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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Sizing a bike correctly.

    I did a search on this with 3 different titles and only got one thread. I know this has been covered but I can't seem to find anything.

    Its a too late since I've bought my bike but while shopping all the employees at different bike shops said I should be on a large. Both the medium and large top tubes were right on the crotch on stand over. Bike shop guys said I looked "pretty cramped up" on the medium. I rode both and couldn't tell any difference between the two. So I took their advice and bought the large.

    I've had the bike about a month now and have been doing quite a bit of riding. I've noticed that, when sitting and pedaling all my weight seems to be on the heels of my hands. The hands go numb frequently and get sore during the ride at this point.

    I have moved my seat all the way forward on the rails to try and correct this but still have the problem. I looked at my bikes spec sheet but it doesn't give me the stem length. I am thinking about trying a shorter stem to get a better feel but I've read on here that can screw up the handling.

    I'm 6' and wear 32" inseam pants if that makes any difference. I'm a short leg long torso guy with a 21.5" torso. I know torso length from getting backpack fittings.

    Anyways, any advice on what to do in this situation? Or, is this just how it is and I've got to get used to it?


  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Ergon grips can support your palm heels. You can rotate the grip for comfort.
    Seat height affects things too. My seat height is lower than on a road bike for maneuverability in turns and downhills. This is more important than efficiency unlike road riding.
    LBS service tech probably have a box of used stems of different lengths. Try an 80, 70 and 60.
    You can use riser bars rotated back a bit for additional adjustment scope. Try to move the cockpit back enough to be able to push your seat back a little.

    You are outside the norm in sizing a little so expect to try a few things.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mitzikatzi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    competitive cyclist FIT_CALCULATOR

    peter white cycles fitting

    at a guess move the seat backwards and maybe a shorter stem
    Duct tape iz like teh Force. It has a Lite side and a Dark side and it holdz the Universe together.

  4. #4
    Happy Trails
    Reputation: Scott In MD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Sizing a bike correctly.

    All people, and bikes, are different, but a Large for a six-footer is pretty common. I"m not a bike fitter but ...... Numb hands and too much weight on hands sounds like it could be that your handlebar is too low. I had similar issues on my large Scalpel and raised the bar (with a 20mm riser bar), plus swapped the stem from -15 degree/110mm to -5 degree/100mm, plus Ergon grips ... and the result worked great for me. In my experience, swapping from a 110-120mm stem to a 90mm stem won't noticeably change bike handling but will make huge different in bike fit. You could also try switching from a setback seat post to a zero setback post. You may also want to ask around for a recommendation for a good professional fitter .... This is often worthwhile. I used a pro fitter on my triathlon bike and it was well worth the benjie.
    Last edited by Scott In MD; 07-16-2013 at 01:38 PM.

  5. #5
    MTB B'dos
    Reputation: LyNx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Sounds like they sized you for your long torso, nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't seem like they did more than that, which unfortunately most stores don't seem to do. If they'd sized you for standover/your short inseam, then you'd have to have a longer stem and that's not necessarily a good thing either.

    As mentioned above, could be your bar is too low compared to the saddle height - this can be solved with a higher rise stem or bar or if you have spacers ontop of the stem, move them below.
    Could also be the angle of your saddle is making you slide forward and have to support your weight with your arms, check that you saddle is level and that the nose is not pointing down. A lot of new people think that pointing the nose down will help alleviate discomfort in the jewels, but fact is if you're sitting on a saddle that's right for you with it in the proper position your weight will be on your sit bones, not your jewels - where your sits bones go should be level, don't worry about the nose and on some saddles this means the nose looks slightly upward.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Thank you guys for all the advice. Going to look into all of this. Going to start with the saddle first since its free and can be done right now.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    One thing most people dont consider when looking at frame size is tire size. On a 26" bike I need a much taller frame size 3-4 inches bigger than on a 700 hybrid or road bike. On a 29er I can even ride a slightly smaller frame. Both my treks are 23" frames which are very comfortable for me and according to the rules are actually to big for me but they fit me perfect. I can ride a 19 or 21 on 29ers and not be cramped but I'm not 100% comfortable. Mainly because the headtube on those are shorter and the bars sit lower. There are also geometry exceptions. I had a diamondback I sold that had a 19" frame and 26" tires but the headtube was almost 8 inches long which was comfortable for me. So you just cant look at frame size and be right everytime. There are other factors to consider, hope this helps.
    1993 Trek Multitrack 700
    2011 Trek Hifi Plus
    2013 WalGoose

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    I am in a similar situation as the OP. 6', 32" inseam. Long torso, stubby legs.

    I am just getting into mtbing. Started with a 20 dollar CL raleigh talon. It is ancient tech threaded stem. Personally, I kind of like the old supposedly inferior method as it allows fine tuning of the bar height. The first thing I did was lift them as high as I could safely get away, probably a bit higher than seat level. I did a few rail to trail rides and a couple single track rides and was very comfy on it. I did realize though on quick bumpy downhills that FS might be pretty nice, so, back to CL I went.

    I am now the proud owner of an old Giant ATX 970. I think it is about a 95-96 as it is a cromoly frame. It is nearly as ancient as the Raleigh, but, in nice condition other than the very tired front fork. Took it for its first single track ride yesterday and experienced a good bit of hand numbness. I think the solution is a different stem. The current stem has a slight drop and is quite long. I don't know the proper measuring technique, but from center to center (bars to steerer tube, I measure about 4 3/4 inches. If I sit on the seat at what I perceive to be the proper height, slightly lower than road bike height, and hold my arm out to where I think a comfortable position is, my guess is that a short stem with a good deal of rise, maybe 35 degrees will do the trick.

    Anyone out there with such a stem willing to part with it cheaply, please PM me.

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