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5'7" Road Bike frame sizing?

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5'7" Road Bike frame sizing?

Old 10-26-20, 04:32 PM
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kevsf
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5'7" Road Bike frame sizing?

I am buying my first road bike (technically second because I impulsively bought one too big (58cm) and it strains my neck).

The online guides seem to give a 53-55cm range for 5'6"-5'9". I am 5'7" tall and wear 30x30 in pants size.

Can I buy a 53cm, 54cm or 55cm frame? I read that I should aim for a 54cm but I'm buying second hand so I feel like I can't be picky.

Does the wheel size factor into sizing? 700cc vs 26in
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Old 10-26-20, 04:50 PM
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(Wheel) Size matters... Here are some general sizing charts.

There are other factors involved like top tube length, reach, stack height, seat lay back, stem length...
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Old 10-26-20, 04:53 PM
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If you are buying a new bike, I recommend going with the manufacturer's suggested size for that model bike. Some actually do have different sizing recommendations for various models. I'd even apply the same to an old bike if you can find the recommendations.

If a manufacturers size recommendation is between two size bikes, then generally, the smaller frame will feel more sporty and you might actually make more power on it. The larger frame will feel more stable at speed and depending on your specific body dimensions might be more comfortable, but could be less comfortable if your dimensions go the other way.

If you want to run calculators and stuff on the web that supposedly pick the perfect frame size for you, then you really are obsessing too much about your perfect pick for a bike. Hopefully it's your first road bike. Not your last road bike. As you get experience, you'll realize things you want different in your next bike if you pay attention.
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Old 10-26-20, 05:04 PM
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The bigger the frame the longer it gets. Inside leg sizing only factors for standand over height and saddle to pedal distance. Reach factors for torso and arm distance. Stack factors for how low or high the front end of the bike is. Low stack means a short head tube and a more agressive riding postion in road bike terms, puting the rider in a lower flater postion. a higher stack means a longer head tube, puting the rider in a more up right postion.

If you are going down the used bike route and your not armed with a list of measurements then it's doing it the old fasioned way...Get on the bike see how it feels. It's probably the case of trying a few before you find the right fit.
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Old 10-26-20, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob the Mech View Post
The bigger the frame the longer it gets. Inside leg sizing only factors for standand over height and saddle to pedal distance. Reach factors for torso and arm distance. Stack factors for how low or high the front end of the bike is. Low stack means a short head tube and a more agressive riding postion in road bike terms, puting the rider in a lower flater postion. a higher stack means a longer head tube, puting the rider in a more up right postion.

If you are going down the used bike route and your not armed with a list of measurements then it's doing it the old fasioned way...Get on the bike see how it feels. It's probably the case of trying a few before you find the right fit.
When I was testing out the 58cm road bike I bought, it felt alright. Maybe its the excitement of buying something that made me think I can "make it work".
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Old 10-26-20, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by kevsf View Post
When I was testing out the 58cm road bike I bought, it felt alright. Maybe its the excitement of buying something that made me think I can "make it work".
Like buying a really nice pair of shoes one size too big and wearing two pairs of socks to make them fit...
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Old 10-26-20, 10:29 PM
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I am surprised you could clear the top tube on the 58cm frame.
Anyways if you are shopping for older used bikes with quill stems- you can find replacement quill stems in many different height and reach combinations, so you can easily make a smaller frame fit you. Whereas with threadless stems there is a limit to how high you can relocate the handlebars.
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Old 10-26-20, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by kevsf View Post

Can I buy a 53cm, 54cm or 55cm frame? I read that I should aim for a 54cm but I'm buying second hand so I feel like I can't be picky.
The short answer is yes. Any of those should work. You could probably go to 52 or 56 and make it work. Depends on the frame geometry as well as your own.

But 54 +/- 1 is no problem and can almost always be adapted with only simple tweaks.

Personally, I'd go for a bit too large over a bit too small. But I'm out of step with modern sizing and most people now feel the opposite.
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Old 10-27-20, 05:22 AM
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I'm 5'8" in height. Table recommends 54 cm for me but instead I bought a 50 cm bike (two sizes smaller). It worked out very well for me. Didn't had any fit issues nor toe clearance issue.

I did ordered a longer stem like 110 cm and greater angle to increase reach a bit and to increase handlebar drop to improve aero. Stock stem is 80 cm. Given that 110 cm stem is not unusual either and many road bikes do come with 110 cm stock stem length.
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Old 10-27-20, 09:04 AM
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I'm the same heigth as you and I ride a bike with a 54cm effective top tube. Most of the time this size is fine, especially about mid summer when I get into my best physical condition after a winter layoff. Often though, I would have preferred a slightly smaller frame, say ETT of 52cm. It works out that if a frame is too big there is no adjustment that will make it fit well and the longer the ride, the more that misfit will become apparent. A frame that is toward the small side had many adjustments possible.

For example, in a too large frame it may not ever be possible to find optimal saddle position which is totally dependent on the bottom bracket. On a frame toward the small side, there are several choices to get the saddle in the best location.
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Old 10-27-20, 09:21 AM
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If we are talking standard geometry - 53cm would be ideal considering your inseam with your height. Anything 55cm or above is too big.

Everything else depends on manufacturer, you need to know what the geometry is on the bike you are looking at. If you are unfamiliar with stack and reach, you want something that has a virtual top tube (effective top tube) measurement (TT) 52cm-54cm range. You will need to fine tune your reach with a stem of appropriate length.

JMO
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Old 10-27-20, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
I am surprised you could clear the top tube on the 58cm frame.
Anyways if you are shopping for older used bikes with quill stems- you can find replacement quill stems in many different height and reach combinations, so you can easily make a smaller frame fit you. Whereas with threadless stems there is a limit to how high you can relocate the handlebars.
I was wondering about the different stems I was seeing on old vs newer bikes but didn't know the terminologies so didn't know where to start. thank you!

I have a quill stem on my current 58cm bike but I won't mess with it since its not a smaller frame.
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Old 10-27-20, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
The short answer is yes. Any of those should work. You could probably go to 52 or 56 and make it work. Depends on the frame geometry as well as your own.

But 54 +/- 1 is no problem and can almost always be adapted with only simple tweaks.

Personally, I'd go for a bit too large over a bit too small. But I'm out of step with modern sizing and most people now feel the opposite.
I also had read a post somewhere that a bike shop owner preferred to recommend going a size up on bikes. But I think I'll go with a bit smaller instead to avoid neck pain from over stretching.
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Old 10-27-20, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
I'm 5'8" in height. Table recommends 54 cm for me but instead I bought a 50 cm bike (two sizes smaller). It worked out very well for me. Didn't had any fit issues nor toe clearance issue.

I did ordered a longer stem like 110 cm and greater angle to increase reach a bit and to increase handlebar drop to improve aero. Stock stem is 80 cm. Given that 110 cm stem is not unusual either and many road bikes do come with 110 cm stock stem length.
Do you have your saddle higher than the handlebar? And did you have to move it higher when you changed out for the longer stem?
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Old 10-27-20, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by berner View Post
I'm the same heigth as you and I ride a bike with a 54cm effective top tube. Most of the time this size is fine, especially about mid summer when I get into my best physical condition after a winter layoff. Often though, I would have preferred a slightly smaller frame, say ETT of 52cm. It works out that if a frame is too big there is no adjustment that will make it fit well and the longer the ride, the more that misfit will become apparent. A frame that is toward the small side had many adjustments possible.

For example, in a too large frame it may not ever be possible to find optimal saddle position which is totally dependent on the bottom bracket. On a frame toward the small side, there are several choices to get the saddle in the best location.
Sorry, what does ETT mean?

At our heights, with a 52 or 53cm frame, would the adjustments be minor things like changing the saddle height and/or stem height? Or would the adjustments be buying/changing out hardware like a new stem?
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Old 10-27-20, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
If we are talking standard geometry - 53cm would be ideal considering your inseam with your height. Anything 55cm or above is too big.

Everything else depends on manufacturer, you need to know what the geometry is on the bike you are looking at. If you are unfamiliar with stack and reach, you want something that has a virtual top tube (effective top tube) measurement (TT) 52cm-54cm range. You will need to fine tune your reach with a stem of appropriate length.

JMO
Thanks! I will aim for a 53cm frame.

I briefly read up on stack and reach and it seems tough to measure. Do people use two measuring tapes at once?

I just measured my old mountain bike's TT using this image guide and it's 54cm. I find I get a little back discomfort after an hour of riding on it so maybe I'll aim for a TT of 52cm-53cm on a road bike. Thank you!
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Old 10-27-20, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by kevsf View Post
Do you have your saddle higher than the handlebar? And did you have to move it higher when you changed out for the longer stem?
You should not adust the saddle height according to the handlebar height. The saddle height will depend entirely on your leg inseam length. Handlebar height depends entirely on how upright you want on the bike for the sake of comfort vs aerodynamics.

My longer stem will be installed flipped so the handlebar would end up lower and farther from me for less upright position, more reach, and better aerodynamics.
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Old 10-27-20, 06:49 PM
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Your height doesn't matter as much as the length of your torso. ETT means Effective Top Tube.
The effective top tube length is the horizontal distance from the top tube/head tube junction to the seat tube. This measurement has become significant as more and more bikes are designed with sloping top tubes.
https://www.bikecad.ca/effective_top_tube_length

To get your recommended ETT, go to: https://www.competitivecyclist.com/S...ulatorBike.jsp
and have someone help you get your measurements.

When sizing a bike, go by ETT length, not nominal size, either in cm. or S/M/L. ETT is the critical measurement. Saddles go up and down easily.
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Old 10-28-20, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Your height doesn't matter as much as the length of your torso. ETT means Effective Top Tube. https://www.bikecad.ca/effective_top_tube_length

To get your recommended ETT, go to: https://www.competitivecyclist.com/S...ulatorBike.jsp
and have someone help you get your measurements.

When sizing a bike, go by ETT length, not nominal size, either in cm. or S/M/L. ETT is the critical measurement. Saddles go up and down easily.
But you aren't saying to disregard the seat tube length or nominal size cm or S/M/L.........right?

I can imagine some with really long arms and torsos with short legs not being able to reach the pedals properly on some of the old bikes with horizontal top tube that increase stack by simply increasing the head tube and seat tube length. Even maybe some newer geometry bikes to with sloped top tubes.
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Old 10-28-20, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
But you aren't saying to disregard the seat tube length or nominal size cm or S/M/L.........right?

I can imagine some with really long arms and torsos with short legs not being able to reach the pedals properly on some of the old bikes with horizontal top tube that increase stack by simply increasing the head tube and seat tube length. Even maybe some newer geometry bikes to with sloped top tubes.
Not as critical on sloping or compact frames. Standard frames are when you really need to pay attention to the ST height, especially if you are short.

The geometry of S,M,L,XL can vary from manufacturer. So if one is unfamiliar with stack and reach, the ETT is what you should pay attention to. It will usually jive with manufacturer recommendation....but not always. I could be a Small on one bike and a M on another.
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Old 10-28-20, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
But you aren't saying to disregard the seat tube length or nominal size cm or S/M/L.........right?

I can imagine some with really long arms and torsos with short legs not being able to reach the pedals properly on some of the old bikes with horizontal top tube that increase stack by simply increasing the head tube and seat tube length. Even maybe some newer geometry bikes to with sloped top tubes.
For horizontal top tubes, look at standover height. If you have that, seat tube length should be fine, but if it's close you're getting into the issue that you might not have the saddle-bar drop you want. So yes, you want to check stack height and I am saying to disregard seat tube based and S/M/L sizing, the former because it's outdated and the latter because it's imprecise.
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Old 10-29-20, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by kevsf View Post
Sorry, what does ETT mean?

At our heights, with a 52 or 53cm frame, would the adjustments be minor things like changing the saddle height and/or stem height? Or would the adjustments be buying/changing out hardware like a new stem?
Sorry. I'm generally against acronyms because they are not always understood. ETT is Effective Top Tube. This comes about because in earlier years the top tube on bikes was horizontal. Modern frames today have a sloping top tube so that if using the top tube as a reference dimension we use a horizontal measurement because today's frames will have varying amounts of slope in the top tube. Thus, ETT provides a consistant reference across various frames.
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Old 10-30-20, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
If you are buying a new bike, I recommend going with the manufacturer's suggested size for that model bike. Some actually do have different sizing recommendations for various models. I'd even apply the same to an old bike if you can find the recommendations.

If a manufacturers size recommendation is between two size bikes, then generally, the smaller frame will feel more sporty and you might actually make more power on it. The larger frame will feel more stable at speed and depending on your specific body dimensions might be more comfortable, but could be less comfortable if your dimensions go the other way.

If you want to run calculators and stuff on the web that supposedly pick the perfect frame size for you, then you really are obsessing too much about your perfect pick for a bike. Hopefully it's your first road bike. Not your last road bike. As you get experience, you'll realize things you want different in your next bike if you pay attention.
I would careful about blindly going by manufacturer’s recommended size. When I was looking at Trek Domanes, Trek’s recommended size for me was 58cm. But, with the saddle in the lowest position I could barely reach the pedals, and the reach was too long. I could hardly ride the bike. Went to a 56cm bike, and the fit was much better. I’m 6’.
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Old 10-31-20, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Mojo31 View Post
I would careful about blindly going by manufacturer’s recommended size. When I was looking at Trek Domanes, Trek’s recommended size for me was 58cm. But, with the saddle in the lowest position I could barely reach the pedals, and the reach was too long. I could hardly ride the bike. Went to a 56cm bike, and the fit was much better. I’m 6’.
I wouldn't recommend going blindly either by the manufacturers recommendation or even the effective top tube length. But for those that have nothing else to go by, it's still a good start. My only caveat would be if they know ahead of time that they have exceedingly long or short legs and arms. But conversation usually never gets to that point of asking here.

I'm surprised though that you had so much trouble on a 58 cm frame at 6' of height. I'd have to suspect that you go opposite of me and have short arms and legs for your 6 foot height. I have long legs and long arms for my 5'-11" height. I used to ride a 65 cm frame with no issues. I could even straddle the completely horizontal top tube flat footed.
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Old 10-31-20, 01:05 PM
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sizing

Originally Posted by kevsf View Post
I am buying my first road bike (technically second because I impulsively bought one too big (58cm) and it strains my neck).

The online guides seem to give a 53-55cm range for 5'6"-5'9". I am 5'7" tall and wear 30x30 in pants size.

Can I buy a 53cm, 54cm or 55cm frame? I read that I should aim for a 54cm but I'm buying second hand so I feel like I can't be picky.

Does the wheel size factor into sizing? 700cc vs 26in
As a road cyclist for over 40 years, bicycle store owner for over 12 years and frame builder for the past twenty years, and a simple guideline according to Greg LeMond is to make sure that there is more seat post sticking out of the frame than size of the head tube. I
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