Results 1 to 22 of 22
  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    29

    Why a bigger rather than smaller bike?

    In one of the sticky threads (not sure which one) - someone said that for road bikes it's better to buy bigger than smaller.

    This was not accompanied by an explanation, although someone else agreed.

    Why?

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    2,746
    got me.
    that's like saying it's better to get shot with a pistol than a rifle.

    Bigger or smaller than what? I took you post to mean they meant bigger or smaller than ideal. If not, please put the comment into context.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    29
    Good question.

    The context was that while mountain bikes should be small, road bikes should be as large as would be ideal.

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    1,253
    There's a lot of "what ifs" present in that question. However, speaking purely from my own experience when choosing between 2 sizes, the larger frame will generally have a taller head tube. For long legged me, a taller head tube is a good thing- less saddle to bar drop and fewer spacers required.

    This assumes, of course, that either size will allow proper standover, and the reach is comfortable with basic adjustments and common stem lengths.

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    3,252
    dont go with that generic advice, you place yourself, and possibly your health at risk when you ride a bike that is too big.

    given the technology and materials associated with the typical modern road bike, several requisites are kinda required to optimize your personal experience and performance as a cyclist. then there are several other things you can do to secure your common sense safety and security over the long term. primary among the former is to make sure you get a good fit, by a professional, in a shop, before you commit to a size and frame. anything else and not only cant you use the bike for the purpose it was designed, but you may place yourself at risk for injury, not to mention others at risk because of your inability to control the bike the way it was designed.

    bigger just for the sake of bigger in itself? very bad idea.

  6. #6
    Fecal indicator
    Reputation: Oxtox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    6,180
    here's a guess as to what was meant:

    If the 'perfect' frame size for someone is 56.5 cm, then they should opt for a 57 over a 56.

    larger may be more comfortable than smaller if neither is the correct size.

    if that's not it, I got nuttin'...
    eff all y'all...

  7. #7
    Cycling induced anoesis
    Reputation: PJ352's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    12,415
    Quote Originally Posted by xand
    In one of the sticky threads (not sure which one) - someone said that for road bikes it's better to buy bigger than smaller.

    This was not accompanied by an explanation, although someone else agreed.

    Why?
    This, IMO is taking the cart before the horse. In effect, someone has suggested going with a larger frame in a given brand/ model when the ideal size isn't available. While that might work OK, it's likely that it's not going to result in optimal sizing/ fitting.

    I would think it would make more sense to work with a fitter to hone in on your sizing requirements, then decide what brands/ models suite you best. Many do this with 'in stock' bikes, while others use size cycles, or similar.

    The key to correct sizing is that when you get to the fitting phase, you're tweaking, rather than making the bike fit.

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    29
    Thanks for the responses.

    Looking for my first bike - the wrench science suggestion is 47 c-t-c, 49 c-t-p with a 64cm reach.

    I probably need to go look at more bikes in stores. Have only really been to one, the guy did the first guesstimate by checking clearance while standing - and the suggestion was a size 47 Felt (tried a F85). A Scott Speedster s60 size 49 had insufficient clearance (maybe an inch).

    So, I was reading that, and wondering whether to second guess the LBS ;)

    Reading about how to choose a bike is addictive >.<

    To be fair, the LBS said that they would adjust spacers/stem length etc. although I suspect that no other size would have been suggested anyhow.

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    3,252
    if u r a woman u are entering a world of pain, choosing between wsd and small men's sizes that might not "fit." for whatever reason, i have not found many female recreational riders who are happy with size and fit. maybe they just dont like to ride at all.

    if you are m, however, sounds like you are on the right track. a 47? damn, what are you, like 5' 4"? anyway, go on and get the second opinion, although, felt makes pretty awesome bikes. that 85 trumps the speedster imo. also look to specialized, my guess is allez in your range, lot of choices entry level good luck

  10. #10
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    29
    I'm m, 5' 5 ...

    The F85 was twice the price of the speedster so i'm sure it's almost a given that it trumps it

    Thanks!

  11. #11
    Cycling induced anoesis
    Reputation: PJ352's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    12,415
    Quote Originally Posted by xand
    Thanks for the responses.

    Looking for my first bike - the wrench science suggestion is 47 c-t-c, 49 c-t-p with a 64cm reach.

    I probably need to go look at more bikes in stores. Have only really been to one, the guy did the first guesstimate by checking clearance while standing - and the suggestion was a size 47 Felt (tried a F85). A Scott Speedster s60 size 49 had insufficient clearance (maybe an inch).

    So, I was reading that, and wondering whether to second guess the LBS ;)

    Reading about how to choose a bike is addictive >.<

    To be fair, the LBS said that they would adjust spacers/stem length etc. although I suspect that no other size would have been suggested anyhow.
    IMO you'll better your odds of getting sizing right by visiting more shops and riding more bikes - after they're sized/ fitted to you, of course.

    Don't put too much stock in those online fit calculators. IME at best, they'll get you close in sizing, but an experienced fitter at your LBS could do better because s/he's observing you.

  12. #12
    Resident Curmudgeon
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    14,102
    When you buy a bike think about Goldilocks. Not too small, not too big, but just right.
    Before you criticize someone walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them you'll be a mile away & you'll have their shoes.

  13. #13
    ( ͡ ͜ʖ ͡)
    Reputation: old_fuji's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    5,542
    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352
    IMO you'll better your odds of getting sizing right by visiting more shops and riding more bikes - after they're sized/ fitted to you, of course.

    Don't put too much stock in those online fit calculators. IME at best, they'll get you close in sizing, but an experienced fitter at your LBS could do better because s/he's observing you.
    i'll second that...more than one online fit calculator put me on a 54cm bike, but after an impromptu fitting session at a bike shop, the guy said i could get away with something as big as a 58cm.

    by "impromptu fitting session" i mean the guy put me on a few bikes in different sizes (cannondale) and made a judgement based on that.

  14. #14
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    2,746
    Quote Originally Posted by xand
    Good question.

    The context was that while mountain bikes should be small, road bikes should be as large as would be ideal.
    I see. If what led to you questioning is you usually fit size XX in a mountain bike, yes you probably do want to go bigger than that with a road bike. I don't know much much about mountain bikes (or road bikes really to be honest) but the explaination is likely because each bike has different handeling needs and you generally ride each with quite different postures (more strateched out on a road bike).

    That aside and seeing as though we're all guessing. It's probably best for you to just forget you read it.

    I see you've been doing a lot of reading so you probably already figured this out: But, unfortunately, sizing isn't as simple as finding a size that works in one road bike and having it work in another. So if for example you try a 54cm Trek, for example, it's potentially a mistake to think "I take a 54" and then assume any bike that's a 54 will fit. There's effective length, tube angles and all that stuff that I don't totally understand myself but did try enough bikes to realize that 54 fitting for one bike doesn't assure you'll fit another 54 well. Don't get me wrong, it's a good place to start, but just not a sure thing because they're all have different little quirks in shape.
    Good luck.

  15. #15
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    213
    Quote Originally Posted by xand
    ...

    I probably need to go look at more bikes in stores. Have only really been to one, the guy did the first guesstimate by checking clearance while standing - and the suggestion was a size 47 Felt (tried a F85).


    To be fair, the LBS said that they would adjust spacers/stem length etc. although I suspect that no other size would have been suggested anyhow.
    If the LBS is fitting you based on standover height run as fast as you can to another LBS.

    Top tube length is important and is affected by seat tube angle. Head tube length is important.

    When you get at the extremes in sizing of frames there is less consistency in sizing. I am at the other end as my bikes would be around 65cm if they had level top tubes.

    Some companies don't change the angles at all on there smaller bikes or not much. Rake, chainstay length and other factors can be very important in smaller sizes.

    I would suggest you go to the best fitter in the area and get the right bike. Too easy to make a huge mistake with a small frame.

    Jeff

  16. #16
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    2,746
    Quote Originally Posted by jlwdm
    If the LBS is fitting you based on standover height run as fast as you can to another LBS.
    yes, I'm seconding that just to highlight it and make sure OP didn't miss it. That made some sense years ago from what I understand but now, it doesn't at all.
    Not to say you shouldn't consider standover height, but a good standover height is only part of the fit and it does nothing to assure the rest of the bike fits.
    To high is off course bad. But to low (according to outdated fitting methods) doesn't necessarily mean anything at all because of the way tubes can slope ect.

  17. #17
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    29
    thanks both...

  18. #18
    Good Person
    Reputation: thechriswebb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    1,672
    Just to give a couple of examples of how widely bike sizes can range for different riders:

    Fabian Cancellara is 6' 1" and has been seen on everything from a 54cm to a 58cm depending on the bike

    Lance Armstrong is 5'9" and won 7 Tours de France on a 58cm frame.

    I'm sure if either of those guys posted their measurements and said what sizes of frames they were riding on (without saying who they are, of course) there would be a lot of people on these forums that would accuse Fabian of riding too small a frame and Lance of riding too large a frame. The attacks on Lance would be particularly vicious, as I have noticed that most people on these forums actually seem to err in favor of smaller frames than bigger ones. A lot of people think it looks cool to have a lot of seat post showing; it means that you are cool and hardcore.

    Anyway, I am not about to suggest that either Fabian Cancellara or Lance Armstrong are riding the wrong sizes of bike frames. Check around, get a professional fit, ride a lot of different bikes, and find out what works best for you. Don't worry about what other people say about it.

    -Chris-

  19. #19
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    3,075
    Quote Originally Posted by Becky
    There's a lot of "what ifs" present in that question. However, speaking purely from my own experience when choosing between 2 sizes, the larger frame will generally have a taller head tube. For long legged me, a taller head tube is a good thing- less saddle to bar drop and fewer spacers required.

    This assumes, of course, that either size will allow proper standover, and the reach is comfortable with basic adjustments and common stem lengths.
    I think this is the most critical thing about frame size. Assuming the frame can fit you for saddle height, saddle setback, reasonable reach (stem length), etc., if you can fit two different frames the larger one will give you the ability to reduce set-bar drop without excessive spacers or a high-rise stem. The drawback would be that if you really like a lot of seat-bar drop, the larger/taller frame might not be able to accomodate it. There's only so much you can do with removing spacers and negative angle stem.

    It's just a matter of personal taste and function.

  20. #20
    More Miles...
    Reputation: LMWEL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    292
    .

    I probably need to go look at more bikes in stores. Have only really been to one, the guy did the first guesstimate by checking clearance while standing - and the suggestion was a size 47 Felt (tried a F85). A Scott Speedster s60 size 49 had insufficient clearance (maybe an inch).

    So, I was reading that, and wondering whether to second guess the LBS ;)

    Reading about how to choose a bike is addictive >.<

    You got that right. That's how I stumbled across this helpful site of lunatics.
    As far as sizing and fit, I've said it before, TEST RIDE, again and again and again.Your LBS can get you close and make suggestions but only you know what feels like your bike when you ride it. Over the course of six days I spent four days at six or more shops and four nights online. I rode about seven different bikes in two different sizes, some several times. I narrowed it down to two and ultimately chose the one that felt like MINE.

    Point is, to hell with what anyone else says. You'll know !!

  21. #21
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    105
    Even the values you'll find on the WrenchScience or CC builders are for estimate only, there is a lot of other information that you have to consider! Riding style, current bike, aspirations, etc to name a few...

  22. #22
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    196
    I think in the end the same mantra, road or mtn, comes to the surface. It's easier to make a smaller bike bigger vs a bigger bike smaller.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Hot Deals

Contest

Tour De France

Latest RoadBike Articles


Latest Videos

RoadbikeReview on Facebook