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Complete road n00b needs bike size advice(10 posts)

Complete road n00b needs bike size advicethefish
Jul 28, 2003 1:41 PM
Hi, first of I'm 5'9" and 155lbs...standover about 31". I went to ym LBS and checked out a Roubaix Pro 56cm for $1095 (overpriced). I BARELY cleared the top tube and proceeded to take her out for a test run. During the brief run ....I felt "stretched"....slightly unnatural because I had to extend myself to reach the brake lever. After the ride, I felt slightly guilty for taking it out knowing I wouldn't buy it from there....anyways.....I found the fuji team for 1095 (same price as the roubaix)! Now the big question is 56cm or 54cm. I've always read online that the bigger the bike the better?!?! Any truth to this? Does standover/reach matter that much? What say you; 56cm or 54cm?
re: Complete road n00b needs bike size advicejtolleson
Jul 28, 2003 3:22 PM
Maybe neither. Not every bike fits every person. You may simply need a different manufacturer. Also, did the salesperson confirm that the saddle was in the right place (fore-aft)? How long a stem was on the bike?

But the numbers aren't adding up for me. If your cycling standover (floor to firmly in crotch) is really 31", and you are really 5'9", that means that you have a pretty long torso, which makes me wonder why you felt stretched out on the 56 cm.

There is no truth to erring on the side of too big, nor to erring on the side of too small. A too big bike can't be made to fit unless you put a little dinky stem on it which changes handling and your weight distribution. A too small bike will require a jacked up seat, long stem, and either riser stem or bunch of spacers.

Go to a good LBS and try several different manufacturers... even pay for a fitting if you must. This is an $1100 investment and something that your body will spend lots of time on. Take the time to get it right.
re: Complete road n00b needs bike size advicethefish
Jul 28, 2003 4:02 PM
There are only a few bike shops around here. One carries only Specialized and Giant. Another carries only Trek and Fuji. And most if not all LBS charge close to MSRP or MSRP price.....which I cannot afford. For example, a Fuji Team @ my LBS is 1495 w/o pedals or 8.75% sales tax. I'd be looking at $1800....I do NOT have that much money to blow. As it is I'm stretching what I can afford at $1100. All LBS want to make a good profit....and given its their right to ....but I'd rather go for the cheaper price than supporting my LBS.
I have went to 3 LBS total so far....and none of them have come close to fitting my budget. For example, one LBS had a R600 for $1000....which wasn't bad until I compared the components to the Fuji Team. $1000 bux for an r600 seems absurd compared to the Team.

All in all, I do not like LBS for purchases over $1000 because three resons mainly:
1. Sales Tax
2. Pushy-ness
3. Overpriced for what you get
re: Complete road n00b needs bike size advicethefish
Jul 28, 2003 4:05 PM
Stem was 100mmm....and they did not confirm saddle position.
I know it is hardjtolleson
Jul 28, 2003 8:11 PM
when you are trying to stretch a budget, but for a first road bike purchase it MAY possibly be worth the inflated LBS price if you get the fit assistance and fit guarantee, plus some free maintenance, and some offer an accessory discount.

That way if you need a different stem, they take care of it, plus tune ups for some period of time, yada yada. Buying off the internet and then paying full price for parts swaps or repair tends to eat up the "savings."

And I guess I doubly feel that way because your numbers are still hard for me to grasp. A 31" cycling inseam is shorter than mine, and I'm only 5'7", riding bikes in the 52-53 cm range (depending on manufacturer). So that means you should have PLENTY of torso, but you are stretched on a Fuji with a 56 cm TT and slack STA (which should mean a shorter effective top tube). So, I just hesitate to have you be penny wise and pound foolish.
General guidanceKerry Irons
Jul 28, 2003 4:05 PM

For adjusting the fit of the bike, there are roughly five starting points:

1. Seat height (top of saddle to center of pedal axle) at 108-110% of inseam.
2. Saddle parallel to ground.
3. Saddle fore/aft adjusted so that a plumb bob from the bony protrusion just below the kneecap passes through the pedal axle when the cranks are horizontal. This is known as KOPS (Knee Over Pedal Spindle)
4. Front hub axle obscured by the handlebars when riding in your "regular" position (drops, hoods, or tops).
5. Top of handlebars 1 to 4.5+ inches below the top of the saddle depending on your flexibility and size.

These are all starting points for "average" proportioned people, and many folks like to move away from these starting points as they learn what makes them more comfortable, powerful, or efficient. You want to get the fit of the frame as close as you can, then do minor adjustments with the stem, seat post, saddle position, etc.

A lot of this is personal comfort, and we all tend to adapt to a given position over time. For example, a given stem length may be right for you, but it may feel long at first. I use the "handle bar obscures the front hub" rule for my fit, but others claim better position (for them) with the hub in front of or behind the bar. I'm 6' tall and ride with 11.5 cm drop from saddle to bar, probably more than most people would like but fine for me. Some are suggesting zero drop from saddle to bars - it's about comfort, efficiency, and aerodynamics. The ERGOBIKE calculator is pretty good, but it is not infallible. I would suggest riding some miles (over 100 total, and over 500 would be better) and see if you adapt to the position. There are no hard and fast rules, just general guidelines, when it comes to these things.

Just as important as your size is your flexibility. If you have a stiff lower back, you may not be able to lean over and stretch out as much. If you are very flexible, you may get away with a longer top tube, with the stem in a lower position. Over time on the bike, too, you may become more limber, or at least become accustomed to being lower and stretched out. So, your first 'real' bike may not be anything like what you will want 5 years from now.

Someone new to road riding is highly unlikely to find their ultimate position on the first go. As they become accustomed to the riding position and get some miles in, sometimes over several seasons, people often find their desired position changing. What was "stretched out" now feels OK, or what was "just right" now feels cramped. With time, if you are working on your position along with all your other riding stuff, seat position tends to rise, handlebars tend to be farther below the saddle, saddles tend to move rearward, and handlebars tend to be farther forward from the saddle. You simply cannot say "this is the right position for someone of your body dimensions" because there are too many variables and things that change with time. Get used to your position, and then occasionally make small changes: raise/lower your saddle, move your saddle forward/backward. Ride a while with the changes (a few 100 miles, anyway) and decide if it is better or worse. If it is better, keep moving in that direction. If it is worse, try moving the other direction. If you don't try, you won't find out, but it is a long term process, often taking years, to really dial in your position. And since your strength and flexibility are changing with time, it is reasonable that your position would need to change also.
Excellent responseMariowannabe
Jul 29, 2003 5:24 AM
After much research, talking with LBS, and sole searching, I went to Colorado Cyclist. I spent a fair about of time with their fitting tool (worksheet) and my existing bike. I felt pretty confident when ordering. As the poster says, you very well may change things as you ride more, ie. stem and saddle position. But you should be pretty darn sure about frame size.

I'm 5'10 average build, not too flexible, and I ride a 55cm ST/TT. I like a long stem (12cm). I like to error on the small side, so I recommend you go with a 54cm. Too large a frame won't handle well, and if you shorten the stem that'll make things worse. IMHO.
re: Complete road n00b needs bike size advicealiensporebomb
Jul 29, 2003 5:49 AM
Thoughts on price:
When I got my Giant TCR2 in 2002, it was MSRP of $1400 and
I bought it for $1299. But.......

Three or four months later when the season ended, the same
bike model was being blown out for $999.

If money is a concern and you can wait, you might want to
keep saving money and wait until you can get an end of
season deal.

That way you can get a better bike than you normally could

As far as sizing and comfort goes - it's very important as
I rode for three years on the wrong size frame (way too big)
and now that I'm on a bike that fits I couldn't be happier.
re: Complete road n00b needs bike size adviceOldtrott
Jul 29, 2003 10:05 AM
I'm 5'9 and 153 lbs, spent a $100 to get fitted by a guy who does just that - so I knew pretty well where I should end up. I'd guess you'd come out 54 or 55cm -- depending upon the geometry of the bike. Top tube length was a high priority for the fitter I used (55cm).

Other issue would be if the LBS gives you an exchange period. Most LBS around here give somewhere from a week to a month to exchange -- that can really help - though long term you'll probably make some changes.

Another alternative is to try local papers and see if there's something in the 54/55 cm range that you might buy used. Give it a long(er) test ride -- see how it feels -- you might be in business. I wouldn't recommend e-baying at this point.
re: Complete road n00b needs bike size advicethefish
Jul 29, 2003 10:07 AM
Thanks for the posts; very helpful! I've decided to go w/ a 54cm Fuji team. Most of plp seem to think going a little small is better than going a little big. The TT on the team is 544mm and effective length is 550.2mm. I think this bike will fit me well; I'll post pics and such when I get it. As for the price goes $1095 for the team seems like a great deal! MSRP=$1899....but you are right about the pricing @ LBS; for that you should def. wait. But, there is still that 8.75% tax; which is a hefty price to pay for a large purchase like this. I like to think that my money is well spent on this bike; I've been riding bmx and mtb for many years, and I have enjoyed them both. I just want to try this out and see how much speed I can get :D! It is hard to justify spending this much money on a bike; the most I've ever spent was $650 for my mtb. I'm a college man and I think my parents think I'm crazy for spendin' this much.....
I hope I'll find/make the time for this bike (especially during school) w/ my's pretty hard to use all my bikes (I have 4-5 bikes in the garage as it is!). And also, I do a number of sports; this isn't my sole activity ....on the contrary its more a side activity. Basically, I hope to get some leg/lower abs worked out, while crusing!