I am 5'6" and the bike has 52.5 eff TT. Wondering if the 51" TT size (XS) would make a difference for me or is it just aesthetics ?
The only item you may want to consider changing is the seatpost. A zero-setback post would clamp the saddle rails in the middle of the range for your given position, which is generally stronger. It also looks better!
This all does not mean your bike is NOT too big, rather with the given information, I would not immediately jump to that conclusion.
If you are happy the way the bike handles and are happy with your saddle to bar drop, I would stick with what you have. A nine stem is ok. A ten or eleven would be nicer aesthetically but then you might end up with a stack of spacers so its not straightforward.
People here get way to caught up in the aesthetics of bike fits. And by that I mean, they prefer a traditional amount of setback, with really low bars and a long stem. I can understand when a person posts a picture of a bike and there is a glaring problem; i.e. seat forward on a straight seatpost, bars above seat, or stem under 80mm. Those to me are red flags, but still not necessarily wrong, just there should be a good reason for them and the person may be best served consulting a different fitter.
However, its stupid when people criticize other people's fits without actually seeing the person on the bike; or make sweeping generalizations like a bike with a stem under ____mm won't handle well. Maybe the bikes wheelbase and/or trail lends to better handling with certain length stems, maybe the person has their weight distibuted in such a way that the stem is better at a certain length, maybe they run a longer than average bar reach...
Handling, fit, comfort and proper sizing boil down to far more than what the average WW thinks looks good.
So to answer your question, maybe a smaller bike would be better; but its hard to know based on what you told us.
If I had your Z5, I might need a 120mm stem because the TT is shorter and the STA is only 74 degrees. Those combine to make the reach about 1cm shorter.
That said, I do use Easton EC90-SLX3 short reach bars. If I used longer reach bars, my stem would be 10mm shorter.
Before buying a new frame, you should experiment with the fit. First try moving the saddle further back, about 5mm at a time. That will reduce weight on the hands and tell you if a little more reach is feasible. After that, try a 10mm longer stem. IMO, fitters can only take you so far into the complete fitting process and many fitters are very conservative. If I were to get a fitting today, I'd probably end up with the saddle 2cm further forward, and about 4cm less sadle to bar drop (7cm instead of 11cm).
If you insist on buying a smaller frame, be careful not to change the head tube length or stack height by too much. Also don't forget to consider the STA. A steeper STA lengthens the reach by about 8-9mm per degree in this frame size. With some frames you may get a shorter TT, but give up much of the reduced reach with a steeper STA.
In the case of the Z5, you'll only lose about 4mm of reach with the 74.5 degree STA on the next size smaller frame.
NGMN wrote:DaveS, how can you make these recommendations without any more feedback from the rider or at least a picture?
What recommendations? You mean to experiment with your fit? IMO, accepting any fitter's position as the only proper one is stupid, particularly if all they did was follow the ancient idea of setting the saddle fore/aft position with a KOP measurement.
It costs little or nothing to experiment with changes to your fit. You can always put things back where they were, if things don't work out.
I've read dozens of similar posting over the last 10 years and usually find that most riders have shorter legs and longer torsos than I do, so it make even less sense that they need short stems.
I should have mentioned brake/shift levers too. Shimano has the greatest reach and Campy the least. I use Campy. If I was using standard reach bars and Shimano levers, I might use a 90mm stem too, instead of a 110mm.
My saddle to bar drop is about 15.5cm and crank length is 177.5mm.
I got so tired of reaching out over the years on recommended sized frames and long stems i could not even imagine using the bar drop i have now. The bar drop allows clearance for climbing out of the saddle with arms comfortably positioned.
When seated my arms have also found comfort while lightly supporting my top half that is now much more relaxed than ever.
Stem is 6 degree in down position with 20mm spacer underneath
Although the fitter used kips I later changed fore aft position using center of gravity approach as described by Keith bin target paper. Still making minor adjustments from time to time. Let me know if any other info might be useful.
Keith Bin Target Paper instead of Keith Bontrager? Damn autocorrect...
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