New bike - long legs/short torso

Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts

New bike - long legs/short torso

Postby biz » Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:41 am


I've been to almost every bike shop in Perth to try and buy a bike. Im only ever fitted to whats on the floor or told once I buy it it will be fitted to me. So I paid for a bike fit. Apart from a custom frame, it seems no bike will fit me. The fit suggests 70.3 angle, 56.2 top tube, 61.5 down tube. The place that did the fit, then pulled a stock giant of the shelf an told me that it would fit close enough to the measurements (Hmmmm).

I'm 183 cm tall and have a 93cm inseam (36 inches). Is there anybody who is similarly sized and what size/type of bike do you ride ? Or any suggestions (budget up to $5000).

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by BNA » Fri Jan 12, 2007 5:56 am


Postby sogood » Fri Jan 12, 2007 5:56 am

There is no single fit, all needs to be verified by actual riding and tested on the rider, subject to your flexibility, ability and style of riding. So a few mm mismatch to your calculated fit may not matter, may even be better.

Check out this online fit calculator and information that goes with it and compare. ... ATOR_INTRO

For really expert advice,

I'd be surprised you'll need some special custom frame.
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Postby europa » Fri Jan 12, 2007 9:49 am

Bike fit is one of those connundrums.

A good fit is very important, but a frame can be made to fit a surprising number of bodies.

I'm 182 cm. Goodness knows what my instep is. I ride a Trek520 with a 23" frame - there is at least one frame larger in that range. The bike was adjusted to fit me by getting the seat height right, by getting the seat for and aft position right, by getting the handlebar height right, by getting my reach right (this is adjusted by changing the stem ... which I didn't need doing), by adjusting the handle angle, by adjusting the position and angle of the brifters, adjusting the cleats to get them centred in the float available in the cleats. None of this was done with a quick eyeball - it took over an hour and involved tape measures, a steel rule, spirit level, plumbob, training stand, special pedals (to view the float in the cleats) and a very experienced user. Sadly, few bike shops go to this effort.

The trick to buying a bike that 'fits' is buying a unit that is well enough inside these adjustments to be able to be fitted to your body and riding preferences. For example, I'm unlikely to be comfortable with the current range of racing bikes because I don't like the handlebars so low. Compact frames allow a greater number of leg lengths to straddle them, but if the top tube is too short or too long, you can have trouble getting your reach right.

Generally, when buying a bike, if you get the seat height close to a good position, a short test ride will tell you enough about the fit to decide whether that bike is for you.

Getting an alright fit is quick and easy. Getting a good fit (one that will work for kilometre after kilometre) is far more complicated, but you only need the rough fit to judge if a bike is worth buying.

For an article on how things can be changed, read my thread on the Sow's Ear where I take a frame that was too small for me and turn it into a half reasonable riding bike. If I'd started with the right sized frame, the changes wouldn't have been so dramatic.

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Postby europa » Fri Jan 12, 2007 9:57 am

Biz, you also ask for suggestions. I'd recommend my Trek520 for anything bar racing. It's a great alrounder which is why I bought it, and you'll find that most touring bikes do make great alrounders. Here's an article I wrote on her for bicycleWA

For suggestions on what to buy, you need to decide what you want and what you want to do. The racing machines are fine for riding on the road and for your budget, you can buy something that will go long and fast and give you years of riding.

I needed something to take rough roads and gravel roads (I've cruised at 35km/hr along a gravel track that I've yet to see a racing bike on), yet I'm doing nothing more than belting around Adelaide. The wider wheels (only 32mm, not fatties by any means) allow me to comfortably take anything that can be considered a track (and some bike tracks are barely that dammit). I also wanted a bike that could carry a load, not because I'm into touring, but because I go to the library, shopping, carry a laptop and papers, etc, so provision for a carrier was important to me. All these made racers impractical for ME.

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Postby tinstaafl » Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:00 pm

A agree with Richard.
I ride an extra large Trek Fuel that cost just over $2,200.
I am 187cm with long legs
The only modification is town and country slicks and an extended seat post.
I lent it to a friend who is about 175cm with shortish legs and she told me that it was a blast and that it was the first time that she had riden what she described as an adult's bike. She had a fair dinkum go with a 20 kilometre ride at a hair under 23 kph aand she is 42 and rides only once or twice a week on a borrowed bike (my daughter's).
The only adjustment was to lower the seat for her.
She was just able to straddle the bike but the bar is slightly slanted.
I ride it around town and on the trails and I enjoy it it imensley.
With your budget the only thing I would recommend is good quality rear suspension. You will lose virtually no power and your tailbone and tender nether bits will thank you.

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Postby biz » Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:45 am

Thanks for the feedback. I guess what I need to do is find a frame size that looks short top tub for size then go to the bike shop and insist they spend the time to show me that it can be near what I need. (Can fine tune afterwards). Then: Position cleat so ball of foot over axel, for aft position so knee level with axel, height so leg almost straight when heel of foot on pedal at 6.00. Hieght of bars and reach as feel comfortable but as guide so weight distributed between seat/bars/pedals and handle bars block view of huib when on the top of the levers.

Thanks for your feedback.
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Postby mikesbytes » Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:29 am

Hi Biz. The guys have given some good advice.

Females have longer legs and a shorter body, so perhaps a large female bike will fit, they have a shorter top tube. You would need to change the seat and handlebars, but you can work those details into the package when you buy the bike.
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Postby europa » Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:42 am

mikesbytes wrote:but you can work those details into the package when you buy the bike.

Never be scared to ask for changes to the stock bike, even quite major ones if needed or desired, and before you take delivery is the time to do it because often the parts coming off can go into the shop's parts inventory (meaning you can make a saving).

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