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Is my bike too small?(4 posts)

Is my bike too small?pedalinbob
Apr 5, 2001 5:26 AM
i am 5'8", 140lb with a 31.75" inseam. i have fairly long arms.

i have a 53cm (53tt) bianchi veloce and a 53 (54.5tt) lemond maillot jaune.

the problem? i cant seem to raise the stem enough without compromising handling. i have tried a 100 (on the lemond) +10 with 1.25" spacers--too short. a 120mm +17 with 1.25" spacers is much better: front hub is obscured, i feel to be pretty comfortable, the bars are 1.75" below the saddle...but the bike feels "wiggly" at the bars. strange!
i tried a 100 and a 110 in the negative rise position (10 degrees, i think) and the bike feels much more stable and precise. (i have noticed this on my mtb too--placing the stem in a positive rise position goofs the handling.) but now i feel too low (3" drop), and the front hub is now in front of the bars...

are these frames a bit too small? too short head tubes? should i keep trying new combos (remove spacers and try the 120 in + rise again?)?

thanks for any advice...
re: Is my bike too small?JohnG
Apr 5, 2001 5:52 AM
I don't think you are far off on frame sizing..... maybe a 1 cm at the most. By comparison, I'm 5' 8+" with a 31.5" inseam and my road frames are all 54cm CT with 54.5 cm TT's. They are set up with 11 cm stems. This frame size is just about perfect for me. Bar to seat drop is about 2". I could easily ride a 53cm CT frame although I would end up with just a smidge more drop with that size.

Anyway, the "wiggly" feeling might be due to either a slight unweighting of the front end (due to the higher rise which shifts weight toward the rear) or a noodly stem. You might want to try a 120 stem with a little less rise. If I remember correctly.... you were an MTB'r first...??? If so, it may take some time to get comfortable with the more layed over setup of a RB. BTW, the fastest guys I ride with have a lot of drop between their saddles and bars.

good rides JohnG
not sureET
Apr 5, 2001 6:03 AM
Many complain that the drop to their handlebars is too low, a problem compounded by threadless, which limits the buildup (although somewhat offset by raised headtubes on newer bikes), and often caused by non-standardized seat tube sizing, causing many to buy the wrong-sized bike based on top tube alone. Yet we have even trusty LBS people tell us that just about all that matters is top tube. Go figure.

In your case, it seems less clear. You inseam with shoes/cleats would be around 82.65, not too small at all compared to the 79 standover of the Lemond. Your stems are in the normal range. Furthermore, off-the-shelf Lemonds come with 4 cm (1.57") of spacers, so I'm not sure why you're feeling that wiggle. I don't feel any of that with my Lemond (2" drop), even at high speeds (it's a Zurich). Could it be the difference in frames? I wouldn't think so. Is it possible something isn't tightened properly?

You don't talk much about the Bianchi. On that one, due to their misleading sizing, you'll have much more clearance (I'm guessing around 6.65 cms, or 2.6", not ridiculous, but you could get closer.) Due to the differences in seat tube angles between the bikes (73.25 and 74), your seat must be pushed well over a centimeter forward or back on one of those bikes. But it sounds to me that at least the Lemond fits. Maybe take it to an LBS and see what they can come up with.
Your size doesn't this case.gimmeaminute
Apr 5, 2001 1:04 PM
The frame size description seems within usual limits. It seems the real question is about your little wiggle.....

How stiff is your front wheel? What size tire at what pressure? Does the wiggle change as you move bar positions? Is the front hub adjusted correctly?

You seem to have eliminated set-up as a problem. Look for a mechanical solution. Be sure to check out the rear hub and the frame. Both frames, in good condition, should ride rail straight.