sizing issues

rich456 Posts: 6
edited September 2009 in Road beginners
Hi everyone,

I just recently decided to get into road cycling and so went to a few bike shops and have now, under advise, bought a 58cm Specialized Allez sport. Specialized say their bikes size like this

58cm - 6'0" - 6'3"
61cm - 6'3" - 6'6"

and i'm 6'3", which makes things interesting. The thing is i'm really lanky, i've got long legs (about a 36/36.5" inseam measured with the book method without shoes) and a really short torso. Most places seemed to side with fitting me to the top tube with my short torso hence the 58. However, after taking it home i've been playing with the fit and find that I need the saddle (what looks to me) stupidly high compared to the frame. I've got about 8" of seat post showing before the saddle starts and i'm a bit concened that I might start getting dangerously close to the minimum insertion point if i decide to buy clipless pedals/ need to raise the saddle even more etc.. The other consequence is that depite flipping the stem I'm not going to be able to avoid a quite significant handlebar saddle drop.

The bike itself is barely used so far. Amounts to about a test ride of use. Do you think I have got the wrong size? Do you think the bike shop might consider swapping the frame?

This of course is compounded by the fact I can't seem to find anywhere which has a 61cm in stock for me to try.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for all the questions!



  • Hi mate, strange how different threads with very similar questions stimulate a vast difference in amount of replies :roll:
    Anyhoo best bet is to try 'em both out. I, too, have lanky legs and find slightly smaller frame with long seat post better as i feel more in control of the bike, loads of threads about this recently, check 'em out :)
  • P.s big drop from seat to bars looks well cool 8)
  • Bear in mind that clipless pedals will actually mean you need to lower the seat, because your foot will be that much nearer the axis of the pedal.
  • mikeq
    mikeq Posts: 141
    I'm 6 3" and have had a 58 allez 09 for almost a year, never had any problems.

    As long as you are not past the minimum mark shouldn't be an issue, also remember that the top tube curves downwards from front to back so gives the illusion of having loads of seat post sticking up. If it was horizontal it wouldn't look so much.

    From what I have been reading they were right to fit you for the top tube, this is probably more difficult to adjust whereas there is more adjustment in seat position
    Cycling from Glasgow to Paris to raise funds for Asthma UK
  • Thanks for the replies.

    Good to here there's another 6'3" er on a 58. Without sounding too strange may I ask how high you have your saddle mikeq, and what your inseam is?
  • mikeq
    mikeq Posts: 141
    I'll need to measure both and get back to you, but think I am a 34" inside leg.

    One thing I will say is that although I have never had any problems with aches or pains and never had any problems when out on it, it feels a little big. This is just from comparing to the Giant OCR2 I had, which was a 57cm and got nicked.

    So nothing wrong with it, just a feeling.
    Cycling from Glasgow to Paris to raise funds for Asthma UK
  • Personally i'd size down, more seatpost tends to make things more comfy and makes the bike feel a bit more nimble.

    The big issue will be if you're flexible enough to get away with the increased saddle-bar drop. How flexible are your hamstrings, how good is your core strength?
  • I'm going to disagree slightly with the opinions here! I'm 6'2" and very similar proportions to you (93cm inseam or 36.5") and have suffered with too small frames before i got things sorted out. (Or, more to the point, frames fitted around the top-tube length - correctly - without consideration of the head-tube length).

    I think the 58 is on the small side for you, in terms of handlebar drop even with the stem flipped, spacers to the max. You just end up with comfort issues - back, hamstrings, numbness from the saddle. And, relatedly, handling suffers because the steerer/headtube combo is less stiff - more steerer showing outside of headtube bearings.

    However... the larger frame looks too big. It's got something over 60cm top-tube, which is definitely too long for you.

    In other words, I don't think the specialized geometry is that suited to you. If you're determined to stick with it, then the 58cm is the one you want, but make sure you're happy with the drop. You can get stems with bigger rises, handlebars which put the hoods in a higher position on the curve of the bar, and all of this helps, but I wouldn't say it's optimal.

    You're in the curious position of your ideal frame having something like a top-tube length in the region of 57-58cm and a head-tube length 20-22cm. In terms of classic horiztonal top-tube geometry, this corresponds to a frame with a seat-tube length around 61cm c-c, but a relatively short top-tube. Not many of these around, but there are a few manufacturers with this kind of geometry as standard.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 42,407
    I can never understand why manufacturers give basic frame size advice based on height. Surely the inside leg measurement would be more appropriate? I can't speak for Specialized sizes but a Trek fits me nicely in a 58cm but I'm only 6' 1" with a 34" inside leg and that is with a good amount of seat post. How much adjustment is available on the stem as the drop seems very large and as you are only just starting road cycling even a normal dropped bar position may feel a little uncomfortable at first. I would have thought for the sizes given that a 61cm would have been better as you'd have still had 6" of seat tube showing. If the top tube was too long then a shorter stem could have been used.
  • N4PALM
    N4PALM Posts: 240
    The top tube, while more important than the seat tube (especially with compact geometries) means nothing when considered by itself.

    I made this mistake when I bought my bike. Head tube height is extremely important if you want to avoid comfort issues and a bad back. Having said this, head tube height can perhaps be overcome with flipping a stem.

    As for the top tube, this number is a mere guidline that means nothing unless you have the seat tube angle.

    You set your saddle up in a position relative to the bottom bracket. This position doesnt change even if the seat tube angle does. You move the saddle forward on bikes with slacker angles, this effectively shortens the top tube length while keeping you in the same position relative to the bottom bracket.

    Example: a bike with a 550mm top tube and a 74 degree seat tube angle has a longer effective reach than a bike with 570mm top tube and a 72 degree seat tube angle (by about 4.5mm).

    I dont know the geometries of the bikes you were looking at but it really wouldnt surprise me if you would fit better on the larger bike.