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Old 01-09-11, 09:06 PM   #1
tkehler
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Quick request for help re: Santa Cruz Superlight sizing

Am thinking about buying a barely used 2009 Santa Cruz Superlight, sight unseen, to replace an older XC full susser frame. A possible problem is that it's an XL.

I'm 6' 1", and wear 34-35 dress shirts (when I'm forced into dress shirts ) and 34" jeans. I'm right between the L and XL

At their website, SC say that someone 6' 1" can fit an L or an XL... but I'm worried.

Anyone have any experience with this bike and this size?

Thanks in advance

PS -- I am aware that buying a bike sight unseen is not the smartest thing in the world...
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Old 01-10-11, 11:27 PM   #2
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Helllloooo -- Can someone with a bit of experience re: Santa Cruz sizing help out? Please? It would be much appreciated
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Old 01-10-11, 11:35 PM   #3
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Old 01-11-11, 12:01 AM   #4
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Figure out the ETT on your old frame and see how the Superlight compares. It might work as is or you might need to make some cockpit changes.
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Old 01-11-11, 12:26 AM   #5
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Thanks!

My worry is that I read that in 07, Santa Cruz changed the geometry slightly and made the top tube a bit longer...

I'm going to go and measure my current bike in the basement and report back
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Old 01-11-11, 12:52 AM   #6
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my ti hardtail frame is 19" c-to-c, and 21" c-to-top. The Effective Top Tube is 24". I'm using a 100mm stem.

The SC Superlight is 20.9 c-to-top, and the ETT is 25".
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Old 01-11-11, 11:08 AM   #7
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So if you run a shorter stem (like a 70mm), it should feel pretty similar when reaching for the bars. Handling will be a little different (i.e., shorter TT plus longer stem versus longer TT plus shorter stem) but the whole bike will be different so that's not really a big deal. As long as you have standover clearance, you should be good.
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Old 01-11-11, 01:28 PM   #8
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So if you run a shorter stem (like a 70mm), it should feel pretty similar when reaching for the bars. Handling will be a little different (i.e., shorter TT plus longer stem versus longer TT plus shorter stem) but the whole bike will be different so that's not really a big deal. As long as you have standover clearance, you should be good.
Thanks -- great. Can you elaborate a bit. What would be the most significant handling difference, if I went with a longer (XL) top tube and shorter stem as opposed to a slightly shorter TT and longer stem?
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Old 01-11-11, 01:46 PM   #9
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What I meant was ... I do a fair bit of climbing. With a longer TT, and a shorter stem, am I going to have trouble keeping the front end down on climbs?
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Old 01-11-11, 02:12 PM   #10
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As you go shorter with a stem the rule of thumb is steering will quicken. but you also have to look at your Head Angle. I think Santa Cruz likes a slack head angle for their frames. So look at your old head angle and look and the new frame head angle. The slacker the angle the more relaxed the bike will handle. These are VERY generalized statements. I had a steep head angle on my XC rig years ago and put a short stem on it and it quickened up the handling a bunch. Now on my Mountain bikes I go for a longer top tube with a slacker angle and a shorter stem. Because of the slacker head angle the shorter stem doesn't matter AS much.
I much prefer a longer TT. The frame will feel like it fits better. You can also run Riser bars to further tune your cockpit.
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Old 01-11-11, 03:04 PM   #11
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As you go shorter with a stem the rule of thumb is steering will quicken. but you also have to look at your Head Angle. I think Santa Cruz likes a slack head angle for their frames. So look at your old head angle and look and the new frame head angle. The slacker the angle the more relaxed the bike will handle. These are VERY generalized statements. I had a steep head angle on my XC rig years ago and put a short stem on it and it quickened up the handling a bunch. Now on my Mountain bikes I go for a longer top tube with a slacker angle and a shorter stem. Because of the slacker head angle the shorter stem doesn't matter AS much.
I much prefer a longer TT. The frame will feel like it fits better. You can also run Riser bars to further tune your cockpit.
That's very informative, thanks very much!

FWIW, I recently put a 15 degree 100mm stem on my current ti hardtail, to get a bit more height on the bars. And the steering got remarkably squirrelly. (It's an older Seven hardtail and while I don't know the angles, I think the headtube is quite stubby, so the bars are way lower than the seat... That's what I tried to counteract with the goofy 15 degree stem. Now I'm going back to a 10 degree Thomson.)

PS -- On my (also older) Large Gary Fisher Sugar1, I have a top tube that's almost as long as the Superlight XL's! And it feels pretty nice.

It's as you say: it feels like it fits better. Thanks again
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Old 01-11-11, 03:36 PM   #12
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As the bike gets slacker, the reach also gets shorter, even when the top tube length stays the same. That's because along with the head tube angle, the seat tube angle also changes, so the bottom bracket moves forward in comparison to the end of the top tube that connects to the seat tube, and therefore, the horizontal distance from the top of the head tube to the bottom bracket decreases.

The other measurement you should concern yourself with is the stack (vertical distance from the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube). A different stack height might make the bike feel taller or shorter. This can be adjusted somewhat with spacers, different rise bar, or a different angle stem though.

As never said though, it's a different bike, and no matter what, it'll ride differently. There are a bunch of things you can do to tweak the fit, and it doesn't sound like it's so different that handling will be completely compromised getting it to fit comfortably.
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Old 01-11-11, 07:54 PM   #13
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As the bike gets slacker, the reach also gets shorter, even when the top tube length stays the same. That's because along with the head tube angle, the seat tube angle also changes, so the bottom bracket moves forward in comparison to the end of the top tube that connects to the seat tube, and therefore, the horizontal distance from the top of the head tube to the bottom bracket decreases.

The other measurement you should concern yourself with is the stack (vertical distance from the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube). A different stack height might make the bike feel taller or shorter. This can be adjusted somewhat with spacers, different rise bar, or a different angle stem though.

As never said though, it's a different bike, and no matter what, it'll ride differently. There are a bunch of things you can do to tweak the fit, and it doesn't sound like it's so different that handling will be completely compromised getting it to fit comfortably.
Great, that was very informative.

Thanks -- seems like I will be able to tweak the fit as you put it. It may take quite a short stem, but that can have its advantages too.

I also went and tried two bikes locally: a Specialized Camber and a Cove Hustler. The Camber was only available in a Large, but Specialized bikes have a longish top tube, and I tried the biggest version of the Hustler made. The Camber was good, but the Hustler was awesome. I had expanses of space, and no cockpit restrictions! I wouldn't ride it in tight twisty steep terrain though. Moreover, the Pike fork was set for 140mm of travel and the steerer hadn't been cut. So I was very upright on such a big bike. Still it was worth trying it to see what a long TT can be like (24.5" Est. TT, but with a 100mm stem too). Too bad the Santa Cruz dealer in my area is miles and miles away.
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