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  1. #1
    Senior Member little5guy's Avatar
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    Significance of top tube and down tube in frame size?

    Is the 56 cm frame with a 56 cm top tube too small for me? I am 6' and 190 lbs. I am confident the top tube is the right size because my current road frame has a 58 or so cm top tube and it is definitely too long, while my fixed gear has a top tube of about 56 cm and it fits very well. My thinking is that if the seat tube is a bit short I can make up the difference with the seat post and if the top tube is a bit short I can get a longer stem, but a too long top tube is hard to remedy. I intentionally did not get the 58 cm sized frame based on this.

    Any insights would be helpful. THanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by little5guy
    Is the 56 cm frame with a 56 cm top tube too small for me? I am 6' and 190 lbs. I am confident the top tube is the right size because my current road frame has a 58 or so cm top tube and it is definitely too long, while my fixed gear has a top tube of about 56 cm and it fits very well. My thinking is that if the seat tube is a bit short I can make up the difference with the seat post and if the top tube is a bit short I can get a longer stem, but a too long top tube is hard to remedy. I intentionally did not get the 58 cm sized frame based on this.

    Any insights would be helpful. THanks.
    No one can answer this question intelligently without seeing you on the bike. Fair enough?If you jack up the seat,you may have a problem getting the bars high enough.Seattube angle can also come into play, depending on if it causes you to move the seat forward or back to get preferred knee to pedal relationship.Maybe you ought to consider something with a 57TT.

  3. #3
    Senior Member little5guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sydney
    No one can answer this question intelligently without seeing you on the bike. Fair enough?If you jack up the seat,you may have a problem getting the bars high enough.Seattube angle can also come into play, depending on if it causes you to move the seat forward or back to get preferred knee to pedal relationship.Maybe you ought to consider something with a 57TT.
    Thank you. I appreciate the advice. My great frame deal may evaporate if I can't get myself fitted properly on the frame.

  4. #4
    ex frame builder
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    56cm. measured center to center with a 56cm. top tube is probably your correct size if your inside leg measurement is around 34 inches and your shoe size around 10 1/2.

    Go to my website (Link below) Click on “Bicycles” Page 6 Bike Tech for a simple frame size chart.
    History, photos and tech articles on my website. Also check "Dave's Bike Blog."

  5. #5
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Moulton
    56cm. measured center to center with a 56cm. top tube is probably your correct size if your inside leg measurement is around 34 inches and your shoe size around 10 1/2.

    Go to my website (Link below) Click on “Bicycles” Page 6 Bike Tech for a simple frame size chart.
    I just asked the head wrench at my LBS this question about three days ago. Dave, your page is a great reference! All of your bicycle pages are worth the read and I will be using them for years to come. Thank you for putting this link up
    "Work is the curse of the drinking class."
    - Oscar Wilde

  6. #6
    ex frame builder
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    Quote Originally Posted by cascade168
    I just asked the head wrench at my LBS this question about three days ago. Dave, your page is a great reference! All of your bicycle pages are worth the read and I will be using them for years to come. Thank you for putting this link up
    Thank you for those kind words. Most of the stuff I have posted on my site recently has been as a result of what I have read here on Bike Forums. It gives me a feel for the type of questions people are asking. Check back often as I will keep posting new material as time permits and who knows maybe eventually I will have enough material for a book.
    History, photos and tech articles on my website. Also check "Dave's Bike Blog."

  7. #7
    Senior Member little5guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Moulton
    56cm. measured center to center with a 56cm. top tube is probably your correct size if your inside leg measurement is around 34 inches and your shoe size around 10 1/2.

    Go to my website (Link below) Click on “Bicycles” Page 6 Bike Tech for a simple frame size chart.
    Thanks. I checked your site and your chart confirmed my conclusions. I am just a hair over 6", and my shoe size is 10.5. You recommend a frame with a 58 cm seat tube and a 56 cm top tube, which is exactly what I need. I test rode a 57 cm le mond sartha with a 57 cm top tube (I think the only le mond with a campy group) and it was a great fit. Regretfully, I have to return my titanium frame.

    Your site is an excellent resource. Thanks!

  8. #8
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by little5guy
    Thanks. I checked your site and your chart confirmed my conclusions. I am just a hair over 6", and my shoe size is 10.5. You recommend a frame with a 58 cm seat tube and a 56 cm top tube, which is exactly what I need. I test rode a 57 cm le mond sartha with a 57 cm top tube (I think the only le mond with a campy group) and it was a great fit. Regretfully, I have to return my titanium frame.

    Your site is an excellent resource. Thanks!
    That 57 lemond has a 57.8cm TT. If it fit great ,how do you need a 56TT, or are you just guessing? I'm also 6' ride a 57/58 depending onhow measured and have trouble with anything with a TT shorter than 56.5, and the lemond would be too long by .5 to.8 cm. Everyone is different and picking a size off some arbitrary chart is just a place to start.

  9. #9
    Senior Member little5guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sydney
    That 57 lemond has a 57.8cm TT. If it fit great ,how do you need a 56TT, or are you just guessing? I'm also 6' ride a 57/58 depending onhow measured and have trouble with anything with a TT shorter than 56.5, and the lemond would be too long by .5 to.8 cm. Everyone is different and picking a size off some arbitrary chart is just a place to start.
    >Everyone is different and picking a size off some arbitrary chart is just a place to start.<

    You are right. I thought I needed a 56 TT until I tode the Le mond and was surprised to find it was a 57. Now, I am not sure what to think. So I have abandoned buying a frame by itself. I am going to go around town, ride a bunch of bikes and buy what feels good, which will probably be the Le Mond because there are not many options for a steel frame, equipped with campy and under $2000.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by little5guy
    >Everyone is different and picking a size off some arbitrary chart is just a place to start.<

    You are right. I thought I needed a 56 TT until I tode the Le mond and was surprised to find it was a 57. Now, I am not sure what to think. So I have abandoned buying a frame by itself. I am going to go around town, ride a bunch of bikes and buy what feels good, which will probably be the Le Mond because there are not many options for a steel frame, equipped with campy and under $2000.
    You may not have noticed when you looked at the chart on my website; the 58cm. (c to t.) called for a 56 top tube with a 12.5 stem. If the LeMond bike you rode had a 57 top tube with an 11.5 stem this is in effect the same thing. When test riding different bikes take into account both top tube and stem length.
    Last edited by Dave Moulton; 11-14-04 at 04:31 PM. Reason: Choice of words
    History, photos and tech articles on my website. Also check "Dave's Bike Blog."

  11. #11
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Moulton
    You may not have noticed when you looked at the chart on my website; the 58cm. (c to t.) called for a 56 top tube with a 12.5 stem. If the LeMond bike you rode had a 57 top tube with an 11.5 stem this is in effect the same thing. When test riding different bikes take into account both top tube and stem length.
    Acording to the lemond site that 57 lemond has a 57.8TT. I duno where you find stems in .5cm increments. Duno where you are finding 58 cm bikes with 56cm TT either. I think someone would be better off with a slightly longer TT and a bit shorter stem. My .02.

  12. #12
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    I'm always amazed at who's advice gets challenged on internet forums. Not just this site. Taking Daves advice is much better than having some guy in your LBS look at you sitting on a bike.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by miamijim
    I'm always amazed at who's advice gets challenged on internet forums. Not just this site. Taking Daves advice is much better than having some guy in your LBS look at you sitting on a bike.
    Thanks for the words of support miamijim but sydney doesn’t play favorites he disagrees with everyone across the board. The man is awesome; an absolute walking encyclopedia; has more talent in his whole body than I have in my little finger.
    History, photos and tech articles on my website. Also check "Dave's Bike Blog."

  14. #14
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miamijim
    I'm always amazed at who's advice gets challenged on internet forums. Not just this site. Taking Daves advice is much better than having some guy in your LBS look at you sitting on a bike.
    LOL... The guy in the LBS is actually seeing something,and may have the brains to know how to use it, rather than taking a flying internet guess with little or no info. .LOL...

  15. #15
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Moulton
    ..... sydney doesn’t play favorites he disagrees with everyone across the board. The man is awesome.....
    Thanks.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sydney
    LOL... The guy in the LBS is actually seeing something,and may have the brains to know how to use it, rather than taking a flying internet guess with little or no info. .LOL...
    What the guy at the LBS might be seeing is the potential sale of a bike, whereas I am out of the bike business now and not trying to sell anyone anything. And my flying Internet guesses are based on a little knowledge and experience.
    History, photos and tech articles on my website. Also check "Dave's Bike Blog."

  17. #17
    Member jgwilliams's Avatar
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    Dave, I find your chart most interesting as I've been considering a new frame. What do you do for someone like me who falls way outside the norm? I am six foot dead but with short legs (I think 32" from memory) and small feet - size 8½, assuming that US sizes are the same as UK, or 43 in the European standard. I am plainly deformed!!!

  18. #18
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Moulton
    What the guy at the LBS might be seeing is the potential sale of a bike,....
    And that is just a generalization.There are LBS people that do know what they are doing and aren't just looking to make a sale.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgwilliams
    Dave, I find your chart most interesting as I've been considering a new frame. What do you do for someone like me who falls way outside the norm? I am six foot dead but with short legs (I think 32" from memory) and small feet - size 8½, assuming that US sizes are the same as UK, or 43 in the European standard. I am plainly deformed!!!
    8 ½ shoe size in the UK is 9 ½ in the US and you’re not deformed; there are no standard measurements when it comes to human bodies. 56cm. measured center to top would be a good size frame for you. How does that compare with what you are riding now and what type of riding are you doing?
    History, photos and tech articles on my website. Also check "Dave's Bike Blog."

  20. #20
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Moulton
    8 ½ shoe size in the UK is 9 ½ in the US and you’re not deformed; there are no standard measurements when it comes to human bodies. 56cm. measured center to top would be a good size frame for you. How does that compare with what you are riding now and what type of riding are you doing?
    That's a real short TT for a 6' guy with short legs. Maybe he ought to try a compact frame or two that gives more standover and a longer TT?

  21. #21
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    Last edited by Dave Moulton; 03-12-05 at 08:02 AM.

  22. #22
    don d.
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    Quote Originally Posted by little5guy
    >Everyone is different and picking a size off some arbitrary chart is just a place to start.<

    You are right. I thought I needed a 56 TT until I tode the Le mond and was surprised to find it was a 57. Now, I am not sure what to think. So I have abandoned buying a frame by itself. I am going to go around town, ride a bunch of bikes and buy what feels good, which will probably be the Le Mond because there are not many options for a steel frame, equipped with campy and under $2000.
    This is probably the best course of action. Asking for sizing info on an internet forum is like asking a mob what they think of the color red. You are going to get tons of different answers and you may end up getting hanged.

    Dave's chart is, to the best of my knowledge, weighted towards competition/road frame sizing and is suited to a relatively narrow cross section of the cycling community.

    The Competitive Cyclist website has a fit calculator that has three different sizing systems designed to fit most if not all cyclists to a frame suited to their individual riding style from hardcore competition to touring/long distance/fitness riding. It should allow you to narrow your options down considerably.

    www.competitivecyclist.com

    Now back to the Dave/Sydney flame.

    PS: Maybe you could post a note in the original post asking people with differing opinions to kindly not flame your thread like Dave did to his "serious" roadie's standards thread.
    Last edited by don d.; 11-15-04 at 12:05 PM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by don d.
    This is probably the best course of action. Asking for sizing info on an internet forum is like asking a mob what they think of the color red. You are going to get tons of different answers and you may end up getting hanged.
    Best advice yet other than mine...

  24. #24
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    Last edited by Dave Moulton; 03-12-05 at 08:02 AM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Moulton
    I am curious Sydney; how do you come by your vast amount of knowledge when you disagree with everything anyone else says?
    There IS ALOT to disagree with.Not EVERYONE, just most, many, alot.There are a few I actually learn a bit from......But,t's hell playing forums garbage man.

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