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adjustment limitations for MTB

Hey guys,

Having problems with adjusting my mtb, and realized that the problem might be inherent to the bike industry as such and that there might be no easy way around it. Wonder if someone may be able to sort this out.

Now about the issue. Purchased a mtb Merida Limited Al, frame size XL. The sizing choice was made based on the recommendations in the manufacturer’s homepage after measuring inseam, arm length etc. After measuring it was pretty clear that it’s XL. I’m 6’2” with longer legs and shorter torso. Inseam 35”.

Setting up the saddle was a breeze. Everything’s by the book: straight leg with heel on the pedal, slightly bent with the ball of the foot, knee above the pedal axle etc. Had to extend about 7” of the seat post and to shift the saddle slightly back to get all of that. Riding seemed excellent, legs were working perfectly, but after about half an hour I got uncomfortable feeling in the neck. My posture was very much extended forward and down as the handlebar was way lower than the seat, resulting in craned neck trying to see anything more than just the front wheel.

And then I realized that there is huge disproportion between possibilities to adjust saddle and possibilities to adjust handlebar. If saddle can be adjusted way way up, perhaps 10” or so, the handlebar adjustment with those shims is limited to perhaps about 2”.

Of course, I ordered an adjustable handlebar stem to experiment with different distances and angles and another riser handlebar (the original was flat). I’ll see what comes out of it.
The question though is – why they manufacture bikes like this? What’s the point for the huge adjustment of the saddle and that meager shim thing on the steerer tube? There are people with all sorts of body shapes and proportions. I understand that life without suffering is just boring, but that really makes me think they don’t care about customers whatsoever. One might say, I should’ve bought another size frame. I doubt if that would have worked. If I get L, I’d have to extend the saddle post over the safe limits, If I get XXL, I’d have even longer reach impossible to correct.

Another possibility would be getting longer cranks, perhaps 180mm which would allow to drop down the seat for 2”. But guess what, they don’t manufacture 180mm cranks for mtb. Or at least I could not find any. Also, found some discussion threads saying that steerer tube extensions are not safe etc. To put it in two words – I’m pissed off on all fronts.

Just wondering if someone has had a similar experience.


  • Looking at the spec for an XL sized Merida Limited Al, standard spec appears to be a 100mm stem and flat bars.
    Swapping to a shorter stem (eg 50mm) and some riser bars should reduce your reach and bring you more upright.
    Good luck
  • astr34astr34 Posts: 6
    Thanks! That was my idea as well, parts are already on the way. Although, I'm a bit doubtful if raising handlebar for 5cm will be enough to compensate the saddle extension for 17 cm. That's what my grievances about disproportionate adjustment options were about :smiley:

    I'll receive the parts in few days time, so we'll see.
  • Have a play around with

    Something like a 110mm +35 degree would raise the bars ~50mm and reduce the reach by ~10mm compared to an 80mm +6 degree stem.

    Combined with a 50mm+ riser bar, this will have a dramatic change of your position.

    As an extreme measure, look at the modular touring bars such as the Modolo Dumbo.
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,681
    Sorry to be blunt, but it sounds like the problem is that you've bought the wrong bike. You've now got a fairly aggressive XC race bike. You want a low front end on an XC race bike because it's better for steep climbs, and there's less travel on the fork for efficiency. Trail bikes tend to have a much higher front end as a result of having a longer fork and generally shorter stems and riser bars. You're now trying to turn the bike into something it isn't, and you'll have limited success, if any.
  • astr34astr34 Posts: 6
    Thanks guys, I do appreciate your advice.

    Sorry to be blunt, but it sounds like the problem is that you've bought the wrong bike. [..] You're now trying to turn the bike into something it isn't, and you'll have limited success, if any.

    You are probably right. However, I was wondering about what is the point of having a huge saddle adjustment and disproportionately meager handlebar adjustment possibilities at the same time. For me there's no point to have a bike for each purpose. And that's true, I did not buy it solely for XC competition. Though I'm never gonna buy 3 or 4 bikes to serve each purpose. I don't want to convert it to a road bike or a cruiser. What I'm looking after is just a minor modification to adjust (a) mainly to my specific body and (b) less so for the purpose of the moment. By the factory imposed imitations made me fail at both. Please don't judge me harshly for trying to have a comfortable tarmac ride in between XC rides. :smile: Hopefully the new stem will help to diversify, as it looks, the highly specialized purpose of the bike.

    Thanks again folks!
  • astr34astr34 Posts: 6
    The stem arrived. Not the most beautiful piece of engineering due to the fact that it has 4 screws instead of the traditional 1 for angle adjustment. Felt safer that way. Somehow I just don't trust that single screw. 100mm stem, raised at 30 degrees solved the issue. Pleasure to ride now.

    And i'ts gonna take just under 3 minutes to lower the front end if needed.
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