Road Bike Sizing Advice - compromises?

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Sildus
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Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:46 am

Road Bike Sizing Advice - compromises?

Postby Sildus » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:00 pm

Hello

I'm a newbie so hope that this advice is ok to ask for on here - apologies if not, will have a dig around elsewhere.

I ride to work and do a bit of long riding and touring in summer. I've been using a steel framed hybrid that weighs in at about 16kg (cost £99) so am ready for something a but lighter and quicker.

I'm in the process of buying a road bike and have tried a few and done a fair bit of research. The one I'm most keen on is the specialized allez sport.

My issue is that I don't have very standard proportions for a bloke. My legs are proportionally longer, and my reach is shorter.

I used the online bike fit calculator and the suggestions for top tube and seat tube for my size are quite extreme. I'm not just going on that though.

The 52cm seemed to be the most comfortable, although I did feel that I got a bit more power from the 54cm. The reach on the 54cm was too much though and I could feel it in my shoulders when riding on the hoods. Even on the 52, I think I would have been a good deal more comfortable with the 2cm shorter reach. I definitely wouldn't want a smaller frame than the 52cm however because I have to have the saddle quite high to get my leg position right. Obviously the more I have to do this, the bigger the drop to the bars and I don't want to have an unnecessarily aggressive riding position the whole time.

I appreciate that I can adjust the saddle, flip the stem, try a slightly shorter stem length etc, but as a new-ish rider who has made size errors before, I don't want to mess with the bike so much that it is not balanced and set in a way that it was designed for. I can also slide the saddle forward but obviously I'd rather have it positioned in such a way as to have the relationship with the bottom bracket right and get the most amount of power to the pedals, rather than bodging it just to solve the reach problem.

My instinct is to go for the 52cm, and fit a different stem with a slightly different angle, and shorter length. Does this seem like a sensible solution? Are there any things to watch out for with this, or with moving the saddle up and forward? I appreciate that there'll need to be a compromise somewhere but am trying to make that compromise where it matters least. Would a shorter stem and different stem angle compromise the bike or its performance in to a significant degree?

Any thoughts or advice very much appreciated.

Many thanks.

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EPO Delivery Man
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 15:35 pm

Re: Road Bike Sizing Advice - compromises?

Postby EPO Delivery Man » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:59 pm

Hi there

My advice would be to go with the 52 based on what you have said. I wouldnt buy a frame on 'power' as 1. Power fluctuates day to day. 2. You will build up more power the longer you ride.
A bike frame should always be about fit, get that right and everything will follow. In Wiggins recent book he states most riders actually buy a bike frame slightly too long for them, and it sprung to mind when you mentioned the 54.

If the 52 fits and feels right then go for that. A bike is very much about feel.

As you mentioned, you can flip the stem and shorten the stem, i wouldnt muck about too much with seat position, backwards and forwards, to get the reach right, as you could seriously ruin the leg position over the pedals, you dont want your knees in front of your feet just to get a shorter reach, so leave the saddle position for the legs and the stem for reach.

So to sum up, get the 52. Sit on it. And make one adjustment at a time, dont try and make several in one go. Get the seat height right, the seat position back-front. Then check the reach and sort that, this would be a better start.

If you go one size up you will find its a lot harder to compensate for an overly long reach and will always feel like your reaching over the frame as opposed to being 'in it'. So go by feel, if your mind says no then listen, if it feels right then it probably is, so dont get consumed with numbers and 'my frames bigger than your frame', which is so easy to do.

Hope this is a start, good luck!

Sildus
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Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:46 am

Re: Road Bike Sizing Advice - compromises?

Postby Sildus » Sun Feb 10, 2013 13:07 pm

Thanks very much for the advise EPO Delivery Man, I think I'll hop onto the 52 again and try a different stem orientation. The 54 just felt too big.

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smidsy
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Re: Road Bike Sizing Advice - compromises?

Postby smidsy » Sun Feb 10, 2013 14:09 pm

Sildus wrote:I appreciate that I can adjust the saddle,

My instinct is to go for the 52cm, and fit a different stem with a slightly different angle, and shorter length.


The saddle needs to put you in the right position relative to the bb, so you should use that as the basis for the rest of the fit.

If you are already considering shorter stems on the 52, going for the 54 would only exhasberate that situation.
Yellow is the new Black.

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EPO Delivery Man
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Re: Road Bike Sizing Advice - compromises?

Postby EPO Delivery Man » Mon Feb 11, 2013 22:07 pm

Sildus wrote:Thanks very much for the advise EPO Delivery Man, I think I'll hop onto the 52 again and try a different stem orientation. The 54 just felt too big.


Youre welcome :D

If it felt too big then it probably was/is. It could be that you just happen to fall right in the middle, as i do with some frames. But youre still better off going with a slightly smaller frame you can extend than a longer frame thats always going to feel long.

Good luck, let us know what you went with.

Tom Butcher
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Re: Road Bike Sizing Advice - compromises?

Postby Tom Butcher » Mon Feb 11, 2013 23:43 pm

Long legs and short torso - sounds like perhaps you should go for one of the modern sportive geometry type bikes - shorter top tube and longer head tube.
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