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Old 09-29-08, 06:43 PM   #1
fungirl
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wrong size bike

I am 5"5 and my mountain bike is a 17 inch.....I feel its too big. The bike shop should have known or measured to see what size i need, isn't it?
It's okay to ride but taking the rough trails and not always be able to keep my balance, could hurt with a bike that is too big. Anyone experience the same? Is it the bike shop that did not do right, cuz it was my first bike and I have no clue what size bike I need??
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Old 09-29-08, 07:47 PM   #2
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Sounds like you got ripped! I'd be upset. Many shops will try to sell you what they have on the floor and not what you need. Maybe cause they don't want to order the right size or maybe unloading old stock they have on the floor.

Either way, they shouldn't have sold you the wrong size. MTB is very important to have the correct size. Not enough clearance in the crotch area can be very dangerous. Plus like you say, the balance and control.

Some good salesmen will flat out not sell you a bike if it's the wrong size. Some morons will to make a sale!

BTW, I'm 6'1 on a 19 inch Trek
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Old 09-29-08, 07:47 PM   #3
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Darn double post!
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Old 09-29-08, 09:36 PM   #4
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Sounds like you got ripped! I'd be upset. Many shops will try to sell you what they have on the floor and not what you need. Maybe cause they don't want to order the right size or maybe unloading old stock they have on the floor.

Either way, they shouldn't have sold you the wrong size. MTB is very important to have the correct size. Not enough clearance in the crotch area can be very dangerous. Plus like you say, the balance and control.

Some good salesmen will flat out not sell you a bike if it's the wrong size. Some morons will to make a sale!

BTW, I'm 6'1 on a 19 inch Trek
Yes it was 2007 stock but there were three different sizes of my bike. My husband, who bought a Trek (we bought two bikes same time) feels his bike is too big as well! He is 5" 10.5 and got a 19 inch bike. Not much we can do, I think. Smaller wheels? Maybe he will get my bike some time and I will get a smaller one. But not soon...
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Old 09-29-08, 10:05 PM   #5
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Smaller wheels won't help. It's the length from the saddle to the handlebars that is important for proper fit. Plus the height from the pedals to the saddle and clearance between the legs of the top tube that matters.

Small wheels will only affect the height of the bike at a stand still. It will be easier to straddle the bike at a stop, but that's it. The others are important for control and fit!
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Old 09-29-08, 10:07 PM   #6
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Plus smaller wheels may not fit on the bike. Brakes are set for a certain size wheel. Where the brakes are connected o the frame determines what size wheel is used. Brakes need to line up with the braking surface on the wheels/rims.
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Old 09-29-08, 10:28 PM   #7
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Yep, makes sense. Thanks! Guess we learned a lesson. I know now that our next bikes definitely not coming from this Local Bike Store!!!
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Old 09-30-08, 06:49 AM   #8
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Yes it was 2007 stock but there were three different sizes of my bike. My husband, who bought a Trek (we bought two bikes same time) feels his bike is too big as well! He is 5" 10.5 and got a 19 inch bike. Not much we can do, I think. Smaller wheels? Maybe he will get my bike some time and I will get a smaller one. But not soon...
I'm 5'11" and rode a 21" for a while, so the 19" your husband has should be more than rideable. As far as your bike... Check your standover height (feet on the floor, body in front of the seat), is there enough room between your womanly part + bike (should be at the very minimal 1", preferable more)?

Actually, that's also interesting, what's your inseam?
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Old 09-30-08, 09:47 AM   #9
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I would say that the sizing is definitely off. If a particular bike you are interested doesn't have sizing that fits you it might be a good idea to check another model or brand. Even the same sizes of two different models can feel different. The number is a good base but it is all about feel.
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Old 09-30-08, 10:08 AM   #10
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Can you take those bikes back, or are you stuck with them since they're 2007 models?

My LBS let me exchange a bike that was too small for one that was the right size, and that was after a couple hundred miles. They swapped the wheels so that the returned bike had fresher tires before going back on the sales rack (and it did sell on its own not long after that), but I was back out the door with a new bike that fit me right.

And, some years back when I first bought from a shop and not a big box retailer, they let me pick a bike model, then sent me out on three different sizes so I could feel for myself which one I liked.

Maybe let your husband ride your bike, and trade his in for an even smaller one. It might also be worth offering to swap the wheels like my shop did.
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Old 09-30-08, 10:51 AM   #11
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Make sure it isn't just an adjustment problem -- you can probably lower the seat and handlebars, and move the seat forward.

I'm 5"5' and I'm currently riding an 18" mountain bike, which I think is a bit of a stretch for me. The seat doesn't move any farther forward and I feel like I'm reaching too much for the handlebars. If the seat were any lower I wouldn't get enough leg extension in pedaling, but as it is I can barely stand on one foot when stopped at a traffic light.

Then again, an 18" bike with a different frame geometry might work better -- I like bikes with the pedals further forward than on a mountain bike, which would probably let me lower the seat. Keep in mind that people have different frame geometries just like bikes. Height isn't the only thing that's important, but also inseam/leg length, upper body length, etc. Similarly, different styles of bikes might have an 18" seat tube but different lengths from seat to handlebars.
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Old 09-30-08, 11:53 AM   #12
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Yes, its about the feel. I have to measure of course, but there is not much space left, definitely less than 1 inch.
We thought about that too, my husband gets my bike and go from there....got to wait cuz we bought them just one month ago. I don't know if we could take them back. We rode over 100 miles already.
I just don't like this bike store, they are a big store, with big attitude. We came back a few times to buy accessories, very grumpy manager. There is a small store, Secret cycles, and I was there once. Wish we bought our bikes there, but for sure they will get our business next time.
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Old 09-30-08, 12:03 PM   #13
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100 miles isn't much! Worth a try to get the right size. Tell them they sold you the wrong size. Tell them you looked up on a fit calculator online. They sold you the wrong size which is not good coming from a shop. Tell them you learned that they had sold you the wrong size through bikeforums online. IF they don't or get pissy, the whole world will know about it! Negative reviews online!

Some shops have a 30 no Q asked return/exchange poilcy for that reason. Who knows!
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Old 09-30-08, 12:27 PM   #14
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Make sure it isn't just an adjustment problem -- you can probably lower the seat and handlebars, and move the seat forward.
No no no no no.. Don't move the seat to compensate for reach. Move the seat for best pedaling, then either change the stem or change the frame to alter the reach.

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I'm 5"5' and I'm currently riding an 18" mountain bike, which I think is a bit of a stretch for me. The seat doesn't move any farther forward and I feel like I'm reaching too much for the handlebars. If the seat were any lower I wouldn't get enough leg extension in pedaling, but as it is I can barely stand on one foot when stopped at a traffic light.
I can barely reach the ground with either foot on any of my bikes, but that's why I get off the saddle when I stop, too.

Bikes with sloping top tubes are more deceptive with their sizing than older bikes with horizontal top tubes. Besides almost eliminating standover height as a good estimate of size, it leaves a lot of room for seatpost misadjustment. You can drop the seat awfully low, thinking that the bike is still your size, even though the handlebars are simply too far away.

Look for other bikes in smaller sizes to try out. Maybe you can get lucky and swap bikes with someone who needs the size you have now. Speaking from experience, staying with a bike that's very much the wrong size gets pretty old after a while.
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Old 09-30-08, 01:25 PM   #15
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100 miles isn't much! Worth a try to get the right size. Tell them they sold you the wrong size. Tell them you looked up on a fit calculator online. They sold you the wrong size which is not good coming from a shop. Tell them you learned that they had sold you the wrong size through bikeforums online. IF they don't or get pissy, the whole world will know about it! Negative reviews online!

Some shops have a 30 no Q asked return/exchange poilcy for that reason. Who knows!
It sounds like its possible, but....I had this bicycle buyers agreement signed and it mentioned (out of 8 agreements) that
4. The Purchaser has made the final decision regarding type, size, etc. after receiving advice from the Sales Associate based on the information provided by the purchaser.
I appreciate everyone's help/advice and this bikeforum has helped me A LOT from day one, but I guess there is not much to do. I love the bike, for just some off-road and pavement it is great. The rougher parts, I just found out, are just not safe to do with this bike. The bikes are entry-level, so next one will be a GOOD purchase.
Thanks Mr. Beanz, I really appreciate your help in this.
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Old 09-30-08, 02:05 PM   #16
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When you get ready to purchase the good stuff, visit as many shops as possilbe. Try finding a size that fits. emember, different brands can vary in size eventhough the numbers are the same. Some have different methods of measuring the frames. Ask online for a fit calculator (road forum). Compare online and actual data to one another. This will give you a pretty good idea of size before you spend the dough!

Note: Some of the better shops will find the correct size them swap components free of charge to make the bike even more comfy for you. I've bought bikes that were the correct size but just a little too much of a reach. They swapped the stem for another shorter stem free of charge.

Entry level bikes are still good as grocery/cruiser bikes. But not for the dirt trail where you need full control.

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Old 09-30-08, 02:51 PM   #17
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Well I learned my lesson and know NOW what is important when it comes to size. Oh I am not doing heavy stuff like jumps and so, I never intended to do so. The bikes we have, a Norco and Trek are not the most expensive ones, just good for beginners.
I hope to use mine for my first cyclocross, btw.That should do.
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Old 09-30-08, 08:26 PM   #18
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The advertised size of a bike is meaningless, because different companies use different systems. Before you go to a bikeshop, you need to know your best saddle height and best cockpit length (from the back edge of the saddle to the front edge of the stem). I know my saddle height is 30 inches and my cockpit length is 31 inches. If I can set up a bike with those measurements, it fits me like a glove, regardless of the advertised size (I have bikes "marked" as a size 17, and bikes marked as a size 24...each has a saddle height of 30 and a cockpit length of 31.

Take the bike to two different bike shops and have them dial in the best saddle height and cockpit length possible. If both shops say that it is impossible to dial in the fit for your size because the bike is too small, tell the seller you want to exchange the bike for one that fits you correctly. But, odds are, a good shop can dial in your new bike to fit you perfectly.
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Old 10-01-08, 09:13 AM   #19
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The whole biking world is still new to me, so as a newbie going into a bikeshop.
17 inch is marked on the bike, and the sales guy says that is my right size. What else do i need to know, how am I going to use the bike, how to use gears, and so on. I have no clue to ask for my saddle height of cockpit length. Never ever heard of that.
OK a good bike store would have helped me instead of selling me. I will take everyone's advice in mind next time I am purchasing another bike. All these things I did not know. Oh and of course not buying at the same shop :-)
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Old 10-01-08, 09:58 AM   #20
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I'd attempt to return the bike to the shop. If (when - from your description) they tell you to drop dead - I'd have my lawyer talk to them about reckless endangerment laws. I'll wager you get your money back. And find another shop. What they did was beyond the pale.
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Old 10-01-08, 10:17 AM   #21
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I'm 5 ft 6.5, and both my mountain bike and my hybrid are 17.5. Anything smaller just felt too cramped. I can reach the ground with one toe when on the saddle, and the saddle is near it's lowest setting, but the bikes both feel very comfortable.
While shopping for my mountain bike, I found the same size bike, different brands, all fit pretty differently. A 17.5 trek felt too cramped in the reach, and the 17.5 gary fisher felt just right.
vickie
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Old 10-01-08, 02:51 PM   #22
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The whole biking world is still new to me, so as a newbie going into a bikeshop.
17 inch is marked on the bike, and the sales guy says that is my right size. What else do i need to know, how am I going to use the bike, how to use gears, and so on. I have no clue to ask for my saddle height of cockpit length. Never ever heard of that.
OK a good bike store would have helped me instead of selling me. I will take everyone's advice in mind next time I am purchasing another bike. All these things I did not know. Oh and of course not buying at the same shop :-)
I never knew anything about cockpit length either; in fact, I never bothered to find out what I preferred, numbers-wise, until this year. It's harder to determine on a bike with flat bars simply because there aren't many places to put your hands. On drop bars, I've got several inches between the flats and the tops of the hoods to work with, which really helped a lot just for finding the right "feel".

Bike shops sometimes have an apparatus that looks like a stationary bike (sorta like you'd see in a gym spinning class) with a lot of adjustable parts -- they can slide things forward, back, up and down with very little effort (no need to change handlebars, stems, and seatposts), then take those measurements and apply them to a real bike. My LBS has a computerized system to get an approximate size based on your physical dimensions.

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I'm 5 ft 6.5, and both my mountain bike and my hybrid are 17.5. Anything smaller just felt too cramped. I can reach the ground with one toe when on the saddle, and the saddle is near it's lowest setting, but the bikes both feel very comfortable.
While shopping for my mountain bike, I found the same size bike, different brands, all fit pretty differently. A 17.5 trek felt too cramped in the reach, and the 17.5 gary fisher felt just right.
vickie
If you could, measure the distance on yours from the middle of the saddle to the handlebar clamp. I'll guess that they'll be within an inch or two of each other.
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