short-ish women: what frame do you have for audax?

lvabd
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Re: short-ish women: what frame do you have for audax?

Postby lvabd » 7 Mar 2018, 10:32am

pwa wrote:My Missus is about 5'4'' and feels comfy and relaxed on a bike with 700c wheels and drop bars, not stretched out at all. So it is possible without resorting to an unusual wheel size.

My wife's bike wouldn't suit you, being a bit basic, but it does illustrate how a good fit can be achieved. It is a recycled kids bike. An Islabikes Lluath. Worth a quick look to take in the short cranks, very compact and narrow bars, etc that make the bikes fit the small bodies they are intended for.

Are you sure you can't find alternative bars with say 15mm shorter reach?



thanks a lot for your answer! I have the compact-est, narrow-est, shortest drops I could find: specialized 36cm women (https://www.specialized.com/us/en/womens-expert-alloy-shallow-bend-handlebars/p/132572)
Still, I feel the reach is 1 or 2 cm too long!

pwa
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Re: short-ish women: what frame do you have for audax?

Postby pwa » 7 Mar 2018, 11:09am

A bit odd looking, but.....http://www.wiggle.co.uk/octane-one-chemical-pro-stem/

4cm

If it doesn't feel right it could be a waste of money, but if it does it could be the end of your search.

Also https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/stems/45-de ... amp-black/

4.5cm brings your bars 15mm closer.

LollyKat
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Re: short-ish women: what frame do you have for audax?

Postby LollyKat » 7 Mar 2018, 12:03pm

lvabd wrote:How comes a long effective top tube does not result in long saddle to bars distance?


A steep seat tube angle, e.g. 73 degrees, makes the top tube shorter, but to get the correct pedalling position you need to position the saddle further back, sometimes even needing a special lay-back seat post to do so. A slacker seat tube angle, e.g. 71 degrees, makes the top tube longer but the saddle can be positioned more centrally, so the distance from saddle to bars remains the same. As 531colin says in his excellent guide, saddle position is set for pedalling and weight distribution and is sacrosanct.

Remember you can experiment with the height of your bars, and rotating them slightly in the clamp can make a big difference too.

KTHSullivan
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Re: short-ish women: what frame do you have for audax?

Postby KTHSullivan » 7 Mar 2018, 12:50pm

My partner who is 5' 2" has a Liv ladies specific "relaxed" road bike on a XS frame, 700c wheels and no toe overlap. Might not be quite what you are looking for but might be worth a butchers.
Just remember, when you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed. :lol:

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531colin
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Re: short-ish women: what frame do you have for audax?

Postby 531colin » 8 Mar 2018, 1:44pm

lvabd wrote:
531colin wrote:The best thing to do is to sort out your riding position using your existing bike. There is no need to stop at a 60mm stem, google "Deda Cortissimo" and ignore the tripe about it being a stem for fixed-wheel bikes, its just an Ahead stem about 45mm length. If your bike uses a quill stem, you will need a quill/ahead adapter, and you will need a handlebar shim if your bars are less than 31.8mm.
All these bike fit systems that recommend bike dimensions based on body dimensions times a magic number are simply trying to force you, the rider, into some kind of "average" riding position.......I think that's backwards, I think the bike should be adjusted to fit the rider.
Have a read of my DIY bike fitting article linked below my signature. Its possible that your discomfort comes from having too much weight on your hands, rather than from the reach itself......and the way to reduce the weight on your hands is to move the saddle back....but if a rider already thinks their reach is too long, its uphill work to convince the rider to move the saddle back, specially if you can't at the same time offer a shorter stem. You may even find that having moved the saddle back and reduced the weight on your hands you are suddenly comfortable with a longer reach.
But please try it.......its pretty cheap to buy the odd stem/shim/adapter, and unless you know exactly what riding position is comfortable you could end up with a shiny new bike that you still can't get comfortable on.


first of all, thanks a lot for your answer!

I do have a 45mm stem, and did ride 200k+ with it. I felt the bike was handling very poorly especially in fast downhills. Almost scary actually. now I have a stem with a steep angle and relatively short: 35 degrees, 9cm, so a horizontal extent of 6 cm or so. I did have the problem of too much weight on my hands, and did move the saddle backwards. it's now quite behind the "middle" of the rails, but my hands are now fine.
The pain is mostly in my shoulders on long rides. Between my shoulder blades, and in the muscle that links with the neck on top of the shoulder blade.
How much credibility do you give to the general ideal of a 90 degrees between the arm and the torso (line between hips and shoulder/arm joint)? if that's of any relevance, the angle for me, on the current setup of my bike, is close to 95 degrees. I believe this is way too "open". what would you say?


I don't give much credence to any of those "rules of thumb", although as you can see from my photos in my bike fitting blurb, my arms and torso are roughly at 90 degrees when I'm on the hoods. On the other hand, I wouldn't like to say I can tell the difference by eye between 90 and 95 degree angles made between a bent back and a bent arm.
The pain you describe could very easily be from constantly holding your head up against gravity for hours. When I'm stretching I build in each session a period of holding my head hard back as an isometric exercise. I have read of endurance cyclists who are eventually stopped by their inability to continuously hold their head up rather than leg failure.
But back to the stem business. I'm going to repeat myself......unless you test and find a comfortable position on your existing bike, you run a very real risk of buying a shiny new bike that you still can't get comfortable on. Just because somebody else is comfortable on bike X, it doesn't mean you will be. As others have said, 5'5" is not so short to be a problem for bike fitting generally. Women 5' tall are very difficult to fit, because bike wheels don't scale to rider size. 5'2" women are easier to fit than 5'.....at 5'5" you are pretty much into "average male height" territory. There are consistent differences in pelvic anatomy between the sexes, but the cycle industry's fixation with other differences is based on a single study of low numbers of people, and these results are not confirmed by any large population study that I have seen....such studies generally show large differences in body proportions within a single sex, with no statistically significant differences between sexes. There are lots of old threads on here about this if you want to search.
Now some stuff about bike handling. Bike steering is self-centering to some extent.....the force that centres the steering is front tyre drag, through the lever of "trail".https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_and_motorcycle_geometry
Moving your hands forwards or backwards has only a small effect on how much weight you put on the front wheel, so it only has a marginal effect on steering "feel" unless you move your hands a lot; moving your hands back say 100mm (4" in old money) will make the steering feel light. (although riding no hands, it doesn't matter at all where the handlebars are).
If moving your hands between the tops, hoods, and drops doesn't change the steering, then neither will moving the bars 15mm. If you like, move the bars back 15mm and let 5psi out of the front tyre to increase the tyre drag to compensate.
Do you have numbers for the steering geometry, that is fork offset (rake) and head angle? I have found it impossible to get actual numbers out of Thorn. To be relaxing to ride all day, touring bikes need to be unperturbed by random accidental inputs from sidewinds, camber, potholes, luggage or the rider shifting in the saddle. With conventional touring bike geometry, the bike is more stable as speed increases, so that riding no hands as speed increases it becomes increasingly difficult to divert the bike from "straight ahead". Race bikes on the other hand need to respond quickly, so you should be able to slalom the cats' eyes no hands at speed.
Surly's Long Haul Trucker is famous for its stability loaded, but is also generally thought of as a bit of a slug for unloaded riding. It has exactly the same steering geometry as Spa's Audax. I have never heard the Audax described as a slug (although I will now!) although I deliberately made the bike relatively stable rather than twitchy like a race bike. So, whats the difference? The Audax will generally have a lighter wheel with a smooth narrow tyre pumped hard, and the Trucker a heavier wheel with a bigger tyre with more tread and less pressure. Equally importantly, the rider will expect them to handle differently, and will probably experience what they expect.

Dizzie
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Re: short-ish women: what frame do you have for audax?

Postby Dizzie » 8 Mar 2018, 1:47pm

I am 5'4" and I ride a Sabbath Silk road. I found it was all about the shop that was selling, One told me they didn't do a Sabbath small enough for me, Mick Madgett fitted my bike to me and it is like an armchair in comparison to my other bikes. It is on 700cc wheels. It might have been considered an expensive bike but 6 years on it is still like new and being Titanium I can change the decals and bar tape and have a new bike every year.

lvabd
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Re: short-ish women: what frame do you have for audax?

Postby lvabd » 9 Mar 2018, 2:23pm

531colin wrote:But back to the stem business. I'm going to repeat myself......unless you test and find a comfortable position on your existing bike, you run a very real risk of buying a shiny new bike that you still can't get comfortable on. Just because somebody else is comfortable on bike X, it doesn't mean you will be. As others have said, 5'5" is not so short to be a problem for bike fitting generally. Women 5' tall are very difficult to fit, because bike wheels don't scale to rider size. 5'2" women are easier to fit than 5'.....at 5'5" you are pretty much into "average male height" territory. There are consistent differences in pelvic anatomy between the sexes, but the cycle industry's fixation with other differences is based on a single study of low numbers of people, and these results are not confirmed by any large population study that I have seen....such studies generally show large differences in body proportions within a single sex, with no statistically significant differences between sexes. There are lots of old threads on here about this if you want to search.

Very reassuring that I may not have to spend 1000s on custom frame, thanks!

531colin wrote:Now some stuff about bike handling. Bike steering is self-centering to some extent.....the force that centres the steering is front tyre drag, through the lever of "trail".https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_and_motorcycle_geometry
Moving your hands forwards or backwards has only a small effect on how much weight you put on the front wheel, so it only has a marginal effect on steering "feel" unless you move your hands a lot; moving your hands back say 100mm (4" in old money) will make the steering feel light. (although riding no hands, it doesn't matter at all where the handlebars are).
If moving your hands between the tops, hoods, and drops doesn't change the steering, then neither will moving the bars 15mm. If you like, move the bars back 15mm and let 5psi out of the front tyre to increase the tyre drag to compensate.

Good point indeed.

531colin wrote:Do you have numbers for the steering geometry, that is fork offset (rake) and head angle? I have found it impossible to get actual numbers out of Thorn.

52mm rack, head tube angle... I actually don't know...

531colin wrote:To be relaxing to ride all day, touring bikes need to be unperturbed by random accidental inputs from sidewinds, camber, potholes, luggage or the rider shifting in the saddle. With conventional touring bike geometry, the bike is more stable as speed increases, so that riding no hands as speed increases it becomes increasingly difficult to divert the bike from "straight ahead". Race bikes on the other hand need to respond quickly, so you should be able to slalom the cats' eyes no hands at speed.
Surly's Long Haul Trucker is famous for its stability loaded, but is also generally thought of as a bit of a slug for unloaded riding. It has exactly the same steering geometry as Spa's Audax. I have never heard the Audax described as a slug (although I will now!) although I deliberately made the bike relatively stable rather than twitchy like a race bike. So, whats the difference? The Audax will generally have a lighter wheel with a smooth narrow tyre pumped hard, and the Trucker a heavier wheel with a bigger tyre with more tread and less pressure. Equally importantly, the rider will expect them to handle differently, and will probably experience what they expect.

Isn't the chainstay also very long on the LHT? (compared to the audax bikes at least). I did notice that the geometries were very similar though. Well I am very uncomfy on my LHT. Despite having switched to straights bars (no way I can handle a loaded tourer on tracks with drops), it still does feel so so stretched out

But thank you so much for your very thorough answer. I am out on sunday for a 220k, will put my saddle further back and will update!

roger
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Re: short-ish women: what frame do you have for audax?

Postby roger » 11 Mar 2018, 7:42pm

My daughter found a small Trek with mudguard fittings and clearance, which fits well, and has been comfortable for 18months plus. The only odd thing was the long cranks, thanks Spa for stocking 165mm.

Wonder if the LHT has long chain stays for heel to pannier/ load clearance.

It is always interesting to read Tony Oliver's Touring Bikes for thoughts and advice on frame design for the "short-ish women".

Roger.

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531colin
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Re: short-ish women: what frame do you have for audax?

Postby 531colin » 14 Mar 2018, 6:19pm

OK. so, frame design for short(ish) people.
2 considerations....
1) you don't want to kick the front tyre/mudguard.......(well, you personally might not mind too much either way, but for some folk their toe touching the 'guard is a complete no-no....)
2) you don't want the handlebars to be too far away.
Those of you who are paying attention thus far will have noticed that the 2 considerations above are pulling the designer in opposite directions.

Now, the OP's Thorn has a fork offset of 52mm (or thereabouts) which gives good "touring bike" handling with a head angle of 71 degrees (or thereabouts)
Remember the Trucker we mentioned earlier, 45mm offset, 72 deg head angle?
The dimension that governs toe clearance is "front centre" the distance between the front wheel axle and the bottom bracket axle.
For the same front centre, the Thorn's bars will be closer to the rider by (52-45 = ) 7mm, just because of the fork offset difference......
but there's more......this is an occasion where the laws of physics are on our side........
Thorn's 71 deg head will get the bars closer than Trucker's 72 deg head (for the same front centre) by as much as 10mm for a rider of "average" handlebar height....so a bit less for a short rider........but still, Thorn's bars are something like 15mm closer to the rider than Trucker's, for the same front centre.
52 offset and 71 degrees (or thereabouts) is a very common set-up for touring bikes.
However, if you go a step further, a fork offset of around 60mm teams very nicely with a head angle of 71.5 degrees, and might give a small rider 25mm closer bars than the Trucker......for the same front centre.

Several people have mentioned 26" wheels. The difference in bead diameter is (622 - 559 =) 63mm, so the difference in radius is 31.5mm. which sounds like a lot. But there is a snag, those tricky laws of physics are against us this time. If you want to stick with a 71 degree head angle, because the wheel radius is smaller, you need about 42mm offset to get similar trail to 71 degree head and 52mm offset on a 700c wheel. So you gain 31.5mm on the radius, but you lose 10mm on the offset, so a net gain of 21.5mm; this is not so different from what you can get by carefully choosing your dimensions with a 700c wheel. (not everybody likes 26" wheels on a tourer, and if you ride in a group its handy to use the same size tubes as everybody else)

I have never owned one, but I'm going to defend the Trucker........so many people love that bike, it must be getting something right.
lvabd wrote:Isn't the chainstay also very long on the LHT? (compared to the audax bikes at least). I did notice that the geometries were very similar though. Well I am very uncomfy on my LHT. Despite having switched to straights bars (no way I can handle a loaded tourer on tracks with drops), it still does feel so so stretched out.

Long chainstays are usual on tourers, its to do with luggage and how it "rides" over bumps.....much better to have the wheels going over a bump one at a time (like a rocking horse) than the back wheel going up as the front wheel goes down on a short wheelbase "mean machine".
Changing drops to straights is a massive difference. On my longest bike the reach is too long with my favourite drops (Nitto Noodles), I need shorter reach bars. However if I try to fit flats there isn't a stem in the world long enough. I like my bar ends to duplicate the "hoods" position, and the grips to duplicate the "tops" position, so my hands are in the same place and my riding position is the same whether I'm on drops of flats, just the brakes are somewhere else. (Actually all that should be past tense.....arthritis in my hands means its bullbars or staying home for me now. https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=113772&hilit=bullbars
Anyway, to cut to the chase, the difference between drops and flats is so big as to completely dwarf the fact that the Trucker is a "long" bike. If you aren't comfortable on your Trucker with flats, theres something else going on apart from reach.
When my hands were up to braking from the hoods, I rode roughstuff on drop bars, although never with a camping load. If that's very different from your experience, I suspect your riding position doesn't give you decent balance on the bike. The best way I can describe it is riding a track, I feel like I'm floating over the bike......the front and back wheels go over bumps and holes and the bike moves under me like a rocking horse....mountain bikers (on rigid frames) talk of riding "kissing the saddle". If you actually sit on the saddle, a big bump can fire you up in the air.

Flinders
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Re: short-ish women: what frame do you have for audax?

Postby Flinders » 16 Mar 2018, 8:01am

With reference to one of Colin's points above, I measure humans on a regular basis for drawing purposes, and in my experience the idea that women have proportionally longer legs and shorter torsos (often repeated in anatomy books) is not borne out by actual humans to any useful extent. I myself am a very long backed, very short legged female. And our current male model is so long-limbed that accurate drawings of him make him look well out of standard proportions for males.

The proportional differences within a gender are far bigger than the 'average' proportional differences, and the overlap between genders in so great, that the 'average' proportions are completely irrelevant. The only reasonably consistent difference is pelvic angle when standing, and TBH, on a bike, that's different anyway.