Giant TCX M/L - feels big (compared to Trek) - what can be adjusted? C

johngwheeler Posts: 35
edited March 2017 in Road beginners
I've been looking at some Giant TCX cyclocross bikes and was advised to look at the Medium/Large sized frame. I had a quick sit on one in a bike shop (without pedals) and it did feel a bit large to me. In particular the amount I had to stretch my arms (or lower my torso angle) to get a decent grip on the chubby SRAM hoods.

The Giant sizing chart places my height (178cm) at either the end of the Medium range on the beginning of the Medium/Large range.

Opinion seems to be divided on whether going a bit larger or smaller than optimum is better. The "go larger" camps suggests that reach will improve with fitness level and practice.

What can be easily changed to make a bike "feel smaller"? I'm guessing options include:

Move the saddle forward - how much adjustment is possible 1-2cm?
Raise the head-tube - how much is typically possible?
Get a shorter stem - but how does affect handling?

So I guess my question is whether it is better to adjust a bike that feels a bit big, or to just get a smaller bike. The Medium frame felt OK, but I have no idea whether it was it at the end of its adjustment range or not.

As a beginner, I feel more comfortable with the handlebars a bit higher up, in a less aggressive position, even if it is less aerodynamic.

The situation is somewhat complication by the availability of sizes in various shops with differing prices. The best prices I've found is for a ML size, but I don't want to compromise years of ownership with the wrong size for a matter of $100.

My only other comparison is my current bike, a Trek Crossrip 2016. I have the 54cm frame (seat post), and in many dimensions this is very similar to the the Giant M/L (within 5mm) but feels smaller to me.

Should I just go with what "feels right", or look a bike shop that will spend enough time to get the fit right for me, even if it costs more money? i.e. how much should I trust my own senses, and how much to listen to vendors, who just want to sell their stock?


  • oxoman wrote:
    I normally ride medium / 53 frames but my TCX is a small frame which I can throw around off-road. I was set for a medium but I'm shortlegged so found it easier. If a bike is to small you can use extended seat tube or increase stem or turn stem up. If to big you can reduce stem or move saddle forward and that about it. I would always go to a smaller frame.

    Thanks for the advice. I'm going to test a TCX in medium and if possible the Medium/Large to compare if the Medium ends up feeling too small when I'm riding it.

    It's hard to make an accurate assessment in the shop without any pedals, but my gut feeling with the M/L was that I felt very stretched.

    I also think that a smaller frame might be just a bit easy to manoeuvre off-road, possibly a little bit stiffer, and a few grams lighter.


  • stoveman
    stoveman Posts: 125
    If you were trying the bike for size I ould get them to fit some pedals to properly try the size.If your looking to spend money then they should be more than helpful!
    As far as sizing goes,I was told by several ' old hands' that it was wiser to go smaller rather than bigger,as you will never make a larger bike comfortable.
    I had a similar experience when looking for my last bike,I wanted a BMC but just couldn't get a decent fit because of their size range so ended up with a Bianchi.
  • dj58
    dj58 Posts: 2,215
    Unless you have a long reach for your height, I would hazard a guess that the M/L with a 560mm TT will be too big for you, you said you felt you were overreaching when you sat on the bike, though as mentioned above, you need to be on a bike with pedals fitted and the saddle adjusted to the correct height to make this meaningful.

    You will have more room for adjustment with the Medium frame bike, for example, raising the seatpost, changing the length/angle of the stem.
  • DavidJB
    DavidJB Posts: 2,019
    Medium...M/L is too big.
  • DavidJB wrote:
    Medium...M/L is too big.

    Yes, I tried the medium tcx pro 2 today and it felt right. The handlebar was a bit lower than I'm used to, but the stem could be flipped to gain more height if I find myself uncomfortable after a long ride. My clip-in shoes just cleared the front wheel at all angles of wheel turn, so I wouldn't go any smaller.

    I also tried the TCX SLR 1, but they only had a small. Definitely not right! I felt unstable at speed, wobbly when standing, and my toes hit the wheel if pedalling during tight corners.

    Not sure if it was the size difference, but the carbon bike felt a lot smoother on the road, which has now tempted me to go for it.

    Medium it is then!
  • yiannism
    yiannism Posts: 345
    I am 180 and i drive 53 size and its perfect for me. As the others said is much easier to adjust a smaller frame than a bigger one, and if you are between 2 sizes always go for the smaller.

    I also used to drive a trekking bike on L size, then ive changed that bike to an M MTB, and i feel much much more comfortable
  • DavidJB
    DavidJB Posts: 2,019
    Shops for some ungodly reason always recommend a bloody 56 (which is a M/L in giant) i think it's because what they have in stock.

    Sorry my original comment was a bit terse of details.

    Medium is right John...I'm 177.7 CM and I have a medium TCX Advanced SL...perfect :)
  • k-dog
    k-dog Posts: 1,652
    Just to add that moving the saddle to change reach is the wrong approach - the saddle should only be used to change your position relative to the BB.

    If you have to change the reach then changing the stem is a better idea - and if you don't move it too much then it doesn't drastically alter the handling.
    I'm left handed, if that matters.
  • AK_jnr
    AK_jnr Posts: 717
    DavidJB wrote:
    Medium...M/L is too big.

    My clip-in shoes just cleared the front wheel at all angles of wheel turn, so I wouldn't go any smaller.

    I also tried the TCX SLR 1, but they only had a small. Definitely not right! I felt unstable at speed, wobbly when standing, and my toes hit the wheel if pedalling during tight corners.

    Medium it is then!

    Dont base bike sizing on if your toes hit the wheel!
    Short wheelbase frames such as my Cannondale Supersix means my size 9(!) feet would rub if I turned the wheel too much. As thats not how you go round corners it doesnt matter one bit.
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    ^ wot they said.

    Always go for the smaller frame if between sizes. If you felt that the reach was too far, it was. And don't worry about flipping the stem to reduce the saddle to bar drop; I have both bikes set up like that.

    And don't discount a frame because of toe overlap. I have small feet, but can still hit the front wheel on both my bikes if turning sharply. It's only really an issue when doing a u-turn, usually because of my demented Garmin, but you quickly learn to freewheel.