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Top tube lengths

GaryGknGaryGkn Posts: 1,199
edited August 2008 in Road general
I have been looking at bike fit and it seems to me that a lot of bikes especially traditional steel frames tend to have a top tube around 22" to 22" 1/2. I am just 6ft but I find even with a 90mm stem and seat pushed as far forward as possible my hands don't fall naturally on the hoods unless I stretch. I generally ride 23".

Does anyone know of a traditional steel frame with a short top tube?


  • andypandyp Posts: 8,364
    Gios. In relative terms, they've got very short top tubes in their larger sizes, i.e. 55 cm for a 58 cm c-to-c seat tube (if memory serves).
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    A 22" top tube is only 55.8cm.

    To put things in context I'm 5' 8 and both my bikes have a 55cm TT with a 11cm stem, I'm a short censored so you being a 6 footer shouldn't have any problems with the fit you're describing unless you're flexibility is horrendous.
    I like bikes...

  • GaryGknGaryGkn Posts: 1,199
    Thanks I'll look into Gios and a bit more experimenting with what I have.
  • david 142david 142 Posts: 227
    The Thorn Audax Mk3 is available in a short top tube version - one size only, 555mm virtual seat tube, 530mm virtual top tube. The geometry is apparently not suitable for the carbon forks that Thorn recommend for most of the range.
    Please dont take this as an attempt to be offensive, but if you want to find frames with shorter top tubes you might do well to look for womens versions. As I understand it, a shorter top tube is the principal difference.
  • GaryGknGaryGkn Posts: 1,199
    No offence taken. I have had the same thought.

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    If you look at the main photo at the start of this article I can just about manage the same on an old Trek which has a top tube of 55cm and the stem at 80mm stem up at 8cm high. My fore arm to the end of my finger tip is 45cm.

    I was looking at Rivendell bikes and they recommend putting your bars 2cm above the seat level. This could actually save me as it would virtually shorten the long top tube. I need a long stem to test it out.

    What do you think of Moulton's thoughts on the subject?
  • GaryGknGaryGkn Posts: 1,199
  • david 142david 142 Posts: 227
    I've heard the of size of ones feet being related to the size of other body parts. Curiously, the forearm wasn't among them!
    My first impression is that theres a lot of generalisations here. On the other hand, if he's made a living as a frame builder then there must be a useful amount of truth in it.
    I would say that much depends on having your saddle in the right position. I'm not absolutely sure that mine is, so I'm not impressed by the suggestion about sliding the saddle backwards and forwards to get a comfortable reach. It might not do any harm, short term, but sacrificing a reasonably correct setting to change another seems illogical. If you try it, and settle upon a "perfect" stem length, it doesnt seem to follow that changing to a stem of this length will actually work when you put the saddle back - for my money there are too many other factors involved at the same time.
    The bike I've been using recently has a comfortable reach for me, but the bars are 3" below seat level, and I have too much weight coming onto my hands. I've been trying to assess what length stem I would need if I raised them to, say level. I've given up scratching my head - I'm going to get some stems and try it!
  • GaryGknGaryGkn Posts: 1,199
    I think experimentation may result in success.
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