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Frame geometry for long legs short torso(14 posts)

Frame geometry for long legs short torsojrescpa
Mar 14, 2003 9:45 AM
I know you guys are techies so send tips my way.

I'm leaning toward steel in the $1,000 range. I'm riding 100-150 miles/week including long rides up to 60 on Sat. All of the articles I found are very technical. What's the bottom line. Seems like certain brands are designed for certain body types. I read Lemond's have a long top tube which seems like the opposite of what I need. Thanks in advance. :)

Measurements below:

Inseam 84cm/33"
Thigh 38cm
Torso 53cm
Arm 69cm
U.B.M. 122cm

Fit Kit Results

Seat Tube - 55.2cm (center to center)
Seat tube angle - 75
Cranks 170-172.5

Top choice 54.3 Top Tube/ 95-105 Stem
couple of tipsthe bull
Mar 14, 2003 9:59 AM
A thompson (non-layed back type)seat post will help you compensate for the steepseat angle your tring to get.
look at the gios frames there pretty steep and have a short top tube.
make sure your plumb to your knee is correct
"C-40" is 100% with his kop thing do a search and check it out.Did you get your fit kit results off the wrench science page if not check them out it is a good starting point.
good luck!
colnago?JS Haiku Shop
Mar 14, 2003 10:00 AM
it's close (?)., inventory, scroll down to the 55s, see "colnago classic". 55 cm c-t, 53.5 cm tt. steel/cf fork. i enjoy my columbus brain frame (merckx)...

price is $795, though. at least i got in the obligatory suggestion to spend more money than you've stated. :)

oh and by the wayJS Haiku Shop
Mar 14, 2003 10:03 AM
i've bought four bikes from gvh and recommend him highly.

and, the colnago lugs & paint job make me drool!

Nice frame....DINOSAUR
Mar 14, 2003 11:08 AM
I ride a Colnago Master X-Light, but I think the prices with the Flash fork are up around $1700 now. What helped me is that my LBS is a major Colnago dealer for NorCal and the owner fitted me and cut me a good deal on the price. I've always had problems with TT's and stem lengths and getting fitted was one of the best things I ever did....The Classic is an old frame, a tad heavy for todays standards, but I bet it's one nice ride....nice paint also, I've never seen that scheme "next" bike will be an Ovalmaster or a CT1 (dream on).....
couple optionslaffeaux
Mar 14, 2003 10:03 AM
Assuming that you don't want to go custom, the two options that I look at are:

- Slightly smaller frame size with a stem with rise to get the bars where you need them. This will give you a shorter top tube, and leave you with a little extra stand over.

- Look at woman specific bikes (even if you are male). The WSD bikes (Trek, Lemond, and I'm sure others) have shorter top tubes than non-gender specific. However the selection of sizes with a top tube the length you need might be slim.
smaller frame, agreecyclopathic
Mar 16, 2003 5:33 AM
smaller frames would have shorter top tube and also have steeper STA. I would steer away from WSD. He has long instem and short thighs (84/38) quite opposite from avg female anatomy. Women tend to have longer thighs, so he will have trouble with STA.

I would try to use straight or bent forward seatpost and choose frame by top tube.
re: Frame geometry for long legs short torsoTrent in WA
Mar 14, 2003 10:14 AM
What size bike you get depends on what kind of riding you want to do, how flexible you are, and your core strength. It sounds like the FitKit numbers assume that you're going to have at least a 3-5 cm drop to the saddle. (That's based on my experience as a leggy person of similar dimensions). Do you want that? I'm a bit skeptical of the recommended seat angle, too; if you have long legs, isn't that going to throw your KOP aspect out of whack?

There are a number of pretty cool bikes out right now that are proportioned for storks like us. Check out the Gunnar Sport, the various Herons, the Rivendell Rambouillet, and the Soma Smoothie ES.
short top tube framestarwheel
Mar 14, 2003 10:38 AM
I've got the same inseam as you and prefer a frame with a short top tube. In stock frames, some good steel options are: Eddy Merckx Corsa or MX Leader, Gios Compact Pro, Colnago MXL. Eddy Merckx no longer distributes steel frames in the US, but you can special order them through dealers. A few dealers ( still have a few Corsa and Leader frames in stock. In your size, a Merckx 55 or 56 ought to fit (I can ride a 56 or 57). Merckx measure their frames center-center, and they typically have slack seat tube angles (72-73), making them fit shorter across the top.

I also have a Gios Compact Pro, which is a real bargain at Gios measures their frames center-top, so a 57 Gios is comparable to a 56 Merckx. My 57 Gios has a 55 top tube, and I think the 56 (c-t) has 54 top. Gios frames all have steep (74) seat tube angles, so they fit a little longer than you might expect.

When comparing frames, make sure you find out the seat tube angle in addition to top and seat tube lengths. In the size frame you are looking at, a 1 degree change in seat tube angle can make a frame fit 1 cm larger or smaller. Slacker angles fit smaller because you need to move your saddle forward to keep your knees positioned over the bottom bracket, and steeper angles fit longer. For example, my 57 c-c Merckx with a 56.8 top tube and 72.5 seat tube angle fits about the same across the top as my 56 c-c Gios with 55 top tube and 74 seat tube angle.

Colnagos tend to have shorter top tubes as well. You have to be careful about sizing Colnagos because they measure their seat tubes center to top of the binder bolt, so a 57 Colnago is comparable to a 55 Merckx. My 57 Merckx is nearly the same size as a 59 Colnago. In your size, a 57 would probably be about right. Colnagos have 73 seat tube angles in that size.

Lots of Italian frames have relatively short top tubes. For a good selection of steel Italian frames, check out He typically has a good selection of Viner, Casati and Cinelli frames as well as a few Pinarellos, Merckx and other makes.
what's your height??C-40
Mar 14, 2003 12:03 PM
Don't be so sure that you need a short top tube. My inseam is 83cm and I'm only 5'- 6.5" tall in bare feet. For reference, my floor to center of kneecap is about 50cm (to give you an idea of my leg proportioning). With a 1cm smaller inseam, I ride a stock 52-53cm frame (measured center to center.

A 53-54cm (c-c) or a 55cm (c-t) would be more common for an 84cm inseam.

I assume that the fitter adjusted your knee to be directly over the pedal spindle. This is always the starting point, but not necessarily your optimum position. Unless the fitting was done with the saddle and bars that you intend to use, these are two additional sources for error in your fit dimensions.

The STA and TT length that you posted won't be found in a stock 55cm frame. A 73 STA will be the most common in this size. An equivalent fit would be a 73 STA with a 56.7 TT length and the 100mm stem. Use a 110mm stem instead of a 100mm and you can get the fit you need on a stock 55cm (c-t) with a 55.5 TT. You may need to use a straight Thomson seat post to get the saddle far enough forward. Stock Litespeeds (and Macalu frames made by Litespeed) have this geometry.
what's your height??jrescpa
Mar 14, 2003 2:42 PM
5 FOOT 9 inches, 155 pounds.
just what I figured...C-40
Mar 15, 2003 5:44 AM
You don't need a particularly short top tube. Your inseam and height should work fine with a large number of stock frames. If you were fit with your knee directly over the pedal, your femurs may be a bit short (so are mine).

You may find the pushing the saddle back 1cm will work even better. That's what I've found after many years of experimenting.

What you need is a 55 or 56cm frame measured center to top, or the center to center equivalent which is 1.5 to 2.0cm smaller. Just avoid Treks, which have the longest top tubes that you will find.
Go for a MerckxNessism
Mar 14, 2003 7:43 PM
Based on your measurements, I think a 54 cm c-c frame would be about right. I have a 83 cm inseam and ride a 53.4 cm c-c frame with not all that much seat post showing.

Merckx frames have fairly short front centers because they have fairly short top tubes and slack seat tubes (in some sizes). One thing to consider when studying Merckx geometery charts is that they show seat tube angles in degrees and minuets. For example: a 54 cm frame has a seat tube angle of 73 degrees - 49 minuets which is equal 73.8 degrees. Many American people don't understand this convention and often misrepresent the frames.

Good luck.

Also Pegorettigeeker
Mar 14, 2003 8:18 PM
May be over your price range, but Pegoretti has very slack seat tube angles and short top tube. I'd buy one (61cm size) if I could afford it!