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  1. #26
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    If the bike is comfortable and you can stand over it, I wouldn't worry about the size. Bike geometry is always a series of trade-offs, especially in the smaller sizes where the angles get manipulated to make room for the wheels.

    If you have some money you'd like to put into upgrading the bike, I'd start with the tires. Nothing changes the feel of a bike more than nice tires. Also, commuting and CX racing require very different tires (unless you have an off-road route to work).

    After that, I'd go for pedals and saddle (though only if you aren't happy with what you have).

  2. #27
    Senior Member rekon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    Bike geometry is always a series of trade-offs, especially in the smaller sizes where the angles get manipulated to make room for the wheels.
    Thanks, does this mean a smaller bike frame is less reliable?

  3. #28
    Senior Member bres dad's Avatar
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    What size is the bike? Don't see where anyone has asked that, unless I skipped over that post.
    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!

  4. #29
    Senior Member rekon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bres dad View Post
    What size is the bike? Don't see where anyone has asked that, unless I skipped over that post.
    54 cm.

  5. #30
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    upgrades would same as any other bike I own. Address the contact point. Saddle, bars, stem, seatpost setback or zero, pedals

    After it fits good, upgrade parts that move. Wheelset, tires, tubes, cranks, cassette to lighter/better model, brakes. If brakes are crap, move those to top of the list since they are often the cheapest upgrade.

    Smaller sizes like 49 and lower starts messing with angles and stuff to make 700c wheels fit. Your 54 should be just fine and ideal frame geo from the engineer/designers

  6. #31
    Senior Member rekon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    Smaller sizes like 49 and lower starts messing with angles and stuff to make 700c wheels fit. Your 54 should be just fine and ideal frame geo from the engineer/designers
    Thanks. Does that apply to 51 cm sizes as well?

  7. #32
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekon View Post
    Thanks. Does that apply to 51 cm sizes as well?

    not so much, that is why its hard to find a 700c bike in 47...angle start to cheat and eventually something has to give.


    oh yah, change your tires to match you're gonna ride. Most OEM tires are junk or geared for mud.. we don't have much mud in socal. If you're doing mixed paved/dirt riding I'd suggest Kenda Happy Mediums or Sammy slicks (same design) very high roller center with knobby sides for cornering in dirt/grass/ect.

  8. #33
    Senior Member bres dad's Avatar
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    I'm sure someone will disagree with me, but 54cm bike seems a little large for someone 5'6. I'm 5'11 and ride a 54cm on my modern roadie ('13 Trek Domane). I test rode a Jamis Nova recently and it was a 50cm and it almost seemed to be a good fit, though I'd probably look at a 52-53cm frame. 50 was a bit small though. Based on that, I would agree that a 54cm would be a little large.
    Last edited by bres dad; 04-07-14 at 06:22 PM.
    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!

  9. #34
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekon View Post
    Thanks, does this mean a smaller bike frame is less reliable?
    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    Smaller sizes like 49 and lower starts messing with angles and stuff to make 700c wheels fit.
    Yeah, that's exactly what I meant.

    Looking at your bike you'd really need to go down to a 48 to get a typical amount of seat post exposed (the 51 only gets you another inch), and in the process you'd get lower handlebars, a steeper seat tube angle and a slacker head tube angle -- none of which are likely to be positive.

    That's not to say the 48 wouldn't fit you better by some arbitrary standard, but there are positives and negatives. Since you already have the bike, you're better off keeping it unless there's something that feels like a problem to you. Things that just look like problems in a picture are much less important.

  10. #35
    Senior Member rekon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bres dad View Post
    I'm sure someone will disagree with me, but 54cm bike seems a little large for someone 5'6. I'm 5'11 and ride a 54cm on my modern roadie ('13 Trek Domane). I test rode a Jamis Nova recently and it was a 50cm and it almost seemed to be a good fit (though I'd probably look at a 52-53cm frame) though a bit small. based on that, I would agree that a 54cm would be a little large.
    I think your right. I'm trying to work with the shop to get me into a 51 cm that way I can raise the seat post a bit and probably be more comfortable. However, the more I research I do... The more I want a CAADX instead of a Nova.

  11. #36
    Senior Member rekon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    Yeah, that's exactly what I meant.

    Looking at your bike you'd really need to go down to a 48 to get a typical amount of seat post exposed (the 51 only gets you another inch), and in the process you'd get lower handlebars, a steeper seat tube angle and a slacker head tube angle -- none of which are likely to be positive.

    That's not to say the 48 wouldn't fit you better by some arbitrary standard, but there are positives and negatives. Since you already have the bike, you're better off keeping it unless there's something that feels like a problem to you. Things that just look like problems in a picture are much less important.
    I mean my bike is generally comfortable... I'm not sure what gains I would get from a higher seat post and TBH I wouldn't know if a higher seat post would be more comfortable. The shop I bought it from only had 54s and up.

  12. #37
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    You'd probably keep the saddle to bottom bracket distance the same regardless of frame size. The only reason you'd change it is if it's too high now and you needed a smaller frame to lower it. The issue of having more exposed seat post is just an aesthetic thing if you have enough standover clearance. The only remaining question would be whether or not you have too much reach to the bars. It sounds like you fixed that with a shorter stem, so you're probably OK.

  13. #38
    Senior Member Kopsis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekon View Post
    I mean my bike is generally comfortable... I'm not sure what gains I would get from a higher seat post and TBH I wouldn't know if a higher seat post would be more comfortable. The shop I bought it from only had 54s and up.
    I gotta call your shop out for being irresponsible here. It sure sounds like they forced you into a frame they knew wasn't right for you just so they could move inventory. Did they even suggest ordering a smaller size?

    If you're getting the right leg extension, seat height above the top tube won't do anything for comfort (but it will give you more standover clearance, which you might be painfully short on). The place where a smaller frame would really help is handlebar position. With that crazy short stem, you're sacrificing steering feel and weight distribution, which negatively impacts handling. Fortunately it's a CX bike, so the long chainstays help even out the weight distribution a bit. It would be worse if this was road bike geometry.

    As a commuter you can almost certainly live with it the way it is. If you have any intention of racing or doing high-speed descents, you may find your current setup is a little sketchy. FWIW, I made a similar mistake and bought my first CX bike one size too big (54cm, I'm 5'7"). I picked up a properly sized road bike not long after, so I just lived with the big CX bike for a couple years. Worked fine as a commuter and even got me through a full season of CX racing. I knew the bike didn't ride and handle as well as it should, but that didn't keep me from having fun with it

  14. #39
    Senior Member rekon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kopsis View Post
    I gotta call your shop out for being irresponsible here. It sure sounds like they forced you into a frame they knew wasn't right for you just so they could move inventory. Did they even suggest ordering a smaller size?
    Nope. They just said the 54 and a short stem is a good fit for me.

  15. #40
    Senior Member rekon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kopsis View Post
    If you're getting the right leg extension, seat height above the top tube won't do anything for comfort (but it will give you more standover clearance, which you might be painfully short on). The place where a smaller frame would really help is handlebar position. With that crazy short stem, you're sacrificing steering feel and weight distribution, which negatively impacts handling. Fortunately it's a CX bike, so the long chainstays help even out the weight distribution a bit. It would be worse if this was road bike geometry.

    As a commuter you can almost certainly live with it the way it is. If you have any intention of racing or doing high-speed descents, you may find your current setup is a little sketchy. FWIW, I made a similar mistake and bought my first CX bike one size too big (54cm, I'm 5'7"). I picked up a properly sized road bike not long after, so I just lived with the big CX bike for a couple years. Worked fine as a commuter and even got me through a full season of CX racing. I knew the bike didn't ride and handle as well as it should, but that didn't keep me from having fun with it
    Thanks for sharing your experience. Do you ride a 51 now? If so, how much seat post did you gain with the smaller bike?

  16. #41
    Senior Member Kopsis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekon View Post
    Thanks for sharing your experience. Do you ride a 51 now? If so, how much seat post did you gain with the smaller bike?
    My CX bike is getting a new custom frameset that's being hand-built as we speak. The new frame will measure 52cm center of BB to top of seat tube. I will have about 14 cm of seatpost showing (up from 12 cm before). The builder actually proposed a 50cm, but I had him increase the seat tube 2cm to make it easier to shoulder the bike when racing. If I was just going to use it as a gravel grinder or commuter, I would have gone with the 50cm.

    But the big improvement is the reduction in reach (effective top tube length) which will let me go from a 60mm stem to a 90mm stem. IMHO, reach (and stack) are the key dimensions you want to get right when sizing a frame. Once you have those dimensions right, whatever seat tube length you end up with to get there can generally be made to work (since seatposts support a relatively huge range of vertical adjustment).

  17. #42
    dangerous with tools halfbiked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekon View Post
    Also I want this bike for commuting but I also want to enter in some local competitions.
    Try racing with what you have before replacing it. You will quickly learn what you like & don't like about 1) the bike and 2) the races.

  18. #43
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    head down to the Bike shop after you leave work (where you are writing from , doubtless) and try stuff.


    does this mean a smaller bike frame is less reliable?
    not if just talking the bare frame itself.. they are fine* until you crash into something

    * warrantees cover material defects and workmanship flaws, all the components fitted, typically,
    are covered for a year.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 04-16-14 at 09:18 AM.

  19. #44
    Senior Member rekon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    head down to the Bike shop after you leave work (where you are writing from , doubtless) and try stuff.
    Funny you wrote this. I ended up at a bike shop after work today and tried a bunch of 51s. I really liked how the CAAD 8 bike fit - even though it's not a CX.

    Problem is I'm stuck with the 54 Nova Sport. They basically refused to exchange it for a 51. I argued that they did not sell me the correct size and didn't offer to order something that fit better. Anyways, it basically went no where and they said the best they could do is give me $500 (their cost of my bike) toward a new bike in exchange for mine. If I did that I would have to take a loss of about $300 :/

    So... until I can afford a new bike I'm just going to ride the heck out of mine.
    Last edited by rekon; 04-10-14 at 12:41 AM.

  20. #45
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    More Touring than CX racing , a bit larger frame is OK .. "Gravel-grinding" is dirt road riding .. there I guess they use fire roads
    midwest its farm roads ..


    MTB sizing lower toptubes /longer top tubes is about footing when you get off a foot down slope on a hill


    there the extra clearance would help .. CX racing grabbing the top tube and lifting the bike over a barrier may favor a bit lower Top Tube too ..

  21. #46
    Senior Member rekon's Avatar
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    Sorry to resurrect this thread. But a local dude said his bike is too small and wants to trade me a Motobecane Fantom Cross Outlaw that's 52cm for my bike. Is this a decent trade?

    I wanted to consult you guys before I pull the trigger and make sure It's not a stupid move.
    Last edited by rekon; 04-15-14 at 07:08 PM.

  22. #47
    Senior Member Kopsis's Avatar
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    This is where you get into the weird and wonderful world of frame geometry. If you calculate the stack and reach for the two bikes, the Outlaw in 52 actually has a longer reach than the Nova Sport in 54 (384mm vs 375mm). The Outlaw also has a much lower stack (527 vs 557). So assuming you put the saddle in the same position relative to the BB on both bikes and all other things being equal, your hands will be ~1 cm farther away and ~3 cm lower than on your current bike. Note that I'm guesstimating the Nova fork length (I've measured the Moto CX fork), so if it's actually shorter that would reduce the stack difference. But, in general, the Outlaw is a more "aggressive" geometry which might actually make it feel bigger than your current bike.

    If you look at how Jamis sizes the Nova, they're using "effective seat tube". The "54" is actually only 51 cm BB center to top of TT. Motobecane sizes the Fantom line by actual seat tube length BB center to top of TT. That means the Outlaw actually has a longer seat tube than your Nova. Of course you can always go ride it and see for yourself, but if you're trying to size down (or the other guy is trying to size up) it's probably not a worthwhile trade.

  23. #48
    Senior Member rekon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kopsis View Post
    This is where you get into the weird and wonderful world of frame geometry. If you calculate the stack and reach for the two bikes, the Outlaw in 52 actually has a longer reach than the Nova Sport in 54 (384mm vs 375mm). The Outlaw also has a much lower stack (527 vs 557). So assuming you put the saddle in the same position relative to the BB on both bikes and all other things being equal, your hands will be ~1 cm farther away and ~3 cm lower than on your current bike. Note that I'm guesstimating the Nova fork length (I've measured the Moto CX fork), so if it's actually shorter that would reduce the stack difference. But, in general, the Outlaw is a more "aggressive" geometry which might actually make it feel bigger than your current bike.

    If you look at how Jamis sizes the Nova, they're using "effective seat tube". The "54" is actually only 51 cm BB center to top of TT. Motobecane sizes the Fantom line by actual seat tube length BB center to top of TT. That means the Outlaw actually has a longer seat tube than your Nova. Of course you can always go ride it and see for yourself, but if you're trying to size down (or the other guy is trying to size up) it's probably not a worthwhile trade.
    Thanks I ended up meeting him yesterday and test driving it. There may be more reach on his bike but I found it comfortable even with a fair amount of seat post. I ended up trading him last night.

    I'm pretty happy because not only does it fit without a slammed seat post ... but also has a carbon fork and 105/tiagara parts. Upgrade from my claris.

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by rekon; 04-16-14 at 09:00 AM.

  24. #49
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    I think you got a decent deal. I've never seen an Outlaw in red.

    You Jamis was new, whereas the rear brake location shows the Outlaw to be a couple of years old. Even so, I'd take used Tiagra components over new Claris.

    Nice upgrade!
    Last edited by Andy_K; 04-16-14 at 02:23 PM.

  25. #50
    Senior Member rekon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    I think you got a decent deal. I've never seen an Outlaw in red.

    You Jamis was new, whereas the rear brake location shows the Outlaw to be a couple of years old. Even so, I'd take used Tiagra components over new Claris.

    Nice upgrade!

    Thanks!! Is it weird that the bike has no motobecane decals?? The guy said BikesDirect shipped him a frame without decals and called about it. He said, they offered to exchange but he didn't care to go through the trouble...

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