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Long legs, short body, new bike(17 posts)

Long legs, short body, new bikePing_Pong
Jun 7, 2002 7:41 AM
I am in the market for a new frame. To get away with a stem of at least 90mm I need a 55cm or shorter top tube. However I am 6'1" tall which leaves me with a big drop to the bars on all the frames I look at!

Is there any option ? Does any frame maker produce frames with short top tubes ?

Is custom build my only option here ?
Euro bikesMcAndrus
Jun 7, 2002 8:00 AM
In general the European brands have shorter top tubes than the American brands. Colnago, Bianchi, etc., seem to be made for the long leg crowd. I'm 5'11" with a 35" inseam. I ride a 61cm Giant (Taiwan, not Euro) which has a 58.5 top tube and fits me very well.

American bikes like LeMond and Trek have longer top tubes. A 60cm Trek will have something like a 60cm (or longer) top tube.

If you haven't already, you might focus on the Euro brands.
ditto on colnago! they are short on top!(nm)merckx56
Jun 7, 2002 8:05 AM
Gios has a very short top tube n/t53x12
Jun 7, 2002 8:21 AM
According to the Trek website....cyclejim
Jun 7, 2002 8:37 AM
The lower end models (2300 and below) have a 58.4 cm tt (effective) for the 60cm frame, and a 59.8 tt (effective) for the 63cm frame.
re: Long legs, short body, new bikeNo_sprint
Jun 7, 2002 8:09 AM
You'll find Mercx geometry favorable, along with Look, which is generally considered better fitting for those with longer femurs and legs.
A couple of questions...DINOSAUR
Jun 7, 2002 8:10 AM
Curious as how you detemined the tt measurement? I'm 6-0, 34.25 inseam with a short torso and was fitted on a 59cm Colnago with a 56.9 tt and a 100mm stem..with a Thomson seat probably would fit on a 59c-t, a 55c-t would have your seat jacked up too high and you would have a problem with saddle to bar drop...who fitted you? Have someone do a professional fitting, it is important that you are fitted by someone who is experienced with fitting and not some formula over the a lot of it has to do about how you ride and preferences regarding position..
i had the same problemishmael
Jun 7, 2002 8:19 AM
I found that compact or semi-compact frames were best because they have short toptubes and long headtubes. My compact frame has a 53 (effective) toptube with a headtube much longer than I wouldve found on a regular geometry frame so I dont need a lot of spacers. The giant bike the guy above is talking about is compact geometry. Six foot one with a 55 toptube? That is freakishly short.
check out colnago...ColnagoFE
Jun 7, 2002 8:38 AM
I'm similarly poportioned and ride a 62cm Colnago (6'2"...probably a 36+inch inseam.
Second the Gios.SnowBlind
Jun 7, 2002 8:45 AM
Very short top tube, cockpit size on the 62cm(?) is only about 1 cm longer than the top tube of my old Bianchi 55, and the same as my custom. is very good at fitting over the phone, a guy here at work got a A90 and they nailed it perfectly. We just had to adjust the seat height about 1/8 inch.
re: Long legs, short body, new biketarwheel
Jun 7, 2002 9:00 AM
See the discussion below about American bikes with long top tubes. If you want a stock bike with a short top tube, look at Italian and other European brands. I have a Gios Compact Pro, sold by, and it has one of the shortest top tubes. It is a nice riding steel lugged frame and very reasonably priced. The Gios has very steep seat tube angles (74), however, so that effectively lengthens the top a little. Eddie Merckx frames might have the shortest effective top tube length because they have a square geometry (eg, 56x56) with relaxed seat tube angles. Unfortunately, Merckx has quit marketing steel bikes in the US, although you can still buy them in a few places such as Other frames with relatively short top tubes include DeBernadi (not sure is spelling is right), Cinelli, Colnago, Casati, Viner. has a lot of these frames listed on their website with dimensions and photos.

Depending on your budget, you might want to consider a custom frame bike, and then you can order whatever dimensions you want. Some custom shops with more competitive prices include, and Finally, by all means have a professional fitting done at a shop that uses the Serotta system or something comparable. A fitting will tell you exactly what you need and you can take that information and go shopping. It will also recommend the best stem length, cranks, etc. Well worth your money. BTW, Serotta is one of the few American company that builds bikes with relatively short top tubes but their prices are very high.
Get a customNessism
Jun 7, 2002 9:03 AM
A guy like Tom Teesdale can TIG you a full custom frame together for less money than most off the shelf frames. Check out the Hot Deals forum for a link to his rec.bicycle.marketplace ad.

BTW, I'm not associated with him in any way.

Custom is the way to go...miposy
Jun 7, 2002 9:23 AM

The only reason not to get a custom is if you truly can't afford it. I am sized "normally," but have both a custom MTB and Roadbike. They cost the same as mid to high end off the shelf bikes, yet fit me perfectly and have the material and charachteristics I like.

You could have one of these...
Is that the $280 San Marco saddle?elviento
Jun 7, 2002 9:52 AM
How does it feel? Compare to other major brands/models?
Is that the $280 San Marco saddle?miposy
Jun 7, 2002 1:53 PM

It's not my bike, so I am not sure about the seat. The pic is just a good example of what Strong Frames is able to create. My frame is all Foco (no carbon rear), and I use a Cannondale seat with ti rails that actually fits my rear quite nicely.
re: Long legs, short body, new bikepaulw
Jun 7, 2002 11:41 AM
I'm built similarly. I'm 6'1" with a 36" inseam. I ended up with a 60cm Seven Alaris which has a 57cm top tube. I'd recomend going with a custom steel or titanium frame. However, Sampsons tend to have shorter top tubes.
not enough info...C-40
Jun 7, 2002 12:18 PM
No intelligent help can be provided without knowledge of you cycling inseam, which would suggest the proper frame size. Your height provides only part of the information.

I have a hard time believing that you can't use a TT longer the 55cm. I ride that length with a 110mm stem and I'm only 5'-7" tall with a long 83cm inseam. Unless your inseam is 98cm, some of that extra height has to be in torso, which would suggest a longer TT than 55cm.