Short Cyclists - What size bike/components (crank length, handlebar width, tyre width etc.) do you use?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by LM7805

I'm around 164cm (5 foot 4 ish) tall so you can say I'm a fair bit shorter than the average cyclist. I started naturally with what came on the first bike I bought. This was a fair few years ago, when short cyclists weren't accomodated for as well. The bike came with 170mm cranks and 40cm wide bars. I've sinced moved to 165mm cranks with 38cm bars, and I find both changes far better, improving comfort on the bike. I'm actually considering trying 160mm cranks, as that is what is recommended on various guidlines/calculators based on my height and inseam. 165mm still feel a tad bit long. I'm also considering using 36cm wide handlebars as I feel I could go narrower than the 38cm bars I have.

The bike I'm currently riding has a reach of 370mm but the stack it quite low, so with spaces the actual reach is shorter, around 360 something millimeters. It has a HTA of 71 degrees but a fork rake of 52mm, so the trail is not excessively high. I feel it handles well, but I've not ridden any other bike to compare. In particular, some manufacturers use the same fork over all sizes and change the HTA, so xs sized bikes end up having a really high trail (like BMC and Giant bikes with trail >= 70). Does this really result in a bad handling bike?

I'm interested to hear what other short cyclists are using in terms of bike size/ bike component sizes.

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by audiojan

My wife is quite a bit shorter than you at 5’2”. Her main road bike are both Parlee XS. Handlebars are 38cm. She prefers 170mm cranks.
"Suddenly the thought struck me; my floor is someone elses ceiling" - Nils Ferlin

by Weenie

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by Cemicar

I think most of shorter people in reality stick to either 165 or 170 cranks just because that's the only options available especially when you need to read your power during the rides. Rotor however offers now-powermeter-compatible short cranks ranging from 150 to 160 and that's maybe the first-ever practical ones if your bike can fit 30mm spindle with ease. Likewise, handlebars narrower than 400 mm is not always available while nowadays most bars are being integrated into stems... you often have to separate your bars and stem.

I believe bike industry doesn't seem to care about short men or women as a whole, the latter should ask for more.

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by Jere

I ride with a little person 5 foot tall she has these cranks on all of her bikes 137 to 145 on 10 and 11 speed.
National,States,world Champion and is crazy fast up hills.
For power meters use pedals or wheel hub systems.
She is using the old not made anymore power Tap Spider.

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by wheelsONfire

Rotor have shorter options

Ax Lightness Vial EVO Race (2018.12.21)
Paduano Racing Fidia (kind of shelved)
Open *UP* (2016.04.14)

Ex bike; Vial EVO D

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by g32ecs

168cm, short 28in inseam. I'm built like Cavendish without the sprint (long torso, short legs)

40 bars, Ive experimented with 38s. Due to my previous experience with lifting weights Ive widened my pecs so 38s feel too narrow

165 cranks

I ride a Felt AR with some 38 deep wheels. Any deeper I will feel the crosswinds. Not like I already don't.

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by icantaffordcycling

165cm height. 165mm cranks. 34-36cm bars. 49cm frame.

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by LouisN

My twin daughters are 5'4''. but long torso and short legs (72.5-73 cm inseam). Their road bike is a Felt FR3 size 47, with 369 reach. They both use a 120 mm stem on their bikes. One of them uses 36 cm bars, the other 38 cm. Both use 165 mm crank arms, though one would be better with 162.5 or 160 mm.
We're all on 25 mm tubulars.
On their TT bikes (Argon 18 E117) they have 155 mm crank arms. On a bike fit test done at a lab, they tested 11% more efficient with 155mm crank arms than with 165 mm.

Louis :)

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by djnzt48

159cm rider. Bike size 49 (Specialized). Crank 170mm, 38cm bars and 100mm stem.

Thinking of going to 165mm cranks. Since we're in this topic, would there be any significant "feeling" by shortening 5mm of my crank length?
Specialized Allez Sprint 2020

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by g32ecs

It's not the feeling that changes, it's your cadence.

My fatbike has 175mm cranks which are insanely long. 10mm change is a lot. 5mm might be subtle.

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by JoO

If you would like to test short cranks and you have a BSA BB bike. Try stronglight Kids cranks (square taper)

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by Campervan

Is Rotor the only way forward for short cranks (in the UK)? My girlfriend is 4ft10! She is currently on a 44cm Canondale Supersix evo hi-mod. But in the new year looking for a new bike for her. Debating on geting it built to her spec.
BMC Granfondo 02 105
Btwin 540
Specialized Venge Pro Disc

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by gtsmith

Some stats - some observations.

Me: height = 166cm, inseam =74.5cm
Bike: stack = 534mm, reach = 373mm, VTT = 52.5cm (standard 90mm stem replaced by 100mm), standard cranks = 170mm.

After years of riding 170mm cranks, I acquired a set of 165mm cranks two months into ownership of this bike. First thoughts were that it was a more “turbine”-like pedalling feeling but that my feet felt as if the virtual shoelaces were tied together. I gave it 13 months before switching back to the 170s. They felt more natural. After a couple of months, I gave the 165s another go but just didn’t like them and switched back to the 170s. (BB86 and Shimano cranks, so the changeover is really easy.)

I’m surprised that a) the difference in feeling was so noticeable and b) that I didn’t like the 165s (despite giving them a long trial) given that many of the charts point towards even the 165s being too long for me.

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by none

My wife is about 150cm, 4' 11", she no performance oriented rider, but I think I've fitted her bike to her pretty good.

34cm frame, 650x23 tires, 147mm cranks, tried 38cm, but went with 40cm width handlebar (more room for the tatas),
since 2008 wife put about 2k miles on it.


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by g32ecs

none wrote:
Wed Oct 02, 2019 7:48 pm
My wife is about 150cm, 4' 11", she no performance oriented rider, but I think I've fitted her bike to her pretty good.

34cm frame, 650x23 tires, 147mm cranks, tried 38cm, but went with 40cm width handlebar (more room for the tatas),
since 2008 wife put about 2k miles on it.

Good call on 650. Sometimes shorter ppl just have to consider it more. I believe Emma Pooley won a WTT championship in 650c

What I'm interested to know if there are anyone below 5'8 here using a 120mm stem. I think the Yates bros do and at some point Quintana did.

I personally use a 110mm and can probably do it, but that bike will be only used for 1hr crits.

by Weenie

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