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Bike too small!!!

Old 03-29-15, 11:54 PM
  #1  
iftkwoody
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Bike too small!!!

Hi all am new here so I imagine this has been asked a trillion times.

I have just purchased a second hand specialized tricross with a 54cm frame, I'm 5' 11" so am big for the bike (or the bikes small for me) obviously buying secondhand I was always going to have to suffer something from the purchase. I did a 50 mile ride Saturday (first decent ride since 2012) and I've got a little bit of a sore back, I've always been into mountain biking rather than touring/cyclocross so am used to having a smaller bike but not on long rides.

My question is... Is there anything I can adjust to make the ride more suitable for me?
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Old 03-29-15, 11:56 PM
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Get a bike fit first.
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Old 03-30-15, 12:34 AM
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What's one of them?
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Old 03-30-15, 03:07 AM
  #4  
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A good local shop should be able to fit you to your bike. If you are patient & inclined, there's a lot of good info on YouTube.
54cm sees pretty small for you. But, I see a lot of pros riding small frames, these days. It may do you well to keep your eyes open for something in the 56-57cm range.
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Old 03-30-15, 04:25 AM
  #5  
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Thanks, I am the sort of rider that will spend 6 months trying to be the best in the world then not ride again for a year, I only brought the bike as I had just sold my old mtb and had the cash, couldn't afford a new one so will have to set it up for myself or get a shop to do it. I don't mind a tinker so will hopefully reach something along the lines of acceptable. It wasn't painfully uncomfortable but again over 50 miles from doing nothing for years I was expecting some pain lol
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Old 03-30-15, 07:17 AM
  #6  
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The frame is small for you, but not unworkable. With a long enough stem you can probably make the bike fit. There may be a few challenges but if you have good flexibility and can tolerate a fair amount of saddle to bar drop, you can make it work. Also note that a little discomfort may just be your body adjusting to a new riding position. Get someone to photograph you in riding position (prop yourself up against a wall). If your back is flat, your bike fit may not be too far off. If your back is arched, you need to get yourself stretched out and/or more upright.

Step one is to get your saddle height correct. Use whatever rule of thumb you like as a starting point. The Lemond method is nice and simple: crank axle to top of saddle measured along seatpost = 0.883 x cycling inseam. This is just a starting point, but it likely won't be more than 5mm off from optimal.

Step two is saddle setback. There's no scientific basis for it, but KOPS (knee over pedal spindle) is a reasonable starting point.

Once you have your saddle in a good position relative to the bottom bracket, you can position the bars for comfort. I'm guessing you'll want at least a 130 mm stem (but that's just a guess) to get enough reach. Your LBS can be a big help here. You're probably going to have a significant saddle to bar drop (because the smaller frame will have a shorter than optimal head tube). Flip the stem so it angles up and add as many spacers underneath as you need to get the bars where you need them. Do not post pictures of your bike to the "Hot r Not" thread

Once you have your setup, ride it for a while without changing anything (unless you're in agony). If something is still bothering you after a couple hundred miles, then adjust (by a small amount) what you think will fix it and try again. If you're impatient, you can pay a pro fitter $300 to do all this for you.
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Old 03-30-15, 11:08 PM
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I'm 5'11" and I expect my next road frame to be in the 54cm range. Granted, I have really short legs (30" pants inseam), but my current 57cm bike is big on me reach-wise while I'm all-torso. I run an 80mm stem on it.

I'm guessing a fitter could put you into a 100-120mm stem and see how far the seatpost could extend. I've seen plenty of accounts of 5'11" on 54cm on this site.
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Old 03-31-15, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by iftkwoody View Post
I did a 50 mile ride Saturday (first decent ride since 2012) and I've got a little bit of a sore back[...]
No bike fit is going to eliminate soreness altogether.

54mm frame and 5'11" rider is not necessarily ideal but not crazy. You can work with the stem set-up to get the bars higher, if necessary.
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Old 03-31-15, 09:59 AM
  #9  
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Thanks guys much appreciated, I think I'm gonna need to move the seat back slightly, and raise the stem a little after having a good look at my position I don't hint I'm far off getting it right, the soreness was probably a lot to do with the long ride for my first ride. Aiming to do a 100 miler within a month or 2
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Old 03-31-15, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by flargle View Post
No bike fit is going to eliminate soreness altogether.

54mm frame and 5'11" rider is not necessarily ideal but not crazy. You can work with the stem set-up to get the bars higher, if necessary.
Well, the Tricross has some odd geometry. I'm 5' 10" and I've had numerous versions of the Tricross and always rode a 56cm. The 54cm was too cramped. Every other bike I rode a 54cm including my Moots cyclocross I have currently. The OP could play around with various stem lengths to find one that fits properly. He should be able to get it to fit well enough.
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Old 03-31-15, 02:06 PM
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5'11" a 58 is probably better *, so maybe strip the bike you Got and get a bigger Frameset with a Fork

* Ive aged down from 5'10" to 5'9 and I get a touring bike Fit out of a 57x57. not much post out on a Horizontal Top Tube Frame

Logically you get a Longer seat post , and a longer stem with up angle (or not.. will be still low , but some people are into that fit. )
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Old 03-31-15, 09:50 PM
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58? Uh, no... I'm one inch shorter and ride a 54. I even have long legs. He can make a 54 work with a longer stem.
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Old 03-31-15, 10:50 PM
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I have a 54 cross bike and I am 6'. It's a bit small but it's the bike I ride the most and I love it.

If that was your first 50 mile ride in a few years, there's a good chance you'd be sore no matter what. Keep riding, and your body will adjust to being back on the bike.
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Old 04-01-15, 12:11 AM
  #14  
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Also consider that a bike with wider cross tires will have a taller standover height and feel "bigger".

I've never ridden a Tricross, but I still maintain that a 54mm can be made workable, assuming you don't have 34" (pants inseam) legs.
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Old 04-01-15, 03:03 AM
  #15  
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While fit will be very individual. I'm 5' 11" and of average proportions and ride 21" (54 cm) frames for my road bike, my mutt, and my old school MTB. None of them has an unusual amount of seat post extension or setback, or unusually long stems (90mm x 90 degrees on the road bike and 110mm x +15 degrees on the Mutt and MTB). The cranks are 170mm on the Roadie and the Mutt and 175 on the MTB. I used to ride more stretched out, but found that I was less comfortable with no appreciable increase in speed. So I don't see any reason that the 54 cm would be freakishly small for the OP and should be adaptable without any extraordinary measures.
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Old 04-01-15, 08:14 AM
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54 does not sound like an unreasonably small bike, although every bike and rider are different. With modern 'sloping top tube' bikes (such as the tricross), the 'number' associated with the frame size is a bit smaller than that for a similar fitting bike from BITD... so a 54cm tricross might fit like a 56 or 58 level top tube 'traditional' bike.
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Old 04-01-15, 10:25 AM
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Yea Bring a tape measure 'size' is a spongy dimension , the tape measure will be clear.
as the seat tube can extend quite a ways above where the top tube joins it, and that can be included in the 'size'.

Racing Cyclo cross? or the Gravel grinder thing? 1 is short and you carry the bike over stuff , the other is just a gravel road ride.

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Old 04-01-15, 10:33 AM
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FWIW- I don't think your back pain is related to frame size.

Usually you hear of back problems caused by a frame that's too long, not too short, so I wouldn't expect them on a too small frame.

I suspect you have back problems because the road position is new to you, and the ride was long. Getting some fit advice is always good, even if you don't pay for a formal fit, but you might also benefit from a higher stem (if possible), or changing your position a few times during the ride, to stretch or relax your back. The problems may also resolve as your condition improves and you get more used to the road position.

My advice, take it slow, do some fine tuning and see how things go.
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Old 04-02-15, 11:03 AM
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Thanks for all the input guys.

I've adjusted what I can and feel a lot more comfortable, only done ten miles solid since adjustments were made but off for a 25 miler tomorrow so will see then how the back feels.

I think it may well be a case of getting used to the completely different riding position.

One thing I will say is I'm absolutely loving the bike even for short rides it's fun I'm using it for popping down the shops and to and from the gym, I feel like a kid again ☺
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Old 04-02-15, 10:58 PM
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Its too small.

You need a 55 or 56. At 5'7" my sizes are 52,53 or 54 depending on the brand.

You cannot make a small bike more comfortable while you can sorta work with a too big frame.
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Old 04-03-15, 05:42 PM
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I'm 5' 9/10" with 2 Tricross Comps both 56cm. As much as I tried to convince myself in test rides, the 54 always felt small and cramped. I felt my knees were always too bent, and could never get full pedaling leg extension even with extended saddle height.

I agree with previous posts... it's not a lost cause. Saddle height and setback might be the solution, although with the Tricross, handlebar height adjustment is limited but should help too.
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