Bike size help



Josh7171

New Member
Apr 21, 2013
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So I'm riding a trek Domane 4 size 56 I got a cycle shop let's call it "A". I went today to shop "B". The guy at B was saying I should be on a 54 and even a 52. He said that 56 would be to big for me. I'm 5'9 and 140 pounds so I'm not a big guy. I stood next to a cannondale evo size 56 and it did seem a bit big. He said I could ride some smaller bikes and try them to make sure.I consider both shops to be very good shops. My saddle is sitting almost even with the bars on the Domane. But going from an endurance bike to the evo Its hard to tell. But what would everyone here think about that?
 
No one here can really tell you how you want your bike to fit. If you're comfortable on a 56 cm Domane, that's where I'd start when looking at new bikes. The EVO 56 probably has a lower "stack height" (lower bars), and a longer top tube than your current bike. The result could be a drop from saddle to bars of a few inches. If you go down to a size 54, or even 52, then you'll be dealing with a bigger drop.

I'd advise you to be skeptical about any LBS salesman who tells you that your current bike (a 56) is too big for you. A 52 or 54 cm Evo may force you into a "pro race" position, but if you're not a pro racer, that may not be what you want or need. It may be cool to look racy on the bike, but not at the expense of back or neck pain which can put you off the bike, or take all the fun out of riding. Depending on your age, flexibility, riding style, fitness, your current set up could be perfect.
 
56 is really on the top end for someone 5'9", I say that as at 5'9" my ideal size is 54cm, but I have gotten 55's and 56's to work when I was a younger rider using mostly hand me downs and second hand gear, not knowing any better, and dealing with salespeople who clearly did not have my best interests at heart. 52 imo would be too small. It's really all about top tube length, as sloping top tubes have rendered standover height essentially moot, and a size that you could feel comfortable on without having to ride with a super short stem (if you need something <80 or 90mm and your body and included appendages fall into "average" territory then the frame is likely too big).

The shorter head tube of the evo may be a factor but spacers under the stem could resolve, as well as flipping the stem, but with the $$ spent on an evo I would want to make sure I got the correct size. "Correct" being the size I would be most happy with. At 5'9" with average proportions, 56 would most definitely NOT be the size for me.

PS: at my height I still run a slightly shorter stem than some of my peers, 90mm stem with a top tube measurement of 54.5 (average for a 54cm frame), or 100mm on a 53.5cm. But as dhk2 suggests, no one here can really tell you how you want your bike to fit, however my 54cm Cannondale SuperSix with 30mm of spacers under the stem (which is not flipped btw) currently sports a 5cm drop between bar and saddle, hardly "pro race".
 
At 5'9", the 56 Domane is at the large end of your range. Unless you have unusual proportions or posture issues, I'd have almost certainly put you on a 54, or the 52 if you needed the shorter head tube and were open to the idea of swapping to a longer stem stem, say 12-14 cm. The guy who sold you the 56 Domane was probably looking at the reach, which might have been perfect with the Domane's short-ish top tube and the short stems Trek fits to their stock bikes.

The Cannondale Evo is longer in the top tube than the Domane, and I'm certain it's fitted with a longer stem right out of the carton. Knowing that, and hearing that it felt large to you, I advise you to look at the 54 in this model.
 
I've never felt comfortable on the Domane. Kinda why I'm looking to replace it. Also I can feel myself out performing it. I was looking at a Tarmac or venge as well. Guess I just need to do some test rides on different bikes and sizes. The guy that set me up on the Domane is highly recommended. So I'm not sure what I need to do on size. He sells trek and specialized so If I went the Tarmac or venge I would be going back to him. The cannondale would be with the other shop. How do the evo compare to the Tarmac or even the venge? I just want to buy the correct bike and not have to replace every year till I'm happy.
 
The bike model does not matter nearly as much as a size that fits you properly. just remember a slight adjustment in stem size (+/- 10mm) can accommodate most "off the rack" issues. If the Domane has a shorter top tube than the Evo, top tube length being the most critical element of bike fit imo, then it would not make sense to go with a bike that you a) feel is too big for you ("stood next to a cannondale evo size 56 and it did seem a bit big"), and b) has a top tube that is longer than your current frame.

The only opinion that matters is your own, no matter how highly recommended somebody came. And if he's recommending 56's to blokes 5'9", I'm not even sure why he is comes so highly recommended.
 
Originally Posted by Josh7171

I've never felt comfortable on the Domane. Kinda why I'm looking to replace it. Also I can feel myself out performing it.

I was looking at a Tarmac or venge as well. Guess I just need to do some test rides on different bikes and sizes.

The guy that set me up on the Domane is highly recommended. So I'm not sure what I need to do on size. He sells trek and specialized so If I went the Tarmac or venge I would be going back to him. The cannondale would be with the other shop.

How do the evo compare to the Tarmac or even the venge? I just want to buy the correct bike and not have to replace every year till I'm happy.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that at 5'9" you're pretty solidly in 54 cm territory, regardless of which bike you end up with. If you're racing, maybe a 52, but that would depend on the bike, too.

Of the three bikes you're looking at, the Domane is the shortest in reach (top tube) and tallest in stack (head tube). The Tarmac is the longest in reach and in the middle in stack, and the Evo is in the middle in reach and the lowest in stack. Venge cockpit geometry is identical to Tarmac's.

Because reach is the most important dimension for most of us, you could say the Tarmac fits the largest.

Regarding your opinion of the Domane, I'm not surprised, although I know a few strong riders who absolutely love theirs. I found it too tall to get a decent fit without a 73/17 degree stem, and the steering felt sluggish and vague. I'm sure Trek got it right with the "classics" version (the one Spartacus rides), but I haven't even seen one in person yet.

If you're really looking for something to curl your toes around, try to find a Scott Addict or Foil. Other worthwhile bikes I'm familiar with, that aren't too hard on the bank account, are Raleigh's Militis and Bianchi's Sempre Pro.
 
Never would have thought getting the right bike would be so complicated. Thanks for all the advise. I still have no clue what I'll do but this is helping point me in the right direction. I'm just not rushing it.
 
Any bike store worth its salt should give you a fit at no additional cost if you're buying a road bike. FWIW, I'm 5 11.5 and ride a 56.
 
Originally Posted by amazinmets73

Any bike store worth its salt should give you a fit at no additional cost if you're buying a road bike. FWIW, I'm 5 11.5 and ride a 56.
That's about right. Depends on the bike, too. I'm a centimeter taller, and I'd ride a 56 in just about any brand but Trek. Long legs and arms, and straight posture, put me on a 58 Madone, but I've got the low-angle stem slammed.

Compact geometry makes sizing (as opposed to fitting) a bike harder. especially with riders without long legs. With a horizontal top tube, if you couldn't straddle it comfortably, it was too large. Now, the salesman pulls a bike off the rack, adjusts the saddle height, and looks at the reach. If there's a 90-degree angle from the back to the humerus, the salesman says, that's your size, and the inexperienced customer rides it and says, it feels great, I'll take it. A couple hundred miles later the customer realizes he's reaching up for the lever hoods, and wants to get his center of gravity off his butt and over his feet (for more power and to stop catching wind like a kite), and he finds he can't get the bar low enough.

It takes an astute salesman or a perspicacious customer to say, after you learn how to ride this thing you don't want to be sitting up like a prairie dog watching for coyotes--let's try a smaller frame with a longer stem.
 
If me, I also suggest you choose size 54, but you ride comfortably is the most important, so if it is possible, you can try ride the different size, and then find which is fit you.
 
I did a 26 mile test ride on a 54 Tarmac ultegra comp. It felt so much better! I'm purchasing the bike with mavic carbone SL wheel set. Sad thing is it's almost the same color scheme I had on the Domane. Also tested a 56 venge with 105. Only did a few miles. I did like it but it wasn't an apples to apples comparison.
 


I want to show off a little. Its nothing special but its what I can afford and Im very happy with what I got!