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  1. #1
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    Is my frame too small?

    I'm 5'11-6', don't know my inseam but I ride a 56cm road bike (feels a tad large)

    My fixed gear commuter is a Jamis sonik track bike and it's 54cm. I plan on getting into track and converting my bike into a track specific bike. My question is: Is this frame too small or is it common to run a little small.

    Where the seat is now gives me a slight 10 degree bend in my knees (optimal fitting) but you can see how far down the handlebars are and it seems a little far

    Thanks


  2. #2
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    we need more info. at ~6ft i would say a 54 is way too small. i am 6'1" and use a 60cm with plenty of seat post and a 130mm stem:




    if i ride my wifes 55cm bike i feel like a clown.

  3. #3
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    Good lord.. haha well I'll try to go get fitted again at my LBS tomorrow.
    The stem on there right now is 80mm I believe

    I might just try to sell this (don't want to since I built it part by part) and get a nice track bike with the right frame size

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by canemaster View Post
    Good lord.. haha well I'll try to go get fitted again at my LBS tomorrow.
    The stem on there right now is 80mm I believe

    I might just try to sell this (don't want to since I built it part by part) and get a nice track bike with the right frame size
    like i said, we need more info to really know but a 54 with an 80mm stem sounds very small. if that has a 54-55cm top tube it would be very close to my wifes setup and she is 5'8" and has very long legs for her height.

    i probably wouldnt be able to stand up on it without my thighs hitting the handlebars.

  5. #5
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    The 80mm stem with bullhorns is about right. I run my bullhorns + aerobars with a stem that is 2cm shorter than the stem I use for drop bars. This is normal because bullhorns move the hands much further forward of the stem than drop bars do. If you installed drops, your stem would be around 100mm, which would be appropriate.

    Get drop bars and a 100 and 110mm stem and see what that does for you. Right now, I think the frame is fine.

    Keep in mind that you won't be able to take a beginner class or race anything but time-trials with bullhorn bars. So getting some drop bars is important. You don't need "track" drops unless you plan on doing sprint specific events. Most track riders use road bars. Even this guy:



    (photo by Larry Hickmott)

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    i didnt think about the bullhorns changing things.

    the frame still seems a litle short for being close to 6ft thought. that said, if the seat height is correct you must be fine.

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    My inseem is around 83cm but stand over on a 56cm gives me only about 1 cm clearance.

    My LBS didn't really help much. I explained to them that I ride both 54 and 56 (road bike) and they seemed as indecisive as me. Seeing that I've been fitted (not professionally) for both, I guess both technically work for me.
    It makes sense to just build on this Sonik since I already have it and force it to work with me lol

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by canemaster View Post
    My inseem is around 83cm but stand over on a 56cm gives me only about 1 cm clearance.

    My LBS didn't really help much. I explained to them that I ride both 54 and 56 (road bike) and they seemed as indecisive as me. Seeing that I've been fitted (not professionally) for both, I guess both technically work for me.
    It makes sense to just build on this Sonik since I already have it and force it to work with me lol
    your inseam is basically the same as my wife and as stated above she rides a 55. this is why i said we need more info. despite similar heights our inseams are quite different.

    your bullhorn bars have quite a bit of forward extension so you may be dead on. she is not a bad looking bike either. if it were my size i wouldnt hesitate to ride it with look keo pedals and black bar tape.
    Last edited by thirdgenbird; 11-26-11 at 11:30 PM.

  9. #9
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    Too small.
    Now I need to sell it :/

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by canemaster View Post
    Too small.
    Now I need to sell it :/
    that sucks... what size do you need? was it a top tube issue?

  11. #11
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    It was the overall geometry. I decided to get professionally fit and they were kind enough to fit me on a 54 and 56. Power output and comfort were better with the bigger frame.

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    the Bull horns Vs a Sprinter's steel drop bar?
    I note seeing a head on shot of Chris Hoy, on the velodrome, crouched over ready to Pounce,
    heat treated Chromoly bars to not yield when the throttle is wide open,and the turbo kicks in.

    A Pursuit race is an entirely different set up, so maybe an N+ 1 solution .
    set up 2 different bikes for the 2 different disciplines , and see which one suits you best

  13. #13
    Senior Member kato7997's Avatar
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    Sorry to hijack but I have the same question




    Forgive me for the quality of the first pic. Screen capture and crop from a video. This was kind of impromptu. This bike was setup as a TT bike and I didn't change anything except for the handlebars (explains the saddle and bottle cages). The new saddle will be set back further. It currently has a 105mm stem on it.

    I am 5'11"-6" the bike has a 54cm top tube.

  14. #14
    Senior Member kato7997's Avatar
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    I feel like a longer stem and more rearward saddle position would put me in a decent position but the frame just looks a little small to me...

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato7997 View Post
    I feel like a longer stem and more rearward saddle position would put me in a decent position but the frame just looks a little small to me...
    Try moving the saddle back some first before you buy a stem. I think that will give you the arm reach you want.

    Make sure you lower the saddle a touch to keep the leg extension the same. When the saddle goes back, it also goes down.

  16. #16
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Try moving the saddle back some first before you buy a stem. I think that will give you the arm reach you want.

    Make sure you lower the saddle a touch to keep the leg extension the same. When the saddle goes back, it also goes down.
    The reason that I say this is because it seems that your knees are way past he pedal spindle. Not that knee over the spindle is the perfect way, but it seems that you way forward. A better photo of you on the bike will help.

    Fuzzy photo gets you fuzzy suggestions

  17. #17
    not actually Nickatina andre nickatina's Avatar
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    Kato, my first impression from the photo posted is you may be suffering from the classic hipster problem of saddle-too-high/bars-too-low.

    I'm coming to this conclusion based on two things:
    1) that arch in your back is a general no-no, and in my experience usually brought on by bars too low.
    2) although the knee extension doesn't look bad at first sight based on angle at the bottom of your pedal stroke, you also have your toe pointed down a good amount, suggesting that you're having to reach a tiny bit at the bottom of the stroke.

    Like Carleton said, reach also looks short and bend in elbows could be better.

    Do you hips rock back and forth when you pedal in the drops? That's sign number one that your saddle is too high. Do you chafe, have problems with saddle sores, or go numb? That can be another, but that's more variable.

    I wouldn't necessarily use saddle fore/aft as a way to ameliorate the reach problem, but I'm not saying that it'd hurt either. In either case, I'd suggest either swapping out for bars with less drop until your back angle flattens away from that curve, or getting a stem with a greater +/- degree. If you kept your saddle fore/aft exactly the same as it is now, I'd also definitely recommend a longer stem to get more reach. What you want is relaxed elbow bend in the drops.

    Bernard Hinault shows a great example of an aggresive, ideal race position:


    This shot of Anquetil is a good indication too:


    As to other dudes asking if their frame is too small - forget standover, height and inseam length. So long as you can get your bars by seat-tube lengths, so long as you can actually stand over the bike physically; you size it by TT and head tube length. You can generally get your contact points in all the same virtual locations per two different, but close, sizes. The dialing in comes from the handling effect you get based on TT length + stem length + bar reach.
    Last edited by andre nickatina; 01-22-12 at 09:25 PM.

  18. #18
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Great post, Andre. Great photos in the post, too.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Great post, Andre. Great photos in the post, too.
    X2

    I agree on all points.

  20. #20
    Senior Member kato7997's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andre nickatina View Post
    Kato, my first impression from the photo posted is you may be suffering from the classic hipster problem of saddle-too-high/bars-too-low.

    I'm coming to this conclusion based on two things:
    1) that arch in your back is a general no-no, and in my experience usually brought on by bars too low.
    2) although the knee extension doesn't look bad at first sight based on angle at the bottom of your pedal stroke, you also have your toe pointed down a good amount, suggesting that you're having to reach a tiny bit at the bottom of the stroke.
    Yes, that position is definitely less than ideal. Like I said it was an impromptu photo. All I did was remove my aero bars and throw on those drops. I didn't change anything about the saddle position which was setup for a TT position. I don't have a longer stem lying around at the moment.

    That foot angle seems ideal to me. My hips don't rock. I'm pretty in touch with what my body tells me, if my saddle is too high I can feel it behind my knee and calves/hamstrings.


    Quote Originally Posted by andre nickatina View Post
    I wouldn't necessarily use saddle fore/aft as a way to ameliorate the reach problem, but I'm not saying that it'd hurt either.In either case, I'd suggest either swapping out for bars with less drop until your back angle flattens away from that curve, or getting a stem with a greater +/- degree. If you kept your saddle fore/aft exactly the same as it is now, I'd also definitely recommend a longer stem to get more reach. What you want is relaxed elbow bend in the drops.

    I never use saddle fore/aft to adjust reach. I only move it based on positioning over the bottom bracket. I have a road saddle on it now and moved it further back as I don't have the aero bars on it at the moment (probably a more UCI-friendly position, as well).

    Next step, at least a 120mm stem. The other option is to go to a 56cm frame (2cm longer top tube + 10mm taller head tube).

    From what I've seen there isn't much difference between the sizing of sprint/keirin and time trial/pursuit bikes. Omnium/scratch/points riders seem to perhaps prefer a slightly larger frame.

  21. #21
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    A few thoughts:

    1) Help us help you. Take time and take proper photos of yourself on the bike. Maybe get a friend to take the photos or set your smartphone on video mode, then hop on, then upload screen captures.

    2) Set the bike up on a trainer and/or lean against the wall. Make sure that the crank arm that is facing the camera is in the forward and 90 degree position so that we can see your knee over the pedal. KOPS isn't the end-all be-all. I don't exactly agree with it, but it's a good starting point.

    3) Take another photo with your leg fully extended. I agree that your foot does look hyper extended. I rarely see men using the "toe dipper" foot position. Most men are neutral or "heel droppers". When I see toe dippers, they are usually women. Maybe something to do with increased flexibility or wearing heels (not to be sexist).

    4) The biggest difference between sprint bikes and mass start bikes is effective seat tube angle. "Effective" because the saddle fore/aft fine tunes this angle. Sprint bikes are generally 74.5-76 degrees and mass start are around 73-74. This pushes the sprinters forward and their bars go down for more aero, but puts LOTS of load on the arms and shoulders. Mass start racers don't hit the same top speeds and value the comfort of having more weight on the saddle over the aero benefits of being ultra low. Sprint events are no longer than 2 minutes. Mass start events can be 20 minutes or longer.
    Last edited by carleton; 01-24-12 at 09:42 AM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Andre's post is pretty helpful. I would give serious consideration to what he is saying. Lots of people ride with the seat too high for maximum power output and never realize it until they get fitted. You clearly are a ways off from ideal in that fuzzy photo, even if it feels comfortable. We are just trying to help ya.

  23. #23
    not actually Nickatina andre nickatina's Avatar
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    Thanks for backing me dudes.

    One more note: although outsiders and those new at it (myself included a handful of years ago) often get caught up in the various divisions of track racing (sprint events, pursuits, mass starts), the exclusivity of each division is really only pronounced at the professional level and not really much to consider for 95% of amateurs. Said another way: don't limit yourself to putting yourself into one category early on; race everything, see what you like and are good at and go from there. This can even take a few years of experimentation as off-season training can have a big effect on what you're going to really get into in the season. From a bike sizing perspective, aside from what Carleton said, another consideration for pursuit/TT bar setups vs. drop bar setups is the headtube length - sometimes people with a great fit on their drop bars and a tall-ish headtube end up running out of room to get the aerobars lower for a pursuit position, and have to run negative rise stems as a result (or even those funky adjustable ones). Going by your picture, I'd say such a thing isn't going to be an issue if you plan on going for pursuits. For about 95% of amateurs out there, one race bike is adequate to do it all; what fits well for endurance events is likely not to hold you back in sprints, and even so minor adjustments to stem length and height can be made to really dial things in. (Personally, I just like keeping everything set up the same regardless; that way I'm comfortable not matter what - but I lean mainly towards the points race end of the spectrum with a little bit of sprint stuff thrown in for fun, and no pursuits.)

    One last thing about sizing up: I'd be wary of going up any size that'll have you on less than 100mm stem for handling reasons. Also, I'd suggest compact road handlebars or shallower traditional bends to get the bars up a little bit, personally. If you have any fitters in town with experience in fitting for track racers (not that hard really as you just have to fit someone with the intention that they'll be in the drops 100% of the time vs. a road fitter fitting someone around their brake hoods, but surprisingly some people get put off by it), I'd definitely suggest having a chat with them and seeing if they are apt to help.

  24. #24
    Senior Member kato7997's Avatar
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    Again, yes, I know...the fit sucks. I'm more concerned about the frame sizing but yes, I know if it was a better fit it would be easier to tell what I needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by andre nickatina View Post
    One more note: although outsiders and those new at it (myself included a handful of years ago) often get caught up in the various divisions of track racing (sprint events, pursuits, mass starts), the exclusivity of each division is really only pronounced at the professional level and not really much to consider for 95% of amateurs. Said another way: don't limit yourself to putting yourself into one category early on; race everything, see what you like and are good at and go from there. This can even take a few years of experimentation as off-season training can have a big effect on what you're going to really get into in the season. From a bike sizing perspective, aside from what Carleton said, another consideration for pursuit/TT bar setups vs. drop bar setups is the headtube length - sometimes people with a great fit on their drop bars and a tall-ish headtube end up running out of room to get the aerobars lower for a pursuit position, and have to run negative rise stems as a result (or even those funky adjustable ones). Going by your picture, I'd say such a thing isn't going to be an issue if you plan on going for pursuits. For about 95% of amateurs out there, one race bike is adequate to do it all; what fits well for endurance events is likely not to hold you back in sprints, and even so minor adjustments to stem length and height can be made to really dial things in. (Personally, I just like keeping everything set up the same regardless; that way I'm comfortable not matter what - but I lean mainly towards the points race end of the spectrum with a little bit of sprint stuff thrown in for fun, and no pursuits.)
    This is exactly what I'm getting at. I want to a frame with enough flexibility for different types of riding. The 54cm feels suitable for a TT/Pursuit position but not so sure with drops...I'll find out when I can get a longer stem on there. Any issues with running a stem over 120mm?

    I feel like the 56cm could be more comfortable but I don't want to run a short stem. With the relatively short headtube (125mm) I don't think it would hold me back from a decent TT/Pursuit position.

    Thanks for all the tips and info.

  25. #25
    not actually Nickatina andre nickatina's Avatar
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    I personally run a 140mm stem on my track bike with short reach road compact drops. No issues at all and I prefer my stems to be in the 110-130mm range typically, using TT length and HT/ST angles as the difference to get fit right.

    (I think I already mentioned it but sometimes people get caught up just in the length of the stem without accounting for bar reach as well. A set of Deda Pistas have ~35mm more reach than my current Deda RHM02's, so riding the equivalent position with them would necessitate a 100-110mm stem. No one ever seems to give that combination a second glance, but for some reason doing the equivalent with a 140mm turns some heads. Simple lapse in reasoning, maybe.)

    Anyways, sounds like you're on the right track. Dial ideal fit in first than decide if you want to change sizes after.

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