Selecting a Specialized bike *long torso, short legs
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  1. #1
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    Selecting a Specialized bike *long torso, short legs

    Hello,

    I'm looking to purchase a Specialized Roubaix Expert, and have a question about sizing. For my height 179 cm (5'10") the Specialized sizing chart indicates I'm at the high end of 54" and low end of 56". However, according to the bike shop owner (who doesn't seem to be a professional fitter), my inseam of 80 cm (31.4") would (according to some formula) indicate a standard bike size of 52". (So I seem to have very short legs for my height and torso length?)

    I'm purchasing the bike mainly in the interest of a comfortable ride, and to be easy on my lower back.

    I live in south Spain, and haven't been able to find a professional fitter. Given these circumstances which bike size (for this particular bike the Specialized Roubaix Expert) would you recommend?

    Thanks so much for any help you can offer.

    Kind regards,

    -- Matt

  2. #2
    Burnum Upus Quadricepus
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    First and foremost, only a test ride will tell you if a bike fits. And I'm not talking about a lap or two around the parking lot. A hour or more along various roads, speeds, terrain, and traffic densities should be the minimum, since many fit issues don't show up until after an hour or more on the bike.

    The purpose of choosing a size is to narrow-dwon the choices for a test ride.

    Bike sizing, size charts and inseam measurement are all geared towards leg length and seat tube length. While this is fine for most people, for folks like you (long torso, short legs) and me (short torso, long legs) the result is less than satisfactory.

    In our cases, top tube length is much more important. (Or, in the case of sloping top tubes, the "virtual" top tube length.) You can't change the top tube length to make a bike fit, but you can raise or lower the saddle, or in my case, buy an extra-long seatpost.

    If you have a bike that fits really well, measure its top tube (from the center of the seat tube to the center of the head tube) and use this as your baseline. That will narrow down the test ride choices. So you get a bike that fits the upper body first, then mess with the saddle height to dial it in--just the opposite of most people.

    In the end, (yes, it is first and last) only a test ride will tell you if a bike fits. And I'm not talking about a lap or two around the parking lot. A hour or more along various roads, speeds, terrain, and traffic densities should be the minimum, since many fit issues don't show up until after an hour or more on the bike.

  3. #3
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    I agree with the poster above. I'm a freak of nature, 6'0 with a 29-30 inseam - if I buy a bike that is comfortable while im riding, it appears to be too big of a bike if you see me on it. I can't stand over a single bike I own without it being in my crotch, but I spend more time riding it than standing over it.

    Focus on the top tube length, I just recently purchased a Ridley compact with an effective top tube of 57 cm

  4. #4
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    Hi guys, thanks a lot for the replies.

    Unfortunately, where I live there's only one bike shop, and they don't even have a single model in stock for me to try -- much less multiple sizes.

    In this kind of situation, where you almost have to take a guess, would you err on the size of a larger bike (larger top tube) for someone in my situation?

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I would say have someone measure you and run through this - http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO

    Maybe even consider driving an hour if possible to test ride, With the price of bikes it'd be a worthwhile cost

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    i don't know if specialized geometry has changed radically, but my dimensions are almost exactly the same as yours and i ride an 08 allez in a 56, which, after adjusting stem and seat height and all the rest fits like a charm.

  7. #7
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    i ride an 09 roubaix elite, size 54, im 5 foot 8, i have short arms and legs and a long torso, i had to by a 90mm stem and shove the seat forward all the way to get the bike the way i like

  8. #8
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    Hmmmm. You're 5'10" and they want to put you on a 52"??? I'm 5'11" w/ an inseam of about 32 and I ride a 56.

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    My basic specs:

    - 2010 54 Specialized Roubaix
    - ST angle:73.5
    - TT length: 548 mm

    - height: 5'-10"
    - cycling inseam: 80.65 cm
    - saddle height: 71.5 cm
    - saddle setback: 7.5 cm

    - aftermarket stem: 120 mm -17*
    - aftermarket upper headset/stack ht.: integrated HS with 5 mm cone spacer, no HS spacers
    - saddle-to-bar drop: 7 cm


    A 5'-10" rider is too big for a 52 Specialized. For our similar low saddle height requirements, you need to look into the possibility that the Roubaix's head tube (165 mm) *might* be too tall for your current or near future needs. I bought my Roubaix to help recover for some long standing injuries where I lost a tremendous amount of flexibility.

    Started with the handlebars adjusted level with the saddle, and I am now looking for a new bike/frame to drop the bars at least 3 cm. For performance riders with short legs, the head tube height becomes a more critical fit dimension. Even with most racing frames, I need to size down to get the proper head tube height.

  10. #10
    Cpark
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhenders
    Hello,

    I'm looking to purchase a Specialized Roubaix Expert, and have a question about sizing. For my height 179 cm (5'10") the Specialized sizing chart indicates I'm at the high end of 54" and low end of 56". However, according to the bike shop owner (who doesn't seem to be a professional fitter), my inseam of 80 cm (31.4") would (according to some formula) indicate a standard bike size of 52". (So I seem to have very short legs for my height and torso length?)

    I'm purchasing the bike mainly in the interest of a comfortable ride, and to be easy on my lower back.

    I live in south Spain, and haven't been able to find a professional fitter. Given these circumstances which bike size (for this particular bike — the Specialized Roubaix Expert) would you recommend?

    Thanks so much for any help you can offer.

    Kind regards,

    -- Matt
    Matt,

    I'm 6' with 32 inseam.
    52 has the 537mm TT, and it will be little too small for you, IMO.
    I suppose you can make it work with a 130 or 140 stem, but it may not be comfortable.
    I think you can run with either a 54 or 56.
    I like the laid back HT angle and the longish front center.
    For your information, I ride a M Time RXR and VXR which sport a 56 TT.
    Its sizing is very close to my custom Serotta.

    Good Luck,
    Last edited by cpark; 07-05-2010 at 07:52 PM.

  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Test ride the 56cm. Should work fine with a lowered seat.

  12. #12
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by colombo357
    Test ride the 56cm. Should work fine with a lowered seat.

    Again, be careful with this type of advice that has not looked at and analyzed your cycling inseam, in relationship with your concomitant low saddle height..

  13. #13
    Vintage cyclist
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    A 52cm would probably require a VERY long stem in order to fit right.

  14. #14
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    All the Specialized bikes I rode always felt more comfortable one size smaller so I like their 52 while I ride 54 on just about everything else. I know not much help but since you don't have access to bikes at the shop, how about finding a few bike clubs or local forums and seeing if anyone would let you test ride their bikes?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nismo73
    Hmmmm. You're 5'10" and they want to put you on a 52"??? I'm 5'11" w/ an inseam of about 32 and I ride a 56.

    Same thing here...just under 6 ft with a 32 inch inseam. Ride a 56 and it fits me great.

  16. #16
    Poseur
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    The guy who said you need a 52cm is just plain nuts or is someone you really shouldn't deal with. I have a 30 inch inseam and ride a 52 and maybe could have used a 53 if they made my bike in that size. You will hate a 52.

    One more thing, when I was shopping for a road bike, I ended up driving 140 miles to a town where I could check out 8 brands instead of 3. It was definitely worth the trip.
    I like cats, I just can't finish a whole one by myself.

  17. #17
    J24
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    I'm 5'9" with a 29.5" inseam and ride a 53cm ST and 54.5cm TT, and the TT could be longer for me.
    I don't think a 53.7cm TT will work for you no matter the stem length. With a 130 or longer stem I think it will be a front end heavy, real twitchy handling bike

  18. #18
    Domokun!
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    I'm in the same boat as well. 30.5" inseam and a super long torso! I'm 6'...
    I ride a custom that's 54cm by 57.5cm top tube. Both are c-c measurements. I also have a carbon pedal force that I believe is a 54 or 55, not sure but the tt is 55.5cm. I have the stem slammed on the head tube and still use a 110 stem to get the proper length.

    I'm not sure what your price range is but I would suggest following the other comments and take the long car ride to a shop that has a great fitter! Custom is always an option too if you'd want to go that route..

    Test ride at least 3 bikes all with the same fit to decide which one you'd like to purchase. A quality bike is a big investment! Do it right the first time!!!
    " The ability to purchase an expensive bicycle does not make you a cyclist! "

  19. #19
    Have any Grey Poupon????
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    i got a new 2010 Specialized Allez sport today. Im going from a dept. store schwinn bike so the ride is AMAZING.

    im 5'7 with short legs and a pretty normal torso length. I was stretched out on the schwinn, i got the 49cm allez and it fits perfect, we flipped the stem and slid the seat back a little and the fit is perfect. I usually do 16 mile rides, but today as soon as i got my bike i hit the road and didn't realize it but i went about 30 miles and never felt better. It was pretty awesome!!!

    We did a fit system deal and i was skeptical as to how accurate it was, but the 49cm frame feels great once we flipped the stem and moved the seat rearward a little.

    I am still pretty amazed at how much better and more comfortable the allez is over the old department store bike, its literally a night and day diffrence

  20. #20
    Resident Curmudgeon
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    I'm guessing you don't want to hear this, but the quintessential and correct way to have a bike fitting involves which name brands will work best for you. Determining the geometry of bikes and length of tubes, BB height, etc. is a strong indicator of the BRAND of bike that will work best for you.

    For example I went to be fitted before I bought, or even decided on a brand name. I submitted a list of brand names that I was interested. Among them were Colnago, Masi, Basso and others. The response I got was the ones that will fit you are DeRosa, Mondonico, and a couple of others that I don't remember anymore. This came from a very high end shop that could get virtually any bike you wanted except Cannondale, Specialized, and a couple others, so it can't be said they were just trying to sell me what they happened to have. I chose the DeRosa & have never, ever been sorry. The bike fits like a custom frame made just for me.

    The fitter/owner of the bike store told me that almost any bike brand can be "made" to fit, but it's also true that almost any square peg can be driven into a round hole if enough force is used. To make the very best use of your muscle type, body type, pedaling style, and overall position on the bike to yield the maximum efficiency and comfort, you need to consider what brand suits you best. I believe that maybe 1 or 2 out of 100 avid adult cyclists do this.

    A 56cm bike doesn't = a 56cm bike. Brand x has a longer top tube, brand y has a sturdier bottom bracket, brand z has relatively short top tubes for ea. size. Naturally there are different head & seat tube angles, longer & shorter chain stays. The list could go on and on. Differences between models of the same brand are frequently different as well.

    The fitting cost >$200, after which I was free to buy any bike I wanted from wherever I wanted. Was it worth it? Oh, hell yes.
    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.

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