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  1. #1
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    “Roadie” selecting mountain bike?

    I have a hybrid bike I use for road biking almost every day. After 3 trips on rental mountain bikes I started to think about buying mountain bike as well.

    And here comes a question about proper sizing and fitting. Let say I try a bike on LBS parking lot and it “feels right” from “roadie” prospective. Should I go for one size smaller despite my “feel” because it may not be right?

    Even after my short experience I think that mountain biking is quite different from road and, as skills develop, smaller bike may be better fit. Or not?

    My particular situation: I am 6’5”, my hybrid is 22.5” Trek 7500 and I like how it fits. Rented bikes were 21” ( 29er) and 20” ( yes , too small, but nothing larger was available in rental shop – it also made me thinking about buying vs. rent). For my own bike I plan to check several brands in 21”-23” size range.

  2. #2
    Banned. Jason222's Avatar
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    19". Raise the seat and get a longer stem if it feels too small.

  3. #3
    I can't find my pants mirona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason222
    19". Raise the seat and get a longer stem if it feels too small.
    For a dude that is 6'5", that's pretty small.

  4. #4
    '05 NUEser EJ123's Avatar
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    I think it might fit if he's into jumping and technical stuff.

  5. #5
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    What kind of riding are you into?
    Have you been on any test rides besides the three rental bikes?

  6. #6
    DNPAIMFB pinkrobe's Avatar
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    My buddy is 6'4" and rides a 21" trail bike [and has for years], and a 61 cm road bike, just for reference.
    Proud Member of the HHCMF
    '06 Cervelo Soloist Carbon | '09 Titus El Guapo | '09 Misfit diSSent | '09 Wabi Lightning

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by soccerun8728
    What kind of riding are you into?
    Have you been on any test rides besides the three rental bikes?
    I just want to go out and do whatever my skills let me to do. Which means moderate riding for the first year and next year too. Mostly on trails around Chicago area. John Muir, Palos and Deer Grove were 3 trails I tested on rentals.
    Plan to do some bike testing this weekend.

  8. #8
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    Although this guy is shorter, the advice being dispensed may still be applicable:

    http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=208537

    It sounds like you are looking for a MTB that fits like a road bike for trail riding, not some hop-and-drop technical riding experience. Don't cram yourself in a small cockpit if this is the case.

  9. #9
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    when looking at fit, the top tube length is more important than the seat tube length that's usually used to indicate the size. A 21" Marin is not the same size as a 21" Trek...I ride a 17" Ellsworth that's considered a medium but is huge when compared to my wife's 17" Santa Cruz which is labelled a small.

    Just a long way of saying that its important to get the bike under you and have it properly fitted by someone who knows what to look for...when it comes to fit a half inch makes an incredible difference...it took me a season with tennis elbow to learn this

  10. #10
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    Don't forget ...

    Quote Originally Posted by wireless
    I just want to go out and do whatever my skills let me to do. Which means moderate riding for the first year and next year too. Mostly on trails around Chicago area. John Muir, Palos and Deer Grove were 3 trails I tested on rentals.
    Plan to do some bike testing this weekend.
    Don't forget the Outback in Portage. www.outbacktrail.org. All our Chicago riders love the place.

    At 6'5" you should be on an XL bike (21") at least. Maybe an XL. What you want to look at is not the seat tube length by which most bikes are advertised, but rather the effective top tube length. Your combo bike likely has a more relaxed geometry with a shorter top tube. A serious mountain bike will have a longer top tube that will stretch you out better.

    At 6'3" and a 34" inseam I ride a 23" Giant Yukon but it's a recreational frame. I fit a 21" Gary Fisher (longer top tube) just about right. I have a 22" Surly Karate Monkey (29er) on the way, now I'm starting to worry if it will be too big. I guess I'll have to wait and find out.

    In any case, at your size you should definitely be leaning towards a 29er. Your bike will look a lot better without those little wheels attached to a large frame and it will roll a lot better as well. Check out www.ninerbikes.com. They have a nice selection of hydroformed steel 29ers. Check out http://www.twentynineinches.com/ for more 29er information. The 29er forum on mtbr.com is also helpful. Give em your stats and what you want to ride and what you want to spend and they'll point you in the right direction.

    If you want to ride the outback, shoot me an email at webmaster@outbacktrail.org. I'll be happy to show you the place or arrange a ride with someone who can.

  11. #11
    It's not easy being green FatBomber's Avatar
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    Tall Bike

    I live in Chicago and ride Palos often, so I have a decent idea at what trails you will be riding.

    I made the mistake of getting a too-small frame that I thought I could manage through long seatposts and stems.

    MISTAKE!!!!!!!!

    I always regretted it until I got the right size this year. I'm 6'3", 34" inseam, and I bought a 22.5" Giant NRS. Perfect!

    Advantages:

    1) Not feeling cramped on the bike.

    2) Not having a rediculously long seatpost and stem.

    3) Front end is not obscenely light as to lift in climbs.

    4) I'm much faster now with quicker steering and better balance.

    Try them out and see what feels best. Have you been to Richard's? Excellent shop in Palos Heights not too far from the Palos trailhead. www.rbikes.com Check them out. My buddy got a great deal on a Jamis Dakar there.
    Never trust a limping dog or the tears of a woman.

  12. #12
    spin The LT's Avatar
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    I ride a 19.5" MTB a 58cm road and am 6'2" for comparison....I heard that for taller folks a 29er is better

  13. #13
    Senior Member FLBandit's Avatar
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    I'm 6'2", ride a 58 roadie and have a 21" MTB. It's perfect when I'm on and riding, but seems kind of tall when I have to stop and get off the saddle. However when I test rode the 19" (they didn't have a 20) it was way to cramped. If I had any money I think I'd go with a custom frame.
    I wanna ride!
    '90ish Giant Perigee

  14. #14
    Rouleur gattm99's Avatar
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    I'm 6 foot 32 inseem, I'm also predominatly a roadbiker and that seems to influence my tastes.

    First off a 18 inch Ritchey built in the classic flat top tube design was too small.

    A 18 inch modern style bike with a very slopping top tube was way way too small.

    A 19 inch full suspension bike was too small

    A 21 inch full suspension bike was very good,

    A size L trek Liquid is very good.

    Bike salesman will undoubtly give you one size too small. They always tell me I need a 56 road frame and a M or L mountain bike.

  15. #15
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    Thanks, everyone for great responses. Wow! What a range of recommendations - from 19" to 23"! Plus 26 vs 29 ?
    Good thing we have rentals here - at least I can keep riding rentals while testing bikes and making up my mind about purchase.
    BTW - anyone knows MTB rental close to Palos with good selection of large bikes?

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