Size Matters

What a difference an inch or two makes to the average cyclist.

I am normally fairly happy riding older style roads bikes with frame sizes ranging from 21.5” to 24” as long as I can get fairly comfortable using one of my Selle smp lite 209 saddles . It sometimes amazes me how much difference there is between a 22” sized frame that runs on either 700c wheels and older style 27” ones .

Pink Mercian

Green Mercian

I finished building my Jim Soens earlier this week. I already knew that the 50mm quill stem was way too short so swapped that for a 90mm version and thought that would be long enough , but once out on the open road I realized that I felt all cramped up on the bike when riding on the hoods .

First thing was to check that I had set the bike up with the 3 base measurements I always use , which I had, so I raised the saddle an extra 1” to see how that felt, it certainly felt better. Next job was the position of the bars . I tried a 100mm version first and still found I wasn’t looking through the front axle centre line so that wasn’t long enough. Next up was a nice shiny Cinelli one at 105mm and hey presto that had me looking down at the centre line spot on and also felt right once I got the height correct .

Now all the above adjustments and swaps have been made, the bike rides really nicely and no longer feels cramped when down on the hoods . OK I suppose I could have paid for a professional bike fit to be done .

I prefer to have a play with what different length stems i have in the garage and a bit of tial and error adjustments

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