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Need help with sizing...not getting the straight scoop from bike shops

Old 01-11-12, 06:41 PM
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jtmi
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Need help with sizing...not getting the straight scoop from bike shops

Hi all...am new to the forum and new to cycling (except for my Schwinn Traveler that I got new in 1984).

Anyway, want to get into the sport for fitness and to do my first triathlon this summer. Am in the market for a road bike and have been looking at the following:

Trek 1.5
Giant Defy
Specialized Secteur

A local dealer has (2011) closeouts on the Trek and Specialized for $800, however, they only have 58's built and on the floor (60's and 62's available) Went to two different bike shops today and one said I'm definitely a 62cm, the other said a 60cm and the bike shop with the closeouts think I could make do with a 58.

I'm 6'3" with 35" inseam. Since I'm not sure how a road bike is "supposed to feel" I'm not sure which size I should get. The Trek website says for my height any of the bikes would work and that per their advice, it's easier to make a smaller bike fit.

That said, when it comes to standover height, there's a whole lotta daylight between the top bar and my...ahem...crotch...on the 58.

Any advice for a noob on bike and size?

Thanks,

JT
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Old 01-11-12, 06:48 PM
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I am about the same size - I am about an inch taller, and about the same inseam. I ride a 60 cm trek 1.5. I did have to go with a slightly shorter stem. On a brief fitting, I found I would have been fine on either a 58 or 60. I ended up going with the 60 - it felt comfortable, and put me in a littler more relaxed position. Now that my flexibility is a little better, and I can tolerate a slightly more aggressive position, I think my next bike will be a 58 - but that is a couple of years down the road - I am pretty pleased with my current set-up. I think a 62 would be way too big for your measurements.
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Old 01-11-12, 07:45 PM
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This works pretty well.

https://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO


Be sure to read the info about three styles of road fit at that link, too.
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Old 01-11-12, 07:50 PM
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Google it, Theres allot of graphs and charts out there on the web
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Old 01-11-12, 07:53 PM
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The competitive cyclist fit calculator gives completely whack results for me- it has me on a frame much larger than I'd ride.

Different frames that are "58cm" or whatever can actually be quite different sizes. I have three frames that are set up to put me in the same position- one's a 59cm, one is a 58, the other is a 56.

What's important is the reach from the seat to the bars, which is measured with "effective top tube" or "reach". And the height of the head tube, which determines how high the bars can go. The seat tube size is pretty much meaningless. This is why you're getting different numbers from different shops- they are fitting you on different bikes that are made with different proportions.
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Old 01-11-12, 07:58 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I guess the main issue I have is one Trek dealer says 62, one says 58 and one says 60 all on the same Trek 1.5. Not knowing what "proper" reach I should go with, I'm at a loss or at least at the mercy of a 33% chance of getting it "right".

Pendergast, I will try the bike calculator site right now. Thanks.
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Old 01-11-12, 08:15 PM
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I'm not sure why ericm979's results with the Competitive Cyclist fit calculator are off, but he's right about effective top tube being the most important measurement. Geometry charts for bike models are available at the companies' websites, so be sure to compare your fit calculator results with the bike you're interested in with the appropriate size. Yeah, head tube lengths and various angles factor in as well, but using effective top tube length works most of the time for most people.
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Old 01-11-12, 08:39 PM
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You need to look into bike sizing, some quote TT length other quote ST length. Im 6'3" and ride a 54 which is meaningless unless you know what tube im talking about
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Old 01-11-12, 08:43 PM
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I also agree with regard to Top Tube being the more important length. However, having recently purchased a new bike of a different size for my wife and helping two other friends either re-fit their bikes or shop for a new one, I have seen the Comp Cyclist measurements come out pretty spot on with regard to what everyone was already riding and wear they ended up. It was a mix of Eddy to French fits for individuals that ride for pleasure, fitness and the ocassional event.

To comment on the OP, we would really need more info along the lines of age, flexibility, intended use and level of aggressiveness or lack there of and all the other body measurements (torso, arms, thigh, etc.). I'm only 1" taller, at 6'4" and I ride a 63cm Cannondale with a 140 stem and consider it to be on the "small" side for me. But, I ride a much more traditional fit, with my arms out in front instead of down. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see shops fit you on either the 60 or 62. But, unless you're young, flexible and intent on racing crit's, I can't imagine a "good" fit on the 58 without it invovling a lot of seat post and and incredibly long stem.

Try the fit calculator and since you're asking these questions, use the "French" results. Those are going to put you on a larger size, that will have longer top and head tubes but rely on a shorter stem.
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Old 01-11-12, 08:46 PM
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I'm almost exactly your height and inseam, and I ride a 60cm Roubaix and 60cm Secteur as it's backup.

If I were going to a bike with a significantly more aggressive riding position, I'd probably opt for a 58. My guess -- in the bikes you're looking at, the 60 is probably in the sweet spot. I'd expect the 62 to be much too large.

The difference between the 58 and 60 on the Secteur will be the smaller frame will have more saddle-to-bar drop and a slightly shorter top tube, so you'll end up in a more aggressive position on it. You might "make do" with it, and you might even prefer it. The only way to know is to try them out.
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Old 01-11-12, 08:50 PM
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I tried the competitive cyclist site. Using a level, my inseam is actually closer to 37.5 but my top-tube calc result indicates anywhere between 58.6 to 59 for competitive and Eddy fit to about 60 the French fit.

The CC site had weird results for the seat tube center to top. Way outside the geometry of the trek bikes.
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Old 01-11-12, 09:05 PM
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I am your height, with a shorter inseam, longer torso and arms. The CC website told me I needed a 690mm eff TT (which doesn't exist). Take them with a grain of salt, but the numbers look similar to what I have been comfortable on. If the manufacturers give stack and reach, those are the two key numbers to look at to compare models, as you don't have to worry about seat angle or HT length affect your position. I would think that a 62 is very big, especially with that inseam.

You mention stand over height in your first post. If you are long legged, ignore it. To get a close stand over, the top tube would be way long. Most modern bikes, especially with the sloping top tube geometry, will show lots of seat post.
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Old 01-11-12, 10:59 PM
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If they shops offer a fitting then take advantage of it. 60 from what I can tell is your best bet and a good fitting will make sure the bike fits to you and not the other way around. Once the seat is adjusted they should get the reach dialed in with the correct stem length and angle. Let them know if you have any kind of physical limitations like back, hip or knee pain or lack of flexibility.
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Old 01-12-12, 01:00 AM
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Originally Posted by jtmi View Post
I tried the competitive cyclist site. Using a level, my inseam is actually closer to 37.5 but my top-tube calc result indicates anywhere between 58.6 to 59 for competitive and Eddy fit to about 60 the French fit.

The CC site had weird results for the seat tube center to top. Way outside the geometry of the trek bikes.
The CC seat tube measures are based on the old traditional frame styles that had truely horizontal top tubes. Its to the intersection of that top tube and seat tube they refer to for Center to Center and subsequently the top of the Seat Tube would be higher than most of todays sloping top tube style frames. This is exactly why most of the respondents have advised that you should pay more attention to the theoretical top tube length.

Puting things into some perspective, my Cannondale has fairly traditional geometry, similiar to what CC is using for seat tube measures. It's declared as a 63cm frame. It measures 63cm from center of bottom bracket to the top of the top tube where it intersects with the seat tube. It measures 66cm from center of bottom bracket to the very top of the seat tube collar. It also has a 60cm top tube, measured from center of seat tube to center of head tube. Do those measures look more similiar to wha CC would recommend for a French fit? At 6'4" and with a 37.2" inseam I fit very comfortably on that bike with a 140mm stem.
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Old 01-12-12, 02:07 AM
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I just looked at the Trek web site for the 1.5 geometry and then walked out to the garage and measured my own. They list 850mm as the max bottom braket to saddle distance for the 60cm frame, 870 for the 62cm. Mine currently measures 875mm and thats with 180mm cranks, which would position the pedals 5mm lower and using old Shimano spd-r pedals which have one of the lowest stack heights between spindle and shoe sole. I'm concerned that if your inseam is equal or greater than mine, you may find even the 60cm a bit small, unless you add a longer seat post. Even then you may have considerable drop to the handlebars, which may or may not be what you're after.
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Old 01-12-12, 06:36 AM
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Wow...great responses...I really appreciate it.

As mentioned by several, I'm paying attention to the effective top tube length. I agree the the 58 is probably too "small/aggressive" for me at this time; just getting into the sport and all. For the Trek, I'm down to the 60 and 62.

I guess the crux of my issue is that I'm not sure how forward my forward lean should be, not having experience and all. A buddy of mine who is an avid cyclist indicated I need to be careful about too much reach as it may feel comfortable for the early part of the ride but after that I may find myself moving forward on the saddle which wouldn't be good.

I'm a relative beginner, with average flexibility. I want something I can train on for 10 to 20 miles at a time an do some triathlons for fun.

With me, most of my height is in my legs. I sit down next to my wife who is 5'7" tall, and I can look her in the eye...when I stand up...well, you get the picture.

I really appreciate all the feedback.
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Old 01-12-12, 10:17 AM
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One other thing to keep in mind is that Treks have a shorter top tube relative to a lot of other manufacturers. So definitely rule out a 58 Trek. If I were you, I'd shoot for a 60 because a bike a size down with a longer stem (100-120mm) gives better handling than a larger bike with a short stem.
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Old 01-12-12, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by jtmi View Post
Wow...great responses...I really appreciate it.

As mentioned by several, I'm paying attention to the effective top tube length. I agree the the 58 is probably too "small/aggressive" for me at this time; just getting into the sport and all. For the Trek, I'm down to the 60 and 62.

I guess the crux of my issue is that I'm not sure how forward my forward lean should be, not having experience and all. A buddy of mine who is an avid cyclist indicated I need to be careful about too much reach as it may feel comfortable for the early part of the ride but after that I may find myself moving forward on the saddle which wouldn't be good.

I'm a relative beginner, with average flexibility. I want something I can train on for 10 to 20 miles at a time an do some triathlons for fun.

With me, most of my height is in my legs. I sit down next to my wife who is 5'7" tall, and I can look her in the eye...when I stand up...well, you get the picture.

I really appreciate all the feedback.
I am 6' 4" with a 38" cycling inseam, average flexibility. I am on a 63cm caad9 with a 90mm stem and about 6cm of saddle to bar drop (180mm cranks). I have not found the 90mm stem to adversely affect handling, you results may be different.
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Old 01-12-12, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
The competitive cyclist fit calculator gives completely whack results for me- it has me on a frame much larger than I'd ride.
I highly prefer the Wrench Science calculator. It directly incorporates flexibility by asking how far you can bend over-- palms flat, toe toes, touch top of shins, etc.


Also for the OP, make sure you measure cycling inseam. Wrench Science explains it well, saying that you need to depress your soft tissue and measure to the sit bones. This makes sense as this is how you will be seated on the bike. How your pants fit is irrelevant.

I say this because 6'3" 35" cycling inseam is certainly possible, but I am 6'0" and wear 33" pants and have a 34.75" cycling inseam.
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Old 01-12-12, 12:08 PM
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To the OP, this is the point where you would really need to be dealing with someone in person or give us more details with regard to age, desired "look" (it is important), etc. I'm an inch taller with a close to identical inseam. I'm considering purchasing a new bike, in order to get a carbon frame. The only two bikes I'm considering are a Trek Madone or Specialized Roubaix. Both in the largest size that they make. Which, is the 64cm. My reason for this is that I want the length of both the top tube and head tube in order to get my handlebars in my desired location without flipping the stem angled upwards and a stack of spacers under it. I suspect, that if you're new to cycling and likely to appreciate a more upright posture, the 62 is going to come closer to offering the same.

You're pretty close to exhausting what a bunch of fred's on the internet can do for you.

With regard to stem length. Don't be afraid of shorter stems. They don't "degrade" handling. They do make it "quicker". Smaller movements of the bars will result in greater change at the wheel. But, with slightly less weight forward than if you were on a smaller frame with a longer stem.

Worry about top tube length first. Which you've alredy done. Then move onto head tube length. How high or low do you want the bars?

Cheers,
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Old 01-12-12, 12:20 PM
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60.
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Old 01-12-12, 12:22 PM
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Most of the riders I see with very short stems ride wobbly, with frequent steering corrections. You want to give them an extra 6 inches or foot when you're next to them (I'm talking experienced riders here). Maybe its not caused by the short stem, and somehow riders who can't hold a line gravitate towards short stems for some reason that I don't understand. But I don't think that's the case.

The OP (and anyone else who is asking fit questions) should find a shop that does fittings and work with them. The amount of value that can be gained on the internet is small.
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Old 01-12-12, 01:05 PM
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I'd go with the 59-60
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Old 01-12-12, 06:23 PM
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google "peter white bike fit" and steve hogg bike fitting for a good reference point.

no one here can tell you what is best to ride until they have a chance to fit you in person.

so just google what i said, and go out informed.

and research bike sizing too: a 62 only is one measurement, and a fairly useless one for fit.
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Old 01-12-12, 06:25 PM
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also, inseam in great to know if you are buying pants. and height is great for dating profiles.

dont pay attention to the manufacturer sites for fit.

again: peter white, and steve hogg. and yes, you can fit more than one size for a bicycle.
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