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Back Ache! Too big?(8 posts)

Back Ache! Too big?nwester
Jun 9, 2002 1:01 PM
I just purchased a used 56cm x 57.5 early 90's Schwinn Paramount. I know it was a bit too big for me, but I had the reach shortened by changing the handle bar neck (sorry..don't know the terminology yet). I took it out for my first real ride today and was pleased with it's performance. However, my lower back wasn't happy with it. I am used to my mountain bike..totally different fit. So I don't know if this is just an adjustment period or if I screwed up by jumping in too fast on a bike that's too big. I'm female, 5'6", and I test road a different bike 56cm x 56cm that felt right on fit-wise (but it was in bad shape). So I was hoping I could compensate for the top tube on the Paramount by the adjustment I mentioned...I just had to have this bike! Will I be sorry? What should I be looking for that says it fits right position-wise? Thanks for any input.
too big...C-40
Jun 9, 2002 1:50 PM
I'm no more than an inch taller with a long 83cm (cycling) inseam. I wouldn't ride anything larger than a 55 x 55.

There are many websites than have detailed fit info. Check them out before you buy. I suspect a 52-54cm (center to top) would be a more likely frame size.

Try these sites:
might not beweiwentg
Jun 9, 2002 2:05 PM
we need to know your inseam to be sure. but if you are used to your MTB position, the initial adjustment to a road bike will involve some back pain. do some stretching and strengthening exercises. if that doesn't work out, then it is too big. I would ask if you feel stretched out, but I think a lot of MTBers making that initial transition do.
re: Back Ache! Too big?Carbon fiber fanatik
Jun 9, 2002 2:07 PM
Wow, not much information to go on, but, IMHO? You will prop end up being sorry. I'm not a pro when is comes to schwinn, but that is a huge top tube length for your height. A sore lower back is more the norm in the begining, but also indicative of a ill fitting bike. Bike fit is of utmost importance and cannot be done in a bike shop. They can get you close, but only riding will provide the accuracy. Changing the stem length can also be tricky because it directly affects handling. For giggles? go to . They have an awesome guide on figuring out proper bike size. By way of comparison? I'm approx. 5'10" and ride a 52cm road and 17-1/2" mountain. A 54cm is prob more proper for me, but I prefer a shorter top tube...
Good luck with the paramount..!
re: Back Ache! Too big?JBurton
Jun 9, 2002 2:35 PM
Personally, I believe that is too probably too big. I am also 5'6" and ride a 52 cm. I can't remember what the top tube is. Now, being female it is very likely that you have longer legs than me (likely, but not necessarily). As far as standover, you might be in good shape (I probably couldn't even straddle that bike of yours!), but if your legs are longer, that means your torso is shorter. That could affect your back. The position on a road bike can be quite different than on a mountain bike, which might account for some of your pain. That you will just have to get used to on subsequent rides.

I agree with the other posts, that we need more information about your body type...inseam, arm length, etc., as well as your mountain bike position and intended use of this new road bike.
re: Back Ache! Too big?nwester
Jun 9, 2002 2:55 PM
Thanks for all the info. I went ahead and measured myself: 32"(84.28cm) leg inseam; 27"(68.58cm) torso; 16"(40.64cm) arm (inseam to wrist). From what you guys are telling me, it sounds like I am technically way off on the size. This is a real bummer. I may have to pass on the Paramount to a more suitable owner, and keep on looking. Any suggestions? I am just starting to cross over from MTB (not giving it up by any means!) to road and want a bike I can grow in to technically for eventual long rides.
Well...that's really personal, too...JBurton
Jun 9, 2002 5:41 PM
If you are interested in doing long rides, you may want to look towards comfort, which would probably mean a steel framed bike. Lemond and Bianchi have some fairly moderately priced, but well spec'd steel bikes. You also, given your back pain, may want to go towards a more upright or touring stance. The Lemond Buenos Aires is, I believe, geared toward the recreational/touring cyclist and is not badly priced (I have no idea of your budget). One drawback with the Lemond series, however is sort of a hot topic of disscussion a few lines down. The Lemonds, like many American bikes, have comparatively longer top tubes than some bikes. Since we are the same height, but your inseam is longer than mine, you definately have a shorter almost two inches. The Bianchis, being Italian, may help with this long top tube problem. Or, you may want to consider a female specific bike design by makers like Trek (can't think of others at the moment, but there are many). Or, you could look towards a cyclo-cross bike setup, which is sort of a cross between a road and mountain bike...having the knobby (albiet, much skinnier) tires of a mountain bike...and the general setup...drop bars, larger rigid frame...of a road bike. Generally one would buy a 'cross bike a tad smaller than their counterpart road bike. These are not, however, the hybrid bikes at your local bike shop. Surly and Raliegh are two companies that make somewhat affordable Cyclocross bikes. You are not obligated to use the knobby tires, of course. Road tires fit on these bikes. But you do have the option of taking that bike off road and even to mild single track.

Note that all of this is not to sway you toward a steel bike, or European bike, or touring bike. These are merely some suggestion. You will recieve many on this board that you should also consider. If you see racing or triathlon in your future, for instance, you might want to consider other options.
re: Back Ache! Too big?Carbon fiber fanatik
Jun 9, 2002 5:47 PM
passing on the paramount is a good start. (sorry, but true) I would be more curious to know, what type of road riding are you interested in.. what type of frame are you used to riding? (mountain or road or both) budget? There are so many variables. To be honest, it would be easier for the board to know more about what interest you in road riding, so that we may better assist you. As far as sizing? I'm thinking you should look at a 52cm as a starting point. The longer the top tube, the more stretched out you are, hence the more weight on your hands and the more stress on the back.
Hope some of this helped...