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  1. #1
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    Is my road bike too big for me?

    I'm a complete noob to road biking and made a rather quick purchase of an entry level road bike from Amazon the other day. (Wish I had researched more)

    Issue #1 : I'm 5'8" - 5'9" and with that alone I went ahead and bout a 54cm frame. When straddling, the frame does barely touche my balls...but I can stand flatfooted and bounce a little bit as long as I rest my balls on the frame.... From my understanding, there should be a small gap of space between your balls and the frame. This honestly isn't a huge deal for me but then again I'm new to road cycling and don't know any better.

    Issue #2 : When I'm riding, my hands naturally go to the "ramps" or the "shoulders" of the handlebars. I do not feel comfortable going ALL the way to the hoods (with my fingers on the breaks) because I feel way too outstretched. So instead, I hold this part:

    7383344624_2ca90db3b3.jpg

    I basically only feel comfortable going all the way to the hoods when I'm going downhill so I can break if needed, otherwise I avoid it because I feel outstretched.

    With me not being comfortable on the hoods, feeling outstretched and whatnot, could that be an indication that my bike is too big for me? My seat is pretty much all the way forward, maybe I can move it a few more cm. Should I play with the handlebar postion a little more and see if that helps?

  2. #2
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    Maybe you can a shorter stem to bring the controls closer to you. This is why I have found personally that the length of the top tube (or effective top tube) is much more important than stand over. A person can have a bike that they can not straddle the top tube but still ride comfortably. But if you can't comfortably reach the brakes and shifters than that is not good which is why I have learned what length top tube works for me and I try to shop based on that.

    Luckily this is an entry level bike and I assume you didn't spend much money on it from Amazon. If you get more serious you'll likely outgrow the bike quickly and want to upgrade so you can do a better job fitting the next bike. But getting a shorter stem may help with this bike. You may also be able to get a zero setback seat post which will let you move the saddle closer to the bars (assuming this bike came with seat post that has set back position)

    For the record, I'm 5'11 and I ride a 54 road bike. But most people my height seem to ride a little bit bigger frame and I think a lot of people 5'9 fit a 54. But your proportions might be more similar to me. A lot of people my height ride 56 and when I ride a 56 I feel like you (way too stretched out). But I have made 56 fit with a shorter stem but if you go too short on the stem like 80mm or less it can effect handling
    Last edited by rms13; 06-01-14 at 11:55 PM.
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rms13

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
    Maybe you can a shorter stem to bring the controls closer to you. This is why I have found personally that the length of the top tube (or effective top tube) is much more important than stand over. A person can have a bike that they can not straddle the top tube but still ride comfortably. But if you can't comfortably reach the brakes and shifters than that is not good which is why I have learned what length top tube works for me and I try to shop based on that.

    Luckily this is an entry level bike and I assume you didn't spend much money on it from Amazon. If you get more serious you'll likely outgrow the bike quickly and want to upgrade so you can do a better job fitting the next bike. But getting a shorter stem may help with this bike. You may also be able to get a zero setback seat post which will let you move the saddle closer to the bars (assuming this bike came with seat post that has set back position)
    Thanks for this, I will definitely look into a shorter stem. Btw the shifters are handlebar mounted so they're not a problem.

    Here is my bike: as you can see the actual handlebars are pretty long.


  4. #4
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    Since you don't have brifters that opens more possibilities. You might be able to switch the bars to flat bars, risers or bullhorns and have cross levers on the flat portion if there is enough room for the shifters and brake levers on the flat parts.
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rms13

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
    Since you don't have brifters that opens more possibilities. You might be able to switch the bars to flat bars, risers or bullhorns and have cross levers on the flat portion if there is enough room for the shifters and brake levers on the flat parts.
    This stuff is a little too complex for me, I'd rather just keep the drop bars and make the necessary adjustments.
    Last edited by lawlessbeanr; 06-02-14 at 12:23 AM.

  6. #6
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    Getting a shorter stem is the first thing to try . See if the stem has a size on it. It is probably 100mm so you might want a 90 or even 80mm. The Vilano website doesn't have good details. I can tell you the stem needs to be 1 1/8" with 25.4mm clamp size to fit your handlebars. It looks like there are spacers below the stem. If you haven't already, you can try moving the spacers on top of the stem to lower the handlebars/stem to a lower position.
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rms13

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  8. #8
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    Don't worry about that stand-over height. That used to be way everybody rode a few years ago - tippy-toed on the top tube when stopped. Good looking bike, by the way.

    If you're not comfortable in the drops, the first thing I'd suggest is getting an allen key wrench and rotating the handlebar up slightly so you can reach the brakes easier.

    Get the saddle position in some semblance of a balance point where you're not sliding forward or backward due to tilt and fore-aft where you can pedal comfortably, and then decide if you want a shorter stem with more rise.

    I don't have any experience with adjustable stems, but that looks pretty neat. At least it will let you decide what angle you need and/or you can rotate it lower when you get some mileage and start feeling sportier. Do verify your handlebar size before ordering. (Some handlebars have the clamp diameter printed on front near the center, or you might find the handlebar model in the specs and do the mighty Google.)

  9. #9
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    Adjustable stems adjust angle up and down. What you want is a shorter stem length.
    http://www.pedalroom.com/members/rms13

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
    Getting a shorter stem is the first thing to try . See if the stem has a size on it. It is probably 100mm so you might want a 90 or even 80mm. The Vilano website doesn't have good details. I can tell you the stem needs to be 1 1/8" with 25.4mm clamp size to fit your handlebars. It looks like there are spacers below the stem. If you haven't already, you can try moving the spacers on top of the stem to lower the handlebars/stem to a lower position.
    Thanks for this info, I have indeed been playing around with the spacer rings a little bit but I ended up putting them all back because I think lowering the handlebars would only make the reach issue worse. I'm looking for stems on Amazon and I see a couple of good ones but I just wish I knew what size I need. Are you sure about the 1 1/8" with 25.4mm clamp thing? I know nothing about that stuff and I can't really find much info on it, but I'm going to look for the user manual and see if it's there.

    Here is a direct link to the bike, I have the 54cm size: http://www.amazon.com/Vilano-Aluminu...ad+bike+vilano

    Full Specs:
    • Speeds: 21
    • Frame: 6061 Double Butted Aluminum
    • Fork: 700c 1 1/8" Threadless
    • Shifters: Shimano A050
    • Front Derailleur: Shimano
    • Rear Derailleur: Shimano
    • Crankset: Alloy Triple 50/40/30
    • Wheelset: 700c Doubled Walled CNC Alloy Machined Sides
    • Freewheel: 7 speed
    • Tires:700c x 25c
    • Chain: KMC
    • Brakes: Alloy Caliper
    • Headset: 1 1/8" Integrated
    • Handlebar: Alloy
    • Saddle: Urban comfort
    • Seatpost: Alloy 27.2



    On Vilano's website, the bike is named Vilano TUONO.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt Road View Post
    Don't worry about that stand-over height. That used to be way everybody rode a few years ago - tippy-toed on the top tube when stopped. Good looking bike, by the way.

    If you're not comfortable in the drops, the first thing I'd suggest is getting an allen key wrench and rotating the handlebar up slightly so you can reach the brakes easier.

    Get the saddle position in some semblance of a balance point where you're not sliding forward or backward due to tilt and fore-aft where you can pedal comfortably, and then decide if you want a shorter stem with more rise.

    I don't have any experience with adjustable stems, but that looks pretty neat. At least it will let you decide what angle you need and/or you can rotate it lower when you get some mileage and start feeling sportier. Do verify your handlebar size before ordering. (Some handlebars have the clamp diameter printed on front near the center, or you might find the handlebar model in the specs and do the mighty Google.)
    Thanks, I had already adjusted the handlebars to my liking (they were more pointed downward before) and I have my seat to the max forward position it could go and a slight downward tilt (for my own comfort). It's still too much of a reach for me to get down to the hoods with my fingers resting on the breaks, at least comfortably. I'm not sure if it's just my proportions (somewhat short arms, but then again I don't know what's considered short) or the fact that this particular bike has a really long stem, long handlebar horns, and brakes that are hard to reach unless you have big hands to begin with,

  12. #12
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    What kind of shifters are those? I like them.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawlessbeanr View Post
    Thanks, I had already adjusted the handlebars to my liking (they were more pointed downward before) and I have my seat to the max forward position it could go and a slight downward tilt (for my own comfort). It's still too much of a reach for me to get down to the hoods with my fingers resting on the breaks, at least comfortably. I'm not sure if it's just my proportions (somewhat short arms, but then again I don't know what's considered short) or the fact that this particular bike has a really long stem, long handlebar horns, and brakes that are hard to reach unless you have big hands to begin with,
    If your bike has the setback seat post as shown at Amazon, you could try turning it around and adjusting the seat rearward to see how that feels. When I see a setback seat post coming standard, I wonder if the manufacturer included it because it was hard for testers to get behind the bottom bracket.

    Hehe - it's hard for me to reach down in the drops, too, but I've been doing something about that, slowly but surely.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the tip dirt road, going to try it out

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt Road View Post
    If your bike has the setback seat post as shown at Amazon, you could try turning it around and adjusting the seat rearward to see how that feels. When I see a setback seat post coming standard, I wonder if the manufacturer included it because it was hard for testers to get behind the bottom bracket.

    Hehe - it's hard for me to reach down in the drops, too, but I've been doing something about that, slowly but surely.
    OK I just tried flipping the seat post but unfortunately the seat would be pointed at an upward angle even at the maximum forward tilt. Plus it looked super dorky having it backwards...I would fear of getting made fun of on the bike path with that setup haha...

    I really think I just need a shorter stem and that that would be the simplest resolution.

    I'm currently looking at these stems from Amazon, no idea if they would fit my bike though.

    1. Robot Check

    2. Robot Check (this one has a billion sizes which I have no clue what size I would need)

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirt Road View Post
    If your bike has the setback seat post as shown at Amazon, you could try turning it around and adjusting the seat rearward to see how that feels. When I see a setback seat post coming standard, I wonder if the manufacturer included it because it was hard for testers to get behind the bottom bracket.

    Hehe - it's hard for me to reach down in the drops, too, but I've been doing something about that, slowly but surely.
    But be aware that bikes sold from the mid-60s (when I started) all the way up to at least the 90s were commonly equipped with setback seat posts. One reason was to get adequate setback with Brooks and similar leather saddles, even though they were rarely on new bikes after the '80s if not earlier.

    And with the advent of zero-setback seat posts I have not seen seat tube angles become more laid-back, if anything it's the opposite to create tighter rear geometries.

    In any case the OP should first do a conventional initial saddle height adjustment with a level saddle that is centered on the seat tube axis, and take it from there. There is some method to this. If he's tilting it downward, the saddle is probably not right, and he shouldn't be adjusting handlebar position without improving it (at least checking it) first.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    As far as too big, I don't think it's too tall. That little bit of contact will not occur often, in my experience. What can really hurt you is hard contact with the pubic bone, and what you describe is not close to giving you hard contact, or any contact.

    It might be too long, but we'd need to see pix to get a handle on it. With pix we can also help to get the saddle better adjusted, too.

    As far as reaching into the drops, don't worry about that until you get the saddle more dialed.

    Are you pushing yourself back with handlebar pressure as you ride?

  18. #18
    Senior Member awfulwaffle's Avatar
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    You could check if your local shop has any used stems kicking around for you to try out. That way you could get the feel for a few different lengths.

    If not, I might suggest taking a look at the Wrench Science bike fit calculator. I'm sure it's not exact, but it'll get you a ballpark overall reach number based on your body measurements. Then, all you should need to do is measure the effective top tube length of your frame and the reach of your handlebars with a tape measure, and subtract these from the overall reach the calculator provided. The result should be the stem length you need, give or take a bit. This method suggested a 125mm stem for ke. Ended up trying a 120 and a 130, and chose the more comfortable of the two.

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    Thanks for the replies guys. I honestly feel that my saddle position and handlebar tilt is at the proper position to suit my needs and my comfort.

    I saddle is at the max forward position with no tilt, it's completely level and it feels comfortable.

    I just need a damn stem. I think I'll just visit a LBS tomorrow and see what comes of it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawlessbeanr View Post
    I'm a complete noob to road biking and made a rather quick purchase of an entry level road bike from Amazon the other day. (Wish I had researched more)

    Issue #1 : I'm 5'8" - 5'9" and with that alone I went ahead and bout a 54cm frame. When straddling, the frame does barely touche my balls...but I can stand flatfooted and bounce a little bit as long as I rest my balls on the frame.... From my understanding, there should be a small gap of space between your balls and the frame. This honestly isn't a huge deal for me but then again I'm new to road cycling and don't know any better.

    Issue #2 : When I'm riding, my hands naturally go to the "ramps" or the "shoulders" of the handlebars. I do not feel comfortable going ALL the way to the hoods (with my fingers on the breaks) because I feel way too outstretched. So instead, I hold this part:

    7383344624_2ca90db3b3.jpg

    I basically only feel comfortable going all the way to the hoods when I'm going downhill so I can break if needed, otherwise I avoid it because I feel outstretched.

    With me not being comfortable on the hoods, feeling outstretched and whatnot, could that be an indication that my bike is too big for me? My seat is pretty much all the way forward, maybe I can move it a few more cm. Should I play with the handlebar postion a little more and see if that helps?
    Your stem is too long and that is why your are stretched out. Take the bike to a shop and see what they can do.

  21. #21
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    How much have you ridden? Are you leaning forward from your hips, or are you letting your back curve? It's healthier to bend from the hips.

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    I am 5 9 I ride a 56 cm and a 58,,the 58 feels more comfortable. I like being stretched out. 54 would be way to small for me.

  23. #23
    Senior Member CactoesGel's Avatar
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    Hey man, this vid might help - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAl_5e7bIHk

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    Thanks for the replies guys. I went out and got a much smaller stem from a LBS. I forgot what size exactly but it's much smaller and helped with the reach tremendously. I still have to have my seat at the max forward position but at least I can reach the hoods better now.

    Down the line when I sell this bike and get a better one, I'll definitely consider looking at the smaller sizes considering my proportions (30" inseam, short arms but long torso). I should have known better than to just get the medium 54cm based on height alone, but I just wanted to ride and didn't know any better lol.

    I hope the small size bikes aren't too small for me though since I'm probably at the very end of the spectrum for a small. But I guess it's better to get a smaller road bike than one too big right?

  25. #25
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lawlessbeanr View Post
    Thanks for the replies guys. I went out and got a much smaller stem from a LBS. I forgot what size exactly but it's much smaller and helped with the reach tremendously. I still have to have my seat at the max forward position but at least I can reach the hoods better now.

    Down the line when I sell this bike and get a better one, I'll definitely consider looking at the smaller sizes considering my proportions (30" inseam, short arms but long torso). I should have known better than to just get the medium 54cm based on height alone, but I just wanted to ride and didn't know any better lol.

    I hope the small size bikes aren't too small for me though since I'm probably at the very end of the spectrum for a small. But I guess it's better to get a smaller road bike than one too big right?
    Not necessarily. I rode a too small bike for years. I felt scrunched up. Got irritating over the long run.

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