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I'm considering buying the 2010 model of the Pinarello FP2. They're substantially cheaper than this years model (~£700). However, they only have the 55cm frames in stock.

I'm 6ft tall, looking at this size chart it says the 55cm frame is suitable for people up to 5ft 9in.

Would it be advisable for me to get a bike of this size?

Is it going to cause me problems? Is it not such an issue? After all it's a massive saving but if the bikes unrideable (for whatever reason) then it's not worth it.

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@Neil Fein: your edit changes the answer from the ones given to "yes". I think it should be changed back. –  Мסž Jun 26 '11 at 22:11
    
I'm 6'3" and my advice after riding a number of small bikes over the years is don't do it. You'll regret it. –  Pekka 웃 Jun 26 '11 at 22:12
    
Better that the bike's a hair to small than a hair too large, but beyond that "hair" you really need to be wary. –  Daniel R Hicks Jun 26 '11 at 23:27
    
@moz - Not quite following you, but do you have a better title in mind? –  Neil Fein Jun 27 '11 at 7:00
    
@Neil: "should I" is better. "Can I" is asking whether it's possible to do so, "should I" is asking whether doing so is a good idea. –  Мסž Jun 27 '11 at 20:59
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4 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Riding a bike in the wrong size (either too small or too large) for long periods can lead to all kinds of lower back, upper back, neck and shoulder issues en various leg injuries, mostly in the knee. Also, your power output can be reduced significantly. So a properly sized bicycle is important.

However, "properly sized" really depends on the rider. Sheldon Brown has a lot of good info, but mostly it comes down to:

  • Try the bicycle to find out how it feels.
  • Compare it to your current bicycle.

Finally, you can compensate some sizing issues in this specific case with a longer stem and/or higher saddle. How this works also depends on the relative length of your legs and your upper body.

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Proper size is definitely important--it's not a good deal, no matter what the price, if it doesn't fit you.

In my experience, top tube length is the one that's most important to get right. There's a bit of latitude for adjusting the reach to the bars by changing stem length but this will change the handling dynamics so you don't really have more than a couple cm of adjustment. Adjusting the reach by moving your seat forward or back isn't really an option. The seat positioning should be largely determined in relation to the pedals. If the seat's not positioned properly with respect to the pedals, I feel like I'm constantly sliding forward or backward as I ride.

In your case--compare the FP2 geometry specs to your current bike, or take a ride on a bike with similar geometry. You can also try an online fit calculator, competitivecyclist.com for example, to give you an idea of what size you should be looking at.

In the end, there's no substitute for actually riding the bike in question, though some fit problems only become apparent after an hour or more on the bike.

Looking at the FP2 geometry, the top tube seems long-ish for the nominal size, and the sizing chart seems to run a little big. As an example, I'm 5'8" tall and generally prefer about a 54-55 cm top tube. Therefore, I'd probably be most comfortable on a 53 cm FP2 even though I'm 2" taller than the max recommended height on the sizing chart you linked. This is all, of course, specific to my preferred riding position and body geometry but suggests that the 55 cm frame might not be out of the question for a six-footer. Make sure you're comfortable on the bike (or one of similar geometry) before plunking down the cash, though.

Peter White Cycles has a pretty comprehensive article on bike fit that I learned a lot from--it's more qualitative in its approach but gives a good understanding of things to take into account.

In short--maybe, but it depends on your preferred riding position and body geometry.

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All good information. –  zenbike Jun 26 '11 at 13:33
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As jilles says. A few CM one way or the other will not be critical as appropriate changes can be made in the adjustable parts. Stem, saddle, etc.

My current roadster (which I've been riding for about 10 years) is technically a tad too large for me, but it's completely comfortable with the adjustments I've made.

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To answer the question directly:

No it is not advisable to purchase a bicycle which is to small for you.

To answer the question you didn't ask:

You need to have someone qualified to fit you on a bicycle look at the bike, and look at you on the bike. I say it that way because asking the question tells me you aren't confident in your own opinion on the matter. So get a friend, your LBS, or pay someone to fit you professionally.

No one can ultimately decide for you. It is a red flag for me that you consider it too small, and are interested anyway because of the price. (If I'm not reading too much into the question.)

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