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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, my names is Greg and I'm new to road bikes and I was just looking for a few answers on fitment.

But first some quick background:
The main purpose for the bike will be triathlons and introducing myself to riding. I've never owned anything but a GT Outpost Trail mountain bike. I'm 21 and into running (5 days a week, 20 - 40 miles a week average).

So back to the bikes.
I've been doing some research, and I understand it's all about "how you feel on the bike". Each company feels/measures differently etc. I'm looking for a bike in the ~700 range. I feel this is a price that will find me a quality used bike.

I am looking for a Cannondale. I like the way the older bikes look and I understand they have good frames. I completed the Wrench Science fit calculator, and received this information.

WS Recommended Sizes
Frame Size center-to-center: 56 cm
Frame Size center-to-top: 58 cm
Overall Reach: 66.86 cm
Saddle Height: 76.26 cm
Handlebar Width: 42 cm

Your Measurements
Height: 72.00 in
Sternum Notch: 59.50 in
Inseam Length: 34.00 in
Arm Length: 24.00 in
Shoulder Width: 16.00 in
Flexiblity: 8
Weight: 175.00 lbs
Foot Size: 10.50 USMens

So, here are the bikes I was looking at. Both are used frames, with after market components. They are built by a shop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (the place is called I really felt the owner was a straight forward guy. He knew my price range, but instead of sticking me on the most expensive bike that would fit, he put me on a bike he thought would fit me best, even though it was cheaper than what I was willing to spend. He seemed more concerned about getting me on a bike that fit, than getting me a bike at the top of my price range.

Anyways, here are the two bikes.

View attachment 125692
This is the first bike I looked at. It is $550.

"Cannondale R400
54cm center to center

9 Speed Shimano STI shifters(NEW)
Shimano Ultegra Rear derailleur
Xero wheels, Panaracer tires (NEW)
All new cables,Bar wrap(NEW),Fizik
Seat(NEW, 3TTT bars, Campagnolo
Brakes(NEW), Truvative crank and
bottom bracket (NEW)"

I rode this bike and it felt good, although I was concerned with the small frame size. I forgot to check how high the seat was up, it's my understanding you want a "fist full" of seat tube sticking out. It also had a larger stem on it, I believe in the +120mm range.

View attachment 125693
This is the second bike I looked at and is priced at $775. I like the way this bike looks more than the other one.

"Cannondale R600
61cm to seatpost
56cm to center to top tube

1996 R600 building up with
Campy Athena Ft & Rear Derailleurs and
cranks, Campy shifters,Campy Brakes
Veloce hubs and Mavic CXP 21 rims,
Michelin Pro Lite Tires,
Cannondale stem, 3ttt bars"

I rode this bike after riding the R400 and this one felt like I was more "layed out/forward" in regards to reach. This bike also had a larger stem on it, again in the 120mm range. I feel I should request to have a shorter stem put on it, maybe in the 90mm range. (Is it easy to swap stems? Say if I were to show up could he do it in 5 minutes just for me to try it?) I don't know much about what's good and what's not good, but I could tell hands down the components on this bike were better than the R400. The stand over distance between "the boys" and the bar was about ~1-1/2".

So all in all, what do you guys think? Go with the larger 56cm frame? It's hard to gauge. He kept saying just try to think about what you will be most comfortable on if you rode it for 2 hours. That's hard to do :)

Thanks for the input, and if you would prefer to give me information via phone, send me an email at "greg.marsicek at" (just replace at with @) and I will call you or give you my number. Thanks much.


scruffy nerf herder
4,484 Posts
One of the most common misconceptions is that the size of the frame... most commonly measured in Seat Tube length ctc or ctt... is a valid measure of a bike size. Unfortunately, the Top Tube length is likely a far more important measurement as it pertains to bike feel. Both of these bikes are standard geometry, so you dont need to worry about the compact frame difference... so... here is the deal.

Number one... since you are new to a roadbike, but used to mtn bikes... it does not suprise me whatsoever that you felt more layed out than normal. I think that is a perfectly normal way to feel on a road bike.

Number two... make sure the store owner gets you in the correct kops position and start from there. I think KOPS makes a really nice starting point and will put you in a more or less neutral position for both bikes so that you can make valid judgements regarding fore and aft, and upper body positioning relative to handlebars, after taking the height out of the equation.

Number three... both of these are pretty dang old. Honestly he is more or less giving you the frame on the top one. Its a mismatched bike made of swap out parts on newish bikes that he has sold. Once you get your fit numbers and find your actual measurements, you will have a great deal of flexibility with what you get. That being said... either one of these bikes would be a cheap entry into a somewhat expensive sport... and give you flexibility to purchase a more modern frame, or a more geometrically correct frame if you find the one you choose does not quite work.

Cannondales, historically... If Im not mistaken run pretty square. So if you are long waisted... you might run into some fit issues, and maybe the 2.8 frame (blue one) was a bit more layed out vs the 3.0 type frames... but Im not entirely sure.

The measurements you provided are of marginal value here. There are a large number of fit calculations and methodologies. However, I think you can probably get close with your dealer.

Cannondales in my experience (I had 3 in the same genre as those you are looking at back in the late 80s and early 90s)... ride pretty rough. You will appreciate the carbon fork on the first one... more durable wheels on the second... so honestly this is really a toss up. It would be better for us to see you on the bikes, but perhaps that is not an option.

The real question is price. For $700 ish... could you get a newer bike that has a bit more modern bits?... my feeling is yes, but others will most assuredly have their opinings.

scruffy nerf herder
4,484 Posts
Its decent enough... but...

Why is it exactly that you are stuck on cannondale again? Aluminum frames are a dime a dozen and we havent even determined if the cannondale geometry really even fits you. Im sure you can find one close.. but Im just curious why the lust for Cannondale? Seems pretty limiting if thats all you are looking for. I thought you were looking at cannondales because they were the two at your LBS within your price range...
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