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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a mountain biker who has caught the roadie bug. I bought a late 80's Bianchi on Craigslist and i've been enjoyng it, but I'd like to updrade to something with better wheels and modern shifters. The Bianchi has a 20 1/4" top tube with a 110mm stem, and I'm a little cramped on it.

I'm looking at Lemond Croix de Fer bikes. I'm 5'7" and I've got pretty short legs. I rode the 51 cm size at my LBS and it felt really good. It was, however, fitted with a short stem with a pretty big rise, and I would want to change that for aesthetic purposes. I'm concerned that after switching or flipping the stem, I'd be more stretched and less comfortable. The standover is also is also pretty close, and I'd probably be happy with a little clearance.

These things have got me thinking about having them oreder me a 49cm size. It is less than 1/2" shorter on the top tube, and would give me about 1/2" more standover clearance. The top tube difference could easily be made up in the stem without going very long - 110 would probably do it.

If two sizes seem to fit, is there any advantage to going smaller or to going larger?

I know I can make the smaller frame larger (within reason) with the stem - and I can't make the bigger frame smaller. I also know that my riding position may stretch over time and I'd hate to outgrow my frame.

I appreciate your input on this.
 

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if standover height isn' t an issue on either frame, then it's a toss-up over trade-offs. Surely on these small frames the weight diff and stiffness should not make your decision. Position on the bike is what you should go with. I perfer a larger frame where I can clamp the toptube with knees on highspeed descents, etc. Racers generally lean toward smaller frames. Which "feels" better?
 

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get the 51cm...

Unless you have very short legs for your height, the 51cm would most likely provide the better fit. I'm your height, with long legs (83cm cycling inseam and 72cm saddle height). The 51cm is the smallest that I'd consider for a racing fit. The 53cm would provide an ample 4cm+ of standover clearance.

http://www.lemondbikes.com/2006_bikes/croix_de_fer.shtml#

An accurate cycling inseam, measured to saddle-like crotch contact in bare feet would help.

www.coloradocyclist.com/bikefit
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks for your replies.

SantaCruz, Neither of the Lemond dealers in Austin have a 49cm in stock, so unfortunately, I don't know which feels better. Thanks for your input about larger frames and descending.

C-40, My inseam is 76cm - I do have very short legs. The 51cm provides me very little, if any, standover clearance.

I rode the 51 and it felt good. I'm pretty sure the 49 would work well, too. I just wonder if there are any advantages or disadvantages to either, besides just fit.

Thanks again.
 

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in that case...

The 49cm may be a better choice. All depends on your saddle height and the amount of saddle to bar height difference you can tolerate. Note that the head tube on the 49cm is 15mm shorter than the 51cm. You don't want a HT so short that it requires a goofy stem setup to get the bars up to the height you want.

A test ride may not tell you much either, if the frame comes with a short stem. With your long torso, you might need a 120-130mm stem.

The 49cm has a shorter front-center and wheelbase, so it will have a little more weight on the front and steer a bit quicker.
 
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