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  1. #1
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    Advice sought: My new bike is too small

    Hi everyone,

    I bought a new bike about three weeks ago- a 55 cm Jamis Aurora Elite. Generally speaking, I'm very happy with it, except that it feels too small. I feel cramped on it when I'm riding. I have the seat set as far back as it can go, and it feels like the handle bars are still at least two and a half to five centimeters too close- and I'm not sure what to do about it. Do I get a modified seat post to move the seat back a bit further, or a longer headset to move the handle bars further out? One on hand, those both seem like reasonable options, but the bike frame just feels too small to me, and that sort of seems like a kludge, rather than a proper fix- and I just bought this bike a few weeks ago, I'm not sure I want to 'kludge' it to get it to fit properly. What are my options? Do I take it back to the store and complain about it? And how much can I reasonably expect from the bike store? If I'm still really unhappy with it, should I try to get a different seat post to move the saddle further back, or a different headset to move the handlebars further forward, or do I just try to sell this bike, and get another one I'm totally happy with?

  2. #2
    Mystery Meat gitarzan's Avatar
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    Go back to the store and talk about it. You deserve a bike that you are happy with.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
    Is a ukulele player in a mandolin town and banned from all bars by the chief of police unless he leaves his strings and gravy at the front door.

  3. #3
    Canadian Chick Aquakitty's Avatar
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    Go back to the bike store for sure, don't worry so much, most bike stores are fine with that sort of thing.. its a major purchase and no bike shop worth anything is going to want a customer on too small a bike.

  4. #4
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    How tall are you?
    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.
    May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the input guys, it's made me feel a lot better. I'll go over tonight after work.

    I'm 6'0 tall.

  6. #6
    Bianchi Goddess Bianchigirll's Avatar
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    if you are 6' and the bike is a 55cm IMHO it is way too small. I am only 5'11" (yes quite statuesque) and I ride a 59. unless you have really short leggs you should be on atleast a 59.

    BTW that looks like a great bike. glad to see you chose STEEL!
    Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto (2), '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '88 Trofeo, '86 Volpe, '89 Axis, '79 Mixte SOLD, '99 Mega Pro XL Ti, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

    Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '86 Bertoni (sold), '09 Motobecane SS, '98 Hetchins M.O., '09 K2 Mainframe, '89 Trek 2000, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
    if you are 6' and the bike is a 55cm IMHO it is way too small. I am only 5'11" (yes quite statuesque) and I ride a 59. unless you have really short leggs you should be on atleast a 59.

    BTW that looks like a great bike. glad to see you chose STEEL!
    I quickly measured my inseam at 31", so I don't think I have really short legs.

    I feel rather worried that the bike store isn't going to want to do anything for me. Does anyone think it's likely that they'd let me exchange it for a larger framed bike? I started saving for this bike approximately a year ago, after I started really enjoying riding my bike. I bought this bike earlier than expected (I had to dip into savings because of it), when the rear wheel on my other bike broke, and now I'm worried that I've just wasted a whole bunch of money on a bike that's too small, and that I"ll end up taking a bath on it if I have to sell it.

  8. #8
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    I think it is really likely that they would let you exchange your bike for the same model in a different size if they carry it, assuming you haven't crashed it or something. Since bike shops let people takes the bikes for test rides, they don't usually have trouble reselling it even though you've ridden it a few times. The biggest potential obstacle is if they don't stock the largest size.

    It would be more difficult (though not necessarily impossible) to return it for a refund. Varies from shop to shop - several shops around me claim, at least, that you can return the bike if you're not happy with it.

    I'm surprised to hear it's to small - I'm 6"0 with a 32" jeans inseam, and I ride a 56 (and from experience can say a 58-59 was to big for me). I would test ride the larger frame before exchanging just to make sure you don't end up wanting to exchange back.

    One other thing to do is to call the shop and ask about what they would do if you bought a bike there and it didn't fit. If you went back and they gave you flack, you could tell them they told you if you bought a bike and it wasn't the right size or you didn't like it you could return/exchange it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member pablosnazzy's Avatar
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    i'll be the jerk on this one.....

    why the heck did you buy a bike that is too small? did you see a bike and say "THAT ONE!" and not even test ride it? didn't you realize it was a bit cramped when you sat on it?

    you post a thread with the title "Advice sought: My new bike is too smal"

    the simple and (to me) obvious answer - get a bigger bike.

  10. #10
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    My LBS let me swap to a different size after I just couldn't get a good riding position after a month.

    It was a new riding position to me, so at first, I figured I just needed to get used to it. They said to ride it for a month and come back to get the fit dialed in. By that point, I hated riding it, and the fitting would have given me a stem about 3 cm longer than what came on the bike, and the saddle would have had to be ALL the way back on its rails. I said, "Can I just try another size to see what it's like?" They pulled one off the rack, I took it for a spin, and it was much, much better. So, they swapped the wheels over and let me take the larger size home that day.

    If your shop balks at exchanging the bike as-is, offer to let them swap the wheels. That way, they get to keep the newer, less-worn wheels & tires on the showroom floor, making your bike easier to sell.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pablosnazzy View Post
    i'll be the jerk on this one.....
    Yes, you pulled that one off without a hitch. Woohoo! Yaaay! Everyone clap for pablosnazzy! Good one! Your parents must be so proud!

    why the heck did you buy a bike that is too small? did you see a bike and say "THAT ONE!" and not even test ride it? didn't you realize it was a bit cramped when you sat on it?

    you post a thread with the title "Advice sought: My new bike is too smal"

    the simple and (to me) obvious answer - get a bigger bike.
    First of all, what exactly do you feel you contributed to this thread? Why did you take the time to write out a completely unhelpful, snotty answer? Do you have a lot of free time on your hands with nothing else to do except insult other people on the internet? I suppose you've never made an error about anything in your entire life. It must be really nice to have come out of your mothers womb, an expert on everything.

    I spent a lot of times test riding various bikes, so no- I did not go into the bike store and say "that one", and not even test ride it. I took this very bike out on two test rides, and overall it seemed the most comfortable of all the bikes I test rode. That said, I only took each bike out for a 5-10 minute test ride, and given this was the first bike I've ever had with drop bars, I wasn't familiar enough with the position on the bike to be able to quickly and accurately decide if the bike felt like it fit. But after buying it, and riding around on it a lot for pleasure, it started to feel like it might be too small.

    It is not necessarily obvious that if the bike is too small that my only option is to get a bigger bike. I could get a seat post with additional set back, I could get a fork that lets me push the handle bars further forward- those are both options, which may or may not be reasonable. Since I don't have a lot of experience with road bikes however, I don't know how to tell if either of those possibilities were reasonable options. Another option would be to take the bike back, and try to get it exchanged at the same bike store. But again, I don't have a lot of experience with bike stores, so I don't know how likely that is to work. Or third, I could sell the bike privately, and purchase new again, a bike that is a better fit.

    It certainly takes a special kind of ******* to take time out of their day, to go around, unprovoked, tearing other people down for no good reason. Now why don't you go back to your level 520 character on Warcraft and leave the adults alone, okay?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    I'm surprised to hear it's to small - I'm 6"0 with a 32" jeans inseam, and I ride a 56 (and from experience can say a 58-59 was to big for me). I would test ride the larger frame before exchanging just to make sure you don't end up wanting to exchange back.
    I went out on a group ride with the store, and had one of the staff members look at my position on the bike- he said that he thought that in general, the bike looked fine, and that if anything, I'd need a seat post with about an inch of setback. He said that I was actually positioned quite well on the bike, and that I probably just wasn't used to what road bike saddles felt like, compared to my previous comfort bike saddle.

    In any event, I'd like to thank everyone (except pablosnazzy) for their input and reassurance. I'm going back on Wednesday to try out some seat posts with various amounts of setback on them, to see how they feel.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhdavis1978 View Post
    First of all, what exactly do you feel you contributed to this thread? Why did you take the time to write out a completely unhelpful, snotty answer? Do you have a lot of free time on your hands with nothing else to do except insult other people on the internet?
    I'm not the guy you're quoting, but to be fair you're not the only person who reads the thread, and there is a certain helpful aspect to remind people who aren't you that buying the right size is an important part of buying a new bike. And I can't tell you how many people I've seen, mostly in real life, who say stuff like "Wow, I got such a great awesome deal on this bike! I'm so awesome, the price was so great - can't believe you paid full price, sucker! Oh - and the frame isn't the right size, but I'm sure it will be fine."

    Just this week there was a thread from someone asking about their bike purchase, they said wanted needed to ride to school but also wanted to go on longer weekend rides - they had evidentally spent all this time being angsty about finding a bike with a front shock (completely unnecessary for anything short of actual mountain bike riding, fyi), but when one showed up they bought a bike with a front shock - that was to big for them. They'll never be comfortable on it.

    I'm just saying that it does actually contribute a little bit to reinforce to people who are reading the thread, but aren't you, that getting the right size bike is important.

    I don't know, why do people say "Yeah, you shouldn't have done that" in real life?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhdavis1978 View Post
    It certainly takes a special kind of ******* to take time out of their day, to go around, unprovoked, tearing other people down for no good reason. Now why don't you go back to your level 520 character on Warcraft and leave the adults alone, okay?
    Lol, you must be new to any online forums, eh?

    I dunno, every time I need advice I've found a thick skin in necessary. On the forums there will always be an occasional someone who seems like a jerk. In real life, there's always the sales guy who tries to put you in the situation where you feel like you have to buy what he's suggesting, or *you're* the *******. Can't tell you how many bike shop guys act miffed when I don't take everything they say as fact - despite how much just plain wrong advice they sometimes give out. One time, I needed a stem that was a different size or something than the store stocked. So I was told by the fitter I was working with at least. So I went into the store, and the sales guy pulled something off the shelf and started to ring it up. I was like "um...I don't think that's it". The guy insisted it was. I said again that I didn't think it was. He acted a little miffed. He finally asked some other guy at the store about it - guess what? I was right, they needed to order it, the one he was trying to sell me wouldn't have worked.

    I do think you're taking the comments more personally than the person who wrote them even meant, though.

    A lot of us are rather tired of hearing about how someone else bought the wrong size bike, and how much it sucks. It's so OBVIOUS to us that buying the right size bike is the most important thing. And do you know why it's so obvious to us? It's because - WE DID THE SAME THING WHEN WE BOUGHT OUR FIRST BIKE! I don't want to go through that again! hahahaha :-)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhdavis1978 View Post
    I went out on a group ride with the store, and had one of the staff members look at my position on the bike- he said that he thought that in general, the bike looked fine, and that if anything, I'd need a seat post with about an inch of setback. He said that I was actually positioned quite well on the bike, and that I probably just wasn't used to what road bike saddles felt like, compared to my previous comfort bike saddle.

    In any event, I'd like to thank everyone (except pablosnazzy) for their input and reassurance. I'm going back on Wednesday to try out some seat posts with various amounts of setback on them, to see how they feel.
    I'm glad to hear you went in and asked about it.

    I'm of mixed mind on the result, though. On the one hand, as I mentioned, I'm surprised to hear it doesn't fit you. I have very similar dimensions (6"0, 32-34" inseam) and a 56cm frame is definitely my frame size.

    On the other hand, I'm not exactly surprised to hear the sales guy say "Oooooh, what you have is fiiiiiiiiine! You just need to spend even more money at our shop!" And I hate to say this, but it's true - I've found that the more trustworthy the guy seems, in general, the more likely he is to tell me that something fits or will work when it doesn't fit or won't work. I dunno to - that's just been my experience.

    I would still highly suggest taking the next size larger frame out for a ride. I think it is entirely possible that you will find it's clearly to big for you - but then you will know. I spent an entire summer one year working with a fitter, trying to get my existing bike to fit with different stems, positions, etc. Next year I simply bought a new bike that was a different, and it fit waaaaaaay better right off the bat.

    I'm a little suspicious about replacing the seatpost. If you can't get a better fit within the range of adjustment that the bike comes with (as the seat can be moved forward and back as it is), it's likely it just doesn't fit you. I can't say for sure. Like I said, try riding the size larger and see if that's to big.

    I feel like I'm just babbling on a little now, but another thing is that sometimes the bike geometry just doesn't work for you. Different bikes can have the same height, but different top tube lengths and have different dimension. Though...I looked up the Jamis Aurora Elite and it says it's a "touring" frame, and you say you're to cramped, so I'm not sure...usually a touring frame is longer and more stretched out, so a sign that the geometry is bad for you would be that you felt to stretched out, not that you felt to cramped. Hmm.

  15. #15
    Senior Member pablosnazzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhdavis1978 View Post
    ...........................
    It certainly takes a special kind of ******* to take time out of their day, to go around, unprovoked, tearing other people down for no good reason. Now why don't you go back to your level 520 character on Warcraft and leave the adults alone, okay?
    wow, did i really hurt your feelings that much? thanks for giving me total control of your feelings even though i don't really want it. lighten up dude. if you think what i said was "snotty" and "tearing other people down," then i don't think you've been on too many internet forums. nice world of warcraft insult BTW. you really got me with that one. color me contrite.
    Last edited by pablosnazzy; 07-26-10 at 09:58 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    This thread is funny.

  17. #17
    17yrold in 64yrold body
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    And a little snarky!

  18. #18
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    bhdavis, please give us an update once you've revisited your LBS.

    When a guy is mean to me on these boards, I simply assume his birth was a mistake.

  19. #19
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    +1

    What the LBS will do for you regarding your bike purchase

  20. #20
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    If it is just a LITTLE too small, the LBS might be able to swop out a longer stem and/or seatpost.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhdavis1978 View Post
    Hi everyone,

    I bought a new bike about three weeks ago- a 55 cm Jamis Aurora Elite. Generally speaking, I'm very happy with it, except that it feels too small. I feel cramped on it when I'm riding.
    I just bought the same bike in the same size, and I'm just shy of 5'10", so it may be a bit too small for you. I actually have proportionally long legs but short arms, so I have my seat as far forward as possible! I could probably get on the 57, but then I'd be leaning too far forward. You should try the 57 if you can.

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