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Frame Too Small HELP!

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Frame Too Small HELP!

Old 11-08-09, 01:16 PM
  #1  
shelleyspins
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Frame Too Small HELP!

Hi Roadies - I posted this in the mechanics section but am hoping that some of you have some tricks too. Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you.

After not really having a bike for 15+ years I bought a 2007 Specialized Roubaix Elite Triple plus accessories from a friend for $700. I've had it for about a month now and when I bought it the cateye odometer read 39 miles; it now reads 262 miles.

As my rides have gotten longer (60 miles Saturday!) I've noticed aches and pains that I think can be attributed to poor bike fit. I am 5'8" with a 33" inseam and the bike has a 54cm frame. Not helping the fit is the fact that this is a men' frame and I'm a woman. PLEASE HELP!!

Seat height and fore/aft position have been adjusted so that I have proper extension, knee alignment and also I have added a longer stem. Is there anything else I can trick or mod to help increase comfort on my rides?! It doesn't have to look pretty; I don't need fancy, shiny new parts; I could care less if 'real' cyclists look at it and laugh; I'm willing to accept a certain amount of discomfort that will come from a poor bike fit. I do care about the bike's weight and I would like to not hurt quite so much when out on long rides. Any ideas - anyone?

Oh yeah and please don't tell me to sell it for parts and buy a bike that fits - that is not going to happen. In a year I'll invest in a women's frame that fits me like a glove and the Specialized will go to my husband (also 5'8" but with 29" inseam") but until then please help me make what I have work better!!

Thank you!!!
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Old 11-08-09, 01:34 PM
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What is the top tube length on this bike?
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Old 11-08-09, 01:55 PM
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Where exactly are these aches and pains? Your back?
I'm assuming you already tried to play around with the stem/post, so aside from that, you can't do much besides buying a new frame.
...OR maybe you aren't used to it yet. (unlikely but what ever)
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Old 11-08-09, 02:09 PM
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interesting...you say that you have adjusted the seat height, the seats fore and aft and gotten a longer stem and you have aches and pains after long rides. why did you get a longer stem? you say that you have a 33 inseam compared to you husband's 29, so compared to your husband, you have longer legs and a shorter torso. you did not say where you are getting aches and pains. it could be that you need to sit further back with a shorter stem, or a stem with some rise. what do consider a long ride? for me, I need to change positions every now and then...hands on the tops and sit back of the saddle, hands on the hoods and sit forward...so what you need is a fit range. get down low when there is a headwind, but sit up more often.
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Old 11-08-09, 02:17 PM
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i disagree that your frame is too small. my vote is it's bang on. perhaps slightly large.

doing a 60 mile ride after accumulating only 262 miles in the month is likely the biggest problem. your body needs to acclimate to the increased workload.
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Old 11-08-09, 02:23 PM
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As the others stated, all depends on what hurts; hands, knees or rear? 50-54 cm Frame size sounds ok for ur height. The top tube length is critical. If it is 54cm you may be maxed or stretched out to far. Longer stem would create more trouble not decrease it. Stem length if too long can play a critical role. If replaced with a shorter one, you may be back in the game. If that doesn't work, changing out the bars can bring you closer in and make the top tube seem shorter. May not be road bars but save you from replacing the bike. I have put some different shaped bars on road bikes; when top tube was too long for the rider. Like butterfly bars which will bring you closer in and give you more hand positions. How long is stem? How long are crank arms?
I always reccomend that if a rider is getting a new bike measure attributes on the previous great fitting bike. Stem, crank arms, height of saddle, position of saddle, stem height and apply them to your new ride. Also, can you take bike back where you bought it and have them assist you with a correct fit?
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Old 11-08-09, 02:29 PM
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Your frame is NOT too small. Here's some info that I posted on another thread similar to yours. If your cycling inseam is 33 inches or 84cm, it is only 1cm more than my inseam. I would choose an even smaller 52cm. See what you think about your saddle fore/aft position after reading some of the info. below. Setting the knee over the pedal is a common starting point, but may be too far forward. Some experts pay no attention at all to the knee to pedal relationship and concentrate only on getting the rider balanced over the saddle.

As for stem length, I have a simple rule for adequate stem length. I try to avoid knee to arm contact when I'm pedaling with my upper back nearly horizontal and my hands are in the hook section of the bars, with my fingers in reach of the brake levers. Additional stem length won't be of any value and even that length can be too much for some riders. I use a lot of saddle to bar drop so I can have a low torso angle with little or no bend at the elbow. A lot of elbow bend will almost always result in knee to arm interference.

Some aches and pains are normal if you increase your riding time from 2 hours to 3 hours or more, quite suddenly. Everyone has a point where they just need more time in the saddle to get used to longer rides. In the spring, I expect to have aching shoulders at the end of a 3-hour ride, but eventually it goes away.

https://redirectingat.com/?id=42X1295...u_aug_2004.pdf

https://www.cyclefitcentre.com/pdf%20...TION_final.pdf

https://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/kops.html
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Old 11-08-09, 08:19 PM
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I also agree.... that frame is not too small. Where is the pain?

Pain in the back of the knee- adjust the saddle height down.
Pain the front of the knee- adjust the saddle height up.
Pain in the shoulders- drop the handlebars.
Pain in the lower back- adjust the saddle fore/aft positioning forwards.

It may be the usual aches and pains associated with getting back into exercise. I was working with a client the other day (I'm a personal trainer), and she said she was feeling pain in the shoulder after our Monday workout. Upon further investigation, we discovered it was the normal soreness associated with exercise. I told her "welcome to exercise. Sorry... it hurts sometimes, especially when you start up!".

i agree with the other posters also- a month into riding, and you're already doing 2- 3 hour rides? Give your body time to adjust to the new exercise and start it slowly. I think an hour would be more appropriate for a newbie.

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Old 11-08-09, 08:26 PM
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maybe too large if anything. a 54cm will usually have an effective top tube of around 54.5cm. if much of your 5'8" is in your legs, then your torso might be relatively short (don't know your arm length). seems the reach is too long for you if anything, and things have been made worse with a longer stem.
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Old 11-08-09, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by pdedes View Post

doing a 60 mile ride after accumulating only 262 miles in the month is likely the biggest problem. your body needs to acclimate to the increased workload.
+1

I've been at it for about 4 months and over 2,000 miles and I'm just getting to the point where a 50 mile ride does not cause any discomfort in my rear or hands. My first month or so, I tweaked fit/stems/etc., but then it just took time and miles before I got really comfortable.
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Old 11-08-09, 08:36 PM
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Do you know what the stem length is by any chance?

Usually, WSD bikes have shorter stems. You said you added a longer stem. Just a guess from the information you provided but you might be too stretched out. Are you having shoulder/neck pains?

Speculation aside, we need more info. on specific pain (like shoulders, neck, wrist, knees, buttocks, etc).

Also, if you can, post a picture of your bike.
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Old 11-08-09, 09:29 PM
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I'm 5'11" and ride a 56cm Roubaix. And i have a long torso and arms. You need to shorten your reach on that bike 'til you can get something that fits.
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Old 11-08-09, 10:24 PM
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Thanks for all the responses. I should have mentioned in my initial post that when I'm not a stay at home mommy, I'm an indoor cycle instructor. I've only been certified for a few months but have been a regular in the spin room for over a year. In the process of getting certified I was mentored by two instructors who both cycle in the real world, one of them an Iron Man triathlete. And yes, there are definitely some crazy, unsound, uneducated instructors out there who teach every day like it's race day or who seem to forget that the class is on a bike. We have our share of those instructors but we also have instructors who cater to the gym's competitive athletes. The cycle studio has a periodization plan designed for an 'average' (whatever that means) competitive cyclist but members are encouraged to do what they need to do to meet their own training goals.

So to make a long story short (too late) even though I haven't had a real bike in years I spend a lot of time in saddle, have a good aerobic base and I'm in the habit of checking my posture but maybe need to do it more on the road. The longer stem is 100mm and I hear you about the long legs/short torso thing (that 33" is my inseam, not my leg length) but my arms are long; indoors I'm comfy stretch out and keep my handlebars low in relation to seat height. Of course, that's indoors so it could be that outdoors it's not so comfy for me.

I took the bike in to the shop today and had them put me on a trainer to double check my alignment. It was slow so the shop's bike fitting pro and the rest of the staff agreed that everything was spot on with regards to seat height, fore/aft position, cleat position on my shoes. The fitting expert at the shop thought that perhaps the handlebars were a bit too wide. Technically speaking the width of my shoulders compared to the handlebars is okay - bars are about 1/2 inch wider.

My pain is in my trapezius and posterior delts, both sides but more intense on the right. I did a quick search but keep finding info regarding handlebar height. Could it be the handlebars?
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Old 11-08-09, 10:34 PM
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54 is on the large side for 5' 8", it's certainly not too small.
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Old 11-08-09, 10:36 PM
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NOT too small. likely right on.
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Old 11-08-09, 10:36 PM
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give it time, and STRETCH!
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Old 11-08-09, 11:54 PM
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I'm a 6'0" guy on a 54cm CAAD9...your frame is not too small.
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Old 11-09-09, 12:46 AM
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Something to check is form, are you riding with your elbows back instead of pointing outwards? If you rotate your elbows out, it tends to round out your shoulders which causes all sorts of undue stress.

How much weight are you putting on your hands when you're riding? They should be lightly on the bars, supporting a few pounds, not a lot of weight.

Are you mainly on the hoods (~80% of the time?) or spending lots of time down in the drops or up on the top of the bars? If you find yourself 'choking up' on the bars all the time, they're probably too far away/low down. If you're always getting into the drops or putting your hands out on the ends of the hoods, they're probably too close/high up.

It sounds like you had an informal fit done. While everything looks good, if you're still having discomfort I think you should consider going for the whole shebang, something with range of motion tests etc.

Do you have any injuries/flexibility issues that would come into play? For example, limitations in hamstring flexibility can cause issues all the way up into your shoulders and neck due to it preventing you from rotating your pelvis forward. That's the most common factor in determining how aggressive a position someone will be able to ride in comfortably.

For more opinions, try posting a couple pictures taken from the side with you on a trainer. One in the drops, one on the hoods.
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Old 11-09-09, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by kimconyc View Post
Usually, WSD bikes have shorter stems. You said you added a longer stem. .
..
Must have missed this: "Not helping the fit is the fact that this is a men' frame and I'm a woman"

I'll pile on with the 54cm sounds about right, but you are short torsoed, so the top tube I would suspect is a bit long. May work though.

That said, while I commend your spin classes, it is not the real world. Bumps, wind, climbs, etc are now thrown into the mix. You have an endurance base, but I suspect that you're coming off a spin trainer expecting riding a regular bike to be just the same, and it's not. I'd lay some more miles down before changing much.
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Old 11-09-09, 05:35 AM
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Originally Posted by shelleyspins View Post
Thanks for all the responses. I should have mentioned in my initial post that when I'm not a stay at home mommy, I'm an indoor cycle instructor...I spend a lot of time in saddle, have a good aerobic base and I'm in the habit of checking my posture but maybe need to do it more on the road.
Unless you have your stationary bike in the gym set up EXTREMELY aggressively, your posture on that is likely much more upright than on your road bike. Further, how many 3-4 hour rides do you do indoors at the gym?
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Old 11-09-09, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by shelleyspins View Post
My pain is in my trapezius and posterior delts, both sides but more intense on the right. I did a quick search but keep finding info regarding handlebar height. Could it be the handlebars?
I always suggest short reach bars for those with short torsos. Short reach bars (70-75mm) will reduce the reach to the brake hoods and hooks without creating knee to handlebar interference when riding out of the saddle. I like the Easton EC90-SLX3, but there are other good bars out there.

Excessive bar width could be a problem. About the only way to tell, is to buy narrower bars and try them. Some compact bars, like the FSA K-force compact, place the brake hoods as much as 2cm narrower than the bar ends, where the width is measured, so be careful or you'll get a double dose of narrowing. The 40cm c-c Easton bars that I use are about 13mm narrower at the hoods. I found the FSA bars to be too narrow in the same width.

Placement of the brake/shift levers can also be critical. Shimano brake hoods are the longest of all brands. That alone increases the reach when you're on the brake hoods. I find it critical for the area of the hood where my palm rests to be horizontal or angled up just a few degrees. I also avoid bars that have a large rampdown angle from the horizontal top to the area where the brake/shift lever mounts. That type of bend is far less common now, than it was 5 years ago. Most newer designs only have a few degrees of downward angle, when the end of the bar is set horizontal.

If your fitter set your saddle fore/aft by KOP, don't rule out the need to go further back, but only if you feel that weight on your hands is a problem.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 11-09-09 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 11-09-09, 08:31 AM
  #22  
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I'll agree that your hands should be resting lightly on the bars, not supporting your upper body. You should be able to have your elbows bent at all times, with the shoulders relaxed.
Most of the women I know do not use WSD frames, and this includes some pro racers.
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Old 11-09-09, 09:35 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by shelleyspins View Post
Thanks for all the responses. I should have mentioned in my initial post that when I'm not a stay at home mommy, I'm an indoor cycle instructor. I've only been certified for a few months but have been a regular in the spin room for over a year. In the process of getting certified I was mentored by two instructors who both cycle in the real world, one of them an Iron Man triathlete. And yes, there are definitely some crazy, unsound, uneducated instructors out there who teach every day like it's race day or who seem to forget that the class is on a bike. We have our share of those instructors but we also have instructors who cater to the gym's competitive athletes. The cycle studio has a periodization plan designed for an 'average' (whatever that means) competitive cyclist but members are encouraged to do what they need to do to meet their own training goals.

So to make a long story short (too late) even though I haven't had a real bike in years I spend a lot of time in saddle, have a good aerobic base and I'm in the habit of checking my posture but maybe need to do it more on the road. The longer stem is 100mm and I hear you about the long legs/short torso thing (that 33" is my inseam, not my leg length) but my arms are long; indoors I'm comfy stretch out and keep my handlebars low in relation to seat height. Of course, that's indoors so it could be that outdoors it's not so comfy for me.

I took the bike in to the shop today and had them put me on a trainer to double check my alignment. It was slow so the shop's bike fitting pro and the rest of the staff agreed that everything was spot on with regards to seat height, fore/aft position, cleat position on my shoes. The fitting expert at the shop thought that perhaps the handlebars were a bit too wide. Technically speaking the width of my shoulders compared to the handlebars is okay - bars are about 1/2 inch wider.

My pain is in my trapezius and posterior delts, both sides but more intense on the right. I did a quick search but keep finding info regarding handlebar height. Could it be the handlebars?
Yes. You can confirm this with an easy experiment. Place your hands out in front of you and then move them from close together to wide apart. Note how your traps and shoulder blades change position. Wide bars relative to your shoulder width cause you to unduly load your traps which is likely causing an overuse injury. Narrow bars will help quite a bit to separate your shoulder blades while riding on the hoods. But there is more and this is counterintuitve. A lower handleabar can be more comfortable. You have long arms like many long legged cyclists. Your body depending on saddle setback which causes you stick your rear end out and distribute your weight properly will create a natural torso angle on the hoods. This is about 45 degrees for the average road biker. If your bars are higher than this, your arms will be in compression holding up your skelton and that means loading your traps promoting further injury. My suggestion is two fold. Ride with a narrow handlebar which will also make you more aero and try lowering your handlebar a bit and spread your weight over more the bike...a bit rearward in back and lower in front. This will take the compression out your arms and make them loose as you assume a more natural torso angle. This will take the pressure off your traps and prevent injury and your neck will feel better too.
Good Luck.
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Old 11-09-09, 10:00 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by shelleyspins View Post
Thanks for all the responses. I should have mentioned in my initial post that when I'm not a stay at home mommy, I'm an indoor cycle instructor. I've only been certified for a few months but have been a regular in the spin room for over a year. In the process of getting certified I was mentored by two instructors who both cycle in the real world, one of them an Iron Man triathlete. And yes, there are definitely some crazy, unsound, uneducated instructors out there who teach every day like it's race day or who seem to forget that the class is on a bike. We have our share of those instructors but we also have instructors who cater to the gym's competitive athletes. The cycle studio has a periodization plan designed for an 'average' (whatever that means) competitive cyclist but members are encouraged to do what they need to do to meet their own training goals.

So to make a long story short (too late) even though I haven't had a real bike in years I spend a lot of time in saddle, have a good aerobic base and I'm in the habit of checking my posture but maybe need to do it more on the road. The longer stem is 100mm and I hear you about the long legs/short torso thing (that 33" is my inseam, not my leg length) but my arms are long; indoors I'm comfy stretch out and keep my handlebars low in relation to seat height. Of course, that's indoors so it could be that outdoors it's not so comfy for me.

I took the bike in to the shop today and had them put me on a trainer to double check my alignment. It was slow so the shop's bike fitting pro and the rest of the staff agreed that everything was spot on with regards to seat height, fore/aft position, cleat position on my shoes. The fitting expert at the shop thought that perhaps the handlebars were a bit too wide. Technically speaking the width of my shoulders compared to the handlebars is okay - bars are about 1/2 inch wider.

My pain is in my trapezius and posterior delts, both sides but more intense on the right. I did a quick search but keep finding info regarding handlebar height. Could it be the handlebars?
Spinning on an indoor cycling bike in a class will help to build the aerobic base, but no matter how good or bad the indoor cycling instructor is teaching the class, it will NOT help you to get that conditioning that comes from riding outdoors. Having said that (as an indoor cycling instructor and aerobics instructor teaching for the last 10 years, possessing 15 different certifications), there is a lot of good advice to take here from the people posting. No post giving advice assumes you are a newbie as much as gives advice about riding time in the saddle and making bike adjustments. I took spinning classes and taught for three years before I got my first bike, and even then, it took some time to build up to the 2- 3 hours in the saddle. Give it time and take some of the advice offered in the other posts- they are terrific.



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Old 11-09-09, 09:02 PM
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shelleyspins
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The light bulb above my head finally clicked on when talking to a buddy he suggested that in fact my biggest limiter was that I'm a mere mortal. Oh yeah. Duh. Moderation and patience are not my strong points.

Thanks for the tips and I'll try to remember to be patient before looking for problems when in fact there are none. Nice to know where to find so much good advice though. Next time I'll ask for help for problems that really do exist!
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