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

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

  1. nycbikerental

    nycbikerental New Member

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    I read all the reviews. All these are useful.

    Thanks guys for sharing these advice.
     


  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW. Based on the pictures, I fall into the camp which feels that the frame is not too large ...
    BUT, until you (newbiker2012) feel acclimated to using DROP handlebars, a shorter stem may be beneficial ...
    DH (Downhill) stems start at 50mm (basically, putting the handlebar against the stem) & I think they go up to 70mm in 5mm (?) increments.

     
  3. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Alf on this one with regards to the frame size. You should be able to get a good position on that frame but you've got a lot of work to do to get there. You are sat very high up and look scrunched.

    As oldbobcat already pointed out you look very forward on the frame. I'd reckon that, over time, you'd be well served by moving the saddle back a little (and lowering the saddle a fraction when you do) but leaving the stem where it is.

    I took a quick read of a book called Cycling Anatomy at my physio's place and it has a lot useful stretches with an explination of how to do them properly, what's being stretched when you do them and the important thing - why you're doing them.

    http://www.amazon.com/Cycling-Anatomy-Sports-Shannon-Sovndal/dp/0736075879

    I have another book in that series and it's been very helpful. (Stretching Anatomy)

    I would hope there was a method to your bike fitters madness when he did your position. Unless there's a real reason to change your position I would leave it where it is for now and just go out and ride. In a couple of weeks review how things feel. Don't keep changing things willy-nilly because you'll likely end up with the bike collecting dust or up for sale on eBay/Craigslist.

    If you're really new to the sport you're going to go through the "usual" break-in period where your backside hurts. Even for experienced cyclists, after a long break off the bike, this is normal. Don't confuse this with a real need to adjust the saddle because your position is wrong to the extent that it's causing problems. Your bike fitter got to see you ride - we can't. As you get used to riding more and become more comfortable then you'll be in a better position to figure out what needs to be done.
     
  4. newbiker2012

    newbiker2012 New Member

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    thanks so much for the replies guys.... keep em coming!!!

    as for the lbs, this bike was not fitted yet.... basically, they put me on the bike, claimed it would work for me.... however, at that point, i had to order some shoes and pedals and stuff and so i took the bike (with just regular peddles so i could ride it) and was told to bring it back when i got all my gear so they would fit the bike for me

    so, it has not been fitted yet and just had my first weekend on the bike and was trying to figure i few things out before i went in for my fitting... as i am a newbie cyclist, didnt see mych point in getting fitted for a road bike when i have never ridden one, wanted to get a little experience under my belt so i could know what it was i was looking for when i was fitted

    as for the scrunched body position, i agree it looks scrunched, i had move the seat forward thinking the top tube was too long for me, maybe i am wrong? so i have moved it back now to about the middle of the rail adjustment, will try that and see how it feels

    as for looking 'sat up high' what do you mean? in regards to the seat position or the fact that i have raised the stem to the upwards position?

    i will take a pic of my new positon and take a riding video for you all to take a look.... looking forward to getting some good feeedback from you all so i can have some things to discuss with my bike fitter

    thanks
     
  5. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    I would add to what Swampy and Oldbobcat mentioned with the saddle position over the pedals. Too far forward and the arms end up supporting a lot of the weight. This can actually translate into a feeling of being pitched too far forward.

    A saddle fore/aft baseline that works for some is to drop a plumbob from underneath the patella(kneecap) and have it run through the pedal spindle while the crankarm is in the 3 o'clock position:
    [​IMG]
     
  6. newbiker2012

    newbiker2012 New Member

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    when i got the bike, the saddle was more than 3/4 of its adjustment range forward, not adjusted like that by the shop was just already there.... i rode it for a few 15km rides like this.... it didnt feel bad but i always wanted to strech out and move my ass back when pedalling strong from the saddle yet my body seemed to want to move forward otherwise so i had to keep adjusting my butt and i think this is what made me feel like my weight was not distributed properly

    my cadence seemed overly fast at all times as well which maybe had something to do with my seat too far forward?

    i pushed the seat back and am going to take a rip and tape it and see how it feels

    thanks for all the advice
     
  7. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    For some of us that's too far forward, but for a higher torso angle it's a pretty good baseline.

    The lower the torso, the farther back the hips need to go.
     
  8. newbiker2012

    newbiker2012 New Member

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    ok so i have been going back on forth on this issue for the last few days..... thanks again for all the valuable opinions, i have a few more questions and i will post a video of me riding

    how, let me first say i have ridden the bike several times, including a 20mi ride yesterday and a 10mi ride today (avg speed around 15mph)... all in all it feels good but i dont really know what i am looking for and want to try and get a better idea of what i should be expecting before i make any changes

    as for my heigth and inseam, i have measured them again properly and have a cycling inseam of 30.7 inches, 64.6 heigth (5 '5") and 51.6 sternal notch..... i have short femurs and a proportionally longer upper body by a little bit.... i have about maybe 2cm of clearance over the top tube with cycling shoes on

    every program or fitting calculator i use, tells me i am a size 50-51cm frame.... my frame is a 52 cm

    what are the advantages, if any, to a larger frame? disadvantages?

    i have flipped the stem and move my saddle forward... based on that, how easily should i be able to reach the hoods? when i put my arms out, i have to grab to get to the hoods, naturally my hands want to go to the tops of the bars or to the curved are before the hoods.... is that normal? i feel like i have to reach a tad to get to the hoods and feel i mite be gripping to hard with my hands while in the hoods as my hands are numbing a little (they feel fine on the tops or in the drops)... i guess my question is, when i am on the hoods, should my hands and arms be resting there or should i be using them and the leverage they allow to move faster (when i am in the saddle of course)? do i lose any power if i have to reach to get to the hoods?

    take a look at the attached video, skip to 1 minute and 20 seconds for the riding and pls ignore the chatter b/t me and my cameraman.... i ride a few passes on the hoods and then stand up and ride outta the saddle

    thanks again
     
  9. newbiker2012

    newbiker2012 New Member

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    also, is there any way i can tell if my bars are too far away from me while peddling out of the saddle? the bike feels comfy out of the saddle but dont know how to judge if i am too far away from the bars

    again, sorry for the poor video, here is a new pic of my riding position on the bike

    thanks

    [​IMG]
     
  10. supersix 105

    supersix 105 New Member

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    i'm 5'6" and 30 inseam i started on a 52cm specialized allez too big went to a 48cm cannondale 90mm stem perfect.
     
  11. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    The rule of thumb I go by is a 90-degree angle, give or take a few degrees, between the spine and humerus when the hands are over the brake hoods. It's not scientific but it gets most people close enough to start fine-tuning. The objectives are comfortable steering control of the bike, as little weight on the hands as possible, enough stretch to pull up on the bars for power, but close enough so you don't feel like you're climbing out of the back seat when you stand up to climb or sprint.

    The old rule of "is the hub hidden by the handlebar?" only works for a narrow range of riders and is too dependent on the size and geometry of the frame. If fails to account for outlier arm and torso length and stem heights, as well a riders who are just near the upper or lower bounds for a given frame size.

    The even older "cubit rule"--measuring the distance between the nose off the saddle to the handlebar using the forearm (elbow to fingertips) only works if you have very long fingertips or you like sitting up close.

    By the way, you've got good posture on the bike, a nice straight back. The bar looks a little close in and your center of gravity looks a little forward. I'd recommend trying the saddle back about a centimeter for a little weight off the hands, that will also give you a bit more reach.
     
  12. Dave Cutter

    Dave Cutter Active Member

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    I am no expert.... but the bike looks like a good size [for you]... to me.

    I myself... have arthritis. In the colder months or even some summer mornings.... stretching out on the bicycle... doesn't feel natural. The bike can actually feel too long. It took me a bit of readjusting and wondering if my my bike was too big (it isn't) to catch on to what was happening. It's important that we stretch-out on the bikes to extend our core and allow our lungs to work. But it may take some time to get used to the way that feels. And not being a kid (nothing wrong with being an adult) you might need to get used to a warm-up period when you ride. It takes me a few minutes to warm up and feel natural on the bike... I've learned to live with that.

    You have a great bicycle there. I am sure the LBS will help you make some fit adjustments. Then... just let you body get used to bicycling.
     
  13. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    I should have mentioned a little behind can be better for some, a little futher back can certainly alleviate some of the pressure on the arms/hands. For my own part too far back and the glutes end up doing to much work (as the torso hip angle decreases) to far forward and I get more sore in the quads, especially lower quads around the medialis. A good position shoukld utilize all the lower body muscles with as much harmony as possible.

    All these are just baselines and can be helpful for folks with little or no experience. They can also be less than helpful for folks falling outside of the "average" zone.
     
  14. Dr Lodge

    Dr Lodge New Member

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    Interesting reading, I am looking at a frame size myself and wonder if I am 55cm or 52cm frame size (I'm 5' 8.5" and 31" inseam roughly).

    Your posture looks fairly good, certainly the frame doesn't look too big to me. Your angle between torso and humerous is less than 90 degrees which means the handle bars aren't obvisoouly too far in front.

    You mentioned you havent yet had the bike fitted. I would setup that fitting appointment as soon as possible, explain to the shop how you feel so far and get them to properly fit the bike to you. I would first make sure the saddle is in the right place, then start playing with the handle bar adjustment.

    One thing that looks a little odd, a bit like my bike is that there isn't a massive amount of seat stem sticking out - there is a length but its not overly long that see on some bikes where the rider has clearly gone for a smaller frame. Therefore you might be better with a smaller frame, but I dont think the one you have is too large (if that makes sense). I would hope (and expect) your lbs can sort you out.
     
  15. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Like the good Dr above said - get the saddle position correct and then base the other stuff off that. Go for the fitting, now is actually a pretty good time as you've had a chance to try some different stuff and pedal around a bit. Old bobcat may have something about moving the saddle back a bit. Without actually being there (the videos are helpful) it's difficult to give more than just a suggestion.

    IMO you are actually a little upright when out of the saddle and not far forward enough. I would find it hard to get a good sprint going in that position. But that's just me. Seated you look pretty good, but that's over the internet. Interestingly that very same position if just shifted rearward, all things remaining equal, would actually feel different as you would now be further behind the bottom bracket.

    As far as ad/disadv of smaller/bigger frames. In the old days of steel bikes smaller usually meant stiffer and lighter, in the era of CF that's all moot. A larger frame may have you stretched out to far, a smaller frame could have you too low. Both can create physical discomfort on the bike. However with the various head/top tube lengths now available these are just generalizations.

    "all in all it feels good but i dont really know what i am looking for and want to try and get a better idea of what i should be expecting before i make any changes" Maybe you've answered your own question, maybe just ride the bike for a bit and see how things go. Things (problems) that are there are easy to find. There will come a point where after all the suggestions only you know what feels good. After awhile it'll be like friends choosing your dates - there will be lot's of good intention, lot's of experience, lot's of opinion, but only you will know who you would be happy being trapped on that desert island with.

    Another way to think about the smaller frame issue, is did these bike companies decide that folks under 5'3"-5'4" just weren't worth the effort for making another frame size. Maybe you are not tall, but you are certainly not the shortest. I find it hard to believe that at 5'5 you would be riding one of the planets largest manufactures smallest offering. People do devaite from "average" proportion, but you don't look excessively outside that range from the pics/vid. We do need to get something that fits right but from what you have told us (there maybe more), you may have the same issues getting comfortable on the smaller size. Case in point - I am 5'9", average build. I have succesfully ridden sizes 52-56cm. The 56cm was waay to big (it was my first bike as a teenager) but with a short stem it worked out ok and I took second place at Bear Mountain on it. The 52 had a long stem and had me low, a little too low but I was a young flexible guy and dealt with it. It turns out mama bear at 54 is just right although I was able to get a "similar" position on all the other frame sizes. IMO you are in the realm where minor tweaks or component changes will save the day. Not the smaller frame. I'm just some loon on the intinet viewing through the lens of my low-res monitor.

    A lot of this stuff is trial and error. Most giving advice here have run through a few different bikes and a different position evolutions. Getting this perfect out the gate, although possible, is unlikely. Sometimes our positions are such because we've ridden ourselves into them. In my case starting on larger frame sizes, despite being pretty flexible, am not a huge fan of short head tubes. One day down the road you may be giving us advice on how to setup.
     
  16. newbiker2012

    newbiker2012 New Member

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    thanks for all the great advice... i have read more articles on frame fitting in the last week... i feel like i could build bikes now!!!! i have alot of feedback to give you guys on the ride but before i do i want to touch on stem heigth for a second

    for shites and gigs i went to a rival bike shop, they sat me on some 52 and 54 cm trek bikes..... reagrdless of the frame size, both bikes felt better than my tarmac! the salesman at the store felt i was a size 54 in a trek fwiw

    i also noticed that both bikes had much much taller stems than mine and that the stem heigth was close to the seat heigth, maybe higher!.... while i know that doesnt create a good aero position, just to start, its probably better to have a higher stem and then taylor to my liking as i get fitter

    take a look at the pics i have posted below.... can i put more spacers to raise my stem or has it already been cut? there is one big spacer and two small ones on my tarmac..... when i take the stem off, there is a bout 4-5cm of exposed metal.... can i put more spacers to move it higher?[​IMG][​IMG]

    i am going out for a ride tonite... i have pushed the seat back a little and higher... i will update my progress
     
  17. schristie11

    schristie11 New Member

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    [SIZE= 10pt]I still think the frame is too long for you.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]In the video it looks to me like you are not sitting upright enough.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]This will suck on long rides, making your tired and uncomfortable and also will reduce your ability to ride with power and good balance.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE= 10pt]I had a bike like that once, it never stopped me from riding 30 miles in a day, but it did make it painful to my lower back and my Lats would start to cramp if I rode further. I would have to take stretching brakes to prevent the Lat muscle cramps on long rides 30-100 miles.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE= 10pt]Here is an idea that would show a problem more than cruising on a level surface.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]Grab the lower bars in a crouching position and pedal very hard while going uphill.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]Do this on a medium sized hill not a massive hill that slows you way down to the point of needing to stand and pedal. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE= 10pt]Look for these things:[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]Do you sway the bike frame side to side to make room for your knees?[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]Can your legs deliver the power necessary to climb and do you feel a lot of stress on just one part of your leg? [/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]While in the crouched position also notice how much strain you feel on your lower torso to stay in this position while working hard to pedal.[/SIZE]

    [SIZE= 10pt]Adjusting the seat location and handle bar locations can definitely improve things but if the frame is simply too long then you will always feel uncomfortable.[/SIZE]
     
  18. newbiker2012

    newbiker2012 New Member

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    thanks

    do you think i can adjust the bars a little higher and forward (with a new stem) and accomplish a similar effect? maybe bringing the stem 1cm closer?
     
  19. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    From what I'm seeing I don't think you could sit the stem much higher. That bit of metal inside the steerer is the star nut if I'm not mistaken, but since there are no spacers ontop of the stem there's not really any place to go. With an alloy steerer tubes there's a little more leway with riding the stem beyond accepted parameters (being 3-4mm between top of stem and top of steerer), and I mean just a little, maybe as much as 5 or 6mm. Some manufactures actually recommend a spacer ontop of the stem. I really depends on rider strength and how much wrenching on the handlebars is likely to occur but is not ideal in most circumstances and can compromise the front end's integrity. I've run one of the new Ritchey 260 stems a little higher but thats because it's got three bolts connecting the stem (instead of the usual 2) to the steerer tube and so even though a little higher than recommended, there are still 2 bolts firmly grasping the steerer, and an alloy steerer at that. This solution is only viable for adding another 2-4mm at most and not really recommended.

    One option is another stem with a more severe +/- angle which when flipped will get you more upright. Your's is probably a +/-6 so anything beyond i.e -8,-10, etc. will get you higher. There are also MTB stems which may work. Would another week or two of riding be possible and then decide? It sounds like with each ride the bike is starting to feel more like home. Btw Thomson has -10. There are others too, and of course the whole world of MTB stems as long as they are compatible w/your handlebars.

    PS make sure the saddle doesn't get too much higher (unless of course that's your correct height). Usually when moving the seat back we drop it a mm or two, when moving forward we raise a mm or two.
     
  20. schristie11

    schristie11 New Member

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    I tried all the same things with the frame I had that was too long and nothing every made the problems go away.
    Adjusting and swapping stems and seats and seat posts I was able to improve the ride but it was still disapointing in the end.
    If your stuck with the frame, you should keep experimenting until you find what feels right, it will be impossible to predict which combination will make you happy.
    However, if you can return the bike I would do it imediately and start fresh.
     
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