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Old 02-28-10, 12:58 PM   #1
wannabik
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newbie question

I am a newbie when it comes to road bikes and want to know if I can size myself so I can buy a used bike to start with? I am 5'11" 200lbs, so how can I determine the right frame size?
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Old 02-28-10, 01:04 PM   #2
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There's a lot of considerations.
I'm also 5'11'' and I ride a 56cm CAAD9. My vintage commuter is a 21"
I think one of the biggest factors is your reach. I'd aim for something around 56 or so and then make sure it feels good when you get on it as that's the most important thing
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Old 02-28-10, 01:32 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by wannabik View Post
I am a newbie when it comes to road bikes and want to know if I can size myself so I can buy a used bike to start with? I am 5'11" 200lbs, so how can I determine the right frame size?
Your post doesn't give enough information about yourself, the type of riding you will be doing, etc. But here's a link to the Competitive Cyclist fit calculator:

http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO
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Old 02-28-10, 03:31 PM   #4
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Especially as a newbie, get a fitting, or at minimum, use a fit calculator--and take good measurements.

Your overall height and weight are pretty much meaningless when it comes to bike fit. Even that old standby, standover height, isn't good enough, since it doesn't measure you when you're on the bike and riding. In my experience, it's the top tube length that's most important, yet bikes are sized by seat tube, not top tube.

I too started on road bikes with a used bike. But I had a pretty good idea of what I needed to fit me, and I carried a tape measure to measure the top tube. The test ride is critically important too, but the tape measure helped me rule out bikes quickly.
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Old 02-28-10, 03:45 PM   #5
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Especially as a newbie, get a fitting, or at minimum, use a fit calculator--and take good measurements.

Your overall height and weight are pretty much meaningless when it comes to bike fit. Even that old standby, standover height, isn't good enough, since it doesn't measure you when you're on the bike and riding. In my experience, it's the top tube length that's most important, yet bikes are sized by seat tube, not top tube.

I too started on road bikes with a used bike. But I had a pretty good idea of what I needed to fit me, and I carried a tape measure to measure the top tube. The test ride is critically important too, but the tape measure helped me rule out bikes quickly.

+1 I was thinking about this the other day when another poster who posted height and inseam and I am the same height and an inch longer inseam, that meant that their torso measured one inch longer on the top tube. A bike sized for me would not fit this other person. So I think agree the above statement. But the best way to know your size is to try bikes and know what fits you.

Also two 57cm bikes may fit differently. You really need to try a bike to have a good fit.
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Old 02-28-10, 06:15 PM   #6
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As TSL says. If you can afford it, go to a good shop that can do a professional sizing/fitting. If not, express interest in a roadster and have them figure out what size you're comfortable on... Then go looking for something similar.
Bear in mind that frame height is only one aspect; you have to worry about reach, seat position, and so forth.
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Old 02-28-10, 11:49 PM   #7
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Getting fitted is a good idea if you can afford it, but sometimes I think we overcomplicate this. There've been about 12 billion words written on this, only some of them reasonable. A lot of them are based on what works for elite racers, and it's not logical to think you can use the same standards for a guy with 9 percent body fat who rides six hours a day and one who's 20 percent fat and squeezes in eight hours a week if he's lucky. Just for a start, how many of us have suffered (for years, in my case) trying to force our bodies to adapt to having the bars four inches lower than the saddle because that's what Hincapie did?
I think you can do a very good job of fitting a bike by reading the alleged rules from three or four sources, considering them guidelines rather than laws, then adapting them to fit you. One place to start is with Grant Petersen's fit guide at Rivendell (www.rivbike.com).
As a point of ethics or morality or something, I challenge the idea that it's OK to go to a bike shop, let them spend 20 minutes giving you information and advice, then order a bike online to save a few dollars. Bike shops are going out of business by the hundreds all over the country, and taking advantage of the shop's knowledge and expertise like that is BS.

Last edited by Velo Dog; 02-28-10 at 11:56 PM.
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Old 03-01-10, 01:09 AM   #8
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+1 on frame size being over complicated.

I'm new to the whole scene, and I just got done building a new bike. I've learned that your body can tolerate a range of sizes, especially with different crankarm/seat post/stem combinations. What's most important is comfort.
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Old 03-15-10, 06:08 AM   #9
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i have another newbie question, i am 5' 5" with a PBH height of 28 inches. With the fit calculator over at competitive cyclist it says i have a seat tube length of 48, and im interested at a dawes but their only sizes are 43 cm and 49cm. Would 49 be okay? thanks
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Old 03-15-10, 10:11 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by wannabik View Post
I am a newbie when it comes to road bikes and want to know if I can size myself so I can buy a used bike to start with? I am 5'11" 200lbs, so how can I determine the right frame size?
I know the perfect size bike for you..... it's the one that you're most comfortable on during the test ride.
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Old 03-16-10, 09:26 AM   #11
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You also need to consider your flexibility and reach. I think you can get a good idea from the calculators, but you need to measure really well as bad measurements will give bad results. I would not consider what fits good on another rider with the same inseam a great way to fit a frame.
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