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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, that's not entirely true. More or less. Here's what happened. I am 5'8" 30" inseam 160lbs. I was riding around on a friend’s bike that is a 19" Giant Rincon.... I rode the 19" for about a month and felt I was ready to purchase my own. I test rode a bunch of bikes at many LBS and finally found a good deal on a '04 17" Marin Palisades trail for $499 and it felt a little small. So I had the LBS order an 18.5" thinking it would be perfect; initially it felt great, but after having it for a little over three weeks, I'm starting to think it may be a bit large. When I stand over it I have an inch or so between the top tube and my crotch. The top tube length is great as far as reach goes. My problem is that in order to be comfortable pedaling I have to have the seat somewhat low - level with the handlebars. It's my understanding that the seat should be an inch or two above the handlebars.

I guess I'm in between sizes. So here is my question... what do I do? Is there anything I can do to make the bike sit lower to the ground - giving me more stand over room? If I put more washers on the top of the stem, allowing the handle bars to sit lower, is there anything bad that can happen, aside from looking goofy?
 

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Old man on a bike
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Fine tuning your fit takes some time. You may change your mind about frame sizes later, but for now it sounds like you've made a reasonable start. Remember that one mfr's 18.5 might actually be bigger in important ways than someone else's 19". That's just one measurement (seat tube), and there's multiple "standards"; your top tube length is very important, too. You've got reasonable stand-over, and I wouldn't worry about that. Your seat can be level or higher than your hand position, that's more personal preference than any particular standard you might aim at.

You say you're generally comfortable, so I think you're essentially close but change things a bit at a time, like moving your spacers from below your stem to above (and don't worry about style points while you experiment, and it's not that big a style issue anyways). You might like your bars lower, you might not. If you have a riser bar you might think about a flat bar. If you're comfortable and able to control your bike well, that's most of the battle. With most current stems you can flip them around for a different angle, you might also get a stem of different length and see how that affects you. Post some very specific measurements of your bike and cockpit setup and you might get more specific ideas, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the advice. Is it reasonable to beleive that some tires have a lower profile, thus increasing my standover height? What about cranks? are they pretty much standard size? the thought here is increasing the length of the crank arm and pushing my seat up to make me higher on the bike.....
 

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Linoleum Knife
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mcgrath0087 said:
Thanks for the advice. Is it reasonable to beleive that some tires have a lower profile, thus increasing my standover height? What about cranks? are they pretty much standard size? the thought here is increasing the length of the crank arm and pushing my seat up to make me higher on the bike.....
Tires and cranks won't make a noticeable difference in your standover height. Putting the wrong size crank arms and maxing out your seatpost won't do anything but give you hip and knee pain that you don't need. The only thing that will really make a difference would be getting a shorter travel fork, but as long as you don't fall off too often, you should be fine.

If the reach is OK, I wouldn't worry about it. I rode a bike that was 4" too big for me for a season and survived ;) Just concentrate on falling off the sides, OTB or off the back so you don;t damage anything important.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
leave 'er alone

Sounds like everyone is saying it isnt an issue. So, I'll leave it be. I doubt in a week I'll care. As far as the handlebar height... anyone have any good tips to cut the fork steerer tube without a vise?
 

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mcgrath0087 said:
Sounds like everyone is saying it isnt an issue. So, I'll leave it be. I doubt in a week I'll care. As far as the handlebar height... anyone have any good tips to cut the fork steerer tube without a vise?
Don't cut your steer tube! Two reasons: If you mess up it is your fault and you will have to buy a new fork. If a shop messes up it is up to them to get you a new fork.

Second, there is probably a star nut in your fork and that is going to have to be replaced.

Just my two centavos.

Tad
 

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Linoleum Knife
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mcgrath0087 said:
I'll have the shop where I bought the bike do it... they should do it for free right? (but probably not)
What exactly are you trying to accomplish by cutting the steer tube?

Do you have a whole lot of spacers?

You can take them off, move the stem down, and then put the spacers on top if you want to lower your handlebar height to try different settings. You can also buy a stem with less rise... I usually run 0 - 10 deg stems.

It's a lot easier to cut the steer tube than it is to put more steer tube back on. Make sure you are doing the right thing before you break out the hacksaw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, that is good advice.

I wasn't planning to cut it just yet. I definetely want to be sure that's where I want the handlebars. I took an inch and a half of spacers from under the bars and back on top. I'll look in to getting a different stem. I didn't know they made a 0 degree stem.
 

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Old man on a bike
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Definitely get your fit down before you start cutting the steerer tube. You'll find a great selection of stem lengths and angles if you look around. I've got a Syntace VRO bar/stem system (well, several of them on various bikes) which allows you to play somewhat with the height/length/angle, but don't think they're sold much in the US anymore, lots easier to experiment with position with one. Once you're happy with your stem/spacers thing, don't worry about cutting your own steerer tube unless you just aren't good with basic tools, all you need is a hacksaw with a decent blade and a cutting guide (which you can improvise); see http://www.parktool.com/repair_help/howfix_forksize.shtml.

BTW, what was it that got you so worried about your standover height? The tires won't do much, although the difference between a super low profile tire and the biggest meats can be noticeable, just not that significant.
 

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it's....
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Scanner said:
Don't cut your steer tube! Two reasons: If you mess up it is your fault and you will have to buy a new fork. If a shop messes up it is up to them to get you a new fork.

Second, there is probably a star nut in your fork and that is going to have to be replaced.

Just my two centavos.

Tad
It's no big deal cutting it with a saw. Just take your time and mark where it needs to be cut.
I used some rim tape as guide.
The star nut won't need to be replaced, just push it in further with a socket that will fit snug inside and hammer it down slowly with a mallet.
Having said all that, you should first try flipping the stem, so it angles down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
My frame is a little big for me... no big deal, but the last bike I rode, I sat higher than the handlebars and was pretty comfortable with that. With the frame larger, I'm not sitting at the right proportions and so I want to lower the handlebars. I took two spacers out and seem to enjoy it there. one spacer was an inch and the other half inch. I'll keep it how it is for a little while longer, but probably end up cutting it. The handle bars are straight bars and the stem isn't angled much. I will try to invert the stem though and let everyone know how it turns out.
 

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Old man on a bike
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Your saddle height should be more about your leg extension rather than judging how far above the bars it sits, especially as compared to sitting on a bike set up for someone else....
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It is...

I am adjusting the seat first to give proper leg extension. Once I'm comfortable with the seat, I focus on the handlebars. With the seat where it's at, the handlbars end up level with the seat. I want the bars lower, and that is why I've taken out two spacers. I like it at this position and was thinking to cut it here. Others gave me the idea to invert the stem or just get a new stem.

Last night I looked closely at the stem and I don't think inverting it will give me the desired position.... This weekend I'll head to performance and check out their stems.
 
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