How low do I go?

karan733

New Member
Question time again!

I have been riding a road bike for a few months now, and recently went to my LBS to see what expensive bikes feel like and do a bit of scouting for when I have some money :bicycle:

However when I got there, the chap told me I needed a 56cm frame based on my measurements, and I currently ride a 54. This has got me thinking about the 'correct' body position when on the drops.

On the 56 I could get my whole torso parallel with the top tube (very close to it too) and my head was behind the headset/handlebars. On my current 54, everything is above the height of the headset. It felt much lower and aerodynamic on the 56, but is this actually the right position?

If none of this makes sense, just shout! :wacko:
 

redddraggon

Blondie
Location
North Wales
Headtube length on the 54 could feasibly be longer than the headtube on the 56.

The "Size" of a frame means very little, as everyone does it (sometimes slightly sometimes massively) differently.

No one knows what sort of fit would suit you unless they knew you, your riding style, flexibility and preferences.
 

Globalti

Legendary Member
Don't compare an old frame with a new "compact" frame. Take the advice of the shop owner if he's experienced.
 

sadjack

Senior Member
MMM. Well I normally stand astride the bike, feet flat on the floor, and if nothing hits the top tube I'm quite happy.

After that its a try and see what it feels like :wacko:

Nothing too scientific I'm afraid.
 
Bike fits also suggest 56cm for me but it isn't always widely available in all bike types. My road bikes are a 55 a 54 and an effective 54 (compact geometry) and I don't have a problem wit the size of those bikes. IMO the 56 would offer you the most aerodynamic effective position but not necessarily the most comfortable.
 
OP
karan733

karan733

New Member
Ive decided that this thread is useless without pictures! :ohmy:

On the 54, my position is similar to the image labelled 'high', and on the 56, the image 'low' is pretty much my riding position.

I just wanted to find out which position is as correct, although I accept this is all down to individual preference. As in the 'low' image, I feel more aerodynamic as I can get my head behind the headset/bars, but is this the way drops are meant to be ridden?
 

Hont

Guru
Location
Bromsgrove
Bear in mind that the top tube on a 56 will be higher than the top tube on a 54 (with the same bike geometry), so your saddle will be closer to the tube. You should therefore feel lower on the 56, but if your body is at the same angle you won't be. However, as others have pointed out, the top tube is likely to be longer so you will be more stretched out and this will likely make you lower.

The big question IMHO is are you comfortable in that position? The only way to tell that for sure is to go out for a long ride.
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
Lots of factors to take into account - the larger frame will most likely have a longer stem.

What's the saddle height compared to the stem/bars ? You can adjust that on your current bike you know !
 

GrasB

Veteran
Location
Nr Cambridge
In general the longer the bike the more stretched out you are & thus in a more aerodynamic position but this moves the compromise away from the upright climbing position when on the tops. A shorter frame is better for climbing but loses out on aero when on the drops.

If you really want to know go to somewhere that does bike fitting & will give you suggested frame geometries. In all honesty though I think that the 56cm frame is to long if you can get your head behind the headset.
 
OP
karan733

karan733

New Member
Thanks for the information guys. I have adjusted the current bike to have a shorter stem, down from 110 to 90, as it was my first road bike and I wanted to learn slowly. The question is really for when the time comes to buy a new bike, so if I know what the correct position is, then I can judge if the fit is right or not - otherwise I dont know what im looking for :thumbsup:

I have a short torso and long legs, so I think Id go with either 54 or 55 frame. Thanks for the help though
 

jimboalee

New Member
Location
Solihull
karan733 said:
Question time again!

I have been riding a road bike for a few months now, and recently went to my LBS to see what expensive bikes feel like and do a bit of scouting for when I have some money :thumbsdown:

However when I got there, the chap told me I needed a 56cm frame based on my measurements, and I currently ride a 54. This has got me thinking about the 'correct' body position when on the drops.

On the 56 I could get my whole torso parallel with the top tube (very close to it too) and my head was behind the headset/handlebars. On my current 54, everything is above the height of the headset. It felt much lower and aerodynamic on the 56, but is this actually the right position?

If none of this makes sense, just shout! :thumbsup:
Did he take SEVEN different body measurements?
 

jimboalee

New Member
Location
Solihull
A road bike is fitted so you are in a comfortable position when on the hoods. This is where you will do most of your riding.

When on the drops, the only thing to check for is that your knees don't clash your elbows.
 

cyberknight

As long as I breathe, I attack.
jimboalee said:
A road bike is fitted so you are in a comfortable position when on the hoods. This is where you will do most of your riding.

When on the drops, the only thing to check for is that your knees don't clash your elbows.
When on the drops my knees are inside my elbows, maybe a 3-4 inch over lap.According to my own bodge based on cycle fit websites my fit is ok afaik but never had a fitting as no one does them round here.
 
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