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Sizing questions, sanity check needed

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Sizing questions, sanity check needed

Old 07-20-19, 03:47 PM
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wheelsmcgee
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Sizing questions, sanity check needed

So basically, I'm scratching my head on this one. I've been looking at two bikes, 2019 Salsa Warbird, (size "57.5", which is loosely based on the ETT I believe) and the 2019 Kona Libre (size "51", loosely based on the seat tube). Salsa says the 57.5 is best for those in the 178-188cm height range (5'10'' - 6'2''). I fall just over 6', so almost in the middle, and generally find bikes ~58cm ETT fit well.


For the Kona, they describe sizing a little different ("If you fall into this height range, here are the sizes we'd recommend trying") but the last range they recommend the 51 is for 168-178cm (5'6'' - 5'10''), and even in that range, they say folks may need the next larger size. So, According to Kona, at between 6' and 6'1'', I'm way too big for the 51.


So my question is this: Looking at the geometry (below), if the Warbird 57.5 works the Libre 51seems like it should too. Am I missing something? Any reason why I shouldn't go for the Libre? Only one I can come up with is that I have long legs and based on recommended height, the Libre probably comes with shorter crankarms than ideal for me, haven't checked that yet. I had a short test ride on the Libre and other than perhaps wanting to add 10-20mm to the stem (it comes with a short one) it feels pretty close. Any help would be appreciated!


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Old 07-21-19, 02:35 PM
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Well the manufacturer's have their own idea of how their bikes should fit the people that buy them. If they went by the same rules, then there'd be little need for other brands. Similar to how some bike shoe brands fit wide feet better and others fit narrow feet better.

If you don't have a better idea from your experience, then I'd let their advice weigh heavily on your decision of what size to get.

If you are really wanting to see the differences then you need to take the specs for each, draw them out and overlay them so you can visually compare. As well you need to do the same with a size up and down from those.

Still, what do they feel like when you ride them? Even if just around the parking lot you should get something. If you aren't going to be on these bike three or four hours at a time, then it's not too big a deal.

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Old 07-21-19, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Well the manufacturer's have their own idea of how their bikes should fit the people that buy them. If they went by the same rules, then there'd be little need for other brands. Similar to how some bike shoe brands fit wide feet better and others fit narrow feet better.

If you don't have a better idea from your experience, then I'd let their advice weigh heavily on your decision of what size to get.

If you are really wanting to see the differences then you need to take the specs for each, draw them out and overlay them so you can visually compare. As well you need to do the same with a size up and down from those.

Still, what do they feel like when you ride them? Even if just around the parking lot you should get something. If you aren't going to be on these bike three or four hours at a time, then it's not too big a deal.
First of all, thanks for the reply Iride01. I like your shoe analogy, but in this case (from what I see on the geo chart) it is more like "Two shoe brands make an *identical* shoe, but one claims it is for wide feet and the other for narrow"! Based on the geometry charts, they look pretty close to the same but are recommended for quite differently sized people.


Anyway, the Libre dealer is close and I'm going to test it again (can't try the next size up unless I want to wait for the 2020s). When I test it, I'll play with the fit and see if it seems to work. The Warbird is about 1.5 hour drive away, but I can try that out as well. Because its model year-end, I can get a good deal on either.

I guess my question is: Even if a bike seems to fit during a short ride, are there any legitimate concerns with sizing down so much from the manufacturer's recommendation? Things I might not notice during a test ride? I mentioned crankarm length...anything else?
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Old 07-22-19, 04:19 PM
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I'm not the person to tell you what all the geometry and lengths means in relation to your fit on a bike. But my experience has been that I'm able to ride a couple sizes up from what bike shop salespeople and bike mfrs spec for a bike. So I've never been convinced that there is one and only one size bike that can fit a person well.

What is your prior biking experience? Do you have a bike currently and can compare what the measurements are from it to the others? Reach from the saddle to shifters both when on top or in the drops. Also try to figure out where the BB will be when the saddles is at the proper height relative to the other bikes. Those would be two main things for me.

I wouldn't suddenly go to a longer crank than you were using before. I grew up on short cranks and the one time I tried a 5mm longer crank, it seemed to cause some annoyance behind my knee. I switched back to the length I normally used and it disappeared. But maybe that was because of my age then at 59 and YMMV if you are younger or more adaptable than I.


I wouldn't let the differences of the mfr's puzzle you too much. It's just that they all have their own ideas. Some may try to limit how many sizes they have to build so one mfr's bike is intended for a wider range of customer heights than another.

I don't think you'll be dissatisfied terribly if you go by the mfrs' sizing recommendation. Buy the one that's is your best guess at being right for you, even if it's based on color and then add that experience for your next purchase whether that's two years or twenty from now.
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Old 07-22-19, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
What is your prior biking experience? Do you have a bike currently and can compare what the measurements are from it to the others?
Been riding regularly for 4-5 years, mostly gravel roads. I do about 6-10 gravel races/events a year, mostly in the 50-100 mile range, but will likely be doing some longer ones in the future. I also ride recreationally on weekends/evenings, 2+ hours is pretty common for me. The bike I have currently certainly gets the job done, but is more of a heavy touring bike and a little more upright than I'd like. A big concern I have with deviating from my current geometry is that there is no way I can gauge how my body is going to react to a lower/racier position on a gravel ride that lasts many, many hours...way longer than any test ride!

My current frame spec has about 20mm more reach and 30mm more stack than the Libre (or the Warbird, for that matter). However: Its running a fairly short stem (80mm I think) that's mounted very low...I could only get it lower by flipping the stem. So my thinking is that with a slightly longer stem than my current bike, I could get the bars about as far out (reach-wise) as they are now...they would be lower, but with a few spacers I might even be able to get the handlebar height/reach where it is now on my current bike.



Reach from the saddle to shifters both when on top or in the drops. Also try to figure out where the BB will be when the saddles is at the proper height relative to the other bikes. Those would be two main things for me.
Thanks, this is a good idea...I might make a few measurements on my current bike setup to take with me, or for that matter just bring my current bike.

I wouldn't suddenly go to a longer crank than you were using before. I grew up on short cranks and the one time I tried a 5mm longer crank, it seemed to cause some annoyance behind my knee. I switched back to the length I normally used and it disappeared. But maybe that was because of my age then at 59 and YMMV if you are younger or more adaptable than I.
I run 175mm cranks already (and with my inseam, I could probably go even longer if they were commonly available). From what I've read, going shorter isn't usually a problem and some even claim there is perhaps little/no measurable effect on performance.


I wouldn't let the differences of the mfr's puzzle you too much. It's just that they all have their own ideas. Some may try to limit how many sizes they have to build so one mfr's bike is intended for a wider range of customer heights than another.

I don't think you'll be dissatisfied terribly if you go by the mfrs' sizing recommendation. Buy the one that's is your best guess at being right for you, even if it's based on color and then add that experience for your next purchase whether that's two years or twenty from now.
Yea, if the next size up Libre was available (the one the manufacturer recommends for my height) I'd certainly hop on and give it a ride as well...looking at the numbers, the biggest issue I foresee is that it might be too close to my current bike, geometry-wise, and wouldn't allow me to get the lower position I want. In any case, I suppose your right...even if I make the wrong choice, it'll inform my next purchase.

Thanks again,
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Old 07-23-19, 08:09 PM
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The nice thing about the pista type stems used nowadays is that it's so easy to change the reach of your bars without having to unwrap the bars. As well you can get them in differing angles so that will help to get them lower if you do bottom out on the headset.

If the guys at the shops seem like they talk straight, then find out what you can about those differences. If they know what your current bike is, then get their take on the differences from it to the ones you are looking at. Hopefully their answers won't just be for the sale.

Surprised none other here bit on this. Thought it'd get some more conversation.
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