At my size (6'5", 260) and location (on an Island with a total population of
not much more than 500k) it's hard to find bikes to test ride. My first 700c
bike (a 60cm Trek 520) was too small, though the salesman/store owner insisted
that it would be a good fit. In time, I bought a 62cm Surly Cross Check, which
I loved, except the 613mm stack made it a trial to get the bars up without
making the bike look clownish. Still, it was one of the best bikes I've owned.
I ended up selling it to my brother, as it fit him beautifully. I used the geo
of the Surly to guesstimate fit on a whole passel of bikes over the years, with
particular emphasis on top tube length and seat post angle (see Bill Lindsey's
discussion of his Sam Hillborne in his thread about 10 bikes and 2000 miles). I
also learned more about how to finesse fit with stems, bars, saddles, & posts.
If you have one bike that fits you very well, you can extrapolate pretty
accurately, though you may be forced to drop some discretionary cash on changes
to the items I mentioned above. The learning curve has been expensive for me,
but for various reasons, I'm okay with that. When my wife found me tearing
furiously at the packaging of a new part one day, she paused in the doorway for
a moment and said, "This is instead of a younger woman, right?" And I said,
"Absolutely and unequivocally, Yes!" And she said, "Then it's okay with me."
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