Bike fit

Richard1537

Well-Known Member
Hi all.

I've been cycling only about a month now and have about 200 miles knocked up, I have a Specialized Tarmac in a 58cm frame, I have been adjusting little bits here and there until I feel comfortable and I must say it's getting pretty close.

I'm 6' 1" and have a 34.5" inside leg so have the saddle set (from pedal axis at bottom of the stroke to the top of the saddle's lowest point) at 37 1/4". Also with the cranks parallel to the ground my knee is straight over the pedal axis of the forward most pedal. The saddle is also set level. So as far as the way i'm sitting I feel good with all these settings.

Now where i don't feel just so comfortable is the reach to resting on the hoods, I feel like i'm reaching out too much, the stem is standard, 100mm and in the angled up position. When I'm sitting normally on the bike looking down at the handlebars I can see the front wheel axle about an inch behind the line of the bars, someone told me recently that the bars should block out the view of the front axle. So i'm wondering is this rough guide correct and the fact that I feel i'm stretching should I consider changing to an 80mm stem??

Hope i've given enough detail to answer my kinda stupid question!!!! ;-)
 

Rob3rt

Man or Moose!
Location
Manchester
The being able to see the front axle thing is much debated.

But I would say that in my experience it is pretty close approximation and you should try a shorter stem. I would be wary about using too short a stem though as the handling will be altered. If you are needing to use a very short stem then chances are, the frame is too big.
 

ianrauk

Tattooed Beat Messiah
Agree with Rob.
Though think you should get yourself a 90mm stem.
That 1cm can make a lot of difference.

edit: In fact order a 90mm and a 80mm from an online retailer.
Check which one fits you best and return the other.
 

goody

Veteran
Location
Carshalton
According to the size guide for the Tarmac you have the right size. Try riding the bike with your hands on the hoods then move them back 1cm then 2cm and see how it feels. Until last year I had always ridden MTB's and flat bar bikes. When I got my roadbike the reach to the bars felt a bit much so I put an 85 stem on it. after about 6 months I put the 100mm stem back on and it feels good now. If you are not used to the riding position on a road bike it may take a bit of time to adapt, although if it's causing pain or discomfort then you need to change something.
 

slowmotion

Quite dreadful
Location
lost somewhere
I felt stretched out when I first got my road bike so I swapped the 110mm stem for a 90mm one. It's much more comfortable and I didn't notice any difference in handling. That said, I'm not very fast so I probably wouldn't notice.
 

dave r

Dunking Diddy Dave Pedalling Pensioner
A simple rough test for stem length is to put the back of your elbow against the nose of the saddle and see where the tips of your outstretched fingers are in relation to the back of your handlebars, if your finger tips just touch your bar or are less than half an inch behind the bar the stem is about right, more than half an inch behind the bar then the stem is probably to long, if your fingers are in front of the bar then the stem is probably too short. Its only a rough check but is a good starting point.
 

endoman

Senior Member
Location
Chesterfield
A simple rough test for stem length is to put the back of your elbow against the nose of the saddle and see where the tips of your outstretched fingers are in relation to the back of your handlebars, if your finger tips just touch your bar or are less than half an inch behind the bar the stem is about right, more than half an inch behind the bar then the stem is probably to long, if your fingers are in front of the bar then the stem is probably too short. Its only a rough check but is a good starting point.
Just tried this, elbow joint on noce of saddle, don't even reach the top cap with fingers. I know it's 53.5 cm to the centre of my bars from nose cos it was done in my bike fit, arms are not that long!
 

Rob3rt

Man or Moose!
Location
Manchester
Just tried this, elbow joint on noce of saddle, don't even reach the top cap with fingers. I know it's 53.5 cm to the centre of my bars from nose cos it was done in my bike fit, arms are not that long!
Having never heard of this before I couldn't resist and tried it too, I managed to cover the top cap with my fingers but was still a Garmin Edge 500 size gap between fingers and bars.

Using the view of the front hub technique though, my handlebars perfectly obscure the view of the hub.
 

dave r

Dunking Diddy Dave Pedalling Pensioner
Just tried this, elbow joint on noce of saddle, don't even reach the top cap with fingers. I know it's 53.5 cm to the centre of my bars from nose cos it was done in my bike fit, arms are not that long!

Having never heard of this before I couldn't resist and tried it too, I managed to cover the top cap with my fingers but was still a Garmin Edge 500 size gap between fingers and bars.

Using the view of the front hub technique though, my handlebars perfectly obscure the view of the hub.
Thats interesting, I've been using that method to set my stem length for the best part of 30 years and its always worked a treat, perhaps its a method that wont suit everyone, I've always said that set up and bike fit is more black art than science, How do you two find you bikes when riding? Do they feel right? Do you feel stretched at all?


http://www.cyclechat.net/useralbums/forum-rides.17/view

I'm the bearded one in the red jacket, the bike is my fixed wheel pearson, the reach feels right but the handle bars are a bit low, could have done with a couple more spacers.
 

endoman

Senior Member
Location
Chesterfield
Thats interesting, I've been using that method to set my stem length for the best part of 30 years and its always worked a treat, perhaps its a method that wont suit everyone, I've always said that set up and bike fit is more black art than science, How do you two find you bikes when riding? Do they feel right? Do you feel stretched at all?


http://www.cyclechat.net/useralbums/forum-rides.17/view

I'm the bearded one in the red jacket, the bike is my fixed wheel pearson, the reach feels right but the handle bars are a bit low, could have done with a couple more spacers.
Bike v comfy when riding, longest was The Etape at 125 miles, but I did have a proper bike fit before it. I would need a negative stem with that method!
 

Rob3rt

Man or Moose!
Location
Manchester
Thats interesting, I've been using that method to set my stem length for the best part of 30 years and its always worked a treat, perhaps its a method that wont suit everyone, I've always said that set up and bike fit is more black art than science, How do you two find you bikes when riding? Do they feel right? Do you feel stretched at all?


http://www.cyclechat.net/useralbums/forum-rides.17/view

I'm the bearded one in the red jacket, the bike is my fixed wheel pearson, the reach feels right but the handle bars are a bit low, could have done with a couple more spacers.
All of my bikes feel pretty much spot on atm. Don't feel stretched out at all.

Maybe this rule of thumb you go on just so happens to work for you, but many other people not so. Just like many rules of thumb. :smile: It gives a starting point at least and can be cross checked with other quick rules, like the view of the hub rule, which coincidentally applied to me pretty well.
 
this suddenly came into my head while I was out riding earlier, so I stuck my elbow on the tip of the saddle (probably looked a bit weird while riding) and my fingers just about reached the steerer top cap, which means there was still another 11cm between there and the bars. Clearly this method is not for everyone - maybe it only suits dave r... ;)
 
OP
Richard1537

Richard1537

Well-Known Member
Must get my elbow on the saddle later on then and check this out. So the general thought then is that maybe a stem 10mm shorter might feel a wee bit more comfortable??
 
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