Join Date: Jul 2012
Bikes: S-works Roubaix, S-works Tarmac, Gary Fisher Promethius, Tommasini Competion, Eddy Merckx Corsa 01
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All of what Kopsis said is right on.
I can add a little bit from my experience. I own several bikes. I paid for a professional fit and it worked for me. I have been able to make my same measurements on every bike I won. All the way from a 58 to a 63. Even though All bikes are set up with the same measurements by changing stems and a higher or lower amount of saddle post exposed I can tell that some are a better fit than some of the others.
For instance I have a 58 S-Works Roubaix and a 61 S-Works Tarmac. Both have pretty much all the same name brand componenets. And the difference is risa and reach dimensions. I bought the Roubaix first and really liked it. I have recently decided to selll the Roubaix because I just feel better on my Tarmac. I'm not talking about quality of ride. Most of that comes from your wheelset and tires/tubes.
I also own a 60 Tommasini and a 63 Eddy Merckx. Again they are set up with the same dimensions but each feel a bit different. The differences there are probably more the tubes that were used to build the frame. Both of them are truly superb rides in every way. Just a bit different.
My SO rides a 56 Roubaix. I just recently bought her a Lemond Zurich in 54 and made the cockpit dimensions the same as her Roubaix. I built one of her bikes to climb with and the other to ride fast on the flats so the drivetrain is much different. She doesn't get caught up in bikes like I do but she has noticed a few of the differences one would expect to feel in regards to the ride qualities of steel verses carbon. She also noticed the difference when I bought her her first set of really nice wheelset and could tell some of the difference in tires as I have fished around some to learn for myself what the differences are between width/depth and rubber properties.
I guess my point is that many bikes can be made to fit. Like someone above has said. Just go ride some and one will tell you to take it home. I have heard before somewhere that your firts real keeper is probably your second bike you end up purchasing. Personally I started out with top shelf modern bikes and found that for me, the top shelf steel bikes of earlier years are much more appealing. I feel like my steel bikes have a personality and have become my friends. My carbon bikes just feel like lifeless machines.
That is probably not so unusual for me as I also flyfish and bowhunt with traditional gear. Meaning I am drawn somehow to a different era.
Make sure to post some pics of your new ride when you get one