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Sizing a Trek 5200.....(22 posts)

Sizing a Trek 5200.....butzdogg
Dec 6, 2003 4:50 PM
I recently acquired a brand spanking new Trek 5200 through an auction, size 56cm. I am just a shade below 5'9". I took it to a LBS that carried Trek and they said the frame would be perfect for me. I rode it once and I'm not sure. It felt a little big. I am coming from a 2003 Giant TCR (compant frame) size medium (approx. 53-56 cm). Would I be better of with a slightly smaller frame??

As a rule of thumb, what would be the pros and more importantly cons of riding a slightly larget frame vs. a slighlty smaller one??
unlikely to be too small.C-40
Dec 6, 2003 5:03 PM
A 56m Trek will measure close to 54cm from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the top tube. Unless you have a very short inseam, it's not likely to be too large.

Measure the distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the saddle, along the seat tube (saddle height). This frame would be appropriate for someone with a saddle height in the range of 70-73cm.

Trek top tubes are some of the longest available on a stock frame. You may simply need a shorter stem. A 56cm Trek is the correct vertical size for me, but I'm only 5'-6.5" tall (with long legs). I'd need a 90 or 100mm stem to be comfortable on a Trek.
oops, unlikely to be too big (nm)C-40
Dec 6, 2003 5:04 PM
Dec 6, 2003 9:22 PM
Treks DO NOT have long top tubes, as long as you go by the TREK size (measured to the top of the seat collar), and not by your own measurement.

If you go by the TREK size, then you could say they have a little extra standover and shorter headtubes. But the toptubes are very comparable to most other brands.

That is why Trek measures up to the top of the seat collar!

Many people out there say you don't size a bike primarily by vertical size. That is especially true for Treks. If you "size up" a Trek OCLV because of the low standover, then you will likely feel the toptube is too long.

If you get your correct nominal size in a Trek, then the top tube will be fine and you will have a little extra standover (not a problem). However, you may find yourself with a pretty short headtube and may have difficulty getting the bars high enough.
Disagree & agree........Len J
Dec 7, 2003 6:12 AM
Treks D have long top tubes, relative to their seat tubes. Because of this, a normally proportioned rider can only fit a Trek in one of four ways:

1.) An enormous drop from the saddle to the bars with no spacers and a flat stem.

2.) size up & use of some spacers, a riser stem and a short stem

3.)Many spacers and a riser stem if the rider wants the bars closer to the seat height. or

4.) some combination of the above.

I don't get why Trek sizes their frames this way.

I had a 56 5200 and (compared to a regular "square" (56 X 56) frame), the seat tube (c to c) was closer to a 54 and therefor 2 cm shorter than normal. As a result, I had either an additional 2 cm of drop to contend with or an additional 2 cm of spacers/or rise to deal with.

Since Trek uses an aluminum steerer, these additional spacers don't create anything but an ugly look IMO, but it's a shame, because otherwise it is a great bike for the money. I just hate the look.

Before you buy, compare similar fits on a "square frame and a Trek. Make sure you like how it looks.

Yes, LenFez
Dec 8, 2003 8:29 AM
You wrote:

"Treks D have long top tubes, relative to their seat tubes. Because of this, a normally proportioned rider can only fit a Trek in one of four ways:"

I agree with that statement IF you measure their seat tube c-t. If you use the Trek measurement, which is "to the top of the collar," then the proportions look pretty ordinary.

It appears to me that Treks (sized the Trek way) are actually pretty ordinary geometry bikes that have a slightly lower and nonsloping toptube (resulting in more standover). However, one bad consequence of this is the short headtube height.

Others choose to measure Treks c-t (ignoring the Trek size) and then say the top tube is real long.

Yes, I am aware of the challenge of bringing the bars high enough. OCLVs are very common where I ride and I have no idea whether people upsize their frames or not, but I see lots of flipped stems and high spacer stacks. Its a fine bike, but that low headtube combined with a low stack Cane Creek headset does pose a fitting challenge. That's probably the biggest reason why I crossed one off my list, even though I have a high regard for those bikes.

My question to you or anyone else is why does Trek measure their bikes to the top of the collar?
It's all how you look at it............Len J
Dec 8, 2003 9:02 AM
& I look differently.

Most MFG measure C to C or C to top because the ST height is a reasonable measure of standover AND most bikes don't have a sloping TT &/or a HT extension, so the C to C (or C to T) seat tube gives you an approximation of HT length also. In the Trek, because they measure C to top of seat collar, they are forcing either a dramatic drop or spacers and Riser stems.

The TT is long relative to a normally measured ST & HT.

I don't know why Trek does this, but it results in many missized bikes.

Len, part IIFez
Dec 8, 2003 8:46 AM
Seems that most folks who get the Trek size that corresponds to their usual size complain about the steep saddle to bar drop.

That would indicate that the bike is geared toward hard core professionals who can tolerate the steep drop.

But... due to the power of marketing, the OCLV is one of the best selling road racing bikes in its class, ridden by hard core racers as well as recreational riders who don't like the steep drop.

What's the solution?

I think its time for Trek to offer an extended headtube or (gasp!) a sloping top tube with extended headtube combo.
Maybe....Len J
Dec 8, 2003 9:07 AM
you say "That would indicate that the bike is geared toward hard core professionals who can tolerate the steep drop. " but remember that even Lance uses spacers to get a decent fir on an OCLV.

"....due to the power of marketing, the OCLV is one of the best selling road racing bikes in its class, ridden by hard core racers as well as recreational riders who don't like the steep drop. " I don't think it's just marketing. The OCLV frame is a great riding frame, comfortable, responsive, light and it is a steal at the price you can buy a frame and fork ($1,200-$1,400). Where else can you buy a world class frame and fork for this money.

Trek would sell a ton more of these if they were normally proportioned, more than enough to justify additional molds. For whatever reason, they are "married to this geometry".

I'd buy one if I could get a C to C 58 square.

BTW, I had one (wrecked in an accident), loved the ride, hated the look.

Dec 7, 2003 8:15 PM
Ignoring the vertical size of the bike, which includes the very important head tube length would be a stupid way to evaluate the size of a bike frame. A 56cm Trek is acutally closest in vertical size to most common 54cm frames, measured c-t. It has the exact same standover height as my 54cm Colnago, but a 56.1cm top tube compared to a Colango's 54cm.

I you get the correct top tube length with a Trek, then it's likely to have a handlebar height that is too low, unless you use a lot of steering tube spacers or stem angle to correct for the short head tube.
Did you read what I wrote?Fez
Dec 7, 2003 8:48 PM
Its NOT the vertical size that's the problem. It IS the short head tube. The Trek head tubes are VERY low. They are almost flush with the toptube, with minimal extension.

Upsizing the OCLV frame like you suggest will give a long reach problem. Getting your correct nominal size usually has no reach problem except for the short headtube. Solution is a 84/90/96/100 degree stem instead of an 80. And a higher stack.

You probably shouldn't upsize a compact/sloping frame with a short head tube and you shouldn't do so with a Trek either.

There are solutions for short headtubes - just use higher rise stems and stack heights. IMO, that's better than using a super short stem. In an ideal world, you'd have both be perfect, but until they change the dimensions or offer a custom OCLV (probably never), then that's the way it is.

Did you ever think that this is the reason why Trek measures to the top of the seat collar? To avoid having everyone upsize their frame and complain about poor fit/long reach.
yes, and it's still wrong...C-40
Dec 8, 2003 6:12 AM
The head tube on a Trek OCLV doesn't look any different than the one on my C-40. There is minimal extension above the top tube on both frames.

If you measure to the top tof the seat collar on a 54cm Colnago, it's alsmost 56cm, the same as Trek "56" but that doesn't make it a 56cm frame anymore than the Trek is. A Trek 56 measures 54cm c-t or a 52cm measured c-c, with the appropriate head tube length for that size frame. The Trek top tube is 1.5cm longer (after correcting for STA) than a Colnago that measures the same on all vertical dimensions, including the head tube.

I wouldn't buy a vertically too-small frame just to get the correct TT length. Vertical fit is every bit as important as horizontal fit. If you read the geoemetry charts for just about any brand you choose, you'll find that the TT length is usually changed only half as much as the frame size, so its takes a large change in the vertical size to get a small change in top tube length. Essentially what you're saying is to buy a frame based solely on TT length, which a stupid way to buy a frame. For example, to match the 56cm TT length on a "56" Trek, you'd have to buy A 58cm Colnago, which has a standover height of almost 83cm, compared to the Trek's 79cm. I could ride either frame with a 90cm stem, but I couldn't even straddle the 58cm Colnago, it would be ridiculously large.

If I were to buy a Trek, I'd much rather use a 90cm stem on a "56" than 100cm stem on a "54" with 2cm of spacers under the stem.
Explain whyFez
Dec 8, 2003 8:09 AM
Trek uses their method of sizing frames and not yours.

They really must have a reason for measuring up to the top of the seat collar.

Its probably because they want people who ride a 56 in other major brands to be on a Trek OCLV 56.

The reason I even responded to this post is because I hear something like this all too often:

"I usually ride a 56c-t. However, a Trek 56 measures only 54 c-t, so I decided to get a Trek 58, since it measures 56c-t. But the damn top tube is so long and I have to use a really short stem. What should I do?"
stupidity I guess...C-40
Dec 8, 2003 11:30 AM
"They really must have a reason for measuring up to the top of the seat collar. Its probably because they want people who ride a 56 in other major brands to be on a Trek OCLV 56."

I can't agreee with that statement at all. There is nothing about a 56cm Trek that is close to the dimensions of other 56cm frames, except the top tube. I ride a 54cm (c-t) in any major brand that offers a 54, but I would ride a 56cm Trek to get the same vertical fit as most other 54cm frames. I would use a 1.5cm shorter stem than my Colnago requires. To me, this is much preferable to using a very high rise stem or 2cm of spacer, as would be required if I chose a 54cm Trek.

Measuring a frame either as c-t or c-c are not MY ways of measuring, they are the two traditional methods that both provide meaningful information. The vast majority of builders use one of these two methods of measurement. The c-c methods describes the frame by the centerlines of all the tubes and really makes the most sense. Look at a Colnago geometry chart and you'll see that they list both the c-t and c-c dimensions, but not the entire seat tube length, becasue it's irrelevant.

Fuji also measures their bikes the same way as Trek. The length of the seatube is about the least significnt dimension that I can think of, particularly since seat tubes are now extended well above the top tube. Not that many years ago when nearly all frames were lugged steel, the seat tube length and c-t dimensions were the same. Nowdays, the seat tube may anywhere from 2-4cm above the top tube.

When you're buying any frame you have to be smart enough to read he chart and evaluate all the dimensions, or take a tape measure to the shop and measure the frame in person if possible. The standover height provides an immediate indication of the vertical size of the frame. The head tube length is also a valuable dimension that Trek omits from their charts (more stupidity).
That still leaves the question...Fez
Dec 8, 2003 3:04 PM
Why does Trek size them that way?

You and I may be both savvy enough to interpret the charts and know what frame best serves our respective needs. But we cannot assume that of every prospective Trek customer. My guess is Trek tried to idiot-proof the frame selection process.

Another consideration is that most OCLVs are sold as complete bikes. The stems, bars and crank lengths are sized accordingly and pose more challenges in getting everything right.

You clearly demonstrated in your own case that the OCLV would be a compromise for you. The larger one would require a slightly shorter stem than you would ideally spec. The smaller one would require a higher spacer stack. You chose the larger one. Faced with the same dilemma, some would agree with you and some would not.

I personally wouldn't accept either and I guess that's why I don't have one.
Same here...C-40
Dec 9, 2003 6:31 AM
I would never buy a Trek because, for me, it would produce the worst fit of any bike I could select, since I have long legs and short torso. Even the vertically too-small "54" (actually a 52 c-t) has a top tube that is .5cm longer than my 54cm c-t Colnago.

I did compromise on the headtube length when I bought my Fondriest MDC, but I knew when I bought it that is would require either a 1cm spacer or a 90 degree stem to get the bars up to the desired height. I tried both methods and followed my usual advice to use stem rise rather than spacers. It was worth the compromise to get an even shorter 53cm TT length.
and then there's the even more important wheelbase length.colker1
Dec 8, 2003 8:14 AM
which you can't change with a different stem or seatpost adjustment.
a 56 colnago will have a shorter wheelbase than a 56 trek. that will the bike handle very different. VERY... i see a lot of people here who didn't like treks handling while others love it but never read about anyone's hatred for colnago's handling. i'm surre it's not the panting, the carbon lugs or the mystique that makes colnagos handle that well... it's balance between rider position over the bike and wheelbase length, angles etc... sizing a bike on top tube length , or seat tube... is wrong. it's the whole package that makes it work.
It should be finehudsonite
Dec 6, 2003 5:56 PM
The trek 5200 in 56cm size is typically ridden by someone 5'8 to 5'10 . The stem on the standard frame may need to be replaced with something a little shorter. Everyones body is slightly different and adjustments are probably going to be needed.

Work with the LBS to adjust the bike to your liking. It should be fine.
re: Sizing a Trek 5200.....torquecal
Dec 6, 2003 6:15 PM
I'm 6'0" and 40 yrs old - I have a 56 Trek that feels too long for me even with a 95mm stem with a 7 deg up angle. I also have a 54cm Nashbar frame that feels too long even with a short stem. What you might want to do is measure you're effective length on the Giant, say from tip of seat to the handlebars. Assuming that's comfortable for you, make the same measurement (using the same seat) on the Trek. I'm pretty sure you'll see a difference. If the difference is more than you can compensate with stem length, then the Trek is the wrong size for you.
I'm 5'9 and I have ridden on a 56....theweasonator
Dec 6, 2003 8:02 PM
When Trek had the local demo days about a month ago, I wanted to get a feel for a 5200. I've ridden a 52cm '95 C'dale R600, which I now realize is a tad too jarring and a tad cramping. Anyway, they only had a 56 so I still rode it. (I was hoping to ride a 54...)

From my understanding, the tubes are measured a little differently than other frames, so it is not uncommon to go with a size higher in Trek than other frames.

From my perspective, I felt very comfortable. (Seat tube felt a little high and I only had about an inch and a half of the post exposed) However the rest of the bike felt fantastic, especially up front....I felt much more relaxed and like I could put in much more mileage than on my cramped C'dale that I can only handle for a max of an 1-2 hours...

For me, a 54 might have been a glove fit, but riding the 56 was well within my comfort level. With proper setup, I could get the 56 dialed in very nicely.

I wouldn't sweat it...I think you will be okay. Ride on!!!I'm envious....
re: Sizing a Trek 5200.....Al1943
Dec 6, 2003 8:17 PM
I'm slightly under 5'9" and ride a 56cm Trek 5500. Proportionately speaking I have a short torso. With a 90mm stem flipped over I'm OK on the bike but I know I would be more compfortable on a shorter top tube. There is no way I would fit on a 54. I have a 3" drop from saddle top to handlebar top. Short torso people like me should probably stay away from Treks, even though I think they are the best bang for the buck.
Bottom bracket height, another consideration.Chen2
Dec 8, 2003 7:23 AM
The Treks have the bottom bracket positioned relatively high, compounding the saddle to drop problem. With my bad knees, I need a high saddle position to be compfortable. At 5'9" I have 25mm of spacers under my flipped 90mm stem and still have a 3" saddle to handlebar drop. The high bottom bracket is good for pedal clearance but adds to the drop. My old neck gets sore.