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Short Torso/Long legs-need fit advice(6 posts)

Short Torso/Long legs-need fit advicedawgcatchr
Jul 26, 2003 9:29 PM
HI. I would like some fit advice regarding my anatomy of fairly long legs/short torso. I have recently purchased and built up a Colnago CT1 in 55cm. I went with the Colnago, knowing that they have a shorter top tube than most (measured at 54.1cm for this frame). I am 5 foot 8 1/2", with a 30-inch pant inseam. After dialing in the seat height and fore/aft position, I seem to still find that the top tube is too long. I have 14cm of seatpost exposed from the clamp to seat rails, so the seat is pretty high in relation to the size of the frame (my standover is about 3 inches) but the top tube seems long. I am running a 110 stem with 3T Prima 199 bars (76mm reach, about the shortest on the market). Yet, I think I will still need to drop down to a 100mm stem to get the correct TT length. It seems that a "good" fit would have me running 110mm stem and 80cm reach bars (at least that would be the average on this size of frame).

If I am running such a short stem/bar combo in the future (100mm stem, 76mm reach bars) does this indicate that my frame is too large? I am worried that if I drop down to a 54 or 53cm, I will have almost 4 inches of standover clearance, but the right top tube length. In general, is it better for a short-torso'd person to go with a smaller frame to fit the top tube, or larger to fit the standover? Second, assuming I stay with this frame, will handling be adversely affected by using a shorter-than-average bar/stem combo? I know it is probably about 15mm shorter than average for this size frame-is this an issue?

Another idea-I am in the bicycle industry, so I could order a Seven Axiom in custom dimensions for a great price. With my fit issues, would this be money well spent, or should I just tweak the CT1 with shorter stem?
something isn't adding up here -- are you sure of yourbill
Jul 27, 2003 4:22 AM
measurements? Im about 3/4 of an inch shorter than you, with a 31" (about 81 cm) inseam, and my bikes are 52 or 53 cm c-c, and they're fine. My standover is a couple of cm. The difference between you and me seems to be all in the torso, so you should be fine.
I don't understand why you have so much standover. I also don't think that standover means much if you can get the rest of it dialed in, and I wouldn't buy a bike solely to get a proportional standover.
I also don't think that a 100 stem is anything to obsess about, for sure. That's why they come in different sizes.
something isn't adding up here -- are you sure of yourdawgcatchr
Jul 27, 2003 8:07 AM
When I measured my floor-to-crotch inseam (using the binder of a book as a tool) it came in at 86.5cm. The 30-inch number is just for when I buy a pair of pants. I have about 8cm of drop from my saddle to bars, using 2cm of spacers on my fork, if that helps any.
that's more like it. That fit certainly seems as if it shouldbill
Jul 27, 2003 8:46 AM
work for you with some tweaking -- if the only thing you don't like is the reach, and the saddle to bar drop is comfortable, then by flipping the stem, as Kerry suggests, you will shorten the reach. You also will raise the bar, but if you want you can just take out a spacer, and you'll get the same bar height, slightly shorter reach. Don't make me do the math, because I can't, but you're probably already in the neighborhood, and a little bit of this and that and you should be there. The drop sounds doable if you are reasonably fit and flexible.
But, before you take out spacers, don't discount how a slightly less drop may increase your comfort. You can get used to most anything, of course, but try stuff. I was afraid to try stuff at first, thinking that I didn't know enough or something or I was afraid to deviate from standard recommendations, but it's your bike for heavens sake. Just try stuff one thing at a time and a little at a time. Look at the pro peloton -- some people have torturous setups, of course, but others have flipped stems, lots of spacers, etc. They seem to do okay.
Couple'a ideas.Spoke Wrench
Jul 27, 2003 4:41 AM
With that much seat post showing, how's your seat to bar drop? The first thing that I might try would be to flip your stem over to see how the bike feels with a slightly higher bar. I'd always try that one first because it's a freeby. It doesn't require buying anything.

My second shot would be the 100mm stem. The reason manufacturers make stems of different sizes is so that riders can fine tune their fit on the bike. 100mm isn't an outlandishly short stem.

As for ordering the custom geometry. What geometry would you order? Until you work out in your own mind what feels good (which isn't quite the same as knowing what feels bad), how would you know what to order? The measuring systems and geometry formulas that frame builders use will get you close. To get "spot on" you have to do some fine tuning for yourself.
I'd go with a slightly shorter stem rather than a custom 7.djg
Jul 27, 2003 2:30 PM
So, I'm your height and I ride a Colnago "56" comfortably. My cycling inseam is shorter than yours, by about an inch, which suggests that my torso is longer (or maybe it's just that my head is bigger). I don't know about our respective arm lengths. I do know that I'm not nearly as flexible as I used to be.

I don't know what you need to do to feel comfortable on this bike, but I do know that a 10 cm stem is not freakishly short and that the handling should be fine. You might notice a difference when you switch, but you should get used to it in short order. Also, Salsa makes a "poco" handlebar that has a pretty short reach if you want to bring things in even further.

To each his own and by all means buy what you want. But I'd play with stem length and stem angle and perhaps bar selection for a few weeks or even a couple of months to see if I could get happy with the fantastic frame I already have before I shelled out the big money for a custom 7 (which will be steep even with an industry discount). One thing you might do is invest in a Look ergo stem. This will let you play with stem height and reach together over the course of a few weeks (give each adjustment a little time to see whether you settle into it) to figure out where you'd like to be. Once you know that--for sure--you can investigate the question whether there's a stem/bar setup you're happy with that gets you there (if you don't want the Look). This sort of investigation will be worthwhile even if you end up going custom--no need to guess whether you'd wish for a top tube 1 or 1.5 or 2 cm shorter or whatever.

Good luck.