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Touring on wrong size frame

Old 02-19-23, 10:26 AM
  #1  
sloar
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Touring on wrong size frame

Anyone tour on a frame that’s too big for you? I picked this LHT up for 1/4 of the average price, it was advertised as a 56 but ended up being a 58,I’m 5’9”. I have it set up where it feels comfortable riding but the toptube is a little high in the crotch when standing. I’m thinking about selling it but since it feels ok riding it I might keep it. Opinions or experience welcome, thanks


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Old 02-19-23, 11:26 AM
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Depends how high in the crotch. With a touring bike, given the weight carried, I like to be able too get a foot flat on the floor when stopped. If that means the bike leant a touch either way I can live with that. If I couldn't get a good foot down I'd sell it.
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Old 02-19-23, 11:32 AM
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It looks like it's borderline. There's still some seat post showing at least. The higher handlebar may be comfortable on tour. You can play around with stem length, and stem height by moving spacers around.

I once bought a touring bike that was a bit too small because of a good sale price and the nice components on it. I ended up riding it for over twenty years, with two crossings of the US. After I replaced it with a larger bike, it sat around a few months before I sold it. I took it for a test ride and it felt comically small, almost like a clown bike.

If it feels okay riding, the crank length might be okay. If it's 175 and you should have 170 for your leg length, it's something else to think about.
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Old 02-19-23, 11:34 AM
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I have the stem length perfect, but that’s a great idea on the cranks.
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Old 02-19-23, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by irc
Depends how high in the crotch. With a touring bike, given the weight carried, I like to be able too get a foot flat on the floor when stopped. If that means the bike leant a touch either way I can live with that. If I couldn't get a good foot down I'd sell it.

With both feet flat in the ground the toptube is snug in the crotch but not uncomfortably snug
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Old 02-19-23, 11:39 AM
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Maybe it's just the angle of the pics but it seems odd that you'd be comfortable riding with the saddle at that height and not be able to stand over the top tube when stopped...


EDIT: Ach, I was studying the pics while everyone else was talking. Don't listen to me...

Last edited by Thulsadoom; 02-19-23 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 02-19-23, 12:20 PM
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Yea, theoretically it's at least one size too large for you but if you're comfortable riding it for long hours, that's really the most important thing as you're not going to be standing over the bike but for very brief periods. And just my opinion, but if you're willing to tolerate the longer top tube, the crank length is a minor consideration. Remember, Sugino, Shimano and other crank manufacturers often only allow for a 1 cm difference between their shortest crank and their longest crank (165 to 175mm) and yet that is intended to "fit" humans that range from 4.5 foot tall to 6.5 foot tall. so obviously there is a little wiggle room there and often it's more what you get used to.
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Old 02-19-23, 12:35 PM
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If the saddle nose to favorite position on the handlebars is the same as it is for a well-fitting road bike (assuming you have one), you are probably OK. I'm your height but with rather short legs, so it probably would not work for me. Shorter crank arms will allow you to sit a bit higher, but longer ones give you a bit more leverage. (I have 165mm on my main ride, and 172.5 mm on my touring bike). If you are worried about the family jewels, ...

https://lonepeakpacks.com/product/top-tube-protector/

It is supposed to protect your top tube (I always seem to dent mine on touring bikes), but it could help protect you a little bit from the top tube.
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Old 02-19-23, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by sloar
With both feet flat in the ground the toptube is snug in the crotch but not uncomfortably snug
I think you will be OK. Standing over a bike is one of those things you do without even thinking about what you are doing. So I just tried standing over a couple of my bikes. The bike vertical. Both feet flat either side. I had around 1 or 2 inchs crotch clearance.

But the thing is. Even with a loaded bike I almost never stand like that. Any time I stop I keep my foot on the left pedal ready to restart and lean the bike maybe 15 degrees to the right and plant my right foot flat. At which point there is a lot more clearance. Pretty sure I do the same thing even when on a fully loaded bike.

Certainly for road tours you should be OK. But try it and see. Stick a couple of loaded panniers on and go for a ride with plenty of stop starts. You will soon know whether it works for you or not.
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Old 02-20-23, 06:37 PM
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If you can stand with your feet flat on the ground and the top tube clears your crotch, I think it's fine. I'm 6' and ride 56-58cm, for reference.
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Old 02-20-23, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by sloar
With both feet flat in the ground the toptube is snug in the crotch but not uncomfortably snug
You're fine. As long as it is comfortable all day riding, and the top tube isn't jammed into your bone, it's fine. You have a much longer stem than I have on my 56 LHT, and I am 5' 11". I feel the top tube at a stop, but it isn't jammed into me.

Standover height is something you need some of, but you don't need a inches.

Mine came with 175 cranks, but I put 172.5 cranks on. I like between 170 and 172.5. I didn't like the 175s.
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Old 02-20-23, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by sloar
Anyone tour on a frame thatís too big for you? I picked this LHT up for 1/4 of the average price, it was advertised as a 56 but ended up being a 58,Iím 5í9Ē. I have it set up where it feels comfortable riding but the toptube is a little high in the crotch when standing. Iím thinking about selling it but since it feels ok riding it I might keep it. Opinions or experience welcome, thanks

Oh, and how did you determine it is a 58?
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Old 02-20-23, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes
Oh, and how did you determine it is a 58?

Its marked on the bottom of the bottom bracket shell
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Old 02-20-23, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes
You're fine. As long as it is comfortable all day riding, and the top tube isn't jammed into your bone, it's fine. You have a much longer stem than I have on my 56 LHT, and I am 5' 11". I feel the top tube at a stop, but it isn't jammed into me.

Standover height is something you need some of, but you don't need a inches.

Mine came with 175 cranks, but I put 172.5 cranks on. I like between 170 and 172.5. I didn't like the 175s.

The stem shown is an 80mm, I switched it today with a 70 and itís a lot better.
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Old 02-20-23, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by sloar
The stem shown is an 80mm, I switched it today with a 70 and itís a lot better.
That's what I run. Your bars/hoods look to have more reach than mine, but it may be an illusion.

Great looking bike.
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Old 02-20-23, 07:15 PM
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Thanks, the bars are Salsa Cowchippers, the reach isn’t too bad.
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Old 02-21-23, 08:31 AM
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I wouldn't worry about it. If you can step down from on the saddle, to one foot down with the opposite foot on the pedal, and then stand gently astride the top tube, the bike fits well enough. Just ride it.
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Old 02-21-23, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by sloar
Thanks, the bars are Salsa Cowchippers, the reach isnít too bad.
Probably just an illusion from the image then. I believe the Cow chippers have less reach than my Nitto Noodles. Of course my levers may be mounted differently. I have been considering the Cowchippers.

I can see now why they look longer in the picture, it is the way the drops come out towards the camera. It creates an elongated look in the image.
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Old 02-22-23, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by sloar
The stem shown is an 80mm, I switched it today with a 70 and itís a lot better.
and don't be shy putting a shorter stem on if needed. I have a 50mm stem on my dropbar tourer, a surly troll, with salsa cowbell bars and it handles great--no issues with a short stem, and the LHT is known to be a slower steering bike compared to a Troll.

(although I do realize diff people have a diff opinion on what feels like "fast" steering)
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Old 02-22-23, 02:21 PM
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It looks like you have 60mm of spacers on that stem as it is. Dropping down to a smaller frame size would mean more spacers to keep your bars at that height. Its a steel steerer, so it isnt in danger of being unsafe with that many spacers, but still...if you insist on sticking with a level top tube frame, perhaps what you have now is the smallest you should go if you want your bars up that high.
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Old 02-22-23, 02:24 PM
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At 5'9" it wouldn't fit me.

One thing I never understood is leaning and reaching, but to each his/her own.

Nice bike.
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Old 02-23-23, 06:49 PM
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I've seen a lot of accomplished riders who don't look like I do on a bike, yet we all feel our bikes fit.
Given the different criteria for "fit" from different systems, I'm sure any of us could find a system that said our bike, on which we have ridden thousands of miles, did not fit. As many above have said, if it is comfortable for you, and you are not developing some hideous, disfiguring orthopedic problem, go with it.
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Old 02-24-23, 11:26 AM
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Looks like it is sized 100% PERFECT to me. Da hell are you whining about?? Put on a shorter stem if you have to.
A size smaller would look rather clownish, sadly how most LHTs turn out.
My bikes barely show any post. I've had four 23" bikes and I'm 5'8".
I do use flat pedals and thick steel toe shoes tho.
I have stood over a 56 LHT. I could squat down 1/2" over it. So a 58 would be too big likely.

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Old 02-24-23, 11:57 AM
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that's a handsome tourer.
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Old 04-05-23, 08:48 PM
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Thats a nice looking bike!

Its not just about height. Your leg length relative to your torso, your flexibility, you desired position, etc. The top tube length is also very important. Judging by the seat post extension it doesn't look too tall for you. Check out classic road bikes from the 70s and you'll see similar seat post extension. The drop bars will extend your reach quite a bit assuming you ride on the hoods. You can switch to a shorter stem and use something like a moloko bar, velo crazy bar, koga, butterfly bars (super comfortable for touring), flat bars with bar end grips, or maybe even a compact drop bar like a salsa. Comfort is the rule for touring bikes and you have to be wary of old rules of thumb that could be from racing culture or who knows what. My bike was a bit too long for me but I need the height, so I had a tough time until i discovered butterfly bars. Every spring when I climb onto it I'm shocked how comfortable it is. Tall steerer tube like yours.
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