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Please help a numpty who bought a bike that's too big

monkeylizardmonkeylizard Posts: 155
edited March 2010 in MTB beginners
I think the title is fairly self-explanatory :lol: (In my defence, it's my first 'proper' bike and it felt OK in the shop and for the 5 mins I tried it - I won't make the same mistake next time).

The problem is that everything feels a bit too 'stretched-out'. I've tried sliding the seat as far forward as it will go, and rotating the bars towards me - doing these has helped, but not quite enough. I'm guessing that the next obvious thing to do would be to try a shorter stem(?). The only trouble with this is that the bike doesn't really need to be any more 'responsive' (as I believe is the case with a shorter stem).

Is there anything I can do or am I just stuck with it as it is? Any help would be much appreciated.

Just in case any/all of it is relevant:
Gary Fisher HiFi Plus
Stem - 100mm, 10deg rise
Bars - 650mm, 40mm rise, 7deg back, 4deg up
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Posts

  • stu8975stu8975 Posts: 1,334
    What size is it? how tall are you/inside leg etc?
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    I would go back to the shop if it is really new. as it is not fit for purpose.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • Sorry to hear that. It does happen. How long have you had the bike. Any chance you can exchange it? And just out of interest, how tall are you and what size is the bike.

    Fine tuning is no substitute to getting the right size, but it can make a difference.

    Once you have run the saddle forward the best way to reduce actual cockpit length is either with a shorter stem or bars with a greater sweep ( or both). I had to fine tune my stumpy and moved the saddle forward and pop on a shorter stem, although that said I prefer being a little stretched rather than upright. II went from 105mm to 90mm to 70mm. To be honest the shorter stem was the best move I made in so far as handling is concerned.

    It isn't clear how stretched you feel so hard to say how radical you need to be. Might also be a case of you getting use to the bike - do you get aches and pains in your back/ neck?

    Not sure what else to suggest - although others here may have a few pointers.
    2015 Nukeproof Mega TR 275 in raw
  • Thanks for the responses.

    It's a 19in frame, I'm 5ft10 - standover height isn't really a problem.

    I've had the bike for about 3 months now - I put the original aches and pains down to not having been on a bike for so long and getting used to it. I explained the problem to the LBS when it went back for its free service and the extent of their help was being offered a shorter stem (although they wouldn't let me try one before buying as they didn't have any spares...)

    Bob - are you saying that shortening the stem might improve the handling as well as make the bike fit better? My fear is making it unrideable.
  • short stem would be the best option if anything i twill assist with your riding and not hinder in any way
  • Your LBS sounds REALLY helpful :roll:

    Short stems make a huge difference to the whole ride, but seroiusly your LBS really should be giving you more help as it was them who happily sold you a bike that doesn't fit properly!

    Demand more or go elsewhere.
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,425
    Try a cheap 70mm stem first and maybe even bars with more sweep e.g. On-One mary bars.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • You are pretty much same size as me. My bike is a large (19). Trouble is with peeps our size is that we often sit between 2 sizes. Some are happier on a medium, others on a large.

    If you LBS won't help, find a bike shop that will.

    I think a shorter stem will def be the way to go. Be careful though - your stem has a 10 degree rise, so you may not notice much difference if you were to drop to say a 90mm with a minimal rise. I went from 105mm to 70mm (albeit in increments) and had the same concerns as you re handling. I was pleasantly surprised. Yes it sharpened up the steering, but not so much to make it twitchy. All in all I felt the handling improved.

    I would try out a 70mm stem - if you can borrow one brilliant. If not, buy a cheapy off eBay, and if it works for you then get the bling you desire!
    2015 Nukeproof Mega TR 275 in raw
  • +1 to the short stem - get a cheapy off eBay.

    I am gradually getting a whole range of them to experiment fine-tuning position.
    i tend to get most of them for £1 - £3.
    Commute: Langster -Singlecross - Brompton S2-LX

    Road: 95 Trek 5500 -Look 695 Aerolight eTap - Boardman TTe eTap

    Offroad: Pace RC200 - Dawes Kickback 2 tandem - Tricross - Boardman CXR9.8 - Ridley x-fire
  • stu8975stu8975 Posts: 1,334
    You could also fit an in-line seatpost which would also close the gap a bit more, without having to go too short on the stem.
  • GHillGHill Posts: 2,402
    Surprised your dealer wouldn't help you out with a free shorter stem. Most Trek/Fisher dealers are usually very good about that.
  • cavegiantcavegiant Posts: 1,546
    +2 on shorter stem. I ride a 5cm stem and love how it sharpens up the handling of my bike
    Why would I care about 150g of bike weight, I just ate 400g of cookies while reading this?
  • tlw1tlw1 Posts: 20,091
    censored service, make sure you buy your goods from another shop
  • ads4ads4 Posts: 698
    Definitely change the stem. I am 5'11" abd bought a 19" HiFi as the 17.5" I tried felt too small....but the 19" felt slightly too big once I got it out on the trails... I changed the stem from 110mm to 70mm and the bike feels like it fits me fine now :)
    Adam.

    Never underestimate the predictability of stupidity.

    Current ride - Yeti ASR 5a X0
  • sfichelesfichele Posts: 605
    Moving the seat too far forward is a really bad idea! Your seat needs to be behind your BB so that you are balanced on you bike. Moving it too far forward disrupts your balance, shifting too much weight onto your arms.

    I made this exact mistake when I got my first bike because I felt too over stretched and wasn't used to riding in a low position for long times. Once I put the seat backwards, the bike began feeling more comfortable.
  • Rich HcpRich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    I've got a 19" and I'm 5'8"!!

    Suits me fine, I know traditionally its too big, but I'm fine, I'm used to a roadie as well and stetched out suits me.

    But a shorter stem is the way to go
    Richard

    Giving it Large
  • It depends on your finances. Dunno how much you spent on your bike but you could probably sell it on Ebay for 75% of its brand-new cost.

    If it's far too big for you (and it sounds like it is) then getting a shorter stem may help a little but, as you realise, it is a big compromise on the handling. The bike will always be big and unwieldy when you're trying to handle it over rough stuff. The other thing to try is getting an in-line seat post if you currently have a setback one. This will get your saddle further forward but does have implications for your riding position and efficiency.

    If you can afford to suck up a bit of a loss, get rid of it and get a bike that fits from a decent bike shop.
  • AtzAtz Posts: 1,383
    I'm not sure the LBS not being happy loaning him a brand new stem for nothing is exactly censored service. The OP said they didn't have any spares, so what are they supposed to do, open a box and if it doesn't suit him, sell it as used (because I wouldn't buy a used stem as new and I would know the difference). It sounds like the OP didn't even realise it was slightly too big for him until a couple of months in.

    Try the shorter stem (you can pick up a cheapo at the usual places for 10-20 quid) and if it doesn't work you can consider either selling on the frame and getting a replacement or shifting the whole lot. It's a crappy situation you're in and I do feel for you.
  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    sfichele wrote:
    Moving the seat too far forward is a really bad idea! Your seat needs to be behind your BB so that you are balanced on you bike. Moving it too far forward disrupts your balance, shifting too much weight onto your arms.

    I made this exact mistake when I got my first bike because I felt too over stretched and wasn't used to riding in a low position for long times. Once I put the seat backwards, the bike began feeling more comfortable.

    If you move the saddle forwards it takes weight off your arms and puts it on your backside.

    When you say low is this saddle hight, because if you move your saddle back the top half of your body will be lower.

    If you keep the cockpit short there is more room to move about on the bike, so keeping the balance correct.

    I ride with the saddle near enough right forward with a 40mm stem.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I really appreciate you taking the time to help.

    I fully accept the responsibility for buying the wrong size bike - it's not like the LBS held a gun to my head. And I'm also not expecting any freebies from them. The only thing I would criticise them for is not offering some advice when I asked for it - if people on here can do it, why can't they?

    Anyway, I'll definitely go for a shorter stem and maybe an inline seatpost if that doesn't quite do the trick. The bike isn't so disastrously big that I need to get rid of it - it just needs a bit of tweaking.

    Thanks again :)
  • captainflycaptainfly Posts: 1,001
    Atz wrote:
    I'm not sure the LBS not being happy loaning him a brand new stem for nothing is exactly shoot service. The OP said they didn't have any spares, so what are they supposed to do, open a box and if it doesn't suit him, sell it as used (because I wouldn't buy a used stem as new and I would know the difference). It sounds like the OP didn't even realise it was slightly too big for him until a couple of months in.

    It is the misselling in the first place, a new biker will take advise from an LBS because they are supposed to know what they are doing, if I gave someone bad advice at work I am pretty sure I would lose a huge amount of reputation and probably be sued. though I am not a salesman.
    But for some reason bike shops that I've tried have always recommended a too big bike as they seem to be using old roadie sizing :evil: I have really long legs and a pretty average back length so a medium fits me but because I;m 6'2" they assume a large or even extra large should fit, it annoys me as they do this for a living, personally I think they are trying sell their overstocked large frames :shock: A budget new short stem is the least they could do, you usually pay a premium for a personal service compard to an online retailer so get the service you've paid for.

    Oh and short stem and high, wide bars is a nice fix to shorten your cockpit with getting too twitchy.
    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_
    Mongoose Teocali
    Giant STP0

    Why are MTB economics; spend twice as much as you intended, but only half as much as you wish you could afford? :roll:
  • joshtpjoshtp Posts: 4,329
    try a short stem like 60mm. it might seem drastic, but it will only improve the handling, and make it better in tech stuff/on jumps
    I like bikes and stuff
  • You are pretty much same size as me. My bike is a large (19). Trouble is with peeps our size is that we often sit between 2 sizes. Some are happier on a medium, others on a large.

    If you LBS won't help, find a bike shop that will.

    I agree. I'm 5'10" and currently ride a Medium GT Avalanche and a large Focus Varidio. I'm in the process of ordering a KHS XTC555.

    The GT puts me in an aggressive riding position. I could make this more upright and more comfortable with a shorter stem but I kind of like that position on an XC bike. It does make long rides with the wife a little uncomfortable but I tend to adjust the seat when riding those kinds of rides.

    I want the KHS to be a little more relaxed so I provided Steve at KHS with my measurements and he says they will fit a shorter stem.

    However when all said and done with long legs and long arms yet only 5'10" I'm always going to fall into that annoying position between sizes.

    You need a better LBS.
    --
    I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.
  • djames77djames77 Posts: 164
    I would call around some of your LBS and ask for advice. I have 3 or 4 close to me and the difference in service is unbelievable. The one store offered to take a part off a bike in the shop, or off one off the staffs bikes and let me try it for 24 hours before deciding if i wanted to by - and i didn't buy the bike from them. LBS are all in competition with each other and the real money for them comes from repeat business for spares.
  • djames77djames77 Posts: 164
    Not sure if this will help but have you tried tilting the seat forward a few degrees and adjusting the height of the stem?
  • I tried another LBS (also a Fisher dealer) - what a contrast! The guy in the shop was quite happy to spend some time listening to my problem and then talking me through the possible options for getting it sorted (or at least improving it).

    I think I've found my new LBS :)
  • Tried a 70mm stem at the weekend. It now feels much less stretched-out (obviously, I suppose) and far from being unrideable the steering now feels more direct, especially through the twisty bits. It's also more confidence inspiring going downhill. The only downside was that climbing seemed to be a bit tougher than before - is this normal for shortening the stem or am I just being a big jessie?
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    yep as your weight is now further back.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • Thanks.

    Is it possible to adjust my riding so that I move more weight over the front for climbing or would that then cause problems at the rear? Or is it just that I've changed the geometry and I'll have to live with it?

    Either way I suppose it's a reasonable trade-off.
  • Gary Fisher bikes always feel bigger than they are. A GF 19 will feel like a Specialized 21. I always ride a 17 and I'm also 5'10". A really helpful guy in Evans at Chill Factor E was talking about sizes with me once and he basically said "if your balls might touch the frame ... it's too big" ... this tends to work.
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