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    What options are there when you purchase bike with too large a frame?

    Hi,

    I am a 47 yo who purchased a Jamis Trail 2 mountain bike. The frame size was 17". I have tried everything and can't seem to get the bike to feel comfortable. This is my first bike in 30 years. I tried riding a 16 frame that belongs to a friend and it was much more comfortable.

    I am 5'10" with a 29 inch inseam. (odd size I know) I used a chart after I learned a little more about bikes and it said I should have a 16 frame with a saddle height of 26.4 inches.

    Is there anything you can do to make a bike that is too large work better? I can't afford to take the hit of loosing the new value by selling my bike and buying a another one. I purchased it three weeks ago.

    I appreciate any help you can offer.

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    Have you talked to the shop about returning or exchanging the bike?
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    No, I haven't. They were a small shop with just 5 or 6 bicycles. I purchased from them because they had Jamis and I liked the reviews for the bike.

    I'm pretty sure that its going to be a special order for them and they are going to resist. I'll call them and just see what they say.

    If they aren't playing along, is there any changes I can make to the bike to get a better fit?

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    Using a shorter stem should get you what you need if you don't damage the tender bits when you get over the top tube.

    Seriously measure the pertinent info from your friend's bike, and get the stem and handlebar combination that puts you in the same position as on your friend's bike.

    A bike that is within an inch of your ideal size, unless it has an excessively long top tube you should be able to tweak a few things and get it into a configuration you will be comfortable with. The one exception is if you want the handlebar lower than you can get with your bikes head tube... But by inverting a slightly rising stem you can get it down a little way.
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    Sell it to some unsuspecting soul.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    Hi,

    I
    I am 5'10" with a 29 inch inseam. (odd size I know) I used a chart after I learned a little more about bikes and it said I should have a 16 frame with a saddle height of 26.4 inches.

    Is there anything you can do to make a bike that is too large work better? I can't afford to take the hit of loosing the new value by selling my bike and buying a another one. I purchased it three weeks ago.

    I appreciate any help you can offer.
    Is that saddle height above the Ground???? with a 29" inseam?

    There is no perfect frame size for a height or inseam. In fact- I am 5'6" and 30" inseam. I ride a variety of bikes in a variety of sizes and With your height- I would even say that a 17" is too small a frame. Standover height is NOT a critical measurement to size a bike from. Top tube length on the other hand is important.

    I would go back to the shop and get them to set the bike up for you. Saddle height with just a slight bend in the knee at the lowest point on the crank- Fore and aft position to get the knee central of the pedal and then see how it feels. If you can't touch the ground- don't worry- My feet are a couple of inches too short for my correct saddle height aswell.

    And in mountain bikes I ride several sizes and Even have a Tandem that is a Large/medium. I ride in either position with just an adjustment of saddle height.
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    Looking at the bike I rather doubt the size is all that far off. It sounds like set up more than anything else. I had a Haro that would put my hands to sleep in the first five miles and make me wish I was dead after 25 miles on the dirt. I was seriously thinking of dumping it when the LBS switched Stems for me and that was all it took. I ended up getting a Trek and letting my daughter in law have the Haro because it had better stand over. The Trek had a larger frame but a shorter steeper stem and it works just fine. I would agree you should take it in and get it set up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    The frame size was 17". I have tried everything and can't seem to get the bike to feel comfortable. This is my first bike in 30 years. I tried riding a 16 frame that belongs to a friend and it was much more comfortable.
    What are the things you tried?
    What was "more comfortable" about it?
    Was the 16 inch frame the same model? If it isn't the same model, what model is it?

    http://www.jamisbikes.com/canada/the...ailx2_geo.html

    The standover height is listed as 28.11 inches. If your "inseam" measurement is your pant's inseam, it will be smaller than the measurement that really matters.

    Stand over the bike in your bicycling shoes and lift it off of the ground untill it touches you. How much distance is there between the wheels and the ground?

    The effective toptube measurement is 557mm. The next size smaller (15.5) has a toptube measure ment of 547. That only 10mm or less than half an inch.

    If you have sufficient clearance between the toptube and you, then the bike you have can be made to fit.

    Certainly, the seat isn't a worry because that can be moved up and down.

    By the way, if the seat is at the correct height, you will have to get off of the seat to reach the ground with your foot.

    ========================

    The fit of bicycles often needs a bit of tweaking. I'd suggest talking to the shop.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 08-18-09 at 02:25 PM.

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    I do have room when I stand over the bike. That is how the shop "sized" the bike. The problem I'm having may be another issue then. When I'm sitting on the saddle (saddle set to allow the leg to just be slightly bent at the bottom of the peddle stroke) I can barely get on and off the bike - plus it feels like I am reaching so far to get to the handlebars. Someone said something about top tube length - I have a long back and short arms that offset the long back.

    height 70 inches
    inseam 29 inches (standing against a wall barefooted using a book to simulate saddle and measuring to top of book)
    arm length is 27 inches, sternum notch is 57 inches

    It just seems like it takes so much effort to ride, the ride is uncomfortable, the seat catches on my pants when I try to dismount the bike...

    When I ride the friends bike I can go faster - and farther and I'm not nearly as tired. I hope it is just a matter of setup. I'm pretty sure that the saddle height is correct. (I measured from center of crank to bottom of saddle) Maybe the cranks are too long, handlebars to far away that is the two main factors that seem to anoy me.

    Friends bike is Trek 3900. 16"

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    Friends bike is Trek 3900. 16"
    That's a big help.

    http://www.trekbikes.com/uk/en/bikes...3_series/3900/

    Effective toptube length is 555mm. Standover is 27.8 inches (70.6cm). That bike is very slightly smaller. The frame size is almost certainly not an issue!

    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    I do have room when I stand over the bike. That is how the shop "sized" the bike. The problem I'm having may be another issue then.
    You are talking about a lot of issues. They aren't going to be easy to sort out.

    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    When I'm sitting on the saddle (saddle set to allow the leg to just be slightly bent at the bottom of the peddle stroke) I can barely get on and off the bike
    I'm still not clear why you are having problems getting on and off unless you aren't quite doing it correctly!

    I suspect that your friend's seat is much lower than yours.

    You have to get off/on the bike while standing on the pedals. If you can get off of a bike while still seated, the seat is too low! (Keep in mind that the seat is easy to adjust up-and-down.)

    Read what Sheldon has to say about getting on/off a bicycle.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/starting.html

    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    It just seems like it takes so much effort to ride, the ride is uncomfortable, the seat catches on my pants when I try to dismount the bike...
    It's hard to tell what "uncomfortable" means. You can always change the seat but the "catching" problem is one reason people use cycling shorts.

    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    When I ride the friends bike I can go faster - and farther and I'm not nearly as tired.
    Are your tires inflated to the same pressure? Outside of any tire issues, the bikes should be equally as "fast". Of course, if you are using different gears when riding the different bikes, that could explain the difference in "effort" too.

    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    Maybe the cranks are too long,
    The cranks are probably the same length (or 5 mm different).

    ================================

    I think this is where your major problem is.

    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    plus it feels like I am reaching so far to get to the handlebars. Someone said something about top tube length - I have a long back and short arms that offset the long back.
    The toptube length between the two is nearly the same. The reach does increase a little when you raise the seat. Raising the seat also makes your posture less upright unless the handle bars are also raised.

    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    handlebars to far away that is the two main factors that seem to anoy me.
    It looks like the Jamis is set-up for a less upright posture than the Trek. This can be changed but raising the handlebar stem and maybe using a shorter reach stem (easy and cheap). You can also change this with different handle bars (not easy and not cheap).

    I would talk to your shop about this. It's why you buy a bike from a local shop.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 08-18-09 at 03:10 PM.

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    I made some more adjustments and took it around the block. Here is the biggest issue - it seems that the saddle is 3 to 4 inches higher than the handlebars - it makes it hard to control the bike - the saddle is angled up in the frond and I tried scooting further up on the saddle and could reach the handlebars a little better. Is there a way to raise the handle bars?

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    I appreciate your help - I'm going to take it to the shop and see if they can do anything. I don't want to wear you guys out on my first question. I may need help in the future. I hesitated to go back to the bike shop because the friendliness after the sale has not been that great. I called to schedule the "first adjustments free"-adjustment and they did not seem to even have time for that. (gears) I figured that one out pretty quickly. Here's the kicker on the sizing - I have a sizable difference in inseam with my legs one is 29 the other 27.75. I've been sizing based on the long leg. Guess its good I'm a hillbilly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    I made some more adjustments and took it around the block. Here is the biggest issue - it seems that the saddle is 3 to 4 inches higher than the handlebars - it makes it hard to control the bike - the saddle is angled up in the front and I tried scooting further up on the saddle and could reach the handlebars a little better. Is there a way to raise the handle bars?
    You can change the angle of the seat. You should be able to raise the handle bars. You may also be able to get a longer stem (or a stem with a higher rise).

    People starting out often prefer a more upright posture.

    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    I appreciate your help - I'm going to take it to the shop and see if they can do anything. I don't want to wear you guys out on my first question. I may need help in the future. I hesitated to go back to the bike shop because the friendliness after the sale has not been that great. I called to schedule the "first adjustments free"-adjustment and they did not seem to even have time for that..
    The whole point of a local shop is the service. Hopefully, the shop is as good as the brand (Jamis). Fit is a common thing to have to muck with.

    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    Here's the kicker on the sizing - I have a sizable difference in inseam with my legs one is 29 the other 27.75. I've been sizing based on the long leg. Guess its good I'm a hillbilly.
    I suppose you are saying one leg is longer than the other? With such a big difference, I'm going to assume you are using special shoes. If so, you should be using those shoes when riding. Anyway, if that was the problem, you'd see it on the Trek too.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 08-18-09 at 03:19 PM.

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    I'm 6 inches taller than you, so I can't make a direct comparison, but 17 seems VERY small to me for a 5'10" rider. My wife is 5'1" with short legs, and her two road bikes are 42 and 43cm--both just under 17 inches (I just went out and measured them to be sure...). Her mountain bike is a 16.
    What aspect of the fit isn't working for you? If the frame is really 17 inches (are you measuring from the center of the bottom bracket along the seat tube to the center or top of the top tube?), I can't believe it's too big for a person nine inches taller than my wife. How much seat post is showing when you sit on the bike? An old rough guide to size was that if you closed your fist around the exposed part of the post, and your fist just about covered it, you were in the ballpark. if the problem is reach rather than height, a stem change might fix you up, but we need details.
    Incidentally, I'm going to take exception to the post that says standover height isn't important. You'll realize it is the first time you do an emergency dismount on a bike that's too tall.

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    You should raise the stem so that the handlebar is at least the same height as the seat, or maybe 1-2" higher. You may need parts from the LBS to do this, or you may just have them do it for you. It's not complicated unless the cables aren't long enough, and it will make a big difference.

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    i ran into the same problem with the bike I purchased a few months ago. Frame is the same size as my old bike (pretty sure it is), but because the new one has front suspension (my guessing), the top tube hugs the twins a lil too much for my liking. I wish I woulda checked this before I bought it, but I didnt know about it at the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    I made some more adjustments and took it around the block. Here is the biggest issue - it seems that the saddle is 3 to 4 inches higher than the handlebars - it makes it hard to control the bike - the saddle is angled up in the frond and I tried scooting further up on the saddle and could reach the handlebars a little better. Is there a way to raise the handle bars?
    If you find that the saddle to bar drop is too much and the threadless stem is at the highest position then you can use a steering tube extender. See pic: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo...eat=directlink

  18. #18
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    I agree that it is a setup issue and not the frame size.

    Before buying my TCR from another local rider I had read an article that said if an ideal sized frame is not available, a smaller frame is easier to get set up. Then based on a “homegrown” take on fitment from the Wrench Science system, I bought one size down from ideal.

    So I got it home and did my own tweaking and set the seat height, etc. where I thought it needed to be. The next day I took a 14 mile ride at lunch and by 5:00 p.m. that day I thought I had made a major mistake. My knees were killing me and I had a knot between my shoulder blades.

    Doing a return or negotiating a trade was not an option, so I went to the LBS and paid to have it set up in hopes of not having to immediately turn around and try to sell the bike. The guy spent about 30 minutes with me on the bike with a trainer and made adjustments of the seat height and the fore/aft position of the saddle. The next day I rode again and the difference was amazing. My knees have not hurt since. He did suggest that after a while I might want to go to a different stem.

    Back to the frame size issue, later on I read a different article that said erring towards a larger frame is the way to go. I kept reading and after a while concluded that one size either side of ideal is workable.

    So my suggestion is that if the shop where you bought it cannot do the proper set up, load it in the car and take off to the nearest LBS that can do a real setup for you. It is well worth the small fee to have it properly adjusted and set up for you.
    Last edited by BookFinder; 08-19-09 at 05:48 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    I'm 6 inches taller than you, so I can't make a direct comparison, but 17 seems VERY small to me for a 5'10" rider. My wife is 5'1" with short legs, and her two road bikes are 42 and 43cm--both just under 17 inches (I just went out and measured them to be sure...). Her mountain bike is a 16.
    You can't compare frame sizes between mountain bikes and road bikes.

    Typically, a mountain bike will have a smaller frame size than the road bike that fits the same person. Unless you indicate exactly what bikes your wife has, it isn't that helpful.

    It looks like the frame size of the Jamis is about right for him. I'd guess your wife's MTB is too big or it's very old (like mine is)!

    Keep in mind that he says that the 16in Trek fits him but the 17in Jamis does not. If you look at the geometries of both bikes, they are basically the same size!

    What appears to be different is the handlebar height. The handlebar height is the first thing to look at.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 08-19-09 at 08:40 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    You can't compare frame sizes between mountain bikes and road bikes.
    Typically, a mountain bike will have a smaller frame size than the road bike .... I'd guess your wife's MTB is too big or it's very old (like mine is)!.[/B]
    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    You can't compare frame sizes between mountain bikes and road bikes.

    Typically, a mountain bike will have a smaller frame size than the road bike that fits the same person. Unless you indicate exactly what bikes your wife has, it isn't that helpful.

    It looks like the frame size of the Jamis is about right for him. I'd guess your wifes MTB is too big.
    you're jumping to conclusions on several levels here. I didn't compare MB and road frame sizes as a guide for him, only to establish that the measurements I gave were accurate--her mountain bike is smaller than her road bikes, but they're all ABOUT the same size as the bike a guy nine inches taller claims is too big.
    My wife's been cycling for more than 30 years, does a couple of centuries a year at age 59, and her bikes fit near-perfectly (I think she's too upright, but she's comfortable). Even given the variations among people and different frame designs, and between genders, it makes no sense that a frame that fits her is too big for somebody so much taller. Since I know my measurements are correct, I suggested that he check his and give some details of what's bothering him so we can help him make the bike work. "Too big" isn't very helpful without specifics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    you're jumping to conclusions on several levels here. I didn't compare MB and road frame sizes as a guide for him, only to establish that the measurements I gave were accurate--her mountain bike is smaller than her road bikes, but they're all ABOUT the same size as the bike a guy nine inches taller claims is too big.
    Mentioning road bike sizes is making a comparison. Without knowing the specific model of mountain bike your wife happens to have, the frame size is a meaningless number! (It's actually surprising that the size of your wife's road bikes is nearly the same as that of her mountain bike.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    I suggested that he check his and give some details of what's bothering him so we can help him make the bike work. "Too big" isn't very helpful without specifics.
    He did provided those details in later posts before your suggestion. It seems pretty clear that his problem isn't that the frame is too big. It appears that his problem is the height of the handlebars. It also looks like maybe the height of the seat on the Trek is much lower.

    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    it makes no sense that a frame that fits her is too big for somebody so much taller.
    Unless your wife happens to also have a Jamis Trail 2, then the fact that whatever frame she has also fits her isn't relevant.

    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    inseam 29 inches (standing against a wall barefooted using a book to simulate saddle and measuring to top of book)
    Given this, the 17inch Jamis might be slightly too big for him for real mountain biking (some manufacturers suggest 2-3 inches between you and the mountain bike). But his real problem appears to be that the Jamis is setup to have a less upright posture than the 16 inch Trek he says fits him.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 08-19-09 at 09:51 AM.

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    Man this took off while I was away. I have an appointment with the bike shop Thursday. What they are saying is that the frame size is correct and that the whole issue is setup. I can't argue this because I am truly a novice.

    I was basing the sizing info on charts and calculators I found on the web that help you determine bike size.

    I'm also not sure if you realize how short a 29 inseam is for a man. I may be 5'10" but my legs are so short that it is hard to find pants that I don't walk on that will fit my waist. My wife is 5'7" and her inseam is longer than mine by an inch.

    I'm going to ask that they raise the handlebar height - add spacers or whatever they can do. I think you are correct that this is the major issue.
    Last edited by BikingWV; 08-19-09 at 11:45 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    Man this took off while I was away. I have an appointment with the bike shop Thursday.
    The fact is that, by buying a bike at a local shop, you are also paying for this basic fitting service.

    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    What they are saying is that the frame size is correct and that the whole issue is setup. I can't argue this because I am truly a novice.
    The frame size is really no different than the Trek you say fits. That means that your problem is likely something else. They may be computing sizes for a less vertical posture too.

    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    I was basing the sizing info on charts and calculators I found on the web that help you determine bike size.
    I think most of those calculators assume a horizontal toptube. If so, then the "frame size" they indicate is going to be larger than for a bike with a sloping toptube. Mountain bikes are even more of a problem because the toptube slopes much more than in a road bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    I'm also not sure if you realize how short a 29 inseam is for a man. I may be 5'10" but my legs are so short that it is hard to find pants that I don't walk on that will fit my waist. My wife is 5'7" and her inseam is longer than mine by an inch..
    Whatever weird inseam issues you have, it looks like the Jamis you have is about right!

    Quote Originally Posted by BikingWV View Post
    I'm going to ask that they raise the handlebar height - add spacers or whatever they can do. I think you are correct that this is the major issue.
    I also suspect that the seat on the Trek is set much lower (ie, it's closer to the ground) than on the Jamis.

    Tell us how it goes!

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