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Will a 52cm frame be too small?

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Will a 52cm frame be too small?

Old 02-01-21, 04:41 PM
  #26  
ShannonM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged View Post
Lemond bikes were mass-produced and not an expression of his personal style. Taking a look at Geometry Charts and using a 58 for example both a current C-64 Colnago and a Specialized Roubaix have longer top tubes than a Lemond Maillot Jaune. I am sure Lemond like other pros both today and in the past like them long and low but to say that his bike brand was the same is not actually true from what I can see.
"Longer top tube" and "Slack seat tube angle and a long front center" are different things. LeMond's bike designs were always the latter, because that's the kind of bike that Greg LeMond likes. When Trek was making them, they were still designed that way. Indeed, that geometry was one of the differentiators from the Trek-branded bikes. Back when I sold both, the LeMonds fit different riders differently than the Trek bikes did. They also handled differently, even when both bikes were well-fitted to their riders. Most of my customers had strong preferences one way or the other. One of the more consistent preferences was that people who liked smaller, tighter bikes didn't buy LeMonds.

It seems to me that the OP is one of those people.

--Shannon
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Old 02-11-21, 09:31 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
when I buy footwear, I don't trust that the same size label will fit me every time. in US shoes sizes, I might wear a 9.5, 10, or 10.5. that's something like a 42–44 in Euro sizing. I find that the same is true of bicycles, but it's even more vague. a road bike that fits me could be labeled 52–55cm, depending on how they designed the bike.
Stack and reach calculator is a pretty handy tool for quickly comparing two bike geometries.
Is this Stack and Reach Calculator still working, website keeps timing out?
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Old 02-11-21, 09:34 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Senior Vagabond View Post
Is this Stack and Reach Calculator still working, website keeps timing out?
ack! it looks like it's not there anymore. I loved that site! it was updated recently so maybe it will come back.

https://bikeinsights.com/ also works. i think it's a little more involved but if you have the time, it's probably better.
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Old 02-14-21, 07:48 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by rahum View Post
Hey folks,

I stand about 5'-7.5" (but I say 5'8" when I'm dating).

My first road bike was a 54cm Lemond that felt too long. I had to stretch too far to get to the brake hoods. I shortened the stem but it still felt too long, and my neck and back hurt throughout any ride.

I next went to a 53cm frame with a 100mm stem and that also felt too long. I shortened the stem to 90mm with a 6-degree rise and that feels much, much better. I could probably go to a slightly shorter or higher stem and it'll be even better.

Now I'm considering purchasing a bike with a 52cm frame. Is this likely to still be within the right size range for me? If this ends up being too small for me, what kind of problems will I have that I'm going to regret?

Thanks!
If your concerned about how far out you are reaching, it's not enough to look at bike size which is normally based on seat tube length. First you need to clarify seat tube length. It can be (in order of more length) from BB center to center of the seat lug, along the seat tube to the top of the top tube, and along the seat tube to the top of the seat tube. Since you are starting to be sensitive to differences as small as 1 cm, be aware these three different measures can differ by from 12.5 mm to another 20 mm. So a 52 and a 54 frame can easily be identical in the vertical direction, since these measurements are not standardized.

Since you are concerned about length, there's a trick in here, too. The TT is generally measured from the center of the seat lug to the center of the upper head lug. This at least seems pretty common, but no firm standard exists. The trick is in the seat tube angle. Two frames with the same top tube might reach very different when the angle is different. The setback of the frame is the portion of the TT which is behind the BB. You can measure this by dropping a plumb line from the top tube to point at the center of the BB shell, the BB axis.

Given that on the two contrasting bikes you'll set up the same saddle for the same fore-aft position, the steeper seat tube will put the head tube farther away from you. This distance is very similar to "reach" invented by Slowtwitch.com, and used by a number of small to medium sized frame makers. So if you want to compare how a frame will reach for you with the same cockpit, you need to look at this reach value, or the part of the TT that is ahead of the BB axis.

You like your Lemond. If you still have it, make a plumb line, locate line to point exactly at the axis, and mark the string position on the TT - a bit of electrical or even cello tape is a good marker, with the tape edge at the string, for precision. Then measure forward to the center of the head tube and backwards to the center of the seat tube. Write down those two and add them up. Added up they should be about the same as the direct measurement of the TT.

Now you can use the forward top tube length as an indication of reach, assuming you can set up the saddle for the same knee to pedal orientation for both bikes.

Why is this setback compensation issue important? You are becoming more sensitive and buying/selling other frames sight unseen or with questionable measurements is expensive and a pain in the neck, and even if you like it you pay shipping. And even though it's only a few degrees, the difference in setback (the rear top tube length) is about 1 centimeter (10 mm) per degree. For a 72 degree frame versus a 75 degree frame that's about 30 mm, which you have already used as a length compensation criterion, with your very beneficial stem change. This all fits together.

So to control reach you need TT length AND seat tube angle. I especially raise this point if you are looking at a LeMond, because they are known to have numerically lower seat tube angles, compared to say a Mondonico (which I have) which, while designed for "stage-race" comfort, has a 75 degree seat tube in a 52 cm size (and is rather comfy!). The LeMonds are that way because that was how Greg LeMond liked to set up his frames. But on the Mondonico I need to use a seat post and saddle with LOADS of setback for it to work for me, so it's more challenging than say a similar sized vintage steel Trek with a 73 degree angle. Overall I care more about long-term comfort than about absolute max power. At my current low level of fitness I need to be out on the bike putting in hours, not breaking speed records -- yet.

Last edited by Road Fan; 02-20-21 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 02-18-21, 01:33 PM
  #30  
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If you want the reach and stack of an older frame for comparison purposes and you don't find it published anywhere, I have a method that's easy to to but hard to type with my thumbs. I'll write it out if anyone wants it.
(I'm in Texas with limited power right now so I am staying off my laptop.)
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Old 02-18-21, 07:24 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by rahum View Post
Hey folks,

I stand about 5'-7.5" (but I say 5'8" when I'm dating).

My first road bike was a 54cm Lemond that felt too long. I had to stretch too far to get to the brake hoods. I shortened the stem but it still felt too long, and my neck and back hurt throughout any ride.

I next went to a 53cm frame with a 100mm stem and that also felt too long. I shortened the stem to 90mm with a 6-degree rise and that feels much, much better. I could probably go to a slightly shorter or higher stem and it'll be even better.

Now I'm considering purchasing a bike with a 52cm frame. Is this likely to still be within the right size range for me? If this ends up being too small for me, what kind of problems will I have that I'm going to regret?

Thanks!
If you're 5'8 (dating height claim), internet wisdom recommends size 54 frame but size 54 frame feels too big, then obviously, it's too big.

Note that size tables will only get you to 50% correct fit. To get it all the way to 100%, you have to ride and test the bike to see if it really fits you.
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Old 02-19-21, 12:16 PM
  #32  
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If you got extra bucks better get a proper bike fitter do the measuring, I remember way back from where I'm from our national pro cyclists rides whatever bike they were given, it doesnt matter if you look like superman when riding on it as long as they have the passion and hunger for victory. Getting a bike fit would benefit you more. Ride Safe!
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Old 02-20-21, 01:47 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
If your concerned about how far out you are reaching, it's not enough to look at bike size which is normally based on seat tube length. First you need to clarify seat tube length. It can be (in order of more length) from BB center to center of the seat lug, along the seat tube to the top of the top tube, and along the seat tube to the top of the top tube. Since you are starting to be sensitive to differences as small as 1 cm, be aware these three different measures can differ by from 12.5 mm to another 20 mm. So a 52 and a 54 frame can easily be identical in the vertical direction, since these measurements are not standardized.

Since you are concerned about length, there's a trick in here, too. The TT is generally measured from the center of the seat lug to the center of the upper head lug. This at least seems pretty common, but no firm standard exists. The trick is in the seat tube angle. Two frames with the same top tube might reach very different when the angle is different. The setback of the frame is the portion of the TT which is behind the BB. You can measure this by dropping a plumb line from the top tube to point at the center of the BB shell, the BB axis.

Given that on the two contrasting bikes you'll set up the same saddle for the same fore-aft position, the steeper seat tube will put the head tube farther away from you. This distance is very similar to "reach" invented by Slowtwitch.com, and used by a number of small to medium sized frame makers. So if you want to compare how a frame will reach for you with the same cockpit, you need to look at this reach value, or the part of the TT that is ahead of the BB axis.

You like your Lemond. If you still have it, make a plumb line, locate line to point exactly at the axis, and mark the string position on the TT - a bit of electrical or even cello tape is a good marker, with the tape edge at the string, for precision. Then measure forward to the center of the head tube and backwards to the center of the seat tube. Write down those two and add them up. Added up they should be about the same as the direct measurement of the TT.

Now you can use the forward top tube length as an indication of reach, assuming you can set up the saddle for the same knee to pedal orientation for both bikes.

Why is this setback compensation issue important? You are becoming more sensitive and buying/selling other frames sight unseen or with questionable measurements is expensive and a pain in the neck, and even if you like it you pay shipping. And even though it's only a few degrees, the difference in setback (the rear top tube length) is about 1 centimeter (10 mm) per degree. For a 72 degree frame versus a 75 degree frame that's about 30 mm, which you have already used as a length compensation criterion, with your very beneficial stem change. This all fits together.

So to control reach you need TT length AND seat tube angle. I especially raise this point if you are looking at a LeMond, because they are known to have numerically lower seat tube angles, compared to say a Mondonico (which I have) which, while designed for "stage-race" comfort, has a 75 degree seat tube in a 52 cm size (and is rather comfy!). The LeMonds are that way because that was how Greg LeMond liked to set up his frames. But on the Mondonico I need to use a seat post and saddle with LOADS of setback for it to work for me, so it's more challenging than say a similar sized vintage steel Trek with a 73 degree angle. Overall I care more about long-term comfort than about absolute max power. At my current low level of fitness I need to be out on the bike putting in hours, not breaking speed records -- yet.
Lots of good info in this ^ post. Also, don't forget about the angle of the steerer tube. It will also impact your reach number.

It really pains me to see folks turning to a bike forum for advise about frame size. IMO that's never a recipe for success because there are too many moving parts. Riding style (i.e. road racing vs. endurance for example) will impact recommended frame geometry (regardless of your body measurements). Past injuries, range of motion, flexibility and/or physical limitations that are unique to an individual will also influence fit. It is not at all unusual to see two people of the same physical measurements on frames of different size and/or geometry. And even if two people of similar dimensions are on the same size frame I can guarantee that certain aspects of their fit on those same size frames is different (i.e. stem length, stem angle, crank length, handlebar width, saddle position, etc.)

Furthermore, you can have a situation in which one person is between sizes and/or can be properly fit on two different frame sizes of the same model. If things weren't already complicated how do you (the buyer) decide between a 52cm frame or 54cm frame if they both fit you?

Long-story short, unless you can properly assess fit for all these variables (body measurements, past injuries, flexibility/range of motion, physical limitations AND riding style) you're going to get it wrong. The only question is how wrong.

There are some things for which bike forums are good. Bike fitting advice isn't one of them. Find a professional, independent fitter and pay them the $150-$200 for a quality fit that will land you on a bike you will enjoy riding.
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Old 02-22-21, 02:07 PM
  #34  
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The simplest thing to do is to confirm that you have fitted your current bike correctly for you. My fit primer is here:
https://www.bikeforums.net/21296948-post3.html

While going through process, be sure your back is straight:
https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycl...discovery.html
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