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Need Adjustment Tips for Oversized Frame(5 posts)

Need Adjustment Tips for Oversized FrameSpoiledBikeDaddy
Apr 15, 2003 8:07 AM
Hi All,

I recently picked up a bike with a 55cm frame (irresistable deal). The thing is, a properly sized bike for me would run about 53cm.

Oh well, damage done. The question now is how do I best adjust the new toy to make the best use of the bike? I've already figured out I need to move the seat forward to improve my pedaling angle. Any other advice for making a too-big bike as comfortable (and efficient) as possible would be most appreciated!


Shorter stem? And, uh, lower the saddle. But maybe....cory
Apr 15, 2003 8:23 AM
My experience is all the other way--I really need about a 65cm, but keep finding 62s on sale. But one obvious swap would be a shorter stem, and if that's not enough, you might be able to find bars with less reach.
FWIW, most people ride bikes that are too small by traditional standards (the old smaller-is-stiffer-and-lighter racer influence), so you may find that the 55 fits you pretty well. Grant Petersen has some stuff on that at
One quick check: Set the saddle so your leg extension is right, then close your fist around the post. If your hand just covers the exposed post, the bike is close to the right size for you.
Shorter stem? And, uh, lower the saddle. But maybe....SpoiledBikeDaddy
Apr 15, 2003 9:03 AM
Thanks! It may be a bit big (my crotch brushes the top tube when standing over), but it's definitely rideable. I actually have the seatpost set relatively high (I've got longish legs in comparison to my torso), and was thinking about a LONGER stem to prevent backaches from bending over double to reach the outer curve of the handlebars. Maybe I'll look into the smaller bar. I'll check out that website as well.

Thanks Again,

You're confusing meKerry
Apr 15, 2003 4:36 PM
Why would you move the seat forward? The issue is your saddle position relative the BB, so as your frame "changes sizes" underneath you, your saddle stays in the same place and unless there is a difference in seat tube angle, doesn't move forward or back on the seat post. You contact the bike at three places: pedals, bars, and saddle. To keep those things in the same spatial relationship, a larger frame (with the same frame angles) would mean less seat post showing and a shorter stem. Easy as pie.
You're confusing meSpoiledBikeDaddy
Apr 15, 2003 7:31 PM
Taking another look, and another ride, I see your point - I think the saddle was just preset at an uncomfortable position for me, which has nothing to with the frame size. I've moved the saddle forward to position myself more directly over the BB and increase my leverage on the pedals.

I don't know how to explain the seatpost height. As I mentioned above, my crotch brushes the top tube when I stand over, which I was always told meant a too-large frame (the good folks at Rivendell disagree). It makes sense to have the post adjusted lower to compensate, but when I do that (using the "one-fist" rule, for example), I feel like my knees are gonna give me an uppercut and my internal organs are gonna get squeezed out of my chest cavity like toothpaste.

I've always thought (and I think I've been told as well) that my knee should be just short of full straight at the bottom of the pedal stroke with my butt on the saddle. To do that, I have to extend the seatpost almost to max. I dunno - maybe I've got some bad habits to unlearn?

I suspect part of my problem has to do with just having to get used to a road bike. I've pretty much owned only mountain bikes since I outgrew kids' rides, and it's apparent the geometries and proportions are different. Right now, I feel like I'm bending over double whenever I go to shift or use the brakes (which my lower back does NOT like). Maybe I need to get a longer stem, per Rivendell's advice; maybe I just need to get used to being more horizontal

Thanks for your input!