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  1. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by rayms View Post
    Would going to a 42 or 44 cm wide handlebar from a 40 cm allow me to drop my stem length from 135mm to 130mm?
    I'd think that would be a reasonable assumption, yeah.
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  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by rayms View Post
    Would going to a 42 or 44 cm wide handlebar from a 40 cm allow me to drop my stem length from 135mm to 130mm?
    Probably. I'd try it. 40 cm bars are kind of narrow for a bike that has a 135 mm stem. 42s would probably work better. Or 44 cm if you're 6'5". Bar width roughly equal to shoulder width as far as comfort.

    Heck, keep the long stem and see how it works with 42 cm bars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trailflow View Post
    If you need a 56 size frame that suggests your are near 5'11ft tall or above and your legs are long'ish.
    still wondering about this. If you look at most general road bike sizing charts a 56 usually falls under 5'9"-5'11.5" for height and a 54 is 5'7"-5'9". So not sure why a 56 would only suggest near 5'11 and above.

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    still wondering about this. If you look at most general road bike sizing charts a 56 usually falls under 5'9"-5'11.5" for height and a 54 is 5'7"-5'9". So not sure why a 56 would only suggest near 5'11 and above.
    If you're 6' tall 58 would fit best; if 6'2,' a 60 cm frame. Bikes are sized proportionally, like shoes.

    But you knew that, right?

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    If you're 6' tall 58 would fit best; if 6'2,' a 60 cm frame. Bikes are sized proportionally, like shoes.

    But you knew that, right?
    if that were the case there would be a size for every inch in height to fit "best". There are ranges for a reason. Saying someone needing a 56 suggests they are 5'11" or above simply isn't true if the 56 covers 5'8" - 5'11.5". Unless I'm not understanding your analogy.

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    still wondering about this. If you look at most general road bike sizing charts a 56 usually falls under 5'9"-5'11.5" for height and a 54 is 5'7"-5'9". So not sure why a 56 would only suggest near 5'11 and above.
    @trailflow is a actually quite close. 56 is in fact going to fit riders in the 5'10"ish height and above. It really depends on your proportions and flexibility. I'm a touch under 5'8" and have usually fit best on a 52. This way I can use a 120mm stem and have a really nice feel when cornering and the bar height I like relative to my saddle height. The sales guys at my shop (semi knowledgable, not bad but for sure not great) tend to put people on 1 size too big all the time. They think a 90mm stem is 'normal' on a 56 or 58 and don't understand weight distribution and front end traction very well. If a rider had average proportions and decent flexibility I'd be thinking along these lines:

    5'4"-5'6" 50cm
    5'6"-5'8" 52cm
    5'8"-5'10" 54cm
    5'10"-6'0" 56m
    5'11-6'1" 58m
    and so on. This is generally where I would start when putting a customer on a bike. It obviously varies greatly w/ leg/torso/arm length and how flexible the rider is.

    My last rode bike was a 52cm Madone w/ a 120 stem. H2 head tube. No spacers. I'm not riding as much now and my flexibility isn't as great so my next bike could end up being a 54 Domane w/ the same 120 stem, maybe a 110. I'll be a little more upright and a little closer to the bars.
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  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    @trailflow is a actually quite close. 56 is in fact going to fit riders in the 5'10"ish height and above. It really depends on your proportions and flexibility. I'm a touch under 5'8" and have usually fit best on a 52. This way I can use a 120mm stem and have a really nice feel when cornering and the bar height I like relative to my saddle height. The sales guys at my shop (semi knowledgable, not bad but for sure not great) tend to put people on 1 size too big all the time. They think a 90mm stem is 'normal' on a 56 or 58 and don't understand weight distribution and front end traction very well. If a rider had average proportions and decent flexibility I'd be thinking along these lines:

    5'4"-5'6" 50cm
    5'6"-5'8" 52cm
    5'8"-5'10" 54cm
    5'10"-6'0" 56m
    5'11-6'1" 58m
    and so on. This is generally where I would start when putting a customer on a bike. It obviously varies greatly w/ leg/torso/arm length and how flexible the rider is.

    My last rode bike was a 52cm Madone w/ a 120 stem. H2 head tube. No spacers. I'm not riding as much now and my flexibility isn't as great so my next bike could end up being a 54 Domane w/ the same 120 stem, maybe a 110. I'll be a little more upright and a little closer to the bars.
    So I guess you're saying Trek themselves is wrong when they suggest 5'8"-5'11.5" on their own bike? Maybe the fact your bike shop has many people who recommend too big aren't actually too big? Oh, and a professional bike fitter with 25 years of experience that was giving me an unbiased fitting (didn't have any of the bikes I wanted in stock so not trying to ditch stock) put me on a 56 Domane at 5'9.5"? Oh, and if you look at many general bike size charts, most start at 5'9" on a 56, not 5'10".

    What are your credentials as a bike fitter? Just curious...

  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    So I guess you're saying Trek themselves is wrong when they suggest 5'8"-5'11.5" on their own bike? Maybe the fact your bike shop has many people who recommend too big aren't actually too big? Oh, and a professional bike fitter with 25 years of experience that was giving me an unbiased fitting (didn't have any of the bikes I wanted in stock so not trying to ditch stock) put me on a 56 Domane at 5'9.5"? Oh, and if you look at many general bike size charts, most start at 5'9" on a 56, not 5'10".

    What are your credentials as a bike fitter? Just curious...
    Generally and depending on proportions and flexibility weren't enough to make it clear that I'm not saying every person and every bike? This is were I would start most times. It depends on many variables.
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  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Generally and depending on proportions and flexibility weren't enough to make it clear that I'm not saying every person and every bike? This is were I would start most times. It depends on many variables.
    I understand and didn't mean to discredit you. I also didn't mean to question your knowledge as it sounds like you work in a shop. I think the issue I have is suggesting a bike is too big when some people fall in between sizes like myself. So those same people on bikes one size too big... are they really too big, or are they in between sizes and chose to go larger? For instance, Treks performance road sizing puts a size 54 at 5'6" to 5'9". The 56 is for 5'8" - 5'11.5". So, someone at 5'9 is in between. If they went with a 56, its not really fair to say the bike is too big. Thats all my point is. Also, doing a quick google search of general road bike sizing, many charts say size 56 is 5'9-5'11. @trailflow's post suggested that if you're on a 56, you should be very close to 5'11 and up... which just isn't true.

  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    I understand and didn't mean to discredit you. I also didn't mean to question your knowledge as it sounds like you work in a shop. I think the issue I have is suggesting a bike is too big when some people fall in between sizes like myself. So those same people on bikes one size too big... are they really too big, or are they in between sizes and chose to go larger? For instance, Treks performance road sizing puts a size 54 at 5'6" to 5'9". The 56 is for 5'8" - 5'11.5". So, someone at 5'9 is in between. If they went with a 56, its not really fair to say the bike is too big. Thats all my point is. Also, doing a quick google search of general road bike sizing, many charts say size 56 is 5'9-5'11. @trailflow's post suggested that if you're on a 56, you should be very close to 5'11 and up... which just isn't true.
    I don't think you do. You're fixated on matching height with a chart despite him trying to lead you away from it being so black & white.

    Bike size charts, and bike size for that matter, matched to height alone is a guess at best. Top tube isn't the only measurement that matters in a bike nor is height the only measurement that matters on a body. Then there's flexibility and type of riding.

    Buying a bike by height alone would be about like buying pants that way. Probably fine if you're Joe Average but proportions matter as do personal fitting preferences.

  11. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    I understand and didn't mean to discredit you. I also didn't mean to question your knowledge as it sounds like you work in a shop. I think the issue I have is suggesting a bike is too big when some people fall in between sizes like myself. So those same people on bikes one size too big... are they really too big, or are they in between sizes and chose to go larger? For instance, Treks performance road sizing puts a size 54 at 5'6" to 5'9". The 56 is for 5'8" - 5'11.5". So, someone at 5'9 is in between. If they went with a 56, its not really fair to say the bike is too big. Thats all my point is. Also, doing a quick google search of general road bike sizing, many charts say size 56 is 5'9-5'11. @trailflow's post suggested that if you're on a 56, you should be very close to 5'11 and up... which just isn't true.
    I've worked in the business for over 20 years, at a couple of shops that specialize in custom fitting. I've also been a pro team mechanic since '04. I've absorbed a lot of information and worked w/ some very accomplished fitting professionals, but I don't claim to be a fitter, I'm a mechanic. There are so many variables that it's very hard to say anything is an absolute.
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  12. #112
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    I agree that not one size fits all. I think I just got fixated on semantics.

  13. #113
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    I think most sizes whether they are bikes, shoes, clothes etc are merely a starting point to get you in the right ball park and then you size up or down from there to get the right fit. Bikes are a little more complex as there are so many variables that can be changed to dial in the fit and a 52 in one brand may be quite different than a 52 in another.

  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    I agree that not one size fits all. I think I just got fixated on semantics.
    You'll be fine with a 56 size if that's what you've got ordered. The stack will be higher, so you'll be more upright. You'll be able to set the bars 0"-2" below saddle height, have more room for the back with the standard stem, be able to modulate plenty of weight on the front wheel for traction and control, and still sit up without overloading the rear wheel.

    Cx's figures are on the small side in the charts, as you noticed. Racers like the smallest frame they can fit the upper body on, for stiffness and lightweight. They drop the bars 2-4" below saddle height and put on long 120mm-135mm stems to allow enough room to keep the back flat when leaned over into the headwind. Longer stems provide slightly longer levers that steer more "gently." The smaller bike responds to rider's movements slightly more efficiently than a larger bike would.

    The trouble is first time buyers frequently have to install upright stems to get the bars high enough to balance the rider fore-aft, that is, to be comfortable, and then there's not enough reach. Rider is hump backed and develops lower back pain he wouldn't have with a slightly greater reach. You want the rider to look like a peaked roof, not a toad.

    You're gonna be fine on the 56, like the charts say. You'd also be fine on a 54, but it would be "tight," or require a 120-130mm stem. I have such a bike and love it! So either frame size would work great. Right now, I'd surmise you'd prefer the upright positioning on the 56. But in two years, who knows? The smaller frame would be a real pleasure, too.

  15. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    I'd think that would be a reasonable assumption, yeah.
    I just swapped my 44's for 42's in an attempt at the very same thing. Keep in mind that while you will be increasing the distance to the hoods it a) will not translate to 5mm's exactly, but your premise is correct and b) will alter the angle of your wrists and how your hands grip the hoods. You may not be able to tell the difference depending how in tune you are to your machine.

    I could tell the difference in how my wrists "rolled and palms flared out on the 44's. I can grip the hoods better now, without as much wrist flare.
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  16. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    You'll be fine with a 56 size if that's what you've got ordered. The stack will be higher, so you'll be more upright. You'll be able to set the bars 0"-2" below saddle height, have more room for the back with the standard stem, be able to modulate plenty of weight on the front wheel for traction and control, and still sit up without overloading the rear wheel.

    Cx's figures are on the small side in the charts, as you noticed. Racers like the smallest frame they can fit the upper body on, for stiffness and lightweight. They drop the bars 2-4" below saddle height and put on long 120mm-135mm stems to allow enough room to keep the back flat when leaned over into the headwind. Longer stems provide slightly longer levers that steer more "gently." The smaller bike responds to rider's movements slightly more efficiently than a larger bike would.

    The trouble is first time buyers frequently have to install upright stems to get the bars high enough to balance the rider fore-aft, that is, to be comfortable, and then there's not enough reach. Rider is hump backed and develops lower back pain he wouldn't have with a slightly greater reach. You want the rider to look like a peaked roof, not a toad.

    You're gonna be fine on the 56, like the charts say. You'd also be fine on a 54, but it would be "tight," or require a 120-130mm stem. I have such a bike and love it! So either frame size would work great. Right now, I'd surmise you'd prefer the upright positioning on the 56. But in two years, who knows? The smaller frame would be a real pleasure, too.
    thabks, Fredrico. When you say CXs figures are on the small side are you referring to what he rides with his longer stem? Or the size ranges he posted? I ask because the size ranges he posted are actually a bit on the high side since 56's nowadays usually start at 5'9 (not 5'10 like his ranges). I take it you meant his bike setup but just making sure. And yes, I'm liking the 56.

  17. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    thabks, Fredrico. When you say CXs figures are on the small side are you referring to what he rides with his longer stem? Or the size ranges he posted? I ask because the size ranges he posted are actually a bit on the high side since 56's nowadays usually start at 5'9 (not 5'10 like his ranges). I take it you meant his bike setup but just making sure. And yes, I'm liking the 56.
    I'm talking racers sizing frames a half to one size smaller for a given rider than the Trek figures for example.

    Watch the TDF and notice how high the saddles are, and how much lower the handlebar are dropped? They're riding smaller frames. A grand fondo, gravel, or touring bike would be larger. The seat wouldn't be more than 2 inches higher than the handlebars and a small to medium frame would have a slightly shorter stem proportional to the frame size. On a 54-56 that would be 10 or 11 cm. You'd find 12-13 cm stems on 58s and 60s.

    The idea is to keep fore-aft weight distribution balanced with the center of gravity being over the crank spindle. That's how bikes are designed to ride. Put a really short stem on a larger bike, too much weight will be on the rear wheel. Or a really long stem on a smaller bike, too much weight on the front wheel. 12 cm on a 54 cm bike is still fine, but a 13 cm stem would probably transfer too much of rider's weight on the front wheel or too little on the back wheel, depending on how you look at it.

    A common thing with small race bikes is riders slide the saddles all the way back to put a little more weight on the back wheel to compensate for the long stem.

  18. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    @trailflow is a actually quite close. 56 is in fact going to fit riders in the 5'10"ish height and above. It really depends on your proportions and flexibility. I'm a touch under 5'8" and have usually fit best on a 52. This way I can use a 120mm stem and have a really nice feel when cornering and the bar height I like relative to my saddle height. The sales guys at my shop (semi knowledgable, not bad but for sure not great) tend to put people on 1 size too big all the time. They think a 90mm stem is 'normal' on a 56 or 58 and don't understand weight distribution and front end traction very well. If a rider had average proportions and decent flexibility I'd be thinking along these lines:

    5'4"-5'6" 50cm
    5'6"-5'8" 52cm
    5'8"-5'10" 54cm
    5'10"-6'0" 56m
    5'11-6'1" 58m
    and so on. This is generally where I would start when putting a customer on a bike. It obviously varies greatly w/ leg/torso/arm length and how flexible the rider is.

    My last rode bike was a 52cm Madone w/ a 120 stem. H2 head tube. No spacers. I'm not riding as much now and my flexibility isn't as great so my next bike could end up being a 54 Domane w/ the same 120 stem, maybe a 110. I'll be a little more upright and a little closer to the bars.
    For athletes who ride hard, the lower stack of the smaller bike is helpful, and front end traction is something they care about.

    For an inflexible middle aged white guy, the higher stack of the larger bike is helpful, and front end traction isn't something that particularly affects them on a 20 mile ride at 15mph.

    I'll make recommendations specifically based on the customer's profile. Guess which one of those I see more of?

  19. #119
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    General thoughts:

    Matching height to bike size is a really inexact science and something I wouldn't put any more stock in than a general guideline. Reason being is that we don't hold onto the bike anywhere with the top of our head, we hold onto the bike with our hands that are at the end of our arms. Two people who are the same height and have 2'' difference in arm length, or vastly different hamstring flexibility, or any number of other differences can be on very different sized bikes. "I'm 5'10'' and I ride a a 56, so if you're 5'10'' you should be on a 56 too" is not a wise statement to make.

    Ideally we would fit someone on a bike to the proper positions in space for their individual physiology and goals. Some people can be fit in the same positions in space on different sized bikes. In that case I'll usually default toward the bike that allows for the most adjustment in as many directions as possible. I don't like putting someone on a bike that fits them well, but doesn't allow for any adjustment in a particular direction.

    I know a 5'11''guy who rides a 52. He is a 25 year old professional cyclist who lives on his bike and is quite flexible. He can't get low enough on a 54 or a 56, so he runs a 130 stem slammed with no spacers. He is fit properly and has the flexibility, core strength, and ancillary musculature (such as neck muscles to hold his head up when his body is that low) to handle that position. I know another 5'11'' guy who rides a 58, and he is also fit properly. He is a fairly fit yet inflexible guy who has really long arms, rides recreationally, and likes to be in an upright, comfortable position on his road bike. He runs a 100mm stem pointed up with all the spacers on his 58 and is also fit properly.

    General guidelines are usually good. Those are extreme examples on opposite sides of the bell curve with a whole bunch of people who fit general guidelines in the middle. But when we talk about the size of bike to height, we are fitting all of the person to the bike, not just the total difference between the bottom of their feet and the top of their head when they are standing in a position that is totally different than they'll ever be able to ride a bike on.

  20. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    You'll be fine with a 56 size
    Maybe. Probably even. Maybe not though.

    The trouble is first time buyers frequently have to install upright stems to get the bars high enough to balance the rider fore-aft, that is, to be comfortable, and then there's not enough reach. Rider is hump backed and develops lower back pain he wouldn't have with a slightly greater reach. You want the rider to look like a peaked roof, not a toad.
    No. You want the rider to resemble what they look like normally when they're on the bike. If they have a ramrod straight back, you want them to look ramrod straight. If they are lordotic, you want them to resemble someone with lordosis on the bike. Same if they are kyphotic.

    You're gonna be fine on the 56, like the charts say. You'd also be fine on a 54, but it would be "tight," or require a 120-130mm stem.
    I don't know how you say things like this without watching him pedal a bike, measuring his hamstring flexibility, and seeing how he reacts physically to moving the front end around in different directions.

  21. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    I'm talking racers sizing frames a half to one size smaller for a given rider than the Trek figures for example.
    To unpack this a little bit, this is because when we talk about sizing we talk about where the front end of your bike is in space. Your saddle position is going to be in the exact same position relative to your bottom bracket on any bike (assuming the same crankarm length), because the height and fore/aft of your saddle is determined by your physiology, and there is a ton of adjustability in the seatpost/saddle.

    The front end of the bike isn't near as adjustable. We need to replace stems/bars and remove or add spacers to get you in the proper position for you. So, generally we select size based on where the front end is relative to the bottom bracket for our individual athlete. If you need to be lower/shorter a smaller size is better. If you need to be higher/farther away a larger size is better.

    Pros need to be lower yet not necessarily closer, so you see smaller frames with longer stems to accommodate their goals. It should go without saying that they are generally outliers in our world.

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    Thanks all. If you read earlier in the thread I was fitted and watched on the bike. My fitter was/is great and I'm confident with my setup and was only asking about semantics earlier. I get that we're all different and that one day when I'm more flexible I may try a 54. Fit can change over time. Right now I'm comfortable and happy and getting faster. Thanks again for all of the help.

  23. #123
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    I ride 54 and 56 frames from same brand. Both work just fine. I'd say they are both equal, just different.

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  24. #124
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    Shorter stem on a road bike

    I've been pondering one of these...

    Grand Cru Cigne Stem, Noir

    L.D. stems are about as high and short as it gets.

    As for the conventional wisdom...FWIW

    Yes, pro-level still drives much of the demand and the market. But that doesn't make it "normal". I would argue there is a big difference between a racing bike and a road bike. Sure, racing bikes are going to have the smallest frame possible (for weight and aerodynamics), high setback saddles, long slammed stems, etc. If anyone thinks that's "normal" or the intended set-up for the bike, consider how many years of training it takes for a pro rider to conform his/her body to maximize that position on the bike. It's efficient and powerful, but not at all "normal". If you choose to emulate that set-up and position, good on you, but don't look down your nose at anyone who chooses not to.

    A road bike can be just as "normal" with a larger frame and more relaxed/upright position. Personally, I like a larger frame, minimal setback/short post, shorter high-rise stem and wide bars. For me, riding in the drops is probably close to where most racers are positioned on their hoods since my saddle-bar drop is pretty close to 0. Get your larger frame and your short stem, OP if that's what works for you.
    Last edited by Opus51569; 04-24-2017 at 08:49 AM.
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  25. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by masont View Post
    For an inflexible middle aged white guy,
    Will the same apply to, say... inflexible middle aged Indian guy?

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