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Is my bike too big?

BikerBazBikerBaz Posts: 24
edited November 2007 in MTB beginners
Hi all,

I am a complete novice to bikes in general, but I dislocated my knee a while back, so as I can't play football anymore I wanted a new sport to stay fit. Had been thinking about getting a bike for a long time, but once I decided I wanted to try mountain biking, that was it. I couldn't wait to get one.

Went into my local bike shop, took some advice and decided to go for the Mongoose Tyax Elite. The guy in the shop told me i'd probably want a medium, so that was that. But I made a boo-boo.

As much as I wanted to get it from my local shop I saw that I could buy it £50 cheaper mail-order. So I called them up but they didn't have medium, so I went large. Now i'm getting into it I have realised that you go smaller than other bikes and adjust the seat post accordingly. I'm 5'10". Should I have gone small? I guess I should have paid the extra £50, but that a lot of money to me.

If I stand over the bike I have about 3-4inches of clearance between the bar and my nuts. It doesn't feel over-sized, but as a novice I have no real frame of reference.

Am I going to hurt myself if I keep riding this monster. How will it effect my riding? I read a thread about bunny-hopping obstacles, and wonder if I will not be able to do this because my bike is too heavy? I feel a fool. Can anyone reassure me?

Sorry. In future my posts will be short, I promise!


  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Three inches clearence is plenty, but there is more to it than that - ie reach. Its always best to try before you buy - I'd just ride it see how you get on.
  • shin0rshin0r Posts: 555
    If it feels ok, then it probably is!

    I'm 5'10" too, and I couldn't decide whether to get a large or medium frame. In the end I went for a medium; it's a little lighter and I find it easier to flick about than a large. I'm used to BMX and it still feels massive though :)

    As with most things biking, there's a trade-off: A smaller frame may be a little more manouverable, at the expense of comfort in the "cockpit" on longer rides.

    Enjoy your bike!
  • batch78batch78 Posts: 1,320
    So long as your comfortable on it you'll be fine. I made the same mistake myself when i started out but learnt lots of useful skills on a bike far too big and then just got a smaller one when it was time to progress now riding a medium with saddle raised right up i'm 6'1" but found thats what suits me, can get in the way on some gnarly downhills though!!
  • Steve_b77Steve_b77 Posts: 1,680
    I'm 5'11" and have a 20" framed GT Aggressor, it provides plenty of clearance for the old crown jewles and fits me just fine.

    I found the Carrerea to be too much of a reach in the handlebar area for me but as you say it's down to personal preference and feel
  • Hi again,

    It does feel comfortable. I'm not stretching too far to the handlebars or pedals, or hunched up so going by what you all say it sounds like I got away with it. I'll defo try before I buy next time. That £50 I saved could have saved me a bit of worry I guess. Also I coul have wasted £230 if I couldn't ride the bike. Hope some other newbies read this before they purchase their first bike.

    Thanks for the advice guys. Reall appreciate it. I'm loving my bike, and this forum. Now I just gotta find some good places to ride.

    Barry, Sidcup
  • Steve ISteve I Posts: 428
    It's not just newbies that buy a frame too big for them, plenty of should no better cyclists do, including me. Glad it's not too big for you, and if it was, it wouldn't be the end of the world, you're certain to want to upgrade in a year or two.
  • xcracerxcracer Posts: 298
    Don't forget that you can move the seat backwards and forwards too (as well as up and down) in order to get your perfect riding position.
  • Thanks for your comments chaps. I really appreciate them.
  • dave_hilldave_hill Posts: 3,877
    Rule of thumb for frame fitting -

    Road bikes - Inside leg measurement minus 9 inches
    MTBs - Inside leg measurement minus 14 inches

    So if your inside leg is 32" you should ideally be looking at a 23" road bike or an 18" MTB. I prefer to go smaller still with an MTB because a) a smaller bike is more nimble, b) I have a pathological fear of crashing my plums on the crossbar and c) I'm a bit weird for a bloke in that I have (relatively speaking) long legs and a short reach.

    My every-day trail bike (a Giant VT) is bang on the money at 18" but I also have a 15" hardcore trail hardtail which I can bang around without any fuss whatsoever.

    Remember also that fit for men and women is different. Proportionally, men have shorter legs and longer torsoes than women. This is why a number of manufacturers offer woman-specific frame designs which are shorter in the top tube than the equivalent man's bike
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