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I am looking to get into cycling - mainly for fitness/fun (and cross training on days that I do not run). I do not foresee doing any races, competitions, etc.

There is a 1999 Specialized Allez Sport in my area that I am considering. I was at my LBS the other day to see what size would best fit me (I am between 6' 1" and 6' 2") and they told me that on a Specialized, I should go with a 58; however, the bike in question might be a 56 (person selling it on CL said that they are not sure which one it is - from the sounds of the posting, I do not believe it was the seller's bike).

I realize that even the same manufacturer's sizes and geometry can be different from year-to-year and model-to-model, and I realize that you cannot truly know without sitting on the bike, adjusting it, etc; however, my question is, would a 56 (if it is indeed a 56) be all that different from a 58?
 

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If it's your first road bike, just get it at a reputable LBS. Trying to save few bucks and getting the wrong size isn't going to help anything. When you fully understand your fit requirements and bike geometry, that's when you can order your frames online or used on CL.
 

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woodys737 said:
99% sure a 56 would be way too small. You might even be better on a 61 depending on your specific body dimensions. I rode a 56 Allez years ago and I'm 5'9". Here is the difference fwiw:

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=39252
Sorry to butt in, I'm 5'9.5" with a 32" inseam, slightly longer than average arms and I ride 52cm Tarmac with a 90mm stem. How are you fitting on a 56cm? Boggles my mind! :confused: Are your arms super long?

Anyway to the OP, without knowing anything more than your height, I guess the 58 is the closest bet. If it is too small, you can run a longer stem + setback seatpost for the pro look. While if you get a frame too big, short stems on a larger frame might negatively affect handling, but more importantly, are just plain ugly. :p
 

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lwrncc said:
Sorry to butt in, I'm 5'9.5" with a 32" inseam, slightly longer than average arms and I ride 52cm Tarmac with a 90mm stem. How are you fitting on a 56cm? Boggles my mind! :confused: Are your arms super long?

Anyway to the OP, without knowing anything more than your height, I guess the 58 is the closest bet. If it is too small, you can run a longer stem + setback seatpost for the pro look. While if you get a frame too big, short stems on a larger frame might negatively affect handling, but more importantly, are just plain ugly. :p
There are all different ideas about fits, but as someone who's fit and sold a lot of bikes - it breaks down like this:

5'4" = 50cm, 5'6" = 52cm, 5'8" = 54cm, 5'10" = 56cm, 6' = 58cm and 6'2" = 60cm

When you consider that 50cm to 60cm are supposed to fit the most normal range of heights, and that 5'10" is average male height in the US, and 56cm are the most common size frames, this guide works pretty well.

Txn, since you are new to the game, if you are going to find a bike without any professional help, I certainly would say no smaller than a 58, and 60 might be a better choice. While you could be one of those people who can get away with smaller, I like to think that people dropping a size or two did so with some experience, rather than just winging it.

lwrncc, I don't know how someone with longish torso and your height is riding a 52 with a 90mm stem, but I would bet you have some overlap between your knees and elbows from such a short reach while in the drops.
 

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lwrncc said:
Sorry to butt in, I'm 5'9.5" with a 32" inseam, slightly longer than average arms and I ride 52cm Tarmac with a 90mm stem. How are you fitting on a 56cm? Boggles my mind! :confused: Are your arms super long?

Anyway to the OP, without knowing anything more than your height, I guess the 58 is the closest bet. If it is too small, you can run a longer stem + setback seatpost for the pro look. While if you get a frame too big, short stems on a larger frame might negatively affect handling, but more importantly, are just plain ugly. :p
Not sure with the Allez, but I rode a 56 Scott CR1-SL for a couple years post Allez. I ended up with a zero setback post and a 100mm stem. I bet the Allez had a 20-25mm setback post and a 110mm stem. Anyways, the tip of the saddle was approx 5-6cm behind the BB IIRC. I was well balanced on both bikes so, I'd say they fit just fine. Maybe a touch big but totally workable with all the different post/stem combos out there. Also raced a bit and went from a 5 to a 2 on that machine and I can't say the bike/fit held me back.

I then went to a 54 Addict using a 25mm setback post and a 110mm stem. Now I'm on a 52s Colnago CX-1 with 30mm set back post and 120mm stem. I've managed to keep the tip of the saddle in the relation to the BB the same while staying balanced.

I'd say your 52 Tarmac with a 90mm stem and slightly longer than average arms is too small. How far are you behind the BB?
 

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NativeTxn said:
There is a 1999 Specialized Allez Sport in my area that I am considering. I was at my LBS the other day to see what size would best fit me (I am between 6' 1" and 6' 2") and they told me that on a Specialized, I should go with a 58; however, the bike in question might be a 56 (person selling it on CL said that they are not sure which one it is - from the sounds of the posting, I do not believe it was the seller's bike).
GIven your self-reported height, and assuming that your proportions are relatively normal, a 58 does sound about right. Maybe a 60.

But with fit there are all sorts of nits to pick, and I'm sure plenty of ppl here will point those out for ya.
.
 

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spade2you said:
If it's your first road bike, just get it at a reputable LBS. Trying to save few bucks and getting the wrong size isn't going to help anything. When you fully understand your fit requirements and bike geometry, that's when you can order your frames online or used on CL.
+1. I also wouldn't buy a bike from someone that can't reliably answer your questions.
 

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I have bikes that range from 54cm to 59cm and they all fit. You need the LBS to help you out; almost none of the manufacturers measure things the same way. My experience is that the top tube length is the most critical measurement.
 

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chas0039 said:
I have bikes that range from 54cm to 59cm and they all fit. You need the LBS to help you out; almost none of the manufacturers measure things the same way. My experience is that the top tube length is the most critical measurement.
+1. My Madone is a 58cm Pro Fit (now H1). My Masi Speciale Carbon is a 56cm. The LaPierre I loved was a 55cm. My three vintage steels are 57's.

What do they share? a 56.5 to 57cm effective top tube.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the comments, tips, etc.

The guy at the LBS put me on a Specialized and said that I needed a 58 in that, and then put me on a 60cm Trek because he said that the geometry of the 60cm Trek was about the same as the 58cm Specialized.

He put me on a 60cm Trek 1.2, which looking online has a top effective tube length of 58.6cm. The 58cm Specialized appears to have a top effective tube length of 58.2 cm.

The problem with the LBS is the budget issue, as is the case with so many others looking to get into cycling.

I'm passing on the Allez mentioned but may still go the CL route (I'm not in a terrible rush) initially and have a local shop tune it/check it. I might buy a used one from a local shop, or I might end up getting a new one from a local shop. So many choices.
 

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woodys737 said:
I'd say your 52 Tarmac with a 90mm stem and slightly longer than average arms is too small. How far are you behind the BB?
This is my recent fit data, still a work in progress.

C of BB to top of saddle 728mm
Saddle setback 48mm
Tip of saddle to centre of bars 505mm
Tip of saddle to hoods(curved area) 637mm
C of front axle to C of bars 542mm

Using Pro PLT Compact II bars.
 

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NativeTxn said:
The problem with the LBS is the budget issue, as is the case with so many others looking to get into cycling.
Between Craigs List, ebay, and exclusively online retailers, it's very enticing to save $ and not shop at the LBS, but who do you think is going to support you and fix things? Most shops will have a period of free adjustments, which you will need.

Having known more than a few cyclists who decided to try to bypass the LBS and get used bikes, which were poorly sized.

FWIW, you can talk about dimensions, but it's hard to beat a bike you can actually pedal and have a reputable shop make sure you're leaving on the right size.
 

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lwrncc said:
This is my recent fit data, still a work in progress.

C of BB to top of saddle 728mm
Saddle setback 48mm
Tip of saddle to centre of bars 505mm

Tip of saddle to hoods(curved area) 637mm
C of front axle to C of bars 542mm

Using Pro PLT Compact II bars.
Interesting. I'm about the same size and have 60mm setback and 555mm saddle to bar. I've found better recruitment of glutes and hamstrings for climbing being a touch further back and I prefer being more stretched out so I don't put excessive pressure on my low back. To each his own I guess. Best of luck to you!
 

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lwrncc said:
This is my recent fit data, still a work in progress.

C of BB to top of saddle 728mm
Saddle setback 48mm
Tip of saddle to centre of bars 505mm
Tip of saddle to hoods(curved area) 637mm
C of front axle to C of bars 542mm

Using Pro PLT Compact II bars.
I don't see how anyone could stand to ride this cramped up. You have the seat to bar reach of someone 6 inches shorter than you, but you have a longish torso. Weird.
 

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We do a free basic fitting on every road bike that goes out our door.

And no, it does not involve lasers or computers. Just a buttload of knowledge, a big long level, communication and understanding where the customer is in terms of "road riding."

We simply will not sell a bike that doesn't fit. And, believe me, I've had more than a few opportunities to do same.

I've said it once and I'll say it again. If you're like me and can look at a geometry chart or get out the tape measure, I can get a good fit. Not one of my bikes did I "test ride" before commitment but they all fit beautifully.

A good LBS is your friend.
 

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Keep in mind, there are different "correct" fits. Since I started riding seriously about 30 years back, I have always had my saddle ridiculously close to the top bar. I'm talking less than 2 inches of seat post showing. I felt comfortable with a tall stand over height and my reach and stem adjusted to that start point. After riding the same Trek for about 10 years, my body felt right with those measurements from that bike, even though it had never been set up in any real way other than to set the seat height based on where my foot hit the pedal.

When I started getting serious and set up a few more measurements correctly, my body adapted to what I was used to. After a few more bikes and a lot of measuring, I got to where I could set up a wide range of frame sizes to make a really good fit. After I adjusted the seat set back and height, based on the standards most agree with, I know the correct stack height which then leads to the correct seat to bar by adjusting the stem length and I am done. I was able to order my Waterford "through the mail" with a little discussion with Richard Schwinn and the frame was perfect without any fitting.

If people would realize that the seat setback and height from the pedal are pretty much locked in, then stack height and from there, stem length just follow naturally. Once you know where your seat to handlebar measurement is, the rest is easy. To me, that is the primary measurement riders need to figure which is why I look so closely at top tube. Too short and I will never get my seat back far enough. Too long and my stem will be too short.
 

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Interesting. I'm about the same size and have 60mm setback and 555mm saddle to bar. I've found better recruitment of glutes and hamstrings for climbing being a touch further back and I prefer being more stretched out so I don't put excessive pressure on my low back. To each his own I guess. Best of luck to you!
I don't see how anyone could stand to ride this cramped up. You have the seat to bar reach of someone 6 inches shorter than you, but you have a longish torso. Weird.
I know this thread is really old, but I just wanted to say that you guys were right about the fit. That previous fit was based on the kops and axle method which I later found out is a poor method of fit (hence WIP). I've read up a lot about fitting over the last few months (especially fit sites such as Peter White and Steve Hogg) and now have more saddle setback which puts me behind kops and a longer stem at 110mm. As well as better insoles, shims etc. Super comfortable now. I hope the OP has found his/her perfect fit too! :thumbsup:
 
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