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I've noticed that previous years' size charts listed a rider who is 5'10" as right between a 54 cm and 56 cm. In that case many people seem to recommend going with the smaller size. The 2016 chart shows a 5'10" rider as squarely on the 56 cm frame. It doesn't appear that the geometry has changed between the 2016 and the previous year or two; any ideas why the size recommendations have?

Background to the question in case anyone's interested: my first road bike purchased 2 years ago was a Tarmac Sport, 58 cm. I'm 5'10" (pretty average proportions) and it's just too big. I've come across a really good deal on a couple of Tarmac Expert demo bikes- they have both a 56 cm and a 54 cm. I've ridden both and my inclination is to go with the 56. I'm just worried it's because the 54 is so much smaller than what I'm used to that it just feels weird but I'm wondering if it would be better in the long run (it does handle really nicely). But I'd also like to be able to ride longer distances and worry that the 54 would make that more difficult. Thanks in advance for any comments...
 

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I've noticed that previous years' size charts listed a rider who is 5'10" as right between a 54 cm and 56 cm. In that case many people seem to recommend going with the smaller size. The 2016 chart shows a 5'10" rider as squarely on the 56 cm frame. It doesn't appear that the geometry has changed between the 2016 and the previous year or two; any ideas why the size recommendations have?

Background to the question in case anyone's interested: my first road bike purchased 2 years ago was a Tarmac Sport, 58 cm. I'm 5'10" (pretty average proportions) and it's just too big. I've come across a really good deal on a couple of Tarmac Expert demo bikes- they have both a 56 cm and a 54 cm. I've ridden both and my inclination is to go with the 56. I'm just worried it's because the 54 is so much smaller than what I'm used to that it just feels weird but I'm wondering if it would be better in the long run (it does handle really nicely). But I'd also like to be able to ride longer distances and worry that the 54 would make that more difficult. Thanks in advance for any comments...
I don't go off the charts any more. You just have to get on both bikes and which trust your gut instinct: which one feels the most confidence inspiring? I'm 5'9" and I recently downsized from a 54cm frame to a 52cm Tarmac. I have short legs and a long torso though otherwise I could see myself on a 54cm. If I can offer you any sage advice it would be to downsize because there's always more freedom to set saddle position and reach on a smaller bike.
 

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I personally would have to agree with RacingEvo above. I am 5'11" with similar proportions (ie short legs, long torso)and according to the charts I should ride a 56cm. I have been riding 54cm bikes for the last 5-6yrs and recently went to a 52cm. Best change I have ever made. I thought I felt good on a 54cm but the 52cm fits me so much better. Admittedly I need a 130cm stem but it has allowed me to get into a much more comfortable and aggressive position that suits me so much better.
 

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I thought I felt good on a 54cm but the 52cm fits me so much better. Admittedly I need a 130cm stem but it has allowed me to get into a much more comfortable and aggressive position that suits me so much better.
The 49, 52 and 54 have the exact same reach. It's in your head.

I don't go off the charts any more. You just have to get on both bikes and which trust your gut instinct: which one feels the most confidence inspiring? I'm 5'9" and I recently downsized from a 54cm frame to a 52cm Tarmac.
NEVER take this advice. Never buy a bike off of how a test ride feels. Always buy a bike based on Stack and Reach and how it fits you.

Again, the 52 and 54 Tarmac are identical in reach.

Edit: Let me add this:

If you want to go off of the "confidence inspiration" of a frame in terms of buying it, that exists on the "charts" too. Confidence inspiration is a combination of a slack head tube angle, long trail, deep bottom bracket drop and long wheelbase. The more of those it has the lower and longer and more stable the frame is but also it's slower in turns and less responsive. Let me be clear: These measurements and the feeling they provide have ZERO to do with how the bike fits you. You should NEVER fit a bike on how the ride feels, they are two completely different things.
 

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So we have only discussing a Tarmac in different sizes, not different frames....

The 52cm Tarmac has a lower stack than the 54cm frame and it FEELS better to me because the fit is more aggressive, see they are related after all.

You will never get as an aggressive fit on a 54cm frame compared to a 52cm, why, because you can't lower the stack on the 54 past the headset bearings. You do on the other hand get a lot more freedom to raise the stem on a 52. Off your logic, I'm not sure why we are even test riding bikes in the first place, we should just order sight unseen.
 

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So, where can I find these sizing charts? Right now I have a Roubaix in a 58. I'm looking at adding a Crux and maybe getting a new Roubaix, when they are released. I'm 6'2 and I'm going to ride a 56 Roubaix and see how that feels. Would just like any advice and pointed in the right direction on where to find the sizing. I want to see the different riding positions and compare. Kind of a nerd when it comes to technical stuff. I break everything down. May end up waiting for the 18s as long as it take me sometimes.

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
 

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PretzelBoy-based on your height alone, and your impressions riding the 58, definitely get the 56cm frame. At your height the 54cm would be too small. You'd wind up with the stupid, exaggerated saddle to bar drop that many cyclists think looks "Pro".
 

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Your height and the bikes geometry alone do not ensure a good fit. I ride the 52 and not a 56 due to my body proportions and flexibility. I don't give two hoots about the exaggerated saddle to bar drop and trying to look "pro". I find it much more comfortable with a large saddle to bar drop because of my body proportions and my flexibility. When I personally ride a 56 or even a 54, due to the higher stack (as incredible as this may seem not everyone slams a stem because they want to look pro) I find the more upright position causes me discomfort. Remember reach can be adjusted quite easily via stem choices.

To save all the armchair expert debates (my original reply was only to highlight size charts based on height are very flawed) I would suggest the poster has a bike fit with an experienced fitter who takes into account their body proportions and flexibility, rather than being told "ride a 56 as at your height that would be too small" blah blah blah. As riding a bike size based on that advice is no different to the following statement "You'd wind up with the stupid, exaggerated saddle to bar drop that many cyclists think looks "Pro".<strike></strike>" as again how a bike fit looks doesn't mean much in the way a bike actually fits or feels.
 

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I would say that MMsRepBike is right, assuming you've already done a fit with someone and have a solid idea about what works of you and what doesn't. If you've done that, its pretty easy to look at the geometry charts and figure out what you need. If you haven't though, and it sounds like the OP hasn't, then its probably a good idea to get with a solid bike shop and good fitter and get properly sized. Once you do that, though, even then a perfect fit is not guaranteed forever as your fitness and flexibility will change and things may need to be adjusted.
 
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