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How important is bike sizing? <<-- Serious dilemma.

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How important is bike sizing? <<-- Serious dilemma.

Old 10-26-10, 05:16 PM
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How important is bike sizing? <<-- Serious dilemma.

Hello Guys,

So here is my dilemma, I tested a CAAD 9.5 a few weeks ago. I tried a 54cm frame and it feel pretty good (i didn't really know what to look for as i'd only driven hybrids before)
I found this awesome used CAAD 9 for sale. Though the price was higher than a newer unit, it had several modifications that seriously made it worth it. (rims and carbon components)

So today, before finalizing the transaction, i visited my LBS to ensure the sizing was correct. Again, i tried a 54 which felt good, but they suggested i try a 56. They changed the stem and I took it for a decent ride (4 miles or so). There in lies my Problem, the 56 felt a little better, more spacious, less cramped. They changed the stem from 110 to 90mm- Apparently i have short arms.

So what would you guys do? would you get the 54cm? which does still fit fine, but now that i've tried a bigger size may feel a bit cramped OR wait and get a 56cm?
They mentioned that i will probably become more flexible as i drive and will eventually outgrow the 54. ( i figure i could alway get a longer stem, right?)

What do you guys think?
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Old 10-26-10, 05:20 PM
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Bike sizing is VERY important. Beware the LBS that is simply trying to liquidate inventory rather than fit you to the properly-sized frame.
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Old 10-26-10, 05:38 PM
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Bike sizing is the MOST important! An uncomfortable bike is an un-ridden bike.

Beware that the LBS is just trying to clear inventory. But I'd give the 56 a shot...meaning try getting fit on it, but DON'T buy it unless you're absolutely satisfied with the fit.
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Old 10-26-10, 05:44 PM
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You can ride a 54 with a longer stem as long as you can tolerate the shorter head tube associated with the smaller frame. If you are not flexible or don't want to have a big saddle to bar drop, go with the larger size. Alternatively, you can run a big stack of spacers under your stem on the 54 and bring the bars up that way like most people seem to do.

I personally prefer to go smaller if I am between sizes, but I am also fairly flexible.
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Old 10-27-10, 06:47 AM
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You'll never get any accurate information without some body dimensions - an accurate cycling inseam and overall height height at the minimum. Even then, saddle height can vary quite a bit for riders with the same cycling inseam. Add to that the fact that one rider may want a 5cm saddle to bar drop and the next can use 9cm. There's just no way to make a recommendation without more info.

Putting a 90mm stem on the 56cm may make the reach on the two frames about the same, but I'd never use a 90mm stem. That usually says that the frame has too much reach.
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Old 10-27-10, 11:34 AM
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Hey guys,

I don't believe the shop was trying to liquidate either size, as they have both on stock.

I will visit another shop on friday and start from scratch and see what they end up fitting me on.
I'm 5'11 with 32" inseam.

It's just a little frustrating because i was ready to purchase a bike which i liked very much (significantly more than the current model) but may not end up fitting it. (it was white with red logos compared to the blue or gray that's available for '10) grrr
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Old 10-27-10, 12:24 PM
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You are my exact height and inseam. No way I could ride a 54. 56 is just right for me. The 90 stem is what I used to run, but since I gained a bit of flexibility I moved to a 100. Everyone is point on though. Get a bike that's fits you perfectly, and you'll be a happy camper! Best of luck!
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Old 10-27-10, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by BayAreaUser
It's just a little frustrating because i was ready to purchase a bike which i liked very much (significantly more than the current model) but may not end up fitting it. (it was white with red logos compared to the blue or gray that's available for '10) grrr
take your time, trust us on this. countless cyclists abandon their first bikes once they have a clue about fit because they were not properly fitted to a bike in the first place. you can save significant time and $$ in the long run if you buy a bike that fits right the first time.
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Old 10-27-10, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by BayAreaUser
I'm 5'11 with 32" inseam.
I would assume the 56 with a shorter stem would be more appropriate for your size than a 54.
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Old 10-27-10, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by BayAreaUser
Hey guys,


I'm 5'11 with 32" inseam.
56 - definitely. You'll get used to being a little more stretched 'out' - with a flatter back - as opposed to stretched 'over' and cramped, with a bent back. Your core will strengthen and it'll be better for you, both on and off the bike.

And make sure your saddle height is right (probably a lot higher than you might think). I had a bike fit recently and it raised my saddle by an inch... they said I was losing maybe 15% of my potential power. After 60 miles or so my muscle memory had adjusted and the difference was amazing - especially on hills.
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Old 10-27-10, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by BayAreaUser
Hey guys,

I don't believe the shop was trying to liquidate either size, as they have both on stock.

I will visit another shop on friday and start from scratch and see what they end up fitting me on.
I'm 5'11 with 32" inseam.

It's just a little frustrating because i was ready to purchase a bike which i liked very much (significantly more than the current model) but may not end up fitting it. (it was white with red logos compared to the blue or gray that's available for '10) grrr
you are one inch taller and my inseam is about 30 i think so our torso length is within an inch of each other's. i ride a 56 effective top tube length and started with a 90mm stem when i initially built it. i thought it felt great until i started doing longer rides on it. after a while it because very uncomfortable and then i got a 110 stem and instantly i was comfortable again and the pain in the shoulders went away.

i suggest you might be better suited to the 56.
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Old 10-27-10, 03:00 PM
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get the 56... the right size is really more important than anything else.
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Old 10-27-10, 03:08 PM
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I couldn't pass up a good deal on a 54. I've got a long stem and seat post and it fits great. My last bike was a 58!
IMG_4804.jpg
I'm 5'11" with 31 inches floor to crotch.
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Old 10-27-10, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I couldn't pass up a good deal on a 54. I've got a long stem and seat post and it fits great. My last bike was a 58!
Attachment 175674
I'm 5'11" with 31 inches floor to crotch.
holy crap
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Old 10-27-10, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I couldn't pass up a good deal on a 54. I've got a long stem and seat post and it fits great. My last bike was a 58!
Attachment 175674
I'm 5'11" with 31 inches floor to crotch.

can you say goose neck?
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Old 10-27-10, 03:27 PM
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At 5'11" unless you are have incredibly abnormal proportions you belong on a 56.......
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Old 10-27-10, 03:31 PM
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Based on the picture.... you should have listened to the LBS.
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Old 10-27-10, 03:32 PM
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OP, fill this out and see what results you get: https://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO

I'm about 5'9.5", 32" inseam. I bought a 56 per advice of the bike shop. Think I should've gone w/a 54. Trying to figure out adjustments...
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Old 10-27-10, 04:21 PM
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You should be able to make either size fit exactly the same as long as you don't require a position that is extreme. Meaning if you get the 54, you can make it fit just like the 56 as long as you have enough seatpost, steerer tube and the right stem. At one extreme, you will be able to set up the 56 for a more upright position; at the other end, the 54 will be capable of a more aero position.

I am your height and have a 33" inseam. I currently ride a 56cm traditional geometry frame with an 80mm stem, no spacers and ~6.5" of saddle to bar drop. The 80mm stem handles fine for me and after the initial few rides I don't notice a handling difference from the longer stem. If I were to buy a new frame now, I think I would get a 54 or 55cm depending on the sizes available because the 56cm will keep me from going lower in the front if I determine it would be advantageous.

If you are as flexible and lean as you plan on becoming or are going to be riding primarily for recreation, then the 56cm frame is fine. If you anticipate that you will become more lean and flexible or you are interesting in racing, you might consider the 54cm frame.

Also, I'm sure it's imperceivable, but a smaller frame will weigh less and be stiffer.

Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I couldn't pass up a good deal on a 54. I've got a long stem and seat post and it fits great. My last bike was a 58!
Attachment 175674
I'm 5'11" with 31 inches floor to crotch.
This isn't what we are used to seeing, but it's a good example of what I'm saying. This might not look "normal" and I bet the 58 looked better when fit for your preferred position, but the top tube would have been in your crotch when your feet were on the ground (unless your reported inseam is wrong).

Last edited by chadteck; 10-27-10 at 05:24 PM. Reason: Added info.
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Old 10-27-10, 04:28 PM
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As an ex bike salesman/mechanic, Bike sizing is more important that anything else really. (Maybe besides wheels/tires???) Shifters, brakes, gears and anything else is not worth anything if your bike is not sized properly.

Reason 1: The better fit your bike is, the better r more comfortable you will feel on it. This will keep you wanting to ride more often and less prone to pulling injuries in time.

Reason 2: Any bike that is build for your size will be more efficient than the same bike that is not your size. Long rides, touring, or anything over 30+ miles will ultimately highlight the efficiency or inefficiency in the sizing.

Reason 3: Less than 60% of riders who purchase and ride misfitting bikes continue in the sport/hobby of cycling. (I would assume about 40% of that are commuters out of necessity)
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Old 10-27-10, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by garysol1
At 5'11" unless you are have incredibly abnormal proportions you belong on a 56.......
+1, for most generalized sized bikes. Obviously each frame is different, but at 5'9" I ride 54-56 cm.
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Old 10-27-10, 05:08 PM
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After reading this thread I decided to refit myself using competitive cyclist's fit calculator and raised my saddle up 2cm. I apparently have long legs and a short torso, I am 5' 7" and i have an inseam of 33.5". Currently riding a 54 with a 90mm stem and I think it fits me pretty well.
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Old 10-27-10, 05:40 PM
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5'11 is an inch shorter than I am, and I ride a 58cm frame with a 90mm stem.
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Old 10-27-10, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by djlarroc
OP, fill this out and see what results you get: https://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO
This.
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Old 10-27-10, 06:44 PM
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at 5-10 with decent hip flexibility and shorter arms, i've always preferred a smaller frame. 53-55cm bikes with the appropriate 120mm-130mm stems work for me.
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