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I understand that several members on this board own, work at, or have good friends at their LBS. I understand why you support them 100%. I don't have the same quality bike shops that you have in some areas. When I tell them that I am entry level, they just look at me and say yeah that bike will work for you. I guess if I had ridden bikes for years and knew what to look for in a bike and was buying a $3,000 bike for 100+ mile race, they would be more involved about the frame geometry. They just said go home do some research and come back and see if it is what you want. I guess it is my personality. Some people won't work on there own car. They only take it to the dealer, or they are afraid to do any "do it yourself" work. They assume when they go somewhere that they person is a specialist. Even though a lot of times it is just a high school or college student. I can do a lot of stuff myself and I am very mechanical. I never actually said that I was going to purchase a bike online. I am thinking about it. I could pay someone that is not trying very hard to fit me to a bike a generous markup or I could get a bike with upgraded components at a lower price. I was just asking for a second opinion of the fit that I had. I have ridden a few bikes with 55-56 top tubes and that seems to be okay, but I thought that I would get a second opinion.
Thanks
 

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I was not trying to be an a$$, but after riding a bike for over 3000 miles, I thought I knew what bike fit me. I am 6'5" so the longest top tube must be the best fit for me, right...WRONG! Most bike shops see me and immediately would try to get me on the 'biggest' bike they had. After at least a couple months I finally got fitted on a bike that actually fits me (and it only has a 59cm top tube). The difference between getting a bike that fits you or fitting you to a bike is a huge difference. I am sorry you don't have any good shops aruond you, but I suggest you keep looking for a quality shop. Where are you located. You said it, "that seems to be okay". You won't know how your first road bike fits for many miles. As a minimum I suggest at least riding the bike for 20 miles and if a shop says no, go to the next one until you find one that will. A parking lot ride won't work. And TT length is just the beginning. You have head tube and seat tube angles that will greatly affect overall length, stem rise and length, fore/aft seat position and seat height (which will also affect effective top tube length). There is a LOT into getting a bike to properly fit you, not just top tube length. What about head tube length? Do you want the bars even with the saddle or can you handle an aggressive position with 3" drop from saddle to bars? You have come to the right place to ask questions, but to just ask what tt length should I get is really just looking for trouble. Some people like shorter/taller bikes, some like longer bikes with short stems, etc. etc. I can say this, when I input my measurements on competitive cyclist, their top tube recommendation was within 1.5cm of what I ended up with..BUT, think about it...1.5cm is over 1/2" and that makes a pretty big difference in the fit of a bike. Road biking is about grams and millimeters. 1/2" can be compensated for with a stem, but a very long stem would be considered 140mm and a very short stem would be considered 90mm. Most try to stay between 100 and 130mm. If you get a bike with a tope tube that is 15mm too long or too short, you may have to 'force' the bike to fit you by getting a really long stem or a really short stem (both which will adversely affect the handling of the bike). A lot to think about...

In addition, yes you can save by ordering on-line and I did that with many bikes...BUT, a good bike shop will be invaluable. I recently purchased a new bike and after close to 600 miles there was an issue with the fork. Took bike to shop and a new fork is being delivered today to replace the existing one. How are you going to handle that with an online retailer. Yes, you are paying for customer service so keep looking for a good shop, even if it is 100 miles away, it will be worth it in the long run. I paid a good amount by dealing with a shop, but every day I am glad I did....
 

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Reach.

As pointed out above, without a corresponding seat tube angle, top tube length can't be used to accurately calculate reach —and reach is what you really need to know. A steeper seat tube effectively lengthens the top tube, a shallower seat tube effectively shortens it.
 

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I agree with MCF above. If you don't get a good fit you won't be happy with the bike and you won't ride it. I have only been road biking a yr and a half and I bought at a dealer but didn't do a detailed fit. I still had to adjust many things to get it just right. I was lucky. I have put 5000 miles on that bike last yr. You will hurt in all kinds of places if the fit is not right especially if you intend to ride long distances.
 

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Like you I do as much wrenching as I can and have had bad experiences with some LBS's, but I've also had a couple of bike fits done along the way.

Whether you believe it or not, you've gotten some good advice here. IMO, proper fit comes first because if you're not comfortable on a bike it'll sit, regardless of price paid or components upgraded. I'm actually surprised that someone who prides themself on their mechanical skills (obviously seeing the value in the tight tolerances of numerous assemblies) take a somewhat casual approach to bike fit. It's no different in that a centimeter can make a big difference in a riders comfort - and performance.

Regarding MCF's advice, just because someone suggests a pro bike fit doesn't mean they're sending you back to the uncaring teen working at the LBS you have little confidence in. Find a certified (Serotta comes to mind) bike fitter and go to them - wherever they may be. Ask questions about bike geometry, how it affects handling, ride, comfort. Then take the measurements and recommendations and start comparing the geo of bikes of interest. At least then you'll be armed with some info and knowledge of where to start and what'll work for you.
 

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PJ352 said:
Regarding MCF's advice, just because someone suggests a pro bike fit doesn't mean they're sending you back to the uncaring teen working at the LBS you have little confidence in. Find a certified (Serotta comes to mind) bike fitter and go to them - wherever they may be. Ask questions about bike geometry, how it affects handling, ride, comfort. Then take the measurements and recommendations and start comparing the geo of bikes of interest. At least then you'll be armed with some info and knowledge of where to start and what'll work for you.
Couldn't agree more. Best money I've spent so far in my cycling career. Now I have measurements and suggestions as a jumping off point that I know are accurate because they were done by someone I trust and who has been doing it for years.

Since having my fitting I've been able to adjust my existing bikes to fit similarly and my comfort has significantly improved. I can also now buy new bikes with a much more educated view of geometry and sizing.
 

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Let me tell you how important fit is.....I rode a bike for 2500 miles being too far back on rails and too low. Had fit and everything went great. I NEVER have had any knee issues and used to joke about it (bad idea). Got a new bike, had it fit and it was great. Decided to put my old saddle on new bike. Measured where new saddle fit and put on old saddle...but I didn't take into account that I sank further down into new saddle (why i was changing it)...all said and done, saddle was about 1/2" too high and 1/2" too low resulting me pulling my calf on the underside of the leg under the knee resulting in knee pain. Now I get to vigourously stretch it and use foam roller now after suffering from knee pain for 6 weeks....fun stuff.
 

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I would find a Serotta certified fitter. They will give you all the right dimensions. I went to two, one was a lousy fit, the other a very good fit. Both knew what they were doing, why the first was such a lousy fit with wrong sizing is beyond me. I'm almost 6' tall and he had me on a 53-54 top tube bike. The 2nd had me on a 55. I always felt I should be on a 55-56 bike. With these dimensions you can now shop around.
 
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