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Getting the right bike size

LaurynasLaurynas Posts: 91
edited July 2019 in Road beginners
Hi all

I am fairly new to road cycling.

I will be buying a new bike in the near the future and I don't want to make the same mistake as I did with my previous purchase.

I believe it was too small for me. When I got the bike my seat saddle was not adjusted properly meaning I had knee pain, so I fixed this issue. But then I felt I was too high up, which lead to neck pain when I have to look up ahead etc. So basically I fixed one problem ( knee pain ) then the other occurred.

I always felt that the handlebars were too low after raising the seat meaning I was stretching at maximum to reach the handlebars.

I am about 6ft3 - 6ft4 had a 58cm frame, endurance geometry. I bought it online because my local bike shop bikes are way too expensive.

I will be buying online again and I want to avoid the same issue. I know people may say buy from a local bike shop but as I said buying online is 20-30% cheaper for me.

So now I am thinking I will buy 60/62cm frame size I am not sure if that will actually fix the issue.

Any sensible answers would be much appreciated.

Posts

  • lemonenemalemonenema Posts: 238
    depending on where you order your bike from, they usually have a size chart to help, or you can go to the manufacturers website to get the info.
    Additionally once youve bought the right-ish size bike, its well worth going to a bike shop to get a bike fit done. I recently got one which was only £40 and they made a few tweeks that were very useful.
    Might be as simple as adjusting saddle and seatpost position or they may advise getting a shorter/longer stem which can be had online for £10-20
  • Find somewhere that does Guru bike fit, they will be able to tell you which bikes are most likely to be suited to you. Buy the bike after the bike fit, not before.
    Got a place in the Pyrenees.
    Do bike and ski stuff.
  • LaurynasLaurynas Posts: 91
    So I read this article now and I found the problem that I was in. It was overreaching the hoods. Now the article says that it could be the seat height issue but that does not make sense because if I was to lower the seat then it would be too low and if I raise any higher it will make hips go side to side so my seat height was perfect.

    So how do I fix the issue of overreaching the hoods?

    I mean does it not mean that the bike was too small meaning the seat should be lower but because the bike is too small I have had to rise too much to get the right height but in return it created overreaching?
  • wongataawongataa Posts: 883
    You can buy different length and angle stems. You can buy different handlebars that have the drops further waway or closer to the tops. These things will affect the distance to the hoods.
  • lemonenemalemonenema Posts: 238
    You are right in saying seat height should be set to the correct height first then seat fore/aft position, then adjust bars/stem
  • zefszefs Posts: 484
    If you are a tall person and have long legs the saddle needs to be high, which means the handlebar needs to be high and close as well, to not over-reach and get a good fit. As mentioned you could get a professional bike fit and sizing before buying the bike to get it right because everyone has different body proportions and frame sizing needs.
  • alanyualanyu Posts: 73
    Size 60 or 62 is usually for 6ft3.

    Both size too large or too small can make you feel over reach.
    If too large, that's in x direction, as to say, total reach from BB to hoods.
    If too small, that's in y direction, as to say, height from saddle over the handlebar.

    You can re-amount your stem in positive angle to raise your bar, or buy some second-hand ones in a larger angle.
  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 1,961
    With all due respect your knowledge of bike fitting is so low it would be really wise to follow the advice above and have a bike fit done. It is impossible for anyone on here to tell you which size frame you need to buy as a ‘58’ in one manufacturer’s size range can be completely different to a ‘58’ in another manufacturer’s range. Strange I know, but true.

    Plus of course it comes down to so much more than frame size alone. It depends on your proportions (someone the same height as someone else may have a long body, short legs/ short body, long legs). Arm reach and back flexibility comes into it too. Do you want to cruise or get into a racing position? There are too many variables to offer meaningful advice.

    Once you have a bike fit and have talked through with the fitter regarding what you want from a bike (as before race/ tour/ social short rides/ all day comfort etc etc) then the fitter can set you up to get you comfortable. You can then have a set of dimensions that will be meaningful, I.e. a range of frame sizes which will allow you to reach that position with appropriate stems/ spacers/ bars etc. The most useful is stack and reach as you will be able to look at the sizing charts for each manufacturer and compare frames which will be within your ‘range’.

    If you just go and buy a frame based on the size you stand a very high chance of getting another frame that is not the right size, because of the differences from brand to brand in sizing for the same ‘numerical size’ of the frames.

    Hope this helps.

    PP

    p.s. either get the bike fit, or learn about bike fitting to understand the variables and the relationship between the various components/ adjustments that can be made so you can work out what will fit you.
  • kubeismkubeism Posts: 30
    Just adding my take on things here. I am just touching 6ft and got a 58cm Cube from LBS. Got a trial fit in store and went away. Anyway, about 2 years later of being disheartened with various issues and discomfort, I went for a proper 'clinical' bike fit. Despite my thinking the bike was too small, the actuall lowered the seat and massively adjusted my cleats and I now think I understand the geometry issues more. So a 60cm frame would suit me also, allowed for a saddle relatively lower to the bars, a saddle pushed more forward and bars rotated more towards level. But the 58cm is an appropriate fit too.

    So I'm looking forward to trying some proper cycling again on the new fit and hope it works. Though I suspect next up might be the saddle.
  • Saddle,bars,and pedals have made a lot of difference in my riding, as have some really good bikes in my stable this year. Points of contact and quality of wheels, tires, and frame make a big difference.
  • flasherflasher Posts: 1,626
    kubeism wrote:
    Just adding my take on things here. I am just touching 6ft and got a 58cm Cube from LBS. Got a trial fit in store and went away. Anyway, about 2 years later of being disheartened with various issues and discomfort, I went for a proper 'clinical' bike fit. Despite my thinking the bike was too small, the actuall lowered the seat and massively adjusted my cleats and I now think I understand the geometry issues more. So a 60cm frame would suit me also, allowed for a saddle relatively lower to the bars, a saddle pushed more forward and bars rotated more towards level. But the 58cm is an appropriate fit too.

    I honestly can't believe that at not quiet 6ft a 60cm Cube frame would be a good fit :shock:
  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 1,961
    flasher wrote:
    kubeism wrote:
    Just adding my take on things here. I am just touching 6ft and got a 58cm Cube from LBS. Got a trial fit in store and went away. Anyway, about 2 years later of being disheartened with various issues and discomfort, I went for a proper 'clinical' bike fit. Despite my thinking the bike was too small, the actuall lowered the seat and massively adjusted my cleats and I now think I understand the geometry issues more. So a 60cm frame would suit me also, allowed for a saddle relatively lower to the bars, a saddle pushed more forward and bars rotated more towards level. But the 58cm is an appropriate fit too.

    I honestly can't believe that at not quiet 6ft a 60cm Cube frame would be a good fit :shock:

    Yeah, the mind boggles with that one. However it does depend on the dimensions of said frame - just because it is called a 60cm frame, does this mean it actually has a 60cm top tube? For example, I am just a fraction of an inch under 6’ too. I ride a Colnago in frame size 52. However, that’s closer to a 55cm top tube, which is perfect for me. So the ‘number’ isn’t everything. No idea what the ‘60’ Cube dimensions are...

    The other interesting comments are that the 60 would allow for a lower saddle and one pushed more forwards. This raises more questions about the poster’s understanding of bike fitting. If the saddle was in the correct position on a 58 frame, the saddle on a similar 60 frame should be in relatively the same position, not just ‘pushed more forward’ as though that is a benefit - the saddle fore and aft is dictated by the fixed crank/ pedal/ cleat position. The correct position of your foot on the pedal is fixed by cleat adjustment. This now means your leg extension is dictated by saddle height (irrespective of frame seat tube length) and fore/ aft saddle adjustment to get you correctly ‘balanced’ on the saddle. Once that position is correct, it is correct for whatever sized frame you have. If you then can’t comfortably reach the bars (with a suitable length stem), or get your saddle low enough then you probably have the wrong size frame. The saddle fore and aft adjustment is not really for adjusting reach because if you do that you will become unbalanced on the saddle - too far forwards and you will end up supporting too much weight on your hands and get associated pains. Too far back and the angle between your torso and upper legs will end up too tight - that’s why time trialists, who get really low at the front end want their saddles really far forwards to try to open that angle to not restrict power delivery too much.

    Similarly, the bars should be at the right height/ reach to achieve your comfortable position and the relation to your saddle position should be replicated from bike to bike to achieve the same fit, so saying that a larger frame would allow you to get the bars ‘rotated more towards level’ again indicates that you really don’t understand bike fitting because if they are rotated away from optimal on your current frame then they are not positioned correctly and moving to a bigger frame does not ‘allow’ for them to be rotated more towards level, it just means you are using bar rotation incorrectly. Not sure what you are trying to achieve by having bars rotated differently on different size frames, your optimal bar position is your optimal bar position (for the same handlebar), use a combination of stem length and bar reach to get the optimal reach for your desired position and rotation to get the hand positions comfortable - on a round bar that means mainly the drops position and the interaction between bar and hood position. Adjust the levers around the bars to get a comfortable hoods position (ideally a straight wrist, not one that is cocked in order to hold the hood) and adjust lever stroke to allow for comfortable brake application for your hand size. I prefer a short reach bar and a compact drop as I am not as flexible as I used to be, so selected a stem that gets the short reach bar at an optimal distance from my saddle. Saddle to bar drop depends on flexibility and your desired riding position - as low as possible or more upright and comfy? This again affects the hip/ torso angle and torso/ upper arm angle, which combined with stem (angle and length) and bars (reach and drop) interact together to dictate the overall angles.

    You may well be able to achieve the optimal position on a number of different sized frames, but the distances and angles between the contact points need to remain the same - there is a limit to achieving these on different sized frames. For example a lot of pro riders like to get their backs almost horizontal so will choose a frame which is smaller than the guideline optimal for them. This allows them to get the front end lower, but they often need a very long stem to maintain the reach and deep drop bars to get themselves low enough. They probably couldn’t replicate this extreme position on a frame that was much bigger as the longer head tube would simply put the front end relatively much higher for the same relative saddle position.

    PP
  • flasherflasher Posts: 1,626
    Pilot Pete wrote:
    flasher wrote:
    kubeism wrote:
    Just adding my take on things here. I am just touching 6ft and got a 58cm Cube from LBS. Got a trial fit in store and went away. Anyway, about 2 years later of being disheartened with various issues and discomfort, I went for a proper 'clinical' bike fit. Despite my thinking the bike was too small, the actuall lowered the seat and massively adjusted my cleats and I now think I understand the geometry issues more. So a 60cm frame would suit me also, allowed for a saddle relatively lower to the bars, a saddle pushed more forward and bars rotated more towards level. But the 58cm is an appropriate fit too.

    I honestly can't believe that at not quiet 6ft a 60cm Cube frame would be a good fit :shock:

    Yeah, the mind boggles with that one. However it does depend on the dimensions of said frame - just because it is called a 60cm frame, does this mean it actually has a 60cm top tube? For example, I am just a fraction of an inch under 6’ too. I ride a Colnago in frame size 52. However, that’s closer to a 55cm top tube, which is perfect for me. So the ‘number’ isn’t everything. No idea what the ‘60’ Cube dimensions are...

    I too have a Colnago which is a 52S (slopping) which as you say is 55cm top c to c, whereas a standard 52 is 531mm c to c.

    Looking at Cube road bikes the 60cm is 59cm c to c!
  • AlejandrosdogAlejandrosdog Posts: 2,007
    my experience of bike fits is that the same "system" can quite happily produce significantly different fit requirements.
  • zefszefs Posts: 484
    my experience of bike fits is that the same "system" can quite happily produce significantly different fit requirements.

    Because it is not a fixed thing and depends on different physiology aspects. If you have your current fit and ride X hours/week then stop cycling for a year your fit will then be different.

    But even between fitters and systems it will vary because of the judgment/experience of the fitter that will evaluate the rider and his goals.
  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 1,961
    zefs wrote:
    my experience of bike fits is that the same "system" can quite happily produce significantly different fit requirements.

    Because it is not a fixed thing and depends on different physiology aspects. If you have your current fit and ride X hours/week then stop cycling for a year your fit will then be different.

    But even between fitters and systems it will vary because of the judgment/experience of the fitter that will evaluate the rider and his goals.

    Agreed. A lot of it comes down to the conversation the bike fitter has with the client. What are they trying to achieve? What sort of riding do they do? How long are their rides? Are they looking for optimal power delivery and aero position to race or are they riding for leisure/ pleasure with the odd ‘out and out’ fast burst of fun thrown in, or are they looking to munch miles and do the same day after day crossing something like the Pyrenees from one coast to the other? What experience has the rider got? What niggles, aches or pains? Previous limiting injuries or conditions? What is their current position like? Are there any obvious positional mistakes that the rider just doesn’t have a clue about? Are they fairly experienced and switched on and know exactly what they are talking about or a complete novice who has no idea that his or her current setup is so woefully wrong that simple corrections will improve their experience immeasurably?

    It all depends on what the client states as their target and then how the fitter interprets this and sets the rider in a position which should allow those aims to be achieved. And it’s a fluid thing - as a rider does more and more miles (especially a novice) their aims may change and their optimal position, even for the same aim may change as their fitness and flexibility develop.

    PP
  • AlejandrosdogAlejandrosdog Posts: 2,007
    Pilot Pete wrote:
    zefs wrote:
    my experience of bike fits is that the same "system" can quite happily produce significantly different fit requirements.

    Because it is not a fixed thing and depends on different physiology aspects. If you have your current fit and ride X hours/week then stop cycling for a year your fit will then be different.

    But even between fitters and systems it will vary because of the judgment/experience of the fitter that will evaluate the rider and his goals.

    Agreed. A lot of it comes down to the conversation the bike fitter has with the client. What are they trying to achieve? What sort of riding do they do? How long are their rides? Are they looking for optimal power delivery and aero position to race or are they riding for leisure/ pleasure with the odd ‘out and out’ fast burst of fun thrown in, or are they looking to munch miles and do the same day after day crossing something like the Pyrenees from one coast to the other? What experience has the rider got? What niggles, aches or pains? Previous limiting injuries or conditions? What is their current position like? Are there any obvious positional mistakes that the rider just doesn’t have a clue about? Are they fairly experienced and switched on and know exactly what they are talking about or a complete novice who has no idea that his or her current setup is so woefully wrong that simple corrections will improve their experience immeasurably?

    It all depends on what the client states as their target and then how the fitter interprets this and sets the rider in a position which should allow those aims to be achieved. And it’s a fluid thing - as a rider does more and more miles (especially a novice) their aims may change and their optimal position, even for the same aim may change as their fitness and flexibility develop.

    PP

    A few years ago as an experienced rider (3 decades, including extended periods of low level racing here and in Europe) I had 3 bike fits one after another expecting differences with the view that if anything consistent popped up that would be worth noting and otherwise see where i was in relation to the tests. They were so far different they were useless. Maybe one of them was bang on who knows. I think the "tester" makes a massive difference. like PP says.

    on the other hand i changed shoes 18months ago after a few years on the same model and couldn't for the life of me get comfortable, I paid for a fitting and the changes on cleat position were significant. though interestingly there were no other changes suggested. For me the jury is definitely out. The problem with bike shops is that they're a mix of retail outlet meets folklore with the occasional twist of someone who actually understands things and a massive sprinkle of people who don't who believe they do.

    my advice would be to not invest 10k in a bike until youve had a few years to work out what works for you and get it 95% right, then tweek either on your own or with assistance and when it works, dont change it. i think people obsess about this too much.

    rather than work on my bike dimensions i work on myself to maintain flexibility and core strength. Its a lot better for me and an awful lot cheaper than swapping and changing. Plus i can look at myself in the mirror more.
  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 1,961
    Plus i can look at myself in the mirror more.

    Big Brucie Bonus there then! :D 8)

    PP
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