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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know that taking measurements is the proper objective route, but if you have to go by feel, is there something that you can go by to know if a frame is too small? I have heard that most pros ride the smallest frame they can get away with, but how do they know when something is too small?
 

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Here a two

1. knees/thighs hitting the handlebars while standing on a climb- top tube or stem is too short
2. Too many spacers under the stem- head tube too short or frame too small

You usually see people riding bikes too small for them rather than too big..People tend to think they can make a small bike "fit"..rarely is that the case
 

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How to tell if it's too small? Set the bike up to your specs (seat height, reach, saddle setback, bar to saddle height) and then stand back and take a critical look at it. If it looks wrong and out of proportion (like way too much or little seatpost, stem too long or short) then it is wrong.
 

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rule of thumb...

The maximum amount of spacer with a carbon steerer is usually 3-4cm. If you need this much spacer and a high rise stem and/or a stem longer than 130mm to produce the fit you need, then the frame is probably too small.

I see a lot of people with 3cm of spacer and a high rise stem, on the proper size frame. It's usually because they have never had a good fitting and just use a comfortable setup, they are out of shape and can't handle a more aggressive setup, or they are just not interested in an aerodynamic fit. I could ride my perfectly sized frame with this type of setup, but instead I use 5mm of spacer with a 110-120mm x 84 (-6) degree stem. Having a 9-10cm drop to the bars work fine for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dave Hickey said:
Here a two

1. knees/thighs hitting the handlebars while standing on a climb- top tube or stem is too short
2. Too many spacers under the stem- head tube too short or frame too small

You usually see people riding bikes too small for them rather than too big..People tend to think they can make a small bike "fit"..rarely is that the case
I noticed that while standing & climbing yesterday that my knees at times get pretty close to the bars, but only tapped them very gently a time or two (during a hard effort when I am pretty contorted and pulling hard on the bars). I almost had to try to make this contact happen, though. My stem is 110mm -6, and I have 3-4 cm of spacer under the stem. This set-up gives me about 2 inches of saddle/bar drop which seems to work for me. Does my frame sound too small?
 

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KennyG said:
I noticed that while standing & climbing yesterday that my knees at times get pretty close to the bars, but only tapped them very gently a time or two (during a hard effort when I am pretty contorted and pulling hard on the bars). I almost had to try to make this contact happen, though. My stem is 110mm -6, and I have 3-4 cm of spacer under the stem. This set-up gives me about 2 inches of saddle/bar drop which seems to work for me. Does my frame sound too small?

I'd say yes, your bike is on the small side. But if you are comfortable on it, then it may be fine.

(How's that for a meaningless answer?)
 

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If it fits you and you're comfy on it, why worry?

About the only real complaints I can come up with are you just don't like the proportions, or maybe the wheelbase is so short that you don't like the handling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I love the way the bike handles, and I feel comfortable on it. My concern came when my buddy told me it looks too small for me. I think part of why he said that is because it is a compact frame, which makes it look smaller than a traditional geo frame. It has a 53.5 eff TT. My 2nd bike has a 54 TT. I am 5'8" with a 31.5 inseam. My previous frame that I rode for years had a 56 TT and I used a 90 stem with it. I think it was too big. My bar to saddle distance was identical on both, however. The shop that sold me the bike told me I need a 54.5 to 55 TT, but that the compact geo 53.5 was really like a 54.5 - 55 traditional. Does this sound right? Thanks!
 

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not too small...

You're not using a 130mm stem are you? Then the TT length is not too short! I've already mentioned the spacer and stem angle situation. Some people can't handle an 8-10cm drop to the bars and need max. spacers or a high rise stem, but that also does not make the frame too small. Sounds OK to me. Your old frame was too big.
 

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My Own Private Idaho said:
I'd say yes, your bike is on the small side. But if you are comfortable on it, then it may be fine.

(How's that for a meaningless answer?)
It is not meaningless at all. I've seen Sean Kelly's picture somewhere on this forum and his posture was questionable at best (while in the drops his elbows overlapped his knees, i.e too cramped). Yet, he was one of the most successful riders of the 80s. Obviously the setup worked for him. To the op, you won't know what suits you best until you have tried a couple of different setups and logged some miles.

Hope this helps.
 

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C-40 said:
... they are out of shape and can't handle a more aggressive setup....
Be nice now :), I ride 20 miles a day and push it fairly hard but at age 57 with a life long bad back, I find a 73 degree stem just feels better. I would hate to think I am out of shape just because I use a geezer stem. :sad:
 
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