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Other similar height riders (5'4"): POLL: what is your rig?

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Other similar height riders (5'4"): POLL: what is your rig?

Old 03-18-09, 10:18 PM
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Other similar height riders (5'4"): POLL: what is your rig?

I am a somewhat short female, 5'4" and about 135 pounds. I ride a Cannondale T-800 and sometimes I feel like the geometry is a bit wrong. I feel... mushed I guess? My feet can hit the front tire if I turn too sharply. So it's like I'm a hair too "long" for this bike, but I was nowhere near long enough for the Trek touring bike. (My short arms wouldn't reach properly).

Just curious what other similar height riders are riding. Thanks!

P.S. If anyone knows of a way to test your geometry (angles, etc) without paying a bundle for one of those custom bike designs, I'd love to hear about angles to look for... I could have my husband take a pic of me on the bike and measure my bends with a compass or something.
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Old 03-18-09, 11:01 PM
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You didn't say what size your bike is. I'm 5'4" and ride a 50cm surly lht. I go back and forth thinking I might have been better off getting a 46cm. Sometime I feel like I'm stretched out and other time I feel fine. I am 60, so it may be a matter of not being as flexible as I used to be. I know if I paid for one of those expensive fittings, they would have me on something much smaller, since they think everyone wants to race their bikes.

I have stopped worrying about the fit lately after looking at the bikes that everyone crossed the country on in the mid 70's. I think we get a little too involved in trying to get the perfect fit. I know I didn't answer your question, but I think I would feel a little more comfortable being a little stretched out than too cramped.
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Old 03-19-09, 12:17 AM
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i'm between 5'7" and 5'8" and i ride a 52cm lht. the saddle is so low i have barely a fistful of seatpost, which precludes the use of some laid-back seatposts. That being said, i probably should have gotten the 50cm. This might tell you to look for something still smaller for yourself.
fwiw, i've never noticed a tendency of "racers," competitive or otherwise, to ride frame sizes too small for them. hopefully someone providing an in-depth fitting knows that no one is going to race a surly long haul trucker. (although i have raced mine)
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Old 03-19-09, 09:39 AM
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My wife is 5'4", and somewhere around 125 lbs (she won't tell me ). We went round and round on measurements, bike specs, stem lengths, etc -- and she now rides a 50" LHT. She says it's perfect for her, and I can see that it's ideal, too.

I built the bike, so we chose stem/handlebars/cranks based on her fit. It's possible a stock LHT might have to be tweaked a bit for a better fit -- but she's never ridden a pre-built one.

I wrote to Surly for advice when I bought our frames, and they were helpful. My wife seemed to be between the 46" and the 50" sizes, and they agreed that the 50" was probably better.

If this helps, here are my wife's measurements (all barefoot):
height: 162.5cm 64.0"
floor to sternum: 133.5cm 52.5"
floor to pubic bone: 76.0cm 29.8"
arm (ribs to palm): 59.0cm 23.2"
shoulder width: 37.5cm 14.5"
weight/shoe size: 125 lbs/7.5 women's (to show she's average build...)

Of course, the LHT isn't your only choice -- but this should help you zero in on a stock size. You can use stem length and height to dial in a great fit, once you know the "right" bike size. This might take several tries, but stems are pretty cheap; maybe your LBS will let you borrow a few stems before settling on the best fit.

-- Mark

Last edited by EmmCeeBee; 03-19-09 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 03-19-09, 09:42 AM
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I'm 5'7" and ride a 47cm Randonee. I had to replace the handlebars - I'm a stocky guy and the, ahem, stock bars were too narrow.

Edit: Have you tried moving the bars closer, maybe using a shorter stem?
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Old 03-19-09, 03:14 PM
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bike

I am 5'2" female rider and ride a 46cm Rocky Mountain touring bike. I also have a 51cm
Trek 5000 womens bike that has 650 wheels.
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Old 03-19-09, 03:58 PM
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Whoops, sorry for leaving out the size. Gosh it was so long ago I don't recall, but I'm pretty sure I bought the small. Here are the measurements of it:
S
Seat Tube Angle (degrees) 74.5
Head Tube Angle (degrees) 71
Horizontal Top Tube Length (in/cm)C 20.3/51.6
Seat Tube Length to Top (in/cm) 17/43.2
Chainstay Length (in/cm) 18/45.7
Fork Rake (in/cm) 2.1/5.3
Bottom Bracket Height (in/cm) 11.1/28.2
Wheelbase (in/cm) 40.6/103.1
Trail (in/cm)I 2.5/6.4
Standover Height (in/cm) 29.2/74.2
Bottom Bracket Drop (in/cm) 2.6/6.7
Front-Center Distance (in/cm) 22.9/58.2

Tires are 700 x 35c Continental Top Touring. I have the longest stem available on the handlebars. It's about 2" long IIRC.

To explain my smushed feeling better, basically I feel that to get in a comfortable riding position, I have to have the seat set way back. Even then when I ride, I feel like I'm bent over too far... like my legs and torso are at too tight of an angle.

I doubt I'll trade in my bike... it's got over 1,000 miles on it. Saw me through a century ride and many great tours, but I'm just mainly curious.

Last edited by refuge; 03-19-09 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 03-19-09, 05:02 PM
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Very small guy- 5' 3", 105 lbs., 53 years old. My bikes:

>Just bought: 2009 Marin Point Reyes, 15" frame, 26" wheels. I probably could have gone with the 17" but I like good standover clearance. Love the bike.

>1990s Stumpjumper with a mongrel set of parts, my main wet weather commuter, not sure of size but probably 15" also.

>Cannondale Jeckyl MTB, full suspension, frame size small.

>Easy Racers Gold Rush Replica recumbent, size small/medium. Favorite country cruiser and hope to tour on it soon.

>Vision VR40 recumbent, frame size small, currently on a trainer in my garage.

My feet can hit the front tire if I turn too sharply
I've pretty much changed over to all 26" wheels on my bikes- I don't like the toe overlap problems that many bikes with 700's have when you get into smaller frame sizes and add fenders.

Last edited by rnorris; 03-19-09 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 03-20-09, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by refuge
To explain my smushed feeling better, basically I feel that to get in a comfortable riding position, I have to have the seat set way back. Even then when I ride, I feel like I'm bent over too far... like my legs and torso are at too tight of an angle.
Sounds familiar -- I'm 5'3" and I ride an old 50cm Peugeot with a steep seat tube angle. To get in a good position over the pedals, I have to push the seat way back. That made the reach to the bars too long until I switched to a taller stem and Nitto North Road bars. Now I'm quite comfortable.

May I suggest a setback seatpost and a tall, short-reach stem? That will shift your position back on the bike without increasing your reach. If you use upright bars, maybe consider some that are more swept back.
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Old 03-20-09, 02:06 PM
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My wife is 5' 4 1/2 " and just replaced her 2003 Raleigh C40 17" with a 2009 Trek 520 54cm. We used the Raleigh for touring and she just did not like the positioning, said it felt like she was sitting "too" upright. She says the Trek has solved her position issues and the fit feels perfect. She also has a Trek 1000 that is 54cm but she says the position on the new 520 is better. We had to go riding yesterday in the rain because she wanted to ride her new bike so much!
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Old 03-20-09, 02:31 PM
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I am 5'4", male, and ride a 46 LHT and a Litespeed XS compact. Both bikes fit very well.
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Old 03-20-09, 03:58 PM
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Ok, when you've got short legs, you kinda end up shafted by bike manufacturers. The fit measurements everyone looks at are things like effective top tube (which basically tells you the reach) and seat tube (which tells you how long your legs need to be). They're helpful, but they don't tell the whole story.

As a practical matter tho, your bottom bracket height tells you a lot more about the bike's design than just about anything else. 26cm is pretty reasonable (and you can't go much lower without short cranks), and 28cm isn't *wildly* out of line, but anything over that and it's probably gonna be wildly twitchy for us short legged types. So your bike is on the big end for a short legged person.

The chainstays are about as long as you'll find on most ready made frames, which is good. That *should* make the bike less prone to getting blown around, which is just all kinds of fun. The only way to really get longer is to go custom... and with a damn near 75 degree seat tube angle, that suggests that they had a tough time making the math to fit your wheels in work. Most tall people bikes have 72-73 degree seat tubes, so your hips are shoved way forward compared to them.

I ended up making 26" wheels a requirement for my last bike. They're a bit stronger and give the designer a bit of wiggle room compared to 700C. Add in that it's easy to find tubes and tires in an emergency, and it was an easy choice since my bike is a grocery getter that often needs to haul 50lb loads. I'd have to dig a bit to find my seat tube angle, but it's not a steep one at all... and the bottom bracket is 26cm.
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Old 03-20-09, 09:05 PM
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Thank you for all the advice so far. I never thought about trying to get a taller handlebar stem. well, maybe I did and just couldn't find one...I think when I was looking for stems there weren't very many that were tall and long. The one I have now has a slight rise to it, but mostly pushes the bars out from the frame, not up. Ideas there would be helpful.

I ride with the drop handlebars that came with my bike. I had the shifters re-done to tube ends because I like the easy low maintenance. But most of the time I ride with my hands on the top of the drops. (The flat part). If the handlebars were higher, I think I'd be less bent over. I'm not sure how I would feel about that reach but I'd be willing to try it. I'm especially bent over when I'm riding in the drops, which I do up hills or in wind. Good ideas, thanks again. I may also look at switching the tires, but the Conti Top Touring tires were not cheap so I want to get maximum riding out of them and maybe I'll switch when it's time to retire them.

I looked at the new Cannondale touring bikes and I think they've fixed that toe overlap issue. What a weird design flaw.
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Old 03-21-09, 02:34 PM
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Wow, this is amazing. I am 5'5" and have a 52 LHT, and it fits me perfect. It must be proportions, I guess.
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Old 03-21-09, 04:26 PM
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My partner is 5'4", she rides a small Cannondale T-2000 with On-One Mary handle bars instead
of the drops. We worked with a very good bike shop and a patient also un-tall female shop co-owner
changing the stem and other components to get an optimal riding position and fit. My partner can happily ride for hrs, only thing is we cannot do is pass an open ice cream shop.
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Old 03-21-09, 05:24 PM
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I'm a short guy at 5'4, 140 lbs. I think I have short legs, as my floor to pubic bone height is about 29". For some reason, my arms are about an inch shorter than my brother, who is exactly the same height as me.

I'm currently riding a 16" Novara Safari ('08 model). Due to my short arms, I feel stretched out, even with the butterfly bars adjusted to put my hands almost at the headset position. At the same time, however, I feel like I'm very upright and constantly wanting to scooch back on the seat. I've been experimenting with the headset spacers, and I found that things feel best for me with the handlebars as low as they can go. That way I feel less upright, and seem to have a better weight distribution.

Since there is an awful lengthwise crack in my Safari's chainstay, I'm thinking about moving on to a 46 cm LHT. Here's an awful phone camera picture of my setup:
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novara_safari_16-inch.jpg (79.9 KB, 18 views)
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