can you have too small a bike ?

Slick-kicks Posts: 9
edited May 2010 in MTB buying advice

generally speaking i would be on an 18" mountain bike frame.

I have been looking at a 16" frame though .... The geometry of handlebar reach etc feels fine but are there any downsides to having a small frame and long seat post ?

2" doesnt sound much but a 20" is definatly too big for me so would a 16" be too small - although it felt ok in the shop im worried that it may be too small on a long run

ANy ideas on this ?


  • Oxygen Thief
    Oxygen Thief Posts: 649
    I'd say it'd be ok. better too small than too big
  • cheers for the reply
  • Oxygen Thief
    Oxygen Thief Posts: 649
    I know nowt though, i think it's important that it fits and feels good. So if it does then I can't see a problem.

    How tall are you?
  • im 5ft 9 ish i think lol

    it certainly fellt ok to sit on , comfatable etc
  • RealMan
    RealMan Posts: 2,166
  • nicklouse
    nicklouse Posts: 50,675
    bike sizes mean nothing other than that it is a bigger or smaller frame than the next up or down in the model version for that year.

    different makers use different measurements. and Geo can and does change from model to model.

    Look at the numbers and see what suites best.

    if it feels right then it most likely is.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • coool thanks

    BUt generaly speaking is a bike frame that is on the small side for you gonna cause any probs for you on a medium to long runs ?

    Personally i am more happy with a smaller - more chuckable about - bike but dont want to do any long term damage to myself by going too small
  • captainfly
    captainfly Posts: 1,001
    Top tube length is more important than seat tube length, if it feels fine you can always get a 400mm seatpost.
    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:
  • joshtp
    joshtp Posts: 3,966
    i ride a 18 inch and TBH i would prefer a slightly smaller frame, my spare bike has a 17 inch frame, and it feels way better, but its not that simple, cuz its reach is the same, but its quite alot lower... the seat post has to be almost at its limit.... i prefer this, with a low and long feel, to a shorter, bigger feel, which is what my "good" bike has...

    i still love my good bike though, it rides better overall.
    I like bikes and stuff
  • Oxygen Thief
    Oxygen Thief Posts: 649
    I'm 5' 10" and ride a 18"but I tried the 16" to and was comfortbale on both. Went ofr 16" incase i grow more! haha, Doubt it I'm 25!
  • Flashy
    Flashy Posts: 25
    i'm 5'6 and ride a 16" Genesis Core 20, the next size up was just a bit too close to Stephen and the Twins when i stood over it.

    If anything the cockpit feels a little short, I think I might get a slightly longer stem to sort that out before I go to Hamsterley on Thursday.
    MTB; Genesis Core 20 2009
    Road; Trek 2.3

    Reformed BMX biker.
  • stomith
    stomith Posts: 332
    Wifey had lots of trouble with a Trek 4500 WSD because the frame was too small. Apart from wrecking her knees when in the took the fun out of riding and almost put her off completely.

    Personally - I wouldn't touch a bike that was on the small side - unless I could modify it accordingly.

    Having said all of that - I ride with a gent that has a Giant Anthem Small and it looks weird to me. He loves it and I cannot keep up with him. He's in his mid 50's...I'm 40.
  • The Spiderman
    The Spiderman Posts: 5,625
    If its too small,the head tube is going to be short too,so you`ll need a very long steerer on your forks and lots of spacers,to bring your bars up otherwise to get the correct leg extension,the seatpost might be very high relative to the bars.

    Top tube will be less too so you might feel cramped.

    Ignore all of the above if you do DJ and ride with your kneees round your ears and a skwards pointing saddle. :wink:
    2006 Giant XTC
    2010 Giant Defy Advanced
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
    2016 Pinnacle Lithium 4
    2017 Canondale Supersix Evo
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Length of the bike is ultimately more important for "fit" than the actual manufacturer's "size"

    I have a 16" hardtail, which works fine, and I also have a 19" full suss, which also works, because they're roughly the same length of bike. I'm somewhere between 5'9" and 5'10"