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Fitting for long legs/short torso(9 posts)

Fitting for long legs/short torsoronniedee
Jul 14, 2002 5:06 AM
I am a male with 32-1/2" cycling inseam and 5'11" tall. The bikes that fit me are around 55-58 cm. My problem is that I am afraid the top tube may be too long based on me being able to see the front hub behind the stem/handlebar.

Is this a problem I should worry about? This will be my first roadbike. I have test-ridden several (about 20 minutes each), but aside from handling characteristics, I cannot discern any real differences in the fit.

My favorites are the Trek 2300 and the Klein Quantum, but I would like to keep looking. My preference is to keep the cost of the complete bike below $2000, so a custom is probably out of my range.

Any suggestions would be very helpful.
re: Fitting for long legs/short torsocycle63
Jul 14, 2002 6:53 AM
I wouldn't worry too much about the front hub, stem-handlebar thing. If the bike feels comfortable to you even after a long ride is whats important.

Have you thought about trying to get a professional bike fit? They usually run between $65-$100. Well worth it so you can be assured of buying the right bike for you the first time rather than having to look for another one that "fits" you better in a few months.
re: Fitting for long legs/short torsoDINOSAUR
Jul 14, 2002 7:14 AM
The first bike that comes to my mind is Colnago, but the short tt really doesn't come into play until you get into the larger models.

There are probably hundreds of bikes that you could choose from. You probably want to stay clear of LeMonds and Merckxs as they have long TT with a relaxed ST that could give you a problem if you have a short torso.

I have both a Klein Quantum Race and a Colnago Master X-Light. The problem with the Kleins is that unless you purchase the frameset, (Klein refers to it as the fuselage), it comes equipped with whatever Klein slaps on that particular model and you don't get a choice of sizes for certain components such as stem, cranks, and saddle selections and so-on. If you can find a LBS (local bike shop) that will work with you for fitting and are willing to swap out stems (which I always have to change with stock bikes).

My bonehead experiences in the purchasing of bikes to find someone who will work with you for fitting as most bike shops don't do any type of fitting at all and just try to push bikes out of the door. A fitting might cost a fee or it might not. It could be deducted from the purchase of your frame or it could be the best money you have ever spent.

Also you might have to up your price range a little, possibly not, customs really are not that expensive and it's a good way to go. Check out Steelman bikes, Strong, Anvil and zillions others.

First educate yourself about bike fit and try a couple of the internet fitting guides such as The Colorado Cyclist and Wrench Science to give you an idea.

You are on the right track, it's all about fit, good luck with your quest...
you arent that strangeishmael
Jul 14, 2002 8:17 AM
Im 5'8" with a 32" inseam and I think there are others here stranger than I. My solution was getting a compact frame. Gives you are short top tube and long headtube. I try to shoot for a 10 or 11 stem.
re: Fitting for long legs/short torsoronniedee
Jul 14, 2002 8:46 AM
Thanks to everybody for the advice! I have found a good lbs, willing to go the extra mile with fitting. Seems that most lbs's are filled with mountain bikers (like myself) without anymore knowledge than I already possess.

Any suggestions for compact frames to look for. I'm going to ride a GIANT TCR. Any comments on that one.

And what's your opinion on adjusting for a long TT with a shorter stem? Does it affect handling much?

re: Fitting for long legs/short torsoGregJ
Jul 14, 2002 9:06 AM
Try 6' with 34.5 inch inseam. I have had a few bikes with longish TT and short stems. They worked just fine. My current ride is a Pinarello, which is a little shorter, and a 12 cm stem. I don't think you are all that far off average.
Check Giosjtolleson
Jul 14, 2002 9:28 AM
The geometry on these is, for lack of a better term, kinda "square..." a 55 cm c-t has a 55 cm TT... that saves you at least a cm over many other bikes.

They get solid reviews. If you can't find a local vendor, go to for all the details.

They come in any color you like as long as it is blue.
re: Fitting for long legs/short torsotarwheel
Jul 15, 2002 6:01 AM
I am almost the exact same height and inseam as you. After having a Serotta fitting a year ago, I was in the market for a frame with a relatively short top tube and they are hard to find. Virtually all of the US made frames have relatively long top tubes. I ended up buying a Gios Compact Pro from in Colorado, size 57, and it fits me great. It is not the lightest frame on the market, but rides really nice and has a beautiful paint job and finish.

Contrary to what Dino said above (and he normally knows what he's talking about), Merckx frames would be another good choice. Although they have relaxed seat angles, their top tubes are not long. The problem is that Merckx no longer sells steel frames in the US, so your options are limited to aluminum (not that there's anything wrong with that) -- although a few dealers (like c-bikes in Chicago) still have some steel Merckx frames for sale.

You might also check out the frames sold by, which has a large inventory of steel and aluminum frames, with top and seat tube lengths listed. Many of the Italian frames have relatively short top tubes (eg, Viner, Pinarello, Colnago). Another good option is the Tomassini Sintesi sold by, which they sell for about $1700 with Ultegra.

Finally, you might want to consider a custom frame, but it will probably cost more. Some good custom options if you have a budget include Anvil and Dean, both located in Colorado. You could probably build a custom steel frame with Ultegra from either of these places for around $2,000, perhaps slightly more.
Jul 15, 2002 1:35 PM
The advice that everyone has posted is dead wrong!

I hate to be critical, but did anyone read the numbers before posting advice???? I'm 4 inches shorter with a tiny bit LONGER inseam, and I can ride any number of off-the-shelf 54 or 55cm frames with a 110cm stem.

Ronniedee has SHORT legs and a LONG torso by cycling standards.

The proper size of Trek is a 56cm. It has a fairly long top tube (56.4cm), which still might be too short, unless you use at least a 120mm stem. The standover height is 31.1 inches, which is just about right, if you have measured your inseam accurately.

A 54cm Klein will fit alsmost identically. It has a 56cm TT length with the same 73.5 dgree seat tube angle.