Bike Ugrade and Sizing Advice

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jane90
Posts: 146
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 19:12 pm

Bike Ugrade and Sizing Advice

Postby jane90 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 23:49 pm

Hello All,

I need your help! I've been bitten by the bug! I was one of the multitude so captivated by Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France that I rushed out the next day and bought a bike. I immediately regretted it, of course, since I'm one of these people who usually jumps on bandwagons only to lose interest a week later but no, to my surprise, I've loved every moment of it. So much so, in fact, that already I'm feeling a bit dissatisfied with my entry-level Triban 3 and I'm looking to upgrade to something that will stand me in better stead, round about £1500, give or take.

My question is this - how do people find it easy to choose between bikes on which they can physically go for a test ride like a Focus or a Cube and those bikes that are only sold online such as Ribble or Canyon? Reading around the forums I see a lot of the advice seems to be to go for the bike that fits you best which brings me on to my second question since that's impossible to know without a test ride. Am I right in thinking that there is no simple rule of thumb when it comes to measuring what frame size suits a particular height? As a newbie to all this, reading about Knee Over Spindle is a bit confusing especially as I'm quite tall and gangly at 1m78. What the consensus seems to be saying - correct me if i'm wrong - is that everyone is different so therefore beware of choosing a frame just based on inside leg or height (which seems to be what you get on bike websites) as it doesn't work for everyone.

If I decide to buy a bike online would you advise me to spend £250 on a proper bike fitting first and not being able to afford quite such a good bike (or cheaper wheels) or to go for a similar size frame as my Triban 3 which seems in my inexpert opinion to be about the right size and trust that the new bike will be too?

So many questions but many thanks for taking the time to read this and thank you for any advice that you may have.

Simon Masterson
Posts: 2488
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 15:52 pm

Re: Bike Ugrade and Sizing Advice

Postby Simon Masterson » Tue Oct 09, 2012 06:12 am

Hello!

Firstly, can I ask what you find inadequate about your current bike?

Secondly I think buying a bike online definitely has its place, but I wouldn't recommend it in your case. I'd avoid it, myself.

Thirdly, bike sizing is determined by geometry, so you can't assume that you will fit the same size in different bikes.

Fourthly, knee over pedal spindle is a rough guide for determining saddle position and posture.

Fifthly, I would not worry about any bike being inadequate for you. By all means by what you can afford but don't skimp on clothing and tools!

Sixthly, enjoy your cycling whatever bike you have. If you can do that then you're on the right track. :)

jane90
Posts: 146
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 19:12 pm

Re: Bike Ugrade and Sizing Advice

Postby jane90 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 15:23 pm

Hi Simon,

Thank you for your reply. The specific answer to your question is that I have quite small hands so I'm finding the gear changes quite a challenge on my current bike. I can't reach the upshift thumb lever at all unless I'm right on the hoods and by the time I've moved the front chain to the bigger ring it's usually time to change down again. But the more general answer is not that my current bike is inadequate, per se, but rather that I've fallen in love with cycling and want to invest in something I'll cherish for years to come. Plus, I want to choose the colour this time.

Thanks for your advice, it seems you're suggesting to avoid going down the route of a professional bike fitting and buying online but to buy from a good LBS after a test-ride and fitting advice from them? It seems a pity to limit one's choice to offline only but I see your point.

And yes, I quite agree about the tools and the clothing, the first thing I did was to invest in a new bike wardrobe from Rapha.

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greentea
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Re: Bike Ugrade and Sizing Advice

Postby greentea » Tue Oct 09, 2012 15:58 pm

If you are going to spend that sort of money i wouldnt go for an online bike either. Or at the very least try and get on a bike that you can then order online. More often than not the LBS will be more expensive than online and while im all for supporting the LBS, there is also a recession on and every penny counts!

If you cant get on a bike like a Cube or Canyon, then try and select a bike you can sit on that has similar geometry. You do need to be careful as all bike frames are different, so a 54' in one make wont be the same in another. It could easily be bigger or smaller.

A lot of people will tell you on here to go and try one out but it really is the best way to do it. Even if the local bike shop is 200 miles away, youre far better off making a day of it, spending £50 in petrol than wasting £1500 on a bike that you see online, sit on, then find you hate it because it doesnt fit right.

On the subject of gear lever reach you can adjust that on the slightly more expensive gearing with spacers or some have screws built in for adjustment, but not all do.

Also are you male or female, as obviously bikes are made differently.

Simon Masterson
Posts: 2488
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 15:52 pm

Re: Bike Ugrade and Sizing Advice

Postby Simon Masterson » Tue Oct 09, 2012 16:54 pm

jane90 wrote:Hi Simon,

Thank you for your reply. The specific answer to your question is that I have quite small hands so I'm finding the gear changes quite a challenge on my current bike. I can't reach the upshift thumb lever at all unless I'm right on the hoods and by the time I've moved the front chain to the bigger ring it's usually time to change down again. But the more general answer is not that my current bike is inadequate, per se, but rather that I've fallen in love with cycling and want to invest in something I'll cherish for years to come. Plus, I want to choose the colour this time.

Thanks for your advice, it seems you're suggesting to avoid going down the route of a professional bike fitting and buying online but to buy from a good LBS after a test-ride and fitting advice from them? It seems a pity to limit one's choice to offline only but I see your point.

And yes, I quite agree about the tools and the clothing, the first thing I did was to invest in a new bike wardrobe from Rapha.


Basically, yes to the above! You clearly have much more money than me. :wink:

But I would strongly advise that you don't buy anything made out of carbon fibre or aluminium expecting to grow old with it; that applies to steel bikes, but aluminium is vulnerable to fatigue and neither it nor carbon fibre are particularly cost-effective to repair. Anything you buy, buy it because you like it now.

I wouldn't advise against a bike fitting, incidentally; I think they can be very valuable, and if you're going to buy a bike, it only makes sense to make sure you're getting the most out of it. You shouldn't need to spend £250, though!

jane90
Posts: 146
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 19:12 pm

Re: Bike Ugrade and Sizing Advice

Postby jane90 » Tue Oct 09, 2012 19:48 pm

Hi greentea, thank you for your reply. I thought that sort of thing was frowned upon? I must admit if I was running a small business in the current recession I wouldn't be too happy about someone like me turning up just to test ride a bike with no intention of buying it, although of course it's tempting to save a few quid where one can. My LBS stocks Cube and a couple of other big brands so it sounds like my safest option is just to go there and choose whichever one feels most comfortable.

I'm female, by the way, but I've been told and have read that there isn't much difference between bikes designed for men and for women and I'll be fine with any bike, especially as I'm very tall. Is this not true? I suppose if I'm going to my LBS and there's an issue with it, I'm sure they'll guide me in the right direction.

Simon, I wasn't planning on getting to middle-age with my new bike never mind old age! :) But I was hoping to get at least four or five years out of it, is that not unreasonable?

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Sprool
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Re: Bike Ugrade and Sizing Advice

Postby Sprool » Tue Oct 09, 2012 21:32 pm

greentea wrote:Also are you male or female, as obviously bikes are made differently.

I think the user name was a giveaway.
There's some generalisations about average female proportions wrt torso and leg length that makes female bike frame geometries a little different to male ones, but thats all they are; averages and generalisations. The benefit of spending a bit more money on a machine from a reputable LBS is they will hopefully not generalise about your actual dimensions and help steer you towards the best frame that fits you best within your budget, and that may turn out to be a 'mans' bike. Theres not a huge difference. If they try to then load it up with expensive extras you feel you may not need then you can make sounds about cheaper online and keep it within a sensible price range. I'm all for supporting the local businesses especially when they are run by experts and enthusiasts but I too can not always afford the higher prices of some of the commoddity stuff they sell.

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coriordan
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Re: Bike Ugrade and Sizing Advice

Postby coriordan » Tue Oct 09, 2012 21:44 pm

Echo all the above comments, and as you rightly mention, as well as the physical, the superficial things about our bikes are what make us love them. I am still left for dead by a good friend on his beaten up steel winter hack, but I recently torched someone on a 12k pinarello.
However, I wouldn't want either as I don't like the colours, shape or gears. It's so personal.

Go to your bike shop and pick your bike for 2 reasons:
1) it fits well
2) you love it for whatever insignificant to someone else, superficial reason going.

I love mine as its unique (seen 1 other in London ever), and I like the colour and I got it cheap. Also it polishes up well so the spokes shine when its sunny. It may be laughable, but it sure as hell keeps me riding it through winter!

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greentea
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Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:18 pm

Re: Bike Ugrade and Sizing Advice

Postby greentea » Tue Oct 09, 2012 22:08 pm

jane90 wrote:Hi greentea, thank you for your reply. I thought that sort of thing was frowned upon? I must admit if I was running a small business in the current recession I wouldn't be too happy about someone like me turning up just to test ride a bike with no intention of buying it, although of course it's tempting to save a few quid where one can. My LBS stocks Cube and a couple of other big brands so it sounds like my safest option is just to go there and choose whichever one feels most comfortable.

I'm female, by the way, but I've been told and have read that there isn't much difference between bikes designed for men and for women and I'll be fine with any bike, especially as I'm very tall. Is this not true? I suppose if I'm going to my LBS and there's an issue with it, I'm sure they'll guide me in the right direction.

Simon, I wasn't planning on getting to middle-age with my new bike never mind old age! :) But I was hoping to get at least four or five years out of it, is that not unreasonable?


Well its frowned upon by some people but they all do it. Also the lbs isnt going to know what youre up to unless you tell them! They are used to people sitting on their bikes. If you have a lbs that has the bikes you are interested in and the price is competitive then go for it.

I asked about being female because i didnt want to assume you were from your username. Also there isnt a lot of difference between male and female bikes its mainly in the frame top tube, the bar tends to slope a bit more downwards towards the seat for women, so you can get your leg over (ooer! Lol) but otherwise not much.

As for getting four or five years out of it theres no reason why you wont if you look after it.

Do you have long legs or a longer torso? Because that can affect bike frame size. Im 6ft 2 but my upper body is longer than my legs slightly so certain frames work better. I have a Cube Agree GTC race and Cube bikes tend to be just a bit smaller frame wise but due to my leg length and arm reach they worked out fine, so sort out arm reach first as seat height is easily fixed, whereas frame length can be more hassle, either shortening or lengthening.

suzyb
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Joined: Sun Aug 02, 2009 16:26 pm

Re: Bike Ugrade and Sizing Advice

Postby suzyb » Wed Oct 10, 2012 09:35 am

Women's bike also usually come with a female specific saddle and now more are coming with narrower bars, shorter reach levers and different gear ratios (according to cycling plus).


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