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Best Bikes for Long Legs/Short Torso

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I'm a competitive triathlete (top regional runner, learning more about cycling) and need some help in selecting a road bike. I've been professionally fitted for my TT bike (the only options I was given were Cannondale Slide, Scott Plasma and Blue Triad. I went for the Blue and have been very pleased). But, I'd like to replace my old road bike to training and some category 4/5 races next year. When I've gone to bikeshops or emailed online vendors they will ONLY recommend bikes they sell. The fit measurements for my tri bike aren't very helpful. I measured myself using this tool and this is what I came up with:

https://www.wrenchscience.com/Login.aspx?ReturnUrl=/Secure/Fit/Height.aspx

 

Questions: 1) Good bike maker for Long Leg/Short Torso

2) Any online resource where I can enter my measurements and it will recommend a bike?

 

I have long legs and a short torso.

WS Recommended Road Sizes  
Frame Size center-to-center: 53 cm
Frame Size center-to-top: 54 cm
Overall Reach: 67.50 cm
Saddle Height: 71.77 cm
Handlebar Width: 46 cm

 

Height: 70.00 in
Sternum Notch: 57.00 in
Inseam Length: 32.00 in
Arm Length: 25.00 in
Shoulder Width: 20.25 in
Flexiblity: 7 or 8
Weight: 163.00 lbs
Foot Size: 10.50 USMens

post #2 of 12

Don't laugh, but consider a womans specific bike as that's a big part of the WSD geometry, short in the top tube relative to the seat tube size and typically with slacker head tube angle to minimize toe overlap with the shorter wheelbase.

 

Other options include a slightly smaller traditional geometry coupled with a longer seatpost. This is pretty common these days with the popularity of smaller frames in the pro racing community.

 

FWIW, for many years now I've paid attention to appropriate top tube plus stem length instead of seat tube length for sizing bikes. As long as the rider isn't particularly short legged it's generally much easier to get the seat height right with commonly available seatposts than it is to fit an overly long or short top tube with commonly available stems.

 

-Dave

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Well, it's definitely an "outside of the box" response which is always welcome and you make a good point on WSD geometry but...I'd still know I was riding a women's bike even if I had the thing repainted with the most machismo custom paint job imaginable :) I can't say I won't think about it though.

post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by samspade73 View Post

......I'd still know I was riding a women's bike even if I had the thing repainted with the most machismo custom paint job imaginable...

Nahhh, the trick is to get a hot pink WSD bike, match it with some pastel colored handlebar tape and maybe color coordinated tires and then get REALLLLLLLY fast so that no one can give you any lip ;)

 

Seriously though, there are WSD bikes out there that look plenty macho and it's almost ashame they've created the WSD marketing as what they really represent are bikes with alternative geometries to fit folks that benefit from those geometries but I'm sure they attract a much wider market segment with the WSD label. Realistically though the WSD geometry makes the most sense for folks of either gender that are both shorter in the torso and not very tall. Tall riders can just as easily make do with a sized down bike and a longer seat post.

 

-Dave

 

P.S. after re reading your initial post, you'd do fine on almost any stock bike with a 54 or 55 cm top tube. My dimensions are pretty similar to yours and I personally ride bikes from 54cm to 56cm with stems and seat posts that give me the same overall contact point positioning and leg angles. I like to race frames that are a bit smaller so my race bike is a 54cm but my cross bike which I also race on is a 56cm frame and they're both set up very similarly, the cross bike is actually set up for a more relaxed and upright position and I still managed that with a 100mm stem. I'd probably get out and test ride some 54 and 55 cm road bikes and use that as a starting point.


 

 

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Yeah, talk about "owning" the competition. Nothing would demoralize an opponent quite like passing them on a hot pink bike and giving them a look over  your shoulder.

 

Thanks for the sound advice. I was thinking along the same lines that almost any stock 54 top tube would work and can be adjusted to get max performance. Out or curisoity why do you go with the slightly larger cross frame? Is it a balance thing? Easier to mount and dismount? or just personal preference that maybe you can't explain but just feels right? I'm getting into cycling from being a life long distance runner so although all the training principles are the same (and as a 2:40s and 2:50s marathoner I have some of what I need to be someday be a respectable cyclist, it will be a long term profect to build up that needed cycling power). Runners don't need to think about technology beyond shoes and how short do you want your shorty shorts to go. I wonder how long it will take before someone grabs a 2:11 Kenyan Marathoner, teaches them to swim and ride and they crash Kona.

post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by samspade73 View Post
 Out or curisoity why do you go with the slightly larger cross frame? Is it a balance thing? Easier to mount and dismount? or just personal preference that maybe you can't explain but just feels right?...

I liked the cross bike, it felt right when I test rode it and it's geometry happened to be a bit shorter in the top tube and with it's sloping top tube design the standover height wasn't an issue. I guess what that says overall is that all 56cm frames do not have the same geometry which gets back to sizing based on top tube instead of traditional seat tube based sizes.

 

-Dave


 

 

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveryanwyoming View Post

I liked the cross bike, it felt right when I test rode it and it's geometry happened to be a bit shorter in the top tube and with it's sloping top tube design the standover height wasn't an issue. I guess what that says overall is that all 56cm frames do not have the same geometry which gets back to sizing based on top tube instead of traditional seat tube based sizes.

 

-Dave


 


Just for kicksI went and looked over a few bikes this weekend, all 54cm, which in theory "should" fit someone my height but some of the top tubes were so far from a fit from my needs it was commical. I think I discovered one bike that is literally at the opposite end of the spectrum from what I need (I think it was designed with ultra, ultra short legged, all torso people). So, I think you're dead on with looking at top tube is being key in sizing. They should probably start listing sizes like 54cm-TT measurement.
 

 

post #8 of 12

Similar dilemma – have been looking at replacing my current Boardman Pro Carbon!  The simple reason is the stack of spacers beneath the stem that is annoying me!

 

I have been monitoring bikes on the tour lately & have seen that most have done away with spacers beneath the steam or reduced to a single spacer – from my web-based research it appears to be for better aerodynamics!  So I’m after a new frame that will allow me to rid the 45mm or so of spacers I have!  But to do this I have to comprise somewhat on my reach, the example:

 

On my current set up with spacers fits me, the stack (incl spacers) is 59cm & reach (incl spacers) is 36cm, with a 120mm stem.  I’m looking at buying a Cannondale CAAD10 58cm – which has a stack of 57.9cm & reach of 39.9cm , I believe this bike frame will fit me if I use a 80mm stem & reduce the spacers under my stem to a single 5mm or maybe 10mm!

 

Can anyone see a problem in my example above?  Any advice would be most welcome!

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjth2004 View Post

Similar dilemma – have been looking at replacing my current Boardman Pro Carbon!  The simple reason is the stack of spacers beneath the stem that is annoying me!

 

I have been monitoring bikes on the tour lately & have seen that most have done away with spacers beneath the steam or reduced to a single spacer – from my web-based research it appears to be for better aerodynamics!  So I’m after a new frame that will allow me to rid the 45mm or so of spacers I have!  But to do this I have to comprise somewhat on my reach, the example:

 

On my current set up with spacers fits me, the stack (incl spacers) is 59cm & reach (incl spacers) is 36cm, with a 120mm stem.  I’m looking at buying a Cannondale CAAD10 58cm – which has a stack of 57.9cm & reach of 39.9cm , I believe this bike frame will fit me if I use a 80mm stem & reduce the spacers under my stem to a single 5mm or maybe 10mm!

 

Can anyone see a problem in my example above?  Any advice would be most welcome!

From my recent research, I agree, most high quality bikes don't have stacks and stacks of spacers. This is a semi-uneducated statement but I thought spacers had more to do with turning rather than playing with height?

 

I have a 1999 Trek and due to a recent accident that bent the fork/steering, I discovered there were several spacers in there. I would think, although multiple spacers aren't as common, you could still find a bike out there where you wouldn't have to give up a lot on reach. On long rides I think you would regret it (upper back and shoulder pain being a problem due to more weight on handle bars)

 

Since I asked my original question I found out that fitting for TT or Tri bikes is waaaaay more tricky than road bikes. With road bikes you don't have seat angle to contend with, which for every degree differences is like 1 cm top tube difference. This made me breath a little easier when looking for a new road bike.

 



 

 

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjth2004 View Post

Similar dilemma – have been looking at replacing my current Boardman Pro Carbon!  The simple reason is the stack of spacers beneath the stem that is annoying me!

 

I have been monitoring bikes on the tour lately & have seen that most have done away with spacers beneath the steam or reduced to a single spacer – from my web-based research it appears to be for better aerodynamics!  So I’m after a new frame that will allow me to rid the 45mm or so of spacers I have!  But to do this I have to comprise somewhat on my reach, the example:

 

On my current set up with spacers fits me, the stack (incl spacers) is 59cm & reach (incl spacers) is 36cm, with a 120mm stem.  I’m looking at buying a Cannondale CAAD10 58cm – which has a stack of 57.9cm & reach of 39.9cm , I believe this bike frame will fit me if I use a 80mm stem & reduce the spacers under my stem to a single 5mm or maybe 10mm!

 

Can anyone see a problem in my example above?  Any advice would be most welcome!




Hmmmm, that sounds like a very expensive approach to reducing the number of spacers below your stem. First spacers on a road bike are more of a cosmetic issue than anything else. Sure there's the trend in TT bikes to build with minimal to no spacer to very slightly reduce drag but unless you intend to ride your road bike in your most aerodynamic position all the time it's really in the noise from a performance standpoint. A few spacers under the stem aren't going to make any measurable difference in the speed of your road bike while you ride in typical positions like up on the brake hoods or bar tops or realistically even in the drops wearing normal road helmet, jerseys, etc. Unless you're already pushing the envelope on aerodynamics like you might on a TT bike in a well tuned position with full aero kit including helmet, skinsuit, booties and wheels the spacers really aren't going to matter.

 

But even so if you want to remove spacers but still run the same handlebar height then why not just buy a stem with the appropriate rise angle and cut down your steering tube so that you can remove the spacers and have your bars up where you want them? Completely changing your frame so that you can run fewer spacers seems ridiculous.

 

Sure if you've got money to burn and you're aching for a new bike then no worries buy the new bike for whatever reasons you need to create but of all the justifications I've ever heard for swapping bikes this has got to be the most bizarre.

 

 

post #11 of 12

Spacers are there to help the rider dial in his/her optimum riding position.

Aesthetically I don't like the look of a positive stem & secondly when I've ridden with a positive stem in the past I found it weird and twitchy.

I'll hold my hands up on one account - I'm after a new frame for a Sram Red bike build!  But there is also the structural integrity question when running a stack of spacers beneath the stem!

Some manufacturers send warnings with their forks that the maximum exposed steerer tube should be 8cm.  This includes approx 1 cm of headset and 4 cm of stem clamp.  So max spacers then are 3cm.  Otherwise, you are risking a failure which would be decidedly ugly.  Reynolds for example do not recommend using more than 4cm of spacers on their forks & Kestrel wisely ships their steerers precut so that you can only use 2cm of spacers.

So probably best not to tempt fate with a monster stack of spacers.

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by samspade73 View Post

I'm a competitive triathlete (top regional runner, learning more about cycling) and need some help in selecting a road bike. I've been professionally fitted for my TT bike (the only options I was given were Cannondale Slide, Scott Plasma and Blue Triad. I went for the Blue and have been very pleased). But, I'd like to replace my old road bike to training and some category 4/5 races next year. When I've gone to bikeshops or emailed online vendors they will ONLY recommend bikes they sell. The fit measurements for my tri bike aren't very helpful. I measured myself using this tool and this is what I came up with:

https://www.wrenchscience.com/Login.aspx?ReturnUrl=/Secure/Fit/Height.aspx

 

Questions: 1) Good bike maker for Long Leg/Short Torso

2) Any online resource where I can enter my measurements and it will recommend a bike?

 

I have long legs and a short torso.

WS Recommended Road Sizes  
Frame Size center-to-center: 53 cm
Frame Size center-to-top: 54 cm
Overall Reach: 67.50 cm
Saddle Height: 71.77 cm
Handlebar Width: 46 cm

 

Height: 70.00 in
Sternum Notch: 57.00 in
Inseam Length: 32.00 in
Arm Length: 25.00 in
Shoulder Width: 20.25 in
Flexiblity: 7 or 8
Weight: 163.00 lbs
Foot Size: 10.50 USMens


FWIW.  You are an inch taller than I am ...

 

As daveryanwyoming concluded, I believe you can use almost "any stock bike ..."

 

I happen to set the top of the saddles on most of my bikes at 28.25" above the center of the crankset (the actual measurement varies slightly with different length cranks than the ones which are pictured), so you can use my OLMO (53x55) for reference [i.e., a picture is worth a thousand words]: 

 

OLMO_9u29gn.jpg

 

Because I set up my bikes with a combined top tube & stem length of 66cm, the pictured stem length is 110mm.   The actual reach to the rear of the horns on the hoods is longer than 66cm.

 

  • I presume "Overall Reach" represents the combined top tube & stem length

 

IMO, to some extent (after a person knows-or-determines the parameters for the "contact points") frame size IS a matter of flexibility to some extent AND aesthetic sensibilites to possibly a greater extent ...

 

  • If you were to choose a frame with a 54cm top tube, then you would need a 135mm stem to achieve the specified Overall Reach: 67.50 cm -- some people like the look of a really long stem ...
  • With a 55cm top tube (real or virtual) you would use a 125mm stem (handlebar reach varies from is not a constant between various brands & models and can affect the stem length you actually select)
  • et cetera
     

According to Wrench Science's calculations, simply changing the stem on my Olmo & the cranks to whatever length you use (those are 175mm) would make my Olmo ready-to-ride for you.  If my Olmo's proportions suit your aesthetic sensibilities & flexibility (shifter/handlebar height relative to the top of the saddle), then almost any off-the-peg frame will do (at least, almost any Italian frameset) ...

 

  • Buy a Pinarello or Bianchi if you want a ready-to-ride bike ...
  • Buy a Colnago, Pegoretti, De Rosa or Olmo if you want a frame onto which you will put your own components.
  • Obviously, there are OTHER bike frames you can choose!

 

BTW.  So, how does a frame with a 130mm stem look?  Here's a 51x53 frame with a 130mm stem:

 

TREK_SS_b2.jpg

 

A 130mm stem does not suit my aesthetic sensibilites but that length stem was necessary for ME to use the particular frame.

 

 

  

 

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