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Fitting a road bike(6 posts)

Fitting a road bikeSarah C
May 21, 2001 12:09 PM
It's been ages since I moved from road to mountain and am interested in getting back on a road do I figure out what size bike to buy? Any input would be a great help.
How good of a bike are you thinking about?Spoke Wrench
May 21, 2001 12:30 PM
The more expensive of a bike that you buy, the more sense it makes to pay $50.00 to $75.00 for a truly professional fit. People don't think twice about paying $500.00 more for a better component group when you probably only shift about 1% of the time. The fit is with you every minute that you're on the bike.

Threadless headsets have made bikes much less easily adjustable than they used to be. If you have an extensive mountain biking background, you'll probably have some pre-conceptions about how you should sit on the bike. Then there's the women's "long leg, short torso" thing.

If you are seriously thinking about spending more than $1,000, I'd recommend spending a little bit more for a professional fit and do it right.
re: Fitting a road bikevram
May 21, 2001 11:51 PM
This is a good resource to start with:

Typically women have shorter torso in relation to their inseam. Since most bikes geometries are designed with men in mind, a framesize that fits your inseam may be too long in the top-tube. Especially since you come from a mountain biking where you tend to sit more upright than roadbikers, being stretched out on a long top-tube may not be a comfotable experience (at least at first).

You must first determine wether you have a short torso in relation to your inseam. If you feel comfotable on a framesize based on your inseam you are lucky. Otherwise, start looking at bikes that are designed specifically for women.
Some suggestions...vram
May 22, 2001 9:07 AM
Depends on how much you want to spend. Here are some women-specific bikes with their prices. But remember you can get them at least 15% cheaper if you buy the last year's model or more if it's on a closeout.

Trek 2300 WSD-$2,000 Alu frame w/carbon forks, shimano Ultegra

Trek 2000 WSD-$1200 Alu frame w/carbon fork, Shimano Tiagra

Specialized Allez A1 Elite-$1730 Alu frame w/carbon fork, Shimano 105+Ultegra

Terry precision Cycling symmetry-$1050 Steel bike, steel fork, Shimano 105

Cannondale R800 Feminine-$1629 Cad4 alu frame w/carbon fork, Shimano 105.

You can also take the custom route if you are willing to spend at least $1500 only for the frameset. The frame will be custom-made for you based on your measurements.

re: Fitting a road bikePaul N. VA
May 22, 2001 6:06 AM
Unfortunately, road bikes are really made for men, though some companies like Terry and C-Dale are making frames for women. I built a bike for my wife using a 50cm Specilized frame. she's 5'4", and like a typical woman, has long legs, short torso. The problem with bikes for women is that the top tube is too long. You didn't give any specs on your size, but I recommend going to Colorado cyclist site and getting the how to size info. You would probably be better off getting a slightly smaller frame size, and playing the top tube length by getting the stem that gives you the right reach. For a comfortable riding position, you should put your elbow against the tip of the seat
(once you have the correct height and fore/aft position), and with your hands fully extended, should be about 1" from the center of the handle bar. Sizing for racers is different due to the aero position they want. Okay for a race, but not for general riding.

Let me know if you have any more questions, I know how hard it is for a woman to get a proper fit as I help women in my bike club.

Good advice from PaulLucky
May 22, 2001 11:41 AM
When I was about to buy my Litespeed, I went to the Colorado Cyclist website and went through the calculation for frame size via the inseam measurement. It said I should ride a 51cm, which had a 52.5cm top tube. My current bike had a 52.5cm top tube, and I felt it was a little too long, and I already had a pretty short stem on it. I spent quite a bit of time at a good bike shop, and the owner and I decided I could fit either the 49cm or the 51cm frame to me, but I'd end up with a more normal stem length on the 49, instead of an extremely short one on the 51. He ordered the 49, and it fits beautifully with a 100mm stem.
The one potential problem with going one size down comes from the threadless headset and stem that is becoming universal. The old quill stems could be raised or lowered to adjust the handlebar height. There is a limit to the number of spacers you can use with a threadless stem to raise the handlebars. Smaller frames may also have a shorter headtube, which would tend to lower the handlebars, all else being equal. Some manufacturers are extending the head tube to help compensate, and road stems with some rise are also available to help bring the handlebars up to the right height. It is something to think about.
Spending time working with a knowledgable friend or shop mechanic on bike fit is a good investment. I ended up getting a better price through my LBS than I would have if I had ordered directly from Litespeed, and a competive price to Performance, which I consulted as a price comparison (and I got nicer wheels). I was also not charged for the hour or so the owner spent with me sitting on a trainer on my old bike, analyzing my riding position. Needless to say, I do a lot of business there now. Good luck and happy riding!