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  1. #1
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    If I need to run a 60mm stem, is my bike too big?

    So I picked up a Giant TCR for an amazing price. It's in great shape with some upgraded components, in perfect tune. I love how it rides. But I feel streched on it.

    The bike is Giant's compact road size Large. 58cm seat tube, 58.5cm top tube. I'm 6'1" with long legs, shorter torso. After I bought it I calculated my ideal fit using the competitive cyclist calculator. It shows my ideal bike would have a 56.5cm top tube and a 100mm stem. So can I go out on a limb and say that if the top tube is 2 cm longer than ideal, I can take 20mm off of the stem and have a "different ideal" of 58.5 top tube with 80mm stem?

    There's an 80mm stem on there now and I still feel a little stretched, although I still have a little bend in the elbows when I'm on the hoods. Maybe I'm just not used to riding in a more agressive position.

    Should I try for the 60mm stem or am I really just trying too hard to make this thing work? Anybody else out there running a 60mm stem?

    I want to keep this bike.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
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    Yes it's too big.

    If you're stranded on a desert island and it's your only means of transportation, hey do what you have to.

    Otherwise, get yourself a bike that fits and you'll be happier.

  3. #3
    Senior Member abstractform20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
    Yes it's too big.

    If you're stranded on a desert island and it's your only means of transportation, hey do what you have to.

    Otherwise, get yourself a bike that fits and you'll be happier.
    not so fast.

    OP, pics of you on bike please.

    also, are you reasonable flexible?

    how is the saddle positioned?

  4. #4
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    I'll try to get a pic up tonight.

    Flexible? I'm no gymnast, but I'm in good shape, and don't have any back problems or anything like that.

    The saddle is all the way forward.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jed19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex81 View Post
    I'll try to get a pic up tonight.

    Flexible? I'm no gymnast, but I'm in good shape, and don't have any back problems or anything like that.

    The saddle is all the way forward.
    This, plus your 60mm stem means your frame is just too big for you. Especially, the effective top tube.
    Regards,

    Jed

  6. #6
    Senior Member abstractform20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex81 View Post
    I'll try to get a pic up tonight.

    Flexible? I'm no gymnast, but I'm in good shape, and don't have any back problems or anything like that.

    The saddle is all the way forward.
    meh...not sounding good so far. but pics will help more.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    60mm stem and you messed up your saddle position to try to reduce the reach?

    It's not sounding good.

    What's your cycling inseam?

  8. #8
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    Move your saddle back and I bet you feel less stressed. The saddle position is NOT used to adjust your reach to the bars.

    I do not think your bike is necessarily too big. In fact, I have friends who are quite a bit shorter than you on 58s.

  9. #9
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    I am inclined to agree with abstractform and twodownzero, because I am 6'0" and ride a 61cm bike quite well with a 110mm stem.

    But my fit calculator results, unlike the OP's, actually say I should be a frame with a eTT in the 58-59cm range:
    Code:
    The Competitive Fit The Eddy Fit The French Fit
    Seat tube range c-c 57.6 - 58.1 58.8 - 59.3 60.5 - 61.0
    Seat tube range c-t 59.4 - 59.9 60.6 - 61.1 62.3 - 62.8
    Top tube length 58.3 - 58.7 58.3 - 58.7 59.5 - 59.9
    Stem Length 12.2 - 12.8 11.1 - 11.7 11.3 - 11.9
    BB-Saddle Position 80.0 - 82.0 79.2 - 81.2 77.5 - 79.5
    Saddle-Handlebar 58.4 - 59.0 59.2 - 59.8 60.9 - 61.5
    Saddle Setback 6.4 - 6.8 7.6 - 8.0 7.1 - 7.5
    OP, are you sure you measured carefully, especially your inseam? Cycling inseam is 1.5 - 2.5 inches greater than your pants size.

    I think you *could* have physiology and flexibility that makes the bike unsuited for you, maybe. Or you could just be unfamiliar with how you are supposed to sit on a road bike. It's no beach cruiser...

  10. #10
    blah blah blah milkbaby's Avatar
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    You could also try some different bars, maybe shorter reach bars? Different bars also have different amounts of variation of where you can comfortably position the brake levers/hoods -- which can help as most people ride the majority of the time on the hoods. I prefer shorter reach compact bars.

    I am short but like OP have long legs and shorter torso. However, I have very good flexibility (and probably longish arms for my height) and have no problem on fairly long top tube frames even with a slammed setup. But... everybody's different. Maybe give it some time to get used to the more aggressive position?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Jed19's Avatar
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    Look, a 60mm stem on a road bike is a non-starter. Most bikes are designed around 100mm stems.

    And the fact that the OP has his seat all the way forward on a bike with 60mm stem, is to me, a case of the ETT being out of whack.

    OP, could you load up a picture of you on the bike?
    Regards,

    Jed

  12. #12
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    photo.jpg

    Here's a picture with the 80mm stem and the seat all the way forward. I put it all the way forward not for reach to the bars, but because it felt the most comfortable for my feet/knees. I don't have a plumb bob, but I think the front of my knee is pretty much in line with the spindle of my pedal.

    Also keep in mind this is 58cm Giant compact road geometry, which is different than a flat top tube 58cm.

    I just saw the tip that you shouldn't be able to see your front hub when you're on the hoods and I can't, so I guess that's good. Perhaps I'm just not used to the more aggressive geometry and just need to spend more time.

    Here are my competitive cyclist measurements:

    Measurements
    -------------------------------------------
    Inseam: 34.75
    Trunk: 25.125
    Forearm: 14
    Arm: 26.3
    Thigh: 24.4
    Lower Leg: 23.125
    Sternal Notch: 59.75
    Total Body Height: 73


    The Competitive Fit (cm)
    -------------------------------------------
    Seat tube range c-c: 57.2 - 57.7
    Seat tube range c-t: 58.9 - 59.4
    Top tube length: 55.8 - 56.2
    Stem Length: 11.2 - 11.8
    BB-Saddle Position: 81.9 - 83.9
    Saddle-Handlebar: 54.3 - 54.9
    Saddle Setback: 5.4 - 5.8


    The Eddy Fit (cm)
    -------------------------------------------
    Seat tube range c-c: 58.4 - 58.9
    Seat tube range c-t: 60.1 - 60.6
    Top tube length: 55.8 - 56.2
    Stem Length: 10.1 - 10.7
    BB-Saddle Position: 81.1 - 83.1
    Saddle-Handlebar: 55.1 - 55.7
    Saddle Setback: 6.6 - 7.0


    The French Fit (cm)
    -------------------------------------------
    Seat tube range c-c: 60.1 - 60.6
    Seat tube range c-t: 61.8 - 62.3
    Top tube length: 57.0 - 57.4
    Stem Length: 10.3 - 10.9
    BB-Saddle Position: 79.4 - 81.4
    Saddle-Handlebar: 56.8 - 57.4
    Saddle Setback: 6.1 - 6.5

    Thanks for all the suggestions/help!

  13. #13
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    That doesn't look too big for you at all.
    -------

    Some sort of pithy irrelevant one-liner should go here.

  14. #14
    Underwhelming MrTuner1970's Avatar
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    It looks workable to me. Maybe knees are just a tad too far back. Does your seat post have any setback? If so, you could get one with zero setback.

    Gonna come down to how much you want to pay for a "perfect" fit and sticking with the great deal you got on the bike.

    That's my free Internet advice. Worth exactly what you paid for it. You can always pay for a fitting. But I'd ride it and see how it works for you over time.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Jed19's Avatar
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    Yeah, that bike does not look too big per your uploaded picture. A TCR is a race geometry bike.

    I'll second a zero-offset seatpost and some work on your core. Your core kinda holds you up on a bike, more so on a race geometry bike.
    Regards,

    Jed

  16. #16
    Maximus
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoelS View Post
    That doesn't look too big for you at all.
    +1

  17. #17
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    Hmmm.... the competitive cyclist tables are always off... anybody has noticed that?

    Ok, frame looks like the right size but you have like serious bad things in the position...

    1st thing get the right saddle height... inseamx0.883.. in your case if you got the inseam right it should be around 30.5 inches from the center of the BB to the top of the saddle following the center line of the seat tube. This is the starting point.

    2nd thing.. grab a string and a weight at the tip of the string and drop the aplomb from the tip of the saddle to the ground, move the saddle back untill you get like 5 cms between the center of the BB and the string. This is another starting point.

    3rd thing... I'm almost sure you will need a new seatpost because that seatpost is aero and you can't get it lower enough. I'm convinced you moved the saddle all the way front to be able to reach the pedals correctly because you cant lower than seatpost no more. So far im sure that you have to lower the seat post. That seatpost has to go if you cant lower the saddle to the number im telling you.

    4th thing, flip the stem and take a picture (for the record the size of stem for you is minimum a 10 cm, optimal maybe 11 or 12)

    5th take a picture and post it here to see how it goes.
    Last edited by ultraman6970; 04-30-12 at 07:24 PM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Jed19's Avatar
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    Rex81, please note that a road bike fits differently than a mountain or hybrid bike. I want to think you are comparing this bike's fit to a mountain bike fit -especially the upright kinda fit-, a road bike fits differently. You might want to ride like this for a while and get used to it first before doing anything drastic.
    Regards,

    Jed

  19. #19
    Slacker ZippyThePinhead's Avatar
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    I got a used road bike with a 40mm quill stem, and rode it for 1400 miles. It's not exactly BF orthodoxy, but it worked for me. I had a professional fit (Hans @ Bannings, now East-West Bikes in Fullerton) using that bike and he saw no point in changing the stem (why fix what isn't broke?).

    People tend to think of fit in terms of point estimates, when quite possibly they would be better served if they thought in terms of intervals. In other words, I have two road bikes on which I have ridden a total of 5500 miles, roughly. On one, the reach is about 56cm, and on the other, about 61cm (measured as shown below). Both are very comfortable to me, and I've done many 50-ish mile rides on them. My CC fit computer results give me a reach (top tube + stem length = reach) of 63-66cm. I tried riding with a reach closer to what the CC fit computer output, but I felt very stretched out, and it caused me some back pain. So I seem to be comfortable with a reach somewhere between 56cm and 61cm. BTW my main road bike now has a 70mm stem (previously it was 100mm). That 30mm was the difference between comfort and discomfort.



    Switching components (other than your stem) can change how stretched out you are. I never really intended to try the recommendation of the CC fit computer, but switching saddle and bars effectively got me there. First I got a great buy on some carbon bars off eBay. The hoods were farther forward (relative to my old bars) by nearly 3 cm, and then I changed my saddle, and ended up sitting father back once everything was adjusted. The net effect was that I had to stretch out a lot more, and my back was killing me on every ride, starting at about 40 miles. Shortening the stem by 3cm did the trick.

    Of course YMMV.

  20. #20
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    You need a fit by someone who knows what they're doing.

    Your saddle looks like it might be too far forward. Note that the bike is not level in the pic- when I get it level then the knee appears to be ahead of the pedal spindle.
    Your handlebars are all messed up. You won't be able to use the drops effectively with them at that angle. You should be bending more at the hips too.

    Your legs aren't that long- I'm an inch shorter and my cycling inseam is longer than yours. This frame might be able to fit you but it's set up really wrong now.

  21. #21
    Senior Member mymojo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jed19 View Post
    Rex81, please note that a road bike fits differently than a mountain or hybrid bike. I want to think you are comparing this bike's fit to a mountain bike fit -especially the upright kinda fit-, a road bike fits differently. You might want to ride like this for a while and get used to it first before doing anything drastic.

    I'm with Jed. If anything, it looks like you aren't stretched out enough and need a longer stem.

    FWIW, I went from a 120mm stem down to a 90 for about a week. Awful, awful week of riding. The shorter stem made for MUCH twitchier handling.

    Oh, one more thing, I ride anywhere from a 56 to a 60 - and if its a Trek I can go up to 62cm. So don't get too wrapped up in "perfect frame size".
    Last edited by mymojo; 04-30-12 at 07:43 PM.
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  22. #22
    Maximus
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    Rex,

    Good news = nice bike, that's probably the right size for you.
    Bad news = you need to get used to the geometry of a road bike and a fit as mentioned above.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gluteus View Post
    Rex,

    Good news = nice bike, that's probably the right size for you.
    Bad news = you need to get used to the geometry of a road bike and a fit as mentioned above.
    Very true. Coming off a MTB when I got my Felt last summer, i thought there was no way in hell I would ever fit the bike. I'm kicking myself now. I should have bought the F95 with a double and 105? (or tiagra, cant remember), but instead, got the Z100 with a triple and sora/microshift components for a higher price. I still love my bike, but I've flipped the stem since, and am removing a spacers to get the drop I like. At the time of fitting, the stem was upright, and I still thought it could have been higher.

    As time goes on, you'll learn to "flatten" out your back instead of bending just below the shoulder blades. It took me a while, but I've figured out the correct positioning is with my back flat, bending at the hips, and supporting myself with my legs as I drive at a cadence that lets me spin without bouncing. In fact, I'm much more comfrotable in this position in the drops than when I first started on the hoods.

    Give it some time, it will happen on its own.

  24. #24
    Senior Member NCbiker's Avatar
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    FWIW, I rotated the picture to make the wheels level and the dropped a vertical line from the bottom of your knee. From this I would say your seat is too far forward. The diagonal line is 45 degrees and this seems about right for the angle of your back and you still have a little bend in your arms. The frame does not look too big for you to me, but you do need to work on the fit. Again, take this FWIW.


  25. #25
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    You guys are awesome! So much good advice here. I'm glad to hear that the frame is probably right and it's the adjustments I need to work on.

    I actually thought about the aero post not allowing me to come down more, and therefore making it feel like I needed to bring my saddle forward to get my knees comfortable. I didn't like the aero post anyway, so I have a new Nashbar carbon zero setback post on the way that should be here tomorrow.

    For tomorrow's ride I'll stick the new post on, lower it a bit, and drop a plumb line to get the right setback. Then I'll push the bars down to flatten out the drops. I knew there was a reason I hated riding in the drops...

    If things are starting to feel right, I'm just going to put some miles on, focusing on keeping my back flat and appreciating the new position. And I've got a 100mm stem laying around that I could pop on there to try out. I never thought I'd want more stretch, but it sounds like after I get used to being lower, I might want to get longer.

    You guys called it: I've been mountain biking for 10 years and just started on road bikes. I want efficiency and long rides, and I'm willing to spend the time to learn how to get it right. Thanks so much again! I'll post new pics and thoughts when I get everything changed up.

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