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Confusion with sizing??

Old 04-11-10, 06:13 AM
  #1  
clydeosaur
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Confusion with sizing??

I know sizing is an ambiguous question, but I simply need a little insight. I'm 6'4 235 lbs and have a long torso. I ride a road bike primarily, which is a 61cm. I'm looking around @ mtb's and aren't sure what comes into play with frame sizing. I've seem a MESS of 17, 18 & 19" frames. I'm getting the notion a standover height isn't as important. However, I am concerned with top tube length. I was fitted for my last road bike. Where do I start? Can I use some of my measurements from my road bike fit? Is there a range / size starting point you would recommend?

Thanks for you intel.
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Old 04-11-10, 07:55 AM
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Someone with more expertise is welcome to correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe standover clearance is more important on a mountain bike because if you have to jump off your pedals and seat to save yourself from falling over, you don't want to land with your family jewels on the top tube. On road bikes, seat tube angle has always been important to me, but most mountain bikes come with the same angle in every size. Considering your long torso, you probably want to lean toward the larger size to avoid needing a really long stem... unless you have proportionately short arms.

For what it's worth, I'm 5'11" with a somewhat long torso, and I seem to fit on anything from 16 to 19. It's odd, because I only fit 54 to 56 on road bikes, and even that depends on the seat tube angle offered in those sizes.
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Old 04-11-10, 09:10 AM
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urbanknight is right about the importance of stand-over height for a mountain bike, but for some bikes, it will just never be an issue. This is the bike I bought this year.



Me height puts me at the upper end of medium for a frame size, but I liked being a bit more stretched out on the large. As you can see from the frame design, stand-over height was just not going to be an issue. It was all about top tube.

If you want a longer top tube and don't want any stand-over issues, look at a bike with a frame like the Yeti's. Heck look at a Yeti, they are great bikes.
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Old 04-11-10, 04:07 PM
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I don't think standover's a big deal in general on mountain bikes. At least it hasn't been for me no matter if I had some extra or not, I just find if I come off the bike that's not been an issue (putting feet down at all is a bigger issue). Can't just go by seat tube sizes, that's for sure, top tube size is a big consideration (let alone the various ways some measure theirs). Type of bike you're shopping for and the type of riding you want to do will dictate how you size the frame, too. I'm 5'10" (okay, maybe 9" these days, am shrinking in my old age) and use a 57/58, both with 57 top tubes, in a road bike, 45/48 ranges on the mountain bikes with 56-58 top tubes.
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Old 04-11-10, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bikinfool View Post
I don't think standover's a big deal in general on mountain bikes. At least it hasn't been for me no matter if I had some extra or not, I just find if I come off the bike that's not been an issue (putting feet down at all is a bigger issue).
I was climbing a rocky section once when I hit something that stopped the bike dead in its tracks. I jumped off the saddle and put both of my feet down, realizing too late that I was on a rock and my feet had no ground to touch for another 5 or 6 inches on either side. But yeah, those are rare and stupid moments, and it obviously didn't hurt my ability to have children. It still hurt like it would, though!

I've noticed how many manufacturers are dipping the top tube to take care of any standover issues. That's probably a smart idea as they also have much longer forks, which bring the head tube higher as well. I've also noticed now that full suspension is so widely favored, few bikes have a place for more than one small bottle (I don't consider the mud-maget location on the bottom of the downtube to be a solution). I won't be able to hold out on my 2 big bottles instead of a Camelback campain for long.
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Old 04-11-10, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
I was climbing a rocky section once when I hit something that stopped the bike dead in its tracks. I jumped off the saddle and put both of my feet down, realizing too late that I was on a rock and my feet had no ground to touch for another 5 or 6 inches on either side. But yeah, those are rare and stupid moments, and it obviously didn't hurt my ability to have children. It still hurt like it would, though!

I've noticed how many manufacturers are dipping the top tube to take care of any standover issues. That's probably a smart idea as they also have much longer forks, which bring the head tube higher as well. I've also noticed now that full suspension is so widely favored, few bikes have a place for more than one small bottle (I don't consider the mud-maget location on the bottom of the downtube to be a solution). I won't be able to hold out on my 2 big bottles instead of a Camelback campain for long.
That's the sort of time I dismount, where the location or exposure limits putting your feet down where that 1-2" of "standover" on the showroom floor doesn't do you much good. I have a few frames that have a relatively "dropped" top tube like you mention but they're really of limited value, especially up towards the head tube where like you said they're fairly tall. However, to a lot of guys the fear of damaging the twigs and berries can be overwhelming...just look at the panic in bike saddles the last several years.

Now, water bottles on a mountain bike, all I've used them for in many years is to hold a water bottle shaped battery, but those bottom of the down tube locations suck even for that. Much easier to drink during a ride from a hydration pack and keep things clean to drink from. For the OP that could be a frame consideration if a devoted bottle user (to keep somewhat on subject for the thread ).

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Old 04-11-10, 08:37 PM
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Man, all you tall people who don't have to worry about standover suck! It's not a big deal...unless you can't straddle the bike without sitting on the top tube. *grumble grumble* The sloping top tube is nice, but as bikinfool said, it's still high up near the headtube. That's the main reason I don't have a Nomad or 575...I could stand over them if I was really close to the saddle, but if I actually had to jump forward off the bike, there's nowhere to go since I can't stand over them closer to the head tube. I doubt you're going to have this problem at 6'4 though.
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Old 04-11-10, 10:01 PM
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Which type of riding will you be into? XC style will put you further out for steep climbs and have a longish stem. For instance a 17.5" trail bike with 590mm effective top tube could mean about a 56cm road bike. You should also look into reach and stack measurements, it is a much easier way to get a feel for how a certain bike will fit espcially with MTB because of the head/seat angle being different from bike to bike, unlike road bikes where those angles are fairly constant.
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Old 04-12-10, 07:02 PM
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I'm just getting into some trail riding. I've been hitting some fire trails, state park multi-use trails & some single tracks. Nothing incredibly hairy but interesting & a ton of fun. Right now I'm tooling around on an ancient & ragged out chromoly Specialized hard rock. Component lok entry level (shimano 3.o derailleur?? 8spd. grip shifters w/integrated all plastic brake levers). The frame is a 23 & the front shock is a crappy set of coil springs with not much of a load rating.

The bike is comfortable with the way I have it set up, but the top tube is quite high. I know it seems like I have answered my own question, but all the newer stuff I'm looking at has a lower/sloping top tube w/plenty of room & I'm afraid I'll get one & be way to cramped / not be able to get comfortable.

At any rate, I greatly appreciate your responses guys

-keep pedalin'
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Old 04-12-10, 07:16 PM
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Curious, what's the top tube length and what stem are you using?
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Old 04-12-10, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by clydeosaur View Post
I'm just getting into some trail riding. I've been hitting some fire trails, state park multi-use trails & some single tracks. Nothing incredibly hairy but interesting & a ton of fun. Right now I'm tooling around on an ancient & ragged out chromoly Specialized hard rock. Component lok entry level (shimano 3.o derailleur?? 8spd. grip shifters w/integrated all plastic brake levers). The frame is a 23 & the front shock is a crappy set of coil springs with not much of a load rating.

The bike is comfortable with the way I have it set up, but the top tube is quite high. I know it seems like I have answered my own question, but all the newer stuff I'm looking at has a lower/sloping top tube w/plenty of room & I'm afraid I'll get one & be way to cramped / not be able to get comfortable.

At any rate, I greatly appreciate your responses guys

-keep pedalin'
Measure your frame as it is

That will help you to sort through the seat angles
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Old 04-19-10, 07:17 PM
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TT length is 58cm & neck is a 130.
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Old 04-19-10, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by clydeosaur View Post
TT length is 58cm & neck is a 130.
Seat tube angle? head-tube angle? fork length? bb height? Try to calculate the reach and stack, it will incorporate a lot of those measurements.
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Old 04-19-10, 10:20 PM
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edit: my browser didnt show all these helpful replies here before. no need for my two cents!

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Old 04-19-10, 10:33 PM
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Size and buy based on TT length, and overall feel when on the bike, not based on standover or seat tube length.

Yeah, a nice and low TT is nice, but it isn't the important thing overall in terms of how the bike will fit and ride, not by a long stretch.

Get to your local shops, pedal around on some bikes to get a feel for what you may like.

*you can use your road bike TT length as a rough guide, but the angles and handling are so different on mtbs that it may not mean a thing for what you actually end up feeling good on.
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Old 04-30-10, 07:59 PM
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Well, I'd like to thank you guys for the insight / help. I've been out looking at new, used, hard tails, fs's you name it. I ended up taking measurements (top tube, down tube, bar to seat, blah, blah,blah......) and literally walking up to bikes with a measuring tape before even taking them for a spin to see if they at least fell "into spec" per say with my measurements. At any rate, I ran into a 2004 Specialized Stump jumper FSR Comp with upgraded Avid disc brakes. Other than an inch of dust, the damn thing literally had one scratch in the paint & still had all the reflectors & dork disc on it. It's an XL & after matching my measurements, leaning, lubing & adjusting things up, I took it out for two rides- very comfortable ride. I'm pleased.
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Old 05-01-10, 01:12 PM
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Sounds like you found a nice bike. I hope you pulled the trigger. As for standover, I just bought an 18" Jamis 29er. The standover is not as comfy as my previous ride, an ancient trek 930, but once I'm up on the bike, the cockpit is way more comfortable and appropriate than the 16" frame. Additionally, standover wasn't much different between the two frames, so I went with the larger ride. I took it out for its first non-parking lot ride today and ceremoniously went over the bars (hey, I thought 29" wheels ran over everything ;-).
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Old 05-01-10, 03:47 PM
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I got the bike for $500. came with all kinds of typical stuff (pump, inner tubes, stock brakes, bottles, clipless pedals, etc..) Seemed like a fair price for the condition the bike was in & suspension seemed to work well (firmness settings, lock outs, and void of leaks). I gained a bit of top tube clearance and many measurements carried over from my hard tail ( which I was surprised about). I spent about an hour cleaning it up & lubing everything. It honestly looks new.
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