Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Noob with "fit" questions

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Noob with "fit" questions

Old 08-02-11, 09:33 PM
  #1  
DP Roberts
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 61
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Noob with "fit" questions

I've been riding my 20-year old mountain bike for several months, and I'm thinking of upgrading to a road bike. I just rode a road bike for the first time today - I tested four of them at 3 local bike shops. I'm definitely looking for a "relaxed geometry" bike, for general fitness riding and possibly longer distances - NOT racing. After reading the same advice over and over on this board, I've decided not to fret too much about specifics and just buy the bike that fit the best.

According to the online calculators, I should fit about a 54 cm frame. I'm 5'8", and I think I have about a 30" inseam (I know I have short legs for my height). All three stores had me try frames from 51 cm to 54 cm, using methods ranging from "that looks right" to laser beams. In most cases, they said that most of the sizes in this range would work for me - it just depended on what felt the most comfortable.

When test riding them, it seemed like the smaller sizes generally fit better - I liked the shorter reach to the handlebars. However, it seemed like the handlebars were too low in the smaller frame. The bars on the larger frames were at a better height, but seemed too far away.

So, I have several questions:

1) Is it normal to prefer different sizes from different manufacturers?

2) All things being generally equal, would it be better to get a smaller or larger frame? I'm assuming that the bars can be raised on the smaller frames, and I could get a shorter stem or move the seat forward with the larger frames (or something like that). Which is, in the long run, is a better move?
DP Roberts is offline  
Old 08-03-11, 04:54 AM
  #2  
Kimmo
bike whisperer
 
Kimmo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Melbourne, Oz
Posts: 7,960

Bikes: https://weightweenies.starbike.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=152015&p=1404231

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 388 Post(s)
Liked 18 Times in 15 Posts
1. Yes, since sizing methodologies vary, and since for some stupid reason bikes are sized by seat tube length when top tube length is what matters.

2. Too early to say. IMO you should try to borrow a road bike (or just buy a $50 one) in the size you're looking at and give yourself a few weeks to adjust to the position. You're likely to find that you become more comfortable with low bars over time (and it's totally worth getting as low as you can go, because not only do you have to punch a smaller hole through the air, but you can make more power from your pre-stretched glutes; efficiency=fun). So if you buy a bike based on the position you want as a noob, you may find the bike isn't right for the position you evolve to. You will probably end up wanting your bars both further forward and lower down.

If getting used to road bikes before buying a nice one isn't an option, and you don't have any back issues that preclude a good pro-style position, you should probably buy a bike that will allow for such a pro fit, and just use a short riser stem while you're getting used to it. Any large change in position is likely to feel wrong or odd for a bit; you have to give yourself a chance to adjust to it before you can judge it.
Kimmo is offline  
Old 08-03-11, 04:59 AM
  #3  
roadwarrior
Senior Member
 
roadwarrior's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Someplace trying to figure it out
Posts: 10,638

Bikes: Cannondale EVO, CAAD9, Giant cross bike.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 60 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
At 5'8" I have a very hard time believing a 51 would work. And I sell a boatload of road bikes and fit them. But due to your disproportionate body (short legs and you are out of the bell curve) the bike will need to be lengthened via the stem to give you enough room in the top. The trick is to find a manufacturer that gives you enough standover so that you don't become a soprano when you get off the bike but a too small bike will create all kinds of issues for you while riding as it will also be too small in the top.
Personally, I don't use these fit programs as we developed our own and it tells us what length top tube you need with stem length which translates into frame size. I can't do that on the internet...and if you are measuring leg length (not inseam which is worthless) that number has to be all the way from the crotch to the bottom of you foot. Otherwise the bike will be the wrong size.
roadwarrior is offline  
Old 08-03-11, 05:06 AM
  #4  
Kimmo
bike whisperer
 
Kimmo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Melbourne, Oz
Posts: 7,960

Bikes: https://weightweenies.starbike.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=152015&p=1404231

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 388 Post(s)
Liked 18 Times in 15 Posts
Originally Posted by roadwarrior View Post
The trick is to find a manufacturer that gives you enough standover
Shouldn't be an issue in this age of compact frames. What might be an issue for someone of such proportions is finding a frame with a short enough head tube to get the desired bar drop without using a crazy stem. I doubt our OP will ever want such a drop... I'm guessing 2-3" will be plenty for him.
Kimmo is offline  
Old 08-03-11, 05:32 AM
  #5  
roadwarrior
Senior Member
 
roadwarrior's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Someplace trying to figure it out
Posts: 10,638

Bikes: Cannondale EVO, CAAD9, Giant cross bike.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 60 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
Shouldn't be an issue in this age of compact frames. What might be an issue for someone of such proportions is finding a frame with a short enough head tube to get the desired bar drop without using a crazy stem. I doubt our OP will ever want such a drop... I'm guessing 2-3" will be plenty for him.
Not everyone makes a compact frame. Given his desire to look for a relaxed style road bike, which will run shorter in the top tube, getting a fit will be even tougher.

It depends on the manufacturer...for example Giant makes their TCR's with 53.5cm top tubes (in a small or a 54ish) and a 53 top tube in a Defy.

Cannondale makes the CAAD10 with a 54.5 tt and a 54 in the Synapse.

One might fit better than the other.

Last edited by roadwarrior; 08-03-11 at 05:42 AM.
roadwarrior is offline  
Old 08-03-11, 03:29 PM
  #6  
ahsposo 
Thoroughbred Member
 
ahsposo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Santa Anita
Posts: 7,087

Bikes: A Home Built All Rounder, Bianchi 928, Specialized Langster, Dahon Folder

Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3032 Post(s)
Liked 95 Times in 65 Posts
I think the OP should bear in mind that as his fitness and comfort levels increase that "reach" might not seem so far.

I am very close to the physical dimensions you describe for your self. A 53/54cm bike is generally a good fit for me.

Here's how I can tell if a bikes toptube is too short. With the "stock" stem and my hands in the drops I bang my knees into the back of my elbows. Now don't cheat and spread them out but tuck them in.

Also with a too short top tube turning in a small circle your toes will become trapped behind the front wheel. This can be awkward and dangerous.

That said I personally feel better on a slightly small bike vs. a slightly big bike.
ahsposo is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
oldacura
Tandem Cycling
13
04-03-17 07:38 AM
Banzai
General Cycling Discussion
1
04-27-16 01:04 PM
E1im
Hybrid Bicycles
13
09-05-12 11:49 PM
adscft
Classic & Vintage
6
11-14-11 08:10 AM
PedalingAlong
Road Cycling
10
11-26-07 09:45 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.