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What's the biggest that you'll go?

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View Poll Results: What do you do with your dream bikes that are a just centimeter or two too big?
Suck it up and just use a shorter stem/lower that seatpost
52.24%
Practice patience and let that frame go/wait for the perfect size to come along
47.76%
Voters: 67. You may not vote on this poll

What's the biggest that you'll go?

Old 09-03-18, 03:01 PM
  #1  
hellojoben
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What's the biggest that you'll go?

Hello folks, as a shorter rider I feel that I'm at disadvantage when finding the right bike frame for me, especially when my main interest is old steel road frames/classic and vintage where many of my dream bikes are few and far between as it is already.

THIS FACT has led to many nights eyeing frames that I know may be too big for me, but hoping that a seller was measuring the top tube wrong or that the seat tube is actually not the stated size haha. What I want to ask is if you've ever ridden or owned a frame because it's your dream bike, even if you know that it may be too big or oversized for your body? What's the biggest that you'll go past your personal comfort zone for a bike frame? Do you sit and wait for that particular frame or do you suck it up and ride the closest frame size that you can because you just can't wait?

Let me know your thoughts participate in the poll if you feel so inclined.

Best,
Joben
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Old 09-03-18, 03:05 PM
  #2  
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Also I imagine those of you who are on the other end of the spectrum, i.e. those of you who are generally taller than the rest of us, feel the way that I do except frames are too small.
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Old 09-03-18, 03:15 PM
  #3  
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Originally Posted by hellojoben View Post
Hello folks, as a shorter rider I feel that I'm at disadvantage when finding the right bike frame for me, especially when my main interest is old steel road frames when many of my dream bikes are few and far between as it is already.

THIS FACT has led to many nights eyeing frames that I know may be too big for me but hoping that a seller was measuring the top tube wrong or that the seat tube is actually not the stated size haha. What I want to ask is if you've ever ridden or owned a frame because it's your dream bike, even if you know that it may be too big or oversized for your body? What's the biggest that you'll go past your personal comfort zone for a bike frame? Do you sit and wait for that particular frame or do you suck it up and ride the closest frame size that you can because you just can't wait?

Let me know your thoughts participate in the poll if you feel so inclined.

Best,
Joben
Hasn't happened yet, mine are until recently a tad small, same thing as you in reverse.

Enter the Big Merz


Several folks here dismissed it as too big, a couple are definitely taller than I am, but I have a 37 in. inseam. This bike fits better than all others I have and is getting better the more I ride it. I get along just fine on most of my other bikes and some ride very well so it is always subjective.

That being said I have bought several that are way too small for me just to have a rare or obscure one in my stable. Some will move on some won't as they were a good enough deal to be ok to hang on to.

I feel that if you expand your parameters you may find something that is as nice/cool whatever as the one you seek but you can have something in the meantime and will likely learn about ones you didn't know about in the process. This knowledge and experience can be invaluable in navigating the C+V world.
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Old 09-03-18, 03:21 PM
  #4  
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If I like the frame I stick in the back and shop/ trade it for a better size.
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Old 09-03-18, 03:26 PM
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Top tube length is becoming real important to me. But that said, going by common reference to seat tube length, 53cm is my size.

I do have have a 50cm bike that is compensated by a substantially long top tube, and is is fitted to within the “zone” at the post, and stem. That’s as small a frame as I can work with, and at that size it’s only an occasional rider.

A 56cm frame is about max for me anymore. Stand over height and ease of mounting/dismounting are important factors. I’ve suffered with 58cm frames on a few occasions, and will never go there again.

So if a “dream bike” was in question, it’d have fall close to or right at 53cm. It needs to fit perfectly or there will always be a sense of dissatisfaction.
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Old 09-03-18, 03:32 PM
  #6  
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This is on the way, twin brother from a different mother to the Big Merz, Big Paramount, 1975.

Can't wait to get these two side by side, face to face, going to be epic.
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Old 09-03-18, 03:35 PM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by hellojoben View Post
Also I imagine those of you who are on the other end of the spectrum, i.e. those of you who are generally taller than the rest of us, feel the way that I do except frames are too small.
Bingo!
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Old 09-03-18, 09:00 PM
  #8  
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I have a Paramount with a 60mm stem.
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Old 09-03-18, 10:49 PM
  #9  
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I've tried and tried and tried. Can't fit a too-big bike.
Those that have come and gone.....

Centurion Comp TA
Centurion Ironman Carbon
Centurion Ironman
Centurion Turbo
Tish custom Ti
Douglas Vector
Cinelli Super Corsa
US Postal OCLV 5600
Cannondale R800

Not like I learned right away, eh?

And before I learned what I fit, also too small:
Centurion Prestige (1985)
Centurion Ironman
Centurion Facet
Serotta Atlanta (very recently, now on the block...)

Perhaps because we are human, that our "hope size" is less realistic than we'd care to admit.
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Old 09-03-18, 11:06 PM
  #10  
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I ride a 58 cm because even through I have the legs and inseam of someone about 5'8 I have a very long torso for my height (5'11") so I deal with snug stand over and find TT that fits and that means a 58. I tried a 56cm 1992 Allez this summer and really wanted it to work; got a seat post with set back and a longer/taller stem but while I could and did ride it, I never had that Goldilocks just right feeling in fact when executing u turns on a two lane road the rear got squirrely on me like I was going over black ice . So it will get rebuilt and passed on.

On the big side I can ride a 25 inch frame but the fit isn't great and there are lots of 23" frames out there fortunately.

I figure life is too short to ride ill fitting bikes.

Last edited by ryansu; 09-03-18 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 09-03-18, 11:53 PM
  #11  
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I am in the same boat as ryansu. Long torso, short legs. My legs want the seat tube and standover height of a 56 cm or smaller frame but my torso wants the longer top tube associated with 60 cm or larger frames.

What seems to work for me is 56 cm (better) or 58 cm (okay) frames with long stems (I keep a stock of 140 mm stems) and saddle slid all the way back on setback seatposts.

I ride those stems anywhere from saddle height (daily rider commute bike) to a few inches below saddle height (weekend roadie bike).

I have one 52 cm bike that I enjoy for shorter rides. With lots of seatpost and a loooong slammed stem it gives a very aggressive position. I bought this bike to part it out but liked it enough to keep it. Normally I won't buy anything that small.
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Old 09-04-18, 12:16 AM
  #12  
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Generally speaking I can ride 58 - 62cm (ctc) seat tube bikes.
Top tubes need to be 57 - 59 with a nominal stem length of 12cm +/-1cm.
But the most critical is a head tube of at least 16cm.

Smallest is Zeus, largest is AD.



Last edited by Wildwood; 09-04-18 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 09-04-18, 12:28 AM
  #13  
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I'd love to try a bike that's too big, as long as the reach isn't insane. This is a 64cm frame and I cannot put the seat any higher:
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Old 09-04-18, 08:29 AM
  #14  
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I normally ride 54 - 55 cm. I can ride as large as 57 cm, but only as an occasional rider.

That said, I've had a couple of 54 cm frames that were just too small. That's where top tube and stem length come into play. I won't consider a frame that doesn't fit well if I intend to ride it a considerable amount.
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Old 09-04-18, 08:39 AM
  #15  
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After a couple of 56cm frames including my team Gitane, I'll think abut a 57 if it's awesome, but I'll hold out for the right size. What size frames do you look for @hellojoben ?
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Old 09-04-18, 08:44 AM
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I am part of the second set. My range is 58-61. I have one bike that is a 58cm and I keep it because of what it is, Colnago. My others are between the range and fit well. In fact, the 61 is a nice ride too. My CBH is 34."

The Colnago may, in fact, be too small. The seat post is at the limit line or just below. I use a Brooks on it to get closer to the height I need but it doesn't fit as well as the 60cm Pinarello. I could swap a post but I like that it is as Campagnolo as I can get, down to the pinch bolt.
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Old 09-04-18, 08:49 AM
  #17  
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There is no reason to buy a bike that doesn't actually fit...there are many that do, and many deals come along.
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Old 09-04-18, 09:17 AM
  #18  
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Most of mine are 52-54 cm, and I used to pass on anything outside that range, but a 48 cm Eisentraut and 55 cm Zeus changed all that. Kept the Traut for a grand daughter until she had a growth spurt, then traded off for my Expedition Touring and found I could ride the Zeus, but eventually gave it to my son who's range is generally 56-60 cm. Since then, I will get a smaller or larger bike if it is good enough and price is low enough. Top tube length comes in to play on larger and smaller bikes also, and I currently have 3 in the 55-56 seat tube size that I'm quite comfortable on, despite just barely clearing the top tube when standing over them. Don
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Old 09-04-18, 09:45 AM
  #19  
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Biggest, 56cm. Smallest, 52cm.....
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Old 09-04-18, 09:52 AM
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I like 55/56. But when I was recently looking for a Cannondale ST frame, the 21” or 23” choices forced my hand to the 23”. I’d rather be on slightly large than slightly small.
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Old 09-04-18, 10:36 AM
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Prefer smaller bikes myself
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Old 09-04-18, 12:21 PM
  #22  
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I learned my lesson with the Peugeot PKN-10, which I otherwise loved, but which is just a couple of cm too long in both the seat tube and the top tube for me.
I thought it would be OK because I had ridden a 23" Nishiki Semi-Pro for 20 years, but the Nishiki had a lower bottom bracket and a much shorter top tube.

At this point, I own three 55cm C-T road frames, plus the Peugeot, which is smaller but has a proportionately longer top tube, so no rush to acquire anything else, particularly if it involves size compromise.
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Old 09-04-18, 12:30 PM
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56-58 fits awesome, and I have a 60cm bike with (if I remember) a 56.5cm too tube. That bike is is like a Cadillac. I think the slightly longer tubes make it a tad flexy, and having the bars level with the seat is great for a long cruise along Lake Shore. It’s all in the top tube. The 60cm is a Miyata 710, and the 912 had a longer top tube and I couldn’t get comfortable on it.
Hmmm... I bet it would have made an incredible townie though...
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Old 09-04-18, 12:45 PM
  #24  
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If it's only 1-2 cm big and it's a "dream bike", I'd buy it for sure. I wouldn't buy a bike too small.
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Old 09-04-18, 01:36 PM
  #25  
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56/56 seems to be my fit . My 56 Ironman is very comfortable to ride , plus it's on tubulars that give it a even better ride or at least that's what my buddy psycho Billie says . I don't think I can tell . I'm happy with the amount of seat post showing and the length of the stem .

IMG_0025 by mark westi, on Flickr

My Nishiki is a 58/58 once I got it adjusted right it fits fine . The horns make the reach a tad far but on this build horns were on the list so that was that . And once I changed the seat to a black Selle and black Cinelli bar tape it fits perfect .

DSCF2478 by mark westi, on Flickr
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