If you are in between frame size, go up or down?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by stockae92

If you are kinda in between frame size, should you go up (shorter stem) or down (longer stem, more seatpost) with the frame size?

by Weenie

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by sychen

If you can take the drop or be happy with spacers under the stem.. I would always go smaller rather than bigger.

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by Bordcla

You either can fit it comfortably or not. If you have to reach forward for the larger frame to work, you'll regret it.

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by shimmeD

Sounds like that model and/or brand doesn't fit you. Therefore find something else or get a bespoke :smartass:
Less is more.

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by wheelbuilder


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by fordred

Always down.

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by tabl10s

I was always told I could go from a 58 down to a 54 (the first was a 58 and subsequent bikes were 56's).
My Orbea is a 55.5cm and had a 110cm stem that was a touch long.

Different companies measure differently(a Cervelo
R series 56 is too big as is a Pinarello 55).
2016 Orbea Orca OMR:


2013 Wilier Zero.7:


2016 Rca:


2015 Pinarello F8(build in-process).

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by istigatrice

Going down isn't always the best option as some smaller bikes leave you with wack front center and trail (e.g. 54 top tube down to a 52 top tube). Generally, if you can get low enough on the larger bike, and the seat angle isn't too shallow, I'd go up. A 100-110mm stem is fine - in fact back in the day that's what was recommended.
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by TonyM

Down if you can ride with a lower stack.

Bigger Gear
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by Bigger Gear

Don't have much to add heree except that you really need to have your fit nailed to know how the stack will affect you. If the headtube is too short on the smaller frame you may need a big pile of spacers or (gasp) a positive rise stem. On the larger frame, you can run into the opposite problem where you can't get the bars low enough without using a slammed -17 degree stem. Look at some WT bikes that have longish headtubes and you'll even see situations where a -17 stem is sitting right on the bearing without a bearing cover because the. rider needs the drop. Also, on the bigger bike if it is a level top tube be mindful of the seat tube length. If you don't run a high saddle relative to your size you may find there may not be much seatpost showing as well.

IMO big spacer stacks, -17 stems slammed and stubs of seatposts are all to be avoided in an optimal fitted bike.

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by bilwit


lower & longer is more pro (and WW)
Bigger Gear wrote: ↑
Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:24 pm
IMO big spacer stacks, -17 stems slammed and stubs of seatposts are all to be avoided in an optimal fitted bike.
eh, depends on the frame. Some headtubes have more forgiving angles so -17 is perfectly level, others the same stem would be noticeably pointed downwards

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by Bigger Gear

I didn't really mean the angle of the -17 stem, but just that a -17 stem slammed onto a headtube and a short seatpost likely means the frame is too big. But aesthetics are different for everyone. As a guy who rides bikes in the 56-57 range I aesthetically prefer a 110-120 stem at -10 or -6 angle, no more than 15mm of spacers, and at least 16cm of seatpost showing.

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by RussellS

I can't really give you a definitive annswer. I have one bike that is clearly too big for me and two bikes that are a tiny bit maybe too small for me. Sort of, maybe. The too big bike is my loaded touring bike. It has a 58.8cm toptube. My ideal toptube is 57-57.5cm. I compensated for this too long toptube via a 10cm stem, instead of 12cm on every other bike I own, and a zero setback seatpost, instead of a 25mm offset seatpost on every other bike I own. I'm sort of guessing on the 25mm setback sice they are a wide range of seatposts and all seem to be roughly normal for setback posts. Assume its about 25mm setback for normal setback seatposts. I have every saddle shoved back all the way on the rails. Many different saddles. In the end, the loaded touring bike fits me perfectly with the stem and seatpost adjustments. My two tiny bit under sized bikes are road bikes. Both have 56.5cm toptubes I think. A tiny bit too short, I guess. I have regular setback seatposts and 12cm stems on them. Like all the other bikes except the too big touring bike. When riding these two small bikes, I can sort of, kind of, maybe feel they are a tiny bit too short. Not cramped. But I can feel they are a tiny bit shorter reach than my bigger bikes. Not enough to affect anything. Fortunately for me I am a size where almost all bike makers build a standard off the rack bike to fit me perfectly. I'd suggest you keep looking to find a bike maker that makes an almost exact correct fit bike for you. Then adjust it a tiny bit with stem or saddle movement on the rails.

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by themidge

I suppose it depends on what kind of bike your new one is to your old. My current bike has a smaller sized 'endurance' frame, whereas my new (bigger) frame is quite 'racey' (lower for the size than an endurance one). I'm definitely not a good example as I actually need a bigger bike, but basically I'll end up with the same handlebar position (height wise) as my current bike, but with a -17 instead of a -7. I might have a slightly retro amount of seatpost showing though.

by Weenie

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by dim

Bianchi measured me as a 53cm frame

so.... not many 53cm frames around and I normally buy a 52cm or a 54cm and adjust accordingly with the saddle position and stem length

my latest bike is a gravel bike, and I opted for the smaller 52cm as the 54cm stand over height was a bit too tall

the geometry of the gravel bike is more relaxed, and I found that even though my saddle was as far back as it could go, it still felt that I was too far forward to the crank centre

I ended up buying a Thomson Elite Offset Seatpost and what a difference! .... more power, and faster speed

the next problem, is that the handlebars are way too wide for my shoulder width .... I will get numb hands and sore shoulders on long rides, so that's my next upgrade

then .... the wheels need to be upgraded .... (it just never ends!!)

so, my advice, lots of tweaks may be needed to get it 100% comfortable, and it's better to buy smaller, as you can make it bigger (but if it's too big, it's harder to make it smaller)
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