I have recently bought an Orbea Orca Aero 2022.

After a visit to a bike fitter, he recommended that I get a 53cm frame with a 90mm stem and 172.5mm cranks.

However, after receiving the bike, my first impressions are that it is huge!

The saddle is at the highest I can reach. But looking from the side, it is almost exactly level with the handlebars.

After looking at other road bikes, the seat is usually much higher than the handlebars. I am also comparing this to my old Cube Attain GTC race 2021 53cm.

Now I have an option to swap to a smaller frame (51cm), and swap cranks to 170cm (seems like this is the most recommended for short people like me)

What do you guys think? Would you advise getting the 51cm frame, get 170mm cranks, and maybe a longer stem?

Orbea recommends 51cm frame for people up to 172cm height.

I am 170cm tall with 81cm inseam.

I am attaching my bike fit dimensions and how the bike looks like from the side.

Side view of bike Screenshot of body dimension inputs to sizing calculator bikefitting.com computed recommended bike dimensions page 1 bikefitting.com computed recommended bike dimensions page 2 bikefitting.com computed recommended bike dimensions page 3

  • 2
    How does the bike actually feel when you ride it? That's the important part. If you want the bars lower, you could remove a few spacers from the stem. I would ask your bike fitter what they think now that you have the bike in person. Also worth noting that how you see bikes pictured in marketing materials will often try to exaggerate having the seat way above the bars to make them look cool and fast, but that isn't really how many people will use them in practice. Even Orbea's own marketing shows the bike with all the spacers removed.
    – Kibbee
    May 25, 2022 at 20:09
  • 2
    There appears to be a problem withthe setup: the bars should be 61mm below the saddle according to the bike fit, no? You should have the shop set the bike up according to the fit. If they can't do this....you could ask why you bother dealing with them
    – Noise
    May 25, 2022 at 20:11
  • Thanks guys. I didn’t have much chance to ride it, but the weekend is approaching and I will do some long rides to see. You are right with the bars. I asked the dealer to lower it but they said since the frame is going to be replaced, they don’t want to biother with removing integrated bars, cutting fork, etc (which is crazy to think that you can’t adjust the bars height by just moving spacers from bottom to top?)
    – Aidas
    May 25, 2022 at 20:14
  • Re bike fitter, he lives in my home country and I have since moved abroad. I plan to come back to him with the bike to fit it perfectly, but for now, I have what I have
    – Aidas
    May 25, 2022 at 20:16
  • 1
    I think the size will be OK if you have crothch clearance and the measurements are otherwise in line with the bike fitter's setup -- which you have presumably tested on a jig. I wouldn't change the frame size unless there is a problem with the current frame or maybe the geometries of the two frame sizes are very similar.
    – Noise
    May 25, 2022 at 20:21

2 Answers 2


This is a late response.

On most performance bikes, the handlebars are lower than the saddle. A saddle to handlebar drop of 1" or less is pretty rare, even for endurance road bikes, for the average cyclist. Now, I have only about 1" of drop, and very short legs. Thus, if you ask anyone who has ever ridden behind me on my current bike, they would still say that my position is very low.

That amount of drop is pretty unusual for a performance road bike, i.e. a racing bike. All else equal, it would indicate to me that you probably should have been looking for an endurance road bike, assuming the bike were set up correctly.

As Noise observed, the bike is probably not set up according to the fitter's specs. Consider Setup Report 2. Focus on the columns labelled Bike Select i.e. the first two populated columns.

Parameter X Y
Handlebar center 456 614
Saddle center 200 675

Focus on the first row. Now, consider the center of the bottom bracket. The X and Y coordinates refer to the position (in mm) of the handlebar center with respect to the BB center. That is, the handlebar center should be 456mm to the right of the BB center (we're looking at the bike from the drive-side). The handlebar center should also be 614mm above the BB center.

The bike manufacturer will give the stack and reach for each frame size. That is measured from the BB center to the center of the top of the head tube. So, you set the handlebar position using spacers under the stem, stem length, and stem angle. If Setup Report 1 gives the bike measurements, it has a frame stack of 542mm and a frame reach of 385mm. Let's assume the handlebars are in the specified position.

The second row of the table above describes the saddle's position relative to the BB in x- and y- coordinates. Alternatively, on Report 1, the fitter gave you a height of 702mm measured along the seat tube. That measurement should form the hypotenuse of a right triangle, where the base is the x- coordinate (200mm) and the height is the y- coordinate (675mm). The math checks out with a small error margin. Anyway, if you take a tape measure, you should be able to see if the saddle height was correctly set.

Without being there in person, I'm not sure if it was set correctly. Noise is correct that there should be about a 60mm difference in vertical height (the stack, or Y-coordinate) between the top of the saddle and the center of the handlebars. Again, if you were actually recommended to have handlebars nearly level with the saddle, you probably should have considered an endurance road bike. Most modern endurance road bikes have aero features, and you would be able to go very fast on them, physical ability permitting.

  • 1
    Reading the old comments, the steerer was never cut to correct length because his dealer was waiting for a frame replacement or sth. like that. So, it would have been at least a bit slammed, actually. However, he's definitely coming from an endurance bike to something super-aero, I think that should be the bikes in question (including the smaller size 51 for the Orca): geometrygeeks.bike/compare/… - I
    – DoNuT
    Sep 11, 2023 at 14:13

If I read these charts correctly, the fitter has tried to get your fit from the existing bike on the Orbea..

Both the seat height relative to the BB and "middle of seat to hoods" seem to be calculated with the exact same numbers as on your old bike (789/704 mm), so you should have a similar position if set up correctly.

It seems there is a slight miscalculation because the chart assumes a 90 mm stem but according to this chart it is 100 mm and the cranks are 170 mm instead of 172 mm on size 53.

What is definitely missing is the stem getting "slammed", so it should be set up lower to your matching numbers, however, I think this has been considered and there is plenty of space to do that relative to the saddle.

I would contact the bike fitter and ask if he can send you an updated fit considering the actual stem and crank length and then have the bike set up as per specification in a local bike shop - spacers on top instead of actually cutting the steerer, already.

Take it for a longer ride and see if it works for you. If you are happy, no need to swap for a 51 size frame, then. Stack and reach aren't dramatically off with 542/385 vs 561/376 between your new/old bike but the 51 Orca has 523/380... I think it would be notably smaller than your old bike.

I'm aware that this has probably happened in the real world already but I had the feeling the question lacks an answer that refers to the actual fit recommendations, as I understand them.

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