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  1. #1
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    So I bought the wrong bike...

    I recently bought a 56cm Surly Steamroller. I'm 5'9" with a 30.7inch inseam. Not sure about the pubic bone measurement. Here's the measurements I got from wrenchscience.com:

    WS Recommended Sizes
    Frame Size center-to-center: 51 cm
    Frame Size center-to-top: 52 cm
    Overall Reach: 66.61 cm
    Saddle Height: 68.86 cm
    Handlebar Width: 42 cm

    Your Measurements
    Height: 69.00 in
    Sternum Notch: 57.50 in
    Inseam Length: 30.70 in
    Arm Length: 22.50 in
    Shoulder Width: 16.50 in
    Flexiblity: 7 (knuckles can hit the floor when stretching)
    Weight: 220.00 lbs
    Foot Size: 10.50 USMens

    Long story short, I bought this bike and have been getting some aches in my back and knees. I haven't been able to run because I have been feeling too strained from biking so much lately. I think the frame is too big have been thinking of getting a 50 or 52cm Cross Check frame and scrap the Steamroller and just ad them to the Cross Check. Can someone give me some tips on what I might do in this situation where the frame is too big for my body? Let me know

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    noob habals's Avatar
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    If you can exchange the bike, I'd get a smaller one. At least your inseam > standover height. 56cm Steamroller is 31.8 in.
    --
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by dell500 View Post
    Long story short, I bought this bike and have been getting some aches in my back and knees. I haven't been able to run because I have been feeling too strained from biking so much lately. I think the frame is too big have been thinking of getting a 50 or 52cm Cross Check frame and scrap the Steamroller and just ad them to the Cross Check. Can someone give me some tips on what I might do in this situation where the frame is too big for my body? Let me know

    Thanks!
    Before giving up, I suggest you read over this carefully and give it a try on your SR: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm. Also, google other articles on how to fit a bike, or how to choose the right frame size. Get to know what parameters of the frame's size are important, and which can be adjusted for. Also, learn how the different parameters relate to physical comfort/discomfort.

    Finally, I think a really important measure you need to know in order to get a good frame size is the length of the frame's top tube. Generally, it's easier to deal with the height of an ill-fitting frame than its length. Just off the bat, I would think a 50/52cm frame would be too cramped for you, leading to other problems.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Pinyon's Avatar
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    I would try moving the seat forward and up a tad first (same distance between the top of the saddle and the pedal in the full-down position). Other things that you can do include adding height to your handlers with a spacer, and getting a new stem that has a shorter forward reach. Those things can put you in the same position on the bike as getting a smaller one. It is not perfect, but it is better than getting a new bike, or giving up.
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  5. #5
    GATC
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    I suggest you take those bike frame recommendations and compare them to the different frame sizes here:

    http://www.surlybikes.com/frames/

    and pay extra attention to 'reach', which is probably something like effective top tube + stem length (they list the stem length for complete bikes here on the bike page, not the frame page: http://www.surlybikes.com/bikes/ )

    Just see how far the various bikes and frames deviate from each other, from a theoretical ideal, and from the steamroller that you have.

  6. #6
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    I called up to the LBS and they told me the same. I'll take a look at that fitting page. I just thought that my groin should be about an inch from the top tube? I cut my drops to bullhorns recently which has helped with my back pain. I measured the distance from each tube and it came out to be around 17.5 inches. I was thinking about purchasing some bull horns that were about 16-16.5 inches so I can add a second brake for safety (live in a hilly area of Columbia, MO). I'll read that site over though. THanks!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dell500 View Post
    I called up to the LBS and they told me the same. I'll take a look at that fitting page. I just thought that my groin should be about an inch from the top tube? I cut my drops to bullhorns recently which has helped with my back pain. I measured the distance from each tube and it came out to be around 17.5 inches. I was thinking about purchasing some bull horns that were about 16-16.5 inches so I can add a second brake for safety (live in a hilly area of Columbia, MO). I'll read that site over though. THanks!
    If your current frame is too long for you, then bullhorns might be a bad match. You can try some handlebars that lessen reach, such as the On-One Mary or Soma Sparrow bars. Also, I think a lot of folks size bikes by stand-over height, but as you found, this is not the only thing to consider (and I would say it's probably less important than reach, with the exceptions of mountain biking and fully loaded touring). In any case, the right frame is the one that fits you both height-wise and length-wise. You have one of those dimensions satisfied, now comes the tweaking needed to get the other dimension to work, if possible given the frame. That Peter White web page helped me a lot. Hope it works for you!

    If you get a chance, report back on if you got the frame to work for you, and if so, how.

  8. #8
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    Now I know this is a contentious subject, but do you think it's possible that the pain could be caused by the fact that you're riding a fixie? Especially when you mention knee pain. The back pain could just be a posture issue, especially if you're new to that type of handlebar.

    Other non-frame possibilities: you could possibly use a higher stem if you're too hunched over, also you might have the seat too low.

    I woudn't worry too much about the standover height. In my experience, if you have a bike with a flat top tube and you can stand over it with both feet on the ground with clearance to spare, the frame might be too small. You'll never stand over the bike like that anyway.

    I'm almost exactly the same size as you, and I have a 56cm frame that doesn't cause me pain at all. Maybe a touch too large, but not much. There's a good chance that a 54cm would be right for you, maybe a 52cm. I'd be surprised if you need a 50cm.

  9. #9
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    I'm 5'9" and I used to ride 56cm road bike just fine, did some centuries on that. Shorter stem perhaps? How is your weight distribution between your butt and arms?

    Painful knees (front) usually mean that the saddle is too low, if the knees hurt in the back then it's too high. BTW, what have you been riding before this?

    Or, your frame may just be unusually long.

  10. #10
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    Another member of the 5'9" club here. I normally don't comment on frame size issues, but you are very close to the same size as me, so I'll offer my thoughts.

    First, are you sure you measured your inseam correctly? Can you stand over the frame you have? If not, you have a shorter inseam than I do and therefore, more relevantly, a longer torso so factor that into the following comments.

    Second, you mentioned running so I assume you're reasonably fit, but are you new to biking. There is a natural break in period for your body to adjust to the new posture and muscle use. In particular, riding a fixie in a hilly area is like doing a lot of squats and then...well nothing a sane person would do compares to riding a fixie down hill at high speed. Taking days off when you're sore will shorten the adjustment period. So would gears.

    Now to the direct part.... I have a 54cm Surly Cross Check (also a fixie). It's got an 8mm shorter effective top tube length than the Steamroller. I built it with a pair of Salsa Poco handlebars, which have about 70mm of reach -- probably about 30mm less than the ones on your Steamroller. I used a 100mm stem but with a 115 degree angle, so it's effectively a millimeter or two shorter than the stem on your Steamroller. (All comments about the Steamroller assume you have Surly's default build.) I'm extremely happy with the fit of my Cross Check, which isn't surprising because I based it on the fit of my 52cm Kona Jake, on which I had a pro fit done. Based on the above numbers, the reach on your Steamroller would be about 4cm to long for me, which is quite a bit. If you have a longer torso than I do, it might be closer for you, but probably still not right. My handlebars are probably also a lot higher than yours.

    From the preceding discussion, you can see that the reach can be changed by replacing the stem and/or getting handlebars with shorter reach, but both of these things have some effect on bike handling. I think it's a small effect. The height of the handlebars also changes how much reach you would want for comfort.

    If you end up deciding to get a Cross Check, I would recommend a 52 or 54 cm frame, definitely not a 50.

  11. #11
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    Assuming you bought the bike at a Local Bike Shop, ride down there and they will adjust the bike to make it fit. If you thought that you were saving money by purchasing over the internet, you have gained the added advantage of some experience.

  12. #12
    Come here often? <wink> exile's Avatar
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    It sounds like a size smaller would be better. I'm also in the 5'9 club and ride a 54cm LHT. When purchasing I read somewhere that I should buy the next size smaller than a traditional road bike size. I believe I also read that ETT length is supposed to be a better predictor of comfort and fit than most other measurements (if i'm wrong please correct).

    If you bought it from a LBS they may be able to exchange it for something that would suit you better. You may take a loss in the wallet but it would be cheaper than buying another bike. If you ordered online you may be able to exchange it also.

    I believe an ill fitting bike is an ill fitting bike. You can make adjustments like others have mentioned (shorter stem, zero setback seatpost, raising saddle or stem, etc.). However, in the end its best to get something you enjoy riding.
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  13. #13
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    Geez Tonto, I am 5'9 1/2. I weigh 135 lbs.

    My road bike seat tube is 57cm.
    The seat and stem are adjustable.

    yoga, I am adjustable

    Works for me.
    bill
    Last edited by bmwstbill; 01-08-10 at 11:49 PM.

  14. #14
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    If you're complaining about knee pain, maybe you should consider a geared bike opposed to a ss/fixie. Even with the correct size, a ss/fixie is hard on your knees.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Grim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Underbridge View Post

    Other non-frame possibilities: you could possibly use a higher stem if you're too hunched over, also you might have the seat too low.

    I woudn't worry too much about the standover height. In my experience, if you have a bike with a flat top tube and you can stand over it with both feet on the ground with clearance to spare, the frame might be too small. You'll never stand over the bike like that anyway.
    This
    Smaller frame is going to mean seat to bar height is going to hunch you over more . I believe you have the correct size frame just not set up correctly especially If you are running flat bars

    Any reach issue can be fixed with the stem length and angle. I use to try to do things the other way and buy a frame for the top tube lenght and I ended up with seat way up in the air and hunched way over aggravating problem Have in my lower back as well as this cause me to rock my hips forward giving me the tingles in twig and berry's.


    Like other have pointed out your knee problem is probably more from spinning out on the single and braking with the pedals on the fixie.
    You cant have a signature unless it fits in this box

  16. #16
    on your left.
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    When I tried fixed gear riding, it killed my knees and I couldn't do it anymore.

    You probably need to raise/lower your seat, get a shorter stem, and get some bars with less reach. I actually really like riser bars for SS riding.

    your frame MIGHT not be the issue. sounds like you're within the range of what you can ride
    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    I learned this the hard way. They say that experience is the best teacher, but I would have been preferred to just read about it on the internet.

  17. #17
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    Ya, I lowered the seat a bit and it's fine. I mean I'm pretty sure I'm strong enough (especially my legs) to ride fixie. And I realized a big problem is me stretching lately. I need to do it more due to the sever cold weather. I might be raising my handlebars as well. The width is too big right now as well too. I need a 40cm, but I'm not sure what the mm measurement is. Is that the tube diameter?

  18. #18
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    The knee pain points to an incorrect seat height or too low a cadence.

    If you have 1+ inch clearance between you and the top tube, then the frame fits in that department.

    The HTT (effective toptube) difference between the 53 and 56 frame is about 1/2 an inch.

    Steanroller
    49cm 53cm 56cm
    20.8 21.5 22.4

    Crosscheck

    50cm 52cm 54cm
    21.1 21.5 22.0

    How long have you been riding it? Is your position on the bike new to you? Are you new to biking?

    I think part of your problem (most of it?) is because you are pushing too hard at a new sport.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 01-09-10 at 02:58 PM.

  19. #19
    Schwinnasaur Schwinnsta's Avatar
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    I think your'e bike is the correct size. What I question I question is how measured your'e inseam. You may need a shorter stem.

    I am 5'- 9" and I bought a 23" (58.4 cm) Cannondale Touring bike off Craigslist. It is a little large for me but replacing the stem with a higher and shorter stem made a world of difference. True the bike is too large but the price was right and it was the style and type of bike I wanted. It worked out.

  20. #20
    Subjectively Insane MilitantPotato's Avatar
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    I had aches and pains for a month or so after getting started, do the typical fit stuff like make sure your saddle is forward/aft enough, high enough, and your bars are high enough your hands don't hurt, and see how you feel after a few weeks. Things can be dialed in later. I'm still tweaking saddle adjustment a year later as my body adapts to cycling.

    What side of Columbia are you on? I'm near the mall myself. Did ya get your bike from Klunks? Karl knows his stuff, don't hesitate to ask him for advice.
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  21. #21
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    Ya, my hands hurt almost every time I ride after prolonged used. I'm not sure if I should lower or heighten them. I live over off W ash, but I stay with my girlfriend most of the time which is over off Stadium and Ashland (down the big hill) and ya I got it from Klunks. Josh and Karl have been helping me a lot lately. I'll call up there when I get a chance tomorrow and ask em what to do about the handlebars. We should ride sometime PM me.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dell500 View Post
    Ya, my hands hurt almost every time I ride after prolonged used.
    Sometimes this happens because you have too much weight on your hands. If so, you can try tilting your saddle nose up a touch. Or, you can try sliding your saddle rearward a little to move your center of balance backwards and help support your upper body weight. However, if your reach is still too long, this may not work for you. Raising your handlebars will reduce reach a little, and it'll help with your center of balance, too.

  23. #23
    member. heh. lambo_vt's Avatar
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    Too much weight on your hands can be tricky. Bars could be too low, saddle could be tilted incorrectly, too far forward, or too far back. Posting a pic on you on the bike would be sort of helpful, though by no means conclusive.

  24. #24
    Senior Member MNBikeguy's Avatar
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    Regardless of how fit, strong, or in-shape you are, if you are new to cycling on a regular and sustained basis, you will inevitably have some new aches and pains to contend with.
    Unfortunately, the common logical solution is to embark on an expensive and time consuming adjustment process.
    More often than not, with a little patience, these pains go away after a period of consistent riding. From your posts it does seem quite possible that you have the wrong frame size, stem, positions, etc. After youíve given your body time to acclimate, you can discuss these necessary adjustments intelligently with your LBS. Until then, it is impossible to differentiate between a legitimate hardware correction, and a cycling muscle that is being pushed for the first time. Also, hand pain is a common complaint from newer cyclists. Often itís just a circulation issue that is corrected from increased cardio strength.
    Iíd give it some more time.
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