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Not sure about my MTB's size and adjustments

Old 06-06-07, 07:45 PM
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WilliamK1974
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Not sure about my MTB's size and adjustments

Hi everyone,

I'm hoping this is the right place for this question.

Ok, my MTB is a Huffy Jackal DX that I've had for at least 12 years, and maybe more. Say what you will about a bike that came from the JCPenney catalog, but it's still on the road and has had very little go wrong with it. I treat it like a pricey bike and am rewarded with reliability.

The problem is that I'm wondering if either I've gotten too big for it, or am not adjusting things properly.

I'm right around 6' tall depending on which shoes I'm wearing with a 30" inseam. The bike frame measures between 18 and 19 inches with 26" tires. I'm not sure what the standover height is, but there's plenty of room between the top tube and my crotch when I stand over it.

There have been several threads about how the seat should be adjusted so that your leg is nearly straight when it's at the bottom of the pedal and the widest part of your foot is on the pedal. The problem is that for me to get to that point, I have to pull the seat up close to the minimum insertion line. This makes it kind of difficult to get on the seat unless I stand up on the pedals as I'm getting moving. This was also uncomfortable from feeling like I was tilted forward. I adjusted the handlebars up to their minimum insertion point, which helped. But it just doesn't feel right somehow.

So, what am I doing wrong and what's the best way to fix it? I may go thrift store shopping tomorrow to see if anyone has any other used MTBs available that might be a better fit. Right now, a used bike is the only way I could add another bike to the stable. Someone in my area has a Jamis Citizen for sale at a decent price, but I'm afraid that it might not be able to handle some of the trails that the Jackal rides with ease.

Any advice and suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you,
-Bill
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Old 06-06-07, 07:51 PM
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DeadSailor
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eh its kidan like that for me too.

i really dont 'extend' my knee all the way. i can touch the ground if im on the seat though wich is what you want

you really dotn want the seat up crazy high....little bumps will pop you up and it might make it harder to bail off the bike.

just make sure you got decent extension.
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Old 06-06-07, 08:40 PM
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WilliamK1974
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Originally Posted by DeadSailor
eh its kidan like that for me too.

i really dont 'extend' my knee all the way. i can touch the ground if im on the seat though wich is what you want

you really dotn want the seat up crazy high....little bumps will pop you up and it might make it harder to bail off the bike.

just make sure you got decent extension.
I just talked to my MTB-riding brother, and he pretty much echoed what you said about knee extension. He went further by saying that a near-fully extended knee might be more efficient for a long trip, but that it's less important during the type of rides that are usually done on an MTB.

When you're on the seat, I'm assuming that you mean that you can easily put one foot on the ground without having to do something awkward or uncomfortable.

He did say that I might be at the high end size-wise for this bike's frame size. We're similar in height, and his bike is a 20" frame. He rides it alot and says it feels very sure-footed.

I may go thrift and pawn-shopping tomorrow to see what's out there, but it's nice to know that the problem may not be such a big deal after all.

Thank you,
-Bill
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Old 06-08-07, 07:08 AM
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yeah if you're 6' and the bike is 19" you might be outgrowing it. I'm 5'10" and ride a 21". I rode a 17" walmart bike for 2 years with the stem and seatpost at their minimum insertion point. It always felt kinda cramped, and I'd have all kinds of pain after a 15 mile road ride. Now I can ride 20+ miles on my mtb with no major pain.

That's awesome your huffy has lasted so long. It sounds like you need more like a 20" 21" or 22" depending on how it fits. It's very hard to find big box store bikes in the higher sizes, but nice used bikes can be very reliable and similar price.
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Old 06-08-07, 11:50 AM
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Thomas Tew
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Sheldon Brown has some good articles on fit along with some good links. At 6' with a 30" inseam it sound like you have alot of torso. I'm 5'8" and have a 30.5 inseam. I ride 16 to 18 inch frames depending on the bike. Sounds like you might need a longer top tube more than a taller bike, I don't know if you could find a longer stem for your Huffy. I think you would be pretty happy with a Jamis. Remember too you don't measure your inseam like you do for your pants but tight to your crotch like you are sitting on the seat.

Last edited by Thomas Tew; 06-08-07 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 06-08-07, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Thomas Tew
Sheldon Brown has some good articles on fit along with some good links. At 6' with a 30" inseam it sound like you have alot of torso. I'm 5'8" and have a 30.5 inseam. I ride 16 to 18 inch frames depending on the bike. Sounds like you might need a longer top tube more than a taller bike, I don't know if you could find a longer stem for your Huffy. I think you would be pretty happy with a Jamis. Remember too you don't measure your inseam like you do for your pants but tight to your crotch like you are sitting on the seat.
So, to do a proper measurement of my inseam, I need to have one end of the tape up where my inner thigh joins in to my body? I just said 30" cause that's my pants size.

There was a Jamis on our craigslist this week, but it's gone now.

So far, my thrift shop adventures have been for naught.
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Old 06-08-07, 03:30 PM
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If I measure my inseam with the tape up tight in my crotch, the measurement comes out between 34 and 35 inches.
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Old 06-08-07, 03:34 PM
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Sounds like you could use about an inch taller frame and another inch so longer top tube. The rule about having your extended leg on the pedal with a slight bend when it is rotated down is a good reference but I go a little lower than that when riding offroad so the seat doesn't smash me in the you know whats if I get caught up in some rough stuff.

I'd say just go play pretend shopper and go in a few local bike shops and sit on some different sized bikes and see how it feels. If you've been riding the same bike for a long time you might know how much better something else is until you try a few out. Since I was in my late teens until now I've gone from an 18" to a 20" frame on average for MTB's. 57/58cm to a 61/62cm on my road bikes.
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Old 06-08-07, 03:56 PM
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I adjust my seat to give me the best leg extension without over doing it. I don't think there is any other way to have it(?) Too short a distance and your legs will get tired very quickly. There is also no way I can have even a toe on the ground while I'm on the seat. There is a good 8" between the pedal and the ground so how you can make that up I have no idea unless your seat is waayyyy too low. You probably just need a longer stem which would allow you to stretch out a bit more. Now if you already have a 120 stem then it might be time for a new bike.

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Old 06-08-07, 04:26 PM
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Now you sound more like a normal person. I work part-time in LBS and you would not belive how many people come in and give me body measurements that are very inaccurate, I can tell just by lookin. To measure inseam take a fat hardbound book and hold it tight between your legs. Square it up against the wall and pull it up to where it acts like a seat, take a measurement. That is what you are looking for. This is only a starting point, but the best overall indicator. As for top tube clearance I go with about two inches, this is plenty if you are not doing downhill or dirtjump, most shops tell you 3 to 4 inches and I think you end up with a bike that is on the small side. A too small bike can get pretty unstable in the rough stuff. But too big is worse than too small, if you are doing off road 90% of the time. It is all about what you really like. I go to the max for my body size, but do not exceed it. That is what I feel best on. You need a new bike, go and test ride a few and feel the joy.
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