had in stock, and everybody promised to "make it work," usually with a longer seatpost). When I bought my Atlantis, Rivendell said I needed a 65, and I reluctantly went along. I was instantly more comfortable than I'd been in 30+ years of cycling, and could go 20-25% farther. Don't be pushed into a small frame unless you're sure.
Velo Dog is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-13-12, 08:48 PM
  #5  
blargman
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Owosso, MI
Posts: 182

Bikes: GT GT-R Series 3.0

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
What's your inseam length Velo Dog? the 65cm is the top tube or seat tube length? Sorry I just get confused by all the different measurements company's throw out there.
blargman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-12, 09:36 AM
  #6  
noise boy
Senior Member
 
noise boy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 915

Bikes: Cannondale CAAD9

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
I am 6' 4" and ride a 63cm Cannondale CAAD9 My cycling inseam is 38.5" FWIW I have a 90mm stem on mine.

noise boy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-12, 10:16 AM
  #7  
blargman
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Owosso, MI
Posts: 182

Bikes: GT GT-R Series 3.0

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I've got a sensitive area on the bottom of my hand above the wrist on the pniky side. I've notice riding this bike it irritates that quite bad. Does this probably mean I'm putting too much weight on my hands? If so what's a good resolution for that?
blargman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-12, 11:43 AM
  #8  
svtmike
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 2,745

Bikes: S-Works Roubaix SL2^H4, Secteur Sport, TriCross, Kaffenback, Lurcher 29er

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by blargman View Post
I've got a sensitive area on the bottom of my hand above the wrist on the pniky side. I've notice riding this bike it irritates that quite bad. Does this probably mean I'm putting too much weight on my hands? If so what's a good resolution for that?
Your weight has to be better balanced on the saddle to relieve weight from your hands. Usually that means moving the saddle back. It sounds like you don't have a good starting point for bike fit -- you might want to have a fitting done so that you have a decent point of reference from which to start tweaking.
svtmike is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-12, 05:22 AM
  #9  
Campag4life
Voice of the Industry
 
Campag4life's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 12,399
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1080 Post(s)
Originally Posted by blargman View Post
I've got a sensitive area on the bottom of my hand above the wrist on the pniky side. I've notice riding this bike it irritates that quite bad. Does this probably mean I'm putting too much weight on my hands? If so what's a good resolution for that?
It might be you have too much pressure on your hands.
Pain is a great barometer if your bike is too small. Why? Because smaller bikes generally have more upright seat tubes and shorter head tubes.
If you are a big guy and don't get some of your mass more behind the BB then more weight on the hands. Shorter head tube means more drop and more weight your hands. What you describe is 'ulnar nerve' damage...particularly if it lingers the next day off the bike. Do NOT continue to ride like this or you will pay long term consequences. Many that ride a road bike...and off road do not know about the ulnar nerve and Guyon's canal on the wrist. This is largely technique of how to grip the handlebar...especially the hoods. Do NOT compress this area. The outboard pad of the hand at the wrist should NOT be supporting your weight. Your weight should be supported between your thumb and forefinger on the hoods in the web of the hand...not resisting on the rear outboard pad of the palm which will lead to long term nerve damage.
So OP it is a combination of technique and set up. IMO you need a bigger bike.
Good luck.
PS: If you have never owned a bike as a tall man where the handlebar is up around the saddle height like Velo dog and noise boy above...and me...its time to give it a try. Check out Specialized Roubaix bikes or similar. This will transform your comfort on the bike.

Last edited by Campag4life; 06-15-12 at 05:32 AM.
Campag4life is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-12, 05:31 AM
  #10  
thump55
I got 99 problems....
 
thump55's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Does anyone know where the love of God goes, when the waves turn the minutes to hours?
Posts: 2,087
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
If it is tall enough that the wheels reach the ground, you should be fine.
thump55 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-12, 06:00 AM
  #11  
hyhuu
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: NoVA
Posts: 1,422

Bikes: Specialized Allez Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Shorter head tube means more drop and more weight your hands.
I don't see how this could be the case when one is balanced on the bike (fore-aft position). I feel no changse in pressure on my hands when I go from hood to drop or from a bike with little drop to a bike with more drop.
hyhuu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-12, 06:19 AM
  #12  
svtmike
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 2,745

Bikes: S-Works Roubaix SL2^H4, Secteur Sport, TriCross, Kaffenback, Lurcher 29er

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by hyhuu View Post
I don't see how this could be the case when one is balanced on the bike (fore-aft position). I feel no changse in pressure on my hands when I go from hood to drop or from a bike with little drop to a bike with more drop.
It depends on your flexibility and core strength. My bikes are set up with slightly varying amounts of drop and I'm fine, but I can't run a 4-6" drop like some guys do.

OP, here's my Roubaix with maybe 1.5" of drop. It's a 61cm frame size with a 245mm head tube.

svtmike is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-12, 08:33 AM
  #13  
Campag4life
Voice of the Industry
 
Campag4life's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 12,399
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1080 Post(s)
Originally Posted by hyhuu View Post
I don't see how this could be the case when one is balanced on the bike (fore-aft position). I feel no changse in pressure on my hands when I go from hood to drop or from a bike with little drop to a bike with more drop.
Pretty outrageous but this is the 41 so no surprise. Drop is the no.1 reason that road bikes are among the minority of bicycles sold throughout the world. The fitter and more flexible a rider is, the more he or she can sustain drop without discomfort. There isn't a single cruiser type bicycle sold in the world with drop. The reason isn't because riders don't want to be faster, be more aero or look cooler, bars above the saddle places more weight on the saddle and weaker bodies can sustain weight more easily on their bottom versus their hands. This is a fundamental tenent of fit and why comfort road bikes are so popular...with higher handlebar.

Last edited by Campag4life; 06-15-12 at 08:38 AM.
Campag4life is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-12, 08:40 AM
  #14  
Campag4life
Voice of the Industry
 
Campag4life's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 12,399
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1080 Post(s)
Nice bike Mike. Looks comfy and fast.

Originally Posted by svtmike View Post
It depends on your flexibility and core strength. My bikes are set up with slightly varying amounts of drop and I'm fine, but I can't run a 4-6" drop like some guys do.

OP, here's my Roubaix with maybe 1.5" of drop. It's a 61cm frame size with a 245mm head tube.

Campag4life is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-12, 09:00 AM
  #15  
svtmike
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 2,745

Bikes: S-Works Roubaix SL2^H4, Secteur Sport, TriCross, Kaffenback, Lurcher 29er

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Nice bike Mike. Looks comfy and fast.
Very comfy and fast. The head tube is admittedly a bit gawky, but that comes with the territory of being tall. Current version has black Zipp decals and a Romin Evo. Soon to add S-Works SL chainrings (52-36) and some Red.
svtmike is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-12, 09:03 AM
  #16  
hyhuu
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: NoVA
Posts: 1,422

Bikes: Specialized Allez Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Pretty outrageous but this is the 41 so no surprise. Drop is the no.1 reason that road bikes are among the minority of bicycles sold throughout the world. The fitter and more flexible a rider is, the more he or she can sustain drop without discomfort. There isn't a single cruiser type bicycle sold in the world with drop. The reason isn't because riders don't want to be faster, be more aero or look cooler, bars above the saddle places more weight on the saddle and weaker bodies can sustain weight more easily on their bottom versus their hands. This is a fundamental tenent of fit and why comfort road bikes are so popular...with higher handlebar.
I don't see how this has anything to do with your statement that more drop means more weight on the hands. I'm assuming we are talking about road bikes here.
hyhuu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-12, 10:49 AM
  #17  
StanSeven
Administrator
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Delaware shore
Posts: 12,793

Bikes: Cervelo C3, Guru Photon, Waterford, Specialized CX

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 482 Post(s)
I agree that if you reasonablly fit (reasonable abs strength) and sit on a relatively level saddle, weight on your hands shouldn't matter whether you are on the bars, hoods, or drops. Flexibility is also way over-emphasized. You aren't touching toes on a bike - you are seated and just partiaccly bending over.
StanSeven is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-12, 11:15 AM
  #18  
Campag4life
Voice of the Industry
 
Campag4life's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 12,399
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1080 Post(s)
Originally Posted by hyhuu View Post
I don't see how this has anything to do with your statement that more drop means more weight on the hands. I'm assuming we are talking about road bikes here.
I think you are talking about gardening. Hey...gardeners keep things pretty so no foul in that.
Campag4life is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-12, 11:19 AM
  #19  
Campag4life
Voice of the Industry
 
Campag4life's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 12,399
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1080 Post(s)
Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
I agree that if you reasonablly fit (reasonable abs strength) and sit on a relatively level saddle, weight on your hands shouldn't matter whether you are on the bars, hoods, or drops. Flexibility is also way over-emphasized. You aren't touching toes on a bike - you are seated and just partiaccly bending over.
Stan...how much saddle to handlebar drop do you run? If you run 6" of drop, why don't you run 10"? Have to be more aero with 10" versus 6". While you at it, why doesn't your grandfather who likes to ride his bike ride with 10" of drop? Think of the efficiency he could derive with such an aero profile.
Campag4life is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-12, 11:23 AM
  #20  
Campag4life
Voice of the Industry
 
Campag4life's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 12,399
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1080 Post(s)
Originally Posted by svtmike View Post
Very comfy and fast. The head tube is admittedly a bit gawky, but that comes with the territory of being tall. Current version has black Zipp decals and a Romin Evo. Soon to add S-Works SL chainrings (52-36) and some Red.
Roubaix are great bikes for bigger guys in particular and quite right, an XL or XXL frame size just doesn't have the aesthetic of a smaller frame.
But what a mistake as you no doubt know trying to serve an aesthetic....perhaps the biggest mistake made in purchase and set up of a roadbike...versus satisfy the ergonomics necessary to be comfortable on a long ride.
Cheers.
Campag4life is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-12, 11:38 AM
  #21  
hyhuu
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: NoVA
Posts: 1,422

Bikes: Specialized Allez Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Stan...how much saddle to handlebar drop do you run? If you run 6" of drop, why don't you run 10"? Have to be more aero with 10" versus 6". While you at it, why doesn't your grandfather who likes to ride his bike ride with 10" of drop? Think of the efficiency he could derive with such an aero profile.
Aren't you a bit too old to throw tantrum like that?
hyhuu is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-12, 12:14 PM
  #22  
noise boy
Senior Member
 
noise boy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 915

Bikes: Cannondale CAAD9

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Campag4life View Post
Roubaix are great bikes for bigger guys in particular and quite right, an XL or XXL frame size just doesn't have the aesthetic of a smaller frame.
But what a mistake as you no doubt know trying to serve an aesthetic....perhaps the biggest mistake made in purchase and set up of a roadbike...versus satisfy the ergonomics necessary to be comfortable on a long ride.
Cheers.
The main reason I ended up on a Cannonddale is that they are one of the few manufacturers that offer large frames, most brands stop at 60 or 61.
noise boy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-12, 01:25 PM
  #23  
StanSeven
Administrator
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Delaware shore
Posts: 12,793

Bikes: Cervelo C3, Guru Photon, Waterford, Specialized CX

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 482 Post(s)
Originally Posted by hyhuu View Post
Aren't you a bit too old to throw tantrum like that?
That's my reaction too. I never said anything about being aero. I was agreeing with the prior post that riding in the drops doesn't put more weight on the hands if someone has reasonably strong abs. Your hands don't really provide that much support in the drops as they do on the hoods for example.
StanSeven is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-12, 04:18 PM
  #24  
blargman
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Owosso, MI
Posts: 182

Bikes: GT GT-R Series 3.0

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I usually ride on the hoods but I feel like I am constantly flexing and straightening my arms against the bar. This could be partly due to back inflexibility and weakness. i'm not out of shape but i've always had back inflexibility. The effective top tube length of this is about 53cm, the seat tube is 53cm. the drop appears to be about 3inches. the length from top of the seat down is about 73cm. The head tube on yoru bike campag4life looks ridiculously longer than mine.
Mine looks to be about 17cm

Campag4life when you say yours is a 61cm frame size. What do you mean?

I would say I ride on the hoods the most and this is probably where I am putting the most pressure on my hands, the part where it hurts I can feel is where my hand is on top of the bar. Any tips about perhaps I'm holding it wrong? Maybe I will get stronger and this will go away over time? Are there gel or comfort grip additions I can get for my bars?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
bike 009.jpg (93.8 KB, 28 views)

Last edited by blargman; 06-15-12 at 04:40 PM.
blargman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-12, 05:35 PM
  #25  
svtmike
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 2,745

Bikes: S-Works Roubaix SL2^H4, Secteur Sport, TriCross, Kaffenback, Lurcher 29er

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by blargman View Post
Campag4life when you say yours is a 61cm frame size. What do you mean?
That's the nominal frame size from the manufacturer. Specialized measures from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat tube. It's pretty much a useless number because seat tube length varies so much.

I'd be interested in seeing a pic of you on the bike. 73cm from bottom bracket to saddle sounds really short for a guy your height. My fit is 82cm from bottom bracket to saddle, and the nose of the saddle is 12cm behind the bottom bracket.
svtmike is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service