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Undersizing

Old 04-26-20, 07:25 PM
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adlai
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Undersizing

I'm six foot but I ride a 56cm frame. Recently I've been thinking about 54cm frames.

Reason is because I feel like I have a short upper body and a long lower body, thus my torso length is more in line with a shorter person and my height is a result of my leg length. When I rode a 58cm frame I always felt like I was reaching too far to get to the handlebars. 56cm does feel a lot better.

Anyways, is it common for the recommendations to be off due to different body types?
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Old 04-26-20, 08:45 PM
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Ramzilla & his older brother are both 6'-1" tall. But, Ramzilla has a 30" inseam and Brother has a 34" inseam. Ramzilla likes 56cm bikes with long reach handlebars & stems. Brother goes for 60cm frames with normal reach handlebars. Brother can easily outrun Ramzilla. Ramzilla can easily crush brother. Be good. Have fun.
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Old 04-26-20, 11:00 PM
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6'1" 58cm - 62.


58X57 is (generally) about as small as i'm comfortable - especially at speed

62cm = soooo nice in the drops
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Old 04-27-20, 06:43 AM
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5'9" + or - with 84.5 cm inseam. Frame size range = 54 - 56 although I can ride up to a 58. What is know as a "square" 55 is perfection. (FWIW age 72 in that pic)


Last edited by bruce19; 04-27-20 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 04-27-20, 07:22 AM
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You are looking at this the wrong way. These days, frame size numbers are meaningless. Look at stack and reach. I have long legs and a short torso and I do ride a small frame that has a stack height of 527mm, with a 15mm headset bearing top, no spacers and a -17 (horizontal) stem. I can do this because I can tolerate a large 10cm saddle to bar drop. My saddle height is 73cm. If you can't tolerate a large saddle to bar drop, a frame with a shorter stack makes no sense.

If I could only tolerate an 8cm drop, a -6 degree stem would be an easy fix. If I needed a 6cm drop, 20mm of spacer would be needed and some might say I bought a frame that was too small.

Reach can be minimized with 75-80mm reach bars or increased with bars having up to 100mm. Stem length changes can further increase reach over a large range,
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Old 04-27-20, 08:27 AM
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You may consider moving the seat forward, and having a short stem, so the handlebars are back a bit.
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Old 04-27-20, 09:33 AM
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Watch out for too much toe overlap (toe hitting front wheel when turning at low speed) on smaller frame! Especially with wide tires.
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Old 04-27-20, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by alo View Post
You may consider moving the seat forward, and having a short stem, so the handlebars are back a bit.
you don’t want to mess with seat position to fix reach issues. Seat position wrt BB, crank length, cleat position are a set of parameters that are collectively governed by leg length, regardless of torso length/flexibility or arm length, which govern reach. Get the optimal seat position, then leave it alone while you use TT length, bar reach and stem length/angle to optimize reach
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Old 04-27-20, 10:47 AM
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As mentioned above, without knowing some other details it is not possible to know what is a suitable frame size. On a traditional level top tube road bike, 54cm would be absurdly small for someone 6' tall. On a sloping top tube bike (Many modern road bikes and most gravel bikes), 54 might be a M/L size in some brands.

Without knowing what bike you are talking about, there is no way to correctly answer the question.
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Old 04-27-20, 11:03 AM
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It's probably worth noting that a lot of pros ride what look like pretty small frames, with great success. World champion Peter Sagan is 6 feet tall also, and his frame can't be much bigger than 54-55 cm. You can't argue with the success he's had.



There are advantages of having a smaller frame underneath you, I think it's referred to as "flick-ability". Good for climbing and sprinting, where you are throwing the bike around a lot. Lighter too, but that's not the main reason.

There's no trick to making a too-small frame fit, just get longer stems and seat posts. I like my frames on the larger side of the range I can ride, but there are lots of advantage of going small, and no reason someone that wants to can't make it work for them.
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Old 04-27-20, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by adlai View Post
I'm six foot but I ride a 56cm frame. Recently I've been thinking about 54cm frames.

Reason is because I feel like I have a short upper body and a long lower body, thus my torso length is more in line with a shorter person and my height is a result of my leg length. When I rode a 58cm frame I always felt like I was reaching too far to get to the handlebars. 56cm does feel a lot better.

Anyways, is it common for the recommendations to be off due to different body types?
Proper sizing varies with body type and other factors. I am 5'-10" and the frames I have fit best on are 48-50cm, which is way smaller than any rule of thumb I have ever seen. In fact, conventional wisdom put me on larger frames (and made me miserable) for many years until I got a proper bike fitting.

If you feel too stretched out and your saddle is in the right position, first look into a shorter stem. Otherwise if you want to new bike look for one with a shorter reach.

As mentioned earlier in this thread, look at the actual frame stack and reach numbers of the bikes, not the stated frame size in cm.

Last edited by Kapusta; 04-27-20 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 04-27-20, 12:17 PM
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I'm 6'0" and use a 54cm frame with a normal 100mm stem. I like to sit way back on my saddle, so I like a short reach, or I feel really stretched out. I feel like superman on a 56. The ridiculous looking saddle to handle drop is offset by the shorter reach allowing the arms to be more underneath the chest, propping the body upward into a less aero race position (more comfortable). Sitting back activates the glute muscles and takes pressure off the hands.
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Old 04-27-20, 01:25 PM
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Two 56cm frames.

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Old 04-27-20, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
6'1" 58cm - 62.


58X57 is (generally) about as small as i'm comfortable - especially at speed

62cm = soooo nice in the drops
You've got some sweet rides. By your bike list looks like no room for a car in a 2 car garage
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Old 04-27-20, 02:18 PM
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Go custom or go home.
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Old 04-27-20, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
It's probably worth noting that a lot of pros ride what look like pretty small frames, with great success. World champion Peter Sagan is 6 feet tall also, and his frame can't be much bigger than 54-55 cm. You can't argue with the success he's had.



There are advantages of having a smaller frame underneath you, I think it's referred to as "flick-ability". Good for climbing and sprinting, where you are throwing the bike around a lot. Lighter too, but that's not the main reason.

There's no trick to making a too-small frame fit, just get longer stems and seat posts. I like my frames on the larger side of the range I can ride, but there are lots of advantage of going small, and no reason someone that wants to can't make it work for them.
Pros ride smaller frames for numerous reasons. I've never seen it expressed, but a couple of obvious ones are lighter frame weight, increased handlebar drop and, as you alluded to, shorter wheelbase. There's some old photos of Tom Boonen in the early 10s riding a Specialized that looks like a kids frame under him.

I test rode my CAAD10 in 56 and 54cm sizes. I would normally ride a 55ish. What actually sold me on the 54 was that my thighs were rubbing on the top-tube of the 56.

My steel bikes have more conventional top tube diameters, so I don't have that issue on 55cm sizes.
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Old 04-27-20, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
It's probably worth noting that a lot of pros ride what look like pretty small frames, with great success. World champion Peter Sagan is 6 feet tall also, and his frame can't be much bigger than 54-55 cm. You can't argue with the success he's had.



There are advantages of having a smaller frame underneath you, I think it's referred to as "flick-ability". Good for climbing and sprinting, where you are throwing the bike around a lot. Lighter too, but that's not the main reason.

There's no trick to making a too-small frame fit, just get longer stems and seat posts. I like my frames on the larger side of the range I can ride, but there are lots of advantage of going small, and no reason someone that wants to can't make it work for them.
Generally, smaller frames are lighter. Back in the day that was important. I don't know if that still applies given pro weight restrictions.
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Old 04-27-20, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
Generally, smaller frames are lighter. Back in the day that was important. I don't know if that still applies given pro weight restrictions.
You can presumably get down below 6.8 kgs with any modern pro-level carbon frameset currently on the market, even in the 60cm size and up. I think it's much more likely that aerodynamics, position on the bike, and handlnig play a much bigger role in the decision.
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Old 04-27-20, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by hillyman View Post
You've got some sweet rides. By your bike list looks like no room for a car in a 2 car garage
Thanks - Luckily garage ceiling space - with the pulley systems in studs - doesn't count. And an 8+' wide homemade rack for 9 helps. Only a few in the house now.

For the riding I do this is a good group, no wallhangers. Most others would want a more diverse collection.
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Old 04-27-20, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Go custom or go home.
I did. 3 times. Here's 2. And the Co-Motion tandem.

Carbon

Lugged steel before the term 'endurance bike' was invented.
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Old 04-28-20, 06:55 AM
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The picture of Sagan just shows that he has legs that are average for his height. The saddle to bar drop looks normal for a pro rider. There is no large amount of post showing.
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Old 04-28-20, 07:00 AM
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Get a "fit" and pick a frame that works.

I did and the Trek Madone (2011) have the best fit compared to a Specialized or Cannondale.

I'm 5'11" and ride a 56cm.

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