Managed to buy a too small bike

Thought I would share my stupidity as a vent against myself

Went for a bike fit yesterday with a very reputable bike fitter, turns out I bought a frame much too small for myself. Basically my saddle height makes the drop for handlebars 110mm. Bought the bike a year ago but due to various life stuff I’ve only managed about 800km on the bike, all of which was pretty uncomfortable. Looking back at my sales invoice I purchased a Small at 47cm. I’m 5ft 10 and been advised I should be on a 56cm! To my disbelief I do not understand how I’ve managed to calculate that so wrong.

I practically have to hold a plank position for it to be viable to cycle without killing my hammies and backside and lower back. (Previously saddle has been way to low)

Looks like I’ll be selling and taking a hit with a new frame. Luckily I’m with a employer now that I can use the cycle to work scheme.

Any recommendations for a endurance bikes?
Huge facepalm

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Bummer. I’ve done more than a few fits on people who “got a deal” on a bike that was 1 to 2 sizes wrong for them (often from a “buddy”) :wink:

Generally speaking, I find that a person can usually fit on two different sizes with specific changes to stems and bars, with minor differences in fit and more related to bike handling (like wheelbase in particular, but also cornering and such). Yours is about the most extreme case I have heard. I’m curious as to the way that happened, but no need to share if you aren’t interested.

As to your goal for a new bike, you might want to give at least a rough budget and where you are shopping, to give people a bit more target in order to offer useful suggestions. Aside from that, there are numerous candidates from the usual suspects like Spesh, Trek, Giant, Cannondale, Canyon and such in the Endurance bike market. Any other performance or use goals you can share might help point to one or more as better options without throwing darts in a pitch black room :stuck_out_tongue:

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It was a deal. But there was multiple sizes on offer, I can only think it’s a misclick. Horrendous mistake on my part.

Bike wise, endurance under 3k gbp, disc brakes. Looked at roubaix but over budget, canyon endurace bar lead times. Will take a look at. The other brands. Thanks

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Don’t feel too bad. You aren’t the only one who’s made a sizing mistake.

Last June I finally found the mountain bike I was looking for 275 miles away. I discussed this with my LBS but he couldn’t get one so I drove over there and gave it a test ride. The sales rep watch me and said it looked a little small for me even though it was the size my trusted LBS has recommended. They happened to have the same bike in the next size larger so I waited around while they built it up and test rode it. Coming off a road bike they both felt absolutely enormous so I went with his recommendation.

After two months of riding and crashing it became painfully obvious to me the bike was too large. By then my LBS had managed to get the same bike in the smaller size. He let me take it home for the weekend to ride it around some and I immediately knew this was the right size. So I purchased it and ended up selling the larger bike to Pro’s Closet on the recommendation of my LBS. Lost some money but ended up getting the right bike for me which I now ride about every day. FWIW, I’d highly recommend Pro’s Closet for selling a bike. They made the entire process easy and painless while giving my $1000+ more that I could get locally.

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250mm stem?

Check 54cm; 56 might be too large


47cm is a kid’s bike.

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If you’re in the UK, take a look at Cycle Exchange.

I’ve used them a couple of times and they are brilliant. You might find what you are looking for in budget :star_struck:

At least you look pro.


Whilst 47cm for 9 ft 10 in sounds way to small; a lbs fitter started measuring my bike and said it was too big for me. I’m 5 ft 9in and it was a 54cm and had done circa 30,000miles on the bike up to that point, and I did another 10,000miles in comfort on this bike which was too big apparently. I eventually replaced it with a custom frame and that fitter set me up almost identical to the previous bike (marginal tweaks to saddle height and stem length IIRC). I googled some fits and going by the most aggressive ‘sporting fit’ my original bike was indeed about 1cm too big but going by the majority of ‘comfort’ fits it was actually about 1.5cm too small. I guess a lot of fits are subjective on the borderline and are determined on what you want out of the bike.

This is literally what he said to me. ‘Pros use a bike too small for them’

He said that with enough gym work I could make it work. also said my gut would get in the way so i need to drop about 10kgs if not 15 :joy:

I think this is the problem, I am primarily looking at fastish endurance rides, The bike I bought was meant to cover endurance and sportive. The fitter, said given its geometery he would look at it being more a race bike in which case my fit with some work would not be that bad.

Might pop over to my local specialised concept store and try a Roubaix for size.

I think @mcneese.chad said most people can fit on a couple different size bikes (he can correct me if I misstated what he said) but when I’ve looked at bikes with different bike fitters they’ve always said I should be fine on 56cm to 58cm. But it’s obviously dependent on what bike I’m looking at and it’s geometry. I’m 6’ 2”. My bikes are all 58cm. I do typically have to tweak the reach to shorten it just a bit


Yup, road bikes often have enough size steps (2cm “size” increments frequently) that there is some real overlap for a range of rider sizes and related fit preferences.

Because there can be so many actual frame size steps, the dimensional changes to Reach and Stack between two sizes are not as drastic as some might believe. As little as 5mm in some cases which is half the step in a stem length change that’s usually 10mm. That delta changes between brands and models, so it pays to do a deep dive on the geometry charts when doing any size evaluation.

So that’s why I said it’s often possible to fit on two different sized with some modest changes and still get a similar rider fit placement.

At 5’ 10", I can usually get onto a 54 or 56 of most road bikes and brands. With a stem length swap, I can get lower or higher due to the Stack differences. But I can even negate that to a degree base on stem angle and/or use of spacers. There’s a limit on that though, with max steer tube length and common spacer height recommendation.

This rings true for people across the size ranges generally speaking. But there can be issues as you get to the extreme end in sizes.

Luckily my last 2 fitters haven’t minded when I’ve sent them an email asking about a bike I’m interested in and what size they’d recommend.

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Depends on your level of flexibility. I’m 6’0" and keep getting told to be on a 58cm and was having all types of issues with shoulder pain, hand-numbness etc. Switched to a “medium” 56cm bike and have never looked back.

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Wow something doesn’t seem right. How does a LBS sell a 47cm bike to an individual that is 5’10”

Was this over the phone or online?

Sorry to hear that and I hope you get into the right size frame.

He did an online purchase.

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@kenzii I feel for you. While I didn’t “misclick,” the bike I’m on is about a 59 in today’s measurement standards (it’s a 2010) and I’m just under 6 ft tall. The best fit I can get has required short cranks and stem, and narrow bars. Definitely not as extreme of a case as yours but I’m in the market for a properly sized bike nonetheless.

I got a Frame Finder Fit last week and prefer a more aggressive setup, even though I only do centuries and fondos and do not race. For that reason I’m leaning more toward a performance / altitude / climbing bike. My budget is similar and I’ve been looking at the following bikes. Hope this list helps.

  • Specialized SL7 (just to drool, they’re overpriced)
  • BMC Teammachine
  • Wilier Cento10
  • Fezzari Empire
  • Trek Emonda
  • Canyon Ultimate
  • Cervelo Caladonia (this seems to have a geometry between race and endurance).

I briefly looked at generic Chinese frames like Yoeleo, Winspace, Velobuild, and others but think I’m going to stay with a name brand.

I’m also trying to weigh the importance of Shimano 105 vs Ultegra (or SRAM Rival vs Force) and the importance of the stock wheels for use on the trainer vs money saved towards some aero carbon wheels. Probably going to splurge on different / nice handlebars, too. Depending on the bike, I may need a seat post with an offset based on the Frame Finder Fit, so need to budget for that, too.

Thanks for this, I put a hold on a Specialized Roubaix i was able to find in 56cm frame yesterday, tried it out for size in the shop and felt a much better fit (funnily enough). Is slightly over what i wanted to pay but with CycleScheme i get 39% back which brings is down massively.

Really liked the wilier cento10 but i couldnt find a supplier close that stocked sizes to even try out.
Will try cycleexchange for selling the bike if not it will be on facebook or marketplace to try and recoup the costs.