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  1. #1
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    Ordering a bike before a test ride?

    Hey guys. I am in a bit of a pickle here, and want your thoughts. I'm in the market for a new AM trail bike for the North Shore.

    I can order one of the last Norco Range Killer B3 bikes available in my city, for about $1,000 less than retail (work in a bike shop).

    There are two things to note though: It is a large frame (someone recommended me a medium. I'm 6', 170lbs). Would this be the wrong-sized bike for me? I haven't seen the range killer in person.

    Annnd, I would have to order and pay for it before I rode it, as it is being shipped from the warehouse.

    I don't have much time to decide if I should just pull the trigger, and then if I hated the bike, sell it to a friend of mine for a reasonable price... or if I should hold out and buy something from a different bike line that I would be able to test ride first?

    I'm almost certain that I would love the Norco. I just don't know if it is the smartest move to buy it sight-unseen.

  2. #2
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    The Norco's run a little longer but at 6' you should be perfect on a large. Personally I would buy it as the demand is over the top for those bikes so you could always get rid of it if you really didn't like it. If you're really into climbing tho you might be disappointed as the Norco is just like any other Horst link design - needs lockout and that may be a deal killer for me. I like the new Trance but they're pricey even for Giant and they still have long chainstays... decisions decisions.

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    "There's two shuttles, one to the top and one to the hospital" I LOVE this place!!!

  3. #3
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    You work in a shop, yes? You know geometry? Does the geometry suit you? Similar to previous bikes you have owned? If the answers to any of these questions are yes, you should know if the bike will fit you and if you want it. I've had to do the same thing, and haven't made a mistake cause I know what I want and know what I will be getting, for the most part. It's not ideal, but it can be done.
    2013 Medium Santa Cruz Blur Trc in Matte/Silver, full XT kit, 1x10 with 32T wolftooth ring, 25 pounds 7 ounces

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightofthefleming View Post
    You work in a shop, yes? You know geometry? Does the geometry suit you? Similar to previous bikes you have owned? If the answers to any of these questions are yes, you should know if the bike will fit you and if you want it. I've had to do the same thing, and haven't made a mistake cause I know what I want and know what I will be getting, for the most part. It's not ideal, but it can be done.
    Unfortunately, I have a couple of strikes against me. I am new in the bike shop (2 months), I'm moving from a hard tail bike, and we only sell city-style bikes, and hybrids so I have nothing to compare to.

    I've actually never ridden an all-mountain bike for more than 1km. It is what it is, I'm from a flat town and just moved to the mountains.

  5. #5
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    I bought an all mountain bike with very little opportunity to test ride. I rode everything I could get my hands on, but wasn't able to ride my top 3 in my size. I did a lot of on-line research and talked to a lot of locals to make my decision and I'm extremely happy. I ended up with the Ibis Mojo SL and have had it for almost 3 years now. So, in my case, buying site unseen with a lot of research worked very well.

    As far as size is concered, I find that I like an effective top tube a little shorter (about 1/4" shorter) in my all-mountain compared to my hard tail. This is where riding a bunch of bikes (friend's bikes, demo's, etc.) helped. It helped me choose between sizes, as the effective top tube lengths that I was riding were right inbetween the 2 Ibis sizes. I went for the medium with a 22.8" effective top tube (I'm 5'8") (the smaller of the sizes I was considering).

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by miatagal96 View Post
    I bought an all mountain bike with very little opportunity to test ride. I rode everything I could get my hands on, but wasn't able to ride my top 3 in my size. I did a lot of on-line research and talked to a lot of locals to make my decision and I'm extremely happy. I ended up with the Ibis Mojo SL and have had it for almost 3 years now. So, in my case, buying site unseen with a lot of research worked very well.

    As far as size is concered, I find that I like an effective top tube a little shorter (about 1/4" shorter) in my all-mountain compared to my hard tail. This is where riding a bunch of bikes (friend's bikes, demo's, etc.) helped. It helped me choose between sizes, as the effective top tube lengths that I was riding were right inbetween the 2 Ibis sizes. I went for the medium with a 22.8" effective top tube (I'm 5'8") (the smaller of the sizes I was considering).
    Thanks for your input. I'm going to measure my hardtail's TT length and see if the medium or the large are comparable. Thats a great idea.

  7. #7
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    TT is only one indicator for fit,with slacker head tubes and steeper seat tubes it can be a game changer on sizing too.

  8. #8
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    I personally think test rides are overrated. Some people some of the time can get on a bike and tell in 5 minutes (or even 2 hours on a trail) whether they're going to like it long-term, but a lot of people can't. It takes me weeks to really form a judgment about a bike. (It's like relationships. Sometimes you decide on the first date that you want to marry someone, but usually it takes longer to figure it out.)

    I test-rode a bike, absolutely loved it, bought it ... and sold it within a few months. Then I bought a bike I'd never ridden and never even seen, and two years later I still love it.

    None of which really helps you decide whether the bike you're looking at will fit you, of course. Just suggesting you shouldn't get too worked up about buying without trying.

  9. #9
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    If you like to ride up hills a lot, many people in the 6' range tend to go toward a large frame. If you plan on shuttling and doing mostly DH stuff, then maybe go down to a medium. It's hard to say without more information. I tend to like a slightly bigger bike. I'm in between an XL and a L in most frames, so i went with the XL. It's all personal preference.
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  10. #10
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    I don't have any experience with Norco so take this with a grain of salt, but at 6' you are probably squarly in the Large recommended size for most manufacturers. I'm about 5'10" and a 32" inseam and usually fall right in b/w a M and a L. I prefer to go M usually as I find I prefer a more upright position. I just bought a used Pivot Mach 5.7 without ever riding one so hopefully I chose right! I chose my 17" (Medium) Blue Pig HT based on the effective top tube length compared to the size L DB Mission I had previously that felt a bit too big and it fits awesome! Unless you have a short torso, my guess is you'd prefer a L.

    Along those lines, how much size difference is there b/w the two? Many bikes might have less than 0.5" difference in effective top tube lengths b/w sizes and the large might have a longer stem. You can adjust the fit quite a lot with setback/inline posts, adjusting saddle position, shorter/longer stem, narrower/wider bars, more/less stem spacers, etc. If you're b/w sizes you'll likely be able to make either comfortable.

  11. #11
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    those are long bikes. id contact Norco and see what they recommend, size wise
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtskibum16 View Post
    I don't have any experience with Norco so take this with a grain of salt, but at 6' you are probably squarly in the Large recommended size for most manufacturers. I'm about 5'10" and a 32" inseam and usually fall right in b/w a M and a L. I prefer to go M usually as I find I prefer a more upright position. I just bought a used Pivot Mach 5.7 without ever riding one so hopefully I chose right! I chose my 17" (Medium) Blue Pig HT based on the effective top tube length compared to the size L DB Mission I had previously that felt a bit too big and it fits awesome! Unless you have a short torso, my guess is you'd prefer a L.

    Along those lines, how much size difference is there b/w the two? Many bikes might have less than 0.5" difference in effective top tube lengths b/w sizes and the large might have a longer stem. You can adjust the fit quite a lot with setback/inline posts, adjusting saddle position, shorter/longer stem, narrower/wider bars, more/less stem spacers, etc. If you're b/w sizes you'll likely be able to make either comfortable.
    LOVE the 5.7! But you may be disappointed. I'm 5'9" (but have a longer torso - only 30" inseam) and the large fit me perfect (my riding partner has one) so you might have to go with a longer stem which is a shame because that bike handles like a dream with 50mm stem and 29.5 bars!

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    "There's two shuttles, one to the top and one to the hospital" I LOVE this place!!!

  13. #13
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    Ordering a bike before a test ride?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gman086 View Post
    LOVE the 5.7! But you may be disappointed. I'm 5'9" (but have a longer torso - only 30" inseam) and the large fit me perfect (my riding partner has one) so you might have to go with a longer stem which is a shame because that bike handles like a dream with 50mm stem and 29.5 bars!

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    My guess is the longer torso pushed you on to the large (I hope). I know there's more to fit, but the top tube is identical to my current bike and I run an inline seat post and 60mm stem on it (wouldn't mind a 50mm) and it fits great. They recommend medium for 5'9" to 6'. We shall see I guess.

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