Forum home Road cycling forum Road beginners

6' rider on 61cm Tarmac - feels too long, need help pls!

m0ngym0ngy Posts: 3
edited May 2015 in Road beginners
Hi all, my first post. Thanks in advance for your advice.

So, I'm a mtb rider (Stumpy HT, Heckler, Bullit, Foes FXR, VP-Free, Kona Unit), recently bought my first roady, a 2011 Specialized Tarmac S-Works Project Black SL3, same frame as this; http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/ ... d#geometry

I'm 6' (183cm) with a 34" (86cm) inseam, and 27.5" (70cm) reach (from pit to fingertip). Had been looking around for ages for a good Tarmac in excellent condition, this one was mint, so I bought it. However, now I'm worried I've gone too big. Had a little play on a 56cm, felt a bit small, 58cm felt about right, but they were asking too much. I bought a 61cm thinking it felt a bit long, I was too stretched out, but figured I could just get a shorter stem.

The thing that sold me on the 61cm Tarmac was that the seat tube to head tube measurement (centre to centre) was 58cm, which is the same length as my VP-Free (current trail bike), and 1 cm shorter than my Kona Unit. I also found on the 56cm and 58cm Tarmacs I was having to jack the seat post right up, which I'd rather not do, and don't on the 61cm (18cm seat post showing to saddle rail), the seat tube also being 58cm (same as top tube). Atm the bike has a 120mm stem, and I feel too raked out on it to be really comfortable, have to crane my neck up. Coming from a mtb background, I'm used to sitting fairly upright, French style (is that right?), especially riding Santa Cruz bikes, which tend to have long legs and a short cockpit.

Can this overreach be fixed by swapping out the stem for a 90mm? I'd go down to a 75mm, but have been told it would be too twitchy. Or have I just plain f&%ked up and gone too big? For what it's worth, I love the bike, really sexy, super clean lines, and it doesn't look too big to my eye, though it does feel a bit long.

Posts

  • I'm afraid that frame is probably way too big for you. Any road bike is going to feel stretched out after a life of riding mountain bikes due to the lower position but a 61cm frame would normally be a ball park fit for someone a lot taller than you.

    For comparison I'm 5 foot 10 and ride a 54cm bike. My brother owns an Sworks tarmac in size 56cm and he is 6 foot.

    I'm not sure if shortening the stem would ever give you the right fit to be honest but there may be people on here who disagree with that opinion? Also don't go down the road of pushing the saddle forward on the rails either as this will just put your knees in the wrong position and could cause injury.

    Did you buy the bike from a shop or privately? You may be able to swap it back with another size of model if you bought it from a decent local LBS?

    Sorry for the negativity by the way!
  • m0ngym0ngy Posts: 3
    Doh!! Frustrating that they call it a 61cm, even though the top tube length is actually 58cm, which is what all the online calculators recommended for me.

    Thanks for the advice, I was going to push the saddle forward, but won't now... I was fearing someone with more knowledge than me would say this. The curious thing is my bike mechanic, who rides elite XC mtb and cross trains on a roady reckons it will be fine with a shorter stem, which swayed me to get it. Second hand purchase, paid AU$1700 for it, it's in immaculate condition, mix of Dura-Ace and Ultegra groupo, Ksyrium wheelset.

    Not sure what to do, feel kinda stupid now... lol.
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    I am 6ft7 and ride a 62cm Trek to give you another comparison.

    One quick free quick change you can try is flipping the stem into the upright position. This will reduce the reach and put the bars into a more upright position. Unfortunately it is very likely the bike is just too big for you and there is little you can really do.
  • " The curious thing is my bike mechanic, who rides elite XC mtb and cross trains on a roady reckons it will be fine with a shorter stem, which swayed me to get it. "

    First thing , and probably most important. Get rid of that mechanic, he obviously doesn't know his ar$$ from a hole in the ground!!!!!!!!! :shock:

    183cm with a 61in. frame. As my old Scottish step dad would say, " if that fits, my cöcks a kipper"

    I'm 185cm, 89 inseem, and with modern compact geometry between 56-58in depending on bike
  • Another data point: I'm 6' and ride a 56 or 57 (even up to a 58 in a Focus where 56 feels slightly small) but a 61 would be waaaaay too big.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 18,633
    I'm 6'1. I ride a 58cm. Although I'd get away with a 56 and 130 stem with long reach bars.
    Twitter - @NapD
    Strava - Alex Taylor (sportstest.co.uk)
    ABCC Cycling Coach
  • According to Specialized the TT is 60cm. Where did you get your geometry measurements from? The 61 is for 6'4 and above! I had a 61cm Secteur and it was slightly too long for me and i'm 6'3. Don't know if you're measuring the top tube yourself but it has to be measured as the virtual TT. Hope you get it sorted.

    http://www.specialized.com/gb/gb/bikes/ ... t#geometry
  • The mechanic isn't wrong. One size doesn't fit all, but when it comes to bikes, one size doesn't fit one.

    Fashions have varied, but generally speaking a bike built for racing will use the smallest frame that allows the desired stem length and seat to bar drop. A touring or audax bike, or older racing bike, will/can typically use a larger frame with a shorter stem, and it is not wrong or ignorant to do so.

    I'm proportioned very similarly to you, by the sound of it - same height and similar inseam. The bike I do most of my cycling on is an old tourer. 61cm seat tube/58cm top tube/100mm stem. My TT bike on the other hand has 50cm seat tube/53cm top tube/100mm stem. If I had a racier regular road bike, it would probably have a 54-56cm top tube.

    The bottom line is that for the sort of bike that is, your Tarmac probably IS a bit bigger than many would go for - though it sounds to me like you're not used to typical road bike positioning; feeling a bit stretched out to begin with is normal - but the suggestion that road cyclists have to use long stems is simply incorrect.
  • martino53 wrote:
    First thing , and probably most important. Get rid of that mechanic, he obviously doesn't know his ar$$ from a hole in the ground!!!!!!!!! :shock:
    martino53 wrote:
    183cm with a 61in. frame. As my old Scottish step dad would say, " if that fits, my cöcks a kipper"

    :lol:
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    Hi there, I agree that it sounds too big for you, but if you have already bought it, it would be worth trying a shorter stem and moving the seat forward a bit.

    I have a steel frame audax bike that I soon realised was too big for me after I was sold it 8 years ago. It's a 57cm frame and I'm only 5'8", but after moving the saddle forward a fair bit and experimenting with various short stems (I now have a 60mm stem), I now find it very comfortable to ride.
  • Hi there, I agree that it sounds too big for you, but if you have already bought it, it would be worth trying a shorter stem and moving the seat forward a bit.

    I have a steel frame audax bike that I soon realised was too big for me after I was sold it 8 years ago. It's a 57cm frame and I'm only 5'8", but after moving the saddle forward a fair bit and experimenting with various short stems (I now have a 60mm stem), I now find it very comfortable to ride.

    What is being neglected here, is to say that a 60mm stem will considerably affect the intended handling of the bike in question. :!:
  • Just turn the stem around so it faces the saddle. Job done :wink:
    "You really think you can burn off sugar with exercise?" downhill paul
  • tmgtmg Posts: 651
    I am 6ft 1 and I ride a 58cm Sworks so would agree it's too big, would suggest you get a bike fit and get the stem etc adjusted to make the bike fit as good as it can
  • lancewlancew Posts: 680
    6' - 56cm Allez sport here.


    I've tried riding a 61 (friends Roubaix). Crazy big, couldn't ride it.
    Specialized Allez Sport 2013
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    martino53 wrote:
    Hi there, I agree that it sounds too big for you, but if you have already bought it, it would be worth trying a shorter stem and moving the seat forward a bit.

    I have a steel frame audax bike that I soon realised was too big for me after I was sold it 8 years ago. It's a 57cm frame and I'm only 5'8", but after moving the saddle forward a fair bit and experimenting with various short stems (I now have a 60mm stem), I now find it very comfortable to ride.

    What is being neglected here, is to say that a 60mm stem will considerably affect the intended handling of the bike in question. :!:
    It didn't affect the handling for me. Maybe it would affect it on the OP's bike, maybe it wouldn't, but if he is stuck with the bike, I think buying and trying a shorter stem would be an option worth trying.
  • I am 6'3 and have a 58 allez. The 61 must be massive for you!
  • Would it not be best to sell the bike as is and get something in the right size.

    Im pretty much the same dimensions and i ride a 56cm frame so i think even with the alterations its still going to be too big
    Cannondale Caad8
    Canyon Aeroad 8.0

    http://www.strava.com/athletes/goodhewt
  • IrishMacIrishMac Posts: 328
    I'm 6 foot 2 with long legs and I would consider myself fractionally too big for a 56cm.
    I ride a 58cm and it's perfect. I'm similar to Marcel Kittel in build and set up so couldn't be that wrong.
    You'd probably be best to sell it,most custom frame builders always avoid anything less than a 100mm stem.
    Member of Cuchulainn C.C. @badcyclist

    Raleigh SP Race
    Trek 1.2
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    I'm 5'11" and I ride a 56cm Allez and Tarmac - with the 100mm stems they are a great fit (for me)
    I've also got a 56cm Tricross and had to put a longer stem on it (110mm) as it felt too short.
    People taller than me are using the same frame - so height isn't the only consideration.

    Such small differences in size can have a huge impact on how the bike feels and handles.
    TBH, in your position - having already bought the bike, I'd check out how to do a bike fit, source a shorter stem (prob 90 or 100mm) and try it.
    The frame may still be a compromise, but it's down to you if it's worth living with or not.
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,111
    I'm 6'2" and ride a 58 with 120mm stem. 61cm sounds too big, but worth giving a 100mm stem a go - push the saddle forward a little but do some research on bike fit to make sure not too much, give it a go and you might just be lucky, although it sounds unlikely.
  • The top tube is 58cm - this isn't a massive frame. As stated earlier, I'm 6' with an inseam of 34" or so, and my main steel bike is that size. I've always used a 100mm stem, but have been thinking about increasing my reach of late. Yes, the frame the OP has picked is a larger size than the designer intended for a person of his proportions, but frame sizing IS subjective, and fashion/opinion HAS fluctuated over the years.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    Well he could keep the bike until it comes back into fashion, but as he feels it is too long then I think that regardless of currents trends, its just 2 sizes too big.

    Designers/manufacturers often tend to advise getting a bike thats too big anyway IME.
  • shmoostershmooster Posts: 355
    Like gavt033 I'm 6'3" and had a 61cm Secteur which is similar geometry to the Tarmac, it was too big and I had back problems which I fixed with a 20mm shorter stem. I now ride a 58cm Tarmac which is a pretty good fit. A lot of it depends on leg length vs torso, I think my legs are slightly on the longer side. Worth trying a new stem certainly.
  • ayjayceeayjaycee Posts: 1,277
    Sorry this is a bit late but FWIW, I ride an 2015 Allez which I think has the same or very similar geometry to a Tarmac - I'm 6'1" ish and mine is 56cm with a 120mm stem and it fits just right.
    Cannondale Synapse Carbon Ultegra
    Kinesis Racelight 4S
    Specialized Allez Elite (Frame/Forks for sale)
    Specialized Crosstrail Comp Disk (For sale)
  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 18,633
    The top tube is 58cm - this isn't a massive frame. As stated earlier, I'm 6' with an inseam of 34" or so, and my main steel bike is that size. I've always used a 100mm stem, but have been thinking about increasing my reach of late. Yes, the frame the OP has picked is a larger size than the designer intended for a person of his proportions, but frame sizing IS subjective, and fashion/opinion HAS fluctuated over the years.

    Actual TT is 58. But it's a sloping frame. Virtual TT is longer, 60cm

    Spesh's own sizing guide suggests 6'3" plus for the 61
    Twitter - @NapD
    Strava - Alex Taylor (sportstest.co.uk)
    ABCC Cycling Coach
  • I'm 6'0 and ride a 58 Specialized Tarmac. 56 felt a bit small and I went for 58, which initially felt a bit big, but I turned the stem over and now it feels much better - probably only saving 1 cm or so in reach, but a lot happier.

    BTW - I don't have my saddle at pretty much same height as bars - I've had bad backs in past, so I don't want to be lent over like a pro, this also probably saves me a cm or 2 in reach terms
  • gmaczgmacz Posts: 343
    I am 6ft 2 and always go for the bigger bike.
    Long body and shorter legs relatively speaking and just love the stretched out feeling the bike gives.
    It is all about personal choice and also experience of testing a few bikes.
  • cyberknightcyberknight Posts: 1,238
    Another thing to remember is mtb/hybrids tend to have longer top tubes compared to a road bike the same size , but the shifters are closer on a flat bar , i ride an 18" mtb with a 70 mm stem which feels comfy or a 53 cm roadbike with 100 cm stem ., a 54 roadie with a 90 mm stem .
    Im 5 foot 7 " ........
    FCN 3/5/9
Sign In or Register to comment.