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  1. #1
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    Did my bike shop size me correctly?

    First post so please be gentle.

    I just bought my first 29er and want to know if the size the shop fitted me with should work fine. The bike feels amazing. I clear the TT plenty, reach the bars fine, and have nice leg extension. I took it out yesterday for the first time on some single track and noticed that my handling around switchbacks needed to be considerably slower and at some points my balance seemed a bit unstable. I also notice that if I'm tipping over while sitting my foot will not touch the ground until the bike is tilted at a fairly large angle and if in motion would be a sure wipeout. Both the shop tech and my uber-pro racing buddy have said the size is fine. Are they right?

    I'm 5'11& with 33" inseam and the shop fitted me to a 19.5 29er.

    The bike really does feel great it's just around tight switchbacks I've noticed I have to crawl around now because my balance didn't feel secure.

    Any advice would be super duper spectaculoso.

    P.S. sorry if posted in wrong forum. CHEERS!!!!!!!!!!

  2. #2
    Your Best Friend
    Reputation: Silentfoe's Avatar
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    It's not the bike, it's you. It's hard to e-diagnose fit. But the switchbacks are a skill thing.
    I guide and rent bikes in Northern Utah

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    It's not the bike, it's you.
    I never thought I'd be glad to hear that I need to work on my riding. But in this case it's the perfect answer.

    Cheers, thanks for the response.

  4. #4
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    Here's a vid on cornering technique you can practice.
    Cornering with Fabien Barel - YouTube

  5. #5
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    Did my bike shop size me correctly?

    If your bike fits correctly you shouldn't be able to touch the ground while sitting on the saddle. The days of BMX are gone

  6. #6
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    I felt the same way the first few times out on my 29er. I'm 6'1' with a 34" inseam. I ride a 21" frame. The bike feels great but kind of unstable. That feeling goes away after some miles.
    2013 Specialized Hardrock Sport 29er

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all the replies and I'm going to watch that Fabien Barel vid now.

    Cheers!

  8. #8
    Alaskan in exile.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coqueto View Post
    I'm 5'11& with 33" inseam and the shop fitted me to a 19.5 29er.
    I'm 5'11"-even with a 33" inseam and I ride a large (19") Niner EMD9. I love it, but I definitely ride it differently than I did my previous 26" bikes. Give yourself some time to get a feel for it.
    nanook93
    Ride what you like, like what you ride.

  9. #9
    ballbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coqueto View Post
    First post so please be gentle.

    I just bought my first 29er and want to know if the size the shop fitted me with should work fine. The bike feels amazing. I clear the TT plenty, reach the bars fine, and have nice leg extension. I took it out yesterday for the first time on some single track and noticed that my handling around switchbacks needed to be considerably slower and at some points my balance seemed a bit unstable. I also notice that if I'm tipping over while sitting my foot will not touch the ground until the bike is tilted at a fairly large angle and if in motion would be a sure wipeout. Both the shop tech and my uber-pro racing buddy have said the size is fine. Are they right?

    I'm 5'11& with 33" inseam and the shop fitted me to a 19.5 29er.

    The bike really does feel great it's just around tight switchbacks I've noticed I have to crawl around now because my balance didn't feel secure.

    Any advice would be super duper spectaculoso.

    P.S. sorry if posted in wrong forum. CHEERS!!!!!!!!!!
    The 'Inch' measurement of a bike means almost nothing. I once had a 16.5" full suspension bike and a 19.5" hardtail that were virtually the same. Every manufacturer has an idea of how to measure that 'inch' measurement, and none of them are the same. Standover doesn't really mean much to actual bike fit (at least while you're sitting on it and pedaling it).

    If you're 5'11" like me, you'll most likely be on a Large, or maybe a medium depending on how long your arms are. I like bikes with a effective Top Tube of 24-24.5", but I have long arms. That ETT measurement is the real dimension you should look at, and pretty much the only measurement that matters for sizing... well, apart from head and seat tube angle, BB height, chainstay length, etc... but those don't vary much if at all within the same model with frame size. Yeah, you can do some minor tweaks with stem length, bar width, and saddle fore/aft in the rails to fine tune it, but the reach, the cockpit size is really what matters.

  10. #10
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    29ers dont do switchbacks as good as smaller bikes. Just give yourself some time and you will figure it out. For me i just lean more and trust it into the switchback. just get my weight on the front wheel and if need be, break loose the rear

  11. #11
    Clueless Bastard
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    Everybody has said it. You'll get better, and it seems to me, you're on a correctly sized bike. Keep riding and when you think you've got it. Ride some more. Then ride after that. Then before you know it, you'll ride so much you wont care about the bike, You'll just ride.

  12. #12
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    Did my bike shop size me correctly?

    L sounds right to me...

    mudhen
    "Lighten up Francis" Sgt. Hulka

  13. #13
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    Sounds like the bike sized correctly and like others mentioned you just need to ride more. Depending on the bike and your preference you could ride a medium which will be more maneuverable but you might have to make sizing compromises in other ways(too long of a stem, seat too far back, etc.). Knowing what bike you came from and which one you got now can help folks explain the tendencies and differences of the new bike.

    Either way the solution is to ride more, so win win.

  14. #14
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    I own a shop and fit riders to bikes on a daily basis. It sounds like you were placed properly and the comments here are all good. There are a lot of variables in bike fitting but to give you some reference there are three key things, in this order; 1. Saddle Height Adjustment - leg should be fully extended when seated on the saddle, heel on the pedal at the bottom of the pedal stroke ( when you pull the ball of the foot back over the pedal you will have a slight bend in your knee). 2. Saddle Rail Adjustment - when in the middle of the saddle (sit bones supported position) and the ball of the foot over the pedal spindle, the "bump" on the front of your knee (under your knee cap) should be in line with the ball of foot/pedal spindle. 3. Stem Size - after completing the first two adjustments you should have a comfortable bend in your elbows when in the middle of your saddle to allow for fore and aft movement on your saddle that will be required to keep the bike weighted properly in the terrain that you are encountering while riding (stem is too long if you find yourself constantly being "pulled" onto the nose of the saddle and having to push yourself back into the middle of the saddle and the stem is too short if you are constantly wanting to push off the back of the saddle).
    This is a basic xc/trail fit - wider bar widths require shorter stems, dropper posts allow efficient pedal strokes for the flats and climbs and "out of sight/out of mind" setups for ripping descents. Stem height also plays heavily in the ride quality - too high and your climbing suffers - too low and your descending suffers.
    Of course, as others have said, ride your bike more and learn its and your capabilities. 29ers are momentum bikes - shift and spin up before the switchback, don't lean in, look where you want to go and you'll glide through. With the bigger tire contact patch, effectively lower center of gravity and less "tippy" more stable feel that a 29er offers you too will come to the realization of why 29ers took over the market and minds of mountain bikers. Big wheels = bigger grins. Get some!
    Sun Summit South in Hailey, Idaho
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  15. #15
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    I was in the same issue about two weeks ago when I got my Trek Fuel Ex 9.8.

    The key is to lean the bike in and pedal thru the switch back, this will give the bike momentum and get you thru quite well. No issues.

  16. #16
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    Diagnosing bike fit over the internet is hard to do, especially without a photo, but the numbers you've listed definitely make sense, and the fact that more than one experienced rider has told you it fits makes me think you're fine. Moreover, the things you've listed as issues could be fit-related, but they don't sound obviously so. Oversized bike issues are more like not being able to reach the bars, having to slam the seat to touch the pedals, and not having standover clearance.

    What model bike is it? Often manufacturers have a size guide based on height on their webpage which you can double check.

    And yes, switchbacks are harder on 29ers, especially if you're new to the wheel size. One of the few drawbacks for the oh-so-many benefits. With practice you should get use to it just fine.
    '12 Santa Cruz Superlight 29 | '12 Santa Cruz Butcher | '06 Specialized Allez Comp | '81 Schwinn Converted Fixie

  17. #17
    29ers Forever
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkerBike View Post
    I was in the same issue about two weeks ago when I got my Trek Fuel Ex 9.8.

    The key is to lean the bike in and pedal thru the switch back, this will give the bike momentum and get you thru quite well. No issues.
    No you don't want to lean in and pedal. That's a good way to dig into the ground and crash.
    What you want to do in a switchback is stand up (if you haven't been standing already), lean the bike into the corner, and twist your torso while placing weight on your outer foot.
    2013 Trek Cobia- 29er serious mountain bike
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