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Am I too big for this bike?(48 posts)

Am I too big for this bike?Nebuladds
Sep 7, 2003 11:26 AM
If you folks don't mind, have a look at this pic and let me know.

I don't know if my previous post went through. Anyhoo, here's the pic of me on the bike.

I'm 5' 7", 30" inseam. Short legs.
Bike is a 50cm.
Cranks are 172.5 (I feel like I'd like longer cranks).
Stem is about a 90mm.

I understand that roadbikes feel a lot different than mountainbikes, and that you're supposed to be more hunched over. But I feel like I'm putting a huge amount of weight on my arms in order to keep myself from collapsing over the handlebars.

Here's the pic:
Maybe. It looks uncomfortable on you...rwbadley
Sep 7, 2003 11:35 AM
Is it yours? Nice bike. Fit is important, and it looks like this one may not be right (at the moment) Do you like higher bars? It might get some weight off the wrists. Saddle height? hmmm. hard to say, but you might try a 52cm also.
Bike is mine. Built it up myself.Nebuladds
Sep 7, 2003 1:45 PM
You may be right, a 52 might be worthwhile.

This is gonna sound awful, but I hate it when road stems angle above horizontal. I'd prefer not to raise the handlebar alone. Besides, the need for that indicates to me that a larger frame is necessary.

The problem is, however, that the frame fits my legs perfectly with respect to standover height. I happen to have a long upper body.
It looks pretty cramped...The Walrus
Sep 7, 2003 11:49 AM
Judging by the photo, you must be running an extremely short stem--you might try one 15-20mm longer, and with a bit of rise.
That's exactly what happens when you areKristin
Sep 7, 2003 12:07 PM
..too far forward with your seat so high. This is exactly what has plagued me for the past 2 years with my road bike. You feel like you're falling forward right? Like if you let go if the bars, you'll eat the stem? Yep, been there. 4 weeks of riding like that and your neck will be tweaked. I decided to make my bike fit since I couldn't return it and I couldn't afford another, but the whole process sucked. I ended up with a taller 60mm rise stem and a setback (way back) seat post. If you can return the bike, I would suggest doing that, and finding something else.
I know a little.the bull
Sep 7, 2003 12:27 PM
Its hard to tell with one pic.
Your too far forward.
KOP is off.
Generally once you get that right you will adjust the bars so they block the hub will looking down in your drops.
This is a start, though, I know people will have alot to say about this but trust me, it will get you a heck of alot closer then where you are at now.
I think you look cramped right now.
How much would a layback seatpost help? Read on....Nebuladds
Sep 7, 2003 1:42 PM
I plan on changing my cranks from 172.5 to 175, no matter what I do about the frame.

I also prefer to run shorter stems. the one on this bike is a 90mm, but I'm willing to go to 100mm.

Also, could I get a layback seatpost? Some seatposts have nearly an inch of layback. How much would that help? you think the frame is just plain too small for me? I only spent $250 on the frame AND fork. I bought an Ultegra group and built up the bike myself. I really wouldn't mind buying a new frame if this one is too small. What I DON'T want to do is find makeshift ways to make an improperly sized frame fit me. A layback seatpost and 10mm longer stem is as far as I'm willing to go in terms of changing the length of the bike's "cockpit".

Your thoughts?
Listen to C- 40the bull
Sep 7, 2003 2:21 PM
But I still think the hub rule usually works great for us everyday folks.The problem is you can move around and make the handlebar block the hub if you cheat.
You should move the seat back and see where that puts you.
There is no reason why you cant go 115 or 120 on a stem.
I run a 110 on my beater and 115 on my sweetheart.
It really depends on the top tube length on a the bike you are setting up.
Leave your 172.5 cranks on there. I am 6 feet tall and that is the size I run on both my road bikes.I was going to go to 175 but did not like them.

Let us know how things go- good luck!
Check out the hub thing!the bull
Sep 7, 2003 2:42 PM
When "c-40"(only C-40 would be as perfectly fitted on his bike as this guy) looks down it lines up! :)
Also notice the"perfect" rider also has a 120cm stem. nmthe bull
Sep 7, 2003 2:48 PM
That's one area I have fudged a bit...rwbadley
Sep 7, 2003 4:05 PM
When I get 'dialed in' on the 120 and frame it tends to throw off a few other measurements for me.

I have tended to go shorter to 100-110. as I prefer it (usually) allows me to get a more comfortable height/kops/setback. It allows me to go to the next size up frame, which gets the bars up slightly and seems to reduce toe overlap in some cases. It's just me tho.
Yep. That is DEFINITEY a different set of proportions than me!Nebuladds
Sep 7, 2003 2:52 PM
The bike I'm riding is way, WAY off!
Sep 8, 2003 7:11 AM
First you ask for advice and then ignore it. I've been riding road bikes for over 20 years. I'm a mechanical engineer, so I understand geoemtry and I've studied bike fitting extensively.

Gee, no wonder you're cramped up. A 90mm stem on a 50cm frame? The idea that you like short stems and won't go over 100mm is STUPID. I'm your height with a shorter torso, and the I've only used a stem as short as a 100mm on my current 54cm frame because I've got the saddle slammed way back for mountain climbing. There is nothing wrong with a 110 or 120mm stem.

Changing the crank length is expensive, unnecessary and will only encourage a slow, inefficeint cadence.

As for the setback of the seatpost, measure from the center of the post to the front of theseat rail clamp to determine how much setback the post has. A traditional road post has the front of the clamp located approximately along the centerline of the post. Only a few models have a lot more.

Getting a larger frame would not change the seatpost problem. That can only be changed by changing the seat tube angle.

Here's a good indictor of a (vertically) too-small frame. If the saddle is more than 18cm above the top of a horizontal top tube, then I would say it's too small. From the picures, your saddle is set too high. You need more bend in the knee with your foot horizontal at the bottom of the stroke.
Like I said :O) Good work C40! nmLive Steam
Sep 8, 2003 1:39 PM
BAD IDEAS...Nebuladds
Sep 8, 2003 6:08 PM
You have to understand....I use a 100mm stem on my MTB and I absolutely love the quick steering. As you know, the longer the stem, the slower the steering.
another misconception...C-40
Sep 8, 2003 7:07 PM
Another myth that's easily dispelled. The length of the lever arm on a road bike is from the contact point of the hands on the bars to the center of the steering tube. With the hand on the brake hoods, the difference in the length of the lever arm between an 80mm stem and a 120mm is only 15%. After only a few rides, a longer stem will feel perfectly normal.

At normal riding speeds, a road bike is not steered as much by turning the fork as by leaning into the turn. Maybe if you rode at 5mph around cones in a parking lot all the time, the stem length would be of consideration.

If you want quick steering, that is controlled by the amount of trail created by the headtube angle and fork rake. Trail is calculated with the formula (R/tanH) - (rake/sinH) where R is the tire radius and H is the head tube angle. I'll bet you have no idea what the head tube angle or fork rake is on your frame. You have a lot to learn about bike geometry.

If you ignorantly insist on using a short stem (other roadies may laugh) then you should see if your short legs can straddle a 54cm Trek. The effective top tube length is about 2cm longer than the GT that you have. If not, then you need a custom frame to fulfill your unusual desires.
With legs your size, 167.5-170s are "the right size" crankMShaw
Sep 8, 2003 10:01 AM
I wouldn't go 175 unless you're planning on TTing exclusively on this bike.

Actually, now that I think about it, this bike'd be a great tri-bike. You're already short in the TT... Bring your stem up a smidgen, put on some aero bars, and voila! perfect fit for a tri-bike.

That help?

A couple more pics. See if they give you more info.Nebuladds
Sep 7, 2003 2:48 PM
My wife took three. So I figured, why not show 'em all. Oh, and please excuse my mountainbiking attire (and shoes) on my roadbike!! I have Ritchey pedals on my roadbike and Ritchey pedals on my MTB specifically so that I had one pair of shoes to deal with.
The more I see, the more I believe that ...Live Steam
Sep 7, 2003 4:00 PM
the frame may be OK, but the saddle is certainly too high. Try posting a pic with your pedal at the bottom of the stroke. With the pedal at 3 O'clock the bend in your leg should be a smaller angle. Certainly less than what is in the pic. With the setup you have your pedal stroke won't produce much power. When the pedals are at 3 and 9, the bottom of your foot should be parallel to the ground. At the bottom of the stroke, there should be a slight bend in the knee with the bottom of your foot, again being parallel to the ground.
The pictures you suggested......Nebuladds
Sep 7, 2003 6:22 PM
My legs have never been so exposed!
Another pic.Nebuladds
Sep 7, 2003 6:26 PM
This pic sort of confirms for me ...Live Steam
Sep 7, 2003 6:45 PM
that your saddle is too high. The pic is taken from a different angle than the others, but it looks like you had to drop your shoulder and hip to flatten out your foot. I'll bet your hips rock when pedalling. Try lowering the saddle - possibly 2cm or so. Also try moving it back slightly. You will get better use of your glute muscles which you look to have an ample amount of :O)
By the way. Is the frame the right, ideal size for me?Nebuladds
Sep 7, 2003 7:43 PM
By the way. Is the frame the right, ideal size for me?Live Steam
Sep 7, 2003 8:09 PM
That is difficult to determine from pictures, but I have gone to a smaller frame over the years. I find it provides more adjustability and enables me to dial the frame in better. Your physique has a lot to do with bike fit. I used to be about 15lbs heavier. I was uncomfortable riding in the drops for any extended period because my gut was in the way :O) I am now at 173lbs and have no difficulty riding in the drops and staying out of the wind. The drop from my saddle to the bars is about 3 inches. That is generally much more than the average weekend warrior has and is comfortable with.

You will find that as your body changes, if that is what you hope for, your fit on the bike will change too. All I can suggest to do about your present frame is ride it. It may be on the small side - a 52cm may be better. You have to be honest with yourself about your fitness, comfort and what you want to achieve. There are some things you can try to correct some of the problems a few of us have pointed out, but your body will tell you what is right.
Third pic.Nebuladds
Sep 7, 2003 2:50 PM
This is a better pic of you with "lazer eyes"!the bull
Sep 7, 2003 2:57 PM
not necessarily...C-40
Sep 7, 2003 2:01 PM
First read up on fit at Measure your cycling inseam and see if it's really only 30 inches or 76cm. I'm the same height and my cycling inseam is 83cm.

Adjust the saddle (probably back a bunch) to place the knee over the pedal spindle or up to 1cm behind. Riding with the saddle too far forward will place too much weight on the hands. If the saddle is moved back 1cm, it must also be moved down by .3cm to maintain the same leg extension. Be sure that you have the saddle low enough to drop your heel several centimeters below horizontal, with your leg locked out at the bottom of the stroke.

After the saddle is adjusted, then the stem length can be evaluated. Blocking the view of the hub is a coincidental occurrence that really tells you nothing about stem length and can often be satisfied with several different lengths. Functionally, it's good if your knees and elbows don't hit when riding in the drops (like in your picture), but with your upper back horizontal (your position is much too upright). Experienced riders may have several centimeters of clearance between the knees and elbows, but any small amount of clearance is fine.

As for crank length, your legs are too short to need any longer cranks.
I prefer to have the proper frame size than adjust components...Nebuladds
Sep 7, 2003 2:32 PM
Know what I mean? I understand that even on a properly-sized frame one has to tweak things a tiny bit here and there to get things just right. But if you think a larger frame would have been appropriate for me, I'd rather go with a larger frame than adjust the bike's fit by repositioning the saddle and handlebar. Again, I didn't spend a lot on the frame, so it's not much of a loss for me to get a different sized frame.

Oh, and by the way, thank you very much for your post! I do appreciate your (and everyone else's) help.
What C40 is suggesting may or may not get you adjg
Sep 7, 2003 5:25 PM
comfortable ride, but IMO it's all reasonable as a starting place and something that will be worthwhile whatever you end up doing with the frame.

First, I don't think he's suggesting that you move the saddle to jury-rig your fit. I think he's suggesting that you move the saddle back because (a) it looks really far forward and (b) sometimes you can get arm pain pushing yourself back from the bars (even unknowingly) to the position your body really wants. The knee-over-spindle thing is not necessarily everybody's best position, but it's a very good average and starting point. If you have not moved forward of this position to address specific issues, then start with that position, give it a chance, and work in small incremements from there. A different seatpost is hardly a kludge. Similarly, if you end up getting a new stem and/or bars to change your reach (horizontal and vertical) that can be just fine.

I appreciate that you'd rather have a good frame fit than some jury-rigged compromise, but the fact is that different posts and stems don't necessarily represent strange--or even sub-optimal--fit adjustments. Also, they're pretty cheap. Also, and here's the kicker, it makes much more sense to develop a sense of just how you want the bike to fit first (maybe by spending a few bucks on a good fit session) than it does to start buying frames to see if that will help. And it seems to me that that's right even if you end up on a larger frame.

Good luck.
re: Am I too big for this bike?Tarheel71
Sep 7, 2003 2:10 PM
Your saddle definitely looks too high. With your right foot at 3 o'clock, I believe the knee angle is supposed to be 90 degrees, and your angle is definitely larger than that, perhaps even with your right foot slightly above parallel. I would lower the saddle gradually by millimeters until reaching the 90 degree angle, and slide the saddle back on the rails if possible, and then try a 100 mm stem if still uncomfortable. By the way, I am pretty much the same height and inseam, and my bikes are 52 c-c and 53 c-t. I have very little stand-over clearance, but I think that's not unusual for people of our height.
re: Am I too big for this bike?Tarheel71
Sep 7, 2003 2:39 PM
Actually, I think I goofed on the knee angle advice, I believe the 90 degree angle is achieved with your foot at a higher point. Still, check your leg extension at the bottom of your peddle stroke, and make sure your hips don't rock. If everything is fine there, then there must be a reason for such a large saddle to bar drop, maybe the frame is too small or you need a higher stem.
re: Am I too big for this bike?Tarheel71
Sep 7, 2003 3:23 PM
Actually, I think I goofed on the knee angle advice, I believe the 90 degree angle is achieved with your foot at a higher point. Still, check your leg extension at the bottom of your peddle stroke, and make sure your hips don't rock. If everything is fine there, then there must be a reason for such a large saddle to bar drop, maybe the frame is too small or you need a higher stem.
re: Am I too big for this bike?scmaddog17
Sep 7, 2003 5:24 PM
if you have a long upper body, changing the stem would seem to be the right choice. you look way too compact up top. other than the stem change, my only other suggestion would be to try a custom made frame. there are plenty of excellent frame builders out there that can build you a frame that would fit you perfect. better to spend a little now rather than pay for a lot of uncomfortable rides in the future. i had a custom Ted Wojcik frame built for me, i'm the opposite of you, i have long legs and a short upper body. bike fits me perfect and i'm more comfortable when i ride.
Frame may be too small, but first try ..Live Steam
Sep 7, 2003 2:23 PM
saddle lower, back further on the rails if there is more adjustment remaining and a longer stem 10cm - 11cm. You would probably do much better on a compact frame. Oh, I would stick with the 172.5mm cranks. Longer cranks will not help.
stem too shortishmael
Sep 7, 2003 2:49 PM
forget any formulas. Whatever you think is wrong, is wrong. Maybe use a formula to get your seat to the right height and that's it. I've met many people who've gotten a fitting and ended up unhappy.
Actually dont change a thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!the bull
Sep 7, 2003 4:05 PM
Get a beer!
Put a Colnago sticker the downtube!
Then just wait youll have some rodie groupies in no time!!!
HAHAHAHAHaaa that's a good one..............nmrwbadley
Sep 7, 2003 4:07 PM
The Clonago sticker'll do it every time...or is it the Bud?..nmrwbadley
Sep 7, 2003 4:17 PM
Snicker..... ;-) nmMB1
Sep 7, 2003 4:20 PM
Bike on white carpet- hug your wife!!filtersweep
Sep 7, 2003 5:38 PM
Mine would kill me
awesome, bull! nmJS Haiku Shop
Sep 8, 2003 7:28 AM
My kid is 5'2" with short legs - she rides a 50.terry b
Sep 7, 2003 5:30 PM
which might suggest you are on too small a bike.
We are the same size, and I have almost the same bike.Qubeley
Sep 7, 2003 5:45 PM
I am also 5'7, 30 inseam. I ride a size 50cm GT road bike, and 90cm stem, because GT has a really long tube tube.
You look alright on the bike, for the most part. I am no expert of bike fitting, but you might try to lower the seat just a little bit (.5 or 1cm), and raise the handlebar a little. Since you are new to road bike, it might take a while to get used to the position. As you ride more, your riding position will evolve. In my case, my back become flatter, and I am more comfortable leaning over, and upper body as well as hands learnt how to relax. You will know when it's time to make adjustment.
forgot to mention, move seat back a bit too. nmQubeley
Sep 7, 2003 5:58 PM
I may get flamed for this, but you might try....rwbadley
Sep 7, 2003 5:52 PM
It sounded to me like you have been riding an xc or mountain bike. Are you happy with how it fits? Put your road bike next to it and line up the saddles, then see where the bars and bottom brackets are(at the center or spindle). Line up the bar tops, and see where the saddles are. Line up the bottom brackets and see where the rest of it goes... You get my drift.

My xc bike and road bike are not all that different in basic points of contact. Sure, they're a little different, but they're quite similar.

I'm not saying you should make them exactly the same, but if the mtb fits you, and it doesn't hurt to ride it. Find out why and make the road bike a bit more like that.

Just an idea.

50 cm is WAAAY to small for you.Alexx
Sep 7, 2003 6:37 PM
You need something like a 52-54 frame (maybe 53?). 50 cm frames are for very short people.
re: Am I too big for this bike?aliensporebomb
Sep 8, 2003 3:18 AM
You kind of remind me of myself since I have short stubby
legs, a longer torso and I also ride MTB when not riding

I'm ostensibly 5'7" but over time I think I'm really
closer to 5.6" or so.

I ended up getting a size small Giant TCR and since when
I first got it I was a lot heavier than I am now it was really hard to ride in the drops.

Now I do it all the time with no problems really.

I do have my bars angled up but will eventually put them
flat since a lowered position isn't such a problem anymore.

A friend of mine has the exact same bike you do and it's
not bad at all, nice actually.

I suppose this pic will tell me that I got a too-small
bike too. It's certainly possible.
Whew! To sum up, frame fitting is overrated...Spunout
Sep 8, 2003 3:51 AM
Lower saddles are better than higher saddles. One of the most prevalent newbie mistakes is to have the saddle too high.

Being behind KOPS is much better than being in front of KOPS. When it comes to powering around a turn in a criterium at 45km/h, weight distribution is important. Too far forward and you're a yard sale.

If you can get the saddle back far enough and your knee doesn't hit the steerer, the frame can be fit to you with the right stem and seatpin. Imagine a diagram with the correct handlebar, BB, saddle and TT clearance. Be honest guys, there are a plethora of frame sizes, geos, that will fit in that space!

Peace out!