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Between sizes on Specialized Roubaix - 52 or 54?

TheUndertonesTheUndertones Posts: 3
edited July 2013 in Road buying advice
Hey there. I recently got fitted for my first road bike. The guy at my LBS told me I would do well on a 52cm, but I may be able to do a 54cm. I have long legs and a short torso (5'4.5, 31.5 inch inseam), which seems to be quite different than most riders. I have the option of buying a used 54cm Roubaix from a friend at a really great price, but I'm hesitant because I fear it may be too big (haven't tested it out yet, but I will in a few days). Should I go with the bigger size, especially on a Roubaix?

A little more info about me: Reach is 25 inches, torso is 23.5. 5'4.5" (5'5" in shoes). 31.5 inch bike inseam. My core isn't very well-developed, and I'm sure I'd gain some flexibility (and reach) while riding, which is why I'm leaning toward the larger bike. Any thoughts?

Posts

  • doug5_10doug5_10 Posts: 465
    You'll get a better idea after testing the 54, but to play safe I would go with the smaller bike. As long as you can get your saddle height correct on the smaller frame; a longer stem and some spacers if needed will sort out your reach. You may need a shorter stem on the 54 which can compromise handling, making it feel skittish.
    Edinburgh Revolution Curve
    http://app.strava.com/athletes/1920048
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    If you're between sizes always go smaller. I'm 5'11" and would ride the Roubaix in a 54...
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • doug5_10 wrote:
    You'll get a better idea after testing the 54, but to play safe I would go with the smaller bike. As long as you can get your saddle height correct on the smaller frame; a longer stem and some spacers if needed will sort out your reach. You may need a shorter stem on the 54 which can compromise handling, making it feel skittish.

    Do you think flipping the stem on the 54 is an option, rather than buying a shorter one? I'm worried that once my reach improves, the 52 will be too small, given my awkward body proportions. Maybe I'm overthinking this.
  • kwozzymodokwozzymodo Posts: 44
    I'm 5'7" and ride a 52 Roubaix, in comfort (the LBS recommended a 54, perhaps because that was the size they had in stock). If you go smaller rather than bigger, you can always tweak the seat position fore and aft, and/or switch stems. I'm also riding a 49 Scott CR1, in comfort - so frame sizing can be a little deceptive given the variations in the various parts of your bod. If you sense any doubts about the sizing, probably best to get some pro advice/bike fit.

    Good luck.
  • dwanesdwanes Posts: 954
    doug5_10 wrote:
    You'll get a better idea after testing the 54, but to play safe I would go with the smaller bike. As long as you can get your saddle height correct on the smaller frame; a longer stem and some spacers if needed will sort out your reach. You may need a shorter stem on the 54 which can compromise handling, making it feel skittish.

    Do you think flipping the stem on the 54 is an option, rather than buying a shorter one? I'm worried that once my reach improves, the 52 will be too small, given my awkward body proportions. Maybe I'm overthinking this.
    If you are having to flip the stem then you have got the wrong size bike.
    If you cant get either size bike to fit properly then look at a different bike all together. There are plenty of other choices out there.
  • dwanesdwanes Posts: 954
    kwozzymodo wrote:
    I'm 5'7" and ride a 52 Roubaix, in comfort (the LBS recommended a 54, perhaps because that was the size they had in stock). If you go smaller rather than bigger, you can always tweak the seat position fore and aft, and/or switch stems. I'm also riding a 49 Scott CR1, in comfort - so frame sizing can be a little deceptive given the variations in the various parts of your bod. If you sense any doubts about the sizing, probably best to get some pro advice/bike fit.

    Good luck.
    Just a note: Switching stems is one thing, but you should not tweak the fore/aft position of the seat position to get to size right for your torso. The saddle position should be a set position to get your knees in the correct position relative to the crank arms.
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • dwanesdwanes Posts: 954
    Grill wrote:
    Sorry, lost him after the second paragraph. He certainly knows how to ramble!
  • mikeneticmikenetic Posts: 486
    Hey there. I recently got fitted for my first road bike. The guy at my LBS told me I would do well on a 52cm, but I may be able to do a 54cm. I have long legs and a short torso (5'4.5, 31.5 inch inseam), which seems to be quite different than most riders. I have the option of buying a used 54cm Roubaix from a friend at a really great price, but I'm hesitant because I fear it may be too big (haven't tested it out yet, but I will in a few days). Should I go with the bigger size, especially on a Roubaix?

    A little more info about me: Reach is 25 inches, torso is 23.5. 5'4.5" (5'5" in shoes). 31.5 inch bike inseam. My core isn't very well-developed, and I'm sure I'd gain some flexibility (and reach) while riding, which is why I'm leaning toward the larger bike. Any thoughts?

    I'd suggest the 52. The Roubaix has a pretty high front end and isn't particularly short on the TT, so a 54 might prevent you getting any sort of a dropped position as it'll stretch you out way too much.

    I'm 5'9" and groin to floor inseam is just over 32 inches. I ride a 2008 54cm Roubaix with the stem set at -16 and the fork cut by 10mm to get a nice 8.5cm drop on the saddle to bars.

    I suspect you'll be too stretched on the 54, but the 52 will give you a nice dropped position that you can reach. I think you should be well within the minimum seat post insertion length too, but check that.

    Also, cycling will reduce your flexibility more than anything, and actually doesn't do a lot for your core, so you may want to look at separate core and flexibility training. It's let me hold a much more aero position in comfort since I started to do it.
  • AbzzbikeAbzzbike Posts: 6
    Thanks for posting this, I have the same dilemma! as I am "in between" on the sizing chart.

    I am 5' 6" and a 30" inside leg. LBS is recommending a 52, but to be honest, I am looing for a good S/H bike due to finances and 52s rarely come up on ebay, its mostly 54s :( so was wondering if I should try a 54 and shorten the stem if necessary, however after reading this, I think its best to wait for a 52 to come up.
    Anyone know other good sources for "quality" S/H road bikes?
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    No. Wait for a 52. I'm way taller than you and would ride it in a 54.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,969
    Grill wrote:

    one guy's internet opinion does not make a scientific fact.
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    Maybe not, but experienced fitters tend to agree with Hogg (Timmis does). I'm not even close to KOPS and when I was I was getting massive ITB issues. Everyone's morphology is different so it's foolhardy to pigeonhole someone with a fit using KOPS instead of seeing the big picture.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • AbzzbikeAbzzbike Posts: 6
    Grill wrote:
    No. Wait for a 52. I'm way taller than you and would ride it in a 54.

    Thanks for the advice Grill, I will look for a 52. As I currently ride a 50 (M) framed Giant TCR that is fairly comfy, I guess a 54 Roubaix was wishful thinking anyway :roll:
  • Paul EPaul E Posts: 2,052
    Always look at the top tube length first, I got a bike that was too big when I first started as I went of my height rather than if I could reach the bars. I'm an odd shape anyway, long legs and arms and shorter body in comparison, so a smaller frame and longer stem suits me
  • AbzzbikeAbzzbike Posts: 6
    Paul E wrote:
    Always look at the top tube length first, I got a bike that was too big when I first started as I went of my height rather than if I could reach the bars. I'm an odd shape anyway, long legs and arms and shorter body in comparison, so a smaller frame and longer stem suits me
    Yes you are right Paul, on inspection the effective top tube length of a 52 Roubaix is actually 3mm shorter than my 50 TCR! (54 Roubaix is 8mm longer, which is why I thought a 54 with a shorter stem may work) but I wouldn't want to be much further stretched than I am on my TCR
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    Be careful when sizing Giants. They use compact geometry which means the effective top tube is quite a bit longer than actual top tube length. You'll be fine with the Roubaix in a 52. A short stem will just make the bike twitchy.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • mikeneticmikenetic Posts: 486
    Abzzbike wrote:
    Paul E wrote:
    Always look at the top tube length first, I got a bike that was too big when I first started as I went of my height rather than if I could reach the bars. I'm an odd shape anyway, long legs and arms and shorter body in comparison, so a smaller frame and longer stem suits me
    Yes you are right Paul, on inspection the effective top tube length of a 52 Roubaix is actually 3mm shorter than my 50 TCR! (54 Roubaix is 8mm longer, which is why I thought a 54 with a shorter stem may work) but I wouldn't want to be much further stretched than I am on my TCR

    The other thing about the Roubaix is the front end is pretty high. With the 52 you'd get a much more decent drop. I'm 175cm (5'9") and ride a 54, which fits very well. It's much easier to create a bit more room on a smaller bike via stem and setback than do anything with a frame that's too big.
  • tonye_ntonye_n Posts: 832
    Hey there. I recently got fitted for my first road bike. The guy at my LBS told me I would do well on a 52cm, but I may be able to do a 54cm. I have long legs and a short torso (5'4.5, 31.5 inch inseam), which seems to be quite different than most riders. I have the option of buying a used 54cm Roubaix from a friend at a really great price, but I'm hesitant because I fear it may be too big (haven't tested it out yet, but I will in a few days). Should I go with the bigger size, especially on a Roubaix?

    A little more info about me: Reach is 25 inches, torso is 23.5. 5'4.5" (5'5" in shoes). 31.5 inch bike inseam. My core isn't very well-developed, and I'm sure I'd gain some flexibility (and reach) while riding, which is why I'm leaning toward the larger bike. Any thoughts?

    The chap at the lbs is talking tosh. At 5'4" there is no way that a size 54 could be right for you.
    At your height, with 31.5 inch inseam, your torso is not long for your height at all!
    I am 5'8" with 32 inch inseam, and I use a 54 roubaix expert.

    I'd say that you should not go above size 52.
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