My brothers gary fisher frame broke an we are getting a warantee exchange, our problem is that he has been riding a 21.5" fisher wahoo which he could never feel centered on and had a hard time getting enough weight on the front wheel to keep from washing out around corners he also could not get behind the seat far enough for steep descents and quick stops. He is 5'11 and rides aggressively on the downhills on rocky and rooty trails he likes my 19" wahoo better than his but is thinking of going smaller to the 17.5"
We have both compensated for an oversize frame by using a shorty stem I think 60mm and 2" riser bars but he still thinks he may want a smaller frame than mine. Would it be a mistake to go smaller, the new frame has a 69degree head angle but his old one had a 70.5 degree head angle so the smaller frame would have pretty much the same wheel base as my 19" only the cockpit would be smaller. One problem with the smaller frame is that the head tube is about 1" shorter than the larger frame which would put the handlebars down and forward a bit, I thought if you could just put a ton of spacers under the stem to raise it back up where we need it maybe the small frame would work ok. I just wanted to see if anyone sees a problem with him being 5'11 and riding a 17.5" gary fisher hard tail or if he really needs to go with the 19". We would go test ride one but nobody has any in stock so we have to order the frame and hope for the best.
Thanks for any help.