Bike sizing, what's wrong?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by bartier, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. bartier

    bartier New Member

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  2. Sikhandar

    Sikhandar New Member

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    handlebar too high and short... suggestions: i. reverse the stem, remove the spacers. ii. check the saddle/handlebar length; is it correct with the theoretical value?
     
  3. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    The picture doesn't reveal several things; so, a few question:
    1. What is the frame size (the Virtual Top Tube length) & stem size?
    2. How tall are you?
    3. Were you uncomfortable? (e.g., cramped)
    If, for example, you're 5'11" and the frame has a 57cm top tube + 110mm-to-130mm stem, then it is probably close to being the right size ... and, tweaking may-or-may-not result in a better fit.

    If you didn't have trouble breathing/pedaling/whatever, then the fit is "okay" ... DESPITE your chagrin at how you look on the bike.

    If you think you want a more aero-position, then swap your road bars for some TT/Tri bars ... but first (as suggested), lower the stem, remove the spacers (stack them above the stem), etc. to see if you are un-/comfortable in a different riding position INCLUDING riding on the handlebar's drops.

    Also, you may want a seatpost with more extension (e.g., Easton).
     
  4. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Agreed, there's nothing glaringly wrong with your fit in that photo. But the photo also doesn't show anything about your seat height setting (a side view with leg at full extension would be nice) or show how you look in the drops.

    I'm assuming you want a more competitive position for tri-s. Well for starters if you're riding with road bars you want to be able to spend a lot of time comfortably down in the drops not up on the hoods unless you're climbing. As suggested clip on aero bars makes a huge difference if you really want to go fast on flatter roads.

    So what is it about your fit that you aren't happy with, is it comfort, reach, sore back or neck, desire to get lower and flatter? As a basic riding around position on a road bike your fit looks reasonable with a relatively straight back and some flex in your elbows at full reach to the hoods. From a competitive standpoint you're way up in the air, but then you're riding up on the hoods in this photo, even a full TT bike with aero bars won't show your best position while riding the bullhorns. What exactly are you after or struggling with?

    -Dave
     
  5. bartier

    bartier New Member

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    I want to try and get down lower. I'm around 5'9.5" and my frame is only 50cm which has now got me worried your going to suggest a larger frame. It is however a Giant TCR compact road frame. I got it second hand so I took what I could get. I think I'll look into the clip on aero bars and have a play around with the stem and handlebar setup. Is the frame too small for me?
     
  6. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    The frame might be too small, but again from the photo there's really no way to know. You're riding up on the brake hoods, how about a photo shot from the side where you're riding in the drops. That's the first step to getting lower. The tops and hoods are great for climbing, rolling around town or drafting comfortably in a large field. But when the hammer goes down and we're fighting the wind or are off the front working into a wind the drops is the place to be.

    Even if the frame is a bit on the small side (there's a certain amount you can do with long stems but that only goes so far) for road riding the good news is that it sounds like you're a triathlete. From that standpoint you may very well do much of your riding and all your racing in aero bars. The trouble with using clip on aero bars on an appropriately fitted road bike is that the top tube tends to be too long forcing you to reach forward with your upper arms to meet the elbow pads on the aero bars. This is really tiring for long rides. One answer is clip on bars that allow the pads to be positioned well behind the road bar. Another is riding a smaller frame size with a shorter top tube when you're primarily riding in aero bars. For instance my road frame is a perfect fit at 54cm, my dedicated TT bike fits great at 51cm and it's mostly so the top tube length works with the aero bars.

    Anyway, I don't think any of us can tell from that photo whether your bike fits well for a road fit and definitely can't tell if you would be comfortable or too cramped up riding in the drops. But even if you are the bike is probably a really good candidate for fitting some aero bars for your tri training and racing.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  7. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Your position doesn't look bad if you're just out with the gang for mimosas for brunch. Frame size and saddle height look OK, but if you want to be competitive you've got flatten that upper body. Flip the stem, then with hands on the hoods check the angle of the humerus to the torso in profile--it should be somewhat greater than 90 degrees. If it falls short of that try a longer stem.

    After getting stem length dialed in see how much lower you can go by swapping spacers. When riding the drops you should see your upper body getting as close to horizontal as allowed by your flexibility, ability to breathe, and ability to pull yourself out of the saddle without too much effort for climbing and sprinting.
     
  8. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Could you get someone to take a pic of you on the bike from the side - you can't really tell from that photo. It doesn't have to be anything fancy but not in jeans and baggy t-shirt though... ;)

    1st mistake - no tri-bars.
    2nd mistake - you're in the small ring.
     
  9. bartier

    bartier New Member

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    [​IMG]
    On the hoods (my arms don't usually sit that straight, fixed it in the action shot)

    [​IMG]
    On the hoods (action)

    [​IMG]
    In the drops

    [​IMG]
    In the drops (action)

    There are some updated photos. Any thoughts?
     
  10. Albert 50

    Albert 50 New Member

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    I'm your height & I ride a 50cm (seat tube BB centre to top) TCR. Mine's an 07 Alliance 2. I have plenty of seat post showing. My stem is 100mm 6 deg flipped up with 15mm of spacers. I find it ok for size :)
     
  11. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Your fit is pretty good, your leg angles at full extension are pretty normal (saddle might be a tad high, but if it feels good when pedaling, especially if your a "toes down" sort of pedaler then no worries, the angle just looks a tiny bit more "open" than I typically ride). Your extension seems good, especially when you remember to flex your elbows.

    Your reach seems about right, you're not obviously compressed with a big arched back in the drops. That's good.

    I see a few things you could do to get flatter, but realistically for a general road racer you're not bad.

    - Learn to reach up into the hooks while riding in the drops instead of riding the flats at the bottom of the drops. That costs you nothing but practice and will bring you lower and longer in the process, plus you'll actually be able to work your STI shifters from up in the hooks which you really can't do without shifting your hands from the position shown in the photo.

    - Remove one or more stem spacers. Take them out from below your stem and move them above the stem. That will drop you a cm or two judging by the photo and again, no additional expense.

    - You run a high rise stem. I wouldn't flip it over unless you really have a lot of flexibility. It will then become a steep drop "track" stem and I doubt you can comfortably ride that low, especially for long triathlons where you'd want to be down in the drops most of the time. If you want to get the front end lower I'd buy the same length stem that has less rise or a gentle (4 to 6 degree) drop. That will lower your front end a lot. Then you've still got the two options above to play with, spacers above and below and how you actually place your hands in the drops.

    - Clip on aero bars with or without a stem change.

    Your frame size is definitely reasonable based on these images as is your basic seat height and reach.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  12. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Probably, my only significant comment to you is with regard to your WRIST ANGLE when your hands are on the drops ... you (probably) want the angle of your wrist to be the same as if you were holding a hammer rather then bent as severely as they look (to me) in the pics. The angle of your wrists is what I would refer to as a "weak" positon & could result in problems in the future.

    Having said that ...

    'I' would probably flip the stem ...

    In addition to flipping the stem, personally, I would rotate the handlebars so the drops were horizontal (parallel to the ground); and then, unwrap the bars, relocate the brakes accordingly, re-wrap the bars ... and, see how that feels.

    BTW. I'm 5'9" ... while my arms/legs/torso are probably not proportioned exactly the same as your body's proportions, I will note for you that most of my road bikes have a 54cm top tube + a 120mm stem .... BUT, I have frames that are smaller & larger ...

    Regardless of the top tube length and/or the width/shape of the handlebars the "reach" on all of my bikes is set up approximately the same -- the aribitrarily measured distance (for my convenience) is from the middle of the back "edge" of the saddle to the back edge of the hoods -- that distance is within a half-inch. For me (Brooks saddle with pre-2009 Campagnolo ERGO levers), that measurement is 36.5" +/- 0.5" ... there IS variation from bike-to-bike. If I were using an Arione saddle, the length would probably be an inch longer ... and, in a few years, it may be less-or-more ... this is a very personal matter based on MY flexibility (or, lack of), etc.
     
  13. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Your seat looks about in the right place but the bars look a little high and a bit too close.

    As Alf pointed out the bar setup looks a little off. Take off the tape, rotate the bars to where it's comfortable for you to ride in the drops AND reach the brakes/gears. It will take some time to get comfortable riding in that position and a lot of it depends on your flexibility, or lack of. Once you find a position in the drop that you are reasonably comfortable with, you can the alternate your hand position from the drops to the brake hoods without changing your back position so you can stay low but change the pressure on your hands as needed.

    You could do with getting a set of clip on aero bars (aka tri-bars) before you start making adjustments. If most of the racing you do is triathlon then buying a set would be one of the best investments you could make. The ONLY reasons for not putting on a set are 1. You have shoulder/upper back problems that stop you from using them. 2. The race regulations prohibit their use 3. It's always very hilly.
     
  14. OldGoat

    OldGoat New Member

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    Alfeng has far more expertise than I based on his many other posts. However, I too am just under 5'9" with short legs and long torso. All my bikes have 54cm top tube w/ 110mm stem. (Don't have any with sloping top tube like yours; for comparison, measure a "virtual" top tube parallel to ground from center of head tube to center of seatpost--ignoring the aero part.)

    I've gotta say that the first time I saw your photos, I was reminded of living in Ankara as a child in the 1950's, watching Turkish peasants riding on little donkeys ("ashaks"). There was a storybook "Once the Hodja" which immortalized the scene; only picture a bigger Turk and a much smaller donkey.

    In short, it looks to me like your frame is too small, resulting in your having a cramped position. I suspect you agree; otherwise you wouldn't have asked for comments. You can certainly try some of the tweaks suggested, and they will help some, but were I you, I'd be looking for a bit larger frame, giving special consideration to the top tube length. You can check frame geometry at any manufacturer's website. Here's the link to Giant's frame geo specs, also reproduced below:

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/_upload_us/bikes/models/geometry/2007/GUTCRComp07.jpg

    You might check out the Giant Small (53.5cm virtual Top Tube) and Medium (55.5cm vTT) at your LBS and see if one or the other feels better than what you now have. My bet is you'll really like the Giant Small (and other mfr's bikes similarly sized.)

    Oh....I'm betting you also now have occasional issued with your toes clipping the front wheel when turning at low speed. Longer wheelbase of larger frame will help a bit if that's a problem.



    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  15. Albert 50

    Albert 50 New Member

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    The medium is the one he currently has :) As do I.
    The 50cm he refers to is c of bb to top of st.
     
  16. jackson123

    jackson123 New Member

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    Fit should be the main consideration when buying a new bike. After all, even the most expensive bike won't seem that great if it's too big or too small. Make sure you get a bike with a frame that fits you properly for maximum comfort when going on bike rides.
    1. Measure your inseam. This is best done barefoot. Stand against the wall and put a book between you legs so it pressed right up against your pelvic bone. Make a mark with a pencil on the wall along the top of the book. Measure the distance from the floor to the mark in centimeters.
    2. Use your inseam measurement to get a rough idea of your road bike[​IMG] size. Multiply your inseam by .65. This will give you a good estimate of you road bike size for bikes measured center to center. Thus if your inseam is 86 cm, you will fit a 56cm road bike (86 x .65 = 55.9). Note that many road bikes are measured center to top. To determine how to fit these bikes, multiply your inseam by .67.
    3. Subtract an additional 10cm and convert this measurement to inches to get your mountain bike[​IMG] frame size, roughly. Thus, if you fit a 56cm road bike (c-c), you will fit a 46cm - or an 18" - mountain bike
    4. Consider top tube length. In many ways, this is the most important aspect of sizing a bike. Two 18" mountain bikes may have different length top tubes. Or a 54cm and an 56cm road bike may have the same length top tube. Given the same top tube length, the bigger bike may be more comfortable in that it will allow you to get the bars up a bit higher.
    5. Know that women have longer legs and shorter top tubes than men. Unfortunately, most bikes are designed for men, and women often have a hard time finding a bike that will fit them well. Luckily, some manufacturers have begun to make women-specific models.
    6. Test ride some bikes once you have gotten a rough idea of what will fit you. This will help you determine what is most comfortable for you.

     
  17. Dietmar

    Dietmar New Member

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    Am I the only one who feels that those levers are mounted too high on the bars? To me it looks like the hoods should be rotated (and moved down) on the bars quite a bit. The Campagnolo rule is to have the hoods more or less in a parallel line from the piece of bar above them. Moving them down will also allow you to reach the levers easily while in the drops.
     
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