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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 05-04-05, 10:24 AM   #1
mr.ridiculous
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49cm Steamroller too small for 5'7" guy?

I'm 5'7" with a 30.5" inseam and a proportional torso to somebody my size. I've been riding my Steamroller for about 3 weeks and it feels pretty comfy. I love the way this bike rides, it is quick and stupid responsive. I feel very in control when riding it, and I like how I can move around on the frame and not feel like I am on something too big. All of the typical measurements of leg position, crank length, femur length, and reach to the bars seems correct, but I have about 2.5 inches of standover. The guys at the LBS who have been riding fixed for years sized me to it and say it is just right.
My problem is this: When ordering the bike I got my inseam measure too small by an inch and a half (my bad) and am wondering if I didn't screw myself. This is the first road bike I've ridden in years and I am not entirely sure if I am just fooling myself into being comfortable on this bike or if I am just adjusting from riding a mountain bike that was too big.
So basically is a 49cm (C-T) too small for a guy who is my size? What aspects of the ride should I look for to determine if it is right? Also, I haven't developed any pain in the legs or back.
Thanks!
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Old 05-04-05, 10:27 AM   #2
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Yes, officially, that bike is too small for you. However, if it feels right and you don't have any problems then it's not really anyone's place to tell you you're wrong...
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Old 05-04-05, 10:34 AM   #3
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A 30.5" inseam is pretty long for a 5'7" guy, so you might have a shorter upper body than some. If that's the case, a bigger bike with a higher standover and longer top tube might not be comfortable for you as you'll be all stretched out on it. A lot of people have the opposite problem... magilla gorilla physiques which leave them wanting a smaller standover and longer top tube. If you start feeling hunched up on the bike you can always try moving your saddle back or getting a longer stem, but it seems like you're comfy and happy so don't sweat it too much.

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Old 05-04-05, 10:35 AM   #4
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i'm 5'5" and ride a 49 steamroller. it fits a little small on me.
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Old 05-04-05, 10:37 AM   #5
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Well, according to the Surly website:

(49cm)
49cm (c-t)
52.9cm eff. TT (c-c)
74.8cm standover

(53cm)
53cm (c-t)
54.7cm TT (c-c)
78cm standover

The 53cm frame would be too long for you on top, requiring you to use a short stem of 10cm or less.

I'm 5'7". If I only had one choice between the two. I would pick the smaller size. All it would mean for me would be longer seat post showing.

I don't like short stems.

And BTW, many fit systems require TT clearance of 2inches or more.
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Old 05-04-05, 10:44 AM   #6
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My current stem is a 10cm Thomson and with my time trial bars I get plenty of reach. When riding with drops it feels fine.
I'm just nervous because I don't know if something fits incorrectly at this point.

Last edited by mr.ridiculous; 05-04-05 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 05-04-05, 10:53 AM   #7
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I'm 5'7" with about the same inseam and I was told by somebody i trust professionally that 49cm would be a decent fit. But I'm also female and we tend to have shorter torsoes. better to go a little smaller. I'm riding something that is too big for me and it's a pain in the a**...even with a shorter(uglier) stem.
speaking of which...anyone got a frame to sell me that size?
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Old 05-04-05, 10:53 AM   #8
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If you are already using a 10cm stem, then the larger frame won't work for you.

Understand this, as you get used to riding more on the road frame your comfort level will rise and your position will change.

Right now leave things as is and just ride.

Over time you may wind up raising your seat post or getting a longer stem or moving your saddle further forward/back.

I remember my first road bike had a stem of 9-10cm. I changed it to a 11cm stem later on. Eventually, got a custom road frame where I use a 13cm stem.

My current custom track bike allows me to use a 11cm or 12cm stem depending on style of handlebars without affecting reach.

Usually, you want to size a frame for use with a 12cm stem on average.
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Old 05-04-05, 10:56 AM   #9
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That makes sense. Any advice on how I will know if I am indeed riding too small a frame? Pain? Lack of power? General malaise?

...and we tend to have shorter torsoes. better to go a little smaller...
I am more stocky than lanky so this is probably true for me as well.
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Old 05-04-05, 11:07 AM   #10
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I'm 5'8" with a 30" inseam and ride a 53cm Steamroller. Seatpost extention is traditional......not too long. And I have standover clearance. (see my avatar, post and saddle from my Steamroller)
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Old 05-04-05, 11:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.ridiculous
That makes sense. Any advice on how I will know if I am indeed riding too small a frame? Pain? Lack of power? General malaise?
Usually, riding a smaller frame will mean one thing: the seat height relative to the top of the handlebars will be high. (Unless, you are using +degree riser stems.) What this means is that your position will be much lower than average for comfort. The average recreational cyclists likes their handlebars high, so they usually buy a frame size larger than I certainly would buy, just for the comfort. See Rivendell for their views on this. End result may be lower back pain and stiff neck.

Personally, if you keep yourself in good shape, or get into better shape and work on your flexibility then comfort issues won't arise, even you were riding a smaller frame than you should.

But, of course, most people don't properly stretch to ride a bike and don't treat their muscles properly as well; so, you get the complaints from the peanut gallery about *too* small frames and such.
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Old 05-04-05, 12:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose R
Right now leave things as is and just ride.

Over time you may wind up raising your seat post or getting a longer stem or moving your saddle further forward/back.
I think that is the best advice, I just don't want to be riding a clown car and hurt myself. But I pay attention to stretching, hydration and what not so I will be hopefully aware if I am doing something wrong.

I rode a bike a bike with a 53cm ST over my lunch break and it felt big. I really like the feeling of being on my Surly. My guess is a 51cm ST would be perfect for me, but Surly doesn't make that size. Maybe I'll seek out an IRO and give it a shot.
Thanks for the pointers everybody.
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Old 05-04-05, 01:15 PM   #13
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Sounds kind of small. I'm 5'9" w/30" inseam and I ride a 55cm.
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Old 05-04-05, 01:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Moto
Sounds kind of small. I'm 5'9" w/30" inseam and I ride a 55cm.
On a Steamroller? Do you have any standover at all? Just curious as that sounds really big.
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Old 05-04-05, 02:26 PM   #15
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I like comfort over nimbleness so i would swap the frames if that were somehow possible even if i had to throw in some money. Is that still an option wherever u purchased it?

Yes, i think it's too small for the way i size my bikes.
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Old 05-04-05, 02:31 PM   #16
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My issue is that I am totally comfortable on this bike. It feels great to me, I just don't know if I am getting all out of it that I could be.
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Old 05-04-05, 02:35 PM   #17
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i'm 5'8" and i ride 50s across the board, except my 52cm geared commuter. they all feel fine to me. my 50cm roadie has a high bottom bracket though, so standover is about what i'd expect a 53 to be, and my reach is just fine on it.

go for the 49cm....deerrrrrrrrr....i mean, if it feels right, keep rocking it.
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Old 05-04-05, 02:54 PM   #18
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way small. I'm 5'4" and i ride a 49-50
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Old 05-04-05, 02:59 PM   #19
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way small. I'm 5'4" and i ride a 49-50
Your legs must go all the way up
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Old 05-04-05, 03:05 PM   #20
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oddly enough, they don't...they kinda stop 1/4 of the way up and then...nothing. it's kinda freaky. she glides on air, she's so graceful!
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Old 05-04-05, 03:10 PM   #21
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Wow! You could get away with almost no top tube like that!
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Old 05-04-05, 04:04 PM   #22
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If it feels right, go with it. I'm 5'7" and my Basso is a 54cm. I think my next bike will be more like 52cm, but the 54cm is super comfy. I don't have much seattube showing, but I've got a long torso so it seems to work out pretty well.
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Old 05-04-05, 05:16 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.ridiculous
On a Steamroller? Do you have any standover at all? Just curious as that sounds really big.
Whoops, sorry, I didn't realize this was the SS/fixed forum. Never mind. (I don't even know what a steamroller is!)
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