Bike Size

Discussion in 'Biking' started by Econ, Jan 17, 2020.

  1. Econ

    Econ Well-Known Member

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    In the late 60's and 70's I was into road bikes. It is believed that 4 years ago I was a type 2 diabetic but have reversed that to pre-diabetes through a diet/weight loss program I invented 4 years ago. In 2019, a cousin of my diet was adopted by the Dept of Defense standards of care as the diet to reverse type 2. The current goal is to drive the A1C below 5.5 heading for 4.9.

    Riding 3 miles on my 45 to 50 years old road bike can drop my sugar 10 to 60 points. A more modern, comfortable road bike is desired. We live among hills and a third ring on the crank would be nice. I have seen clusters with 9 gears and disc brakes. I have 5 and center pulls.

    I would like to buy used. The problem is what is the proper size? In the old days the proper size was to straddle the top bar and if you had 1" between it and the family jewels it was the right size. Now the top bars aren't horizontal. I am 6' with 34" blue jeans.

    Someone gave me a mountain bike that is uncomfortable after 3 miles. Said the frame was 17" (???) whatever that means.

    I need enough information to buy a used, more modern road bike and be comfortable in order to see if I keep this up for a year. Can you help?

    Have they improved seat comfort in the last 50 years?<<GG>>
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2020
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  2. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    Take a look here: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/how-to-choose-road-bikes.html
     
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  3. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member

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    the sizing conventions on today's bikes are worthless - you need a longish test ride as well as just standing over it - which is why I bought my ebike from a bike shop. BTW - I added a "Thudbuster" seat suspension on my ebike to mitigate the city's potholes. I bought, as an extra, the very soft set of rubber elements.
     
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  4. BikeNFish

    BikeNFish Well-Known Member

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    I highly suggest you go to your local bike shop and speak with the sales people there. Most are highly educated in biking and can educate you before you make a purchase. They can get you into the correct size and lead you to what is a best fit for you. You will know it when you get on the bike that will work best for you.

    The industry changes fast now, what was popular a few years ago, isn't popular today. When I started biking, 24 speeds (3 front gears, 8 rear gears) were highly prized. Now 20 speed (2 front gears, 10 rear) is the norm. You don't need the third ring on the crank. The climbing gear is on the cassette. If climbing hills is a concern, you can always swap out cassette gear sets (rear gears) to make them more climbing friendly. Cassettes are fairly inexpensive ($35 and up). When I swapped out my cassettes last year the climbing friendly cassette was the same price as the normal cassette (around $45).

    Comfort is the key. I've been biking for the past 22 year averaging 1600 mile per year. I own two road bikes and one mountain bike. Before I buy any bike, no matter what style, I "test drive" a minimum of a dozen different bikes for comfort. You can also buy gel seat covers if you want a softer ride.

    Now that I'm getting near my 60's and have spinal arthritis, I may soon move away from roads bikes and toward a hybrid.

    I hope this helps.

    Side story - My son came to me last summer saying he wanted to get into biking and wanted a road bike like mine. I asked him why he wanted a road bike and he said he needed to get into shape. I told him he didn't need a road bike to get into shape. Any style bike can do that. I told him to meet me a the local bike shop because we needed to get him measured for a bike before he made a decision on what kind of bike would be best for him. We also were going to talk to the sales people and pick their brains.

    By the end of the day, we had him into a sightly used, one year old hybrid bike because it was the bike that he was most comfortable riding. It turns out that the bike was an hour old trade and he paid almost half the price of a new hybrid.
     
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  5. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    I am 6'2" and wear a 34" inseam . My bike is a 22" with the seat at its lowest position. With that said, it sounds like a 19 or 20" would fit you.

    I ride a nearly 25 year old Trek hardtail mountain bike that was almost new looking when I picked it up. I swapped on some hybrid tread tires and a comfy seat. It's a fairly nice riding set up.
     
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  6. friartuck

    friartuck Well-Known Member

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    What BikeNFish said. Test ride test ride test ride. And go to your LBS for sizing and ideas.
     
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  7. akriot

    akriot Active Member

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    I ride a road bike. People are pretty opinionated about which road bikes are the best so let's just put that on a sidebar for some other day. Truly saddles have changed quite a bit in the last 10 years even. You get what you pay for. Buy cheap and it will be painful. You might consider going to a bike shop and have someone fit you to the right bike. You will have to make your own minor adjustments once you get the correct size frame. Height of the seat makes a ton of difference. It will take a few tries to get it right. In terms of actually riding...it usually takes me about 5 miles be for I "get a seat"… meaning before I settle into the ride in everything starts to feel right. Others may have a different experience.
    If you would like to get an idea of the right size try this guide
    https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/a20047780/find-right-bike-size/
     
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  8. bheff

    bheff Well-Known Member

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    The above is all good info. A proper fitting bike can make or break a ride. I can ride for 4-5 hours on either my road bike or my mountian bike and never get saddle sore. But an hour on a demo or freinds bike will be more than enough. On a road bike you will be close to a size 56 (each company is a little different) and 19 on a mountain bike. I'm 5'11" with a 32" inseam. Long torso with short legs.
    (A good chamois can be life saving, and if you ride for any real length of time, DONT get a gel seat cover)
     
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  9. Econ

    Econ Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to everyone who responded. My mode of operation is to stick a toe in the water before jumping in. Try it and see if you are still doing it a year later before deploying the heavy money. My purpose is to get something good enough to see if next year I am still doing it. Since this is a health concern the odds are I will.

    Thanks to @tombiasi for the link to the education course. My 50 year old terms will have to be replaced unless ya'll want to start calling a cassette a cluster. ( damn spellcheck , the portal doesn't have the southern edition that recognizes ya'll.)

    Now a quick review now with proper terms:
    The road bike is an Austrian import, 45 to 50 years old, moly, double butted, braced, 2 by 5 with center pull Shimano brakes. The frame is a 22.25" with about 4 or 5" of seat stem pulled out of the tube. I'm at the maximum. It is reasonably comfortable. It probably needs a modern seat.

    The mountain bike is a 20 to 25 year old Trek 7000 hardtail with cantilever brakes and a 3 by 7. Wow, 21 gears. The seat tube is 17". The original owner claims he paid 2000.00 for it. He is roughly the same height as I but he had the seat about 4" low.

    The current problem is if you adjust the seat to the proper road bike height the bars are too low. The local bike shop said there was nothing that could be done to raise the bars. After 3 or 4 miles of humped over with weight on the palm of the hands and staring at the ground the shoulders start hurting. Old road bike stds are the seat and bars are supposed to be the same height.

    Current plan. THe purpose of the MTB is riding while camping which is a smaller % of total time. Will take steps to get a larger frame with adjustable bar. Wait a year and if still doing this then get the better road bike unless one follows me home and won't leave <GG>.

    Riding started 3 or 4 months ago slowly building up the legs. A borrowed bike was used, a Walmart special, while the Trek was rebuilt. Then ride the Trek while the Austrian was rebuilt. The grease was so dry carburetor cleaner was used to remove it. Yesterday was a major event. Road the Austrian 15 miles.

    @Anthony Hitchings The reason for sizing is to thin the used herd. The local bike shop doesnt sell used plus they push high end new. Most Craigslist is over priced. The plan is to look at craigslist, find a 5 week old post on roughly the right size, then test ride.

    @BikeNFish The Austrian is from the day of mechanical odometers that broke before 1,000 miles. If you told me this road bike had over 15 to 20 k on it I would believe you. Remember, 12 month riding season, minus the fall tornado season, minus the spring tornado season, minus the winter monsoon season, minus hurricane season, minus the hot as Hell / prisoner of the A/C season, minus torrential thunderstorm season,,,,, <GG> At least the ground doesn't shake

    @xxxapache Thanks for the measurements. Is your Trek a 7000? If so do you see any way of raising the bars? It would be nice bike If I wasnt bent over.

    @akriot i still remember how to adjust a seat and believe its the same way for the MTB. The original owner had the seat 4" lower. I rode it awhile like that figuring he was sized and fitted for it when he purchased new. Then raised the seat greatly improving comfort but throwing the weight onto my shoulders.

    @bheff Your close at 56 CM. The Road bike is 57.15 and its comfortable.

    A quick look a Amazon. Is a chamois riding shorts?

    As stated above. The legs are being built up and yesterday was my first 15 miler in decades. And that wasn't flat land. That's why I need granny.

    Yes, it has 3 -32 oz water bottles and I was huffing and puffing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
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  10. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    My Trek is a 820. The bars on it are fairly high in relation to the seat.

    20200118_103900.jpg

    I am sure any good bike shop could change your handlebar stem to a longer one or put on a riser.
     
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  11. Econ

    Econ Well-Known Member

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    I tried and they said it was too old and no parts available.

    And here is the problem
    upload_2020-1-18_14-10-24.jpeg

    Seat post at max.

    The stem extension has been flipped so it is on the "high side".
    upload_2020-1-18_14-12-56.jpeg
     
  12. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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  13. Econ

    Econ Well-Known Member

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    Thanks but he, the bike mechanic, said this was not a quill stem. Every bike I had before this was a quill stem. I didn't know about cantilevered brakes until 3 months ago <GG> Let alone V brakes and bike disc brakes so am lost. Will I screw anything up if I took the head apart?

    Got caught riding between storms today. You should be very thankful you don't have brake pads from the 60's & 70's. The material didn't brake when wet back then and definitely not now.
     
  14. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    I'd pull it apart and see what makes it tick.

    There are risers on Ebay that look like they would work.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
  15. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Well-Known Member

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    I went with Pearl Izumi liners (underwear). I’m not quite ready to go all-in on spandex. They give you the padding of bike shorts while being able to wear whatever shorts you want. I also have a pair of generic ones that work well too.
     
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  16. akriot

    akriot Active Member

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    I had never heard those! I have an array of shorts and skorts. I wear mountian bike shorts or a skort and keep some flip flops in my trunk if I'm going to stop somewhere during the ride, but have my regular bike shorts on usually. I might have to try those.
     
  17. Econ

    Econ Well-Known Member

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    I did, partially. To me a quill system is a pipe that has been cut at a 45 degree angle with a bolt that tries to squeeze the two 45's closer together therefore jamming them inside a larger pipe. On this one the "quill bolt" holds a dust cap. What attaches the bar stem is unseen. Decided I wasn't in Kansas anymore and leave well enough alone.

    The current plan is to see if DW will ride it while I look for something else.

    Speaking of underwear mentioned above is there something that will hold things in place while bent over?
     
  18. Econ

    Econ Well-Known Member

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    Well, its a year later, almost. Shortly after this thread the local bike shop closed in salesfloor. You can buy parts by standing 6' from the open door and describe what you want ><<GG>>

    Gave up on the mountain bike. The frame is way too small.

    I ride the 50 year old road bike 7.5 miles every non rainy day. Foam padded short helped the ride.

    I figured that like campers all these new cyclists will be selling next year.

    Question ?????????????
    This is the dark part of the year with an early sunset. Looking for any comments/recommendations on a marker light system. I guess the tail light is the most important one. I have been successful beating the sunset every day. I dont need a headlight for seeing but for visibility.

    There is limited room on the bars for a headlight. The straight area of the touring bars is about 10", minus stem (1"), Minus 4x hands , 8+". Steering can be a little twitchy <GG>

    Thanks
     
  19. davido

    davido Well-Known Member

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    This seems better asked on bikeforums.com (and is asked every day almost).

    The best way to fit a bike nowadays is to go take a test ride. If you can't do that, because it's not local, the second best way to fit a bike nowadays is to go get measured for a bike. Leg length, back length, arm length, and your own flexibility play into what size is best for you. A bike can be a little too big or small for you if you're only riding five miles every few days. If you're riding more than five miles, three or more times a week, you need a bike that fits correctly, or you'll risk repetitive stress injuries. As you layer on more miles, the risk increases. This isn't to say you shouldn't ride a lot of miles. Cycling is a tremendously healthy, and low-impact pursuit. But you should get measured. In fact, different brands, and even different geometries within the same brand, will have different fitting characteristics. You might ride an XL in a Cannondale Quick, but only a L in a road bike because of flexibility (you might feel too stretched out on an XL road bike). Or the other way around may be the case. There's no good rule of thumb. Different bike geometries will just feel and fit differently.

    If you do ask this question on bikeforums, they're going to tell you to test ride bikes first, or at least, to get a fitting done at a reputable bike shop.

    As for gearing, bikes have changed a lot over the years. It used to be that we rode ten-speed bikes, and somehow we worked our way up the hills without having those really low gears. Nowadays that's not how things are done (unless you're on a fixie). Enthusiasts have learned that mashing heavy gears up a hill is bad for your knees. And we've learned that not everyone has the physical composition of Tour de France racers, so we don't need really big chainrings up front.

    Start with a standard chainring set: 52 or 53 teeth on the large ring, and 40 or 42 teeth on the smaller ring. Those cranksets have mostly moved on to the racing world, and even so, are not the canonical gearing they once were.

    When 52/42 was really popular, a triple crankset became popular for people who needed wider gearing because they live among hills and have more average fitness. The triple is often 50/39/30, or on hybrids, 48/38/28, or 46/36/26. But it has become less popular except on lower-end bikes and touring bikes.

    Next is the compact double: 50/34. That gives a really wide range in the front chainrings, and keeps the big ring within reach of us mortals, while also providing a useful low range. Not as low as a 30t found on a triple, but cogsets have gotten broader too, enough so to make the compact double pretty useful. I'll touch on that in a minute.

    After the compact double, we started seeing single-ring cranksets. I think these are usually 42 or 46t; somewhere around there. This would seem crazy, except that cogsets have become pretty amazing recently.

    In about 2006 or 2007 higher end Shimano and SRam rear derailleurs and shifters became capable of handling ten-speed rear cassettes (cogests). That trickled down to the Shimano 105 level componentry in 2007 or 2008. And eventually down to Tiagra. About that time we started seeing cassettes go from more traditional 12-23 8-speed or 9-speed configurations, to 12-25, or 11-23, or sometimes 12-27 configurations in 10-speed cassettes. By 2014 or 2015 we even started seeing rear cassettes coming in interesting ranges like 12-28, 11-32, 11-34, or 12-34, again in the 10 speed configuration. This broad range made the tempermental "triple crankset" sort of a thing of the past, except in cheaper bikes. Everyone started using compact doubles with an 11-32 or 11-34 cassette.

    Then in 2016 we started seeing 11-speed rear cassettes paired up with single-speed cranksets. The 11-speed rear cassette may even have some crazy ranges like 10-42. All the breadth in gearing was now coming from that 11-speed rear cassette, and front mechanisms became really light weight and simple.

    Now think about gear ratios. When I bought my 2008 Cannondale Synapse with Shimano 105 gearing, it came with a 50/39/30 triple in front, and a 12-25 cassette in back. So my highest gear had a ratio of 50/12, or 4.16:1. And my lowest gear ratio was 30/25, or 1.2:1. I've since upgraded my rear derailleur to accommodate a wider cassette, and swapped out my rear cassette for a 12-30 range. That gives me a high gear ratio of 4.16:1, and a low gear ratio of 1:1. On my hybrid, my highest gear is 46/11, and lowest is 26/34, so ratios of 4.18:1 and 0.76:1 -- a really low gear for climbing.

    As you look for bikes consider your type of riding. If you have a lot of really bad hills, favor broader gear ranges, and a good granny gear. If you have moderate hills, you can tighten up the range a little, which offers you better fine-tuned steps for better pedaling efficiency on normal roads. And if you have nothing but flat roads, you could go with a really narrow cassette so that your shifts tweak your pedaling by only a few RPMs, to keep your pedaling in that sweet spot of 80-90 RPMs. When I moved from Los Angeles (where I rode on a 50/39/30 by 12-25 drivetrain), to Salt Lake City (where we have mountains), I swapped out my road bike's rear cassette to get a wider range of gearing.

    So look at gearing range. If you can find a compact double that provides the ratios you need, it will be easier to shift and maintain than a triple. If you need really wide ranges, the triple still may be the way to go; there's a reason we still see them being put on touring bikes.

    Mountain bikes have mostly gone to single speed in front, and a rear cassette that looks pretty goofy because it goes up to 42t in back. But people seem to love the simplicity.
     
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  20. lostboy

    lostboy Active Member

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    My main tailight is the niterider omega 300. It's always on, day or night and is usb rechargeable. Planetbike superflash turbo is a good taillight and runs off of 2 AAA's and is reasonably priced. I set it to the random mode.

    I would suggest also having a second taillight when riding in the dark because one could stop working. I would rather have redundancy when it comes to cars seeing me.

    For a headlight, a simple flashing one will let you be seen but seeing potholes or bumps is nice. I have a niterider lumina 1000 on my bars and a niterider lumina micro 900 on my helmet. Both are usb rechargeable.

    For context, pre-covid I commuted 4 times per week in the dark every morning. I leave at 5:45am so it's dark a lot of the year in the morning and in the winter it's dark the whole ride in and some of the ride home. Now that I work from home and the time change I do a lot of dark gravel road rides.
     
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