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 CharlesM

Generally speaking, I would say there are a lot of variables that make different bikes with different parts fit different people differently.

I could be wrong though.


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by konky

In my view bike fitting is 50% to do with bodily dimentions and 50% to do with individual flexability. Two people of exactly the same size may require different sized bikes. Too many bike fits don't take this into account.

Good luck finding a perfect fit. I'm sure there's a bike out there that works well for you.

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by gummee

I'm 5'8" too and have found I can fit on pretty much anything from 53.0 to 55.0 TTs with different stems and bars.

Typically I end up on 54cm TT bikes with a 12cm stem. Right now I've got a 54.5cm TT Full Tilt Boogie with an 11cm stem and Ergosums and a 54.5cm Quattro Assi with an 11cm stem and S-Works bars. I need to swap bars so FTB has slightly less reach. The QA is a little short in the HT but I didn't know that when I bought it.

Nice thing about being a cyclist these days is different bar reach/drops compared to when I first started riding. Choices were MUCH more limited back in the late 80s/early 90s. :nod You need X reach bars to make that 11cm stem work with that frame? Sure! Pick a bar out of a quiver online (or at your LBS).


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by PDXWheels

I'm 5' 7.5" longish legs.

My 50cm Caad10 is actually a bit big.

My XS Ridley Damocles fits perfectly. 110 stem, no setback post.

As mentioned above, fit is totally personal. I know several people shorter than me that ride 54cm frames, not even a close fit for me. You might have to try a few frames to find the right fit, don't go in with any preconceived notions of what size you need.

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by wangsanegara

I am 172cm, (5'8") with 80 cm Inseam.

Currently rides Cervelo S5, size 51, 10mm spacer, with 10cm stem (-8 deg.). Sandle height is 70cm with saddle nose to center of bar of 52cm. Should have use 11cm stem, but no stock at my bike shop when I built the bike. I also have Giant TCR with ISP, and using the same setup.

Bike felt good, and have been riding with this setup for more than 2,000km, with maximum of 220km (8 hour ride on a single day). No matter what brand of bike, and the seat tube height, I always look for identical "reach and stack" and stays within 530-540mm eff top tube length.

So, being 5'8" is not actually a bad thing lots of frame to choose.


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by elviento

True, plus the issue with typical fitting procedure is that a newbie being fitted won't know what his flexibility and riding habits will be after 3000 miles. God forbid he gets a $10K bike and 8 months later finds himself needing 2-3cm more reach.

konky wrote:In my view bike fitting is 50% to do with bodily dimentions and 50% to do with individual flexability. Two people of exactly the same size may require different sized bikes. Too many bike fits don't take this into account.
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by mattydubs

I too am 5' 8" with a 33" biking inseam, but I don't think it's a magical "damned" number. I think it's just rather difficult to dial things in for anyone.

My normal (the ten hours a week bike) frame is a custom Columbus Spirit tubed job that was built for me and I am still not totally happy with the fit (though most of my current bitching is about saddle issues...). But before that I rode a 53 and it wasn't some miracle frame. I was always tinkering with it.

You did strike at an issue though, and that's more with how the bike industry has changed. Compact geometry allows companies to skip sizes and adjust with stem length and saddle position. I don't agree with Grant Peterson on many things, but I know he talks about how "everything should be based on the stem". He does have a point. After you get the stem set up, you can change lots of things. I'd argue, though, that that should include the bars and whatever your hoods are... after all, reach can make a difference.

Currently I'm contemplating losing a few mm in the spacer department and getting a 10 mm shorter stem. But I don't know. I like a pretty decent drop between saddle and bars and I spend a great deal of time in the drops.

When I was a 23 year old 140 pound whip I seemed to tolerate any sort of bike as long as it was remotely right. Getting older makes it all harder.

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by audiojan

First, there's no standard for bike size denomination, so a 52cm from one manufacturer might be similar to a 54 from another, medium from a 3rd, small from a 4th, or even 61.5cm (as in DeRosa Idol for example). You simply can't say that a specific size does or does not fit without also include the make and model.

Second, height is a REALLY poor indicator of bike fit. If you look at factors that determine a bike fit, it makes lots of sense... Lower/upper leg length, upper body length, flexibility, core strength, current/prior injuries/issues, types/distance of racing/rides, terrain, etc. etc. etc. In essence, you can have 4 people of exactly the same height, one fitting perfectly on for example a Cannondale CAAD10 54cm, the second person fitting a 52cm CAAD10, the third person not fitting well on a CAAD10, but fits well on a Synapse 54cm, and the forth simply can't fit well on any of the Cannondale models, but fits some other brand/model. Now, a road bike is quite adjustable, but keep in mind that the more to the extremes you need to adjust the bike (for example super short stem, seat post all the way down into the frame, etc.), the more of a compromise you have from how the designed intended the bike to be set up. Think about it this way, do you want to buy a bike that fits YOU, or buy a bike and then fit you to the bike...

I actually happen to be 5'8"... Look 595 Medium without any spacers at all fits me well, so does Parlee Z5 Medium/Tall (with a neg. 10deg. stem though).
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by MerckzFan

I made an appointment today to see a chiropractor, it seems Im sufferring from Kyphosis which is to do with the curvature of the back a la drop bar riding position and/or working on computers in an office and both apply to me. Specifically when I go to the retul guy next week a big element is going to be poor posture corrrection as a whole string of woes relate to directly that. Anyone else any experience of kyphosis ? Im not effected on the right side and my left side carries the can. Here is a link, please take a look :scared:

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Some people have mentioned this above, but I would say that one thing that makes it easier to ride longer/lower is having the appropriate amount of setback to get your weight on the saddle. It seems to me, lots of people get bikes fitted at KOPS, which may not be far enough back.

When I went from ~3-4cm setback to ~6cm, I was able to drop my bars, because my weight distribution got better.

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by dmp

I am a little bit kyphotic (not much, so it doesn't make much difference for me). A chiropracter will undoubtedly recommend some sort of spinal manipulation, for which there is no scientific evidence that it will be of any help, but PT type exercises and targeted strengthening of the supportive muscles will probably be of some value.

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