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Old 02-08-07, 09:50 AM   #1
blackgrass
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Need some suggestions on getting my bike to fit a little better...

I have a REI Novara Randonee that I have set up to use as a commuter. I just got it used for X-mas and have been out riding a few times. This weekend I was able to get in a 14 mile trip and afterwards I think I have a better idea of how I would like the bike to fit. I am right at 6' tall and 195 pounds or so....my inseam a hair under 31". The bike I have is a 53cm top tube lenght. At first I thought the bike might be a little small....now I'm not so sure. It was a gift so I can't really take it back so I have to work with what I have.
After riding this weekend I felt like I would be a lot more comfortable if I could sit up a little more when riding. My seat is probably 4 to 5 inches above my handlebars and I'm using bullhorn bars. I feel like I am pretty streched out on the bike as it is now and my lower back and neck started bothering me a bit towards the end of the ride....I do realise that part of it all is just getting used to riding a bike and working on my core strenght. I sort of set up on the bike during my ride and used the tips of my fingers on the bars towards the end so I would be more comfortable/upright and not so streched out feeling.
So my guess at a solution is to try and raise my handles bars up a bit. I'm looking at something like the ATB Comfort Quill Stem on Nashbar. Do you guys think this is the right solution or would you have a different recommendation? I really like the bike overall and a lot of my problem may be that I just need to get in better shape. Although...using the bike as a commuter I would really like to have a little more of an upright riding position.
Thanks in advance! I have been reading through all the forums (especially the commuter forum) and trying to learn as much as possible. I've checked out some of the maintence books from my local library that have been recommended and really trying to do all my homework. This is a great resource!
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Old 02-08-07, 10:25 AM   #2
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Frame sounds way too small, which has left your seat a lot higher than the bars. Looking at their size chart a 53cm top tube would equate to a 47cm bike... can that be right?

Raising the bars might help, but will bring them closer to you and may make you feel cramped. I'd plan on moving them out and up at the same time if you're going to make a change.

Where do you keep your hands on the bars?
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Old 02-08-07, 10:26 AM   #3
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Well I can't offer a lot of advice, other than don't get expensive parts until you know for sure what you like. I think I have 3 stems in my parts bin because it's taken a lot of trial & error to get a good fit.

having the handlebars that far below the seat does sound pretty low. I'd aim for getting them level and see how that feels, then go up or down from there.
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Old 02-08-07, 10:40 AM   #4
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6' is very tall to be riding a 53cm frame. it is likely that you can make the problem less pronounced by sliding your saddle rearward and getting a 130-140mm stem with a lot of rise, but I think you're going to find the bike uncomfortable no matter what you do. most people near your height ride a 56-58cm frame. I am the same height, have one of each, and find the 56cm even a bit cramped even with a long stem. bodily proportions will obviously vary (incidentally, my inseam is the same as yours), but not usually by a few frame sizes.

*edit* I don't think you're feeling 'stretched out' along the top tube. I think that's an effect of the substantial drop.
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Old 02-08-07, 10:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffS
Frame sounds way too small, which has left your seat a lot higher than the bars. Looking at their size chart a 53cm top tube would equate to a 47cm bike... can that be right?

Raising the bars might help, but will bring them closer to you and may make you feel cramped. I'd plan on moving them out and up at the same time if you're going to make a change.

Where do you keep your hands on the bars?
Right now I feel like I am streched out a little too much. That may be due to my seat being so much higher than my bars but after looking at some of the photos on this site I don't think my seat is crazy high or anything. I am riding bullhorns so that puts me out a little further anyway and I switch back and forth from the ends of the bars to the tube near the stem. I don't think I will be able to get the bars level....if I did I would have to have a really long quill stem....I'm just hoping to raise the bars up a couple of inches and back towards me an inch or so.
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Old 02-08-07, 10:45 AM   #6
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If the top tube is 53CM long then you have a 48cm frame. That size frame would be way to small for you at 6'. You need a frame in the 56 to 58cm size. I don't thank that you will be able to get this bike to fit your body size.

Last edited by CigTech; 02-08-07 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 02-08-07, 10:55 AM   #7
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I'm starting to think I may be screwed then. I got the bike as a gift....from ebay. It was advertised on ebay as a 56cm but the top tube measures 53cm center to center???
I'm guessing the best and cheapest route for me to take would be to find a frame size that works and just switch out all the components?
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Old 02-08-07, 11:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackgrass
I'm starting to think I may be screwed then. I got the bike as a gift....from ebay. It was advertised on ebay as a 56cm but the top tube measures 53cm center to center???
I'm guessing the best and cheapest route for me to take would be to find a frame size that works and just switch out all the components?
if you don't have the tools to do the swap on your own, you may want to involve your lbs. they can help you with fit and you'll probably get a better deal on moving the parts over if you buy a frame from them.

but yeah, a different frame is probably your best option.

oh, and if you do purchase online again, pay attention to the length of the headtube. if the tubes are round and the top and down tube meet at the headtube the bike is probably too small for you.
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Old 02-08-07, 11:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackgrass
The bike I have is a 53cm top tube lenght. At first I thought the bike might be a little small....now I'm not so sure. It was a gift so I can't really take it back so I have to work with what I have.

The 52.4cm TT length on the REI sizing charts equates to a 47cm frame. For somebody 6' tall, that's way too small of a bike. You should be on something around 54-56cm. Even with the 'horns giving you a more stretched out position, you aren't going to get the proper alignment of everything else if you manage to fiddle around the stem/bar combo to a comfortable position.

REI has a very good return/exchange policy. Since it was a gift and you're obviously interested in keeping it, I'd say there's no problem with talking to whomever gave you the bike and saying that you need to exchange it for a larger size. They don't even need a receipt if the bike was purchased by an REI member; just a scan of their membership card will bring up a purchase history. (I know, because I've had to do that before.)
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Old 02-08-07, 11:10 AM   #10
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The top tube isn't how they measure height on some bikes, if the tube is slanted.

On my bike I had to measure the height to the top of the frame (frame extension up to seat tube), as the top of it went about 2 inches above the top tube. I was very concerned that perhaps I got a smaller bike than I ordered, but the manufacturer called me and went over the whole thing.
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Old 02-08-07, 11:16 AM   #11
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I have the same problem and I see post where people say you can get used to the amount of handlebar drop. I don't think i can get used to all 5 inches at one time though being i don't have a good level fitness on the bike right now. My previous bike was too small for me but i kind of liked it.


Personally gona try to get a bigger frame to stick all the parts on but if you can take it back that would be much easier.
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Old 02-08-07, 11:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackgrass
I'm starting to think I may be screwed then. I got the bike as a gift....from ebay. It was advertised on ebay as a 56cm but the top tube measures 53cm center to center???
I'm guessing the best and cheapest route for me to take would be to find a frame size that works and just switch out all the components?
No, best and cheapest is to sell the bike whole and replace with something of equal value.
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Old 02-08-07, 11:20 AM   #13
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I ride 58cm road frames (58cm from BB to level top tube) and I am 5'11". 56cm is still too small for you.

A taller stem will help as well, if you are intent on keeping the bike. If you haven't riden it much, REI has an excellent return policy (I had a niterider light fail 6 months after it was bought and they replaced it with absolutely no questions asked), I'd bet you could exchange at least the frame for sometime larger which will fit you better. I should also mention that the light was a gift as well, and I was able to return it without the reciept because my parents were members and the purchase was on REI's computer. And Novara is their house brand bike, so there is no question that it came from REI; I'd try the return route, as long as the bike hasn't been ridden much.
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Old 02-08-07, 11:24 AM   #14
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i'm no expert, but the frame sounds too small. if that is the case, the best option is getting a properly fit frame. if that is not a possibility, i think getting a new stem can certainly help. depending on the bullhorns, they may be contributing to the amount of drop between your seat and bars. good ole' drop bars may be a better fit.
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Old 02-08-07, 11:33 AM   #15
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I had the same problem. Obviously, because the seat tube angles away from the head tube, the more you pull your seat out from the seat tube, the further back your seat is going to go. I ended up buying frames that some would consider too big for me (I'm 6'1" and ride a 62cm Cross-Check and just bought a 61cm Lemond), but because I have long legs and a short torso, they actually fit me way better because I don't have to pull the seat out so far. I barely have clearance on the top tube, but I don't care. I've been riding bikes for a long time and I have honestly never in my life encountered a situation where I needed to stop and straddle the top tube REALLY FAST.
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Old 02-08-07, 11:47 AM   #16
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IMO equating height to bicycle size is an effort in futility because we are all built different, as are the different manufacturer's frame geometries. I am 6'1" and my 5 bikes run the range of 56cm through 58cm.

That said, my best suggestion to the OP - if you are feeling stretched out and your saddle position is proper in relation to your pedals/crank, get a shorter stem with higher rise to bring the bars higher and closer to you. Go to your LBS, tell them what the problem is, they can judge your fit, give you options to correct it and maybe, if they agree with what I am guessing, you can talk them into letting you use an adjustable stem, to be replaced by a fixed stem once you figure out what angle & length works best for you.
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Old 02-08-07, 12:13 PM   #17
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IMO equating height to bicycle size is an effort in futility because we are all built different, as are the different manufacturer's frame geometries. I am 6'1" and my 5 bikes run the range of 56cm through 58cm.

That said, my best suggestion to the OP - if you are feeling stretched out and your saddle position is proper in relation to your pedals/crank, get a shorter stem with higher rise to bring the bars higher and closer to you. Go to your LBS, tell them what the problem is, they can judge your fit, give you options to correct it and maybe, if they agree with what I am guessing, you can talk them into letting you use an adjustable stem, to be replaced by a fixed stem once you figure out what angle & length works best for you.
Thanks for all the replies. The bike was a gift via ebay so taking it back doesn't seem to be an option.
I think I am going to try taking it down to the LBS as suggested and see what they think.

Last edited by blackgrass; 02-09-07 at 08:21 AM.
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