Frame sizing confusion...sorta!
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  1. #1
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    Cool Frame sizing confusion...sorta!

    I'm 64 years young and been road riding my whole life. I remember back in the 80's...who does'nt? road bike frames were measured from center of crank to center of seat tube and top tube. Then somewhere in that steel to aluminum to eventually carbon it seems the bike size now is the center crank to to top of the seat tube. Which my calculations can put a 58cm carbon or aluminum frame at 54-56cm which to me seems small by the old standard. Is this done so the trend of say a more compact frame and lower CG. can make the bike ride better and quicker?
    I found a used bike today i believe to be a 1998 Trek 5500 oclv USPS model in 58cm if you measure to the top of the seat tube. The old standard of measuring puts it somewhat smaller.
    Now here's the deal,been looking for these for awhile...tuff to find! This one showed up on my local CL. So i took my 6'2" #223 pound self(aiming for #205) we'll see. Took it for a spin and evrything worked great,but it did feel slightly short or as we say today(compact). But for being a Lance (fanboy) i bought it anyway been wanting one forever.
    Sorry i took the long way around to basicially ask: Anybody else with those height & weight numbers riding bikes that size?
    Oh yeah...i paid $550.00
    Thanx's in advance!!

  2. #2
    Weed
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    I seem to remember a lot of people saying Trek road bikes of that era were a size smaller than most other brands. I rode a 60cm in most bikes but a 60cm Trek felt "small" when I tested one.

  3. #3
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    At your height, I would expect you to ride a 58-60cm frame, center to center. Or look for a frame with a "virtual" top tube length in the 58-59cm range.

    You'd be a good candidate for a used frame from eBay, as the larger size frames are harder to sell, therefore they eventually sell at lower prices.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinman View Post
    Iback in the 80's...who does'nt? road bike frames were measured from center of crank to center of seat tube and top tube.
    Actually, there were always companies that measured center-to-top or center-to-center, and some even measured center-to-top of seat lug. Never understood that last one. It's no different than companies that measure handlebar width center-to-center or outside-to-outside. What you didn't provide was your cycling inseam (distance from floor to crotch with a dowel or book pressed firmly up). Without that number, the discussion is pointless. No different than asking what sleeve length should a 6' tall person buy. Without a measurement, it's pointless.

  5. #5
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    My inseam is 34-35" I took it for a ride the other day and not thinking about whether it's too small it actually rode fantastic. With a couple of tweeks it might come right in line with fit. I bought it because it is a a team postal bike from the Lance era and i got it cheap without a flaw. I can always use it as a bargaining chip when my sought after Lemond comes along,but no hurry. I believe i stated that it was a 5500,but with some research i believe it's a 5200 which means they are the same frames,mine has shimano-ultegra 9spd. I may be at the size limits for this bike but it's not my only ride option.
    More opinions please?

    Thx's

  6. #6
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    A frame's "Stated" size is mostly irrelevant, it's more of an internal categorization for the company than information for the buyer.

    Now days, for fit ... then general recommendation is "Stack and Reach" as the numbers to pay attention to. Now, older frames will be hard to find that information on because they didn't measure that way.

    • Stack = Center of bottom bracket to the top of the head tube in a vertical line
    • Reach = Center of the bottom bracket to the center/top of the head tube


    This ignores the length of the seat tube, but will give you information on how far away the bar will be from the saddle, how high/low the bars will be across the boar from manufacturer to manufacturer.

    You probably still want to pay attention to seat tube angle for overall fit, but with a variety of posts you can adjust your saddle fore/aft easily.
    Voting isn't marriage - it's public transport. You are not waiting for "The One" who is absolutely perfect. You are getting on the bus, and if there isn't one going exactly to your destination you don't stay at home and sulk - you take the one going closest to where you want to be!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinman View Post
    My inseam is 34-35"
    With all due respect, you don't know what your inseam is. Measure it like I described and then you will be able to properly size a frame.

  8. #8
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    Kerry, My inseam is 34"...now you know! Hope this helps,but i've ridden more 58cm bikes than any other size. Had a beautiful 2002 Litespeed "Arenberg" Ti frame that was advertised as a 60cm. and on the bottom of the bottom bracket it said 61cm. The bike always felt big and top heavy.
    I'm within size limits on this trek 5200 USPS at 58cm.a little stem and or seat adjustment is all it would need then it's perfect!
    Besides a little shorter frame works for my 64 yr.old body on the dismount.
    Just put new cleats on the SiDi's today and went for a spin and it's all good.
    Long torso bud,shorter legs 34's!!...Mr Irons you can come and measure it for me,I'm retired can't always get there brother....
    All be well VOTE VOTE VOTE!!!
    Last edited by Spinman; 3 Days Ago at 06:27 PM. Reason: left off information

  9. #9
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    I'm 6'3" with a 34" inseam, so I'm 'long in the trunk'. I have a classic Trek (1978 710) that's a 60cm frame which fits me perfectly-although as I've gotten older, the 90mm stem has felt a bit long early in the season, but I get used to it before summer...

    I believe my touring bike is a 59, and with the short stem, it's more upright.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

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