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Trying to find the right size of Surly LHT

Old 03-25-13, 03:28 PM
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Trying to find the right size of Surly LHT

The wife and I have decided we would like to get disc truckers. No one in our area stocks any touring bikes. There is no chance of trying anything out. The only help we are getting from the LBS is to tell us what they think the size we should get based on our height. That's it. No one has even asked us what our inseam is. Sooooo....

We did the whole thing with the competivecyclist.com fit calculator. I found out I have very long legs for my height. I am 6'0" with a 34.5" inseam. My wife is a more normally proportioned woman with a height of 5'2.3" and an inseam of 30".

With all the measurements taken with this program, is it possible for people like us to determine if a Surly LHT will fit us? By that I mean the best frame size with enough lattitude to get decent saddle to handlebar reach with proper positioning over the pedals.

The CC fit calculator tells us that I need a 60cm seat tube with an effective TT length of 560mm to 564mm. My wife needs a 54cm seat tube with an effective TT of 524mm to 528mm.

Any suggestions?
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Old 03-25-13, 05:44 PM
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Here's a spreadsheet from the surly owners group.

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Old 03-25-13, 05:45 PM
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I would think the best way would be to compare it to other bikes that you may be able to try.

I used to ride a 56 cm Langster, I am 5'7" and a 30" inseamish. It was admittedly one size too large for me, when I went to pick out an LHT frame size I heard they run big, so I opted for a 52... I have found I probably would have probably fit better onto a 50! However, the 52 fits me well after getting a 70mm high rise stem.

I feel like the LHTs are a little too stretched out horizontally as you go down in size, which forces you to get something even smaller than you need. This is just based off of how I feel about the frame.

My general advice to anybody getting an LHT is to pick out the 2 frame sizes you think you lie between, pick the lower one, and then go one below that : P at least for shorter people. No idea on the larger sizes.

Stop by your local REI... they have a wonderful return policy, and sometimes have LHTs in stock!
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Old 03-25-13, 05:48 PM
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or BigAura clutchin' it up wish I had that when I picked out a frame size! great stuff!
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Old 03-25-13, 09:56 PM
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Try the Google Group for Surly LHT. Tell them where you live, ask for nearby LHT owners, we are a friendly bunch and will let you sit on our toys if you buy us coffee. I am in Queens, NY. If you live in BFE you are screwed of course.
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Old 03-26-13, 05:38 AM
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I have 60 cm lht. FWIW, I have the same inseam. With touring bikes, I agree to go with the larger size you are comfortable with. However, I would pay more attention to Top Tube for fit. Being 6'3" I still had to shorten the stem on the 60cm LHT (It came stock with a 120mm stem - I dropped down to 100 mm). With the lower bottom bracket on the LHT - you have a little more stand over height on the top tube per frame size. For your size needs you listed above - I would go with the 58, and you still may have to adjust your stem down a size. Your head tube will be slightly shorter - leaving you more room to adjust stack height to get the bars at least to seat level for a comfortable more upright position.
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Old 03-26-13, 09:13 AM
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I bought my LHT frame and fork during first year of production before there were any spreadsheets of data to compare. I measured my other bikes that fit and using the data in the Surly catalog. Picked one that was slightly smaller. Since the LHT has a top tube that is almost horizontal, it was easy to compare to my other bikes that had horizontal top tubes. I could have gone slightly bigger, but if a frame is too small that is not as big a problem as a frame that is too big. Even though I picked the smaller one, I still only use a 80mm stem (with drop bars) so if I had gone larger, I might have felt more stretched out than I wanted to. That said, I would have liked a bit more wheelbase with a larger size to get less toe overlap, it is hard to get the perfect fit.

Top tube length is pretty important, do not focus solely on the seat tube length when comparing bikes.

Some shops cut the steerer tubes when they assemble the bikes so that there is a minimal amount of spacer below the stem. If your plan is to order one from a local shop, tell them you do NOT want the steerer cut until you have a chance to see how high you want your stem. Note in the photo how much length of steerer tube spacers I have below my stem. Shown is a 58cm frame and the steerer is uncut, I actually have a 10mm spacer above the stem. Also, some shops will swap out a stem for a different one for free, others will charge you for it and a few will even charge labour to change it. So, discuss the stem before you order because that is when they will be more willing to negotiate.

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Old 03-26-13, 03:40 PM
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Good information in previous posts
.
As luck would have it, I'm just about your size and proportions. I'm just a hair under 6' with a 34 inseam. I have a 58 cm LHT and as many said the TT's are on the long side. I believe that for the 58 cm frame it is in the neighborhood of 586 mm. The 60 cm frame would have a 600 mm effective TT. This sounds like it might be quite a stretch for you. I know it would be for me. I have wondered if a 56 cm fame might have been a little better fit. Depending where I measure to, I only have about 70 mm of seat post showing. Another 20 mm would not make much difference there, but the 16 mm shorter TT might have helped.

I did not cut the steerer tube right away. This allowed me to dial in the bar height. I have the bar level with the saddle which tends to shorten the distance between saddle and bars. Actually I still have not cut the steerer tube, and like some of the other folks have spacers above my stem. I also built this one up from the frame.



I'm OK with the LHT. I put a 70 mm stem on it and it seems to be set up reasonably efficient and comfortable. I've got about 6,000 miles on it with no real issues. But if I could find something with a shorter top tube I'd be tempted to switch.

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Old 03-26-13, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by JWK
The CC fit calculator tells us that I need a 60cm seat tube with an effective TT length of 560mm to 564mm. My wife needs a 54cm seat tube with an effective TT of 524mm to 528mm.

Any suggestions?
Which of the three CC fits did you use? I found that the "Competitive Fit" was very aggressive, the "French Fit" put me on a huge frame that didn't feel right, and the "Eddy Fit" was just about perfect... for me.

Given your longer legs and shorter torso, I think your fit on a Disc Trucker will end up being a compromise. It wouldn't be a bad idea to find some bikes locally that have similar geometry. Perhaps another brand of touring bike or a cyclocross bike? If you can't do that, then I'd suggest ordering the frame from a shop with a very liberal return policy.
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Old 03-27-13, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by JWK
The CC fit calculator tells us that I need a 60cm seat tube with an effective TT length of 560mm to 564mm. My wife needs a 54cm seat tube with an effective TT of 524mm to 528mm.

Any suggestions?
You'll need to use short stem located higher than saddle top to attain suggested reach. This works out pretty good on a SLHT/SDT - the longer HT is helpful, and no one will think it odd to see a touring bike with the handlebar 2-8cm higher than the saddle. You can either go short, low angle stem with lots of steerer tube+spacers, or a longer, steep angled stem and much shorter steerer - or any combination in between.

I have a 56 SDT with a 57cm ETT. With my 83cm PBH and other physical dimensions, the CC fit calculator (and others) suggested a 55.5 ST + 54.0 ETT. I currently use a -5d/80mm stem with bar 7cm above saddle to achieve a (recommended) 64cm reach. It's very comfortable, I could go longer.

You can make a fairly wide range of touring frame sizes fit a person with the right stem and handlebar height - not so much with road bikes constrained to typical low handlebar postion. Remember, hbar/reach recedes 1cm for every 3cm of height increase for a 71-72d HTS.

Attached below is a BikeCAD model I made to size my SDT. It's not completely accurate to the specs stated above, as I decided to start with very high bar to delay committing to a steerer length (don't want to buy a second fork). If you like, you can use BikeCAD's free java CAD software to modify my SDT design to your own custom size. You'll need to edit TT, ST & HT length, saddle height, spacers, and stem angle/length. The free version calculates the newer reach/stack for fit calculation, included in my design. The pay version of BikeCAD additionally calculates conventional reach (saddle-hbar), toe overlap, wheelbase, etc. Even designs and prints templates for frame building miters - pretty neat.

https://www.bikecad.ca/1358372925946

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Old 03-27-13, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by lhendrick
Try the Google Group for Surly LHT. Tell them where you live, ask for nearby LHT owners, we are a friendly bunch and will let you sit on our toys if you buy us coffee. I am in Queens, NY. If you live in BFE you are screwed of course.
Yes, I am in BFE.

Originally Posted by Doug64
Good information in previous posts
.
As luck would have it, I'm just about your size and proportions. I'm just a hair under 6' with a 34 inseam. I have a 58 cm LHT and as many said the TT's are on the long side. I believe that for the 58 cm frame it is in the neighborhood of 586 mm. The 60 cm frame would have a 600 mm effective TT. This sounds like it might be quite a stretch for you. I know it would be for me. I have wondered if a 56 cm fame might have been a little better fit. Depending where I measure to, I only have about 70 mm of seat post showing. Another 20 mm would not make much difference there, but the 16 mm shorter TT might have helped.

I did not cut the steerer tube right away. This allowed me to dial in the bar height. I have the bar level with the saddle which tends to shorten the distance between saddle and bars. Actually I still have not cut the steerer tube, and like some of the other folks have spacers above my stem. I also built this one up from the frame.



I'm OK with the LHT. I put a 70 mm stem on it and it seems to be set up reasonably efficient and comfortable. I've got about 6,000 miles on it with no real issues. But if I could find something with a shorter top tube I'd be tempted to switch.
That's helpful info. Going over what you've just stated and my own personal stats, I'm sure the only reasonable SDT size for me would be 56.

Originally Posted by sstorkel
Which of the three CC fits did you use? I found that the "Competitive Fit" was very aggressive, the "French Fit" put me on a huge frame that didn't feel right, and the "Eddy Fit" was just about perfect... for me.

Given your longer legs and shorter torso, I think your fit on a Disc Trucker will end up being a compromise. It wouldn't be a bad idea to find some bikes locally that have similar geometry. Perhaps another brand of touring bike or a cyclocross bike? If you can't do that, then I'd suggest ordering the frame from a shop with a very liberal return policy.
I agree, any trucker will be a compromise. The Jamis geometry fits me a lot better, but it's not quite the tourer that the SDT is. However, the wife and I are considering trailers, which is a whole other thread I'm starting. Point being, the Jamis would work for a trailer just fine and the SDT would be obviously better for panniers.

Originally Posted by seeker333
You'll need to use short stem located higher than saddle top to attain suggested reach. This works out pretty good on a SLHT/SDT - the longer HT is helpful, and no one will think it odd to see a touring bike with the handlebar 2-8cm higher than the saddle. You can either go short, low angle stem with lots of steerer tube+spacers, or a longer, steep angled stem and much shorter steerer - or any combination in between.

I have a 56 SDT with a 57cm ETT. With my 83cm PBH and other physical dimensions, the CC fit calculator (and others) suggested a 55.5 ST + 54.0 ETT. I currently use a -5d/80mm stem with bar 7cm above saddle to achieve a (recommended) 64cm reach. It's very comfortable, I could go longer.

You can make a fairly wide range of touring frame sizes fit a person with the right stem and handlebar height - not so much with road bikes constrained to typical low handlebar postion. Remember, hbar/reach recedes 1cm for every 3cm of height increase for a 71-72d HTS.

Attached below is a BikeCAD model I made to size my SDT. It's not completely accurate to the specs stated above, as I decided to start with very high bar to delay committing to a steerer length (don't want to buy a second fork). If you like, you can use BikeCAD's free java CAD software to modify my SDT design to your own custom size. You'll need to edit TT, ST & HT length, saddle height, spacers, and stem angle/length. The free version calculates the newer reach/stack for fit calculation, included in my design. The pay version of BikeCAD additionally calculates conventional reach (saddle-hbar), toe overlap, wheelbase, etc. Even designs and prints templates for frame building miters - pretty neat.

https://www.bikecad.ca/1358372925946

I agree that the stem selection these days can give anyone the proper reach within a reasonably sized frame, but the problem IMO is that when you get too upright you start to lose power to the pedals. So if you have no option but to be very upright to have a reasonable reach, you never have the option of getting in better shape/stronger and lowering your handlebars. It will always be too long. Having said that I freely admit I don't know where I am right now in the comfort/power balance. It has been 15 years since I rode 60-100 miles every weekend and have barely touched a bike since. I'm 57 now and that might just affect how low I can go on the handlebars all day, even after I do get in decent shape.

Your post did give me helpful info and more to think about.
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Old 03-27-13, 06:32 PM
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That's helpful info. Going over what you've just stated and my own personal stats, I'm sure the only reasonable SDT size for me would be 56.
The downside to the 56 cm is that the stack height might get a little high depending where you want the bars. It is only aesthetics, but once you put a bar bag on it does not matter. I think our build and height make either bike a compromise. It just depends what we want to trade off. In a one year period between 2011 and 2012 I spent 5 months touring on the LHT, and never really had any issues.

Our local LBS has a 56 cm trucker on the floor. If I get to town in the near future, I'll see if I can take it for a spin. I know he'll let me, but if it is raining I don't want to mess up his bike when I really don't have any intention of buying. If I do, I'll post or PM you my impression.

My wife needs a 54cm seat tube with an effective TT of 524mm to 528mm
My wife is 5' 3" and she rides a 50 cm road bike, a 50 cm touring bike, and her new touring bike was a custom built and sized frame and it is in the neighborhood of 48 cm. Our daughter who is 5'6" was able to ride my wife's old bike comfortably on a tour last summer. I'd take your wife to a shop and let her ride a couple of different sizes before ordering without riding one. It might be worth a day trip to a shop in the region to try out a bike before you buy it.

Last edited by Doug64; 03-27-13 at 09:46 PM.
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