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  1. #1
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    Moving from an XC set-up to a Trail Bike set-up- HELP

    Hi all! I am moving from a Titus Eleven HT 26" to a Surly Instigator 2.0 and I want some perspective on general bike fitting for longer travel and slacker angled trail bikes.

    I ride a frame with a 22.75 effective top tube with a 100mm 5 degree stem. The head angle is 70 degrees with a 100mm fork (I assume sagged, going off of the geo chart on the titus website from '07 and they do not identify a to c measurements) I run the frame with a rs sektor set at ~125mm un-sagged which sags at 100mm. I assume I am running a ~69 degree Head tube angle for the most part.

    The instigator has a head tube angle of 67.5 at a sagged 140mm fork setting and has an effective top tube of 22.8 inches.

    The complete bike build has a spec'ed stem setting at 50mm but I will be building the bike from the frame-up with parts I already have.

    My first thought was to ride the 100mm stem, see how it feels- borrow stems from friends and dial it in accordingly. Now I am wondering if I should be considering the next sized frame as the effective top tube is 23.4 and I would have a similar reach with a shorter stem.

    My application of the frame will still entail a good amount of XC (the frame is designed to run forks from 120mm the 140mm and I have a u-turn fork) and rocky technical riding. I live in NJ and the southern part of the state is more flowy and the northern part of the state is very rocky.

    So my question is it better to buy the frame similar in size to what I ride now and simply swap stems and increase fork travel based upon the trail? Ride the similar size frame and run a shorter stem and the fit will be better considering the head tube angle? Or consider buying the larger frame to maintain the reach I currently have?
    I guarantee I will never, ever be accused of bringing sexy back...

  2. #2
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    In general, ride the smallest frame you're comfortable on. It will handle better, be stiffer, and weigh less.

  3. #3
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    Cool- that is what my gut was telling me. Seemed kinda silly size the frame around the stem length. Nevertheless I did not want to make a costly mistake...
    I guarantee I will never, ever be accused of bringing sexy back...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reposado Man View Post
    In general, ride the smallest frame you're comfortable on. It will handle better, be stiffer, and weigh less.
    Not necessarily, a longer effective tt with a shorter stem is probably better for somebody looking to pedal a bunch, Plus, a shorter stem will help slow steering down.


    FYI, I used to have the same philosophy, ride smallest bike possible. Now, I ride medium bikes with short stem and find they're functionally better in every way than riding a small frame with a longer stem. My $.02
    nothing witty here...

  5. #5
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    Moving from an XC set-up to a Trail Bike set-up- HELP

    Hmm... I wish there was the opportunity to demo...
    I guarantee I will never, ever be accused of bringing sexy back...

  6. #6
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    i like a longer frame with a shorter stem and wider bars. its more stable at higher speeds, but still very easy to control

    how tall are you?
    2010 GT Avalanche Expert

  7. #7
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    Moving from an XC set-up to a Trail Bike set-up- HELP

    I am 5' 8" with a 29" inseam (cycling inseam- not pant inseam).
    I guarantee I will never, ever be accused of bringing sexy back...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Molasses View Post
    Hmm... I wish there was the opportunity to demo...
    if you weigh the pros and cons it's a pretty easy decision.

    first, the premise that you're wanting a trail bike set up over XC is because you want to get rowdy on your bike. What's the best way to get rowdy?
    1. short stem/wide bars for steering stability and precision
    2. longer wheel base for stability
    3. long, low and slack frame for stability


    second, you still want to pedal a lot. what's the best pedaling position?
    1. more extended in the seated position. longer TT

    third, what true advantage does a smaller bike have?
    1. stand over? I'm short and can ride medium bikes no problem.
    2. less weight? seriously, dude, a couple grams really going to ruin your ride?
    3. more rigid? seriously, dude, you think you're that gnarly? besides, more flex in stems over frame any day.
    4. ?
    5. no profit for you.

    there you have it, no need to demo
    nothing witty here...

  9. #9
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    this is a tough question. probably best to find a bike frame that has a size that fits you in the sweet spot, but the way i see it, the bigger side versus smaller side plays out differently for different types of riding.

    for lots of long, grinder climbs and long, fast descents where you need max stability at speed (like you find more commonly on the west side of the US) a bigger bike has advantage as long as it not too big that its impossible to maneuver when you do get into a tight situation. for tighter, technical and more hairy roots, rocks type riding (as found on the east coast) a bike on the smaller side will be much better since slow-speed maneuverability is much more important in this setting.

    longer wheelbase = more stable; shorter wheelbase = more maneuverable

    do not underestimate the advantage of low stand over height. having a really tucked away top tube will do wonders for your ability to ride tech and feel better in the air.

  10. #10
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    Narrow bars or wide bars on the old bike?

    It sounds like you're still going to be pedaling a lot. If you're comfortable on your current bike, changing the position of your back will be pretty punishing. So IMO, if the frame reach is right on your Titus, you should keep it as similar as you can.

    Wide bars and a shorter stem end up with a pretty similar riding position to narrower bars and a longer stem, IME. Imagine one of those car commercials with the mannequin with lots of arms. Now that I've had a little time to get used to them on my new bike, I think wide bars are pretty cool.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    I am 5'7 and used to ride size small frames (22.75tt) with a 70mm stem. I now ride medium frames (23.5tt)with a 45mm stem and I am never going back. The extra cock pit space is nice for making body position adjustments. As others have said, it also provides extra stability through technical terrain and at speed.

    The shorter stem drastically improves handling. I ride in upstate NY, so similar rocky terrain, and this fit is ideal.

  12. #12
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    For me it depends on the bike. You didn't state your body proportions but mine for instance is long torso, so while I'm 6' and could use a M, I ride a L because I feel cramped on most M bikes when going up hill. People ride differently but I like to get forward and crank those technical hills, so I like the longer bike for me. I wish I could use a shorter stem, but that option makes me too upright at least how I feel. Hope that helps and try even parking lot demos.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirkdaddy View Post
    For me it depends on the bike. You didn't state your body proportions but mine for instance is long torso, so while I'm 6' and could use a M, I ride a L because I feel cramped on most M bikes when going up hill. People ride differently but I like to get forward and crank those technical hills, so I like the longer bike for me. I wish I could use a shorter stem, but that option makes me too upright at least how I feel. Hope that helps and try even parking lot demos.
    Me too - longer torso means when between sizes, better fit on larger frame.

    dirk - most bike fit charts say size Large for a 6" rider, not surprising you feel cramped when climbing on a Med.
    Last edited by fsrxc; 12-09-2013 at 05:49 PM.

  14. #14
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    Re: Moving from an XC set-up to a Trail Bike set-up- HELP

    Quote Originally Posted by dirkdaddy View Post
    For me it depends on the bike. You didn't state your body proportions but mine for instance is long torso, so while I'm 6' and could use a M, I ride a L because I feel cramped on most M bikes when going up hill. People ride differently but I like to get forward and crank those technical hills, so I like the longer bike for me. I wish I could use a shorter stem, but that option makes me too upright at least how I feel. Hope that helps and try even parking lot demos.
    When it comes up, try an XL.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  15. #15
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    I am 5' 91/2" and ride frames with 23" top tubes. I think my next bike will be a little longer so I can use a even shorter stem. Years ago I used 120-100mm stems and gradually went shorter for better handling and safety. Now I use 50-55mm stems and 760mm bars. I'm not sure how much extra width = reach but a wider bar will have you leaning forward more than a narrow bar. I suggest trying a stubby stem and a wide bar for a while. It may feel wrong when you first try it because you are not used to it, that is until you hit your first hairy DH. Experiment with climbing familiar steep slopes buy bending forward more and you will probably find that climbing is not more difficult. If your trails are less demanding then you may not feel any advantage with the short and wide setup. Enjoy your new ride.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  16. #16
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    Agree with most, nothing like TT that lets you stretch for pedaling with a short stem. Im 5.11" feel more comfortable with 23.5"/600MM TT too bad that Im in between most frames.

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