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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 02-06-06, 01:31 PM   #1
Daz777777
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First Bike - 56cm - 5ft 8.5inches, 30inch inseam - Too Big?

Hi Guys

I am looking at purchasing my first road bike and have found a good deal on a 56cm Trek.

I'm 5ft 8.5 inches and I have an inseam of 30 inches.

Will a 56 be too big for me, from some of the calculations it seems a 52 may be more suitable however would the 56 really make that much difference - what are the potential problems of a road bike that is a too big?

Cheers

Darren
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Old 02-06-06, 01:38 PM   #2
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A 56 Trek fits more like a 54 by other manufacturers. The inseam length is perfect for this frame but you will have to check your reach. (top tube length)
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Old 02-06-06, 01:41 PM   #3
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It's impossible to know for sure without you actually trying the bike on for size, but I'd have to say: Yes, it will be too big for you.

I'm 5'10, with 31" inseam, and I ride a 54cm Trek 5200.

The potential problems is that you may not be able to get the seat low enough to extend your leg all the way to the bottom of the pedal stroke. Or that you'll be so stretched out that all your weight is on your hands. Either of these conditions makes for a very uncomfortable ride.

Go check it out, but it probably won't fit. Sorry.
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Old 02-06-06, 01:41 PM   #4
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I have a 31.3" inseam and ride a 54cm Trek. I don't think I'd fit on a 56cm frame. 56cm would seem to be a bit tall for you from a standover perspective, although you might need the top tube length.

Have you ridden the 56cm?
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Old 02-06-06, 01:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daz777777
Hi Guys

I am looking at purchasing my first road bike and have found a good deal on a 56cm Trek.

I'm 5ft 8.5 inches and I have an inseam of 30 inches.

Will a 56 be too big for me, from some of the calculations it seems a 52 may be more suitable however would the 56 really make that much difference - what are the potential problems of a road bike that is a too big?

Cheers

Darren

I'm 5'91/2 with a 31" inseam and ride a 54cm Felt. All the bike shops I went to pegged me at a 54cm frame. One thing I have learned on here is that you should ride what feels best to you.
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Old 02-06-06, 01:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hockey
A 56 Trek fits more like a 54 by other manufacturers. The inseam length is perfect for this frame but you will have to check your reach. (top tube length)
Hockey
Trekspeak is a little different than other mfgs. My brother's 58CM 1200 is measured 58CM c-t-top seat tube. The top tube is a true 58CM though. When you put it next to my 56CM Waterford the standover height is almost identical though. Trek uses a long TT. At 5'8" 56 might be a tad too long on the TT. The only way to find out is to go ride it.

Last edited by cs1; 10-19-15 at 03:57 AM.
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Old 02-06-06, 01:46 PM   #7
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A few cm here and there probably won't matter too much providing that you do a proper stem-swap.

I am 5'7" with a 30' (probably 29.5") inseam

My Trek is a 49 or 50 cm (I forgot which) and it was too small but with a longer stem it is OK. My lemond is a 54 cm and is just right. My Nishiki is 60cm and was too big - but I put a short stem is so now its OK.

I think that the biggest problem with a too-big frame is the risk of nut-damage if you were to slip off the seat onto the top-tube.
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Old 02-06-06, 01:53 PM   #8
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I'm 5'11" 34" inseam. I ride a 56-57cm frame. Currently a 56cm Cannondale. My guess is that if I was 5'9" with a 30" inseam I'd be on a 53cm frame.
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Old 02-06-06, 01:57 PM   #9
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Yes, too big by a mile.
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Old 02-06-06, 01:59 PM   #10
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Make sure you're not all stretched out when your riding...it'll hurt.
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Old 02-06-06, 02:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patentcad
I'm 5'11" 34" inseam. I ride a 56-57cm frame. Currently a 56cm Cannondale. My guess is that if I was 5'9" with a 30" inseam I'd be on a 53cm frame.
Same height, 33.5" inseam but with a short torso. My Specialized is 56/56, but I'm switching to a 54 cm frame for more comfort. I'm showing a lot of seatpost on all my bikes, but the reach on a 56 is too much, unless I go with shorty stems.
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Old 02-06-06, 02:07 PM   #12
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I am 5'8" and I ride a 56cm Olmo steel frame and it fits great.

-Cf
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Old 02-06-06, 02:23 PM   #13
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I am the exact same height/inseam as you and my ideal/max frame size are 53cm seat tube measured center to top with 54cm top tube max.
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Old 02-06-06, 02:23 PM   #14
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I'm about the same build as yourself and my rides generally are 51-53cm. I think a 56cm is WAY too big. Either the seat tube or the top tube will too long. You can get a shorter stem and slam the seatpost all the way into the frame, but those are major compromises.
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Old 02-06-06, 02:32 PM   #15
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Ok, I had your same dilemna exactly one week ago. I am 5' 9 3/4", with a 31" inseam, and I was trying to decide between the 54cm and the 56cm Trek 1500. I was wrestling so much with it, since I went to two shops and one said 54 and one said 56, and they both seemed to know their stuff. I scoured this board to help me decide, and what happened? 50% of people said 56cm, and 50% said 54cm.

I have been out riding almost every day since I got it last week, and I love my 54cm. It is completely the right size for me. Key piece of information: Change the stem from 90 to 110. That will give you the length you want. The deciding factor for me is that when I road the 54cm, I felt tight with the bike: not uncomfortable tight, but tight like I was in complete control of the bike. The 56 streched me out just a bit.

It all comes down to what feels the most comfortable, but I am extremely happy at chosing the 54cm, and you probably will too. Another key factor was that I brought a friend who rides to the store, and he saw me ride both, and thought the 54cm looked more natural and was a better fit.
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Old 02-06-06, 04:05 PM   #16
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I'm the same size as you. I have two Cannondales. One is a 52cm the other a 56cm. I can comfortably straddle the top tube, barefoot, on the 56 with about 3/4" clearance.

Both of these bikes are set up so they feel identical while riding. They are probably adjusted up and down to equal a 54cm framed bike which would most likely be ideal for me.

I say if the difference in price between the deal on the Trek you have in mind and a perfectly fitted bike is not prohibitive, get the perfect fit. If the deal is too good to pass up then get the 56, adjust it and it will be fine.
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Old 02-06-06, 04:07 PM   #17
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I'm the same size as you- my frames are 53 & 54, with the 53 feeling more natural.
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Old 02-06-06, 04:23 PM   #18
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I am the same size as well. The fitting world places me on a 53.75 cm top tube. Both my 54 cm Litespeed and 53 cm QS2 are in this ball park. No 56 cm frame I've ever seen would have a top tube this short.
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Old 02-06-06, 04:27 PM   #19
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mmmmm Litespeed.
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Old 02-06-06, 04:32 PM   #20
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I'm 5'7" with a 31.5" inseam - I ride a 54cm in Trek, 53cm Jamis.
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Old 02-06-06, 04:56 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daz777777
I'm 5ft 8.5 inches and I have an inseam of 30 inches.

Will a 56 be too big for me, from some of the calculations it seems a 52 may be more suitable however would the 56 really make that much difference - what are the potential problems of a road bike that is a too big?
Hello Darren,

I am 5' 7" (actually 5' 6-3/4" ) and I have just over a 30" inch inseam. I ride a 53 cm bike (center to top) or a 52 cm bike (center to center). Obviously you have a longer torso than I, so you may need something like a 54 cm frame so that your stem is not too long.

To answer your second question, if the frame is too large your standover height can be...err..dangerous, if you know what I mean and it is difficult to have the proper realtionship between the three points where you touch the bike: seat, handlebars, and pedals.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-06-06, 05:10 PM   #22
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Assuming you have the background to make the comfort decision, my suggetion is to take the bike for a very long test ride (many, many miles, as close a possible to your maximum ride length) & test the fit. If you like it buy it. If it doesn't fit; pass as it will not be a "deal". If you can't comfortably test the fit, given you are probably near the end of the range, it is probably wise to pass.
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Old 02-06-06, 05:17 PM   #23
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I'm 5-8 w/ a 30 inseam also.
Although you can make that bike fit (somewhat) , once you purchase it you may regret it for the lifetime of the bike.
I'm constantly tweaking this and that on my 54cm Look, but absolutely LOVED the feel of my wife's stock 52 cm cannondale.
In my opinion, a smaller frame beneath you is easier to manipulate than a larger. Tight cornering at speed and sprinting feels infinitely better to me on a smaller frame size.
You may have found a deal and have it set in your mind to purchase this bike, but I think you should go ride a 52 cm frame before you make the plunge.
After replacing a stem and tweaking my seat, my bike feels fine. A 56 would do nothing but stretch me out and put a lot of weight on my perenium and hands. (not fun!!!)

After a long ride on a frame that's too big your shoulders will ache, your hands will be numb and you'll be shriveled in your lycra from blocking proper bloodflow.
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Old 02-06-06, 05:32 PM   #24
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Just to put some more personal spin on this - I'm 6'1 and ride a 56cm Fuji Roubaix Pro. As a fast road bike it fits me like a glove. You are a whole 4.5 inches shorter than me....you get my point
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Old 02-06-06, 06:07 PM   #25
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Height 66" and change.

Inseam 31 and change.

Frame trek compact 54cm.

This frame fits, but; a 52 might have been better.
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