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Evening all,

I currently ride a hybrid, im 5'4 and have usually struggle fitting to road bikes. I was in halfords the other day and sat on a Boardman Carbon Pro with a 51.5cm frame.

With my feed on the ground the top tube was touching my groin...not uncomfortable but still a little closer than I would like. Sitting on the saddle my leg was straight with my heel on the peddle (how I have previously read to set seat height) so no problems there. Reach wise on top my arms were pretty straight but not locked...when in the drops they were more of a 135 degree angle rather than the 45 degrees the guy assisting me said it should be. So overall the reach is a little long.

Now they have the Boardman SLR which they never had built in my size, but they offer it in a 48.5cm frame giving sum much welcomed space between the top tube and my groin. The 48.5cm SLR has the same top tube and stem length as the 51.5cm Pro Carbon (90mm) so id still have the reach issue, however I could invest in a shorter stem to help me out a little.

The SLR is reported to weigh 7.4kg (although more of a bragging thing I love light weight bikes), carbon frame and kitted out with SRAM force 22. I can pick one up for around £1,160 with various discounts applied.

Do you guys think it worth picking one up for that price or is there a better option for around the same price? Im looking for a more exciting ride and would like to pick up the distance a bit, i have heard 20m+ can be uncomfortable on a hybrid.

All advice appreciated.

16 comments

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Lincolndave [36 posts] 1 year ago
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Hi perky, after reading your post I am sure if you try other bike shops you will find a road bike that fits you , it would be worth having a good look round before you buy one, 

as for 20 mile + being uncomfortable on an hybrid, if the bike is set up for you, saddle height, reach ect  , it should be fine

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Acm [43 posts] 1 year ago
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most of the assistants in Halfords don't have the first clue about bike fit, a 45 degree angle sounds ridiculous. If you're unsure about bike fit, I'd go to a 'proper' bike shop who would hopefully give you better advice

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allanj [207 posts] 1 year ago
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There are lots of good buys around at the moment with summer sales etc so don't get too drawn in by the deals you are seeing there.  You have already identified that you have had issues with fit on a road bike in the past.  That means that getting the right fit is a priority this time for you.  I know it sounds like everyone has a downer on Halfords, but it has to be said that this is where you need a proper bike shop.

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Acm [43 posts] 1 year ago
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also, as another piece of advice, I wouldn't spend very much on your first road bike. £250 on eBay will get you something perfectly good for a first bike that will allow you to build up some fitness and work out your fit and what you want and then you can buy something better. You can always sell the bike for about what you bought it for (maybe more) so it's not going to cost you much. Joining a local club will put you in touch with locals who have plenty of experience.

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srchar [868 posts] 1 year ago
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I've overheard decent advice being provided in Halfords but I've also overheard terrible advice. That's the problem with them - it's pot luck as to how much the shop assistant you talk to knows about bikes. I would definitely avoid like the plague for your first bike and go to a proper bike shop. You'll likely pay a little more than you would online, but you'll be riding a bike that fits, which is very important if you're not to be put off riding your road bike.

If you let us know whereabouts you live, someone will be along to recommend a good bike shop in your area.

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AKH [44 posts] 1 year ago
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I made the switch from a hybrid to a road bike about 2 years ago and I don’t regret the decision at all. If you really want to get into road rinding then I think you’ll be very happy with the switch.

 

I wouldn’t go for that Boardman SLR Race if comfort was my priority.

 

That bike has a pretty racey geometry, you’re going to be a lot more stretched out and forward leaning compared to other bikes, even road bikes, so it’s unlikely to be more comfortable unless you have good flexibility.

 

I’m 5’ 7” and so I also ride a small or extra small. The reach on the Boardman is quite long even in the extra small size you or I would need. It’s 386mm, compared to 373mm on my extra small Canyon Ultimate Al SLX. The Boardman also comes with a 100mm stem, compared to 80mm on the Canyon. I’m not suggesting the Canyon, just offering a comparison. 33mm is very noticeable.

 

Also, I wouldn't buy your first road bike from Halfords. I did and I came to regret the decision. As others have said, most of their staff know FA about road bike fit. 

 

Boardman bikes aren’t bad bikes at all, but the staff in Halfords are mostly useless. They literally sold me the wrong size bike. I asked for a small and I was sold a medium. I didn’t think to double check such a simple thing and I only noticed months later when I measured the top tube. I couldn’t be bothered to try and argue with them, as I’d already decided to sell the bike by then. Whilst I’m sticking the boot in, every bike I ever bought from Halfords has a mechanical problem from new, cause by poor set up by the staff. My cheap Raleigh town bike had the brakes set up wrong, causing sever brake rub on the front (to the point where the wheel wouldn’t spin if you picked up the front and spun it by hand!), and the kids bike my partner bought for her daughter wouldn’t shift properly because the limit screws were wound way too far in on the rear derailleur. I’ve vowed never to buy a bike from Halfords again. Such simple set up mistakes can only be caused by complete incompetence or shocking indifference to the quality of the service they give.

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ChrisB200SX [769 posts] 1 year ago
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Have a look at the SpeedX Leopard?

Have you enquired about your employer's cycle-to-work scheme? (Big tax breaks)

There is a website that sells last year's boardman's at heavily discounted prices, cannot remember the site though.

Most road bikes are light these days, the only time you'll really notice weight difference is if you have to lift it over something. Aero is more important for going quicker but that's mostly down to the rider, most bikes are reasonably aero anyway. 20+ miles can be uncomfortable on anythingif it doesn't fit you well.

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tritecommentbot [2266 posts] 1 year ago
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Can get a Cervelo R3 for that sort of cash now in the sales. Cycle to work scheme if you can get it makes it even sweeter. No problem with size either, they go all the way down.

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allanj [207 posts] 1 year ago
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An R3 for under £1200??  Link please!

 

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srchar [868 posts] 1 year ago
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allanj wrote:

An R3 for under £1200??  Link please!

I'd like that link too please! I paid £1400 for a well-used ex-rental R5, which I thought was bargain of the decade, but a new R3 for just over a grand? Yes please, four...

Having said that, I suppose if you look hard enough you might get a 105-eqiupped R2 for close to that money. Still doesn't help the OP with his fit... to your LBS, OP!

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perky416 [8 posts] 1 year ago
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Wow a lot of replies, this is certanly the place to be for lots of info 

First a general response then I will get back to you all individually.

With regards to sizing, its not that im really concerned, its just I find it a pain to find a bike thats fits. From what I have read and advice given to me by others I figure the following for sizing (without getting it professionally done):

With feet on the floor I should have an inch or so gap between my groin and top tube.

When sitting on the saddle, my hips straight and with my heel on the pedal, my leg should be straight, so when on the balls there should be a slight bend in my leg (around 20 degrees???).

When sitting on the saddle and my hands on hoods I should have a slight bend in my arm (around 15 degrees???).

I had never heard the arm angle at 90 degrees in the drops until the guy in halfords told me. 

Whilst also in halfords I sat on a womans 13 road bike in a 48.5cm frame, im not too sure on the geometry, but the height was perfect, and the reach was just a touch on the short side.

I also have a friend at work who used to race, he is a triathalon veteran including the iron man, he has been advising me on what to look for so some of my info also comes from him.

 

Quote:

after reading your post I am sure if you try other bike shops you will find a road bike that fits you , it would be worth having a good look round before you buy one, 

 

My very local bike shops dont sell the sort of bike I am after, I paid a little over £100 for my partners mountain bike and that was mid range. I have been told about a specialised shop that I didnt know about that is only about 5 miles away. I am happy with my hybrid, I just read reviews about the SLR and see it mentioned about what a bargain this bike is with its spec at £1,800, I thought it may be a good catch at less than £1,200.

 

Quote:

most of the assistants in Halfords don't have the first clue about bike fit, a 45 degree angle sounds ridiculous. If you're unsure about bike fit, I'd go to a 'proper' bike shop who would hopefully give you better advice

Sorry that was my bad, I meant to say 90 degrees, I dont know why I said 45. Its not that im too unsure, its just I have a pain finding bikes to fit. 

 

Quote:

There are lots of good buys around at the moment with summer sales etc so don't get too drawn in by the deals you are seeing there.  You have already identified that you have had issues with fit on a road bike in the past.  That means that getting the right fit is a priority this time for you.  I know it sounds like everyone has a downer on Halfords, but it has to be said that this is where you need a proper bike shop.

Again it was just that I had heard this was a good buy at £1,800 so I thought it would be an even better buy at sub £1,200. I hear what you are saying about the halfords team and fitting. Im not really looking at them to fit me it was just the guy that happened to be assisting me said about the arm angle in the drops. Do you think I should be ok with the fitting characterisitcs I mention at the start of this post?

 

Quote:

also, as another piece of advice, I wouldn't spend very much on your first road bike. £250 on eBay will get you something perfectly good for a first bike that will allow you to build up some fitness and work out your fit and what you want and then you can buy something better. You can always sell the bike for about what you bought it for (maybe more) so it's not going to cost you much. Joining a local club will put you in touch with locals who have plenty of experience.

Tbh I did think about buying a cheaper road bike to start with, but my hybrid is just sub 10kg, its light, its fast, nippy and quick to handle and with bar ends I seem to fly up hills (for me anyway, I cant comment compared to a road bike), i like to think im pretty fit, I took up cycling because I had to ease of the running due to a bad case of shin splints (and absolutley loving it may I add). If I was to spend money on a road bike I would want it be an "upgrade" from my hybrid. Lighter, faster, more fun. Thats why I considered the road carbon pro or the SLR.

 

Quote:

I've overheard decent advice being provided in Halfords but I've also overheard terrible advice. That's the problem with them - it's pot luck as to how much the shop assistant you talk to knows about bikes. I would definitely avoid like the plague for your first bike and go to a proper bike shop. You'll likely pay a little more than you would online, but you'll be riding a bike that fits, which is very important if you're not to be put off riding your road bike.

If you let us know whereabouts you live, someone will be along to recommend a good bike shop in your area.

I have read what you say so many times about the halfords team. As I mentioned above I wasnt really looking for sizing advice off them, I was just trying out their smallest and the guy who was assisting me commented. I live in Birmingham, I have been told about the specialised shop not too far away, and there is an evans cycles in the city center but I dont finish work until 5:30pm and will really struggle, not to make excuses but I dont have much free time out of work to spend going around looking, bad I know, I just happened to be in halfords and thought I would hop on a few bikes whilst I was there.

 

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AKH...sorry your post is too long to quote lol.

I hear what you are saying about the race geometry of the SLR...this is a concern to me, it was a shock to the system going from a CX hybrid to my hybrid pro. I have read in reviews that it is comfortable for a race style but I have no experiance myself so I take your words on board. I did speak to my friend today (as mentioned above) about this very issue, his words were "you will get used to it" lol.

I beleive the small SLR comes with a 90mm stem (differes between the boardman website and halfords), but I was considering replacing this with an 80mm stem to make the reach a little shorter (as also recommended by my friend). 

Unlucky about you getting the wrong size bike, I would have taken it straight back, but I suppose if you have ridden it a while what can you do eh?

I am not too concerned about the guys in halfords fitting me, again do you think I will be ok going by what I have posted at the start re sizing? Also with regards to mecahnical failures I am pretty handy at that sort of stuff being an engineer, Id give it a once over anyway, I have even considered investing in a few tools and assembling it myself however I would want to sit on it and size it up myself before purchasing.

 

Quote:

Have a look at the SpeedX Leopard?

Have you enquired about your employer's cycle-to-work scheme? (Big tax breaks)

There is a website that sells last year's boardman's at heavily discounted prices, cannot remember the site though.

Most road bikes are light these days, the only time you'll really notice weight difference is if you have to lift it over something. Aero is more important for going quicker but that's mostly down to the rider, most bikes are reasonably aero anyway. 20+ miles can be uncomfortable on anythingif it doesn't fit you well.

Wow now that is one good looking bike, I am 100% going to look into that, thanks for the info!!!

My employer lets us alter out benefits once a year around christmas time, right in the middle of winter :(, cycle to work is a part of that however doesnt that only go up to £1,000? As mentioned I only considered the SLR because i had read how good a price it was and thought even better at sub £1,200 (oh, and dont forget I may be able to fit on it lol).

I understand what you are saying about the weight, its just a nice novelty to have, always nice when a friend picks it up and are like woahhh thats really light (sad I know lol).

If you happen to remember that website please let me know, id be very interested. I have googled but havent found anything.

 

Quote:

Can get a Cervelo R3 for that sort of cash now in the sales. Cycle to work scheme if you can get it makes it even sweeter. No problem with size either, they go all the way down.

That too is one good looking bike, thanks for the pointer. I havent found one at around £1,200 but I may look into similar models.

 

Pheww that was a lot of typing.

 

Just to summarise...I wasnt looking to get sized up by halfords, I just happened to be in there at the time. Do you guys think I will go far wrong with the sizing points I have mentioned if I dont get a chance to go to a proper cycling store (I will try)? Again I just happened to see that I could get an SLR for sub £1,200 and I could possibly fit on it (I will be trying before I buy dont worry lol). If you have any more bike recomendations id be glad to hear them.

 

All of your comments and advice are greatly received and appreciated! Glad I have come to a forum where so many people are willing to hep. Again appreciated!

 

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AKH [44 posts] 1 year ago
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I think it's a good spec for the price. If you're happy to give the bike a once over (or ideally build it yourself, I think you can ask for it boxed) then you should be happy, assuming the fit is good.
I take the point about not buying such an expensive first bike, but as you've been riding for a while you clearly know whether it's a hobby you want to stick with. It's often more expensive to start upgrading a bike than just buying a better equipped bike in the first place.
I don't really know a huge amount about fitting, so I don't want to offer advice, I just know what works for me from a few years of riding. "Get used to it" can work to a degree, but you'll only really know after you spend an hour or two on the bike. Unless you really want the race geometry, why adapt (if you even need to) if you could buy a different bike that's comfortable to begin with.

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srchar [868 posts] 1 year ago
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The gap between your groin and the top tube will vary depending on the geometry as well as the size of the bike (btw the term for the top tube height is "standover"), so it's not a great way to choose your frame size TBH.

As well as frame size there is also saddle height/position, handlebar width, crank length and stem length/angle to consider. There are quite a few variables which is why your best bet is to go to a reputable bike shop.

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Griff500 [255 posts] 1 year ago
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Perky, to get a list of likely contenders, it is worth visiting the manufacturers websites. Stand over height is one of the key dimensions every manufacturer worth his salt will have on the geometry section of the bike data. Start with the Boardman which you know is a little tight, and use this as the benchmark against which to compare others. Narrow it down to 3 or 4, then visit some LBS's which stock those models.

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CXR94Di2 [2118 posts] 1 year ago
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No bike will be absolutely perfect, a little adjustment will be needed. Top tube length, Reach and stack are good indicators of fit. If you have a bike which is a good fit now, get these dimensions and compare to bikes that you desire/price range. It is easy to move stem position or get a longer or shorter stem if needed( cost 15).

Once you have the right frame size
Set seat height, then adjust height of handlebars by moving shims above or below stem. Then if needs be get a longer or shorter stem. With each adjustment ride for a few hours to see if it's more or less comfortable. Only make one alteration then test ride to see how it feels.

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fenix [1002 posts] 1 year ago
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You're confused with the bit about needing clearance over the top tube. That only applies to mountain bikes so you don't bollox yourself on the top tube.
You don't need that for a road bike.