Handmade Bicycles: The Custom Experience- The Fit Part II

<em>Editor’s Note: Now that we have met some builders, Grannygear gets to the nuts and bolts of a custom build, starting with….The fit.</em>

Last article, we met the builder of choice for our mock build of a 29er, steel softail frameset. I laid out a bit of my preferences and what I was looking for in general terms. Now it is time to put measuring tape to bike, put the numbers down on paper and see where we are coming from. Sharp eyes will notice the crash damage that I am sporting. Yes, even old guys fall down. Even sharper eyes will notice the prototype rear shock on the Lev. Inspired by the fork offset test that Guitar Ted did recently, I decided to test the relative shock absorbsion qualities of various woods. Currently I am testing Pine, next is Oak, then Birch or Ash, depending on the relative humidity. I will say that Pine is stiff, yet compliant, responsive yet stable with a rising rate of 100%.

We also will take some pictures that will be provided along with the measurements and pass it all on to Doug at Curtlo Cycles. The idea is to show how my current bikes are set up, how I look on the bike(s), and give Doug some scale to refer to. We began with pics showing me on each bike, two different pedal positions, and then took out the tape and filled in the numbers of key points on the bikes.

Here is the Lev:

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And here are the key points we measured:

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A: Saddle Height 1 – center of seat to center of bottom bracket = 30.25”

B: Saddle offset – how far behind the bottom bracket the saddle sits = 3”

C: Saddle Height 2 – from ground to saddle top, perpendicular to ground = 42.5”

D: Bar Height – ground to center of bar at stem clamp = 41.5”

E: Reach – nose of saddle to center of h-bar at stem clamp = 22.25” to 22.5” depending on how you measure it.

F: Saddle length – center of rails to nose = 6”

The saddle is a WTB Pure V, the stem is a Bontrager 100mm, 7* rise. The h-bar is an Easton Monkey Lite XC low rise.
Running the Reba at 100mm of travel gives me a slack angle set of 70* HT and 72* ST.

The Karate Monkey got the same treatment:

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A: Saddle Height 1 – center of seat to center of bottom bracket = 30.5” (allows for sag in suspension seatpost)

B: Saddle offset – how far behind the bottom bracket the saddle sits = 4”

C: Saddle Height 2 – from ground to saddle top, perpendicular to ground = 41.25”

D: Bar Height – ground to center of bar at stem clamp = 40.5”

E: Reach – nose of saddle to center of h-bar at stem clamp = 22.5” to 22.75” depending on how you measure it.

F: Saddle length – center of rails to nose = 6”

The saddle is a WTB Pure V, the stem is an Easton 110mm, 6* rise. The h-bar is an Easton Monkey Lite XC high rise.
Running the RST fork at 80mm of travel gives me a factory angle set of 72* HT and 73* ST.

I also took a pic of each saddle to show where it was located on the seatpost rails. Notice that I have the saddle all the way back on the no-offset Thomson post (the 72* angle of the Lev helps here) and all the way forward on the very offset Thudbuster and I still cannot get them the same as far as saddle fore-aft to bottom bracket center.

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I also measured KOPS on both bikes to demonstrate where the knee is located over the pedal spindle. As you can see on the Lev, the knee is slightly ahead of the green line (pedal spindle center).

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 On the KM, I am slightly behind the pedal spindle.

We then measured the inseam on my finely tuned body by placing a book in the crotch and measuring from the top of the book to the ground. It was 34”.

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 This should be a good beginning to getting a bike built to fit my needs. Stay tuned as the dialogue continues between builder and client on the path to the handmade bicycle experience.

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