I'm going to get hurt!
Odd Bike Fitting Question
I just bought a new 2011 Trek GF Marlin 29er Hard Tail yesterday and I'm excited to get it out on the trails tomorrow. But I have an odd problem I'm hoping you guys can help me out with.
I have a really odd body shape. I'm 6'-1" but my pant inseam is 30". I asked for a 18" bike but they sold me a 19" because they said if I go any smaller the distance between the seat and handlebars will be to small.
When I'm on the bake and riding it it does feel nice. However, getting on the bike or standing over it is a different story. When I lift up on the bike I have maybe 1/2" before I start to touch.
They had a 18" in stock so I don't think they were just trying to push me to something to sell it but I'm concerned that long term this will start to bother me.
Any insight into this problem? What's the lowest clearance you should give yourself over the frame and does what they said make sense?
I've been in that same boat for all of my adult life. I've got about the same amount of clearance over my hardtail and have even less on my traditional level top tube road bike. You just kind of learn to deal with it, never had any problems or busted a testicle. Having ape arm syndrome makes bike fitting a little tough. You probably could have gone with an 18 and put a longer stem on it but it's hard to say without seeing you in the flesh and on your bike.
1*14*29*2.1 & 1*1*29*2.4
I suppose it depends ont he riding you do. If you are likely to come off on tech stuff a lot or really need to put the foot down a lot it may have been worth trying a smaller bike, but presonally I'd rather the TT fit properly. You may suffer problems with weight distribution etc if your bike is way too small. Sounds like you should save up for a custom frame IMO.
More info please......what length stem is currently on the Marlin? Does it have a setback seatpost or straight? Is your saddle where it should be relative to the cranks? Do you have long arms/reach? What's your real inseam? Pant inseam is most likely off by an inch or two - stand against a wall, back flat on it, feet spread apart like you were on your bike, jam a phone book between and up into your privates, now measure from the ground up to the top and that's your true cycling inseam.
As to your predicament, you've got a short inseam and long torso, which GF bikes were known to be suited to as they generally had longer top tubes in relation to the ST and in looking at the geo it look slike they still do, you just have a super, super short inseam. I'd say consider going for a custom frame if you really ever want to be happy, as I don't see that you'll find a bike with enough stand over to ETT to fit you properly.
Personally, I wouldn't ride a bike with that little stand over on my trails, never, but then again I don't have your issue as I have a 35.25" inseam and am only an inch taller than you. Go back into the shop and test the 17.5" (they don't offer an 18") and if you have to get them to put a 120mm or even 130mm stem on it for you.
One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
I say keep the larger frame size. If you still feel cramped adding a long stem is not going to solve all your problems, may actually cause problems depending on how and where you ride. Wider bars work well with longer arms. I've got basically the same build as you with a 32" inseam riding a 19" frame, all torso, ape arms. No way IMHO would I sacrifice top tube length, or give up my 50mm stem. I like to be back on the bike on downhill for confidence and chunk. Once on the bike and clipped in, standover is a non-issue. If I bail, it's off to the side or OTB anyway. Dont change the stem, widen the bar. Good luck.
I'm going to get hurt!
A little update. I went back to the store and got a second opinion from their bike fitter (who also set me up) and got on the 17.5" version to see what that was like. It's a little close on the top tube but overall the 19" felt a lot better.
Thanks for the feedback all.