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arghh, in between frame sizes(31 posts)

arghh, in between frame sizesfrayed
Nov 4, 2003 12:07 PM
Hey folks. I'm looking at a new ride, and I'm in b/t the two sizes available from litespeed.

I'm 5'9", 31 inseam. Colorado says that I need a 53 cm bike, with a 54.5 top tube.

The two frames from Litespeed come in at 53.9 and 55.3 cm, putting me in the middle. So, would folks recommend going with the smaller, or the larger frame, considering that I'd either be going with a longer or shorter stem for the two setups to dial in fit.

I believe the current wisdom is go with the smaller.

Any thoughts appreciated.
my thought isSteve_0
Nov 4, 2003 12:14 PM
that current wisdoms is flawed.

I say always go larger when between sizes (heck, I say go larger when spot-on a size). Most people these days are riding frames too small, despite what the 'fitting system' says.
I second the motionwspokes
Nov 4, 2003 12:25 PM
I think people tend to go too small on frame sizes many a times!

Just my 2 pennies.
Steve O's nailed it, IMO. Go bigger, not smaller.Cory
Nov 4, 2003 9:17 PM
If you look at nearly all the riders you see these days, they're on frames that are too small by the classic (meaning "before the last 10 years") measurements. I rode 62s for years before finally moving up to a 64, and it feels so good my next bike will be a 65. Unless it's REALLY too big, I'd go up.
re: arghh, in between frame sizes03Vortex
Nov 4, 2003 12:21 PM
I am same height and 32 inseam. I ride a Litespeed 55 w/ a 55.3 TT. A 53 should be your size. Try the website at Colorado Cyclist for bike fit.
re: arghh, in between frame sizeszippi
Nov 4, 2003 10:15 PM
03 vortex, your wrong, he's definately a 55.
re: arghh, in between frame sizesJuanmoretime
Nov 4, 2003 12:45 PM
I would recommend going somewhere and trying each size. Theories are great but do not take in account your riding style and flexibility and many other contributing factors of bike fit.
a few thoughtscyclopathic
Nov 4, 2003 12:46 PM
look what is your saddle position preference in reference to KOTS. If you prefer saddle at or slightly behind, go with smaller size and longer stem to make front stable.

if you have muscular upper body go with bigger frame/shorter stem (and probably wider bars).

Lightspeed handling build around KOTS with 11cm stem, going to 13cm will make it more stable; going to 9cm will make it quicker.


PS. also how flexible you are? if you don't feel comfortable in drops, get frame with shorter TT.
I am familiar with KOPS, but what is KOTS?Kerry Irons
Nov 4, 2003 4:51 PM
KOPS = knee over pedal spindle

KOTS = knee over ??? ???
too many meetings and deadlinescyclopathic
Nov 4, 2003 5:59 PM
of cause KOPS
Thanks all. I'm going to my LBS to try each.frayed
Nov 4, 2003 1:03 PM
luckily they have both in stock.

I suppose I'm overly senstitive about going too big, as my first mountain bike was a size too large; the long wheelbase and high headtube made it a real handful, dropping down to two 17" bikes after an initial 19" made life great.

Perhaps a back to back test ride will make the choice easy.
re: arghh, in between frame sizes03Vortex
Nov 4, 2003 1:09 PM
Forgot to add that the standover height on a 53 is 77.5 vs 79.2 on a 55. With your cycling inseam of 31 or 78.75 cm, the 53 is definitely your size in my opinion.
re: arghh, in between frame sizesWrigleyRoadie
Nov 4, 2003 1:19 PM
I'm 5-10, but also have a 31-inch inseam. I ride a Litespeed 55cm with a 55.5 top tube - I ended up with a 100mm stem and have my saddle a ways back to get farther behind the BB, but aside from that it fits great.
re: arghh, in between frame sizesMShaw
Nov 4, 2003 1:51 PM
I'm 5'8", with a 30" inseam. I have the same problem because I'm long through the torso. I'm riding an old Bontrager Road Lite with a 54.5cm (eff)TT. I could stand to go out that extra .5cm, but the 54.5cm fits OK too. (For that matter, I've gotten my S-Works with a 54cm TT to fit as well...)

All I can say is its easier to cut something shorter than it is to stretch it... In other words: a shorter stem is going to feel less funky than the shorter bike with a longer stem.

If you are dead set on this brand of bicycle, I'd go with the larger of the two frames you're looking at. Were it me, I'd look at another manufacturer to get the size that I need instead of making something work.

You may try looking up Habanero bikes, Dean, Moots, Merlin, and Hollands (in San Diego. He makes some of the best looking custom Ti bikes I've ever seen...) to see if their geometries are better for you.

For the money, you could even have a completely custom Russ Denny built and have components on it for what you're about to pay for just the Litespeed frame! (that doesn't fit right...)

The only flaw....bugleboy
Nov 5, 2003 6:29 AM
With that thought is that you must consider what your seat to handlebar height difference is going to be. Unless you potentially want to have a lot of spacers with the 53, where you might not with the 55. As long as you can get the 55 to fit properly with at least a 90 mm stem I say go big.
go with the proper toptube length.rufus
Nov 4, 2003 3:01 PM
that's the key measurement, so what if you don't have quite as much standover height. at least you won't be stuck on a bike that keeps you too scrunched up.
re: arghh, in between frame sizesjrm
Nov 4, 2003 3:05 PM
Im 5'8 and fall between 54cm and 55cm frames. But for me the big thing is a TT lenght of 55.5 or 56.0 Cm long.

Alot has to do with the way the frames measured though.
sure about that inseam???C-40
Nov 4, 2003 3:52 PM
Those are some pretty short legs for a 5'-9" rider. 31 inches is only 79cm. I'm 2.5 inches shorter and have an 83cm cycling inseam, for example. Cycling inseam is measured from the floor to saddle-like (very firm) crotch contact in bare feet.

Measure your saddle height from the center of the crank to the top of the saddle, along the seat tube. If your inseam is really only 79cm, then I would expect a saddle height of only 67-69cm. If it's significantly more, then you have not measured your inseam properly.

If the frames have horizontal top tubes, I'd pick the one that was between 17 and 18cm less than your saddle height.

Also pay attention to the head tube length. If you get a head tube that's too short, you'll need many spacers or a high rise stem.

In those sizes, also it's common for the seat tube angle to be different. If so, additional correction in the TT length must be made to compare the two frames accurately. Add .6cm to the TT length of the frame with the steeper seat tube angle, for each .5 degree, then compare the TT lengths.

Post the model of frame that you are looking at and I can provide a better analysis.
You are exactly right. I screwed up.frayed
Nov 4, 2003 4:16 PM
My inseam, measured at the shop with their fit kit device, came out at 83.75 cm. I tried to measure it properly with a level at home, but obviously didn't do it right.

That makes more sense for a 5' 9" frame.

I'm looking at the Litespeed compact frame geometry, more specifically the Anteras, linked below.

The 'compact' geometry complicates fitting a bit I suppose. However, given the properly measured 84ish cm inseam.
You should be spot-on for a 55 or 56dgangi
Nov 4, 2003 6:35 PM
You are almost exactly the same dimensions as my friend, and he rides a 56cm frame. I am 5' 7" with a 32" inseam and I ride a 54cm frame (54.5cm TT length). I think the 53.9 would be too small for you.

Yes. Thanks again. Felt cramped on the 53.9 TTfrayed
Nov 4, 2003 7:08 PM
length in my test ride. Will move up to the next larger size w/o a doubt.
right again....C-40
Nov 5, 2003 4:37 AM
Amazing how few people notice the odd dimensions that people post.

That said, the Antares geometry is bit unusual. The "larger" of the two sizes that you are looking at is actually just "longer". It has more TT length, but the head tube length and standover height are the same. Very unusual.

Anyway, like many compact frames today, the head tube is short. You'll probably need a high rise stem and/or many spacers to get the bars up to height.

Remember that stems come in different lengths too and you really can't evaluate whether you feel cramped until you get the saddle set at least to an initial KOP position.

Want more info on fit? Go to
tell you what I noticed...koala
Nov 5, 2003 5:46 AM
At 5-6 1\2 your inseam is within 1.8 cm. of mine at 5-10 1/4. You are about 9 1\2cm. shorter than I am but your inseam is only 1.8cm shorter. I have been fitted to a 54 top tube(110)stem. Do you ride a short top tube? Have great flexibility and a very stretched out position?
not really...C-40
Nov 5, 2003 8:51 AM
I ride a 54cm Colnago with a 54.3cm TT and 74 STA. I've also ridden bikes with 55.5cm TT and 73 STA (they fit the same). Used 110mm stems on both.

I have a Fondriest with a 53cm TT and 73.5 STA, which is effectively 1.5cm shorter in TT length than the two above. I use a 10mm longer stem on this bike.

I've recently slide my saddle back 1.5-2.0cm to improve my climbing, since I now ride the Colorado mountains. Changed the stem on the Colnago to a 100mm. Using a 110mm on the Fondriest. Also changed the bars on both bikes to Salsa Poco bars to reduce the reach by about 1cm compared to the Easton and Deda bars that I previously used. The Salsa Poco is a great bar for climbing and descending.
not really...koala
Nov 5, 2003 9:03 AM
Interesting, I recently went from a TTT bar to a Ritchey bar to increase my reach slightly, as I ride more, become more fit and flexible. Thanks for the reply.
when i got measured....rufus
Nov 4, 2003 6:48 PM
they came up with 79cm. i'm 5'9 and 3/4". yes, i've got very short legs for my height.
re: arghh, in between frame sizesMy Dog Wally
Nov 4, 2003 4:05 PM
There are two things you should think about: 1) whether or not you're totally set on a Litespeed; and 2) if you'd consider something else, consider a custom-built bike. Yes, I know, it costs some money for a custom, but you end up with a bike that fits like a glove, no matter what your dimensions and preferred riding style are. I bought an Independent Fabrication Ti Crown Jewel, and I'm in love with it every time I ride it. It was worth every penny I paid for it. Take a look at Indy Fab, Seven, and Serotta.
Nov 4, 2003 4:53 PM
I agree with my Dog Wally! There are some very reasonable custom Ti frames that will size you perfectly. Find a good Seven or Serotta dealer and get a good fit. Yes, it is a little more, but this is not something you will be trading in every six months and you don't want to have any questions about the fit, or worry about a stem too long, or a seat too far forward or back (that can be a real disaster!) on the wrong size frame. Litespeed is a good bike, but there are soooo many other good ones out there to chose from!!!
Listen to what the biking gods are telling you ...irregardless
Nov 4, 2003 7:37 PM
don't buy a Litespeed. Find some other brand where you're not between sizes.
re: arghh, in between frame sizeszippi
Nov 4, 2003 10:12 PM
whatever you do, don't get the 53 litespeed. it's way to small for you!. i went thru this expensive lesson a couple months ago. my lbs sized me wrong, same size as you, and put me on a 53. then charged me 300 plus build to get me a 55. i had too much drop even with 3 cms of spacers and over 20 cms of tt to top of saddle. get the 55 you wont regret it. i'm 5'8" 32 inseam and ride a 55 w/ 110 ritchey stem. saddle centered on chorus seatpost.
re: arghh, in between frame sizes03Fastback
Nov 6, 2003 8:45 PM
We are about the exact same size and I bought the M/L Antares. The Med 53 was too small...both frames have the exact same head tube length. I had to flip the stem to get the proper bar height. Peep out the bike...mine is full D/A with Ritchey WCS and Mavic SSL.