Hi folks,

I’m going from a flat bar hybrid to a drop bar road bike. I’m in the middle of medium/large frame size for most bikes. I’m 175cm tall but have a long reach (arm span 190cm). I like to be more upright than racing as commuting. The question is, should I go up to the large frame or down to the medium?

I’m worried that if I go medium the saddle will be higher than the handlebars as it will have to be raised more then in the large to get the saddle to pedal light right. 

 

I hope this makes sense. 

Many thanks
 

Adam

12 comments

Avatar
VeloUSA [269 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Here is a chart on bike frame sizes. It's a reference guide and not a gold standard. I suggest going to your LBS [several} and go ride the different sizes closest to your height. Be sure the LBS does an approximate bike fit with saddle height prior to going out.

I am your height and ride a 49 frame. I have owned 51 and 52 frames but felt they made me feel stretched out [too long}. But that's speculative so test rides are important to see what feels best to you. Keep in mind you can always raise the handlebar by adding more spacers under the stem.

 

 

 

Avatar
Canyon48 [1080 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I'm 180 cm with fairly gangly arms (span 180cm).

I ride Medium (54-55cm) frames.

I'm between Small and Medium for most frames, but I prefer the longer top tube for a racier feel so I ride medium frames.

Given your height, I suspect you are between Small and Medium on most frame sizes, but you'd require a really long stem!

Frame sizing depends largely on your torso height, don't buy the wrong size frame because of your arms, just buy a longer stem.

Frame fit also greatly differs between different styles of bike, in your case, I certainly think you need to try a few bikes before settling (and preferably see if your LBS with give you a free bike fit with the purchase).

Avatar
Canyon48 [1080 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I'm 180 cm with fairly gangly arms (span 180cm).

I ride Medium (54-55cm) frames.

I'm between Small and Medium for most frames, but I prefer the longer top tube for a racier feel so I ride medium frames.

Given your height, I suspect you are between Small and Medium on most frame sizes, but you'd require a really long stem!

Frame sizing depends largely on your torso height, don't buy the wrong size frame because of your arms, just buy a longer stem.

Frame fit also greatly differs between different styles of bike, in your case, I certainly think you need to try a few bikes before settling (and preferably see if your LBS with give you a free bike fit with the purchase).

Avatar
rdmp2 [53 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
Canyon48 wrote:

I'm 180 cm with fairly gangly arms (span 180cm).

I ride Medium (54-55cm) frames.

I'm between Small and Medium for most frames, but I prefer the longer top tube for a racier feel so I ride medium frames.

Given your height, I suspect you are between Small and Medium on most frame sizes, but you'd require a really long stem!

Frame sizing depends largely on your torso height, don't buy the wrong size frame because of your arms, just buy a longer stem.

Frame fit also greatly differs between different styles of bike, in your case, I certainly think you need to try a few bikes before settling (and preferably see if your LBS with give you a free bike fit with the purchase).

 

small/medium sounds crazy small for 180cm? I’m similar 5ft 11 and ride at least a 56 ett

Avatar
DoctorFish [143 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

I'm 182cm and ride a medium canyon, but think my arkos might be a large, I can't remember.

Best to try some bikes and find out.  I'd have thought a medium though.

 

Avatar
exilegareth [142 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

I've got five bikes kicking round - two giants which are both M/L, a Ridley which is L, a Fuji tourer which is L and a BMC which is a medium - the only answer for each bike is to sit on and ride them.....

Avatar
CXR94Di2 [2250 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Go and sit on a few bikes medium and large, get a feel of the difference.

Avatar
Canyon48 [1080 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
rdmp2 wrote:
Canyon48 wrote:

I'm 180 cm with fairly gangly arms (span 180cm).

I ride Medium (54-55cm) frames.

I'm between Small and Medium for most frames, but I prefer the longer top tube for a racier feel so I ride medium frames.

Given your height, I suspect you are between Small and Medium on most frame sizes, but you'd require a really long stem!

Frame sizing depends largely on your torso height, don't buy the wrong size frame because of your arms, just buy a longer stem.

Frame fit also greatly differs between different styles of bike, in your case, I certainly think you need to try a few bikes before settling (and preferably see if your LBS with give you a free bike fit with the purchase).

 

small/medium sounds crazy small for 180cm? I’m similar 5ft 11 and ride at least a 56 ett

Yeah, believe it or not, Canyons small frames are for people up to 178 cm, beyond that, it's a medium. (ok I'm somewhere between 178 and 180 cm owing to my atrocious posture)!

Avatar
Canyon48 [1080 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
rdmp2 wrote:
Canyon48 wrote:

I'm 180 cm with fairly gangly arms (span 180cm).

I ride Medium (54-55cm) frames.

I'm between Small and Medium for most frames, but I prefer the longer top tube for a racier feel so I ride medium frames.

Given your height, I suspect you are between Small and Medium on most frame sizes, but you'd require a really long stem!

Frame sizing depends largely on your torso height, don't buy the wrong size frame because of your arms, just buy a longer stem.

Frame fit also greatly differs between different styles of bike, in your case, I certainly think you need to try a few bikes before settling (and preferably see if your LBS with give you a free bike fit with the purchase).

 

small/medium sounds crazy small for 180cm? I’m similar 5ft 11 and ride at least a 56 ett

Yeah, believe it or not, Canyons small frames are for people up to 178 cm, beyond that, it's a medium. (ok I'm somewhere between 178 and 180 cm owing to my atrocious posture)!

Avatar
mtbtomo [270 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

I think to pick between small/medium/large with little regard for actual geometry figures is a disaster waiting to happen. I am 5ft 10 and ride M/L for Giant road bikes, large on my Tifosi and Saracen, medium on Genesis (could almost have been a small).....but if a frame is comparable to a 56cm size with something around a 560-570 top tube (and comparable head tube to my other bikes depending what I will be using it for) then I know I'll be able to make it fit.

Different brands have very different ideas of what constitutes small/medium/large. It's a bit different to ending up with a t-shirt that's a bit baggy or a bit too tight!

A decent bike shop should be able to take a look at you sat on a bike and on the drops and advise the size that will be about right.

Avatar
matthewn5 [1231 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

All things being equal, you'll take a larger size in a flat bar bike because the bars are straight or swept back, whereas drops sweep forward. So a road bike for the same dude will have a smaller frame.

I'm about the same height/span as you and fitted a 57 flat bar but only a 54 in road bikes.

Remember, you can always fit a longer stem and push the seat back, but the opposing will just feel wrong and look wrong.

But above all, go and ride them! There's no other way you'll know.

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds [2428 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
matthewn5 wrote:

All things being equal, you'll take a larger size in a flat bar bike because the bars are straight or swept back, whereas drops sweep forward. So a road bike for the same dude will have a smaller frame.

I'm about the same height/span as you and fitted a 57 flat bar but only a 54 in road bikes.

Remember, you can always fit a longer stem and push the seat back, but the opposing will just feel wrong and look wrong.

But above all, go and ride them! There's no other way you'll know.

Rarely is anything equal, in my experience the opposite is true, a hybrid/flat bar bike has a longer headtube/higher front end and a longer top tube, thus the suitable frame sizes are at least one down from drop bar specific frames.

I have a 55cm flat bar that I've commuted/toured/audax'd on for the last 9 years, this is 3 cm smaller than my smallest racing frame (58/59/61)