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  1. #1
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    Caffeine frame fit and adjustments (advice sought)

    I've been looking around at replacing my old Trek, doing a lot of test riding (even though much of it is on flats), and am now looking at two models of Cannondale bikes.

    One, the Caffeine, is functionally close to my old Trek. The other, the Bad Boy, had identical frame geometry, and could be more flexible as an occasional urban commuter.

    The questions I have are largely frame size related, since I am 72 ins. tall, 33.5 in. inseam, and weigh 170 lbs. I have test ridden a Medium and a Large in both the Caffeine and Bad Boy. Use would be pretty mixed, (road / urban / light XC) though I haven't been on tight switchbacks in years.

    The medium Caffeine with a 100mm stem had me sitting toward the rear edge of the seat, as did the medium Bad Boy (unsure of stem length on it). The large Caffeine with a 120mm stem had me sitting closer to the sweet spot in the saddle. The bike felt roomy and turned well.

    The large Bad Boy however, felt like it was another bike altogether. The seat position was good, but its size felt like it was something I'd have to get used to.

    While the medium Bad Boy felt snappy and like I was sitting "above" the bike, but definitely felt quicker in comparison to the large.

    I know the bikes are identical geometry, but why the difference in "feel"? Could it be the size and feedback of the road wheels on the MTB frame?

    Also, since I tested a Med and a Large Bad Boy, I'm uncertain of which frame size I may need. The large would need a tweak to the stem length, and the medium may need tweaks to the seat position and stem. The Caffeine Med vs. Lg. was more clear cut.

    Last observation (and I apologize for so many). Would it be more sensible to get a large, and just get used to it, or a medium and adjust it since it feels snappier? What about setback seatposts? Are these something I should consider at the time of purchase, or are they mostly a Band-Aid remedy for a larger problem with the wrong frame size?

    BTW, all of the LBS's have been giving me great input, and I'll post their observations later-I was fishing for any thoughts from you guys on the forum here.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    I also had the chance to take a Caffeine 29er for a quick ride. The Medium frame fit me REALLY well, but I'm wondering why that would be.

    That setup had a 130mm stem, though, and the wheels felt less ponderous than I thought they would be.

  3. #3
    The Tyranical Teabagger
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    If you're 6 foot I'd probably put you on a large for sure but when customers come into my shop and they are on that edge between a large and a medium I certainly get them on both. Adjusting the seat fore and aft could make a huge difference in feel but if you go to a quality bike shop that knows what they are doing they'll throw the bike on a trainer and mess around with seat height, possition, adjusting stem lenght, move your brake levers, shifters, etc. just to get the correct fit. It's a lot more than inseam and height that determines your size...if that's the first thing a shop asks you without getting you on multiple sizes just walk away.

  4. #4
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    I agree. There's nothing like "feeling" what frame and relevant adjustments are really like. My LBS does have a trainer stand, and that's a good estimate. By his guess, I fit well on a large 26er frame, and in that case, I agree. My back was hunching with the medium, as it was on my last bike, so a Large 26er affords me more room. BUT for some reason that medium 29er felt just a smidge tighter without hunching. Yes, it had an extended stem, but I wasn't lacking for legroom, and steering response was what I would expect from a proper fit.

    I haven't made the jump to making an order on the 29er, but I will fit up both sizes prior to a purchase. Oh, and I'm looking forward to that in a BIG way.

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