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noob with short legs question

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Old 12-06-08, 12:52 PM
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Copcar
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noob with short legs question

After years of mountain biking I've decided to build a fixed-gear bike and I have a few questions before I start:

Frame size.

I'm 5'8" and have a 28" inseam,(long torso, stubby legs), and don't know exactly which size frame to get. A 49cm frame is about the only size that will safely help me avoid the dreaded testicle/top tube interface, but I feel all cramped-up on such a small frame. Should I go ahead with the small frame and just use a longer stem and slide the seat back or should I get a slightly larger frame and deal with the inefficient stand-over height on the rare occasions that it's an issue? I'd like to stick to traditional frame geometry as much as I can. I've seen frames with a slanted top tube,(more stand-over height), but just don't like the way it looks.

Any suggestions?
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Old 12-06-08, 12:59 PM
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skeletor3000
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I'm 6' with a 30.5" inseam... so short legs as well. I recently got a frame that only gave me about an inch of nut clearance. You should be alright as long as you're using bullhorns or drops... low, far-reaching drops are my personal solution, and I got things pretty comfy for myself after a few weeks of tweaking the reach.
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Old 12-06-08, 01:06 PM
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I am 5'8" with a 29" inseam. I ride a 53 cm IRO Mark V. When I first stated looking for a frame, I was going to get a 49 until i went and talked to my LBS. Go to a bike shop and have them help you get sized up, that'd be better than buying a bike that doesn't fit
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Old 12-06-08, 01:13 PM
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Get your legs fitted and adjust for your torso from there. It's easier to make adjustments with the seat, handlebar and stem (3 adjustable points) than it is with just the seat post (1 adjustable point). Another thing you have to realize is that MOST track bikes have shorter cranks for clearance issues, so there's another factor, as well.

At 5'8", it seems a 49cm is WAY small for you, and it should be more like a 52/53cm is in the right neighborhood, but I understand why you'd go with a 49cm. You just may have to get used to leaning at stops or pulling up next to a curb to place your off foot on.

This is a good thread. I see SO many ill-fitted fixed gear bikes rolling around, it's not even funny.
 
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Old 12-06-08, 01:25 PM
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look for a frame with a longer top tube than seat tube, for example IRO where the listed size is the TT length. ST measurements are often listed as c-t, which doesn't necessarily help if you're trying to figure out standover.

my frames are below, and it should be stated that i have the opposite proportions to you (i'm 5'7" with a 31" inseam) so mine would fit you better than they fit me.

53 iro special: 54 tt / 49 st (c-c)
54 felt tk2: 54 tt / 48 st (c-c)
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Old 12-06-08, 02:45 PM
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Thanks for all the great info!

The last thing I want is an ill fitting bike.

Last edited by Copcar; 12-06-08 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 12-06-08, 03:13 PM
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Compact frames will work better for you since the sloping top tube will give you more room.

A bike fit done right will make that ride comfortable. If the bike doesn't fit, you won't ride it.
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Old 12-06-08, 05:12 PM
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go larger and learn to trackstand really well!

my friend has the same issue and can't standover his frame without his nuts resting on the top tube. He can trackstand for days.
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Old 12-06-08, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Copcar View Post
that will safely help me avoid the dreaded testicle/top tube interface,
This old furphy.

Mate, top tube clearance is one of the biggest pups ever sold to cycling and used to be the most common reason for people buying too small a bike - it's now been replaced by the modern mania for 'racer styling' with the resulting tiny frame syndrome.

Have a read of what Rivendell have to say - sure, they're not a fixed gear firm and the styling is rather different to what you're after, but their comments on sizing still apply.

It works because you never stop with the bike bolt upright between your legs, you always stop with the bike tilted over and one leg down. Sure, you may stand with the bike bolt upright between your legs, but you assume that position deliberately while stopped and doesn't cause a problem either.

Personally, I've been riding my Europa since the 80's. The top tube just brushes my groin when standing over her. She has NEVER bitten me in that quarter century of riding, never even given me a cause for concern. In those days, such frame sizes were common. My Jamis is a cm taller, now has over 1,000km on her and once again, she has never bitten me. In fact, the high top tubes have never caused any issue at all except to have people with the modern mindset tell me my saddles are too low.

That's not to say you should buy a bike with a top tube that high, it's saying that top tube height is largely immaterial. The important measurement is the LENGTH of that top tube ... or apparent length if you're looking at a bike with a sloping top tube. The length of the top tube is important because it determines your reach and that's something that is not easy to fiddle with. The apparent selection of necks available is largely illusory - they allow you to fine tune your fit but rarely allow you to compensate for the wrong sized bike.

And yes, this is one area where the sloping top tube does make a lot of sense.

On advantage of a high top tube (and not a reason for buying one), is when waiting at the lights, one foot flat on the ground, you can rest the thigh of the straddling leg on the top bar and get a bit of a rest

Richard
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