I have 180cm and the recommended size for me is 58cm or so, which i already have, a classic Peugeot racing bike. Works relatively ok but i found that i ride it better when i'm leaning forward and keep my hands on the lower side of the handlebars. And now comes the problem, i'm thin and i need more power than i have to ride this bike fast and long. However, the only bike i found to buy in my country and also to like it, is a 54cm with the reynolds 531 frame but i can't test it as it's not in my city (i do plan to test other bikes of 54 if i can find but for now i didn't).

So my question is, is there any reason i should not buy it? From the way i see things it shouldn't be any problem if i can pull the sit high enough. The handlebars are already a little lower which should be good. If i look to professional riders they also seem to have a smaller bike comparing to their body size, but this Peugeot is like controlling me.


  • It's a gamble as I'm sure you're aware. But a couple of comments... (a) if the bike comes in a 54, does it not also come in a 56? Its just that I'm only 172cm and consider 54 my 'standard' size, though it can vary from bike to bike (b) as well as the seat height, you've also got some latitude with the length of the stem you use. Speaking from experience, even a couple of cm could make a big difference as regards comfort.
    – PeteH
    Jul 16, 2013 at 19:39
  • Can you look up the specs for it? If you can, you'll be able to find the standover and reach should give you a good idea of how well it will fit you.
    – jimchristie
    Jul 16, 2013 at 21:29
  • @PeteH it comes in many sizes but this is second hand. Here is a link but probably not very helpful dirtbike.ro/bazar/biciclete/cursiere/… One thing that i heard from a guy that i don't trust is that i'll have problems with the pedals hitting the ground sooner than with the current bike, but i just can't see how this can happen or why will be this a problem for me but not for a shorter man. Jul 17, 2013 at 8:12
  • Agreed the bit about the pedals hitting the ground sounds wrong. You could look at this from another perspective - take a chance and buy the bike. Worst case is that you end up selling it on - but this would depend on how much money you'd stand to lose in the transaction (I suspect not much if the bike is already secondhand), and how much you could be bothered with the added hassle.
    – PeteH
    Jul 17, 2013 at 11:03
  • Yeah i think i'll go for it and in the worst case sell it. I can also travel to that city and lose only money instead money and time. If this guy right at the beginning of the video can ride that small bike i think i'll be ok as well youtube.com/watch?v=C3UpXkPanW8 Jul 18, 2013 at 16:56

2 Answers 2


To me "58cm or so" means, "58cm, maybe 56 or 60." It doesn't mean 54cm. If a professional has said you should be on a 58, you should heed that. 4cm in the wrong direction could place your knees too far forward of the pedal spindles and be less efficient or even cause repetitive stress injuries to your knees.

Instead, try fine tuning your current bike which sounds like is "almost right". You have several options to make the 58cm bike shorter: moving the seat forward on the seatpost, replacing the seatpost with one that has less or no setback, and/or swapping out the stem with one that has a shorter reach. If it's an old Peugeot with a threaded stem, you can also adjust the handlebar height.

The combined cost of making all of those changes to the 58cm would likely be less than buying a different bike.

  • 1
    Thank you for your input. I agree that 4cm is a lot, you can feel even 1cm, i tried to put the saddle higher and i was almost loosing the pedal, while comparing with the previous position i was feeling that is too low and not use enough power. The level of the saddle and handlebars is almost the same on my bike but there are plenty of people out there that have the saddle way higher than the handlebars, and this is how will look the 54 for me. Btw, the problem right now is not the size but the weight and options to buy a light one, the modern ones are crap and the design matters for me. Jul 19, 2013 at 3:53

So in the end i took the bike. The equipment does not compare with what i had before so is a huge win. But i must admit that i don't feel the same like on the previous one and this is either because of the shape of the saddle and the smaller pedals, either because i can't bring the saddle more in front and i feel it should be more in front. I can tell that riding a smaller bike is not a huge problem.

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