Small Frame, Big Difference?

Hey guys,

just wondering what REAL difference a smaller frame makes? I’m 175 cm, and I’m ‘meant’ to ride a 55cm frame. However, there’s a beautiful Cinelli frame I have my eyes on which has a 51cm seat tube, centre to centre (52.5 centre to top).

Apart from looking like an ogre (which I will enjoy) and the occasional shoe-tyre rub, is there anything major I should worry about?

And on a side note, are there any 26.2 seatposts around? There’s a few on eBay, but no Cinelli/Campagnolo ones. Where to get? Difficult to find?

Cheeeeerssssss :smiley:

That’ll be too small and look like a clown bike. It won’t be toe rub, you’ll catch your foot turning and probably die in traffic. You’ll also crack your knees on the handlebars as well.

Remember the ebay law… whatever you’re after will come up again… and cheaper.

Hmm, that falling and dying in traffic does sound pretty bad. And that ebay law makes complete sense, it’s happened to me enough times.

Thanks for knocking some sense into me anyway, I probably don’t need to rush out to buy an expensive Italian frame…

Glad to be of assistance.

got a link to the frame?

i think it might be alright… I am a couple cm shorter and ride with a 52cm seat tube

thing is, 51cm + crank length of say 17cm + seat height is 3cm-ish + seat post length of at least 6cm… Then measure your inseam, and factor in that you will have knees bent and higher because you are standing on the balls of your feet (bla)

Glad to know the ebay law, it seems that I never be a real ebay seacher…

There’s a lot of ergonomic reasons, some of which will manifest themselves after you start riding the bike over longer distances/more regularly. This will only be made more prominent if you run risers as is common.

Having to accomodate for a too short TT could mean running your seat well back on the rails or a long stem. One will affect handling and the other will increase your chance of knee problems (and introduce pedal/stroke issues).

A well-sized bike feels good… and rides well. Buying an off-sized bike because you really like it tends to end up with the bike being sold sooner rather than later when you accept ‘it’s not your size’.

See Coffee and his search for the right sized bike :wink:

looking at modern track bikes it seems that the trend is toward smaller frames. look at chris hoys bike it has huge amount of seat tube and a rising stem.

sheldon says:
'On the other hand, why shouldn’t you ride a “too small” bike? “Because the seat and handlebars will be too low!” That was a good objection ten years ago, when tall seatposts were a rarity and quality handlebar stems were available in a variety of forward extensions but only one (short) height.

All that was before the mass production of the mountain bike. Now 250 mm and 300 mm seatposts are stock items, and a variety of excellent handlebar stems are available.’

i reckon you can get away with slight deviations in frame sizes. of course extreme differences are going to affect handling more and look a bit silly.

toe overlap is more dependant on crank length. if a tall person rides a small bike they will have the same toe overlap as a short person if the crank length is the same.

i’ve just ordered a smaller frame than i’d usually ride and this is how i’ve reasoned it.

rooted back (if yr lucky like me!), feels too small, hard to skid cos you cant get far enough forward, lack of control when out of the saddle for the same reason. etc.
risers can help.

re: modern track bikes. yeah, but unless yr riding it on the track you’re gonna have your head so far down while you’re riding around town that you’re gonnna end up with sore back/neck or riding into the back of a truck…

personally, i wouldn’t recommend gettting a bike 4cm smaller than what you might ordinarily ride.

I ride a 58, but the character at the lbs tells me to ride a 54. I tried. It sucked.

Inseam and torso length are way more important than height. I’m 6ft but have got the legs of someone 6"2 and the torso of someone 5"10. Consequently I need my bikes to be around 56cm C-C seat tube, and 54cm C-C top tube. I tend to go for somewhere in the middle though and run a bit more post and a slightly shorter stem.

I’ve let plenty of small or large (for me) bikes go for ridiculous prices because in the end I know that if I was to buy one it would not be enjoyable to ride and would end up being a wall hanger. I waited for 6 months for my last De Rosa, letting countless bikes go in that time that ticked all the boxes but ended up being too expensive. Wait and you will get something that is really special.

It’s nice to know so many people have something worthwhile to input!

The frame:

Has the original Cinelli headbage. If you have lots of free time, I reckon it’s ripe for a restoration! :smiley:

an older frame like that will generally look better with only a fistful of seat post showing so better to get one that fits you.