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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 05-26-08, 04:44 PM   #1
pathdoc
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Frame size for 5'11'' man

I hoping to get a friend of mine a bike for his birthday in conjunction with wife.
He's 5'11" and has a normal build, legs look in proportion with his trunk.
What general frame size would be a good starting point.
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Old 05-26-08, 04:45 PM   #2
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Frame geometries (the length of the tubes and the angles at which they are connected) vary between manufacturers. If your friend is serious about riding, spend some time at a quality shop getting body parts measured. Knowing your friend's measurements will help find an appropriate frame that will fit him well
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Old 05-26-08, 04:50 PM   #3
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a good starting point, i'd say 56-58cm would be a ballpark top tube length. sure some 5'11" riders ride smaller and some ride bigger, but the majority will be in that range.
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Old 05-26-08, 05:07 PM   #4
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I'm just over 6'1"(and long legged) and found that Scott bikes size down a bit-I bought a Speedster in the 56 frame size last year. As did a friend of mine. Perfect fit. Whereas i'd been riding a classic Raleigh with a 60 which was also a good fit for years. Good luck picking one the right size.
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Old 05-26-08, 05:16 PM   #5
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I'm 6'0" and my Specialized Allez Elite is 58cm and is perfect. As already suggested I'd say your friend is probably in the 56-58cm range.
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Old 05-26-08, 05:18 PM   #6
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While I would appreciate a new bike, I'd have to pick out my own, and so should your friend. I think it's Gift Certificate time. (Nice thought for your friend!)
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Old 05-26-08, 06:54 PM   #7
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55-57cm top tube (or effective top tube.)
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Old 05-26-08, 06:58 PM   #8
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55-57cm top tube (or effective top tube.)
Right. I'm 5'11", long legs, relatively short torso, I am fine with a 56-57cm effective top tube which is typical for 56-57cm frames (90% of them are 56cm, 57cm is an oddball size). But your friend could need a 59cm top tube if he has more typical proportions than me, which could even push him up to a 58cm. Lance was 5'11" and rode a 58cm, I presume he needed the longer top tube.

Seat tube length is rather irrelevant. EFFECTIVE TOP TUBE length is what will determine your reach on the bars and your position on the bike, that's really the key dimension 90%+ of the time for most cyclists. My MTB has an 18" seat tube (very short, I needed a longer 400mm stem to get the bike to fit) but the effective top tube is that 57cm number, which is perfect.
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Old 05-26-08, 07:03 PM   #9
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I'm also 5'11" and I ride a 56cm Scott S10
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Old 05-26-08, 07:05 PM   #10
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I'm 5'10 and ride a 58. The 56's I tried were a little too cramped for my liking. YMMV
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Old 05-26-08, 07:09 PM   #11
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I'm 5'11" and ride a 58 cm in Cannondale, Trek, & Specialized.
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Old 05-26-08, 07:15 PM   #12
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I'm 5'11 1/2 and ride a 58 cm road bike with a 120 -6 deg stem.

edit my top tube length is 58cm
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Old 05-26-08, 07:35 PM   #13
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6'0 and 58 cm
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Old 05-26-08, 07:49 PM   #14
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I'm 5' 10" and I ride a 55 LeMond, 56 Trek, 55 Giant OCR. So I would guess your friend would probably be somewhere between a 56 and 58.
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Old 05-26-08, 07:57 PM   #15
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55 or 56
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Old 05-26-08, 08:00 PM   #16
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56cm sounds good.

I'm 5'7 and I'm between a 52 and 54cm...
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Old 05-26-08, 08:11 PM   #17
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I'm 6' one bike is a 58 and the other is a 57. I's say 56-57 is about right.
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Old 05-26-08, 08:37 PM   #18
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Based on the replies above, get the bike that seems best from a bike shop with the understanding that he'll most likely want to swap it for a different bike..... Explain the situation to the shop. This way, you get to have the actual bike to present without having him stuck with a bike he doesn't want. Be sure not to damage the bike or ride it. Do the test riding at the store and comapre it against other bikes.
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Old 05-26-08, 08:54 PM   #19
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5'11 rode a 54cm battaglin for years, first bike the the sold me a 58cm centurion. right now i am riding a 55cm litespeed and a M giant ocr.

If you cant get your friend to get the bike fitted, a Medium compact or semi compact frame might be the way to go.
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Old 05-26-08, 08:56 PM   #20
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Quote:
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I'm 5'10 and ride a 58. The 56's I tried were a little too cramped for my liking. YMMV
There you go. Most 5'11" riders will be on a 56 or a 58cm.
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Old 05-27-08, 04:17 AM   #21
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If you're buying a bike for someone other than yourself, make certain the recipient can swap if for another size. That isn't always the case with closeouts or demo models.

When you're down to 2 frames of similar size, it can come down to riding style. Do you like an aggressive position or more relaxed? A 56 will have more saddle to bar drop for most riders. A 58 might have less.

Also consider that a 56 will typically have a shorter headtube, shorter cranks, narrower bars, shorter stem and possibly a different fork angle.

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Old 05-27-08, 05:09 AM   #22
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Might consider a gift certificate to a bike shop instead. You can ask a million different people and the best you'll do is narrow it down to 2 or 3 possible sizes.

I really don't understand why road bikes are still sized by their seat tube... The top tube length, being just about the only thing you can't adjust, is also the important one.

pcad: can you post a picture of your MTB with the 400mm stem? I think that'd be pretty amusing to look at..
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Old 05-27-08, 05:20 AM   #23
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Might consider a gift certificate to a bike shop instead. You can ask a million different people and the best you'll do is narrow it down to 2 or 3 possible sizes.

I really don't understand why road bikes are still sized by their seat tube... The top tube length, being just about the only thing you can't adjust, is also the important one.

pcad: can you post a picture of your MTB with the 400mm stem? I think that'd be pretty amusing to look at..
they're not.
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Old 05-27-08, 08:27 AM   #24
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they're not.
^^^ what on earth is a "medium", or "large" sized to anyway?
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Old 05-27-08, 08:34 AM   #25
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I'm 5'9"/5'10" depending on the day, and I ride a 54 cm felt.

A bike for a birthday present would be a great gift, but I'm a believer in the theory that you need to get a feel for the bike before you buy it to see if it feels right.

If you are buying the bike as a surprise, it might be best to set it up with the LBS for a fitting after the gift has been given, with a possibility if a frame swap...
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