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Riding one size smaller? Have you ever done it?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Riding one size smaller? Have you ever done it?

Old 08-24-19, 11:52 AM
  #26  
melikebikey35
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Originally Posted by Leinster View Post
If that's the case, why do Giant have photos on their website of TCRs with 30+ mm of spacers? Even at the highest end, most road bikes are sold with excess steerer tube that people routinely choose to either chop off or not. The only appreciable change to the bike's characteristics will be a slightly shorter wheelbase, which is arguably a good thing if the OP is planning on doing any aggressive descending.

I went a size down for my CAAD10, and added a 120mm stem at the top of my unchopped steerer tube. I love it that way and wouldn't change a thing. I have the option of dropping the stem and adding aero bars for riding a TT/tri. The smaller frame gives a bit of flexibility with your fit in that regard; once you've slammed your stem all the way on that 56, you can't go any lower. If you go for a 54, you still have another 2cm to go.
They don't. Every model is shown with zero spacers. They are all sold with 30mm+ of spacers because they want to limit the number of frame sizes, have to carter to the masses, and (most importantly) want to sell bikes. But the fact is, if you have to run 20+mm of spacers/invert the stem/rotate the bars up to make it rideable, it's the wrong bike for you. You either need a larger frame, or switch bike type (race to endurance) or brand.

Too many people want to buy a race-spec bike because they think they are cooler/faster, but then can't handle/utilize/need the geometry and it ends hinders their performance. Would you buy a Porsche 911, then lift it and add off road tires so you can take it on your camping trip? No, you'd buy a Subaru.

You may be happy with how your bike is set up now, but I'm certain a 56 with 5-10mm of spacers and a 110 stem would have better handling and stability.
Then, if you need the flexibly of going lower, you still have some wiggle room with spacers, or you can add a -10 or -17 stem...but, you shouldn't need to lower your stack height when adding aero bars.


With all that said, ultimately it's ours, the OP's, and anyone buying a bike, decision. So whatever you enjoy and gets out there riding, is fine by me!
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Old 08-25-19, 03:03 PM
  #27  
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I've always used the LeMond-Guimard formula of .667 of my inseam (32.5" or 82.55 cm) and ridden 54-55 cm frames. Works perfectly for me.
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Old 08-25-19, 03:09 PM
  #28  
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At 5'11" with 33" inseam, I can ride and have ridden anything from 54cm to 60cm. But 56-58 feels about right.

My two road bikes are old school diamond frames: '89 Ironman with 57 or 58cm frame; '93 Trek 5900 with 56cm frame. The Trek is carbon but built like an old school diamond frame, not a compact. I'm not even sure it's a true monocoque. Looks like one but I'm not sure what's under the skin. Anyway it rides like my Ironman, just lighter in weight, which is nice on climbs.

But after getting the Trek 5900 early this year from a friend, it's taken more effort to dial in the fit. That's partly due to some neck and shoulder pain from old injuries. I've swapped saddles, handlebars and, finally, stems, in and out for months. Finally settled on a combo that seems right.

But I couldn't seem to get the saddle height dialed in. I finally used the Ironman (very comfy fit) as a reference point, measured everything, and transferred the adjustments to the Trek. There's still some guesswork since both bikes have similar but different saddles, bars and stems. And the Ironman has downtube shifters and old style aero brake hoods, while the Trek has brifters which elongate the reach by at least an inch. The Ironman saddle is scootched forward a bit on the rails; the Trek is scootched backward about that same amount -- not to accommodate reach, but for knee comfort and pedaling efficiency. Seems better now, though. I'll see this week after a couple of group rides.

Overall the 56-58cm range seems about right for me. But with almost any road bike I'd need to swap stems to something shorter to suit my needs for neck and shoulder comfort.
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Old 08-25-19, 04:35 PM
  #29  
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I'm 5'5", I tried a couple different bike models in 49cm, and although the bikes felt well underneath me, they also all felt awful, granted maybe a longer step would've helped.

But then I rode on a 52 and it was immensely more comfortable right off the bat, even if the bike doesn't feel as "under" me as the 49s do. I bought the 52 and couldn't be happier, the only change I needed was going from the stock 90mm stem to an 80mm stem (and honestly I could've kept the 90mm stem, 80 was more just preference). I never rode anything in 51, but I'd be curious to know how that felt.

In other words, I personally like being a tad more stretched out and didn't like the feel of a smaller bike.
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Old 08-26-19, 06:46 AM
  #30  
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Just to get one thing straight... The ''bike size'' in CM is the seat tube lenght, right?

According to Giant's website, the ML TCR has a 50cm seat tube length, while the L has 52.5CM. My Defy in L is a 53.5CM (I thought it was a 57.5...). When I ran the numbers (formula & other bicycle brand's website), they put me at over 57cm, which is more than an XL...

When comparing with other brands, Giant's numbers seems much lower (for instance, Scott's race bikes are 56cm in Large, BMC's the same, Norco seems to have similar sizes as well, etc.), which leads me to believe that I can't simply rely on that number?

Last edited by eduskator; 08-26-19 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 08-26-19, 07:24 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by eduskator View Post
Just to get one thing straight... The ''bike size'' in CM is the seat tube lenght, right?

According to Giant's website, the ML TCR has a 50cm seat tube length, while the L has 52.5CM. My Defy in L is a 53.5CM (I thought it was a 57.5...). When I ran the numbers (formula & other bicycle brand's website), they put me at over 57cm, which is more than an XL...

When comparing with other brands, Giant's numbers seems much lower (for instance, Scott's race bikes are 56cm in Large, BMC's the same, Norco seems to have similar sizes as well, etc.), which leads me to believe that I can't simply rely on that number?
Giant uses a sloping top tube. The measurement you got is for a level top tube. That is why the numbers to match up. Once you consider a sloping top tube, then the level top tube measurement goes out the door- its totally useless.

Also, in an earlier you post you said- I know that riders sometimes go for a size smaller when buying a bicycle, especially when they're between 2 sizes, and I am thinking of doing it.
The different being- you arent between 2 sizes. You are taller than the ML sizing recommends.


You could set your current Defy up to have the same effective stack and reach numbers as the TCR you are considering. There is frame stack and reach, and then there is an effective stack and reach for the bike- you could measure from saddle to shifters and distance from crank vertically to shifters. Match those effective numbers from the TCR to your Defy and ride the Defy for 30mi. How does it feel?
Seems like a lot of work, yes, but it is less work compared to trying to sell a bike thats too small for you a handful of months from now.
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Old 08-26-19, 11:17 AM
  #32  
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As mentioned above...sizing by seat tube does not apply to modern frame design. Some brands don't even list seat tube measurements.

The best way to determine size, is by the stack and reach numbers. These will tell you how the bike will fit, then you can look to the other measurements (heat/seat tube angle, BB drop, rake/trail, wheelbase, etc.) to determine how the bike will feel on the road.


I do think it's save to say that the M/L you are looking at simply will not work for you. So the next step is to figure out if a TCR in a L will work, or if you need to look into other brands, or stick with the Defy that you currently have....we should start with the question, why are you looking to replace it?
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Old 08-26-19, 11:30 AM
  #33  
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Depending on the size increments, most people “fit” at least two sizes, with a stem length and saddle setback chosen to get the triangle of contact points balanced correctly.

The only limfac is whether you can get the stem either low or high enough for you.
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Old 08-26-19, 12:39 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by melikebikey35 View Post
As mentioned above...sizing by seat tube does not apply to modern frame design. Some brands don't even list seat tube measurements.

The best way to determine size, is by the stack and reach numbers. These will tell you how the bike will fit, then you can look to the other measurements (heat/seat tube angle, BB drop, rake/trail, wheelbase, etc.) to determine how the bike will feel on the road.


I do think it's save to say that the M/L you are looking at simply will not work for you. So the next step is to figure out if a TCR in a L will work, or if you need to look into other brands, or stick with the Defy that you currently have....we should start with the question, why are you looking to replace it?
I bought my Defy because it was my 1st road bike and I wasn't sure whether or not I'd like riding. Turns out that I love to, and I now want upgrade components (Carbon wheels & Ultegra DI2). Replacing it completely will be cheaper than upgrading my current one. I could always grab a Defy Advanced Pro, which is a little more expensive than the TCR Advanced Pro. Still, I need to test a TCR.

My local shop offered to let me try both (TCR M/L and TCR L Advanced lineup (non-pro)) on their training exerciser so I can have an idea on the difference. At the same time, I'll be able to see if I like the TCR geometry & if they're able to fitt me on a M/L. I might just end up buying one of their Non-Pro ones (Adv. 1), but it would be hard for me to justify upgrading my bike & spending money for another one that does not have DI2 and Carbon wheels.

I'm aware that the TCR will put me in a more aggressive racing position, and I'm comfortable with that. My back and shoulders can handle the extra stress, as long as it's fitted properly for my body. If the M/L TCR can't be fitted properly, it's not worth buying it.

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Old 08-26-19, 03:18 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by eduskator View Post
I bought my Defy because it was my 1st road bike and I wasn't sure whether or not I'd like riding. Turns out that I love to, and I now want upgrade components (Carbon wheels & Ultegra DI2). Replacing it completely will be cheaper than upgrading my current one. I could always grab a Defy Advanced Pro, which is a little more expensive than the TCR Advanced Pro. Still, I need to test a TCR.

My local shop offered to let me try both (TCR M/L and TCR L Advanced lineup (non-pro)) on their training exerciser so I can have an idea on the difference. At the same time, I'll be able to see if I like the TCR geometry & if they're able to fitt me on a M/L. I might just end up buying one of their Non-Pro ones (Adv. 1), but it would be hard for me to justify upgrading my bike & spending money for another one that does not have DI2 and Carbon wheels.

I'm aware that the TCR will put me in a more aggressive racing position, and I'm comfortable with that. My back and shoulders can handle the extra stress, as long as it's fitted properly for my body. If the M/L TCR can't be fitted properly, it's not worth buying it.
Di2 and a nice set of wheels are definitely worthy upgrades.

If you want a more aggressive riding position, I'd start by removing all of the spacers from your current bike, and ride it a couple of times...and go for long rides. If you like it, and feel like you could (comfortably) go lower, then go check out the TCR. You have a hefty stack of spacers on already, so jumping down to the TCR (with a more reasonable amount of spacers) would be a BIG jump so you want to make sure you can handle it before you dropped the money on a new bike. It's really hard to get a true feel of a bike/position from a 10 minute test ride.

Then, if I was in your position, I'd skip the non-pro model. You'd be better of putting the money towards your current bike and upgrade to di2 and carbon wheels...unless if you find that you need the more aggressive geometry of the TCR
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Old 08-26-19, 03:56 PM
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I dropped my Defy tonight at my local shop for a tuneup and the guy showed me the 2020 Giant TCR Advanced Pro Team which is matte black with white writings. It is absolutely beautiful! I'd get it brand new for the price of the used one. I would, however, need to sacrifice the DI2 (or buy it later, but it would be a waste of money not going for it right away).


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Old 08-26-19, 04:54 PM
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Tonight I realized something funny, and someone please feel free to let me know if you have the logical explanation! I have compared both the Advanced Pro 0 Disc 2018 and 2019, and the geometry is identical. However, the sizes are advertised as follow :

2018 - M/L 5'10'' to 6'
2019 - M/L 5'10'' to 6'2''

Can someone please explain why Giant added an additional 2 inches to their sizing guide? Is it because the seatpost can be adjusted higher?

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Old 08-26-19, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by eduskator View Post
I dropped my Defy tonight at my local shop for a tuneup and the guy showed me the 2020 Giant TCR Advanced Pro Team which is matte black with white writings. It is absolutely beautiful! I'd get it brand new for the price of the used one. I would, however, need to sacrifice the DI2 (or buy it later, but it would be a waste of money not going for it right away).

The strange paint schemes/colors have always prevented me from considering Giant, but that one...I really like.
If you decide to get it, you could purchase an Di2 upgrade kit. I've found that going that route is usually cheaper that buying the Di2 model to begin with. You could then sell the mechanical components, making the di2 that much cheaper.

Merlin cycles in the UK has fantastic prices, the shipping is free and fast, and I've never had to pay an import tax.

As far as the sizing chart, I'm guessing they altered it simply to allow some overlap in sizes. Most people on the very edges of the range could go either way, depending on preference.
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Old 08-27-19, 06:02 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by melikebikey35 View Post
The strange paint schemes/colors have always prevented me from considering Giant, but that one...I really like.
If you decide to get it, you could purchase an Di2 upgrade kit. I've found that going that route is usually cheaper that buying the Di2 model to begin with. You could then sell the mechanical components, making the di2 that much cheaper.

Merlin cycles in the UK has fantastic prices, the shipping is free and fast, and I've never had to pay an import tax.

As far as the sizing chart, I'm guessing they altered it simply to allow some overlap in sizes. Most people on the very edges of the range could go either way, depending on preference.
+1 for the color. Simple and beautiful!
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Old 08-27-19, 06:42 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by eduskator View Post
Tonight I realized something funny, and someone please feel free to let me know if you have the logical explanation! I have compared both the Advanced Pro 0 Disc 2018 and 2019, and the geometry is identical. However, the sizes are advertised as follow :
2018 - M/L 5'10'' to 6'
2019 - M/L 5'10'' to 6'2''
Can someone please explain why Giant added an additional 2 inches to their sizing guide? Is it because the seatpost can be adjusted higher?
Not sure why they did that as I cant imagine many 6'2 cyclists are wanting to ride a bike with 562 of stack height saddle height somewhere around 805mm. Thats over 6" of saddle to bar drop at minimum. That works for some who would ride this style bike, but its certainly not insignificant. To me, it makes more sense to have a higher stack height and less spacers if you want to get to that position, but I guess to each their own.

(measurements assume 36" cycling inseam for 6'2 and 40mm of spacers which is in general the max recommended as well as straight stem since why would you get a high angle stem for this bike)
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Old 08-27-19, 09:01 AM
  #41  
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I'd also rather have a bigger frame than having an enormous saddle to bar drop. I'm 6'1'' with a 33-34'' inseam. I would clearly grab the Large, but I guess I'm only trying to see if I can fitt the ML to my specs (or close to) since I'd be saving at least 2500$ buying used. If it's not feasible or simply not worth it, I won't ride uncomfortable or get injured only to save money.
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Old 08-27-19, 09:19 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by eduskator View Post
I'd also rather have a bigger frame than having an enormous saddle to bar drop. I'm 6'1'' with a 33-34'' inseam. I would clearly grab the Large, but I guess I'm only trying to see if I can fitt the ML to my specs (or close to) since I'd be saving at least 2500$ buying used. If it's not feasible or simply not worth it, I won't ride uncomfortable or get injured only to save money.
Just for fun, I checked your height against Giant's fitting calculator. You came out at the higher end of M/L and the lower end of L fitting ranges, in an overlap zone. Perhaps they realized the 2018 limits were too restrictive. Who knows?
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Old 08-27-19, 09:40 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Just for fun, I checked your height against Giant's fitting calculator. You came out at the higher end of M/L and the lower end of L fitting ranges, in an overlap zone. Perhaps they realized the 2018 limits were too restrictive. Who knows?
This is interesting and good news in fact. I'm 99% positive I would ideally need a Large, but I'm not convinced that a M/L can't be adjusted close to my ideal specs. As I said above, if it's not possible, I'll wait for another deal or buy new next year.
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Old 08-27-19, 11:11 AM
  #44  
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Personally I ride a variety of bikes from a little on the small size to a little on the large size. I prefer a little long to a little short.

Unless it is really small, you'll likely habituate to the new bike quickly.

Personally I'm not a big fan of sloping top tubes. One either gets the seat low, and the stem awkwardly high, or the seat post way too long.

I think many racers ride bikes a size too small just to get a bit more aero position.

Your used bike, the stem is already cut, so that will limit adjustment a bit. However, it is cut fairly long, so perhaps not that limiting. Road Cyclists like their stems more or less parallel to the ground. However, that isn't a requirement. You can flip the stem over so that it points up, and perhaps gain 3 or 4 cm in height up front.

Nonetheless, if the bike is cheap (< $1000 or so), then it might be worth it for you.
On the other hand, if it is expensive (> $2000 or so), then wait and purchase what you really want, and don't spend the rest of the time you own it second guessing yourself.

Mighty long seatposts are available, at least in aluminum.
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Old 08-27-19, 12:56 PM
  #45  
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Thanks for the advice. It's definitively not cheap (well over 1k$ used), but in the end if it fits, I would still save 2000$ as compared to buying a new one.
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Old 08-27-19, 01:02 PM
  #46  
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Many "Pros" ride one size smaller and use a long 130mm to 140mm stem so that are more stretched out... aka Aero.

If you're not a "Pro" then you'd better off with the right size bike.
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Old 08-27-19, 01:46 PM
  #47  
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I have exactly what you are looking at but one size down.
I ride a M/L Defy and a Medium TCR.
Except my Defy is set up with no spacers under the stem and my TCR has about 20mm of spacers and the bars are still a bit lower than the Defy.
So put simply.
Take all the spacers out from under the stem of your Defy.
Ride it.
If you are comfortable with that position the TCR could work for you.
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Old 08-27-19, 02:17 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
Many "Pros" ride one size smaller and use a long 130mm to 140mm stem so that are more stretched out... aka Aero.

If you're not a "Pro" then you'd better off with the right size bike.
I'm far from a pro, and this is what I did. It's good for 1-2 hour rides, but after that the back feels it. On the plus side, it handles like it's on rails!
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Old 08-27-19, 07:08 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by GlennR View Post
Many "Pros" ride one size smaller and use a long 130mm to 140mm stem so that are more stretched out... aka Aero.

If you're not a "Pro" then you'd better off with the right size bike.
Buying a new stem would certainly be cheaper than going for a new bike The pros uses smaller bikes to be more aero, but I would only do it to save 2 grands. lol
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Old 08-29-19, 07:31 PM
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Just a quick update that I ended up grabbing the used ML Adv. Pro 0, and was able to adjust it to my current specs. The saddle looks high, but it's just not that bad. I have a 4.5'' saddle-to-bar drop, which is OK and not a lot more than I have on my Defy.

Overall, I'm feeling comfortable on the bike & satisfied with the purchase. The DI2 is AMAZING.
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