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  1. #1
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    Salsa Vaya 3 for recreation and light touring - in between 2 sizes

    Hoping some of you with more experience can shed some light on this dilemma. The 55 and 56 Salsa Vayas both fit me, in different ways. The 55 is more like a glove and I feel more agile. The 56 allows me to stretch out more - the handlebar is too wide, but that can be addressed. Like going from a VW Golf to a SUV. The 55 was uncomfortable without an additional spacer in the head tube - before the spacer, it felt like I was bearing down too much on the bars. On the 56, I am back a bit more and when I look at pictures, weight looks unbalanced - like all my weight is in the back and I am just holding onto the bars for the ride. It doesn't feel that extreme, but that is kind of how it feels. I do feel like I can control the bike, just not as tightly.

    My question is, for riding all day (mostly greenways and trails), is it better to go with a smaller size or a bigger size? I'm not sure what either feels like after a long period of riding, and as I become more accustomed to drop bars. I'm 5'9 - just a hair under 5'10 really and my PBH inseam is about 34, if I recall correctly.

  2. #2
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    I went through this a few years ago, i's about your height and going off the Salsa fitting guide, right in-between 55cm & 56cm, measured up my other bikes vs their specs, and eventually ordered a 56cm frame. Turned out the be fine.

    for the steerer/head tube, the Vaya has very long one, I started with about 2cm of spacers, now down to about 1cm. Have done rides upto 400km on it, and it feels great, although the weight can be noticeable on very long distance rides.

    This was taken earlier this year, and is almost to the spec it's currently in.

    Vaya1.jpg

  3. #3
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Are the bikes set up the same? You can't really compare the fit unless the saddles are set up the same in relation to the crank -- that is, the saddles on both bikes should be the same distance behind or in front of the bottom bracket when measured vertically. Once the saddles are the same, you should be able to adjust the reach to a comfortable range by switching stems if necessary. I would presume that you could fit either bike, and that the best fit is the one that achieves a comfortable handlebar rise and reach without resorting to an extreme stem length. Raising your handlebars effectively shortens the reach, and raising the saddle lengthens it. Stems can be used to shorten or lengthen reach through different stem lengths and rises.

  4. #4
    Old. Slow. Happy. MileHighMark's Avatar
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    I'm 5'10.5", and rode a 57cm Vaya for a couple of years. Saddle height was 73cm, and I ran an 80mm stem. If I was going to buy another Vaya, I'd get a 56cm.
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    These days with the long seat posts and short seat tubes, then if the other diminutions are right, I look for a frame with the right top tube length. I then dial things with stem length and with the Ahead type headset bearings, spacers. It really isn't rocket science.

  6. #6
    Let's Ride! RidingMatthew's Avatar
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    i am in between two sizes of Salsa vayas but it also changes the wheel size. I am 5'9" and have a 30" inseam.

    that seems to make a bigger difference to the fit of the bike 26" vs 700 wheel size
    You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. C. S. Lewis

  7. #7
    Senior Member robert schlatte's Avatar
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    I am 5'8" and have a 56cm Soma Saga. The top tube was slightly long for me so I have me saddle as far forward on the rails as it will go and I changed the 90mm stem to an 80mm one. (the stem can be flipped as well to change the angle) I also have 20 mm spacers under the stem. I have ridden the bike this summer on two long trips totaling approximately 1400 miles and was very comfortable. So, there are any number of ways that you can make either the 55 or 56 vaya fit for you. You just have to play around with the things you can vary.

    My advice would be to get the size frame that gives you the most flexibility. Judging purely from your post, I would say the 56 is most likely the size for you.

  8. #8
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    I'm 5'10" and I ride a 56 with a 90mm stem. Fits me perfectly. 54 was too cramped.



    Last edited by Terry66; 08-14-14 at 07:54 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry66 View Post
    I'm 5'10" and I ride a 56 with a 90mm stem. Fits me perfectly. 54 was too cramped.
    Nice pictures Terry66! What is your inseam? I'm not quite 5'10 myself but do have a long inseam. You said 54 was too cramped - did you try a 55?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissDaisy View Post
    Nice pictures Terry66! What is your inseam? I'm not quite 5'10 myself but do have a long inseam. You said 54 was too cramped - did you try a 55?
    Thanks, it is an awesome bike! My inseam is about 33-34. I did not try a 55. I ordered my frame based on the size chart. We just recently got a Salsa dealer and I tried a 54 they had in stock. Wish I could offer some advice on the 55!

  11. #11
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    Thanks everyone for your responses. I'm leaning towards the 56cm. Comfy and spacious vs. agile sports car given that I'm a bit more of a mellow rider than your average gravel / cyclocross racer. For now, anyway! I'll use a shorter stem - my arms are only about 20.5 in long, so the cockpit does need to be dialed in a bit. It is AMAZING how much of an impact about a 1/2 inch difference in wheel base makes. I think that's what I'm feeling when I ride the 55 vs. 56, with the 90mm stem on the 55 and 80mm on the 56 (we swapped the stems to see what that was like). I think the difference is the wheelbase.

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