Sizing and Purchase Question involving Kona Jake the Snake
I've pretty much decided to purchase a Kona Jake the Snake CX bike. I have a couple options. I can get the 2007 bike in a size 54 or I can get the 2008 model in any size I want. I'm leaning toward the 56 in the 2008 because it has slacker angles which should effectively shorten the top tube in relation to my position over the bottom bracket ( I hope that makes sense). The LBS is steering me towards a 54 either way. I'm about 5'11 barefoot with a 86 cm inseam (roughly 33.75 inches), and I'm simply looking for opinions. The geometry on the two bikes is quite different. The top tubes are only about 1 cm different between the 54 2007 and the 56 2008. However the bike with the shorter top (54 2007) tube has 1.5 degree steeper head tube which I like. I'm testing both bikes on Friday. My road bike is a 56 top tube bike with a 120 mm stem with 73 degree angles. The road bike has 152 head tube with a traditional headset. I have 2 cm spacers under the stem with a positive 6 degree stem. I had a professional fit done and they said I should use a zero set back seat post so I do. I searched a lot of the old threads and I think generally the 56 would work no problem, but there is a lot of rhetoric in regards to sizing down. One of my riding buddies who is very capable cross racer is telling me to buy the 54. I keep arguing the 56 would work and there would be no worries that it would be too small.
I generally like the specs on both bikes. The bike will be used for racing and winter riding on dirt roads. I'm simply looking for various opinions on which size to go for. I personally feel that getting a bike that fits in the most important thing when picking a bike.
The most sensible advice I have read says to size the cross bike exactly the same as the road bike, but set up the stem so the bars are 1cm higher and 1cm back from the road setup. (In other words, use a 1cm-shorter stem and flip it.) That gives the cross bike a very slightly more upright setup.
Sizing the frame down does just the opposite -- you have to use more seatpost, so your butt is moving up and away from the handlebars. Of course, you can make up for the too-small frame by using some funky riser stem, or multiple spacers, or flipping the bars up (and thus making the drops unusable)...but why?
Hey -- first, they are great bikes -- I have an 06 and close to 2500 miles so far. Love it.
Second, the 2006 at least is a wee bit odd in sizing. I'm 6'3 and ended up with a 58 -- I have a relatively short inseam (i think 35.5), and the 60 didn't have enough standover to be comfy. Also, the BB is a little higher, and the top tube a little longer than the seat tube...so even though I'd go 60 on a roadie, i went 58 for the JTS. Sometimes standing up on a very steep rise, I feel like my legs get close to the bars, but i have no toe overlap or comfort issues riding 60-80 miles. I have about 5 inches of seatpost showing, and it's about an inch above the bars. It does feel like a bit "alive", which is likely the more aggressive angles. I like that; you may prefer the newer slacker approach (I wonder if the major is still more aggressive?).
Bottom line -- ride them, try them, get what feels the best,
The one thing I don't like about the 2008 JTS is it appears to be the exact frame that came from the 2007 Jake. It may be different but they were both 7005 butted aluminum with the exact same geometry. The 2008 Major Jake has more more aggressive geometry with steeper angles, but I just don't want to spend 2000 bucks.
I love my JTS! I have an '07 and am considering selling my road bike and just riding the JTS every day, all year long. I've raced it a few times and feel that the sizing is dead on.
I am 5'11.5" with a 30 inch inseam, and the 2007 56cm fit me perfectly. I was considering a 58cm 2007 Major Jake because they had a killer closeout deal, but the frame felt too big as you might imagine. The 2008 56cm JTS felt a bit too upright, even for cross, but the fit was perfect other than that. I did not even consider a 54cm.
My bike shop is filled with A/pro cyclocross racers and they fit me on the 56 (for the 2007 and 2008). Granted, if you done your share of cycling, I believe that you are the expert on your bike's fit. If you haven't done much cycling...well, that's another story. My advice: see if your shop will let you take the bikes on an extended test ride.
I ended up with the 54. It just felt better. The 56 felt like a boat. I'm longer in the legs and have shorter torso so the shorter top tube of the 54 worked well. I think the Kona's fit on the big side. They also use a traditional headset so the 54 was very similar to my current road set up. The top tubes were less than a centimeter different, and the head tubes were only bout 1 cm different. I have quite a bit of seatpost, but I haven't been uncomfortable at all. I raced this weekend and it went well. I really waffled over the 54 and 56. I didn't like the geometry change on this years 56. The bike is going to be used primarily for racing and rides no longer than 2 hours. Additionally, the angles were a lot slacker on the 2008. The 2007 feels like a race bike. I'm still getting the bike dialed in, but I'm pretty happy so far. I could have gone either way. Honestly if I could have got a 2007 56 that may have been the answer, but so far everything is pretty nice.
Thanks for the advice.