How Well Does Your Road Bike Fit?



decca234uk

New Member
Jan 18, 2010
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I bought another bike last year. This was one of the biggest questions I was determined to get right. I know from experience that buying a bike that just doesn't fit right is something you will regret. I was determined to take my time and get it right.
I went round a number of shops that specialized in cycles only and found one with really helpful staff. One of the staff measured me and helped me to pick the right bike for my size.
He even talked me out of getting a bike I had my eye on because he said it was too big for me. He explained why and nhe was right. I ended up buying an Allez and I have to say thanks to this guy it's the best fitting bike I've ever had. It feels just right for me and is a pleasure to ride.
I would suggest you do the same. Visit a number of specialized shops and ask them to measure you and advise on the size of bike you want. Try some bikes out. If they're not willing to do this then leave and find another shop.
 

randochap

New Member
Oct 21, 2008
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As others have noted, swapping stems will not void any warrantee. Stem changes should be part of any decent shop's fitting service. One inch is plenty standover; which will generally give you a decent fit (all other things being equal).

Here's a sizing/fitting guide.
 

dhk2

Active Member
Aug 8, 2006
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alienator said:
FWIW, fitting a bike with a sloping top tube is just as easy as fitting a bike with a horizontal top tube. In the process of fitting, the top tube doesn't have to be measured. The dimensions for virtual top tube are given by the manufacturer. If the dimensions vary by a millimeter or two, that's no big deal.
Agree the slope of the top tube doesn't really matter when fitting, and TT (or virtual TT) length can "adjusted" a cm or two each way by the stem length.

While reach to the bars is no doubt important, seems to me the dimension most often neglected is the drop from the saddle to the handlebars. A lot of the major brands offer choices now in frame geometries based on the headtube length or stack height, labeled "aggressive/pro" vs "sport or "club" vs "comfort" or "commuter". As a result, getting the position you want with off-the-shelf geometry shouldn't be difficult for most of us.
 

kdelong

Well-Known Member
Dec 14, 2006
3,477
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I have six bikes and there are slight variations in them, but they are all close enough that they all fit very well except one. But I am going to swap out the stem to shorten the reach before I ride it again.
 

Billcycle

New Member
Feb 1, 2010
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new_rider said:
My previous road bike was about 3 cm too short in the top tube/stem combination.

I barely had an inch of standover clearance, and I would've preferred more.

The dimensions were close enough, but not exactly ideal. What about your current setup?
I probably drove my LBS guy nuts on this fitting thing, LOL...

When I bought my first bike, a fitness/hybrid, we pretty much just dealt with leg extension and reach. When I decided to go road (pun intended), I got really anal about all the fitting stuff. Researched every site I could find on proper fitting, and so on.

Being an in-between size physically (5'10.5, 31"), general wisdom was a 54 or 56cm cycle would work for me, with most recommendations going for the 54.

But when I tried the bikes on the test rides, the 56 felt right, much better than the 54. Can't really explain why, just felt right.

When we went through a more detailed fitting on the actual bike I was planning to buy, we made a couple key adjustments--including a shorter stem. Not being overly interested in competition, I wasn't looking for the most aggressive possible position on a bike--the combination of the slightly larger frame and slightly shorter stem clicked with me.

The stand-over on the 56 is obviously not as luxurious on my 31" inseam as the '54, but it's negligible riding. Even at my relative "rookie" level of experience, I think stand-over height is given way too much weight in a lot of discussions.

Just me, YMMV--

Bill
 

root

New Member
Nov 1, 2007
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new_rider said:
My budget only allows for a non custom frame, which is probably true for 98-99% of all bike riders. So, some compromises here and there are necessary.

How well does your (non custom) bike fit you?

My previous road bike was about 3 cm too short in the top tube/stem combination.

I barely had an inch of standover clearance, and I would've preferred more.

The dimensions were close enough, but not exactly ideal. What about your current setup?

I have a very adjustable spin bike in the basement and I change my position on it often. When I initially set it up by "eye" without any measurements it ended being within a few millimeters of my road bike setup :D.

But from there I started playing about with seat forward/backward position and handlebar height, foreward/backward etc.

I used to change something almost every day. Then I settled into a position that felt comfortable for a few months. But then it felt wrong again. So I just recently changed a few more things.

I think as your condition improves and you get more fit and lighter you will generally want to adjust your position further (you will most likely want more handlebar drop etc).

So, don't be afraid to experiment with your position as you progress etc. I don't think it's the bike size so much, as long as the bike is close to your ideal size.
 

RMD Photography

New Member
Mar 6, 2010
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I recently purchased a Gary Fisher AR Super from my LBS and they took almost an hour properly fitting me on the bike. Taking measurements, making small adjustments, watching me on the trainer, swapping out for a more expensive stem at no charge, measuring again, adjusting again until we were all satisfied. I had been contemplating buying a bike online and this really renewed my faith in the brick and mortar.