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Trek 5200 - 56cm or 58cm Dilemma(14 posts)

Trek 5200 - 56cm or 58cm DilemmaLinus
Apr 22, 2001 4:51 PM
I want to buy a TREK 5200. I am 5'10. I rode the bike at 2 separate bike shops a few days apart. One was a 56cm and the other a 58. They both felt fine. (I did not ride them a tremendous amount mind you - parking lot kind of stuff.) I can't decide which one I should get. Does anyone have a recommendation......I am afraid If I buy the smaller I'll regret not getting the larger or vise versa. What's the advantage of going with one over the other etc.. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.....
ive got one toojohn de
Apr 22, 2001 5:12 PM
im 5' 8" with a 32 inseam and the 54 trek fits...i think you should go smaller..they are long anyway and shorter is more nimble...if you can fit the shorter, even if it is slightly too low in the bars i find you streach a little and that wont bother you, but the longer top tube on the bigger one you may end up wanting a shorter stem on cause its so need to give more info..if they both feel fine though and there isnt any more info possible go smaller i say
re: Trek 5200 - 56cm or 58cm Dilemmamust_pedal_harder
Apr 22, 2001 5:20 PM
I'm 5'6" with a 31" inseam. For my first road bike I went with a 48cm frame. I like the clearance but I have to raise my seat post to the line and there's a lot of pressure on my hands. Also, I find myself trying to push my butt back on the saddle sometimes. At the time I got the bike I was either going to go with the 48 or a 52. I went with the 48 for more nimble handling and a lighter bike, but should of gone with the 52. Naturally now I'm getting a 54cm 5200 so go figure :/

My advice though, get the smallest frame size you feel good on.

re: Trek 5200 - 56cm or 58cm Dilemmalott
Apr 22, 2001 7:45 PM
I'm also buying the 5200. I already own a Trek 2200...why I new bike???..well I wish I could stop myself. Anyhow, I'm also 5'8" and my Trek is a 54 so a friend told me that I should get a 56 5200. I rode the 56 and I felt that it was too long in the top tube. I tried the 54 and it felt alot better. I guess I'm also kinda saying go for the smaller of the two if they both feel about the same. This is no scientific answer just a gut feeling.
re: Trek 5200 - 56cm or 58cm Dilemmarstel66
Apr 22, 2001 8:14 PM
It's going to depend on how much stem you want. Trek sizes their bikes one size smaller. I normally ride a 56 c-c Specialized and I test rode a 58 and it fit me great, I'm 5'10 also. I set my saddle at 30" from center of bb to top of saddle and I like a top tube and stem length of 68.5 cm. (56.5 tt and 12 cm stem on my present bike and 55.5 and 13cm on my new giant TCR-1). If you try the smaller and you are on a long stem, be advised that you may stretch out a bit over time and you dont want to be stuck trying to find that longer stem. If you have to go over 13cm for the stem, go to the larger size frame.
Also keep in consideration of saddle height and stem height, usually with the smaller size there will be a greater difference especially with the threadless headsets (I'm lower on my new bike, but I've been racing crits and I like being able to go lower in the drops). The larger frame will allow you the get that range closer together without resorting to using more spacers to set the higher stem height. Hope this helps....

Ride on!!!!
re: Trek 5200 - 56cm or 58cm DilemmaAndy
Apr 22, 2001 8:38 PM
It's not just a matter of your height and inseam. You also have to factor in your torso and arm length. As a general rule, you should get the smallest size frame that can be properly fitted to your body. has some information on bike fit.

Basically, you need to be able to adjust your fore/aft seat position so that when you position your feet on the pedals and hold the crank arms in a horozontal position, a plumb line will drop from the front of your knee through the front pedal axle. You also need to be able to adjust your saddle height properly (see fitting instructions) and stem length. These are the three most important items to fit properly.

I am 5'9" with a 31" inseam and have a 56cm Trek 5200 but now I wish I would have purchased the 54cm instead and tweaked the seatpost offset and stem length. It's too late now! Also remember that different manufacturers calculate the frame size differently. A 53cm LeMond is about the same as a 56cm Trek 5200.

Get the smallest frame that can be properly fitted to your body. You and the bike shop will have to "do some work" to figure this out. If they don't want to spend the time with you to make sure the fit is correct, buy elsewhere.
re: Trek 5200 - 56cm or 58cm DilemmaAD14
Apr 23, 2001 3:06 AM
If your going to spend money on a new bike spend the extra 50 on abike fit for center to top which the trek is. Iagree with Andy- if a particular bike shop wont do it go elsewhere.
re: Trek 5200 - 56cm or 58cm Dilemmarstel66
Apr 23, 2001 4:30 PM
I have to agree with Andy also. I didn't mention torso and arm length in my last reply because that was already a factor when determining total length (top tube & stem). AFAIK "KOPS" is debatable (see Bontrager's website) It makes for a good starting point however, I usually look at leg extension and adjust for comfort. People have different pedaling styles, I prefer to be over the bb more, so my knee would be forward of the pedal spindle. I noticed that Andy mentioned that he wished that he went with a smaller sized bike. I'm actually 3/4" taller and have a 32.5 inseam, I have a longer torso and arm length, that on a 56 Trek I would need a 13 cm stem (56.1 + 13=69.1, 68.5 being the smallest I'm comfortable with) I also tried a 58 with a 12 cm stem which felt right also, I would have recommended the larger bike for the if I was the person starting out on a road bike, as I would have a little more adjustment on the stem length as I stretch out, while retaining the ride. So I'm wondering what was Andy's stem measurement as one doesn't want to affect saddle positioning once it's set. Note that Andy said "properly fitted". I have a teammate on my racing team who bought a KHS from a leading mail order/bike shop chain (anonyminity ok...) who was so improperly fitted that he was on a bike that was 2 sizes smaller and with a 100 mm stem. He thought that was his proper fit and wound up ordering a $1000 race frame set to the same specs. Every time we would watch him race we'd notice that he looked squeezed in. He'd complain of back pain which almost caused him to quit racing. Anyway, he decided to buy a bike from our sponsoring LBS and I did a fit for him and we found that he fit my larger new bike (Giant TCR med) except that he needed the next size down seatpost and a 120 stem. What I am getting at is that you need to ensure that your lbs does a good fit with you and even paying the extra bucks for a fit session would be well worth it in the long run.
I have a 60cm, my experienceDuane Gran
Apr 23, 2001 4:30 AM
Although it is kind of others who have the same bike to tell what size worked for them, this won't tell which size works for you. I had my bike shop "fit me" to my 60cm 5200. They measured about everything on my body and used some formula I'm not familiar with. I also rode a 58, and to be honest I felt more comfortable on the 58. On the 60 I felt like I was reaching over the hood of a car or something. The bars felt very far for me. Mind you, I was coming from the mountain bike camp where the position is more relaxed.

I trusted my bike shop, mostly because it was evident that they knew what they were talking about. I ordered the 60 and within weeks I stretched out a little and the bike fits me like a glove. People often comment on how comfortable I look as I ride. These days I think about how cramped I would feel on a 58.

That is my story. I'm not sure if it helps, but if you have a good bike shop and you don't have a lot of experience, trust them. On the other hand, if you have been riding for a while and you know what fits and doesn't fit, trust your gut feeling.
re: Trek 5200 - Check this...Wessley
Apr 23, 2001 6:04 AM
I'm 6' and ride the size 58cm. My other bikes are 57cm c-c and another is 57 c-t. All the toptube length are 56.5 for the 57 cc bikes, 56.75 for the 57 c-t bike. 57 cm for the Trek 5200. The trek is measured to the Top of the extended seattube, and therefore the standover is a bit short which is no problem for me, and the bars are a bit low, which is again no problem,but it may be for some.I tend to prefer bikes sized on the small side. Your preference may differ.Toptube length seems to be the most important factor regarding fit for me, as well as seattube angle.In this respect, the Trek works as well as the others.Despite the differences in 'sizing', the Trek fits as well as the others.
parking lot kind of stuff can be dangerousET
Apr 23, 2001 8:01 AM
Even a very tucked position can be tolerated by just about anyone for short periods and without traffic considerations.

Do you have a current bike to which we can compare? Please post details.

I'll just warn you that perhaps you should not view it as a choice of 56 or 58, but rather as a 3-way choice between 56, 58, or none at all. I am also 5'10" and none fits me, and here's why. My ideal seat tube angle is 72.5. That is where I end up right on the middle of my rails with the given seatpost and setback. I can't change this, nor should I want to; that's how my legs are proportioned. The 5200 size 56 has a rather steep 73.5 STA, and I would probably run out of rail. Even if I don't, moving the seat back to get it where I need it would lengthen the effective top tube considerably, and when combined with the tremendous drop to the handlebars, might make the reach too long/low. The 58 has a 73 STA, which after seat adjustment would still lengthen the top tube quite a bit more, so the reach would be too long.

The Trek is actually around 2 sizes off the way others measure sizing (of seat tube), i.e. the 56 is more like a 54 c-t (of top tube) with a 56.1 TT, and the 58 is more like a 56 c-t with a 57.1 TT, i.e. the top tube is long for its real, not nominal fake, size. I don't buy the argument some make to just go after top tube; that one-foot drop to the handlebars (OK, I'm exaggerating) is real, not imagined. The Trek is great for time trialing, for those proportioned with more torso than most, and for those with great reach or who prefer exaggerated vertical drop to the handlebars. Recommend to be careful; maybe take them on a much longer ride before deciding.
re: Trek 5200 - 56cm or 58cm DilemmaTim Murphy
Apr 23, 2001 1:55 PM
I notice a lot of people say "buy the smallest size that fits." For a contrarian view, visit Sizing.htm

That article was helpful to me, as was info at

I just bought a Trek 5200 60 cm, 2 cm larger than my old Trek, after a test ride, fitting and stem swap. I would not buy from any place that would limit you to the parking lot.
re: Trek 5200 - 56cm or 58cm DilemmaLinus
Apr 23, 2001 5:02 PM
WOW !! A lot of good comprehensive information posted here . I currently ride a Trek 7000 mountain bike but have not owned a road bike in 15 years. I am concerned about the longer term experience with the bike - I am suspect of the short term parking lot ride and now I have some ideas.

I am goint to ask one LBS manager if he has time to read some of this and help me out. Thanks a lot.......I don't want to spend this kind of money and then regret the size choice.....that would be awful.
A point not yet coveredSpoke Wrench
Apr 24, 2001 5:45 AM
Imagine a room full of people doing toe touches. Some can touch their toes, some can flatten their palms against the floor and some can barely touch their knees. Now try to fit those same people on road bikes.

I think that the position of the handlebars, both vertically and horizontally, relative to the saddle is the most important, and the most difficult element of bicycle fit. Threadless headset systems have made adjusting the vertical relationship more difficult than it used to be so today it's more important than ever before to get your size right.

As a general rule, I'd say that if you are a very fit, flexible racer type go for the smaller frame. You'll have a more efficient aero position. If you are more of an enthuiast, social rider, you'll probably prefer the higher handlebar position provided by the larger frame.