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Bike Too Big--Make It Work or Sell?

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Bike Too Big--Make It Work or Sell?

Old 08-17-16, 03:00 PM
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WildcatWhiz
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Bike Too Big--Make It Work or Sell?

Hi everyone, first time poster. I could use some advice...

About 4 months ago I bought a 2011 Specialized Allez Elite (E5) for $520 on Craigslist from a young guy who works at a bike shop near me. He was the second owner, but put a LOT of upgrades into the bike, so it's in great shape. Upgrades include: ultegra brakes, dura-ace bottom bracket, shimano r500 wheels (instead of stock Mavics), Continental Gator Hardshells, Oval seat... everything else is stock, decently used Tiagra.

The only problem? I'm 5' 10.5", 160lbs, 32" inseam--and the frame is 61cm. You could say the frame is a bit big on me. I should probably be riding something between 54 and 58cm...

For the first few months, I rolled around with a 70mm stem and everything was mostly ducky. Sure, my seat post is pretty low, and is completely forward, but I was able to achieve KOPS. Reach, obviously, was more of an issue. Getting in the drops was almost a nonstarter.

Within the last month or so, I've been getting tennis elbow and numbness in my pinky fingers when riding (and all day thereafter). I suspect it's because my elbows are locked or nearly locked when riding, even when on the hoods. I ride my bike to work 22 miles/day roundtrip, every day, so I am concerned I am going to do long-term nerve/joint damage if I keep this up.

Recently, I purchased a super short 45mm MTB stem to shorten up the reach. It has helped a decent bit--jury is still out whether it's a long term solution. (Still feeling slight numbness today after my second ride with the new stem). I am not opposed to going even shorter to a 30mm MTB stem. Despite what people have warned me, I haven't felt "twitchy" steering. (I suspect because the frame is so long, and my handlebars are pretty wide, the steering isn't terribly affected. If anything, I kinda like how responsive it is.)

Where should I go from here? Get an even shorter stem? Move the brifters back as far practical?

Or just sell it and get a new bike? If I go that route, I'm pretty sure I can recoup $550-600 for this bike, based on going rates on Craigslist in my area.

I found someone selling a 2013 Specialized Secteur Sport Compact (all Sora components with claimed 100 miles) for $525. I've thought about snatching it and just porting over some of the nicer components from my Allez (e.g. ultegra brakes, wheels, BB) and then selling the franken-Allez. Size 56cm. The Secteur kinda appeals to me because I commute to work, and don't really plan on racing. (Might do a century once a year to push myself.)

Another option: my LBS is having a close-out sale on 2016 Specialized. I can get a brand new Allez with Claris components (eww), for $650 or less.

Sorry for the wall of text. I am a newbie who desperately covets your advice.

Tl;dr - Bought a sweet bike, but it's way too big. Throw aesthetics to the wind and make it work with an itty bitty stem? Or suck it up, and buy a proper bike (albeit with ****tier components)?
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Old 08-18-16, 11:07 PM
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you already answered your question - "or sell' sortta says takin a small hit on the money side ain't fun, but doable.
possible 'use' injuries aside (and they should be a major consideration), being on a bike at least 4 cm sizes up would be a real turnoff for riding.
Given how long a nice bike can last and how many good rides could become barely fun on a poorly size bike - sell, and get something reasonably sized.
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Old 08-18-16, 11:09 PM
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Sell.
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Old 08-19-16, 04:57 AM
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You could also buy a AL frame for 100-150 and move the parts you have. Then sell the frame that is too big
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Old 08-19-16, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Sidney Porter View Post
You could also buy a AL frame for 100-150 and move the parts you have. Then sell the frame that is too big
Best solution. You got the bike for a fair price and it has great parts---much better than you could get on a new bike.

Frames are not expensive ... you could even buy a built-up bike, maybe a garage find or a bike-shop old-old-old stock, and swap the parts. Check craigslist for older Allez Elites if you are sold on that style .... The parts might be worn but the frame should be fine.

Also, you might find a 61-cm bike hard to sell ... but be patient. There is a tall rider out there somewhere with a too-small bike wishing he could find a 61-cm frame ......
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Old 08-19-16, 07:45 AM
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You're never going to get the bike to work for you. You can try shorter stems but the steering is going to get twitchy. Keep the parts you want, if any, sell the bike, and get something that fits.
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Old 08-19-16, 08:02 AM
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61 cm frame for 5'10", too big.
Sell.
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Old 08-19-16, 10:08 AM
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I agree, get a new bike.

As for swapping out the parts, given the frame size, my concern would be that the bars may be too wide and the crank arms too long for your needs.
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Old 08-19-16, 10:16 AM
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Photos of you on bike, please. Hoods, drops.
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Old 08-19-16, 10:22 AM
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way too big. the biggest problem you will have it that 61 is so big that you have a limited audience to sell it to. Getting another frame and transferring parts might be a good option but depending on cost of frame and if you have to pay for work then it may not be worthwhile. A friend of mine picked up a Allez frame that is around 2009 for about $80 on craigslist after some negotiation.
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Old 08-19-16, 11:50 AM
  #11  
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No matter what it costs, you need a new ride. every part of a bike is connected. if yo start distorting your riding position to fit the bike instead of fitting the bike to your body, you will just find new ways to hurt yourself---and obviously you cannot make your body bigger or the frame smaller.

Chalk it up to education. Also, while the market for gargantuan frames is small, it is there ... you will just need to keep renewing the listing---or slash the price, if you get impatient, in which case some guy who is too small will buy it, thinking he is getting a deal, and continuing the cycle.
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Old 08-19-16, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
No matter what it costs, you need a new ride.
I think this basically sums up BF
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Old 08-19-16, 01:08 PM
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Your bike is way way way too big. You should be riding a 52-56cm. Most likely 54 cm would fit you best.

Sell it to someone who's 6'3 or taller.


I am 5'10 with 33" inseam and feel most comfortable on 52cm (more aggressive position) and 54cm (more relaxed).

Last edited by link0; 08-19-16 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 08-19-16, 01:13 PM
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I'm 5'-10" with a 32" inseam. For years, I road a 56cm Felt. When I got a proper fitting, I was told the bike was probably too big and I needed a smaller bike. I had the same symptoms you are having which was what drove me to seek out a fitting. Now that I have a proper fitting bike, it was worth every penny.
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Old 08-19-16, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by cdnredraider View Post
I'm 5'-10" with a 32" inseam .... I had the same symptoms you are having which was what drove me to seek out a fitting. Now that I have a proper fitting bike, it was worth every penny.
Follow-up: I have a huge Cannondale tourer. First time I rode it for distance, loaded, I suffered unbelievably for the last third of the ride. The bike was too long, but for the shorter rides i had been ion, it didn't really show. The bike sat untouched for quite a while until I found a supershort stem. Once I didn't have to adjust everything else for the stem length, i could set it up to actually work and it does.

Now I can ride the bike comfortably over any distance---in fact I am about to head out to do some shopping and riding around on it in a few minutes.

I was lucky in that the frame was just a little too big. It looks ridiculous now with a midget-pygmy stem but it works. Had it been another centimeter longer I would have had to sell it.

On the other hand I inherited (through a very convoluted set of circumstances) and 50-cm Dawes, which with a big stack of spacers, and extra-long seat post, and a long, tall stem, i made to fit me really well. it also looks ridiculous ... but it is a sheer joy to ride.

if yuo buy a 54-cm frame, likely you will always be able to make it fit you. 56, almost certainly. 58 ... depends on your proportions. Try this for a general idea: Bike Fit Calculator | Find Your Bike Size | Competitive Cyclist

Don't mess around with the Allez Elite---it will Never be right. It might cause actual injury through chronic overstress of joints or nerves. You will always ride it wishing it was something else.

Bad fit might not show up right away, but when it shows up you know it, and it cannot be ignored. it will spoil every ride, because you will keep waiting for the unpleasantness to start, and then become pain ... you will be wondering how far you should head out, because you know you will need to ride back .... Eventually you will not enjoy riding and stop altogether, likely.

As the man says, getting a bike which Really fits is worth the cost. Until you have had one you cannot imagine what you are missing. Once you get one, you will wonder why you ever put up with so much suffering.
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Old 08-19-16, 05:32 PM
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You have 2 good options, and none of them include keeping the bike.
1) sell the bike
2) buy a frame from nashbar and swap your parts over

That bike is way too big for you. Compensating for a bad fit will cause further problems. As for selling a 61 frame, I understand but from the opposite perspective. I ride that size frame and I have a hard time buying used as they rarely populate CL. I like option 2 if you are Mechanically inclined. If not, just put it for sale and be patient.
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Old 08-19-16, 08:01 PM
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I was able to get a used 60 sized to fit me while I worked out if I was going to stick with it. Later traded the 60 in and purchased a more proper 54. I have sense been fitted as well. Time to dump that 61 that's way to big.
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Old 08-19-16, 08:24 PM
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By a Nashbar CF frame, sell the Allez Elite to Shuffleman ...
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Old 08-19-16, 11:24 PM
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Sell. I am 5'10 (Sometimes I yo-yo to 5'11), 32" inseam, just like you. I have a 2011 Spec Allez E5 at 56, and it's barely workable. I am one brifter and bar adjustment away from a true fit.
On a 54, I can hope on bike and ride for hours with a simple saddle height adjustment.
61 is more than out of reach for us.
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Old 08-20-16, 05:09 AM
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Sell...i have the same measurements as you, ride a 56 with an 80mm stem. I am pretty certain that I could ride a 54, but I love my bike and have it adjusted so it's perfect for me and if anyone ever changes anything I'll kill them.
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Old 08-21-16, 05:18 AM
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Only one post from the OP?

I think I'll post the dissenting view.

I'm about 5'10. My old Colnago was a 60cm, I think, and it has gotten me around for decades. I can't say that I have the perfect posture. I do like to ride a bit more stretched out, and often without a lot of flex in the elbows (but I'm working on that). Sometimes it is just reminding myself to bend the elbows (which I can do if I desire to do it).

The short stem help the OP. One can go shorter. I'm not sure about seat forward or back.

That being said, treat your pinky numbness seriously. I'm seeing notes that it may be due to either Cubital Tunnel Syndrome (at elbow) or Guyon's Canal Syndrome (wrist). I'm still not sure that is due to straight elbows, but perhaps altering hand position some, and taking some weight off of the arms, and it would be better.

I like the winged bars. I'm not sure what it would do for the pinky, but they are comfortable for riding at the tops of the bars.

Anyway, a 54 to 58cm bike might be a good goal. However, it should be entirely possible to make do with the current bike and avoid the new purchase.
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Old 08-21-16, 09:48 AM
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There's a third option. Flatbar conversion.

Flat bars have dramatically reduced reach, and with the longer headtube of the larger frame the reach would be decent. That's assuming you can make the seat post work. And want a flatbar road bike. Swap the brifters over to a new frame and you have two bikes!
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Old 08-21-16, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by WildcatWhiz View Post
Hi everyone, first time poster. I could use some advice...

About 4 months ago I bought a 2011 Specialized Allez Elite (E5) for $520 on Craigslist from a young guy who works at a bike shop near me. He was the second owner, but put a LOT of upgrades into the bike, so it's in great shape. Upgrades include: ultegra brakes, dura-ace bottom bracket, shimano r500 wheels (instead of stock Mavics), Continental Gator Hardshells, Oval seat... everything else is stock, decently used Tiagra.

The only problem? I'm 5' 10.5", 160lbs, 32" inseam--and the frame is 61cm. You could say the frame is a bit big on me. I should probably be riding something between 54 and 58cm...

For the first few months, I rolled around with a 70mm stem and everything was mostly ducky. Sure, my seat post is pretty low, and is completely forward, but I was able to achieve KOPS. Reach, obviously, was more of an issue. Getting in the drops was almost a nonstarter.

Within the last month or so, I've been getting tennis elbow and numbness in my pinky fingers when riding (and all day thereafter). I suspect it's because my elbows are locked or nearly locked when riding, even when on the hoods. I ride my bike to work 22 miles/day roundtrip, every day, so I am concerned I am going to do long-term nerve/joint damage if I keep this up.

Recently, I purchased a super short 45mm MTB stem to shorten up the reach. It has helped a decent bit--jury is still out whether it's a long term solution. (Still feeling slight numbness today after my second ride with the new stem). I am not opposed to going even shorter to a 30mm MTB stem. Despite what people have warned me, I haven't felt "twitchy" steering. (I suspect because the frame is so long, and my handlebars are pretty wide, the steering isn't terribly affected. If anything, I kinda like how responsive it is.)

Where should I go from here? Get an even shorter stem? Move the brifters back as far practical?

Or just sell it and get a new bike? If I go that route, I'm pretty sure I can recoup $550-600 for this bike, based on going rates on Craigslist in my area.

I found someone selling a 2013 Specialized Secteur Sport Compact (all Sora components with claimed 100 miles) for $525. I've thought about snatching it and just porting over some of the nicer components from my Allez (e.g. ultegra brakes, wheels, BB) and then selling the franken-Allez. Size 56cm. The Secteur kinda appeals to me because I commute to work, and don't really plan on racing. (Might do a century once a year to push myself.)

Another option: my LBS is having a close-out sale on 2016 Specialized. I can get a brand new Allez with Claris components (eww), for $650 or less.

Sorry for the wall of text. I am a newbie who desperately covets your advice.

Tl;dr - Bought a sweet bike, but it's way too big. Throw aesthetics to the wind and make it work with an itty bitty stem? Or suck it up, and buy a proper bike (albeit with ****tier components)?
Get a new bike. The one you have is hopeless for you.

By the way, bike size does not affect saddle fore-aft position. If the saddle is the right height from the bottom bracket, then the saddle will be at the same place on the clamp no matter what size the frame is. It is true that the saddle fore-aft position does depend on the seat tube angle, but that does not vary completely predictably with bike size. If your saddle is far forward on the large bike, and you aren't doing that to compensate for the long reach (never do that!), it would be in just about the same place on any size bike + or - a cm to compensate for seat tube angle.
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Old 08-22-16, 07:40 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Only one post from the OP?

I think I'll post the dissenting view.

I'm about 5'10. My old Colnago was a 60cm, I think, and it has gotten me around for decades.

The short stem help the OP. One can go shorter. I'm not sure about seat forward or back.

Anyway, a 54 to 58cm bike might be a good goal. However, it should be entirely possible to make do with the current bike and avoid the new purchase.
CliffordK, are you being serious with this advice? The OP stands to gain nothing by staying in a bike that is way too large for him. Your advice is the equivalent of telling a person to wear 4 pairs of socks because his shoes are way too big. The OP actually purchased a 45 for a stem. I did not even know there was such a thing. He bought the bike used on CL. He can sell it on CL and not lose any money since the original hit for the bike has already occured. Compensating is never a good idea. If we were talking about one size too big or too small things could be done. Clearly his bike is way too big based on the information that he gave us. I typically like my road bikes bigger as opposed to smaller. I am kind of a tweener on sizes and that is how it works out for me. When we start compensating it impacts other parts of the body, which causes more problems. On top of that, it is simply not a good bike experience to roll around on a ride that requires that level of compensation. There is simply nothing to gain by sticking with that bike.
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Old 08-22-16, 07:47 AM
  #25  
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This thread needs more Tim Gunn memes.

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