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  1. #1
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    Need sizing help

    I need to buy a HT frame and I've discovered that I'm right in between the typical "medium" and "large" frames. I'm 5' 11" w/ a 33" inseam and it seems like the typical large size seems to fit OK but with very little crotch clearance and seated the posture is very upright, and a medium seems to fit OK, maybe a little cramped, clearance is OK, but the seatpost has got to be sticking waaaay out to get the right extension.

    I'm coming off of riding a fully rigid mtb from the 90s and I'm just not used to the headtube being so high and really don't know which I would end up being more comfortable on. I just test rode some bikes and both feel weird. It seems like the choice is either little clearance and upright position seated, but overall fitting OK and decent clearance, not as upright seating, but a ridiculous amount of seatpost showing and possibly feeling a little cramped.

    So I'm wondering if anyone else in that sort of 5' 10"-6' in between range could tell me what they went with and why or what they prefer and why. I'd appreciate it.
    fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
    "Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."

  2. #2
    motovation frankenmike's Avatar
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    I'm 5'11" with a 32" inseam and prefer large frames. Tried a couple mediums over the years, and even though I could get an acceptable position, the seat post seemed too high for the geometry IMO.

  3. #3
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    I went for a medium because I wanted to be able to use it for a bit of dirt jumping/downhill stuff (it was also the size they had on sale and I got 500 off a $1700 bike ).

    It seems to be fine so far, possibly partly because I stand alot. I think with my next bike though I'm going to get one with an inch or two more in the top tube, so I can fit a shorter stem and have the bike feel just slightly longer.

    I think it depends what you want to use it for. If your going cross country riding then the standover doesn't matter as much and being cramped over a long ride wouldn't be good, whereas if your going to be chucking your leg over off a dirtjump, I'd defiantly go for the medium if your having problems with clearence on the large.

  4. #4
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    Thanks, good info.
    fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
    "Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."

  5. #5
    Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder Zephyr11's Avatar
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    When I'm in between two sizes, I usually size down because I like smaller bikes.

    That said, from your description, it doesn't sound like either of those bikes fit you. Try a different model for comparison's sake.

  6. #6
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    Well I have to buy a frame, not a complete bike, so I can't really test what I will end up buying, just get a ballpark impression of something with similar geometry.
    fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
    "Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."

  7. #7
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    I'm 5' 10 3/4", 33.75 inseam, measured barefoot to floor.
    I'm also more adapted to the '90s' position of more down, forward and stretched...
    I find all the new bikes way too upright for me, high bars, too tight in.

    Have tried to go 18" frame - way too short

    Now have one 19 and one 19.5 (LG - one is Spec Epic Comp, other is older KHS Pro) - much better - not just in leg extension, but also longer toptube length. could have easily gone with a 20"...

    TTs measure 60.5 to 61.5 cm, and I'm using 120mm & 130mm stems, 'flipped' - makes a huge difference climbin steeper stuff. Feels fine ridin on flat and descents. On steeper descents feels great to hang off the back of the seat with these rigs.
    I don;t look for serious hucks or drops, just the occasional 'OH ****!" moments one normally happens upon... I break too easily these daze.
    Golden rose, the color of the dream I had
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  8. #8
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    I'm 5' 10 3/4", 33.75 inseam, measured barefoot to floor.
    I'm also more adapted to the '90s' position of more down, forward and stretched...
    I find all the new bikes way too upright for me, high bars, too tight in.

    Have tried to go 18" frame - way too short

    Now have one 19 and one 19.5 (LG - one is Spec Epic Comp, other is older KHS Pro) - much better - not just in leg extension, but also longer toptube length. could have easily gone with a 20"...

    TTs measure 60.5 to 61.5 cm, and I'm using 120mm & 130mm stems, 'flipped' - makes a huge difference climbin steeper stuff. Feels fine ridin on flat and descents. On steeper descents feels great to hang off the back of the seat with these rigs.
    I don;t look for serious hucks or drops, just the occasional 'OH ****!" moments one normally happens upon... I break too easily these daze.
    Sounds like you have looong arms? The totally upright position of that large bike I rode just freaked me out. It was like I was on a comfort bike or something. But I took a chance and I went ahead and bought a kinesis maxlight xc2 I've been eyeing (some stuff is super cheap ordering from the UK and this frame is one of them stuffs) cuz the geometry is very similar to a "medium" giant I rode the other day, freakishly similar, except a longer seattube and slightly longer top tube, so in a way it's almost in between the medium and the large I tested. Like I said since I gotta buy a frame (and am on a budget) I can't really test ride the exact thing I'd end up buying, so fingers crossed this won't have as tall a front end as the large but a longer seattube than the medium.
    fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
    "Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."

  9. #9
    Map maker cbchess's Avatar
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    good luck!

  10. #10
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimJ View Post
    Sounds like you have looong arms? The totally upright position of that large bike I rode just freaked me out.
    serious
    knuckles scrape the ground - conversely, when I sit down I'm about eye level with a 5 yr old... (they, of course, have much more brain power) - I really DISLIKE sitting in 'booths' in restaurants, feel like I need a booster seat.
    Funny thing is what is common for people is that long legs usually means long arms, short legs/shorts arms.
    Short legs, Long torso, Long arms - you're an Orangutan
    If you have long legs/long arms/long torso, well you're just 'Taller', duh...

    I totally freaked out when I borrowed a newish stumpie, with 'modern' position, from a friend. Hit a small steep section on our local greenspace and I thought I was gonna go over backwards. The frt wheel felt like it had wheeled a foot!
    With short torso, my CG is further back than most people, so liftin the front wheel happens quickly on the upslope. I really have to think about getting forward to get some weight on the frnt end.
    Golden rose, the color of the dream I had
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  11. #11
    "I'm OK!" dminor's Avatar
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    When you are right on the cusp of sizes, the rule of thumb is to choose by the use. If this is going to be for aggressive trail riding or freeride type of riding, go with the medium; it allows you to ride centerd in the cockpit which suits that style of riding. If this is a bike more for just trail riding / XC-ish riding, go with the large.

    You didn't mention the purpose of this hardtail build but that will give you a general guideline. For instance, I'm 6'-1" and I race downhill on medium frames. But I would never own a medium for a trail/XC bike; it would just be too cramped.

  12. #12
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dminor View Post
    When you are right on the cusp of sizes, the rule of thumb is to choose by the use. If this is going to be for aggressive trail riding or freeride type of riding, go with the medium; it allows you to ride centerd in the cockpit which suits that style of riding. If this is a bike more for just trail riding / XC-ish riding, go with the large.

    You didn't mention the purpose of this hardtail build but that will give you a general guideline. For instance, I'm 6'-1" and I race downhill on medium frames. But I would never own a medium for a trail/XC bike; it would just be too cramped.
    I honestly don't even understand what "xc" means, really. In my mind xc was just "not these new-fangled freeride, dirtjumping or downhill things" but reading around I've seen people describe lots of singletrack riding as being more like "trail riding" than "xc" and I just don't get it. The impression I've got is xc kind of means "lite" mountainbiking anymore, and sitting on that bigger frame sitting all upright I just couldn't imagine how I could ride through a stream or a ditch or something like that on it.
    fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
    "Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."

  13. #13
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
    serious
    knuckles scrape the ground - conversely, when I sit down I'm about eye level with a 5 yr old... (they, of course, have much more brain power) - I really DISLIKE sitting in 'booths' in restaurants, feel like I need a booster seat.
    Funny thing is what is common for people is that long legs usually means long arms, short legs/shorts arms.
    Short legs, Long torso, Long arms - you're an Orangutan
    If you have long legs/long arms/long torso, well you're just 'Taller', duh...

    I totally freaked out when I borrowed a newish stumpie, with 'modern' position, from a friend. Hit a small steep section on our local greenspace and I thought I was gonna go over backwards. The frt wheel felt like it had wheeled a foot!
    With short torso, my CG is further back than most people, so liftin the front wheel happens quickly on the upslope. I really have to think about getting forward to get some weight on the frnt end.
    I've been googling trying to find a picture of that tall alien from close encounters of the third kind, no luck though.
    fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
    "Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."

  14. #14
    motovation frankenmike's Avatar
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    XC=long hours in the saddle working your butt off. Sound "lite" to you?

  15. #15
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frankenmike View Post
    XC=long hours in the saddle working your butt off. Sound "lite" to you?
    Yes. Like you drink Tab and wear tights.

    I'm just saying xc seems to mean something more specific and less rough stuff than I realized.
    fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
    "Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."

  16. #16
    motovation frankenmike's Avatar
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    mmmmm....Tab I guess it depends on the conditions where you ride. Here in the high desert, there is plenty of rough stuff, just not a shuttle or skilift for the ups. "Cross-country" riding requires a tough bike for the descents, but a bike light enough for the soul climbs to the top.

  17. #17
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    I'm just going off manufacturer's descriptions of their bikes, more than once I saw xc bikes described as '...yet tough enough to tackle singletrack' or something like that. I mean, wtf?
    fun facts: Psychopaths have trouble understanding abstract concepts.
    "Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria."

  18. #18
    Senior Member breadbin's Avatar
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    I'm 5'10 with a 32" inseam and I have a 18.5" ht which i've been told by numerous people is way too big for me. I have maybe an inch clearance off the sloping tt. The worst thing though is the handlebars are at their lowest and still higher than the saddle. gonna try a 16" for my next bike.
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  19. #19
    ed
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    Quote Originally Posted by frankenmike View Post
    mmmmm....Tab I guess it depends on the conditions where you ride. Here in the high desert, there is plenty of rough stuff, just not a shuttle or skilift for the ups. "Cross-country" riding requires a tough bike for the descents, but a bike light enough for the soul climbs to the top.
    I disagree, mike...frank...frank'n'mike

    Dedicated XC riding (in my mind) is pretty tame in reference to the gnarlicity of the terrain. It is quite grueling in reference to the cardio/aerobic workout of course. Sure, you can take a 19lb rigid SS on a DH course, but if you try to keep up with a full-on DH bike obviously you're going to get beat to crap and thrash your equipment. If you beat the DH'er on a feathery SS...then you'll get beat to crap by his seatpost I guess the classifications are there to keep people riding their bike as efficiently as they can (light) w/o breaking crap all the time (tough enough for the terrain) as affordable as one can budget.

    I hesitate to get involved in this one because I really, really hate all the genre's and classifications that the marketing nerds have created to label a "mountain bike". It's just a mountain bike...just pick the one that is built how you want to ride, right? But you have to be PC and label everything so you can sit around and be proud of what you think you created.

    So now there's:
    XC race - Think S-Works epic or Stumpy hardtail...will this handle a pounding gnarly descent? Not really.
    XC trail - Umm...like...previous gen. Giant Trance, SC Blur, or lower spec alloy Epic...something that prob. would serve 75% of the world just fine
    All Mountain lite (aggressive XC) - Maybe Specialized Stumpy FSR or a Trance X
    All Mountain - Heckler with a big ol' Fox 36 up in there...maybe a Nomad or Bullit built with a little climb'ability.
    Slopestyle - Maybe a bridge betw. freeride and urban/DJ??? Heck man...half the SS courses I've observed have super smooth trannies
    Freeride - Big ol' 7x7 to drop off big crap...whateverh
    DH - talk to Dminor


    Red-headed step children (IMO the most fun to watch):
    4x
    Urban / street
    Trials


    I don't know, I'm sure you and half the rest of the world will disagree with this but there's a definate "right tool for the job", so to speak. For myself...geography restricts my riding, so I fit in the AMlite or Aggressive XC'ish category. I have to have a fairly strong build for my weight and riding style w/o getting so heavy that I can't keep up with my XC riding bud's. I'd be best off with a 26-28lb snappy hardtail with an urban bike on the side to take downtown or to the BMX track. If I ever got a chance to get to Keystone, I could just rent a "fun bike".

    I do hate the labels though...but if there weren't any, then you'd be sifting through the bikeforums with posts from weight weenie pcad's next to Maelstrom north shore posts. It can be somewhat handy as long as everyone's on the same page as to what's what. I think the biggest issue is that people are ignorant as to where they fit in and usually results in "overkill". Heck man...I almost built a 35-40lb freeride bike to ride 95% KS singletrack with an occasional trip downtown to jump off some crap.


    So I guess "I feel" that category #3 revision 2a paragraph six "riding requires a tough bike for the descents, but a bike light enough for the soul climbs to the top".
    Last edited by ed; 04-07-09 at 11:58 AM.

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