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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
52cm top tube ok for 5'10" rider?

Hi guys,

Bit of a beginners question here (as you can see it is my first post, I am a convert from mtbr.com) as I am new to road bikes and have possibly found my perfect frame. The only problem is my perfect frame (full FOCO 52cm) is on eBay finishing in 2 days so I am trying to ascertain whether or not I can make it fit me nicely before placing a bid!

The main issue is this frame has a 52cm top tube (C/C) - it also has a 52cm seat tube, but I am not too worried as I can fix that easily with seat/post adjustment. I guess what I am asking is, what length top tube is generally reccomended for someone of my height (5'10") and what are you guys using? If 52 is too short for me, what would issues would I have with just getting a longer stem?

Thanks in advance -- I really want this frame, but also really want to stay rational if it doesn't fit me! :)
 

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The major problem with frames nominally too small is excessive saddle-to-handlebar drop. As you jack your seat post up to make up for a short seat tube, the bars can't follow. To ride that frame, you would have to tolerate a very large bar drop. Make sure you can before paying your money.
 

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too small...

Actually, a TT length without the seat tube angle that goes with it is really meaningless, but mostly likely both the frame size and TT length are too small.

As a very rough guideline, The c-c frame size should be not less than 32cm less than your accurately measured cycling inseam, or no more than 21cm less than your saddle height, measure from the top of the saddle to the center of the BB, along the seat tube centerline. For example, with an 83cm inseam, the smallest frame I'd ride is a 51cm. My saddle height is 72cm. Subtracting 51cm, I get 51cm again.

A rider of your height would most likley use a TT in the 55-56cm range (depending on the STA).

www.coloradocyclist.com/bikefit
 

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It's a little "crazy" to buy a "first bike" without knowing exactly what you need. There are so many things that go wrong. First bikes should be purchased from your LBS. (even then, you can be fitted poorly by a bad shop)
Do your homework before you lay your money down.
 

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Choosing a frame size is pretty trivial. There are web sites that will help you do this. My guess is that a 55 or 56cm top tube is probably better for you but measure yourself up and use one of the web sites. In my experience bike shops tend to help you choose what they have in stock if you are a beginner. You can probably do better yourself.

Don't confuse choosing a frame size with fitting. You need to choose a frame size before you start fitting. Good luck with the new bike.
 

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No way is that bike big enough for you, period. Don't do it. I'm not quite 5'7" and probably wouldn't bike a bike with only a 52 cm TT...

And seat tube height can matter. Yes, you can jack your seat way up (may need to buy a new longer seat post) but then you'll have huge saddle-to-bar drop, probably more than you want. So, then you get some mega-freaky headtube extender and/or riser stem. And then the stem needs to be a least 14 cm long...

Next thing you know you're riding a jury-rigged bike that screams "this bike is way too small for its rider!"
 

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Hi since we are on this thread i ve been to my LBS here in Singapore and tried the trek madone 5.9 sl . it was a 58cm frame . for me being a 6.0ft guy with average reach and length of limbs it felt comfortable but the mech at the shop said he went from a 56 down to a 53 cm frame as it was more comfortable for long distance rides. that got me worried as i asked him is it true that biger frames make for long uncomfortable rides?? he said YES!
so does anyone have any opinion on this issue?
how small a frame can a 6.0 footer guy go or for that matter how big a frame can guy go for?
 

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fly777 said:
Hi since we are on this thread i ve been to my LBS here in Singapore and tried the trek madone 5.9 sl . it was a 58cm frame . for me being a 6.0ft guy with average reach and length of limbs it felt comfortable but the mech at the shop said he went from a 56 down to a 53 cm frame as it was more comfortable for long distance rides. that got me worried as i asked him is it true that biger frames make for long uncomfortable rides?? he said YES!
so does anyone have any opinion on this issue?
how small a frame can a 6.0 footer guy go or for that matter how big a frame can guy go for?
No! No! No! No!

A frame that does not fit you makes for long uncomfortable rides. If your top tube/stem combo is too long you will be uncomfortable. If it is too short, you will be uncomfortable.

Hard core riders who are very flexible might be more comfortable on a shorter frame with lower bars. Most others will be more comfortable with the handlebars up higher and a cushier saddle to cushion the extra weight on your backside. Either way, it is key that you have the right reach length to the handlebars. You can determine that using a sizing system at a good LBS, or by experience. Once you know the amount of reach that you want, you can customize your setup with the right stem and bars to give you that reach. Don't go too crazy - you don't want a 60mm stem or a 170mm stem - but you can vary stem length quite a bit to get the reach that's right for you.

I spent several decades riding frames that were too small for me. I have permanent pain in my back and hips as a result. If you are like me, you will be more comfortable on a larger frame.

Others will have different experiences. Your results may vary.

Sincerely,

FBB
 

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Hey FBB thanks for the post . i would like to know whats yr height and frame size and all the other details that you can share will be appreciated greatly . im a mtb rider and have been thinking of getting to road bike riding soon.
 

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fly777 said:
Hey FBB thanks for the post . i would like to know whats yr height and frame size and all the other details that you can share will be appreciated greatly . im a mtb rider and have been thinking of getting to road bike riding soon.
I am freakishly huge, 6' 6" (199cm).

My "too small" bikes were all road bikes with 62cm seat tubes and 58-60cm top tubes. I was hunched too far down and not spread out enough.

Now I ride 68cm road bikes and 62cm mountain bikes. I spec my top tube at 62cm for all my bikes, but I am thinking of making it a bit longer next time I build a frame (or have someone else build be one, but I just got a custom frame built with a 62cm top tube, so I think I'll have to wait a while or the wife's head will explode).

Lately, I have been most comfortable on bikes with the handlebars 2 - 5 cm lower than the seat, but I've also wanted to stretch out a bit more. I've been experimenting with these bars:

http://tinyurl.com/yq6eq

I like them, because they give lots of different hand positions and options to spread out more or less depending on what kind of riding I am doing. However, I doubt they would be your cup of tea. I am thinking of going back to standard drops, in which case I will try these:

http://www.rivbike.com/webalog/handlebars_stems_tape/16111.html

They offer a variety of very comfortable riding positions. Once again, however, they are not bars you would see on most race bikes.

Yours,

FBB
 

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hey FBB thanks again for a great post i enjoyed reading about the nitto noodle dropbars .tht wuld come later i guess.
right now my big concern is that for a 6.0 (180cm) guy like me wuld getting a 56cm frame be a little small and thus affect my ride comfort as i read that it wuld inevitably cause my reach to be a lot more angular thus stressing my back.. correct me if im wrong. thanks a bunch~
Fly
 

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fly777 said:
hey FBB thanks again for a great post i enjoyed reading about the nitto noodle dropbars .tht wuld come later i guess.
right now my big concern is that for a 6.0 (180cm) guy like me wuld getting a 56cm frame be a little small and thus affect my ride comfort as i read that it wuld inevitably cause my reach to be a lot more angular thus stressing my back.. correct me if im wrong. thanks a bunch~
Fly
If I were you, I'd go 58X58, minimum. But in this crazy world of compact frames, others might have good advice that proves me wrong. Still, it seems to me that a 58cm top tube would be a good fit for you. Seat tube maybe could go a bit shorter if you really want to be a racer-type.

- FBB
 

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You may want to try a couple of sizes before you decide on

a 58 cm TT.
My reason for saying so is that I am also 6' tall and I ride bikes with between a 56 (actual) and 57.5 (virtual) TT on my road bikes. I only have one conventional frame at the moment and its a Colnago Tecnos with a 56cm TT and I use a 120mm stem. My other bikes are all compacts one being a Specialized S Works (56.5cm virtual TT) and a Fondriest Domino Plus (57.5 cm virtual TT) and I use a 110mm stem on both of those. All have the same bars, saddles, brifters, etc. The reach from tip of saddle to middle of bars on the stem is between 56.5 cm and 57.5 cm and setback from tip of saddle behind the BB are all about the same (within a 1/4"or less). For comparison, all my saddles are 77cm from Ctr of the BB to top of saddle and saddle to bar drop is about 85-90 mm depending on the bike.
If I were to get on a 58, I think I would personally feel a little stretched out for comfort, so you may want to give a smaller frame a try too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for all your helpful responses guys. As hard as it is going to be, I am not going to place a bid on that frame.. :( I have always wanted a high quality steel frame too, and this one was cheap (Fort with full FOCO tubeset $130 US brand new)

I'm sure this has been done in other threads, but someone mentioned and "accurately measured inseam" - how is this done?

And apart from actual body fit measurements, how much does my riding style and power output effect what lengths/angles I choose if I go down the path of custom? Can anyone reccomend a website for fit instructions?

Cheers.
 
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