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Quick Fit Questions(6 posts)

Quick Fit Questionsmorkm
Jan 6, 2004 5:52 AM
A few stupid fit questions and a question about racing rules....

1st: I've read somewhere that the nose of the saddle must be 5cm behind the bottom that correct and will anyone every be checking in anything other than a Pro or Cat 1/2 race??? Also, could it be just 5mm behind the bb???? I am pretty sure I've read BOTH, but if memory serves, both were stated in CycleSport, which is not always the most well edited mag...

2nd: Is a 9cm stem any indication that the frame is too large? I currently have an 11cm stem, if my measurements are's a 3TTT Forge and from middle of handlebars to center of top cap seems to be around 10.5cm or so. I feel a bit stretched to the bars (even after 10 months/5000 miles) and wonder if dropping down to a 9cm stem would allow me to not be so stretched out and to move my saddle back a few cm from around 2.5cm behind the bottom bracket to a more 'legal' 5cm behind the bb. For what it's worth, I'm 5'10", frame is a 55 and I have somewhat short legs and a longer torso. Would a 10cm stem (or longer or shorter) be standard on a 55?

3rd: I think my handlebars are only 42cm across, outside to outside. I imagine 44cm or 46 would allow me to breath easier and be a bit more comfortable....anyone experience this? Again, would 42cm bars be standard...I thought I had 44cm bars, but a measurement showed just slightly over 43 (and that was with tape on bars, outside to outside), so I'm guessing they truly are 42s.

Basically I'm considering an upgrade in stem and handlebars and wondering what slight fit adjustments I could make to bring my saddle back to 5cm behind the bb (if that is technically the minimum it 'must' be back), not be so stretched out while riding on the hoods and in the drops and maybe breath a little easier.

This board is full of much useful information and, from some, much attitude. I'd appreciate lots of the former and little of the latter, although perhaps I'm just asking for it now....Regardless, please give me a bit of help. Thanks
some answers...C-40
Jan 6, 2004 6:34 AM
Read up on fitting at Lots of good info there.

If you're racing, you should have the rules avaialble to you, or go to your sanctioning organization's website - brilliant suggestion.

Better check the stem length more closely. If the stem measures only a few mm more than 10cm, from the center of the top cap to the center of the bars, it's probably a 10cm, not an 11cm. Don't reduce the length by more than 1cm at a time.

As for the frame size, you haven't provided nearly enough information to give an educated response. If you've read much on this site you shuld know that 55cm can be measured c-c, c-t. What brand of frame do you have?

As for the stem length indicating that the frame is too big, that's hard to say. The fact that you feel too stretched out could be due to a saddle that's too far back (ever check KOP?). It could also just be a lack of fitness.

One valid check for stem length is knee-to-elbow clearance when riding in the drops, with the fingers in reach of the brake levers and the upper back in a horizontal position. As long as there is any small amount of clearance, the stem is not too short. If there's a lot of clearance when pedaling, then obviously a shorter stem won't hurt. Most folks don't want a stem so short that the knee and arm interfere when pedaling, making it necessary to flare the elbows for clearance.

There are a few handlebars that will reduce reach and allow the use of a longer stem. Salsa Poco bars are at least 1cm shorter than most other popular road bars. I switched to these bars to avoid using a 9cm stem on my Colnago. My frame is not "too large", but I have a short torso and moved my saddle back nearly 2cm for improved climbing. With my knee directly over the pedal spindle, I would use an 11cm stem.
re: Quick Fit Suggestionsdzrider
Jan 6, 2004 7:09 AM
You can also rotate your bars so that the hoods move up and closer to the frame and the drops move farther away but higher. I find this a big improvement in overall comfort. My hands and arms feel better reaching out more than down to the hoods and the aero advantage in the drops feels greater. It's also the cheapest possible adjustment.

Go with wider bars, I love em. When you get them, b4 you put the bar tape on, ride and adjust, ride and adjust, ride and adjust. It's worth the time!
some thoughtsFrith
Jan 6, 2004 7:26 AM
It's a bit presumtuous to ask to be spared any attitude. This forum is what it is and if you want to use it as a resource you need to take the good with the bad. There are plenty of intelligent people here who IMO make it worth wading throught the muck. Could be worse. I frequent for more localized info, which on any given day is like walking through a minefield of abuse.

wrt to the fit. I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but your saddle position should never be adjusted as a function of reach. Check to see if you're KOPS and adjust to taste from there. I wouldn't worry too much about the racing regs... if you have slightly shorter femurs than you have to do what you have to do. A 9cm stem isn't out of the ordinary but make sure you have the saddle where you need it before worrying about the stem (easier said than done I know)
re: Quick Fit QuestionsMShaw
Jan 6, 2004 9:41 AM
The only time I've ever seen anyone measuring for the 5cm rule is at the last tour TT and track worlds, and that was on TV. If you're not racing UCI races, I wouldn't worry about it. I was in the process of moving my saddle back (for more torque; to about 3.5cm behind the center of the BB) when my back really started acting up.

I have shorter legs too and have found that the UCI regulation is pretty well unfollow-able for me because I need a no-offset seatpost to get KOPS.

Re: fit. There's 55s and then there's 55s. If you're riding a Look, say, with a really slack ST angle, you're on the wrong bike for someone with shorter legs. I had a Gilmour frame that rode great, but the ST angle was too shallow for me.

Re: stretched out and breathing. The more compact you are, the harder it is to breathe. The diaphram being compressed by hunching your back does more harm than being stretched out... For someone with a longer torso than legs, I'd have guessed that you'd be riding a 12cm stem...

I'd say its probably time to get yourself professionally fit somewhere. Well, I'd maybe wait till spring when you've been riding outside a bit more. Tendons and ligaments stretch some with more riding y'know.

That help?

fit is about feeling comfortable. You have to listen to yourbill
Jan 6, 2004 12:43 PM
body. Some generalities include -- if you're getting sore in your traps, your reach is likely too short. If you're getting sore in your triceps/forearms, your reach is likely too long. If you're back hurts, you may want to be a little more forward. If your wrists hurt, you may be a little too far forward. If you find that you're sliding ahead on the nose of the saddle, you're likely too high (saddle too high). And vice versa. Although any of these last three could be because of saddle nose tilt. Wrists hurt, sliding forward, tip the saddle up. And vice versa.