Being 5 ft 8 is bad news when it comes to road bike fitting

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by sugarkane

Parlee does Long and std head tubes on their z5 range
I ride a med which had a EF TT of 54.5
I got a 3mm spacer on top of the headset cover and a 90mm stem.
I could have gone for a small with a longer stem but it would have put me all too far over the bb
I'm 5'8" and It did take me a while to find a frame set that had the numbers I wanted. Many I looked at were way too long or too short in the TT for my fit

Getting a proper fit done before you buy is a great idea... It'll have you time and monies in the long run.

by Weenie

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by Cheers!

I'm 5'8" and both of my bikes are 54 cm cervelo.

2006 soloist team
2008 slc sl.

Both have a 54.5" effective top tube. Both use 100mm stem. Only difference is that the slc sl has a lower bottom bracket by 1/2". But I fit both fine.

Are you 100% certain you have exhausted all the available brands? Have you seen a professional Fitter? After setting you up on a dynamic bike and getting your contact points down, he or she can easily cross reference various models from many manufacturers to find one that works best for you.

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by elviento

5'8" here as well. Many manufacturers actually make 53cm (even C'dale used to do that). And I find 53cm frames fit very well. Colnago, Litespeed, ...

The real gripe I have with being this height, is that most dealer's sample size when they order from manufactures is 54 and 56, so you do see these on clearance at unreal prices from time to time. So, really envious of 5'10"-6" guys. LOL

Of course, super small sizes and super big sizes are often on sale for peanuts as well.
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by Rick

I am 5'8" and fit perfectly on a "53" PedalForce QS3 with a 110 stem. My cycling inseam is 33.1" (84.1cm)

I go primarily by top tube length. I have ridden 54 and 56 in the past. I even own a 58 right now (with a 90 stem) , that is certainly not optimum, but I can make it fit well enough that I can't blame the bike for any issues.

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by WMW

MerckzFan wrote:You buy the 52 and youve got a bike you can have a good riding position on with a longer stem ,but with a headtube which is laughably low for you and you have to buy a skyscraper of spacers which makes the bike look dire, you buy the 54 and are into 80mm - 90mm stems and jiggling around to get a good riding position, especially so if you are unlucky enough to have short legs, as I do :cry:

Absurd title. Manufacturers work very hard to accommodate 5ft 8 riders. The problem is that you apparently like having your bars as high as your saddle. Thought about bending over? If not then you have to deal with it or go custom.
formerly rruff...

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by incredibleting

5'10" and I ride a 50cm CAAD10. Am I that weird?

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by Brandonnie

GT56 wrote:
Brandonnie wrote:Im 5,9 with a 33 inseam. I ride a 54 cm caad10 with a 120mm stem. It felt too big so im going to go with a 52cm with a 140mm stem which i think would suit me better. In the end its all saddle to bar drop :) . Also SLAM THAT STEM haha. But if i were you i would go with a 52 and put spacers under.

your fitting is a mess; caad 10 54 and 52 have the same reach, so going to a 140 stem puts your handlebars too far away, unless you got it wrong on the 54 of course...

By taking into account the shorter top tube in theory i would only need a 130mm stem. But when going in to try one out proved me wrong. The 52cm had a steeper seatube angle which led to the need of a even longer stem. If the reach if 2 frame sizes were the same why bother make one ir the other?!?

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by SGcyclist

5'7" here and ride a xs Ridley Damocles with a 52.5 ett and a slammed 120 -17 stem with Ritchey wcs bar. Arione that is almost slammed back on a seat post with 15 degrees of sb. The amount of post showing would satisfy this board. Went with Ridley because their tall head tubes mean I don't have to run any spacers. I do yoga so I'm pretty flexible.

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by Tokyo Drifter

The little man needs to stretch more.

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by idler

Could people responding to this this thread please specify how they are sizing their bikes (some people are using top tube length and others seat tube). I presume the original poster was referring to top tube - some countries (like Australia) size by seat tube.

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by Getter

I'm 5'8" with more torso than leg. I had a 52cm Cannondale and now a 54 Cervelo. I was originally fit on the 52 Cannondale. I was fit on the Cannondale with a 110mm -6 stem all the way down. I went with the 54 Cervelo based on the reach being the same as the 52cm Cannondale. I switched to a -17 stem due to the taller head tube.

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by euan

Brandonnie wrote:If the reach if 2 frame sizes were the same why bother make one ir the other?!?

So the XS frame can have a shorter seattube for smaller riders

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by Geoff

Damn monocoque bikes. A blessing and a curse. Your fit issues cut both ways. I am a bit taller and have to size down to get the bars low enough, then throw a 140mm stem on and ram the saddle all the way back on the rails on a setback post... You can always get a custom frame, too.

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by ergott ... b2c_73.gif" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;

The published reach for a 52cm and 54cm Cannondale is the same. Theoretically, that means if you placed your saddle in the same place with respect to the bottom bracket, not the clamp of the seatpost you would reach the same distance to the headtube. The difference is that the stack is 1.8cm taller for the 54cm bike. That would change the reach at the same point along the steerer 0.6cm (adding 2cm of spacers to the 52cm vs. slammed 54cm). If you were to try to setup a 52cm Cannondale for a rider that has a 54cm Cannondale, you would have to ideally find a stem that's .6cm longer which is in between typical stem sizes. That's why it's important to also consider stack with reach when looking at the chart. You can't assume the reach is the same for a given rider looking to choose between the two bikes.

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by MarkThailand

I am 172 cm (5'8") with a biking inseam of 79 cm.

Hang in there - you will find a bike with a geometry that fits you with some adjustment via stem length, head tube spacers, handle bar shape, and seat post set back amount.

Also, take the fittings and fitting methods with a grain of salt because they are only as good as the fitter and his/her experience. And, as your biking endurance, strength, and flexibility increases, you will find that your comfort geometry changes - go back to the fitter you like the best and then get another fitting adjustment.

I found a good fitter who uses the Juteau Cantin bike fitting rig system - though the key point is that he is a good fitter. I have had a BG bike fitting with less than satisfactory results and a Retul bike fitting that I felt was way over my head - I think the methods were okay but my issues were with the fitter.

On to my geometry, I was lucky that I found a good first bike - a Lynskey Helix OS. I got to try both a Size S and Size M but chose a Size S (53 eTT with a 48 cm sear tube) based on th dealer's recommendation eventhough the size M (54.5 TT) felt more relaxed and I did not feel as cramped. He told me that the 30 minute try meant very little but he was extrapolating how I would feel after 3-4-5 hours on the bike. And, he told me that Lynskey has a total satisfaction guarantee and I could always return the bike!

I then brought my frame to the the Juteau-Cantin bike fitter and we fit the frame to me by trying different stems lengths, steering tube spacers, and different handle bars. At the time, I was a beginner road biker averaging less than 2000 miles a year with typical rides of 25 miles with a cadence of 85 rpm.

My first set up was:

1) a saddle height of 69 cm with 25 mm seat post set up off a 74 degree seat post angle and a saddle tip set back from bb axle of 43 mm - I start with these dimensions because these numbers will not change from bike to bike because they relate to my leg dimensions with Speedplay pedals on Speedplay-specific shoes (unless I change to a SMP saddle or change shoes).
2) head tube length of 12.6 cm, head set stack of 13 mm, a spacer stack of 35 mm, a 100 mm stem, with a compact handle bar with a reach of 128 mm and drop of 78 mm - these dimensions resulted in a saddle to handle bar drop of 4 cm -my fitter told me that these dimensions will change/could change with increased bike rider strength, endurance, and flexibility.

Currently, 18 months later, I am still a relatively new. I ride about 130 miles total on the weekends as my training rides in about 7 hours total. My average cadence is 90-95 rpm and my typical rides now are 50-70 mile solo, non-stop rides at an average speed of 18 mph. The shorter 50 mile rides are closer to 20 mph average speed. My training goal this year is a 5 hour solo century.

My current bike set up for the Lynskey Helix OS Size S has changed a bit and I have had two more Juteau Cantin bike fittings:
2) head tube length of 12.6 cm, head set stack of 13 mm, a spacer stack of 20 mm (16 cm effective head tube height), a 100 mm stem, with a compact handle bar with a reach of 128 mm and drop of 78 mm - these dimensions resulted in a saddle to handle bar drop of 6 cm. This is the cheapest solution - ENVE stems and handle bars are two expensive to change - I just slightly bend my elbow or at the edges of the hood when I am on the hoods.

My second bike, a training bike, has a slightly shorter effective top tube of 52.5 cm and a slightly more relaxed head tube angle of 72 degrees (Helix OS has a 72.5 degrees head tube angle). But, it has an identical seat tube angle and a head tube length of 13 cm but uses a threadless spacer with a stack of 31 mm. So, I only use 1 cm of spacers (17 cm effective head tube height), a 110 mm stem, with a identical compact handle bar. The saddle to handle bar drop is 5 cm.

The key is to find a position that you are comfortable on the hoods most of the time, then, as your endurance and flexibility increases, go down into the drops more, then bend your elbows, then reduce the steering tube spacer amounts.

Have fun.


PS. My next bike is a custom carbon bike.
2012 Lynskey R330 with SRAM Red Quarq
2013 Parlee Z1 with DA 9070
2013 Lynskey Helix OS II with SRAM Red

by Weenie

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