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How big is a 17 1/2 inch mountian bike?

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How big is a 17 1/2 inch mountian bike?

Old 03-18-09, 09:00 PM
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Rick540
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How big is a 17 1/2 inch mountian bike?

First of all, please don't answer by saying "it's 17 1/2 inches..."

Anyway, I used to ride BMX freestyle "back in the day" which was the mid 80's until the early 90's. It's a lot of years later, and I'm pretty out of shape and looking to get healthy again.

I always rode 20 inch BMX freestlye bikes back then. I rode the occasional mountian bike here and there but never liked being so high off the ground. Even though I'm the same height now (I'm 32) as when I quit riding in my late teens, I'm afraid that I'll look stupid on a 20 inch "kids" bike.

Until I did some reading, I didn't realize that mountain bikes came in so many different frame sizes. I considered a 24" mountian bike but I'm still afraid I'd look like stupid on it. I'm fairly muscular from years of construction work but still pretty fat. I'm 6'0" tall and weigh about 270. I could stand to lose about 60 pounds. If I manage to keep a good amount of my muscle during my diet, I think 205 would probably be a good weight for me. With less muscle, I'm thinking 185.

My budget for a bike is 300 bucks. I found a bike on the Target site, and despite being a department store bike, its supposedly (according to the site reviews) to be fairly decent. It's got a 17 1/2" inch frame which from what I understand is on the smaller side when it comes to mountian bikes. It's got 26" wheels which would create less of a big guy on a little bike illusion plus might put me closer to the ground and not make me feel like I'm on horseback which is usually how i felt in the past on a mountian bike.

I don't plan to do any off road riding, just riding around on paved roads to get some cardio and lose some weight. Back when I used to ride, I could do 30 miles on a little 20 inch BMX bike going up steep country roads all day and night. I was a machine. I felt like a robot. I know I'll never be as much of a powerhouse as I was when I was 18, but I know with some effort I can finally feel healthy and in shape again. I've tried walking, treadmills, stationary bikes, and other cardio equipment, but nothing but being on the road with a real bicycle gives me so much motiviation and that trance like robot feeling. That's why I think losing weight VIA a bicycle is the only way to go.

So long story short, do you think a 17 1/2" mountian bike would be too small for me? It's only for sale online so I can't go try it out and there's not really any bikes shops in my area.
Here's the bike:

http://www.target.com/Forge-Saranac-...ice&rh=&page=4


Thanks for any info.
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Old 03-18-09, 09:55 PM
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If you've got a budget of $300, why are you looking at a Target bike when you can buy a low end LBS bike that will be fitted to your height and leg length, assembled by a bike mechanic, and probably a better made bike than the Target bike?
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Old 03-19-09, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick540 View Post
I don't plan to do any off road riding, just riding around on paved roads to get some cardio and lose some weight.
Thats what they all say but by then its too late. Dont buy a Target bike. My first one was an 03 Specialized HardRock for $279. The deals are out there, you just have to look.
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Old 03-19-09, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick540 View Post
So long story short, do you think a 17 1/2" mountian bike would be too small for me? It's only for sale online so I can't go try it out and there's not really any bikes shops in my area.
If you're 6'1, it may be a bit on the small side. Depends on your inseam. The measurement is the length of the seat tube, the one which starts at the bottom bracket and goes up towards the seatpost. A bigger bike will probably have a bigger standover.

For reference, I'm 6'0", but have shorter legs (30 inch pants inseam, 32 inch cycling inseam) Therefore, for MTB an ~18 inch frame works for me. My brother is only an inch taller at 6'1, but has a 34 inch pants inseam, probably 35+ cycling inseam. I can't straddle his 19.5" MTB without fearing for the 'package' while he can do so with ease, the bike's actually probably a bit small for him. This is not a concern for me on my road bike, but on the trail I don't want to bottom out like that. However, I much prefer the feel of his 19.5" bike in every other way. I think you'll feel cramped on a 17.5" bike.

Your best bet at your price point is to find a used bike; but even new you can get a base model Trek/Gary Fisher/Cannondale/Specialized/etc from a bike shop at about $300. It'll be way better than the department store bike.
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Old 03-19-09, 02:49 PM
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Im about 6'0.5 lol, I ride a 19.5 frame.
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Old 03-19-09, 02:54 PM
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Forge Saranac CM, one of 2 high-performance bikes in the Comfort Mountain Series by Forge, is the perfect crossover bike, innovatively designed for handling a wide range of terrain, from paved pathways to light dirt trails. Powered by front Shimano and rear Shimano Altus derailleur and drivetrain with KMC chain and Shimano cassette, Saranac stands alone in overall quality. This Comfort Mountain Series unites the best of both worldsóa quality RST shock in the front fork, WTB Sport V saddle and seat post suspension, adjustable mountain stem, an all-aluminum, double-butted quality frame and 26x1.95" mountain/hybrid tires. Whatever your adventure, Forge Saranac CM will get you where you want to go. Enjoy the ride.
may sound convincing but thats just a "higher end" xmart bike.
Check Craigslist and Ebay you can find Hardrocks (which are awesome) and trek 4300's so 200-300 price range
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Old 03-19-09, 03:16 PM
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Medium
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Old 03-19-09, 04:23 PM
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From the Forge website:
17.5" frame / Fits most riders 5'5" to 5'9"
http://www.forgebikes.com/saranactrail.asp
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Old 03-19-09, 04:48 PM
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I love how the Sawback 5xx comes in two different colors, but only one size.
"Hey boss, lot of the other bike companies are offering bikes with different color schemes."
"Oh yeah? We can do that...let's offer blue and silver."
"They're also offering different sizes."
"Hm, well, do the one that's cheaper. We don't need to do both!"
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Old 03-20-09, 12:38 PM
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I was just like you. {30+} lbs overweight, but with a long-ago lovestory which involved exploring on two wheels. Last year I started riding about 3x per week, about an hour and half each. I also cut out the beer. I'm 38 now and at 5'11, 190 lbs I'm within 10 lbs of what I'd call ideal.

Give a department store bike the above described use, and most will be DOA after about 6 months. Given that you have experienced some off road and konw what that feels like, I wouldn't discount that completely.

Having this recent experience, and I hope turns out the same for you, were I in your position today, I would look to craigs, pinkbike, mtbr.com, and here for about a 19"-20" (depends on your inseam to the floor) framed hardtail/front suspension. Trek, G. Fisher, C-dale, Specialized are some comon names, and at that price and used you should be able to get mid-level bike store quality (or better) bike. The crank, shifters and derailleurs (aka 'Drivetrain') should be at least Shimano's LX or higher.

In case you don't know, the top three levels ascending are LX (good), XT (better) and XTR (Best). SRAM components are X-6, X-7, etc. X-0 is highest. The drivetrain you'll get on a dept store bike will be shimano "SIS", sometimes "Alivio". Worthless, and you'll know it the first time you go to shift under any load. If I were shopping, the lowest level I would accept would be LX or X-7.

As a reward for getting under #200 in November, I upgraded to a nice lightly used 'basement bike' (owner had good intentions when he bought it 10 years ago....) for $175. I sold my other for the same price. It had disc brakes, LX drivetrain, rapidfire LX shifters(thumb and finger trigger). It was the wrong size, as I learned once I got good enough to do half-day adventuring.

I hope you enjoy your journeys as much as I have mine. I just minutes ago saw someone that hadn't seen me in 18 months. He was stunned. I was able to tell him thatnot a minute of my time on the bike was 'exercise'. It was all fun.

Best regards

FB.
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Old 03-20-09, 12:59 PM
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HERE is a really good example. A touch above your stated budget but the right size, good components, and pretty solid reviews, especially from the bigger riders.

FB
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Old 03-20-09, 03:27 PM
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Be careful about just going by sizes... I have 3 bikes - arguably they are all the same size 17.5" (I'm 5'8").
My Specialized Stumpjumper is a bit too tall for me. It has 5 " of front end travel so the distance between the seat and the brakes is a reach for me. It's a great bike, I don't ride it often. I have a Santa Cruz Super Light. The front travel is 4". The reach on this bike is perfect. I also have a Specialized M4 hardtail. The travel on this bike is around 3 - 4" This bike has become too small for me.

As important as the standover is, the reach is even more so. If you can't comfortably reach your brakes and the handlebar, doesn't matter if the height is good.

Never buy a bike, if possible, without riding it first. Don't assume one brand to the next is the same. It's not. There is nothing wrong with an inexpensive bike but if you can get good one, used, that is better. Also what do you plan on doing with the bike? If riding on trail/off road, it is better to get a inexpensive hardtail or rigid bike than cheap full suspension. Look for a good frame, and then plan on upgrading the components when you can.
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Old 03-20-09, 03:31 PM
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I went back and read your post - if you don't plan on riding off road - why buy a mountain bike or mountain style bike? Get a road style bike - or at least a sport bike. Trust me you will thank me later. Mountain bikes are heavy and hard to roll on paved roads and paths. If you get a mountain bike, at least change out the wheels for something more road friendly.

Also just a suggestion, go post on the Clydesdale forum. Those guys deal with this all the time.
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Old 03-20-09, 09:19 PM
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Welcome to the forum and welcome back to riding. Two things for you. First if you get a chance, check out the Clydesdale/Athena section of this site. Its where us bigger riders chat also. Second, if your not looking to trail ride, you may want to look at path bikes or hybrids. They are kinda like road bikes, with thinner and faster tires but have a strong MTN bike frame. And you can do light trail riding if need be with them. Here is a good EX. http://www.fisherbikes.com/bike/series/path
A good place to look for a decent bike at a good price is craigslist.
Also for for some one your size you will want a 17-19 in frame, just got to see what you feel comfortable on.
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Old 03-22-09, 02:52 PM
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I'd say go with a 19". The more you ride the bigger you'll wish you had bought. You might look silly on a 17". Some bikes come in odd sizes, some come in even sizes and some come in 1/2 sizes. I agree you can find bikes with less than 100 mi. for half the cost on craigslist.org.
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Old 03-24-09, 10:37 PM
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I'm 5'9 or 5'10 and ride a 19 inch it's probably a tad on the large side, as I put a shorter stem on it. I'd say at 6 foot your in the range of 18 - 20 inch frames or those labeled large. the 17.5 will be too small.
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Old 04-07-09, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by DirtPedalerB View Post
I'm 5'9 or 5'10 and ride a 19 inch it's probably a tad on the large side, as I put a shorter stem on it. I'd say at 6 foot your in the range of 18 - 20 inch frames or those labeled large. the 17.5 will be too small.
i agree, i'm 5'10 with inseam of 32 and my 18.5" hardtail is too big for me. The handlebars are at their lowest and still higher than the saddle.
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Old 04-07-09, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
Be careful about just going by sizes... I have 3 bikes - arguably they are all

As important as the standover is, the reach is even more so. If you can't comfortably reach your brakes and the handlebar, doesn't matter if the height is good.

Never buy a bike, if possible, without riding it first. Don't assume one brand to the next is the same. It's not. There is nothing wrong with an inexpensive bike but if you can get good one, used, that is better. Also what do you plan on doing with the bike? If riding on trail/off road, it is better to get a inexpensive hardtail or rigid bike than cheap full suspension. Look for a good frame, and then plan on upgrading the components when you can.

+1 exactly
* If you outgrow the bike or realize later your too big, your kinda screwed.
* I'de rather have a rigid bike than one with crappy forks.

You CAN & WILL find a nice deal on a USED bike if you'll have patience. I've seen bikes a year old on craigslist for dirt cheap.Learn as much as you can about bikes, knowledge & patience is the best advice I can give you, and on a budget it's a must. Just be ready ti act fast on those super deals cuz they go quick.

I'de look for a used hardrock or rockhopper. I bought a used 2004 rockhopper for $50. I did'nt need it because I've got other bikes, but some kid put it CL and I couldn't resist.
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