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  1. #1
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    When is a frame too big?

    I'm 6'-2" with a 34" inseam and riding a borrowed 57 cm steel frame. Friends telling me to look for a 58-60 cm bike and that a 63 cm is "too big". I've watched the videos on knee to pedal with cranks at horizontal, etc. Following those rules I've found a 63 cm that fits. I'm wondering why is a bike "too big" if it fits according to this common method?

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    Most people think that if you cant stand flat footed over the frame it is too big. I dont believe this to be true for a person with a lot of riding experience. For me a frame is only too big if the seat is all the way down and your knee isnt slightly bent when extended.

    On a road bike i put one foot on the left pedal push off and swing my foot over the top bar,,so why would I care if i cant stand straight up with 2 inches clearance from my crotch?

    If you are true novice,,,you might not be able to ride a frame like that. I have ridden 25 inch frames often and am only 5' 9. I ride a fxie now that has a 58 cm frame,,,and I love it, I have a slightly shorter one but it doesnt feel as comfortable as the larger frame.

    I dont think 63 cm is too big for you, if you are comfortable on it, go for it. Smaller frames make me feel cramped and strained.
    Last edited by howeeee; 06-01-14 at 10:07 PM.

  3. #3
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    Your inseam and the stand over of the bike are about the least important part of fit. Use this fit calculator. It will give you a ballpark idea of what size bike you should be on.

    Bike Fit Calculator | Find Your Bike Size | Competitive Cyclist


    Of course if you are new and looking for a bike the best bet is visit a LBS and let them fit you. Getting the right fit is personal because people have different proportions. Some have long legs, some have long torso, some have long femurs, some have long wrists and everything can effect fit. I'm 5'11 and I ride a 54 quite comfortably but many people my height ride 56 or 57.

    But to answer your question, for me a bike is too big when I feel too stretched out. If you can't reach the brakes/shifters comfortably it's too big.
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rms13

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
    Your inseam and the stand over of the bike are about the least important part of fit. Use this fit calculator. It will give you a ballpark idea of what size bike you should be on.

    Bike Fit Calculator | Find Your Bike Size | Competitive Cyclist


    Of course if you are new and looking for a bike the best bet is visit a LBS and let them fit you. Getting the right fit is personal because people have different proportions. Some have long legs, some have long torso, some have long femurs, some have long wrists and everything can effect fit. I'm 5'11 and I ride a 54 quite comfortably but many people my height ride 56 or 57.

    But to answer your question, for me a bike is too big when I feel too stretched out. If you can't reach the brakes/shifters comfortably it's too big.
    This is probably right, I am 5' 9 and I like to feel stretched out, so it is probably different for everyone. I dont like to ride smaller than 58cm. Now I ride fixed gear and I like to ride 58 cm, but if I ride a geared road bike I can go 60 cm no problem. I also have a 56 cm fixed gear I ride a lot but I feel not as comfortable as I do on the 58.

    So you should follow some guidlline that you might read but ultimately you need to feel comfortable and that is probably a personal thing in the end.

  5. #5
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    I am 5' 9" and ride a 23 "(58cm) all the time and so many people comment that my frame is too big. I am totally comfortable on it and suffer no physical issues from riding such a "big" frame. I like the proportions of it and since I am not young I don't like the drop in height to the handlebars on a smaller frame. I don't want to use a smaller frame with a real tall stem - that looks dorky. I grew up riding my dad's bikes - he was 6'1".

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    I have a bunch of different frames. 52, 54, and a 20.5 inch mtb. All my bikes feel great. Just need the right stem and seatpost.

  7. #7
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    I ride a 54 and also a 56, both road bikes, and they both fit fine and are comfortable.

    They are set up differently, for different positions, basically different riding styles. I think it's logical to start with that even before measuring an inseam. What riding style, how do you want to sit on the thing.

    But it's about reach, and honestly if you wanted the same position 2 or 3 cm isn't that large an adjustment between the stem and setback.

    Too large, in my humble opinion, is when the seat is too low to get the drop you want or when you're stretched awkwardly to ride on the brake hoods.

  8. #8
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    Mucho thanks for all the advise. Gives me some comfort. This is the bike with some unscientific 45 angles drawn over it. It is actually more comfortable than the 57 I'm riding now. I'm comfortable that I can adjust this to fit, but will probably still take it by my friends LBS to get his opinion too. I've got neck issues so I don't spend much time in the drops, and I will loose the aero bars.
    fit.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenbubba View Post
    I'm 6'-2" with a 34" inseam and riding a borrowed 57 cm steel frame. Friends telling me to look for a 58-60 cm bike and that a 63 cm is "too big". I've watched the videos on knee to pedal with cranks at horizontal, etc. Following those rules I've found a 63 cm that fits. I'm wondering why is a bike "too big" if it fits according to this common method?
    You will be riding the bike, not your friends, and you will likely be more comfortable on the larger frame. Cycling is supposed to be enjoyable.

    FWIW, check out Nitto Noodle handlebars.

  10. #10
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    when straddling the top tube hurts.

  11. #11
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenbubba View Post
    Mucho thanks for all the advise. Gives me some comfort. This is the bike with some unscientific 45 angles drawn over it. It is actually more comfortable than the 57 I'm riding now. I'm comfortable that I can adjust this to fit, but will probably still take it by my friends LBS to get his opinion too. I've got neck issues so I don't spend much time in the drops, and I will loose the aero bars.
    fit.jpg
    That's a 63 in the photo? Sure doesn't look too big to me.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    I'm 6'0" riding a 58cm and comfortable, IMO if you are able to stand over the top tube with a bit of space between, you'll be fine. BTW the bike in the photo looks good.

  13. #13
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    It isn't a 63 cm frame, not even close. Looks around 58 cm.
    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

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    Senior Member Dfrost's Avatar
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    I'm 6'0" with long legs (91cm pubic bone height). My three 63-64cm frames all fit fine, but as I age and shrink in the upper body (now 65 YO, and once 6'1" tall), the cockpits are getting shorter and the bars a bit higher. I've ways preferred a shorter top tube.

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenbubba View Post
    I'm 6'-2" with a 34" inseam and riding a borrowed 57 cm steel frame. Friends telling me to look for a 58-60 cm bike and that a 63 cm is "too big". I've watched the videos on knee to pedal with cranks at horizontal, etc. Following those rules I've found a 63 cm that fits. I'm wondering why is a bike "too big" if it fits according to this common method?
    My suggestion is you get some fit advice from an experienced person before deciding. The video's on knee to pedal helps with establishing a saddle position but not much more. As others already said, it's doubtful that bike in your pic is a 63. 63s are big and usually fit people much taller and longer inseams than you. All this doesn't mean you are right or wrong, but it's worth getting some good advice before buying.

    Also check out some of the online calculators. Competitive Cyclist has a good one that allows for three different fitting styles.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  16. #16
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    I did purchase the bike. It is indeed 63 cm (sticker and measured myself). I shortened the 130 mm stem to 60mm with a 30 degree angle and am very happy. Thanks all for the advice.

  17. #17
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    I rode a bike that "fit me" for years. I always felt a little scrunched up, especially on longer rides. The bike I replaced it with is "too big." Whatever... I love the way it feels & rides. I do three types of riding... aggressive technical rides on the streets & sidewalks around town (some of the places are just stupid to ride a bike on,) a 30 mile MUP that is all nasty hills with switchbacks, and long cruises on rather flat paths... I have never been more comfortable in any of those situations than on my "too big" bike.

    Do what works for you.

  18. #18
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    I'm six foot, with a 32" inseam.
    Not that matters because I ride vintage bikes
    and I don't really know for sure how big they are.

    Because I ride mostly in an urban setting,
    I find myself jumping off the seat frequently at stops and crosswalks.

    So I prefer to ride my shorter bike, that has about an inch and half clearance,
    to the top bar.

    My other bike is a tall bike with no clearance to the top bar.

    This is the bike I ride for pleasure or training, just because
    I like the feel of the tall bike so much better.

  19. #19
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    I like your response. I too prefer a large frame and had a bike that I couldn't straddle with both feet, but I loved that bike.

  20. #20
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    Most people are between frame sizes. Its best to go by effective top tube length. Its easier to fit a shorter top tube than to a long one. Which is why modern bikes reduce effective TT length with a sloping top tube design.

    It helps to dial in the fit.

  21. #21
    Senior Member bike_forever's Avatar
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    I can barely clear a 58cm stand-over but my upper body is longer so I ride it just fine. Lots of young riders say I should ride a 54-55cm.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Moyene Corniche's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenbubba View Post
    I did purchase the bike. It is indeed 63 cm (sticker and measured myself). I shortened the 130 mm stem to 60mm with a 30 degree angle and am very happy. Thanks all for the advice.
    That is definitely not a 63cm. Maybe 60cm tops. How are you measuring ? Different manufacturers measure differently but the correct universal measurement of a frame is always center point to center point, not center of bottom bracket to top of seat tube.

    Measure your frame from these 4 points.
    (1) Center of Bottom Bracket to Center of Seat Tube / top tube intersection. This is your actual frame size.
    (2) Center of Head Tube horizontally to Center of Seat Tube ( horizontal measurement of the top tube )

    As some of us suspect that frame is a 58-60cm, that top tube should be about 57.0 to 58.0, more likely a 57.5cm

    My question though is why would you buy this bike considering you are having neck issues, that stem at 130mm was correctly setting up the previous owner to ride in the drops and on the hoods with a flat back. By reducing to a 60mm you have drastically changed the handling characteristics of the bike, ( twitchy ).
    You sound ( from your description ) that you would be better off on a straight bar setup. I you never use the 3 positions of drop bars then it's pointless to be on that bike. Looking at the pic you are trying to fit yourself to the bike, actually it should be the other way around. Fit the bike to you, 1st taking into account your physical limitations.

    Also correct fit of a bike is not determined by standing on the ground straddling the top tube. If that were the case then no one would fit a Penny Farthing.
    Fit is determined by (1) Leg inseam (2) Arm reach as measured from palm to armpit but shoulder is really more accurate. (3) Shoulder width to be matched with handlebar widths. (4) Torso, hip bone to just under your arms. Wether in the drops ( inconsequential here ) or on the hoods or bar tops, critical is being able to breathe without constriction. If you are scrunched up because the bars are too narrow or/and you are not able to stretch your back out ( see old pics of riders with very rounded backs, like a turtle. most recent to mind would be Andrei Tchmil )
    Once you have your body's measurements then you spec out a correct frame size and then dial in stem length, seat height, seat setback, crank lengths, handlebar widths etc..

    The reason to measure a bike along these parameters is to be in control when riding. You want to be centered on the bike, not with your weight center of gravity too far forward or too far aft or too far vertically.

    This is my old bike soon to be retired ( frame ). it is a 60cm really more a 58cm but as I said earlier, Trek measures differently than Cannondale. Anyway TT on this is a 57.5 and seat tube is a 56 cm. If you look at the head tube and compare it to your bike they are very close, so " NO " the bike you bought is definitely not a 63cm



    However, since that is a carbon fork tube, it seems that it is stacked way too high.
    Last edited by Moyene Corniche; 07-29-14 at 09:19 AM.
    Ah.... Voila les Cannon ... !!

  23. #23
    Senior Member Moyene Corniche's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky Gravol View Post
    I'm six foot, with a 32" inseam.
    Not that matters because I ride vintage bikes
    and I don't really know for sure how big they are.

    Because I ride mostly in an urban setting,
    I find myself jumping off the seat frequently at stops and crosswalks.

    So I prefer to ride my shorter bike, that has about an inch and half clearance,
    to the top bar.

    My other bike is a tall bike with no clearance to the top bar.

    This is the bike I ride for pleasure or training, just because
    I like the feel of the tall bike so much better.
    Until the day that you castrate yourself at an intersection attempting to stop and get off before getting car smooched.
    Ah.... Voila les Cannon ... !!

  24. #24
    Senior Member Moyene Corniche's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenbubba View Post
    I'm 6'-2" with a 34" inseam and riding a borrowed 57 cm steel frame. Friends telling me to look for a 58-60 cm bike and that a 63 cm is "too big". I've watched the videos on knee to pedal with cranks at horizontal, etc. Following those rules I've found a 63 cm that fits. I'm wondering why is a bike "too big" if it fits according to this common method?
    BTW, the horizontal measurement you are referring to is about getting knee versus foot location and crank arm center. This points ( no puns ) towards attaining an efficient pedal stroke. If your knee moves further back in relation to the center of the crank, it puts additional strain on your knee. It's all about ergonomics, morphology and power to weight ratio's and transfer of energy to forward motion. Also this is about seat tube angle and therefore where you should be adjusting the saddle.
    But if none of this matters and you are comfortable with cause and effect physical ailments due to misalignment then ??
    Last edited by Moyene Corniche; 07-29-14 at 09:13 AM.
    Ah.... Voila les Cannon ... !!

  25. #25
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moyene Corniche View Post
    Until the day that you castrate yourself at an intersection attempting to stop and get off before getting car smooched.
    Why would you want to do that? The smart thing is to keep one foot on a pedal for stability when coming to a stop, fast or slow.

    People talk as if suddenly having both feet on the ground, straddling the top tube is a desirable way to stop.
    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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