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bike fit for ladies - long legs problem(13 posts)

bike fit for ladies - long legs problemcmp
Jul 12, 2002 6:33 PM
I'm getting serious about getting a new bike, stopped by my LBS today for advise on fit. Apparently, I have a common problem that many women have with long legs that don't fit most production bikes. My current bike is a 51 cm center to center, with a 52.5 top tube, 105 mm stem. I am comfortable with this bike setup. After measuring, LBS declared a 53 cm center to center was the ideal size, but recommended I go with a 51 or 52 cm to get the shorter top tube. Even with the 51 cm, most bikes have a top tube of 53.5 cm. My LBS tells me that this is OK, I can get similar measurements to my current bike by just shortening the stem. I would like to believe this is not a compromise as far as ride quality, as I have a lot more options if I go with a 51 cm bike with a 53.5 cm top tube, but since my LBS only seems to have bikes with these proportions, I need a more unbiased opinion. Only bike I have found so far with the shorter top tube so far is Litespeed. By the way, in case it makes a difference, I am always trying to improve my climbing ability, and want a bike that can MOVE up the hills, willing to pay between $2000 to $2800. Thanks in advance!!!
Get a Pinarello 51cm and use 10cm stem. Problem solved.elviento
Jul 12, 2002 7:01 PM
Pinarello has the shortest toptube in small sizes -- 53.2cm (prolly large size as well). Or 50cm. I believe Litespeed has longer toptubes at similar size. Since seatpost is easily adjustable, the only problem I can think of is bar height. And as Ahimsa and I debated/agreed a couple days ago, flipping the stem and using spacers can easily achieve a wide range of bar height. So you are good to go.
Get a Pinarello 51cm and use 10cm stem. Problem solved.cmp
Jul 13, 2002 12:29 AM
Just compared Litespeed and Pinarello geometry with 51 cm center to center sizing. I see Pinarello has 53 cm top tube, while Litespeed has 52.5 cm top tube. Although I am still very much interested whether I can get same ride from a 53.5 cm top tube and shorter stem, then I won't feel so limited in my selection.
Litespeed measures center to topelviento
Jul 13, 2002 6:49 PM
so the 51 Litespeed is much smaller than the 51 pinarello
Litespeed measures center to topcmp
Jul 14, 2002 3:44 PM
I can't believe I missed that, thanks!!!
You may go wrong when comparing top tube lenghtsMarkus_B
Jul 14, 2002 4:15 AM
... of thwo frames if the seattube angles differ significantly. The smaller the angle the longer the top tube has to be to achieve a defined position.
re: stem length correctioncmp
Jul 13, 2002 12:51 AM
Just realized I was measuring the stem length incorrectly, should be measuring it center to center. Stem length is actually 80 mm on current bike.
re: bike fit for ladies - long legs problemkeeter
Jul 13, 2002 4:51 AM
1)-go custom (,, all make great, beautiful frames made to order

2) Serotta's have shorter top tubes + head tube extensions. A 52 c to c serotta has a 52.5 top tube with a 1.5 extension.

I'll second thatJekyll
Jul 13, 2002 5:37 AM
Good custom frames like Steelman, Strong, Seven (steel), Serotta (steel), etc can be pretty easily built up with at least Ultegra at your price range.
To the stock frame list you may want to add Colnago (51 has a 52.7cm TT). I'm sure there are others.

good luck
I'll second thatcmp
Jul 14, 2002 4:09 PM
Just checked Colnagos geometry, as I would love to have a classic frame such as a Colnago. Unfortunately, I see the 52.7 top tube is with the 51 cm center to top frame. The 51 cm center to center frame has a 53.5 cm top tube. A 53.5 cm top tube is very typical for this size bike. What I am taking from all the encouragment to get custom is the top tube measurement is important, and I would be much better off getting a custom than go with the longer top tube production bike.
Couple of issues.Spoke Wrench
Jul 13, 2002 8:34 AM
1. Handlebar height. If you choose a smaller size for the shorter top tube, you may also get a shorter head tube. If you are happy with your current bike, I'd measure the drop from the seat to the handlebar and see if you will be able to mimic that position on the bike you are considering. Actually, if you are delighted with the fit of your current bike, I'd measure everything and try to make your new bike match it.

2. Toe clip overlap. The reason so many bikes with small frames don't have shorter top tubes is the frame designer was attempting to avoid toe clip overlap. There are several alternatives regarding toe clip overlap. Figure out what the frame designer did before you buy. One of the choices is just to live with it. Tow clip overlap usually isn't much of a problem once you get out of the parking lot.
re: bike fit for ladies - long legs problemPicshooter
Jul 13, 2002 8:35 AM
I am not a lady, but....I ride a similiar size. An off the rack 51 x 53 with an 11 stem works well for me. I went to Carl Strong and highly recommend him. He can run your measurements and make suggestions. But if you have been comfortable riding a certain length take that into consideration when getting fit.
Consider going to another shop if you think your fit is being compromised by the brands they carry or what's in stock.
While I am very pleased with my Strong I realize there are plenty of other framebuilders out there providing custom sizing at reasonable prices.Have fun, shop around...then call Carl.
re: bike fit for ladies - long legs problemrengaracchi
Jul 13, 2002 3:22 PM
I think you should consider a custom frame as others have pointed out .

I had the same problem when I was looking for a road bike for my girlfriend. According to Wrench Science, she needed a frame that has 50 c-c height and 58 c-c overall reach. I studied the geometry of frames made by various manufacturers (including Terry and Giang which make Women Specific Design), but I couldn't find any frame close enough to match her specification.

Then I found a Land Shark in GVH Bicycles' home page. This frame had 51 c-c and 48 c-c top tube, which was IDEAL. I used a 10 c-c stem and a shallower handlebar ("Short and Shallow" for women by Salsa for I knew that she is not so flexible). The result was great. She said that she felt very confortable riding the bike.

The frame was custom made originally for someone else, and I got it used, but, according to Gary of GVH Bicycles, the person who ordered it got his/her geomety wrong. (I assume that was she by judging from the frame geometry.) So the bike was like-new condition and was almost never ridden on. Also I asked John Slawta (who makes Land Shark bicycles) to put her name on the bike. Together with the beautiful paint the frame had originally, the bike became truely personal and special.

Ride quality? Wonderful. Since my girlfriend and I have the same inseam, I rode the bike a couple of times. The frame is light, rigid and stong but gives smooth and responsive ride.

Although I got a great price since the frame was used, you can order a custom made Land Shark through GVH with a full Ultegra kit for about $2,000. For your upper limit of $2,800, you can upgrade a lot and make it really nice.

Good Luck!