Really need your input!!! Thanks guys :)



NYChaos

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Jun 17, 2013
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First of all, thank you in advance for any input regarding this subject. Now the story: I am buying 2 bikes for myself and my girlfriend. It is her first "real" bicycle. I decided to get her Bianchi Camaleonte Due, but local Bianchi dealer suggested to adjust Fore-aft position to compensate for the reach, and that's when I knew that I need to look for another place :) Dealer next to my house carries Cannondale, and i really liked Quick 4 (seems like a good choice for a beginner, and a frame nice enough to upgrade components later if she gets into biking) Bought the bike 2 days ago, and decided to really dial it in for her (fore-aft, perfect seat height, etc. ). She is 5'3.5, and local shop recommended men's Quck 4 in medium (according to him Cannondale sizes run a bit small). After adjusting seat height at home , I tried adjusting fore-aft position, but even after moving he seat all the way back, she still needed to move an inch back to achieve proper Knee over pedal position. This seems like a typical problem with female buying a male bike. Reach is long enough, seat position is off or seat position is good, and reach is too long. I went back to the store next day asking the owner to install seat post with a little offset, to achieve proper knee over pedal position. The guy (who actually seemed pretty nice and knowledgeable) told me that I am trying to be a perfectionist, and I need to let her enjoy the bike the way it is now. According to him proper knee position only matters that much in road biking world. I think he is full of ****, because if she decides to get clipless shoes later, she will be screwed. I know a theory of proper bike fitting, but do not posses a lot of experience, so I do not know for sure if I am right or not. Please let me know if I am being too picky, or my girlfriend deserves a ride that fits her. The owner asked her to ride a bike few times around the parking lot, and said it looked like a right fit. Thank you for any input you could provide. Tim
 

alfeng

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Jul 23, 2005
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Ignoring the fact that the "myth" of KOPS has been dispelled ...

The fit does matter ...

  • BUT, it would have been 'nice' (as in, better ... much better) if your girlfriend had been with you at the shop when you bought the bike (which does not seem to be the case based on what you have written)
  • in other words, BOTH shops should probably have made THAT suggestion to you

A couple of things come to mind ...

FIRST. What was the frame size of the Bianchi which you walked away from?

  • and, WHAT are the comparative geometries of the two frames?

SECOND. In the worst case scenario (which is where you now seem to be!), presuming that the Cannondale currently has a zero setback seatpost, YOU may have to pony up for a new seatpost rather than continue to hope for a different seatpost from the bike shop ...

  • if the current seatpost has some setback, then the most readily available option is an Easton seatpost (EA30, the aluminum version of an EC seatpost ... NOT to be confused with Easton's zero setback seatposts) which will have slightly more setback than others

AND, realize that you may have misjudged the first shop.

BTW. A different (as in, longer) length crank may be a viable consideration in the future ...

FYI. I do NOT endorse it, but several years ago placing the cleat closer to the arch has been espoused as an alternative & successfully used by several/many riders.

BTW2. Are you sure the saddle height isn't too low? OR, too high?

  • despite your belief that you have established the "perfect seat height, etc" + the one shop suggesting that the "it looked like a right fit" it sounds as if the seat could eventually be higher if-and-when she goes clipless ...

Sight unseen, I guess that THE BOTTOM LINE (and, others can certainly disagree as to the level of importance, or not) is whether your girlfriend is actually UNcomfortable, or not, because YOU obviously are not comfortable with the fit of HER bike ...

So, as I already suggested, YOU may have to bite-the-bullet & pony up for a new seatpost.
 

NYChaos

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Jun 17, 2013
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Thank you so much for such detailed input. She was at the shop with me, but since we are both new to this I trusted the shop owner to give her the right size. :(
 

danfoz

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Apr 12, 2011
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How's her reach to the bars? Saddle fore/aft is definitely not the way to compensate.

A men's size M for someone 5'3" doesn't even sound like the ballpark. Better starting point for someone 5'6"+ (5'7"+). I'm 5'9" and typically run a men's M if a general statement can be made. Ranges can easily be worked with but this sounds on the edge at best. Too boot the women's specific model sports even smaller geometries. My 5'3" girlfriend worked out better on the equivalent of a 'Small' by a different manufacturer but with very similar geometry on a very similar model. To be honest this sounds like poor advice from the shop on sizing imo. Will they consider letting her take another size in exchange if that's what is really the malady?

I'm not sure longer crank arms on a bike that's already potentially too big from a baseline position is the answer, as in many cases crankarms get longer as the sizes increase.

KOPS, or slightly behind in my opinion, while not the end all and be all is as good a place as any to "start out" when doing an out of the box fit.
 
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alfeng

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Jul 23, 2005
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Originally Posted by danfoz .

How's her reach to the bars? Saddle fore/aft is definitely not the way to compensate.

A men's size M for someone 5'3" doesn't even sound like the ballpark. Better starting point for someone 5'6"+ (5'7"+). I'm 5'9" and typically run a men's M if a general statement can be made. Ranges can easily be worked with but this sounds on the edge at best. Too boot the women's specific model sports even smaller geometries. My 5'3" girlfriend worked out better on the equivalent of a 'Small' by a different manufacturer but with very similar geometry on a very similar model. To be honest this sounds like poor advice from the shop on sizing imo. Will they consider letting her take another size in exchange if that's what is really the malady?

I'm not sure longer crank arms on a bike that's already potentially too big from a baseline position is the answer, as in many cases crankarms get longer as the sizes increase.

KOPS, or slightly behind in my opinion, while not the end all and be all is as good a place as any to "start out" when doing an out of the box fit.
YOUR observation is (very) interesting ...

  • the way I read the OP's description, I thought the frame was still somehow too small despite being a "Medium" sized frame!?! which is one reason why I thought a longer crank may be beneficial since it seems that smaller (though Medium certainly isn't Small) frames often have shorter crank arms

Regardless, I guess that MORE INFORMATION (inseam length, torso length, arm length from shoulder bone to crook of the thumb) + a picture of the bike (taken perpendicular to the bike's central plane) as it is set up would possibly-or-probably be beneficial.
 

danfoz

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Apr 12, 2011
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I'm inserting a second opinion. It's not to suggest the first one is right or wrong. A size M seems off as a starting point for someone 5'3". More information would help.
 

deerfly

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May 21, 2013
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Just to throw in a bit of info, a size M for the Cannondale Quick series is a 16.5" frame, which really isn't that far off for someone who is 5'3". I am 5'9" and had to get a Large on my SL2, which is only an 18" frame. Cannondale's run small.
 
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danfoz

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Apr 12, 2011
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Originally Posted by deerfly .

Just to throw in a bit of info, a size M for the Cannondale Quick series is a 16.5" frame, which really isn't that far off for someone who is 5'3". I am 5'9" and had to get a Large on my SL2, which is only an 18" frame. Cannondale's run small.
The Cannondale's may indeed run small but an effective top tube length of 54.5cm seems consistent with the labeled sizing. With sloping top tubes, usually the biggest problem with a bike that's to big is being unable to find a stem short enough to accommodate for a feeling of being too stretched out. If that's a not a problem it's usually a non-issue.

But looking at this thread again, the only opinion missing regarding the fit of the bike seems to be from the rider in question - if it works for her the problem has been solved. Btw the seat tube angles on these bikes seem to run on the steep side (at 75 degrees) so you may be SOL for KOPS if that is what you are after.
 

NYChaos

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Jun 17, 2013
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danfoz said:
How's her reach to the bars? Saddle fore/aft is definitely not the way to compensate. A men's size M for someone 5'3" doesn't even sound like the ballpark. Better starting point for someone  5'6"+ (5'7"+). I'm 5'9" and typically run a men's M if a general statement can be made. Ranges can easily be worked with but this sounds on the edge at best. Too boot the women's specific model sports even smaller geometries. My 5'3" girlfriend worked out better on the equivalent of a 'Small' by a different manufacturer but with very similar geometry on a very similar model. To be honest this sounds like poor advice from the shop on sizing imo. Will they consider letting her take another size in exchange if that's what is really the malady? I'm not sure longer crank arms on a bike that's already potentially too big from a baseline position is the answer, as in many cases crankarms get longer as the sizes increase. KOPS, or slightly behind in my opinion, while not the end all and be all is as good a place as any to "start out" when doing an out of the box fit.
Well Cannondale quick series have identical geometry for men and women. Men's small is identical to women's small. Women sizes run xsmall, petite, small and tall. Men's medium is 16'1" which falls right between womens small and tall. She does seem a bit stretched out on the bike, but on small her knees were really close to handle bars when she was peddling. Cannondales usually run almost a size too small from what I hear. Their quick frames are pretty compact. May be I need to go back and let her try small again :(
 

NYChaos

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Jun 17, 2013
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Guys. Think you very much for all your input. I am learning that KOPS is not that important, but a lot of people so seem to tell me that medium sounds a bit large for someone whom is 5'3.5. She has about an inch of standover space. And since cannondales do run small it may be just her size. Bike info Men's medium: 16'1" frame Actual top tube 51.4cm Standover 75.9 Her stats (more or less) Height (I measured) 163.6 Inseam 77.5 cm In sneakers she has just over an inch standover height. Please let me know if the frame seems like the right size. She did try small at the store and told me that even though the reach seemed good her knees were way too close to handlebars while peddling. The owner who looked at her riding small and medium told us that he thinks medium will be a bit better since cannondales run small. He does seem like a nice guy who knows what he is talking about (but what do I know) ;)
 

cyclintom

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Jan 15, 2011
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Your sizing sounds about correct to me. Be sure and remember that a starting rider will NOT be able to stretch out properly for quite some time and if you try to force the issue she will be so sore that she won't like to ride that often. New riders tend to want a more upright position with a more forward seating, higher bars and SOFTER saddles.

Setting a bike up as you would for a serious road rider is simply asking for trouble. Just adjust the bike as she gains more experience and complains about pains here and there.