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Getting the right sized frame. Help please!

I.T.BI.T.B Posts: 7
edited October 2012 in Road general
OK, this might take a while so please bare with me.

I know I should probably post this under the "New to Cycling" thread but I wouldn't mind some advice from people with a lot of experience. Apologies if this isn't good Bike Radar etiquette.

I, like many others, am really getting into my cycling. I bought a new bike for the first time since childhood last year. I went for a mountain bike as I thought that I cycle on road for fitness and still have the option of going off road for fun. Best of both worlds, right? But, 18 months down the line, I have not once gone off road. I bloody love road cycling and want to get myself a proper road bike.

After months and months of looking at various makes and models I've decided to go for the 2013 Specialized Allez Sport. I like the feel of it and I think it offers good value for what I can afford.

Now here's my problem...

In stocking feet, I'm 6ft tall. The sizes for the Allez are: 5' 10" to 6' = a 56 bike size. For 6' to 6' 3" a 58 bike size.... I am smack bang in between.

I went into a Specialized store near where I live and they were really helpful and took a lot of time talking with me. One of the blokes in there was a trained Specialized BG Fit technician and he said that I looked ever so slightly cramped on the 56, and looked a bit better on the 58. To be honest, it felt a bit more comfortable on the 56 but I did keep shifting my bum back so some of it was over the back edge of the saddle.

The 58 felt like I was stretched out a bit too much but then again, I have just spent the best part of 18 months on a mountain bike so naturally I would feel like that, right?...the riding positions are totally different.

They swapped the 58's stem from a 110 to a 100 and that helped but I'm still not sure.

The guys in the shop said go for a 58. What they have forgotten more cycling is more than I will ever know, so I should go with them, right?

On last point. The 56 was set up in a way that the saddle was higher that the handle bars. On the 58 it was slightly higher but not much. Does this mean anything?

This is something which I am really trying to get into and I just don't want to spend the money and find that I got it wrong.

I would really appreciate any advice.


  • GizmodoGizmodo Posts: 1,928
    Specialized do test rides so take one or both of the bikes for an extended test ride and decide which is most comfortable after 2 or 3 hours in the saddle.

    There is loads on the Intenet if you search for "bike fitting"

    For example
  • Instinct says that they are right. I'm not very surprised that you feel stretched out; this is something that you will get used to, and a common feature in road bike design.

    As for the saddle height in relation to the handlebars, that has to do with the setup (i.e. the length of the steerer tube and the placing of spacers) and the bike in question. Often out-and-out racers will have a bigger drop at the front to facilitate an aerodynamically favourable position. Tourers and more casual riders will differ. I wouldn't worry about it too much for now.

    It would be my assumption (having not been there) that the 56 simply had more exposed seat-tube length because they will have made up the height by raising the saddle more than they needed to on the 58, which has two more centimetres of seat-tube. (and corresponding geometry)

    However, Gizmodo is right.
  • leflef Posts: 728
    i would say go for the smaller one, easy to put on a longer stem and raise the saddle on the 56. i had an allez and im 5'9 (nearly 5'10) size was a 54 and perfect fit.
  • I've just got the 56 and I'm 5'11. Get the 56 it will fit you well.
  • I.T.BI.T.B Posts: 7
    Thanks for the replies.

    I said it at the bottom of my post but I'll say it again.... I really appreciate it.
  • DubaiNeilDubaiNeil Posts: 246
    I.T.B - in relation to some of the above responses - you have been to a specialist shop, with a specifically trained fitter, who (in your own words) has spent time with you (in person) and given you the opportunity to actually sit on both of the frame sizes in question. This would imply (to me) that the shop have both sizes available, and are therefore not attempting to direct you to a particular size based on stock levels.

    I agree with the suggestion to actually take the two sizes in question out for an actual test ride and see which suits best.

    I also agree that it is easier to "up-scale" a smaller frame to suit than the "reduce" a larger frame size, however there are always compromises beyond a certain point.

    What I cannot agree with is someone who has never met you recommending a frame size as being correct!

  • neebneeb Posts: 4,430
    Unfortunately it's quite difficult to pick the ideal frame size when you are just starting out, especially if it appears that you are inbetween sizes on a particular model. It's not enough just to ride the two bikes and see which one feels best, as the feel could be as much to do with the way it has been setup as the frame itself, e.g. the position of the saddle in relation to the BB, horizontal drop between the saddle and the bars (which you have already noticed is different).

    After you have ridden more you will have a better idea about how high you want your bars to be, saddle position, reach etc. You can adjust these things within certain bounds, but if you get the wrong size you may find that what you want is outside of these bounds or requires an extreme solution such as a very short stem or lots of spacers under the stem.

    You have mentioned some differences in the way the two sizes were setup and felt, e.g. the drop between the saddle and the bars and the reach (stretch). Try to think about these things in isolation and then see which frame size allows you to set most of them ideally (with advice from the bike shop of course).

    The first step should be to get the bike shop to estimate your ideal saddle position (both height and setback) and if possible setup both bikes identically in this respect. Then you can start thinking about reach and drop to the bars.
  • NewTTerNewTTer Posts: 463
    OP what is your inside leg measurement?
    I ride Spesh, I always have, as I like their products. I have an Allez and a Tarmac Pro SL4, I am 6' with a 34" inside leg, and for many years have been quite happily riding a 58 with no issues. I am no youngster anymore (48 years young) so not the most flexible person, and many years of Rugby have bashed up me somewhat, but I dont have any comfort issues with a 58 on all the Spesh bikes I have owned, and currently own.
    Go try them out, see what suits you and how you feel. Different set ups for different people can also dictate a frame size when you are unsure.
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