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Best advice for 'borderline' frame choices.

bikerbikerbikerbiker Posts: 3
edited September 2007 in MTB buying advice

I'm an on-off mountain bike rider - sometimes commuting, trails, bridel paths, etc. I ride a 1994 Marin Muriwoods bought when I was 16 and want to upgrade.

However, as I'm just short of 5"11 I find I'm very borderline when it comes to frame sizes.

The Muriwoods is a 17.5" but I suspect I might have grown an extra inch after buying it and have the seat post on max/near max when I need a good leg extension for peddling. The riding position has always been a touch cramped front-to-back so it would be nice to solve this with the new bike. The Muirwoods doesn't have a particularly long length.

As a riding position I'd like something quite sporty but not censored -in-the-air downhill race style!

I've tried out a few bikes in the 17.5/18 and 19/20 ballpark and as long as I don't feel too cramped like the smaller sizes (as long as my censored isn't too far in the air) as the whole bike sometimes feels a lot bigger if you jump to the next size up. I haven't felt certain enough to make a purchase yet.

Anyone else struggled with borderline frame size choices?

Also, If I went for an smaller size what option would I have to, say, change the seat post for a shade of extra leg extension or the stem to get the handlebars up a little to avoid 'censored in the air'?

Thirdly, are there any makes/models where the 19" frame doesn't change the overall size or feel of the bike too much.

Thanks in advance.


  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    All frames vary, and there is top tube length to consider. try not to get invlolved too much in numbers, go and test a few and make your decision on what feels best.
  • Thanks, that's what I've been doing this weekend.

    In the end it was a toss-up between a Kona Blast 18 and a specialised Rockhopper 19. The Blast had a very similar length to the Rockhopper, but again, when going for full leg extension my longish legs were starting to push the seat post towards the max and the handlebars were starting to feel low even though all the stem spacers were fitted.

    The Rockhopper 19" felt pretty ideal with the saddle shifted forward a couple of cm and is low-slung enough for plenty of clearance - and doesn't look like a big bike. I notice Specialized recommend the 19" for 5'9-6'0, so it's probably right on the money.

    Felt great on a 3 mile tear up a bridleway this afternoon.
  • SplasherSplasher Posts: 1,528
    Top tube is more important than seat tube length because you can adjust the seat post by 250mm to get it right at no cost whereas you can only adjust the stem by around 50mm and it costs you a new stem.
    "Internet Forums - an amazing world where outright falsehoods become cyber-facts with a few witty key taps and a carefully placed emoticon."
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