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Frame Size Advice

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Frame Size Advice

Old 10-06-19, 11:36 AM
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Frame Size Advice

Hey Everyone,

First time poster so please forgive me for any mistakes. I've read plenty of posts about frame sizing online but I was hoping I could get some insight on my dilemma. I am an 5'9 male with a 32" inseam looking to buy my first road/gravel bike. I am 24, 180lbs, and have an average build with an arm span only a couple inches shorter than my height, and fairly flexible. After doing some research I have decided on picking up a 2020 Kona Rove ST but I am having difficulty deciding between a 52 or 54 cm frame as I seem to be right in between the two sizes.

I have gone in and tested both sizes, but being newer to cycling I am unsure which is "better" for me. The 52 felt much more responsive, albeit a little too responsive at times (maybe because I am new to a narrow tire), and the 54 felt more stable but a little less responsive on the tighter corners, I didn't get a chance to do much climbing or descents. Neither bike felt overly cramped or like I was reaching too far for any position. When straddling the bike frame I have some clearance with the 52 but very little with the 54. The staff at the bike shop seemed to think I should pick up the 52 and the general consensus online seems to be go smaller as "it's easier to make a small bike bigger than a big bike smaller".

I'm sure it seems like I've answered my own question. I am leaning towards the 52, but I was hoping to get some more opinions before purchasing if anyone is willing to share. I can't leave a link due to my account being new but if you search for "2020 Kona Rove ST" there is a sizing guide for reference. My biggest concern is having to get "too low" on the 52 as I have had some back issues in the past, but I have been reading up on stem extenders to address this. Any recommendations on which extenders work best for a bike like this?

I should add my intended use for the bike is commuting, exercise and day tours. However, I am an avid camper and like the idea of doing long distance multi-day tours as I progress as a cyclist. I really do not see myself competing, as I am aware this isn't really a competition bike anyways.

Thanks in advance, I look forward to hearing your opinions.
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Old 10-06-19, 02:14 PM
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Get the 52. When posting inseam, be sure it's a cycling inseam, measured from the floor to firm crotch contact in bare feet.
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Old 10-06-19, 02:57 PM
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Thank you for the insight. I looked at a guide beforehand and did the proper cycling inseam by myself with a tape measure. I might try again with my partner's assistance to see if it produces a more accurate measurement as I feel like I'm closer to a 31"/31.5" inseam. The Rove's sizing guide seems to point towards the 54 cm frame for a 5'9" individual with a 31"-32" inseam, however most cyclists (online and in-store) advise to go with the smaller option when deciding on frame size. I'm going to try taking them out for a another test ride and make my decision. Thanks again.
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Old 10-09-19, 09:21 PM
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Again, you need your real cycling inseam not a sorta guesstimate or your blue jean size. And are you really a full 5'9"? Okay, I will play, you claim to have a 31.5 inch cycling inseam and 5'9" tall, longish arms, so I would probably put you on a 52 cm frame but the longer arms might favor a frame with a 54 cm effective top tube. The effective top tube length is the real number that defines the frame size because manufacturers use all manner of seat tube measurement to divine a frame size with little consistency. The 52 cm will be a fairly aggressive fit. But you are a young guy and will probably prefer that as you gain skill and fitness. A 52 cm effective top tube will probably feel squnched up a bit.

Me, just an example, 5'10" and 33.8 inch true cycling inseam, long arms, I ride bicycles with top tubes of 56 cm plus or minus a skosh. I have bicycles the manufacturer claimed to be a 52, a 54, some 56 and a 57 and a 58 among others. But they all have a 56 cm top tube or very close.
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