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  1. #1
    born again cyclist Steely Dan's Avatar
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    Is it possible that some people just prefer riding on smaller bicycles?

    so due to a crash you can read about here, i'm in the market for a new bike. the bike will serve primarily as a foul weather/winter/back-up commuter ride. i think i've settled on the Scott Sub 10 Men. i couldn't find any stores in chicago that have it in stock, so i went to REI anyway to check out similar bikes in Scott's Sub line. from what i was told, all frames in the Sub line have very similar geometries (that has to be taken with a grain of salt, i know).

    so the clerk at REI told me that i would need a "medium" size based on my height. i hopped on one and it felt big to me. it certainly felt a lot bigger than my old bike that was wrecked. i then got on a "small" size in the same line and it felt much more like what i was used too, just that i'd likely need a longer seat post and stem on the bike. even though i'm 5'-8" and the sizing chart says i'm definitely in the "medium" range, the smaller bike felt better to me, or it least i imagined it would with some longer components.

    i then went home and measured the frame of my old bike against the geometry chart dimensions of the small and medium sizes of the Sub 10 frame, and my old bike's dimensions came a lot closer to the small size than they did to the medium, and i LOVED the way i fit onto my old bike, even if it was on the small side.

    my dilemma: because there are no bikes of either size in stock at any chicago REI's (or any other local Scott dealers that i could find), i have to order the bike online and have it shipped to my REI store. what size to order? do i go with what the sizing chart dictates, or should i follow what i really know about myself and how i like to fit onto a bicycle? i think i may have already answered my own question, but i'm just looking for some back up here and maybe a reassurance from another rider or two that i'm not crazy for liking a slightly undersized frame. it seems like it's easier to make a small frame ride a little bit bigger than it is to make a big frame ride a little bit smaller.

    am i alone in this?
    Last edited by Steely Dan; 05-27-11 at 02:52 PM.
    The first rule: if you're riding a bike and not having fun, then you're doing it wrong.

  2. #2
    Fax Transport Specialist black_box's Avatar
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    Geometry is on Scott's website, I'd just compare the Sub 10 with whatever you tried. Swapping a seat post and stem in the store shouldnt be too hard for a test ride. Do you have a short inseam?

  3. #3
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    How close is the geometry of the bike you crashed to the one you want? The link doesn't work, so I don't know if you can just replace the one that broke with a newer version.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  4. #4
    Juicy, Sweet Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's possible.

    My first good bike was purchased in the early 1970's and I rode it for 20 years.

    At the time of purchase I was advised that it was a fit for me. Not really knowing any better and loving the responsiveness compared to my previous bike, a Schwinn Continental, I was content.

    Over time I came to realize the frame was just too big for me. I found a smaller entry level Bianchi frame at a local shop and moved my components over to it. BIG improvement. Saved my money and bought a new Bianchi with better tubes and all the "new" stuff that replicated the fit of the smaller frame and loved it. I did get a pretty long stem to replace the stock one so I wasn't all hunched over and could stretch out a little more.

    The only thing that bothered me was my toecap would sometimes rub the front tire if I was climbing a really steep hill and "paperboying" over the road.

    My next Bianchi had almost the same standover, slightly taller, but a longer top tube. This one new is supposedly a 54cm and the previous a 52cm. At most it's only a cm difference in standover but the slacker seat tube and longer top tube make a big difference.

    Bottom line is I feel more in control of a smaller bike and if it came to it I'd go it versus a bigger size.

  5. #5
    born again cyclist Steely Dan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by black_box View Post
    you have a short inseam?
    i don't think so, not for my height anyway. i think i'm just really sensitive to a high head tube (i like a lot of weight on my hands), and hybrid bikes all seem to have higher head tubes than i'm used to. i think that's why i liked the smaller size frame better; the lower head tube height felt more natural to me, i'll just need a slightly longer stem, maybe with some down-slope too.


    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    How close is the geometry of the bike you crashed to the one you want? The link doesn't work, so I don't know if you can just replace the one that broke with a newer version.
    i fixed the link now. i can't just get a new version of my old bike because it's an old mid-90s mountain bike. my old bike was "ok" for messy winter commuting in chicago, but the rim brakes and derailleur drivetrain were definitely less than ideal. i figure that as long as i'm upgrading after a wreck, i might as well get what i really want, which is a disc brake/IGH winter beast.
    Last edited by Steely Dan; 05-27-11 at 11:12 AM.
    The first rule: if you're riding a bike and not having fun, then you're doing it wrong.

  6. #6
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    Happened to me when I bought my Trek. I'm 5'9" and they sized me and recommended the 17.5", and it felt okay, but I happened to try a 15" on another bike and it just totally felt right. I guess I am one of those people who likes smaller frames as well.

  7. #7
    born again cyclist Steely Dan's Avatar
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    well, i followed what i already knew about myself and went ahead and ordered the smaller size this afternoon. new bike in a week or two. yes!
    The first rule: if you're riding a bike and not having fun, then you're doing it wrong.

  8. #8
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    my previous bike, a Schwinn Continental, I was content.

    Over time I came to realize the frame was just too big for me. I found a smaller entry level Bianchi frame at a local shop and moved my components over to it.
    You wouldn't happen to have any pictures of a Bianchi with a Schwinn-Approved chomed steel one-piece crankset, would you?
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  9. #9
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
    well, i followed what i already knew about myself and went ahead and ordered the smaller size this afternoon. new bike in a week or two. yes!
    Be patient.
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  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Frame designs using sloping top tubes are small for their length..

  11. #11
    Senior Member Kimmitt's Avatar
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    Also, hybrid bikes are sub-awesome.

    Anyways, go with what works for you.
    I see unexamined people. All the time. I don't think they know they're unexamined.

  12. #12
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Yes, it's possible.


    It's also possible that you're judging by what you're used to, rather than what is actually the right size. When I got my current bike, it was quite a bit different from my previous one. It seems "normal" now, but sure didn't when I first got it.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  13. #13
    born again cyclist Steely Dan's Avatar
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    ^ LOL, that pic is awesome!


    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    It's also possible that you're judging by what you're used to, rather than what is actually the right size.
    that's totally possible, but if what i'm used to is what i prefer, then what's the harm? the main problem i had with the medium size frame was that the head tube is too high for my preference, even if the other dimensions on the frame were good. i think what i've learned in all of this is that most modern hybrid frames are designed to appeal to upright cyclists, but i unfortuantely don't fit in that category, yet i want a disc brake/IGH foul weather/winter commuter.

    in any event, i went ahead and purchased the smaller size frame, and i'm quite confident that it'll work just fine for me.
    The first rule: if you're riding a bike and not having fun, then you're doing it wrong.

  14. #14
    motovation frankenmike's Avatar
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    Head tube height and frame size do not directly correlate, BTW. Maybe you just need a different style of frame.

  15. #15
    born again cyclist Steely Dan's Avatar
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    ^ for sure, but i can't find any disc brake/IGH road bikes. they're all hybrid frames out there in the marketplace.
    The first rule: if you're riding a bike and not having fun, then you're doing it wrong.

  16. #16
    Gouge Away kaliayev's Avatar
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    CX bikes sometimes come with disc brakes.
    2003 Stevenson Custom Cycles Sportive
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    All are frame/frame set builds.

  17. #17
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    I have test ridden several bikes at the LBS's and they always put me on a bike that
    it too big. I ride a 15" Trek Multi Track and it is perfect. I can ride it 100+ miles
    with no problems.

  18. #18
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    No to make you second guess your decision on the Scott, but having rode a Scott SUB 20, I found that the ride was very rough even when the tires were deflated to 50 PSI. It seemed like every road imperfection was transmitted to the handlebars and I did not like the ride at all except when the pavement was smooth. I ended up trying to dodge every little thing which isn't always possible or sometimes dangerous.

    Anyway... it's entirely possible that you prefer smaller frames and some people will prefer larger ones. For Marin Muirwoods 29er, the recommended size is 17" for 5'8". Having tried that though, I found that I had to put my butt way above the bars and I didn't like how that felt. I went with the 19" instead because it put the saddle only slightly higher than the bars; about 1 cm difference.

  19. #19
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    I'm 5'7". Almost any bike shop employee I talked to, when I gave them my dimensions, tells me I should ride a 54cm bike. I did for awhile. Then I borrowed a 49cm bike....... I Craigslisted my 54cm bike the very next day.

    49cm - 52cm is my range. Anything larger doesn't feel right.
    Last edited by DVC45; 06-05-11 at 11:30 PM.
    "Cycling is for pleasure not penance"

  20. #20
    born again cyclist Steely Dan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsdavis View Post
    No to make you second guess your decision on the Scott, but having rode a Scott SUB 20, I found that the ride was very rough even when the tires were deflated to 50 PSI. It seemed like every road imperfection was transmitted to the handlebars and I did not like the ride at all except when the pavement was smooth. I ended up trying to dodge every little thing which isn't always possible or sometimes dangerous.
    thanks for the heads-up, but i don't think the harsh ride will bother me too much. i actually like to feel every grain of sand that i roll over. my fair weather commuter is my road bike and i keep the 23s on it inflated to 135psi. some would say that's way too hard for everyday urban street riding, but it's just the way i like to ride.
    Last edited by Steely Dan; 06-08-11 at 09:01 AM.
    The first rule: if you're riding a bike and not having fun, then you're doing it wrong.

  21. #21
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    Yeah, it sounds like you'll probably be ok since you're accustomed to skinny tire road bikes.

    I'm from the world of fat tire (hard tail) mountain bikes so the Scott SUB 20 was quite uncomfortable for me. My daily ride is now a Marin Muirwoods 29er, a rigid hybrid with 700x38 tires. It took all of a 15 minute test ride to get me grinning from ear to ear.

    The Scott SUB 20 was definitely better in the get up and go department, but I couldn't stand the ride.

    The hydraulic discs, Shimano M486 on the SUB20, were sweet and I prefer them over the mechanical discs on my Muirwoods.
    Last edited by jsdavis; 06-07-11 at 08:37 PM.

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