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Is my bike too small?

Old 08-26-19, 11:04 PM
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vuduthmb
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Is my bike too small?

I just bought a Medium Giant Cypress comfort bike. 18" frame. I am 6 feet tall, a little lanky, a little long in the arms and legs. I can find some Giant Cypress size/height charts that say I am within acceptable parameters, and some that don't. Not sure what to believe. The bike feels pretty good. A medium frame felt big to me when I first got on it, but I was used to my Electra Cruiser. I was kind of going by stand over height and looking to see if my leg was fully extended on the pedals. My seat stem is only out 4 0r 5 inches. My handlebars are out to the hash mark on the stem.
I rode a friend's Large Giant Escape today, and surprisingly, it also felt pretty good.
This is not a high end bike, so I'm thinking I might get some meaningful input with the info I've given.
Thank you.
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Old 08-26-19, 11:11 PM
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Going off what you provided, you'd probably be more comfortable on a large (~20") frame.

If your bike is comfortable, just keep riding it.
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Old 08-27-19, 05:14 AM
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I'm in the same dilemma as you are ... I just bought a Jamis Coda and the dealer suggested a size 17 and according to the Jamis sizing chart The 19 would be a better fit I'm going to take the bike back and have a conversation with the dealer .
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Old 08-27-19, 06:32 AM
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My guess is that you're on the cusp where either would do. I'm 6' myself and my bike is a large, but I reckon a medium would have been just as good - possibly better. Since I have legs that are a little short relative to my height I feel in retrospect I might have done better with a medium frame and then put a slightly longer stem on. However, I think you quickly get used to what you ride regularly so I wouldn't sweat it too much.
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Old 08-27-19, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by vuduthmb View Post
I was kind of going by stand over height and looking to see if my leg was fully extended on the pedals.
Charts are guesses based on "average" proportions. Since literally no one is actually average in every dimension, those guesses are going to be worse for some and better for others. I'd go with your sense of how the bike feels over a chart every time.

I'm confused by the language I quoted above--you do know that you don't want your legs "fully extended" at the bottom of your pedal stroke, right? I'm not being a smart aleck, I just wouldn't want you to mess up your knees by hyperextending them repeatedly.
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Old 08-27-19, 07:08 AM
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Knowing nothing else, i'd put someone 6' on a Large first. You probably are on the border, so there might not be a wrong answer, only preference. The pros with a smaller frame is that you'll feel more in control. Smaller frames tend to feel good and fun at first. You can whip 'em around like a kid on a BMW bike. The con is that you'll tend to have a lower front stack so the front bars will be lower and you'll have your seat up high which will bring your butt rearward. You might need more stem as well. A larger frame might feel a little clumsy at first, especially if you're new to correct sizing, but it'll be more efficient and more comfortable in the long term since you can stretch out and not feel crunched. It'll put the bars a little higher which might also be more comfortable.

It's absolutely worth test riding both for a few miles so you know. I'd go back to the shop and explain how you're feeling and say you want to try a Large.
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Old 08-27-19, 07:33 AM
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It might be hard to say until you ride it a while. Plus, one manufacturer's medium may be closer to a large than it would be a small.

I'm 5'9" with 32" standover height, with that info I bought a medium bike several months ago. Over a few months time, I incrementally raised the seat and installed an upward angled stem on the medium. Then I got a large size bike about a month ago, and that bike fit me better.

After looking at some photos of the fit changes on the medium bike, I'm pretty sure that has contributed to my left knee pain that I now appear to be recovering from.

I still have both the medium and large bike, but it is clear to me that I should have gotten a large bike the first time.

Last edited by FiftySix; 08-28-19 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 08-27-19, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by TXBDan View Post
Knowing nothing else, i'd put someone 6' on a Large first. You probably are on the border, so there might not be a wrong answer, only preference. The pros with a smaller frame is that you'll feel more in control. Smaller frames tend to feel good and fun at first. You can whip 'em around like a kid on a BMW bike. The con is that you'll tend to have a lower front stack so the front bars will be lower and you'll have your seat up high which will bring your butt rearward. You might need more stem as well. A larger frame might feel a little clumsy at first, especially if you're new to correct sizing, but it'll be more efficient and more comfortable in the long term since you can stretch out and not feel crunched. It'll put the bars a little higher which might also be more comfortable.

It's absolutely worth test riding both for a few miles so you know. I'd go back to the shop and explain how you're feeling and say you want to try a Large.
The only thing I would add to that is if you are going to err on size, going a little too big is generally far worse than going a little too small, or at least my painful experiences from decades ago would so indicate.
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Old 08-27-19, 08:15 AM
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Why is it dealers and sales are putting people on bikes too small? Seems like a trend to ride the smallest bike possible.
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Old 08-27-19, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Why is it dealers and sales are putting people on bikes too small? Seems like a trend to ride the smallest bike possible.
Just from my own experience, small bikes feel faster out of the gate so I can see why people might grab them before they realize that doing more than a few miles starts to cause problems.
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Old 08-27-19, 08:51 AM
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I just had a tune up of my Novara Ponderosa MTB at the local LBS. I'd bought it new at REI in Boise back in 2002. I'm 6' with about a 32" inseam. Now, in those days, on a hardtail MTB, 3" to 4" above the top tube was where you wanted your *girls* on bikes of this style. I rode it with flat bars for some time but over the years and riding it more on pavement and gravel/dirt, not trails, I changed the geometry some by adding a riser stem and riser bars. I also added a suspension seat post.

So when the shop calls me to tell me the bike is ready, the guy who calls (who I had yet to meet) told me the bike was probably too small for me. I said, my other bike was a Brompton and I liked my Ponderosa just fine.

I understand that cycling has changed in builds, styles, frame geometries, etc. but if a bike worked for a person then, does it not work the same today? Not to say I couldn't fit on a larger bike but I like the nimbleness of this one. After picking it up, I did about 12 miles on the local rim trail (and 3 on the Brompton earlier). I was not displeased with its size. This photo was from last week:


Last edited by CSG; 08-27-19 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 08-27-19, 09:02 AM
  #12  
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I should have said that when my leg is fully extended on the downstroke, there is a slight bend in my knee, just as I have seen in the instructional videos. Not completely straight. Thanks for watching out for me.
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Old 08-27-19, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by CSG View Post
I just had a tune up of my Novara Ponderosa MTB at the local LBS. I'd bought it new at REI in Boise back in 2002. I'm 6' with about a 32" inseam. Now, in those days, on a hardtail MTB, 3" to 4" above the top tube was where you wanted your *girls* on bikes of this style. I rode it with flat bars for some time but over the years and riding it more on pavement and gravel/dirt, not trails, I changed the geometry some by adding a riser stem and riser bars. I also added a suspension seat post.

So when the shop calls me to tell me the bike is ready, the guy who calls (who I had yet to meet) told me the bike was probably too small for me. I said, my other bike was a Brompton and I liked my Ponderosa just fine.

I understand that cycling has changed in builds, styles, frame geometries, etc. but if a bike worked for a person then, does it not work the same today? Not to say I couldn't fit on a larger bike but I like the nimbleness of this one. After picking it up, I did about 12 miles on the local rim trail (and 3 on the Brompton earlier). I was not displeased with its size. This photo was from last week:

Beautiful photo!
I guess if you like to ride more upright a smaller frame would allow that, or a bigger frame would have you more stretched out. To each his own.
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Old 08-27-19, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by vuduthmb View Post
I should have said that when my leg is fully extended on the downstroke, there is a slight bend in my knee, just as I have seen in the instructional videos. Not completely straight. Thanks for watching out for me.
I was hoping that's what it was, but better safe than sorry.

Good thread topic, btw.
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Old 08-27-19, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by CSG View Post
I just had a tune up of my Novara Ponderosa MTB at the local LBS. I'd bought it new at REI in Boise back in 2002. I'm 6' with about a 32" inseam. Now, in those days, on a hardtail MTB, 3" to 4" above the top tube was where you wanted your *girls* on bikes of this style. I rode it with flat bars for some time but over the years and riding it more on pavement and gravel/dirt, not trails, I changed the geometry some by adding a riser stem and riser bars. I also added a suspension seat post.

So when the shop calls me to tell me the bike is ready, the guy who calls (who I had yet to meet) told me the bike was probably too small for me. I said, my other bike was a Brompton and I liked my Ponderosa just fine.

I understand that cycling has changed in builds, styles, frame geometries, etc. but if a bike worked for a person then, does it not work the same today? Not to say I couldn't fit on a larger bike but I like the nimbleness of this one. After picking it up, I did about 12 miles on the local rim trail (and 3 on the Brompton earlier). I was not displeased with its size. This photo was from last week:

There's definitely a fun factor in riding bikes that are on the small side, so I can see why some people would prefer them. I think this notion that there's a platonic ideal fit for everyone doesn't take into account subjective taste and experience.

Raises the question, though, does ANYONE prefer a bike that is a bit on the large size?

Beautiful pic, but definitely stay to the right!
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Old 08-27-19, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Beautiful photo!
I guess if you like to ride more upright a smaller frame would allow that, or a bigger frame would have you more stretched out. To each his own.
I am anxious to try something along the lines of a Trex FX Sport. I think, on the surface, anyway, I might enjoy one of those, especially in the 4 or above. Frankly, the idea of one of the CF models (5 and 6) really appeal to me.
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Old 08-27-19, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Why is it dealers and sales are putting people on bikes too small? Seems like a trend to ride the smallest bike possible.
I have noticed this too! I am around 5'4" but have long legs (31 inseam). They are always throwing me on the smallest bike and I feel so cramped. And I am hitting my knees with the handlebars. *smh*
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Old 08-27-19, 11:56 AM
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You sit on the seat, put your hands on the handlebars, your feet in the pedals. You can make a smaller frame fit with a longer seat post, handlebar stem, perhaps pedals with longer arms. The smaller the frame, the stronger and lighter. I read an article somewhere years ago that recommended getting a slightly smaller frame for this reason. The last time I bought, I got the smaller frame and longer parts to fit. After a vandal bent that frame I had no trouble transferring the parts to a new frame, making them fit.
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Old 08-27-19, 01:12 PM
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I briefly had a Giant Cypress in a M. It felt far too big to me. I'm 6' with long limbs. I sold it quickly, I just don't like the bike style.
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Old 08-27-19, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Why is it dealers and sales are putting people on bikes too small? Seems like a trend to ride the smallest bike possible.
I had the opposite problem; I'm 5'4" with slightly short legs, and when I went bike shopping a young dude kept trying to put me on a medium frame, even though I kept telling him the standover was too high; it was nestling against bone. 'But the chart says you should be on a medium!' Finally the owner stepped in and they put me on a small frame. The cockpit felt cramped. D'oh!
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Old 08-27-19, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Why is it dealers and sales are putting people on bikes too small? Seems like a trend to ride the smallest bike possible.
It's a clever trick, to sell you a second bike, after you find out the first one is too cramped and feels like riding a little kid's bike.
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Old 08-27-19, 02:59 PM
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I would guess that the bike is too small, just based upon my own experience. I am also 6' and started out on a 17" mountain bike which turned out to be too small. Going to a 20" hybrid I found it very, very much easier to ride.
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Old 08-30-19, 10:28 PM
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Wow, I think I'm over thinking that my bike is too small for me. The bike mechanic suggested raising the seat 1 1/2 inch, and it felt like I could barely get on the damn thing. I have also since read about a couple of guys saying that Giant bikes feel big to them. Oddly enough, a friend rode up on a Giant Escape in a Large, and I test drove it. It seemed about the same as my Giant Cypress in a Medium.. Go figure.

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Old 08-30-19, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by CSG View Post

So when the shop calls me to tell me the bike is ready, the guy who calls (who I had yet to meet) told me the bike was probably too small for me. I said, my other bike was a Brompton and I liked my Ponderosa just fine.

I would say that bike is too small for you too.
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Old 08-30-19, 11:13 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
I had the opposite problem; I'm 5'4" with slightly short legs, and when I went bike shopping a young dude kept trying to put me on a medium frame, even though I kept telling him the standover was too high; it was nestling against bone. 'But the chart says you should be on a medium!' Finally the owner stepped in and they put me on a small frame. The cockpit felt cramped. D'oh!
Standover would have to be the most overthought measurement in bikefit IMO.
Standover is only important if you spend a lot of time standing over your bikes top tube, and not really at any other time.
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