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Never been on a real road bike with drop bars, and I have recently caught the bug to go fast.

I'm relatively fit, standing at 171.45cm with a cycling inseam of 79.5cm at the weight of 155lbs. I work out daily and am lean. I am at the tender age of 25. I plan to do some fast paced group rides with the local clubs, and maybe look into racing a couple years down the line if I'm any good/serious.

I've been reading a lot of threads about bike sizing and how important fit is. I understand that there are different fits for a road bike. I can be more aero, for racing, or more relaxed/upright for longer rides. A smaller bike will have more saddle to bar drop, and a larger bike will have less seatpost showing. I also understand that it's easier to make a smaller bike bigger, but not as easy to make a bigger bike smaller.

The bike I'm sizing is the 2010 CAAD9-5. I'm either a 52 or a 54...

I rode both sizes and found the stock 52 very comfortable. I felt balanced, my sit bones were planted on the seat, my arms had no pressure. All I wanted to was spin. Had I closed my eyes and reached for the hoods, they would be there, right where I was reaching for. I thought to myself, if I was Goldilocks, this was the one. If I spent a hundred kilometers on it, would I end up feeling cramped or sore? Probably, but I could always swap out the stem for a longer one and pull the seat back, right?

On the stock 54, I felt stretched out like Superman, with pressure on the arms. This is while on the hoods. The stretch was mainly in the lower back, and the pressure was mainly elbow down. My arms were practically locked out. Turning also felt less responsive than the 52. Is this feeling correct for a new rider on a road bike? The shop that had the 54 insisted that the 54 was my size, and what I was feeling was normal. They insisted as I rode more, that I'd become more flexible, and that it would feel more natural. I can agree to this. Doing anything more often makes it easier and feel smaller than it use to be. After a couple laps around the lot I told them I was uncomfortable and that I felt stretched out. Graciously they switched out the stem for one that was 10mm shorter and had a little more rise. The swap didn't make much of a difference. I still felt like Superman. Even with a shorter stem with slight rise, and the hoods angled upward, I felt stretched out. I understand that the top tube is a cm longer on the 54, but it felt a lot bigger. Probably due to dimensions of the head tube and seat tube angle? I understand an even shorter stem would change handling, and overall feel of the bike's geometry. I felt stressed because I coudln't fit on the 54 and went home.

Every thread about bike frames puts someone my size on a 54. I realize different bike frames measure out differently, different riders have different porportions, and that I can't fit myself from reading something on the internet. If anything I'll have to buy a bike, put couple hundred kilometers on it, and then dial in from there. Is it possible to get the right fit the first time around?

Which size do I put my money on? It seems every shop I step into, the bike they have on the floor is the size for me. Do I go with my gut feeling and get the 52 and have the shop tell me "I told you so" after I realize the bike is too small later down the line?? or Do I HTFU and stretch out on the 54 and hope for the best? At this point a professional fit from a 3rd party seems reasonable to me.

They say fitting a bike is like fitting a shoe, but in this case, I've never worn shoes before. I don't know if the shoe is too big or too small.

:confused:

5'7.5" 31" cycling inseam

52 54
Top Tube 53.5 54.5


Standing over the 54, I have a cm of room.
Standing over the 52, I have 3cm (about an inch) of room.
I like room.

http://www.cannondale.com/usa/usaen...Road/CAAD9/Details/1244-0RA95D_0RA95C-CAAD9-5

Thanks in advanced.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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vilehand said:
Never been on a real road bike with drop bars, and I have recently caught the bug to go fast.

I'm relatively fit, standing at 171.45cm with a cycling inseam of 79.5cm at the weight of 155lbs. I work out daily and am lean. I am at the tender age of 25. I plan to do some fast paced group rides with the local clubs, and maybe look into racing a couple years down the line if I'm any good/serious.

I've been reading a lot of threads about bike sizing and how important fit is. I understand that there are different fits for a road bike. I can be more aero, for racing, or more relaxed/upright for longer rides. A smaller bike will have more saddle to bar drop, and a larger bike will have less seatpost showing. I also understand that it's easier to make a smaller bike bigger, but not as easy to make a bigger bike smaller.

The bike I'm sizing is the 2010 CAAD9-5. I'm either a 52 or a 54...

I rode both sizes and found the stock 52 very comfortable. I felt balanced, my sit bones were planted on the seat, my arms had no pressure. All I wanted to was spin. Had I closed my eyes and reached for the hoods, they would be there, right where I was reaching for. I thought to myself, if I was Goldilocks, this was the one. If I spent a hundred kilometers on it, would I end up feeling cramped or sore? Probably, but I could always swap out the stem for a longer one and pull the seat back, right?

On the stock 54, I felt stretched out like Superman, with pressure on the arms. This is while on the hoods. The stretch was mainly in the lower back, and the pressure was mainly elbow down. My arms were practically locked out. Turning also felt less responsive than the 52. Is this feeling correct for a new rider on a road bike? The shop that had the 54 insisted that the 54 was my size, and what I was feeling was normal. They insisted as I rode more, that I'd become more flexible, and that it would feel more natural. I can agree to this. Doing anything more often makes it easier and feel smaller than it use to be. After a couple laps around the lot I told them I was uncomfortable and that I felt stretched out. Graciously they switched out the stem for one that was 10mm shorter and had a little more rise. The swap didn't make much of a difference. I still felt like Superman. Even with a shorter stem with slight rise, and the hoods angled upward, I felt stretched out. I understand that the top tube is a cm longer on the 54, but it felt a lot bigger. Probably due to dimensions of the head tube and seat tube angle? I understand an even shorter stem would change handling, and overall feel of the bike's geometry. I felt stressed because I coudln't fit on the 54 and went home.

Every thread about bike frames puts someone my size on a 54. I realize different bike frames measure out differently, different riders have different porportions, and that I can't fit myself from reading something on the internet. If anything I'll have to buy a bike, put couple hundred kilometers on it, and then dial in from there. Is it possible to get the right fit the first time around?

Which size do I put my money on? It seems every shop I step into, the bike they have on the floor is the size for me. Do I go with my gut feeling and get the 52 and have the shop tell me "I told you so" after I realize the bike is too small later down the line?? or Do I HTFU and stretch out on the 54 and hope for the best? At this point a professional fit from a 3rd party seems reasonable to me.

They say fitting a bike is like fitting a shoe, but in this case, I've never worn shoes before. I don't know if the shoe is too big or too small.

:confused:

5'7.5" 31" cycling inseam

52 54
Top Tube 53.5 54.5


Standing over the 54, I have a cm of room.
Standing over the 52, I have 3cm (about an inch) of room.
I like room.

http://www.cannondale.com/usa/usaen...Road/CAAD9/Details/1244-0RA95D_0RA95C-CAAD9-5

Thanks in advanced.
Understanding that we only have your input to formulate an opinion, I think the LBS is wrong.

The fit issues you describe while riding the 54 are consistent with someone experiencing excessive reach and not having correct f/r weight distribution. While it's true that a shorter stem and saddle adjustments would shorten reach, the latter is an incorrect adjustment to make to compensate (for that) and will likely worsen weight distribution.

As far as possibly feeling cramped after a long ride on the 52, assuming they set you up correctly with KOPS adjustment, that's nothing that a 1cm longer stem can't fix, and you won't disrupt f/r weight distribution to any great extent.

Paraphrasing, the 'getting used to it' argument re: the 54 doesn't hold water either. The 52 has a shorter HT, which means (all else being equal) saddle to bar drop is greater, so given that you're already comfortable on that size, flexibility isn't the issue, excessive reach and incorrect f/r weight distribution on the 54 is.

To answer your question about getting the initial fit right on the first try, yes, it's possible. But keep in mind that since you're new to the sport, your fit will evolve over time. So even though it's the right fit for you now, in a few months you may find that tweaks are necessary, and that may occur more than once or twice. That doesn't mean a 52 isn't the right frame size for you, though. From what you've offered, all indications are that it is.

Last thoughts. Whatever bike you end up with, get some saddle time in before opting for a pro fit, for reasons mentioned above.

Also, while height and inseam alone aren't as important as proportions (for determining frame size), FWIW you're about an inch taller than I am and your inseam is less than 1 inch longer and I ride a 52cm Tarmac, close in geo to the CAAD9. You're likely between sizes (52-54), but closer to the 52.
 

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Resident Curmudgeon
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11,979 Posts
It's difficult or impossible to tell you definitively without seeing on the bike. Also realize that all brands of bikes are different in geometry. On some brand I need a 60, on others a 59, & I've tried some that a 61 fit me best. Different models of the same brand also fit differently. If you're planning on buying the bike you rode it makes it easier.

You've said the smaller size felt better. You can change to a longer stem and that may certainly help. Moving the seat back might not be the best option. You need to be positioned on the bike so that the "bump" just below your knee is directly above the pedal axle when the pedal is at the 3:00 position. You can vary this a little, but no more than 5-6 millimeters either direction.

If the Jaeger size is too big there's almost nothing you can do to correct it. You can get a shorter stem, which you've already done, &/or a stem with more rise so you can be a tiny bit more upright. How's the stand over height on the larger bike? If it's a standard frame you should have 4 to 6 cm. If it's a compact frame with a sloping top tube you can measure this closely by standing over the bike and holding a meter stick flat against the top tube. Hold the stick level starting at the top tube where it meets the head tube, to the seat post & measuring the difference between the stick & your crotch.

If I haven't confused you enough yet remember that you are accustomed to a more upright position on the MTB, so hopping on a road bike is going to feel significantly different. If you trust the store to be expert in what they're doing take their advice. If you don't try another store if you can. Good luck and let us know what you did & how it's working for you.
 

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Resident Curmudgeon
Joined
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11,979 Posts
It's difficult or impossible to tell you definitively without seeing on the bike. Also realize that all brands of bikes are different in geometry. On some brand I need a 60, on others a 59, & I've tried some that a 61 fit me best. Different models of the same brand also fit differently. If you're planning on buying the bike you rode it makes it easier.

You've said the smaller size felt better. You can change to a longer stem and that may certainly help. Moving the seat back might not be the best option. You need to be positioned on the bike so that the "bump" just below your knee is directly above the pedal axle when the pedal is at the 3:00 position. You can vary this a little, but no more than 5-6 millimeters either direction.

If the larger size is too big there's almost nothing you can do to correct it. You can get a shorter stem, which you've already done, &/or a stem with more rise so you can be a tiny bit more upright. How's the stand over height on the larger bike? If it's a standard frame you should have 4 to 6 cm. If it's a compact frame with a sloping top tube you can measure this closely by standing over the bike and holding a meter stick flat against the top tube. Hold the stick level starting at the top tube where it meets the head tube, to the seat post & measuring the difference between the stick & your crotch.

If I haven't confused you enough yet remember that you are accustomed to a more upright position on the MTB, so hopping on a road bike is going to feel significantly different. If you trust the store to be expert in what they're doing take their advice. If you don't try another store if you can. Good luck and let us know what you did & how it's working for you.
 

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For what it's worth I'm your size* and have a 54 CAAD9 and it's 'okay' with a 90 stem. In retrospect a 52 would have been better though. 54 was great when I started and the bar saddle was about even but as I got in better shape and wanted to move the bars down to ride more aggressive, I couldn't do it because it created too much reach. Keep in mind as you move the bars down they go a little further out too.

*Our arms might be different length and I'm freakishly flexible.

Unless our arms are significantly different I don't think either size is flat out "wrong" but I'd have to guess 52 would be a better size for you based on my experience.
 
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