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  1. #1
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    bike fit: long arms, long legs, short torso

    On my commute I sometimes ride with a friend, who has long arms, long legs but a short torso. She rides some sort of fitness bike (women's model). Saddle height seems to be correct, but the rest doesn't fit. Her position on the bike is weird. The saddle is placed very far backwards, her hands become numb etc.

    In a month she's going to do a 3 day charity ride of 400 km with a lot of climbing on the last day. I expect a small disaster. I suggested a professional fitting, but she's reluctant.

    Anyone here who has the same body type?
    I had myself fitted 20 yrs ago and still use the same measurements, so I don't know anything about bike fitting, and certainly not for that type of body. Are there small tweaks possible that suggest the right direction?

  2. #2
    Cranky Old Bastard
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    Did she buy the bike at a shop where they fit it to her?

    You don't have to pay for it, anyone can do a basic fitting with good instructions (I learned with Greg LeMond's book from 1987). Google "bike fit".
    Check her yourself and see why her position seems "weird".

    First, the saddle has to be adjusted in relation to the pedals, then the bars for her upper body. If the saddle is too far back it can force too much weight onto her arms and numb her hands.

    Obviously, if she bought a dept store bike it could be miles off of what she needs but a bike from a reputable shop should have been sized and adjusted close to what fits her.
    "When you know absolutely nothing, anyone who knows 1% more than nothing sounds like an expert."

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy99CL View Post
    Did she buy the bike at a shop where they fit it to her?
    I suspect they measured her legs and arrived at a size that looked as if it was too large for the rest of her body. They then took a size smaller and tried to adjust things, putting the saddle very far backwards etc., creating other problems in the process.

    I know the generalities of a fitting - avec un grand merci Google - but I doubt they work well for her body. She really has long legs and a short torso. I was actually looking for someone who has the same body type and perhaps has a couple of suggestions.

  4. #4
    Cranky Old Bastard
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    I'm seeing 4 "similar threads" for long legs/short torso farther down the page.
    "When you know absolutely nothing, anyone who knows 1% more than nothing sounds like an expert."

  5. #5
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    One month before a long charity ride is no time to be correcting her fit.

    If she's not in pain, and used to that position, leave it alone until AFTER the charity ride.

    YOU could probably fit her well merely using the methods outlined in Andy Pruitt's book, Complete Medical Guide for Cyclists. Otherwise, assist her in find a fitter that has experience with female cyclists-some experts put forth the theory that women typically have longer legs and shorter torsos than men and therefore need differently proportioned frames. Your description tends to agree with that theory.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter P. View Post
    One month before a long charity ride is no time to be correcting her fit.

    If she's not in pain, and used to that position, leave it alone until AFTER the charity ride.
    That's probably the best option.
    Anyhow, having seen her position on the bike again, I'm starting to think that there is no good solution. Not with the frame she's riding now.

  7. #7
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    My proportions are the same, with the exception of saddle setback. I need a zero-offset, and the saddle all the way forward, cleats all the way back to bring knees as far forward as possible.

    Can you check her KOPs at 3 and 9 and see if a plumbob is centered over the pedal spindle?

    She needs a fitting. Can't position her on the bike until saddle height and KOPs are straight.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by aureliajulia View Post
    My proportions are the same, with the exception of saddle setback. I need a zero-offset, and the saddle all the way forward, cleats all the way back to bring knees as far forward as possible.

    Can you check her KOPs at 3 and 9 and see if a plumbob is centered over the pedal spindle?

    She needs a fitting. Can't position her on the bike until saddle height and KOPs are straight.
    If you look at the lower body alone (and think away the bike, in a certain sense) everything seems to be OK. The saddle height is correct (but might need some small adjustments) and the pedal spindle-thing is reasonably OK.
    However, the "top tube" (which isn't really there, it's a women's frame) seems to long. The guy who sold her the bike installed a short stem but that didn't solve the problem. She often doesn't put the palm of her hands on the handle bar, but her fingers, as if the handle bar is too far. And after 20-25 kms she gets pain in her back.

    But I decided not to give her advice. I would only make matters worse. She urgently needs a good fitting. With that body type she should have gotten one before buying the bike.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HFroller View Post
    If you look at the lower body alone (and think away the bike, in a certain sense) everything seems to be OK. The saddle height is correct (but might need some small adjustments) and the pedal spindle-thing is reasonably OK.
    However, the "top tube" (which isn't really there, it's a women's frame) seems to long. The guy who sold her the bike installed a short stem but that didn't solve the problem. She often doesn't put the palm of her hands on the handle bar, but her fingers, as if the handle bar is too far. And after 20-25 kms she gets pain in her back.

    But I decided not to give her advice. I would only make matters worse. She urgently needs a good fitting. With that body type she should have gotten one before buying the bike.

    How tall is she, and what size bike? At least horizontal top tube and head tube height? Do you know the make and model?

  10. #10
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    I'm long legged, short torso and arms. My saddle is placed all the way back.

    Perhaps she's not flexible enough forward bend-wise?

    She needs a fitting. No one can force her to do it. She would be foolish to go into the 400 km ride not being able to ride 25 km w/o pain.

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