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What does the "right fit" feel like?

Finbar SaundersFinbar Saunders Posts: 299
edited September 2008 in MTB general
I'm looking into getting a mountain bike for a bit of XC and possibly some racing. I've been a road bike rider and racer for over 25 years so I've been reading a lot on her to try to understand what I need to look for. I've seen all of the posts saying that you can't base your frame size on your height and inseam and understand that. But as someone who isn't familiar with MTBs I don't know what a right fit is supposed to feel like. I am used to a completely different feel and any size MTB I ride on feels strange.

I know I will get used to the feel but I am not sure how I figure out what size I need before I adjust to the different position. None of the bike shops near me - deepest, darkest Kent - have different sizes of the same frame built up. So I have had to try a 15.5 from one company, a 16 from another and an 18 from the same company but different style frame. Any advice?
No-one wanted to eat Patagonia Toothfish so they renamed it Chilean Sea Bass and now it's in danger of over fishing!


  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    What feels best usually! You need to have some standover height - minimum of two inches. Reach is just as important, you don't want to be cramped up, or stretching for the bars. XC riders generally like long, low positions for the same reasons roadies do - efficiency.

    Problem with MTBs is that one makeers size and geometry can be totally different from anothers, even though listed as the same size. I have seen head angles from 72 degrees to 66.5 degrees, with the same fork on two XC bikes! You don't get that variabilty on road bikes.

    Test riding will often show what is suitable, and what isnt, even if just a quick spin around the carpark. Ask the dealer to swap stems, and adjust the saddle on it's rails too to get a feel for adjustability.
  • .blitz.blitz Posts: 6,197
    What does the "right fit" feel like?
    For XC I think you will be comfortable with something that gives you a mildy 'stretched' fit not dissimilar to your roadbike. The seat will need to be high enough to get the correct leg extension and it should be a comfortable reach to the bars with a fairly even weight distribution between backside and arms. Allow for bar ends.

    This sort of riding position is absolutely useless for mucking about but if you want to rip up the trails and shred the climbs it really works.

    Maybe find a Marin dealer and compare the geometry on say a B-17 with a Nail Trail. The B-17 is more 'fun' but the Nail Trail is more 'focussed' see which you prefer.
  • Thanks for your input guys.

    I've been looking at the Cube LTD series and tried a 16" on Saturday. It felt a bit cramped for me although it was rideable. I just wanted to be sure that it wasn't just me being used to being stretched out a bit more. They didn't have an 18" available so i will have to wait until they do, which might be after the 09 bikes are out.

    In the meantime I'll try to check out the Marins as .blitz suggested.

    No-one wanted to eat Patagonia Toothfish so they renamed it Chilean Sea Bass and now it's in danger of over fishing!
  • I also thought I might hold off until the London Bike Show where I could at least get a feel for a wide range of frames and styles and maybe try a couple.
    No-one wanted to eat Patagonia Toothfish so they renamed it Chilean Sea Bass and now it's in danger of over fishing!
  • joed05joed05 Posts: 794
    you will know when you get the right fit. when you get on the bike it will feel right in all aspects and will inspire confidence, you will feel like you can do a 20ft drop on it straightaway
    Best quote ever (pinkbike): "i've heard that Hill pees, deffecates, vomits and masturbates before each race to keep the weight down"
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