did i buy the wrong size bike?....

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by newbiker2012, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. newbiker2012

    newbiker2012 New Member

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    long story short, bot a size small 52 specialized tarmac

    i am 5"5 and have a short legs and torso, 29.5 inseam

    thought i was getting decent advice from the LBS but..... i feel so stretched out on the bike and now that i am doing research on bike fitting (obviously i should have done it before i bot) i am seeing that my top tube (53ish cm's) is wayy to long for my reach.... when i grab the bars i feel all my weight go forward strech my torso and i really have to reach to get to the hoods, my arms arent locked out but are close to it... my hands naturally want to go to the curve on the tops of the bars, to get to the hoods (while sitting) i have to really stretch out and it feels awkward

    this is my first road bike and i am not sure how i am supposed to feel but it feels too streched out when i sit and when i get out of the saddle and peddle, i also get a feeling that i am too stretched

    any thoughts? i wish i had researched before i bot but now i as i seach some womens bike forums (i am a short man) and see people just a little smaller than me looking at bikes with 45cm top tubes, makes me wonder if i can ever get comfy on this bike?

    thanks
     
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  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Maybe, maybe not ...

    • it depends on the STEM's length 'I' reckon you probably want a stem which is 90mm-or-100mm long
    [*] it could also depend on the number-or-lack of spacers between the headset & the stem
    [*] and, it could simply depend on where the brake levers are mounted on the handlbars
    [*] and/or, the shape of the handlebars AND how they are oriented

    Your fitness & flexibility are ALSO factors ...

    • can you touch the floor without bending your knees?
    • can you touch the floor with the palms or your hands?
    • et cetera

    If you can, post a picture of your bike's actual setup.
     
  3. newbiker2012

    newbiker2012 New Member

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    my stem already is 90mm

    everything on the bike is stock.... lbs turned the stem around to point it upwards..... i turned it back to lower it to stock but i could always turn it up again

    can i touch the floor? when standing above the top tube, which is slanted down, i can touch the floor with around maybe an inch or two max b/t my groin and the tt

    while on the seat, i cannot touch the floor at all without tipping over

    any more advice would really be appreciated.... i am pretty bummed about the whole thing, thought my lbs would set me up with the right bike but this was a brand new leftover 2010 tarmac w/105 but clearly they just wanted to get rid of it

    i am flexible but not overly flexible

    thanks... not sure what my options are now probably have to sell the bike and move on... here is a pic of the bike setup the day it came home from the lbs
     

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  4. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Don't worry just yet. Things can be done to tweak fit, and yes centimeters and even millimeters can drastically change the way a bike feels.

    First off the Tarmac's come with top tubes on the slightly longer side, relatively speaking. I had an SL3 awhile back and it's 54.7 was longer than my two other bikes with 54.5 and 54. Those differences sound small on paper but on the road is not on paper.

    Not knowing more than you've posted the size roughly lines up against standard sizing charts based on your height. I'm 5'9 and ride a 54 which some would say is at the top of my range. But charts and others opinions have little bearing on us when we don't feel good on the bike. I rarely feel good on the OEM spec'd stem length on a bike and usually need to go a cm smaller.

    Did the bike shop fit you up? Regardless, what feels good on the trainer in the bike shop may not feel good an hour into a ride. If you got through a bike shop they should be amenable to swapping out for a shorter stem. Don't let your extreme feeling of being stretched out lead to extreme decision making, stem length for instance. Just go for 1cm at first. Sometimes feeling to stretched out may be attributed to being to low as well. The stem can be oriented horizontally and two directions, one lending a less aggressive position than the other (flipped, a stem will raise/lower the bars approx 2cm). Another thing to consider is the tilt of the bars and how they position the hoods in relation to your body. Even rotating the handlebar a few degrees in the stem can make a huge difference with our perception of how near/far the hoods feel. I could go to my bike right now and rotate the bars in either direction far enough to make the bike feel to big or too small for me. The same bike that fits me like a glove.

    It's remotely possible the realm of tweaking needed can only be managed with a frame size change. Something to think about with that however is the shorter head tube, which dictates the height of the handlebars. Sometimes the smaller frame size simply puts the bars too low for comfort.

    Make sure you don't shift the saddle forward to accommodate, that's a separate relationship between your body and the bike.
     
  5. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    There's always trying an 80mm stem. At 5'9" I use a 90mm. Anything longer for me on my current top tube length and my weight isn't distributed ideally over the steering axis and also feel too stretched out. As bikes get smaller, their stems get proportionately smaller. Entirely possible 90mm, with the Tarmac's slightly longer top tube, is not proportionately smaller enough for you.

    PS it is a lovely bike - I hope you can get something to work out.
     
  6. newbiker2012

    newbiker2012 New Member

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    thanks for the advice guys.... the lbs didnt really fit me, he took this bike out and sat me on it and sold it to me.... i assumed they would sell me a bike that fits not one that they just needed to sell... he should have known that tarmacs have a long top tube and that it wasent gonna work for me

    clearly for my frame, i should have bot an xs frame with a 50cm top tube and even that is probably too big

    when i put my heigth and torso and reach into the performance bike sizing calculator, i get top tube sizes of much less than 50cm so there is no amount of tweaking that will help.... also, the bike seat is not as hi as others that i have seen, that would indicate that the frame is too large for me

    i noticed the seat was basically almost all the way forward when i got the bike... i pushed it a little more fwd just to try but obviously this just messes up with the geometry

    i am really bummed.... spent all this money, its a beautiful riding bike but i just know it wont fit me... i thought by spending all this money i would get a properly fitted bike but instead i have a mess

    when i flipped the stem upwards to raise the bars, it did take some pressure off my hands but still i feel like i am putting all my weight on my hands because i have to strech to reach the bars.... the only position that even feels remotely good is on the tops.... when i ride i have to crane my neck upwards because i am too streched, looking ahead is difficult

    any more input would be great.... other short rider who are around 5"5 with 30" inseams and short torso..... what size bike do you ride?
     
  7. stoofa

    stoofa New Member

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    cant you take it back and explain your problem?
     
  8. newbiker2012

    newbiker2012 New Member

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    i guess i dont have much choice but i wonder what they will do for me cause its now used bike, they will try and tell me its gonna fit with a smaller stem.... i should not have been sold a small size frame when an xs would have been the correct fit, clearly he just wanted to sell this bike to me to get it off their floor

    the biggest thing that bothers me is when i get outta the saddle to really pump the pedals, like going uphill..... i dont know how to explain this, cause i am obviously a newbie, but i feel like my feet are falling away from me as i peddle and my angle that my body is not correct, like i should be more straight up and down and instead i am still all stretched out

    while on the saddle, i just fell like all my weight is forward and i really have to stretch my torso even to get on the tops of the bars.... how stretched should i feel on a correct fitted bike? also, when on the tops or drops, i fee like i have to crane my neck to look straight ahead, my head always wants to come down
     
  9. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    A picture says a thousand words... Take a picture of you on the bike. A shot from the side with you either resting your hands on the brake lever hoods or on the drops. Make sure that the pedal on the side facing the camera is down at the bottom. You can be riding or propped up against a wall. At this stage of the game it really doesn't matter. Take the pic and save it on your computer and use the "picture icon" (the little house in the square) on the forum toolbar to upload.
     
  10. newbiker2012

    newbiker2012 New Member

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    here is a pic of me on the bike..... another coming asap
     

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  11. newbiker2012

    newbiker2012 New Member

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    one more
     

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  12. newbiker2012

    newbiker2012 New Member

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    here are pics of me on the hoods with my pedal at the bottom of the stroke

    let me know your thoughts.... thanks
     

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  13. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    In the world of road bikes you are pretty upright. The pics have you in relatively neutral position.

    Old park bench advice had a baseline start point for stem length being: when in the drops and looking down at the front hub, it should be obscured by the handlebar. If the hub was in front when viewed while in the saddle, the stem was too short, etc. Some reputable coaches also use this as a baseline to work from. But a baseline is just that, not a hard rule.

    You mention that this is your first road bike - it may just take some new muscles some time getting used to. Try rotating your handlebars ever so slightly up a little bit so the hoods are a little closer. Maybe the shorter stem if that doesn't help. You might be under estimating how much a 1cm reduction (going from 90 to an 80) will have. I'd actually be surprised if someone here doesn't say you need a longer stem. IMO a smaller frame will be too small.

    Edit: I noticed in the pics the stem is positioned at the lower orientation, flipping this didn't help any? When flipping the stem, a small change in the handlebar position in the stem, i.e. raising or lowering the hoods, could negate the intended goal. The smaller size Tarmac would put the handlebars 2cm lower (which may be a problem for some riders when selecting between two sizes), another fitting issue that can sometimes have riders feeling like they are "craning" their necks.

    Here's what a flipped 80mm stem would look like (blue) in comparison to your current setup (red), just 2mm shy of the smaller Tarmac's reach (49cm):
    [​IMG]
     
  14. newbiker2012

    newbiker2012 New Member

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    great post danfoz..... thanks so much for your help

    yes i will try putting the stem to the upward position and take a ride

    how did my leg extension look on the pics above? is my seat heigth ok?

    what about my seating position? you can see a bit of seat coming out of my butt, should i be further back on the seat or more forard or is that an ok sitting postion?

    thanks for all your help
     
  15. cycling 55

    cycling 55 New Member

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    Hi
    I am an ex team mate of some well known cyclists and it is always recommended to seek proper advice from someone who can set your position properly and advise the correct frame size. Yes things can be tweaked if you know what you are doing as a poor setup will not only effect your performance and comfort but long term can cause problems in your neck, back and legs. We always rode with the smallest frame possible after being measured then you can tweak to make you comfortable. I often see too many riders with wrong leg length ie. over streched or too much bend in the legs which has a massive impact on correct pedalling technique. If you are to spend many hours in the saddle then comfort is paramount. Many REAL bike shops are owned by ex top bikers who will only be too pleased to pass experience on to new riders or riders not sure of what they should be buying. Never be afraid to ask as things are very expensive if you dont ge it right firs time. It really is worth getting measured correctly even at a price and there are plenty who offer this service on the internet. Good luck n happy cycling
     
  16. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Thanks - no prob. At a glance the other stuff looks alright but what's more important is how it feels, and if feels alright, it's probably not too far off. One of the bigger obstacles to big miles on the bike is of course discomfort. There are a few good fitting vids on youtube. They all stumble on common ground, or at least should. The decent bike shop should also be able to provide a fitting, or at least a referral to one.

    A final thought, and I just noticed this because I've been shopping around for bars, is that the bend on your particular bar shape puts the hoods at the outermost part of the bar, something like 85mm in your bars case I bet. I'm running "traditional" bend Deda Newton shallows with a reach of 80mm and the hoods are not at the end of that range, probably at the 70-75mm mark, that's another cm or so of reach right there.That's just eyeballing and should be taken with a grain of salt. Edit: A lot of little things can go into getting just the right setup, or at least should be taken into consideration. Edited some other stuff too.
     
  17. newbiker2012

    newbiker2012 New Member

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    very good post... i made all these mistakes, didnt ask enough question, didnt do any research, i thought the lbs would have my interests in mind, clearly they did not

    based on my pics and my posts, what are your thoughts on my bike size choice?
     
  18. newbiker2012

    newbiker2012 New Member

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    thanks again.... thats just the thing, it all feels good but i dont know what i am looking for

    i adjusted the stem upwards am am going to take it for a rip now.... ill advise
     
  19. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Actually, you don't look too bad on it. You're back isn't really all that horizontal, so the sense of straining to look ahead is probably more about your lack of conditioning and getting accustomed to the position.

    If I can make one niggle, it's that your center of gravity loos a bit forward. As you get used to stretching out the hamstrings, slide the saddle back a bit. It looks as though your arms could stretch forward a bit more, as long as they aren't supporting your upper body.

    For a shorter reach handlebar, check out the Ritchey WCS Curve--73mm reach with a square, flat top, and something like a 128 mm drop. It's a sweet bend.
     
  20. schristie11

    schristie11 New Member

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    [SIZE= 10pt]After studying the photos I agree with you that it's not the right size for you.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]I can see your posture suffering from the angle.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]Also, when I vision you leaving forward on the bar I imagine you would not be able to stay on the seat comfortably.[/SIZE]
     
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