Bike Sizing question.. anyone 5' 11" and riding a 54cm?
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  1. #1
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    Bike Sizing question.. anyone 5' 11" and riding a 54cm?

    Hi.. anyone 5' 11" (technically 5' 10.5") and riding a 54cm frame? I ride a Specialized 54cm road bike and when I tell people that they think my bike is too small for someone my size. I think I have a slightly longer torso than most people my size, never really measured but noticed that all my friends which are the same height wear 32" inseam jeans while I wear 30".

    I run a 120 stem at 17 degrees.. any lower and my back hurts.. Does it sometimes make sense to ride a size down bike and go with a longer stem?

    Just curious.. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I'm a hair shorter than you and have an inseam closer to 33" and ride a 54 c-c Peg (55 TT) and 54 CT Cannondale. The reason, I went with the 54 cannodale is that the TT is closer to the what I feel I need without given up much in headtube length compared to a 55. Both have a seat angle of 73.5 and use 11 cm stems. The Peg does fit me much better due to the headtube length is higher. If I was to go with a specialized, I'd go with the 54 myself since the 56 TT is too long for my liking. My friend has the 56 and when comparing our too bike set ups, his is actually a 1-1.5 cm shorter, due to his seat placement, height and stem length. Go figure.
    :-P

  3. #3
    steel road, fixie, & MTB
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwilcko2
    Hi.. anyone 5' 11" (technically 5' 10.5") and riding a 54cm frame? I ride a Specialized 54cm road bike and when I tell people that they think my bike is too small for someone my size. I think I have a slightly longer torso than most people my size, never really measured but noticed that all my friends which are the same height wear 32" inseam jeans while I wear 30".

    I run a 120 stem at 17 degrees.. any lower and my back hurts.. Does it sometimes make sense to ride a size down bike and go with a longer stem?

    Just curious.. Thanks!
    yes, my Viner's 54

    do more situps, leg up and stretches to strengthen your abs and lower back
    Viner Pro Team Dedacciai EOM 16.5 light steel Campy 2x10.
    "The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting by fools." - Thucydides.

  4. #4
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    Run the numbers

    The downside to your small frame can be that you can't get the bars high enough relative to the saddle. Whether this is an issue depends on your flexibility and core strength. However, there are straightforward ways to determine the rough correct frame size.

    Measure your inseam: stand against a wall with your feet 6 inches/15 cm apart. Push the spine of a 1 inch/2-3 cm thick book into your crotch with significant pressure, and measure the distance from the book spine to the floor. Your saddle top to pedal axle should be 108-110% of the inseam measurement.

    Here are several frame fit calculators.

    http://www.bsn.com/cycling/ergobike.html
    http://www.coloradocyclist.com/BikeFit/index.cfm
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harart-frames.html
    http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/fra...ame_Sizing.htm
    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
    http://www.wrenchscience.com

    For adjusting the fit of the bike, there are roughly five starting points:

    1. Seat height (top of saddle to center of pedal axle) at 108-110% of inseam.
    2. Saddle parallel to ground.
    3. Saddle fore/aft adjusted so that a plumb bob from the bony protrusion just below the kneecap passes through the pedal axle when the cranks are horizontal. This is known as KOPS (Knee Over Pedal Spindle)
    4. Front hub axle obscured by the handlebars when riding in your "regular" position (drops, hoods, or tops).
    5. Top of handlebars 1 to 4.5+ inches below the top of the saddle depending on your flexibility and size.

    These are all starting points for "average" proportioned people, and many folks like to move away from these starting points as they learn what makes them more comfortable, powerful, or efficient. For example, the KOPS position range is typically +1 to -2 cm, depending both on your personal physiology (long femurs tend to push the saddle back) and pedaling style (spinners move the saddle forward, pushers move the saddle back). You want to get the fit of the frame as close as you can, then do minor adjustments with the stem, seat post, saddle position, etc.

    A lot of this is personal comfort, and we all tend to adapt to a given position over time. For example, a given stem length may be right for you, but it may feel long at first. I use the "handle bar obscures the front hub" rule for my fit, but others claim better position (for them) with the hub in front of or behind the bar. Plus, if you look down without moving your head, you get a very different view than if you tilt your head to look at the front hub. I'm 6' tall and ride with 11.5 cm drop from saddle to bar, probably more than most people would like but fine for me. Some are suggesting zero drop from saddle to bars - it's about comfort, efficiency, and aerodynamics. No calculator is infallible, so look at the different results you get to see where there is consensus among them. I would suggest riding some miles (over 100 total, and over 500 would be better) and see if you adapt to a given position. There are no hard and fast rules, just general guidelines, when it comes to these things.

    Just as important as your size is your flexibility. If you have a stiff lower back, you may not be able to lean over and stretch out as much. If you are very flexible, you may get away with a longer top tube, with the stem in a lower position. Over time on the bike, too, you may become more limber, or at least become accustomed to being lower and stretched out. So, your first 'real' bike may not be anything like what you will want 5 years from now.

  5. #5
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    mwilcko2, I am your proportions (same hight same inseam) I have a litespeed tuscany in 53cm and a Jamis quest in 55cm both have the same cockpit dimention (top tube/stem) of 65cm. bar drop is 7cm on the 53 and 6cm on the 55 frame, I use a 10deg stem on the 53 and a 6deg on the 55. I always was under the imprestion the the cockpit was the most critical as long as you can get the bars where you want, and that has proved out for me. I was fitted with the "fit kit" system and it confermed years of trial and erorr. Sounds like you are right where you want to be, don't forget you have to ride your bike, your friends ride theirs. All the best. -- Bill

  6. #6
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    54 Top Tube?

    Do you mean 54 c top tube or seat tube. Top tube is the more relevant measure. If it is top tube, it sounds a little short but it depends on your dimensions. I can see it if most of your height is in your legs and you have shorter arms. It happens. A guy I ride with has this exact problem. He rides custom now though. I am a hair under 5'10" and have found that I like a 53 top tube. I have rather short arms for my height. Nothing freaky or anything though. Most of the fit charts would have me on a 55 but I have found that I prefer a shorter top tube.

    Mike

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons
    Your saddle top to pedal axle should be 108-110% of the inseam measurement.
    That is interesting. I had never heard that version of seat height calc.
    I assume you mean with the pedal at the bottom of the stroke inline with the seat tube? Checking mine it is right at 109%
    Learned something new ;)
    Thanks

  8. #8
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    5'11" here too. I'm comfortable on 57-59 cm (CTC) bikes, nothing smaller. My touring bike is a 60, but that's because Cannondale doesn't know how to measure a frame. All of you guys my size riding around on bikes that would fit my 5'7" wife are making me hurt.

    I knew that conventional wisdom was pushing towards smaller bikes, but are 54 cm bikes really being recommended for people my height?

    --Shannon

  9. #9
    cmg
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    try the zinn calculator

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons
    The downside to your small frame can be that you can't get the bars high enough relative to the saddle. Whether this is an issue depends on your flexibility and core strength. However, there are straightforward ways to determine the rough correct frame size.

    Measure your inseam: stand against a wall with your feet 6 inches/15 cm apart. Push the spine of a 1 inch/2-3 cm thick book into your crotch with significant pressure, and measure the distance from the book spine to the floor. Your saddle top to pedal axle should be 108-110% of the inseam measurement.

    Here are several frame fit calculators.

    http://www.bsn.com/cycling/ergobike.html
    http://www.coloradocyclist.com/BikeFit/index.cfm
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harart-frames.html
    http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/fra...ame_Sizing.htm
    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
    http://www.wrenchscience.com

    For adjusting the fit of the bike, there are roughly five starting points:

    1. Seat height (top of saddle to center of pedal axle) at 108-110% of inseam.
    2. Saddle parallel to ground.
    3. Saddle fore/aft adjusted so that a plumb bob from the bony protrusion just below the kneecap passes through the pedal axle when the cranks are horizontal. This is known as KOPS (Knee Over Pedal Spindle)
    4. Front hub axle obscured by the handlebars when riding in your "regular" position (drops, hoods, or tops).
    5. Top of handlebars 1 to 4.5+ inches below the top of the saddle depending on your flexibility and size.

    These are all starting points for "average" proportioned people, and many folks like to move away from these starting points as they learn what makes them more comfortable, powerful, or efficient. For example, the KOPS position range is typically +1 to -2 cm, depending both on your personal physiology (long femurs tend to push the saddle back) and pedaling style (spinners move the saddle forward, pushers move the saddle back). You want to get the fit of the frame as close as you can, then do minor adjustments with the stem, seat post, saddle position, etc.

    A lot of this is personal comfort, and we all tend to adapt to a given position over time. For example, a given stem length may be right for you, but it may feel long at first. I use the "handle bar obscures the front hub" rule for my fit, but others claim better position (for them) with the hub in front of or behind the bar. Plus, if you look down without moving your head, you get a very different view than if you tilt your head to look at the front hub. I'm 6' tall and ride with 11.5 cm drop from saddle to bar, probably more than most people would like but fine for me. Some are suggesting zero drop from saddle to bars - it's about comfort, efficiency, and aerodynamics. No calculator is infallible, so look at the different results you get to see where there is consensus among them. I would suggest riding some miles (over 100 total, and over 500 would be better) and see if you adapt to a given position. There are no hard and fast rules, just general guidelines, when it comes to these things.

    Just as important as your size is your flexibility. If you have a stiff lower back, you may not be able to lean over and stretch out as much. If you are very flexible, you may get away with a longer top tube, with the stem in a lower position. Over time on the bike, too, you may become more limber, or at least become accustomed to being lower and stretched out. So, your first 'real' bike may not be anything like what you will want 5 years from now.

    try the zinn calculator it's quick. http://www.zinncycles.com/fitsystems/default_ie.aspx this will give a saddle to pedal dimension.

  10. #10
    eminence grease
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    With that leg length, I think you might be a good candidate for something with a sloping top tube. I'm the same height as you are, but with a 33.5" cycling inseam. I typically wear 32 or 33 inseam pants. These days, I look for frames with a 54ish seat tube because it allows me to clamp my bike in the stand without moving the seat post. With a 57 seat tube, I get only a fist's worth of post showing, although the typical 56-57-58 frame is what I like. Generally, I'll go no lower than a 56 top tube and prefer something in the 57-58 range. But, to each his own.

    Given your short(ish) legs and what appears to be a longer (proportionally) torso, I can't imagine how you'd be happy on a bike with a top tube that's typical for a 54cm frame. Frankly, the rounded back and upright riding position would kill me.

    Relative to your question though, have you gone to your shop and spent some time on longer bikes?

  11. #11
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    looks like i'm similar to terry. I'm 5'11" with a 33" inseam. I'm riding a compact frame, the top tube has an effective 56-57cm length and i'm running a 120mm stem and i'm comfortable.

    i also think you're a good candidate for a compact.. with the shorter legs you'll enjoy the shorter seat tube length (mine is only 52.5cm) and increased top tube clearance, yet you can still get a 56cm stretch to the head tube.

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