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  1. #1
    Senior Member mr,grumpy's Avatar
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    Ramifications of riding a bike that is too small?

    What I have is an old Peugeot that is about a 54 or 52 cfm bike and I should probably be on 58 or even 60cm bike at six feet tall. I only got the thing last spring, free from a friend who was out hunting disgarded bikes for me. Well, I put a lot of time and a little bit of money (not much really) into fixing it up and getting it road worthy. I can;t bring myself to sell it. My question is this: what are the (negative) ramifications of riding a bike with (1970's) race geometry that is two sizes too small? It it going to be "twitchier" than it should be or harder to control than a "normal" sized bike? Am I in any physical danger from any kind of a strain or muscle pull or any thing from being in a more compact riding position than the designer intended? Will I still be able to have fun?
    "I'm built like a marine mammal. I love the cold! "-Cosmoline
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  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I ride a bike that is too small-occasionally. You can raise the saddle and push it as far back as you can- you can buy a longer bar stem and hopefully get one with more rise aswell. And you can get it so that it is almost comfortable to ride- but you will never get the best out of it.

    If you can get it to semi-fit, then give it a go. But keep your eye open for a larger bike that does fit.

    Only problem on the body that I can see is back ache and numb hands. If you don't get these- then you have adapted the bike to fit.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  3. #3
    It's faster than the bus Catgrrl70's Avatar
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    Exactly. I developed quite bad upper back pain and some off/on finger numbness when riding a too small bike too much. Hadn't happened before that bike nor has it happened since I got rid of it. It's probably ok as long as it's used only for short jaunts, but will be uncomfortable for longer rides.

  4. #4
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    Assuming you can get the saddle in correct position in relation to the BB, the crank arms are the right length, and you can get a long enough stem to put the hoods in the right spot, it should be fine.
    -------

    Some sort of pithy irrelevant one-liner should go here.

  5. #5
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Riding a bike that is too small is sure to result in ED, unless you would happen to be a woman.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  6. #6
    Senior Member ScottNotBombs's Avatar
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    I get horrible knee pain, to the point that I can't walk up or down stairs, if I ride a 62 cm bike without getting a longer seatpost
    I'm just a kid who gets in trouble sometimes

  7. #7
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottNotBombs View Post
    I get horrible knee pain, to the point that I can't walk up or down stairs, if I ride a 62 cm bike without getting a longer seatpost
    That could happen, too.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  8. #8
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    A good way to make sure you won't like cycling is to keep riding a bike that is way too small. Sell it, trade it or give it to a friend who it fits. Then get yourself something that fits you. You'll probably have to stop thinking 'free', to get a good fit, but when was the last time big boys toys were cheap. bk

  9. #9
    Senior Member mr,grumpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkaapcke View Post
    A good way to make sure you won't like cycling is to keep riding a bike that is way too small. Sell it, trade it or give it to a friend who it fits. Then get yourself something that fits you. You'll probably have to stop thinking 'free', to get a good fit, but when was the last time big boys toys were cheap. bk
    Hum. I have several bikes that I ride that fit me well. I have a Raleigh Marathon for a road bike. As far as spending money goes, I would like to wait untill after a good chunk of the season is gone to see how my cycling tastes are going to shake out. I started last year road riding (on a very entry level MTB) and wound up all but abandoning the road for the trails (on that same bike) by the end of the season. As long as I keep up with the riding I'll treat myself to a "new" bike later, but only one and geared towrds the type of riding that I wind up enjoying. I'm just attached to that Peugeot and if I can tweek it a little to make it fit me then that will be fine for the time being. My primary concern was that, being a race bike, the geometry would be "right on the edge" as it was and that me peddling my 200+ pounds around on it centered too far forward or too high or whatever could cause the bike to mishandle or, worse, for something to snap. I rode it around fairly successfully for a couple hundred miles last year so I guess it won't necessarily suck that badly.
    "I'm built like a marine mammal. I love the cold! "-Cosmoline
    "MTBing is cheap compared to any motorsport I've done. It's very expensive compared to jogging."-ColinL
    Rides:
    1999-ish Diamondback Sorrento (I'm not Dead Yet! I feal happy. I think I'll go for a walk!)
    1980ish Raleigh Marathon (Vintage Steel)
    2007 Gary Fisher Advance (giving the Sorrento a break)
    2006 Trek 820 (Captain Amazing)
    2010 Specialized Tricross (Back in Black)


    My little bike blog.

  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Here is a pic of a bike that is too small for me--According to everyone that sees it. It isn't and the only reason I Don't ride it often is that it is no where near the quality or ride of my good bikes. Pic of one attached too. Both fit me and that "Too Small" bike lasted me my first year of riding and got me up a Mountain. Still got it and it does have it's uses still.

    B3.jpg

    B2.jpg
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  11. #11
    BALM Co. 2005trek1200's Avatar
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    better a bike too small than large, i believe
    BALM CO.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr,grumpy View Post
    My primary concern was that, being a race bike, the geometry would be "right on the edge" as it was and that me peddling my 200+ pounds around on it centered too far forward or too high or whatever could cause the bike to mishandle or, worse, for something to snap.
    That would be my concern too. I've heard that too much weight on the front wheel can generate that "high speed wobble" thing but I don't have the background to say for sure.

  13. #13
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    Hurts my knees thats about it....
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  14. #14
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    I think most people make this mistake at some point; and often it's their first
    road bike.

    Ride it. You will futz aroudn trying to get comfy; and eventually give up and
    get something else. Seems to be what happens to a lot of us.
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
    Stewart Brand

  15. #15
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    I felt perched atop my 54cm frame; I feel like I am actually riding my 56cm frame. Big difference in how much control you have over your bike. Of course the pros seem to ride bikes they look perched atop of and do just fine. However, they have a lot of custom-made hardware to fit their particular geometry. Us plebes generally don't have access to that bit of stuff.
    To a degree you can always increase the virtual size of a smaller frame by raising the seatpost (and getting one with a lot of setback) and a long stem so your handlebars aren't making you feel oppressed. At 6 feet tall, however, 52 is probably just too damn small for you to pedal correctly which easily leads to trashed knees.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Fat Tire's Avatar
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    Velo Orange has the seatposts you may want, they push the seat back quite a long way. Look at the Nitto Long Technomic stems while you are there. That will let you adjust the handlebar away from your knees. Oh, be wary of the wheel striking your shoe when you turn. THAT could be painful too.
    If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room!

  17. #17
    Fresh Garbage hairnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2005trek1200 View Post
    better a bike too small than large, i believe

    I don't know about that. My first bike was too small and I experienced a lot of back pain, neck pain, and hand numbness. I now own a bike that fits very well and one that is a bit too large. I can ride the large bike just fine, the only problem is that I feel a bit stretched and it tires my arms after a while. I guess it's easier to make corrections on a smaller bike.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    I'd rather ride a greasy bowling ball than one of those things.
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