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  1. #1
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    Dealer won't commit to a fit

    Reading an old thread I was shocked to see a Specialized dealer telling a customer to choose between two frame sizes. If the dealer is not able to make that determination for you, it is his specialty, I would find a different bike shop.

  2. #2
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    There are multiple frame sizes in my stable. The bike dealer can't always know what will work out best for the customer forever.

    Besides, frame size != fit.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I have several bikes of various sizes .. from a 54 to a 58,

    I have futzed over the bits and adjutments so they're Fit for Purpose .

    Back for the basic shop floor sales question .. What do you want this bike for?

    State your purpose app.

    flipped and slammed stem, which bike is Faster (?) kind of dude, or sit up and look around, in comfort?

    'size' is pretty much seat tube length , other stuff changes proportionally..

  4. #4
    I STILL miss East Hill :) Rollfast's Avatar
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    IF you don't fit on either bike and have no other choice, you have a choice.

    You have the choice to buy somewhere/something else. The dealer isn't a mindreader or a magician though.

    If you are truly unsure then it is not time to buy. Learn more first.
    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
    They can't fix expansion joints, because they expand.
    Smile at Miles with a ROLLFAST!

  5. #5
    Senior Member koolerb's Avatar
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    It's a preference thing. I see guys all the time with a mile a seat post showing and I just think OMG, borrowing your kids bike today? I tend to lean toward the larger side of my "fit window." Some guys go the other way. Ride what feels right to you.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by koolerb View Post
    It's a preference thing. Ride what feels right to you.
    Yeah you could do that, or, you could make a rational decision.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  7. #7
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    Size is not seat tube length!!!! Seat tube length is almost the least important measurement as long as there is a enough adjustment to accommodate the seat height you need. The top length is by far the most important measurement. You only have about a 20-30mm (30mm is pushing it) window to play with on a stem to have the bike handle properly. With a stem that is to long or to short, the weight distribution and leverage can get real goofy. The funny thing, both scenarios can cause similar symptoms of a twitchy feeling bike. Let's face it, looks plays a part in this as well. Example, my ideal top length is 55cm. Depending on other factors(head tube and seat tube angle, head tube length) a 10-11mm stem is ideal for me. That would give me an overall reach of 65-66cm. I would not want to ride a 60cm frame that has a 58cm top tube and an 80mm stem or a 52cm frame with a 51cm top tube and a 15cm stem. Both of these scenarios will not only produce poor handling but the handlebars to seat height measurement will be terrible on both examples as well. Both of theses set ups will look equally abnormal. There are so many more factors that come into play here, I could type for hours on this subject. This is just basic bike fit 101 here. I'd say that the OP's best option would be to find a different shop and look at different brands. I personally fit better on a Cannondale than I do a Trek. They are both great bikes but they fit different. The problem with bike sizing is this: you can have 4 bikes that all say that they are 56cm.

    1) center of BB to center of top tube
    2) center of BB to top of top tube
    3) center of BB to top of seat tube
    4) center of BB to a virtual point on frame with sloping top tube.

    These may all claim to be a 56cm frame but it pretty clear that these bikes are not all going to be the same. Now throw this in there, All the top tubes can be different lengths. We now have 4 frames that claim that they're 56cm but all fit completely different. IMHO, frame size should be listed by the top length.

    As far as you having bikes all they way from a 54cm - 58cm, unless that 54cm is a cyclocross bike, something in your line up doesn't fit you properly and you a have stem length, seat position, etc, that is less than ideal. I have bikes that are 54-56cm that fit similar but 54-58cm is a huge span. I coulb ride a 58 in some cases but I would probably end up with short stem, seatpost stuffed down into the frame and handlebars that are higher than I'd like.




    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    I have several bikes of various sizes .. from a 54 to a 58,

    I have futzed over the bits and adjutments so they're Fit for Purpose .

    Back for the basic shop floor sales question .. What do you want this bike for?

    State your purpose app.

    flipped and slammed stem, which bike is Faster (?) kind of dude, or sit up and look around, in comfort?

    'size' is pretty much seat tube length , other stuff changes proportionally..

  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    just that ["size"] is the inventory shorthand for out of the Box, Bikes ..

    Other than that.. Hire custom.. then You get to pick ..

    other than that read the Geometry dimension charts .. pick by virtual top tube length
    if that seems a better scheme for You..

    my WTR Koga-Miyata Trekking bike is a 54-55, RB1 a 56-565, Pinarello Cross a 57-57

    hand built DIY frame a 58-60 .[went long so no TCO with Mudguards] not showing much seatpost .
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-16-13 at 05:35 PM.

  9. #9
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    A dealer could explain to a customer that the 54 cm would have these advantages and the 56 cm those other advantages, so the customer can decide what is important. But he shouldn't simply say they are both okay, you pick.
    Your signature contains too many lines and must be shortened. You may only have up to 2 line(s). Long text may have been implicitly wrapped, causing it to be

  10. #10
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    what are we tawkin about?
    like my mother said when I wuz a yoot, "We're buying the size 12, you'll grow into it!"
    Golden rose, the color of the dream I had
    Not too long ago
    A misty blue and the lillac too
    A never to grow old

  11. #11
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    I must apologize. I mis-read your post. When you said that "size is pretty much seat tube length", I mis-interpreted what you meant. Yes, I agree, size is basically seat tube length that is stated on the box. I thought that you where stating that seat tube length is the most important measurement and you just adjust accordingly.


    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    just that ["size"] is the inventory shorthand for out of the Box, Bikes ..

    Other than that.. Hire custom.. then You get to pick ..

    other than that read the Geometry dimension charts .. pick by virtual top tube length
    if that seems a better scheme for You..

    my WTR Koga-Miyata Trekking bike is a 54-55, RB1 a 56-565, Pinarello Cross a 57-57

    hand built DIY frame a 58-60 .[went long so no TCO with Mudguards] not showing much seatpost .

  12. #12
    Don from Austin Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
    Reading an old thread I was shocked to see a Specialized dealer telling a customer to choose between two frame sizes. If the dealer is not able to make that determination for you, it is his specialty, I would find a different bike shop.
    Somebody might be between the two sizes. Likely either one could accommodate the rider with proper stem, spacers and seat position. That is why those adjustments exist. If have two bikes of very different frame size both of which I am comfortable on.

  13. #13
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    Let me clarify myself. In all the years (30+) I sold bikes at retail, never did a customer not ask the question, "What size do you recommend"? At that point I have been given a clear directive to choose for the customer as they haven't the expertise to do so themselves. I always recommended a frame size, never did I tell someone to make a choice between two sizes. They came to my shop for my expertise and guidance, and to trust my ability to do my job correctly.

  14. #14
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
    Let me clarify myself. In all the years (30+) I sold bikes at retail, never did a customer not ask the question, "What size do you recommend"? At that point I have been given a clear directive to choose for the customer as they haven't the expertise to do so themselves. I always recommended a frame size, never did I tell someone to make a choice between two sizes. They came to my shop for my expertise and guidance, and to trust my ability to do my job correctly.
    Old-school LBS workers are used to telling customers everything they should do (even to the point of declining to sell a bike or part), whether it's an informed opinion or not. That arrogance is quaint in its own way, but one of many reasons for the decline of brick-and-mortar bike shops.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

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    Surely you jest. The decline of brick and mortar store fronts is squarely related to the internet. As for a quaint attitude towards serving the customer and meeting his needs I am taken aback. "I like that bike, which size should I have?" is a direct question deserving a direct answer, not a wish wash answer, such as, "Well, they both fit, pick the one you think feels best". Are you kidding me? I can get that same level of inaccurate sizing from the internet!! You give them the size and why it is correct.
    I guess I am old school. Customer care and service were always #1 on the list. I viewed myself as a professional, not a sales clerk.

  16. #16
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    get the 42 .. its everything..

  17. #17
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    If both sizes work equally, then I would have the customer try both of them again since we both know that either one of them could be set up to fit right. If asking the customer what feels best is foreign to you, then I don't know what to say.

    Internet stores not only have lower prices, but they are often more approachable to people who don't want to go into a bike shop and feel judged or pressured. The rest of the retail world has moved toward empowering the customer, respecting their experiences, and listening to them -- the better bike shops do this, but many are stuck in the past and are no better than a 70's car dealership.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  18. #18
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    It is obvious I have not explained myself clearly. Perhaps my training as a fitter has skewed my vision and approach or the way I explain things. When we do a pro level fit, we set up the size cycle to a specific frame size based on body measurements. Top tube first, seat tube second. From that we make adjustments to the movable parts, ie, saddle, eat post, stem, bars, pedals, cranks with input from the rider and solid measurements (such as cleat position and bend in knee). The frame size is not in question, only the "fit" on that particular frame is. Experienced bike shop personnel know the fitting "key points" are saddle height, hip position, and cleat placement for lower body, and shoulder position, head tilt, and arm extension for the upper body. There are parameters to work within to allow adjustments up or down in the future based on intended use.
    All of this is based on a question asked in the pre-fit interview or in the initial conversation with the customer if no fit is involved: How do you intend to use the bike?
    To leave the decision up to the customer is not professional unless accompanied by an explanation of why you cannot specify a specific frame size. In my opinion if you really don't know what size would work best, that should be a warning sign to someone looking to an expert for guidance. I wouldn't accept if from my tailor, and I wouldn't accept if from a bike shop.

  19. #19
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Ah, I feel better about your attention to customers now.

    I guess it's hard to make a good judgment of the other shop without knowing more of the story -- some shops just are more casual than others (and their customers dig that) -- and it could very well be that they were sloppy and risked losing a sale thanks to not giving a concrete answer.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  20. #20
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    All is good, my friend. My communication skills can be lacking at time. I love cycling and want others to love it as well.

  21. #21
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Its a customer base that may be a lot different ,

    big city and people are the ones wanting the premium top of the range roadie racing bikes ,

    are a lot different than a small town and having people buying a MTB and a ***** rack for the handlebars ,

    or a 'fat bike' to ride down the Beach carrying a 'Clam ***' and a shovel and Bucket.

  22. #22
    Senior Member koolerb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    Yeah you could do that, or, you could make a rational decision.
    Yeah, nothing rational about a bike feeling right. The customer only has to live it.

  23. #23
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    There's a lot of missing information here.

    Considering the follow two cases:
    1) Bike A is a 56 cm Giant and Bike B is a 58 cm Specialized. Customer asks for a size. Bike shop can't give a good answer, because its an individual thing.

    2) Customer is ordering a Specialized Tarmac. Asks the shop if they would recommend he get the 56cm or the 58cm. In this case, the bike shop should provide a clear answer.

    When comparing different bikes any LBS has to judge advising the customer versus the perception that they're trying to upsell a bike. This is the more common case, since the shops typically don't have every model in every size.

  24. #24
    I STILL miss East Hill :) Rollfast's Avatar
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    In the end somebody missed a big car lot and found a bike shop, I think
    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
    They can't fix expansion joints, because they expand.
    Smile at Miles with a ROLLFAST!

  25. #25
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    I've been wearing suits to work for 30 years. I was fitted for a mens suit recently. I had walked into the store with a clear idea of my size, even to the point of dogmatism. The salesman listened patiently, let me try on what I specified, and then asked if I would like to try something that might fit better. Because of my chest to waist "drop", there would be substantial tailoring involved.

    He showed me separates (purchased by size separately, but matching) and showed me that my own ideas (based on traditionally cut western suits) were off. I wound up buying two suits, and the separate parts were chosen to minimize the amount of needed tailoring (thus saving me money on the back end). I was satisfied and glad for his expertise. How does this relate to bikes? I have no idea...

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