LBS know it alls.

buckwheat

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Sep 24, 2009
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Why do sales people in shops argue with customers when they don't know what the heck they are talking about?

Long story short.

I'm in a Ft. Lauderdale shop and the sales guy insists that a 56cm bike is way too big for me. I'm just under 5'10", have an 85cm inseam and ride with a saddle height of 74cm.

I tell the guy that I've ridden a 56 Madone and a 56 Tarmac and Roubaix and they are perfect and he goes on to tell me that he'd never sell me a 56 as I would probably return it. He also is puzzled by my saddle height measurement, like he doesn't know what the number refers to. (Center of BB to top of saddle.) He does ask me what the angle of my leg is at the bottom of the stroke and I gave a quick, rough demonstration.

Anyway he's insistent telling me a 56 is for someone between 6' and 62". I tell him to look at trek's website because I know my saddle height is right in the sweet spot for their size 56, which they consider a small btw.

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/road/madone/madone52/



Anyway they sell Giants and Pinarello's there and needless to say, I won't be buying a bike there.......because they won't sell me the size I want. Too effin much.

Maybe it was due to a Napoleonic complex as the guy was about 5'5" tall if that. Had a real good build though. Don't know wtf his problem was.:confused:
 
May 18, 2009
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Few points maybe to consider
-every brand has different sizing, ie a 56 from specialized won't be the same as a 56 from Trek.
-different people have different geometries ie long toso, short legs and vice versa, so charts aren't always the best way to get the right sizing. There was overlap between the sizes, your seat height could also correpsond to a 54.
-If he wants to sell you a different size then what you want, ask them for a test ride on the same or similar model in that size to compare.
Anyway if your not happy, find a new bike shop (as you have done). Sometimes people need to remeber that you are paying, so you should get what you want.
 
Jul 6, 2009
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at 5-10 a 56 is generally the right size me im around 5-8 and ride a 54 perfect for me. i work at a bikeshop the employee you dealt with sounds like an idiot. if a customer came into my shop and said im 5-10 been riding various brands at the size of 56 and i like that size it works for me. i would say great and sell the 56 which is what the guy wanted in the first place. idiot employee cyclists are weird just the way it is. what shop was this?
 
Jul 2, 2009
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i would simply suggest bringing in your current bike, if possible, and have a look at it. That is always a good starting point.

saddle height, seat angle, stem length, sloper or level, crank length etc.

My father suggested, when i was very young, never to argue with people. Works for me. :D

sales - nice and easy, nice and slow, big investment, enjoy it
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Can definitely see two sides to this ...

First - I can understand where the LBS guy is coming from. I'm 5'10" with a 83.8 cm inseam with a 74 cm seat height and I ride a 54cm (centre to centre) bike (currently on a 54 Cannondale - but the sizing has been the same in whatever brand I've ridden). Based on my own experience I can understand why the LBS guy would've told you that he thought that you were after too big a frame. In fact, I'm surprised that you say that you do fit a 56 "perfectly" (I'd be really intrigued to see what your set up is like) - but hey, if you feel comfortable on it and enjoy the bike then it's your call what size you ride.

I've actually had a 56cm frame once - long story about a mix up in measurements and me getting stuck with the frame through necessity - and it was definitely too big. That was back in the days of the lovely fluted C-Record seatposts and I could only just get enough of the seatpost out of the frame that allowed the collar to clamp onto the post below the fluting.

I can also understand why he may be reluctant to sell you a frame that he thinks would be the wrong size. My guess is that he'd be thinking that you'd look obviously mis-sized on the bike and accordingly would be a bad advert for his shop. I mean, how many of us have seen people on the wrong sized bike and thought "jeez, who's ripped that poor ******* off?! Someone was obviously trying to move stock and doesn't give a toss about the poor ****** who has to ride the bike - mental note, avoid that shop ..."

(Oh and I can understand his puzzlement at your measurements. By all "standard" measures, your frame size is approx 1cm too big and your seat height is approx. 1.25cm too low.)

Which brings me onto the second point. Rather than him just saying "no", I can't believe that he didn't think enough to get a 54 and a 56 out, put them on a trainer and set you up on each bike. That way, he could see which one looks better sized for you and, if it was the 54 he could explain to you why and give you the choice of buying the smaller frame. And if you wanted the larger frame and he felt at that stage that he didn't want to sell you that size, at least he could have explained why and I'm sure that you'd feel less agreived than you do now. Alternatively, if it was the 56 he could have apologised, acknowledged you were right and made the sale. Either way, it was not very imaginative on his part ... Hope that the guy's not on commission - as he'll be shooting himself in the foot if he keeps working like that!
 
Jun 8, 2009
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Good answer.

People needs to learn that a 56 and a 56 is not the same across brands. Get your tape measures or geometry charts out and compare instead. I currently ride a size 51 Storck, whereas I used to ride a 54 Trek and Specialized, and 52 Scott.

Even at that, just because you are used to ride a 56, doesn't mean that it's ideal for you.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Don't get hung up by claimed sizes, they don't mean all that much as differences in geometry between bikes mean one 56 isn't the same as another 56 (even in different models from the same company) and manufacturers basically get to pick what dimension they're actually measuring (sometimes it's to the centre of the top tube, sometimes it's the top of the top tube, sometimes it's the top of the seat clamp, and sometimes it's an imaginary point where the top tube would be if it was horizontal). Without consulting geometry sheets I'd expect a 54cm Giant to be around the same size as a 56 Trek, just because Giant love sloping top-tubes and Trek have stuck to almost horizontal top-tubes.

The BB-centre to seat measurement you've given is useful, but to give an accurate idea of the optimum size your torso, arm length and flexibility all need to be taken into consideration. It's one thing to raise or lower the seat post, extending or shortening the stem by more than 20mm will cause a significant change in the way a bike handles.

And the salesperson needs to work on his communication skills.
 

buckwheat

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Sep 24, 2009
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kiwirider said:
Can definitely see two sides to this ...

First - I can understand where the LBS guy is coming from. I'm 5'10" with a 83.8 cm inseam with a 74 cm seat height and I ride a 54cm (centre to centre) bike (currently on a 54 Cannondale - but the sizing has been the same in whatever brand I've ridden). Based on my own experience I can understand why the LBS guy would've told you that he thought that you were after too big a frame. In fact, I'm surprised that you say that you do fit a 56 "perfectly" (I'd be really intrigued to see what your set up is like) - but hey, if you feel comfortable on it and enjoy the bike then it's your call what size you ride.

I've actually had a 56cm frame once - long story about a mix up in measurements and me getting stuck with the frame through necessity - and it was definitely too big. That was back in the days of the lovely fluted C-Record seatposts and I could only just get enough of the seatpost out of the frame that allowed the collar to clamp onto the post below the fluting.

I can also understand why he may be reluctant to sell you a frame that he thinks would be the wrong size. My guess is that he'd be thinking that you'd look obviously mis-sized on the bike and accordingly would be a bad advert for his shop. I mean, how many of us have seen people on the wrong sized bike and thought "jeez, who's ripped that poor ******* off?! Someone was obviously trying to move stock and doesn't give a toss about the poor ****** who has to ride the bike - mental note, avoid that shop ..."

(Oh and I can understand his puzzlement at your measurements. By all "standard" measures, your frame size is approx 1cm too big and your seat height is approx. 1.25cm too low.)

Which brings me onto the second point. Rather than him just saying "no", I can't believe that he didn't think enough to get a 54 and a 56 out, put them on a trainer and set you up on each bike. That way, he could see which one looks better sized for you and, if it was the 54 he could explain to you why and give you the choice of buying the smaller frame. And if you wanted the larger frame and he felt at that stage that he didn't want to sell you that size, at least he could have explained why and I'm sure that you'd feel less agreived than you do now. Alternatively, if it was the 56 he could have apologised, acknowledged you were right and made the sale. Either way, it was not very imaginative on his part ... Hope that the guy's not on commission - as he'll be shooting himself in the foot if he keeps working like that!

Thanks for all the responses.

The deal is this. The guy thought a 56 was obviously way too big. I'm riding a look kg381 for the last 3 years and have put on more than 25k miles over that time. It's a 55 and it is a little too big. I'd prefer a 54, which I thought I was buying on ebay, but the guy sent me a 55. Anyway I had the opportunity to buy another 55 for $400 and did so. A 55 cm look 381 is a big bike for the numerical size. The top tube is 56.7 cm with a relaxed STA which reduces the reach somewhat.

The sales guy thought I was going to be someone who was crying about the bike hurting me because of the fit.

As for the bike being too big and the seat height too low. According to LeMond's 88.3% percent formula, it's approx 1 cm low. IMO, not a big deal and my preference. IF you look at Contadors measurments on the cycling news bike tech on this site, you'll see that he rides with a somewhat lower saddle position, 74 and change. Armstrong supposedly rides a 58 which I think is bs, but that's what it says on cyclingnews. I think Armstrong lies about his height and has lied about his weight for that matter, at varying times.

Anyway I know a 54 Cervelo is my size so I'm not stuck on a particular size. Just for someone to be so dismissive, kind of blew me away, and it's over something which I honestly think there is not a whole heckuva lot difference.

BTW it was Downtown Bicycles in Ft. Laud on Sunrise Blvd and I've had other annoying conversations with the owner too. They're just arrogant.

And not to brag, I can pretty much hang with anyone..... I'm soft spoken, really.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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My Colnago is a 56 and is pretty much the same size as the bikes I had before it. They were all 54. I too am the same height with a slightly smaller inseam and 54 c-c is the right size for the last 25 years.
 

buckwheat

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Sep 24, 2009
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MadonePro said:
Really? Can you count too?

Huh? What?


Anyway, I bought the S-Works Roubaix frame in size 56. The top tube is 1.7 cm longer than that of the 54. The head tube is also 2.5 cm taller which is a big consideration for me. The bike fits fine. My saddle height is 74 cm. I could run a 75 cm height but the lower height enables me to ankle a little more. Saddle to bar drop is 4 cm. The tip of saddle to center of bars is 55 cm with the specialized alias saddle in the middle of the rails. I'm running a 110 mm stem. The specialized seat post has 2.1 cm of setback. They also have a zero setback post as does Thomson which IMO has the best clamp on the market.

At any rate, I think too much is made about micro adjustments on the bike. I'm not racing and FWIW I also believe that the handling differences between a stem of say 10 cm and 12 cm are often exaggerated.

The most important contributing factor to the handling of a bike is to be able to ride comfortably in the drops on a reasonably fitting bike.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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You should by the 54 cm frame use it or beat it up and then go back and say its too small and return it for 56 cm. That'll teach him and make the shop or that salesman disassemble and re-assemble it as well at his cost. After all it was the size he recommended :D
 

buckwheat

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Sep 24, 2009
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ElChingon said:
You should by the 54 cm frame use it or beat it up and then go back and say its too small and return it for 56 cm. That'll teach him and make the shop or that salesman disassemble and re-assemble it as well at his cost. After all it was the size he recommended :D

Hey, thanks for the support!:)

I could ride the 54cm no problem and I know these guys are in business to make money so I try not to give them a hard time.

I just think it's kind of funny how these guys get their back up about a cm or two. They act like the bike isn't adjustable. It's also not very difficult to get a little adjustability by an increase of flexibility.
 

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