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Opinions on my bike size?

Old 04-13-20, 10:02 AM
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Irenicus
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Opinions on my bike size?

Hey guys,

Been getting back into riding lately and have been really questioning the frame size of my bike. I have a 2001 Cannondale R600 that is a 54cm. I am 5'11" 185lbs and am really wondering if the bike is too small for me. I've never been professionally fitted but I have had loose pointers from guys in the shop about seat height etc but I'm just not sure.

I suppose I can just keep playing with the seat and handlebar heights/angles but I just thought I would ask the popular opinion around here. I was kind of ignorant to the specific size when I bought the bike, I just saw 'Large' in the ad and it felt okay riding it at the time.

Any opinions/insight is appreciated thanks guys
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Old 04-13-20, 10:05 AM
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I am 5'8" and I ride a 55 cm. A t 5'11", I would think you could ride a 58 cm bike.
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Old 04-13-20, 10:25 AM
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I am 6ft and ride a 56cm which is the smallest frame I could comfortably ride (I use to ride a 58cm). A 54cm is too small for you, but you can adjust the seatpost height and saddle position along with handlebar stem length and make it work. There is no need to buy a larger frame if these adjustments suit you.
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Old 04-15-20, 06:17 AM
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How does the bike feel to you? Do you feel cramped up on it, are your knees coming up to your chest while pedaling? Body types vary and, even at the same height, diff people may take diff bike sizes to fit them. I didn't know LeMond road bikes were known for a long-ish top tube when I bought it, just knew that when I tried it out, I liked it. When people, without seeing me on the bike, hear the size of the bike and look at me, automatically assume the bike is too small. It fits perfectly. If you feel good on the bike, aren't too cramped or stretched out, your knees aren't coming up too high while pedaling, then it might just be the size for you-the only real way you'll know for sure is try the same bike in a variety of sizes, to see which fits you best.
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Old 04-15-20, 06:58 AM
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Does the bike FEEL to small? Or are you just wondering if that frame size is typical for your hieght?

Go by the former. Ignore the latter.
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Old 04-15-20, 07:48 AM
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I looked at a couple of road bike sizing charts for your height, 5' 11". Felt gave 56 cm, Trek gave 58 cm, and Kestrel gave 57 cm.

When a size chart shows that two sizes bracket my height, I go with the smaller option. The range of adjustability for the seat and handlebars is always tighter going downward than upward. The pros often go down a size just so they can get a larger drop from the seat to the handlebars.

With a 54 cm frame, you should have enough adjustability to find a good height for the seat and handlebars. If the reach to the handlebars is too tight, you can substitute a longer stem.
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Old 04-15-20, 08:28 AM
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I guess the main thing is that you can get the seat high enough. On a road bike you can guess if your seat is high enough by putting your heel on the pedal with the cranks at their lowest position. You knee should be completely straight. You could damage your knees if you ride with your seat too low for too many years. This advice is true for over-extension. After years of riding you will know instinctively when your seat is too high or too low.

Personally I'm not a fan of a big saddle to bars drop so I'd try and go for the manufacturers recommended range. I ride frames that are 1 to 2cm too small ideally for my height (being in the top range of heights and not being able to buy bigger frames) and I've not ever had any problems.

I'd recommend going to your local expert bike shop if / when they are open again and ask their opinion. They may try and sell you a new bike, but you may also be able to extract some handy information, but you may have to pay for a proper bike fit.
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Old 04-15-20, 09:21 AM
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Forget all the bike sizing nonsense and just go back to the old tried and true method. There should be at least an inch between your taint and the top bar of the bike, while standing over it flat footed.
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Old 04-15-20, 09:49 AM
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Make sure you have enough seatpost inside the bike frame (seat tube) to be safe. And don't use a cheap seatpost, you could have a really bad accident if the post breaks. If your fork steerer tube was cut long great, you can set the stem higher. You probably are looking at a 130mm stem. I would guess a 58 frame would be your base size, 56 should work, so a 54 is close. If you could take a spin on a 58 that might let you see how small your bike really is.
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Old 04-15-20, 11:13 AM
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In olden days of level top tubes, as on your 2001 Cannondale, I would confidently say go for 56 if you like them smallish or 59 if you like them big. With current construction and marketing who knows what a 56 might be? There is no longer any agreed method of measuring anything. So read all the fine print, make a guess what it means, and then try the bike. Your old bike was too darn small, what you buy should feel better and should feel better immediately. If it doesn’t feel good right away try other bikes.
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Old 04-19-20, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Fredo_Adagio View Post
I looked at a couple of road bike sizing charts for your height, 5' 11". Felt gave 56 cm, Trek gave 58 cm, and Kestrel gave 57 cm.

When a size chart shows that two sizes bracket my height, I go with the smaller option. The range of adjustability for the seat and handlebars is always tighter going downward than upward. The pros often go down a size just so they can get a larger drop from the seat to the handlebars.

With a 54 cm frame, you should have enough adjustability to find a good height for the seat and handlebars. If the reach to the handlebars is too tight, you can substitute a longer stem.
Yeah I have been trying to keep adjusting it but it's hard to confidently tell what is good. I went for a long ride recently and had a sore lower back for sure..

Originally Posted by JayKay3000 View Post
I guess the main thing is that you can get the seat high enough. On a road bike you can guess if your seat is high enough by putting your heel on the pedal with the cranks at their lowest position. You knee should be completely straight. You could damage your knees if you ride with your seat too low for too many years. This advice is true for over-extension. After years of riding you will know instinctively when your seat is too high or too low.

Personally I'm not a fan of a big saddle to bars drop so I'd try and go for the manufacturers recommended range. I ride frames that are 1 to 2cm too small ideally for my height (being in the top range of heights and not being able to buy bigger frames) and I've not ever had any problems.

I'd recommend going to your local expert bike shop if / when they are open again and ask their opinion. They may try and sell you a new bike, but you may also be able to extract some handy information, but you may have to pay for a proper bike fit.
Most bike shops around here aren't doing fits due to the virus but it's not a bad idea. I'm not really liking the idea of paying $160+ for a fit but that's just me.. I always thought that your knee was supposed to have a slight bend in it when the pedal is at the bottom?

Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Forget all the bike sizing nonsense and just go back to the old tried and true method. There should be at least an inch between your taint and the top bar of the bike, while standing over it flat footed.
Interesting, never heard of this method! It's about an inch right now.

Originally Posted by grizzly59 View Post
Make sure you have enough seatpost inside the bike frame (seat tube) to be safe. And don't use a cheap seatpost, you could have a really bad accident if the post breaks. If your fork steerer tube was cut long great, you can set the stem higher. You probably are looking at a 130mm stem. I would guess a 58 frame would be your base size, 56 should work, so a 54 is close. If you could take a spin on a 58 that might let you see how small your bike really is.
Good idea. I'm kind of lacking the knowledge of bike parts but I think the seat post is long enough - the tube doesn't actually protrude high on this style of frame compared to other bikes I've seen. Riding a 58 is a great idea.

Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
In olden days of level top tubes, as on your 2001 Cannondale, I would confidently say go for 56 if you like them smallish or 59 if you like them big. With current construction and marketing who knows what a 56 might be? There is no longer any agreed method of measuring anything. So read all the fine print, make a guess what it means, and then try the bike. Your old bike was too darn small, what you buy should feel better and should feel better immediately. If it doesn’t feel good right away try other bikes.
I'm casually browsing used bikes in my area and seeing what the market is like for larger frame bikes. I'm still learning what actually feels good - I went for a long ride last night and my lower back was absolutely fried. I think I need to move the seat further away from the handlebars or put it higher.. not sure.
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Old 04-19-20, 06:52 PM
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Best thing is to get a fit from a professional that uses dynamic fitting like Retül where they are adjusting your position in real time as you are riding. Maybe the 54 is the wrong size, maybe it is not. Guessing over the internet will not get you that far but actually seeing a fitter (when this is all over) and getting some more science based and fact based knowledge about your fit will make sense. My road bike is about a 54ish and I am around the same height but that means nothing because we could have radically different arm lengths and leg lengths and inseams and all of that.

Trust me everyone go out and get a fit when you can. Support your local (dynamic) fitter you will be so much happier on your bike or will be happier on your new bike. I am not a fitter myself and have nothing to gain but the joy of knowing people are more comfortable on their bikes like I am. I thought my position was pretty good and then I did a fit and my position is so much better now and I am way more comfortable, no knee pain, less back pain and a better stance on the pedals and way better cleat placement. It is like I am on a whole new bike that feels right at home.
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Old 04-20-20, 11:05 AM
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So, size does matter?
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