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

Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:47 pm
by MerckzFan
If you buy a size 52 roadbike it tends to geared towards a rider in 5ft4 - 5ft7 range, go for the size 54 and you find the optimal range at 5 ft 8 - 5 ft 10.

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:

Not everyone makes size 53 bikes before someone brings this frame size up :wink: , I chose my size 54 bike because I prefer a higher headtube and I only use 25mm of spacers and the "slam the stem"advice is advice which I regard as nonsense unless you are a serious competitive racer. Im having a Retul fit done soon to really get my riding position dialled in to make my riding position as comfortable and efficient as it can be .

Have any other riders here who are 5 ft 8 found road bike fitting to be more of a chore than it should be ?

Re: Being 5 ft 8 is bad news when it comes to road bike fitt

Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:16 pm
by Brandonnie
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.

Re: Being 5 ft 8 is bad news when it comes to road bike fitt

Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:23 pm
by madmole
5' 7.5 inches here. My 54cm Cervelo S3 fits me perfectly with 15mm of spacers and normal +6 110mm stem. shop fit and retul fit all agree within .5cm. I might be tubby but quite flexible

Different makes have different geometries for the same size, so if your between sizes on one make try another

Re: Being 5 ft 8 is bad news when it comes to road bike fitt

Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:27 pm
by MerckzFan
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.




Nah, 40mm of spacers would result in a bike that looked like it belonged in a circus. Others might opt for a 52 with a 35 degree stem, but that too would look like circus bike. On my 54 I use a 90mm stem and there are no reach issues. Im just hoping that Retul will get all my body parts in the optimal positions for my riding style.

Anybody out there who is 5ft8 and can share their story ?

Re: Being 5 ft 8 is bad news when it comes to road bike fitt

Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:29 pm
by MerckzFan
madmole wrote:5' 7.5 inches here. My 54cm Cervelo S3 fits me perfectly with 15mm of spacers and normal +6 110mm stem. shop fit and retul fit all agree within .5cm. I might be tubby but quite flexible

Different makes have different geometries for the same size, so if your between sizes on one make try another




Very interesting. What are the top tube and head tube lengths on your bike ? 110mm stem comes a bit of a surprise for your height.

Re: Being 5 ft 8 is bad news when it comes to road bike fitt

Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:34 pm
by GT56
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...

Re: Being 5 ft 8 is bad news when it comes to road bike fitt

Posted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:52 pm
by thegunner
i'm 5'7" and ride a 49 scott (50 cannondale) with a 110 -17 stem... the only thing i took away from this thread is that it's pointless to go by absolute height to size a bike. if you put me on a 54 or even a 52, both would feel too large.

Re: Being 5 ft 8 is bad news when it comes to road bike fitt

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:25 am
by boolinwall
Guru. All you need to know.

Re: Being 5 ft 8 is bad news when it comes to road bike fitt

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 12:27 am
by dmp
I'm 5'8", 32.5" inseam, and ride a 50cm Pinarello Paris with a 52.5cm top tube, 130mm head tube. I use a +6 120mm stem with 20mm of spacers, have just under 10cm of drop, and its a perfect fit for me with compact bars (Easton EC90 SLX3). I probably could have gone with the 51.5 and a 110mm stem instead, but my fitter liked this one equally or better for me (and it was in stock at the shop, too, so I didn't have to wait). I like the handling of a slightly longer (120 vs105 or 110) stem. This is a non-sloping frame. Pinarello, while not as weight weenie as a lot of the frames people like on this forum, has the advantage of coming in lots of in between frame sizes, and they ride really nicely. I am sure that there are others that will fit you well, too- perhaps the CAAD10 is just not one of them. SOunds like you need something with not too much setback if you have shorter legs, too.

Re: Being 5 ft 8 is bad news when it comes to road bike fitt

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:05 am
by cyclenutnz
MerckzFan wrote:Have any other riders here who are 5 ft 8 found road bike fitting to be more of a chore than it should be ?


At your height it's only a chore if you have particularly unusual proportions or you're looking at the wrong frame options. Granted a lot of brands do very poorly on the geometry for sizes below 54 but there are plenty of bikes with taller headtubes if that is what suits you. You just need to find a fitter (or self educate) who can explain the differences between frame options for both fit and handling (incl weight distribution).

Having proportionally shorter legs usually makes fitting easier - opening up more frame options.
One thing it would be worth you putting time into is understanding Stack and Reach rather than relying on nominal (52,53,54) sizing.

Re: Being 5 ft 8 is bad news when it comes to road bike fitt

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:22 am
by Frankie13
5.8 and 33in inseam here and my 54 Canyon Ultimate CF does fit perfect with a slammed 110mm stem.
By far the best fit I ever had, and the bike I ride 100% of the time. I had a 56 Canyon and Madone and they worked quit well too.

My first 55cm Pinarello Prince was definatly on the bigger size and I changed it with my current Dogma2 51.5 with a 120mm Most Talon bar and 10mm spacer and it's ok but would I buy another Dogma I would get the 53 and it would be perfect for sure.

Re: Being 5 ft 8 is bad news when it comes to road bike fitt

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:51 am
by boots2000
Lots of pro bike racers are 5'8. I bet they go to the 52cm if not a 50- fairly long stem, slammed to the headset.

Re: Being 5 ft 8 is bad news when it comes to road bike fitt

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:02 am
by refthimos
I feel your pain, but 5'8" isn't some magical height that makes sizing a bike difficult. I'm 6'1" and have similar issues choosing between 56cm and 58cm frames. I usually go with the 58cm because I like a long top tube, but then that can make getting the front end low enough a little more difficult, particularly with the newer Cervelos.

Like someone else said, unless you have really freaky proportions, there are going to be lots of good options for you at that height. It's all about settling on your stack and reach first and THEN finding the frame that works for your numbers. Picking the frame first and then trying to figure out which size to buy to accommodate your individual stack/reach is doing it backwards.

Re: Being 5 ft 8 is bad news when it comes to road bike fitt

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:30 am
by ergott
I won't comment on your contact points without seeing any pictures. I'm 5' 8.5" and ride a 54mm Spooky. I also have a 53cm Serotta with the same geometry as a 53cm Colnago. If your contact points are where they should be and you checked them with a qualified professional you shouldn't try to shoehorn yourself onto a bike that doesn't fit. There are so many options out there even without going custom. Perhaps a Trek in H2 geo or similar. The best bike in the world is one that fits first and foremost.

Re: Being 5 ft 8 is bad news when it comes to road bike fitt

Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:53 am
by NGMN
Like someone said, relying on top tube and head tube lengths is a problem in and of itself. Companies like Cervelo, Trek, Ridley and others make bikes that are tall for their length.

I'm 5'8.5ish and ride a 53cm Cyfac; ~385mm reach, ~550mm stack. Fits well, not super aggressive, allows for use of a classic bar; maybe 6-7 cm drop to bar top and 7-8cm drop to hoods.