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Is my bike too small?

mark8191mark8191 Posts: 30
edited September 2019 in Road beginners
48587654897_9ed691d260.jpgIMG_6216 by Mark Bainbridge, on Flickr

Bought my first road bike recently. I'm 5'6" and a bit on a small Giant Contend. Man in the shop suggested medium but reach was way too far and was touching TT. I've flipped the stem and went down to 80mm but think I'll go back up to 90 and get compact bars. Often wonder if I could have done with the stack height on the medium?

Thoughts appreciated :)

Posts

  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 8,188
    Looks ok to me, I'm 5ft 8" and I ride a small frame tcx and a medium defy. My advice would be to play around with various bits you can adjust, try one thing at a time. If your still struggling then think about a bike fit. Remember it's always easier to make a smaller fit than a larger bike.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 1,961
    Looks spot on for size. As you get used to it and riding more your strength and fitness will build. You are very upright in that photo so you could build up to getting a little lower at the front end to make yourself more efficient. You could flip that stem and eventually take out spacers below the stem to get the front lower. You want to remain comfortable though and must expect a few niggles until you adapt to each change you make.

    As a rough guide, keep the torso to upper arm angle at 90 degrees, which it looks like you almost have there - perhaps slightly less if actually measured? And a slight bend in the elbows will allow for a bit of shock absorption. Wrists want to remain straight (your right one is in the photo) when holding the hoods, but I see your left hand is not actually holding the hoods, rather an inch or so back from the hoods - not sure if that is because you are balancing against the van thus cocking your elbow out, or is that is where it feels comfortable. With the levers adjusted exactly the same on the bar you would ideally have your hands right in the crook of the hoods, keeping a straight wrist (which is adjusted by moving the levers around the bar).

    Knee bend at the bottom of the pedal stroke looks ok, but can’t tell regarding cleat/ pedal/ foot position, or saddle fore and aft from that photo alone. Remember that a bike fit starts at the shoe/ cleat, then the saddle fore and aft/ up and down to get the correct knee bend, then you work forwards to the bars/ stem/ levers for height and reach.

    Enjoy.

    PP
  • crescentcrescent Posts: 1,087
    It sounds like either could have been adjusted to fit you. The general rule when you are between sizes is that the smaller frame is easier to "make fit". I don't think it looks too small for you and it sounds like there may still be some room for further adjustments, so just enjoy it and make tweaks to the set up as you feel necessary. Personally, I prefer the aesthetics of a smaller frame :)
    Ribble Gran Fondo
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    “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. “ ~H.G. Wells
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  • defycomp2defycomp2 Posts: 252
    As said above flip the stem and maybe take out a spacer and replace it above the stem. Just remember to tighten the top cap before you tighten the stem bolts. And as you say go back to the 90mm stem.
    Summer - Giant Defy Composite 2 (Force 22) (retd)
    Cannondale Synapse Sram Red ETap
    Winter - Boardman CX Team (Rival X1 Hyd)
  • lakesludditelakesluddite Posts: 1,319
    That looks about right to me. As has been said above, you should be riding with arms bent at the elbow more than shown here, but that's easily remedied. If you feel a little cramped up, then you have leeway with the stem length - 90mm is probably a little shorter than average, so you could go up to 110mm quite easily, even longer if needed (although the longer you go then there will be differences in the way the bike handles).

    Enjoy!
  • dowtchadowtcha Posts: 426
    First bike was a defy which is now the Contend. 5 foot 9 and I got a medium so I would say you should be fine on a small.
  • Thanks for the advice, I've had a play around and think I'm there. Booked a bike fit non the less but really enjoying road riding so far.
  • skooterskooter Posts: 293
    By the look of it your saddle is a tad low ?
  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 1,961
    skooter wrote:
    By the look of it your saddle is a tad low ?

    You reckon? What sort of knee bend angle (if any) do you think he should have at the bottom of the pedal stroke?

    PP
  • skooterskooter Posts: 293
    I think you knee should be straighter.

    The seat height on my bike is if you have you foot like your photo at 6 oclock and you stand on the pedals you should have about half inch gap from you saddle to your bum.
    I believe you should sit back on the saddle not sit up on the the saddle or sit down on the saddle?
    This is just about right for me?

    Good luck in getting it right because then its right you will have lots of fun.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    Pilot Pete wrote:
    skooter wrote:
    By the look of it your saddle is a tad low ?

    You reckon? What sort of knee bend angle (if any) do you think he should have at the bottom of the pedal stroke?

    PP

    As a rough guide, with your pedal at the bottom of the stroke, place your heel on the pedal. You should have only a very slight angle in the knee, so slight you'd struggle to see it. The position you're after is to give you as much room at the top of the stroke to allow you to get on the power without struggling for room coming over the top of the pedal stroke.

    https://bikedynamics.co.uk/shop.htm

    https://bikedynamics.co.uk/saddleheightformulae.htm
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    It's generally said that if you're between sizes then go for the smaller frame. You can make a small frame fit a bigger rider, but never the reverse.

    FWIW I'm 5'6" and I'd choose a small. I'd say it looks about right, saddle height too. If you had a bit more bend in your arms you'd be less upright. If you find you want to get a flatter back you can experiment with a longer stem and maybe nudge the saddle back a bit.

    But if as you say the Medium felt too stretched out then I think you're probably close to having it set up optimally already
  • Funnily enough was in a local bike shop this morning and two riders from W52 FC Porto came in for a repair.

    I couldn't believe how small the one guys bike was in relation to seeing him stood up off the bike.

    All seat post and totally slammed at the bars. Don't think the position would be any good for my old bones!!
  • pilot_petepilot_pete Posts: 1,961
    philthy3 wrote:
    Pilot Pete wrote:
    skooter wrote:
    By the look of it your saddle is a tad low ?

    You reckon? What sort of knee bend angle (if any) do you think he should have at the bottom of the pedal stroke?

    PP

    As a rough guide, with your pedal at the bottom of the stroke, place your heel on the pedal. You should have only a very slight angle in the knee, so slight you'd struggle to see it. The position you're after is to give you as much room at the top of the stroke to allow you to get on the power without struggling for room coming over the top of the pedal stroke.

    https://bikedynamics.co.uk/shop.htm

    https://bikedynamics.co.uk/saddleheightformulae.htm

    Indeed, which will equate to about 30 degrees knee bend at the bottom of the stroke with your foot clipped in with the heel in its natural position, I.e. not up high or down low. Looking at the picture of the OP I’d assess that to be roughly 30 degrees, so not a million miles off. It certainly doesn’t look too low a saddle height to me as if he raises it he will barely have any knee bend (unless we are talking just a few mm, which would be impossible to assess from a picture on a forum alone). If he unclips and puts his heel on the pedal I reckon his leg will be just about straight. Certainly impossible to ascertain that his saddle is too low from that picture alone in my opinion.

    PP
  • keef66 wrote:
    It's generally said that if you're between sizes then go for the smaller frame. You can make a small frame fit a bigger rider, but never the reverse.

    FWIW I'm 5'6" and I'd choose a small. I'd say it looks about right, saddle height too. If you had a bit more bend in your arms you'd be less upright. If you find you want to get a flatter back you can experiment with a longer stem and maybe nudge the saddle back a bit.

    But if as you say the Medium felt too stretched out then I think you're probably close to having it set up optimally already

    I've done a bit more bike fit research, measured my inseam and raised the saddle so BB to saddle is about 69.5cm (will post a new photo soon). As for the bike fit, the fitter thought I was pretty close for saddle height just off feel and only really played with my saddle fore/ aft as well angle. We also went for compact bars and pulled the levers back. He mentioned these days if you're in between sizes you may be better going up so that you get the extra stack height to play with. Not sure if this is a new way of thinking or a reaction to changes in bike design?

    All in all I think I may have been happier with the medium for stack but would have always struggled for reach even with compact bars and a shorter stem, seen as though I've put a shorter stem and compact bars on the small :lol: It seems bike fitting is a game of millimeters :)
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    My BB to saddle height is 72cm, determined by the (very good) bike shop I bought my first bike from, and I've been setting bikes up like that ever since. I can see from your photo that you're sensibly proportioned, while I have more legs than torso, so your 69.5cm sounds right.

    Bike geometry does make a difference. My first bike (Racelight Tk) had a low stack / longer reach. They initially thought I'd need a 54, but that was too much of a stretch. I ended up with a 51 but with spacers and a flipped stem.
    Second bike (CR1) has a taller front end / shorter top tube, so I have the 54 with no spacers and a normal stem.

    It is amazing what a difference a few mm can make.
  • I'm 5’7”, and ride an XS. I know it’s the right size for me; partly because I had a professional fitting by one of the UK's best, and mostly because I can do a century on it and feel no discomfort at all.
    They use their cars as shopping baskets; they use their cars as overcoats.
  • IMG-6706.pngtemporary photo upload

    Current set up feels the most comfortable yet, 30+ mile rides with no discomfort. May bring the saddle froward and up a couple mil but this seems to be working. :)
  • dj58dj58 Posts: 2,132
    dowtcha wrote:
    First bike was a defy which is now the Contend. 5 foot 9 and I got a medium so I would say you should be fine on a small.

    Sorry to be pedantic, but the Aluxx Contend is not the same as the now discontinued Aluxx Defy. There are subtle differences in the geometries of the two bikes. Main difference being the shorter chain stays, hence the change of name for that model. If you want a Defy then it is carbon and disc brake only these days.

    https://www.giant-bicycles.com/gb/contend-sl-1-2020
    https://www.giant-bicycles.com/gb/defy-advanced-1-2020
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