1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Compromising the bike size

    I found a pretty good deal on CL for a used Hardrock and ended up picking it up today. Problem is, I'm about 5'8" and the bike is 15" frame. I can raise the seat and the reach to the handle bar seems to be ok.

    For someone at my height, do you think a 15" frame is too small?

    I figured I could flip the bike if I cant get comfortable with it.
    Last edited by solidfish; 08-01-2012 at 04:19 PM. Reason: unfinished post

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by solidfish View Post
    I found a pretty good deal on CL for a used Hardrock and ended up picking it up today. Problem is, I'm about 5'8" and the bike is 15" frame. I can raise the seat and the reach to the handle bar seems to be ok.

    For someone at my height, do you think a 15" frame is too small?

    I figured I could flip the bike if I cant get comfortable with it.
    Yes.. someone 5'8"s shoudl be on a 17" to 19" frame. I am 5"7" and ride a 17". I used to ride an 18", but when I got my new bike they only had 17" and 19". I chose the 17" and it seems to work.

    15" will be too small so forget about it. No deal is good if the bike does not fit. If you wife is 5'0" to 5"4" then the 15" may be perfect.

    As for flipping... well I had been looking at road bikes for bit and it seems I can get small bikes cheaper than average size bikes. Same for really large frames. I guess that alot of smaller frames go to women and the used market is soft for small frames because of it. Large frames are hard since there are not many 6'4" people out there.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  3. #3
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    Ya i think your right, this was cheap because it was a smaller size.

    The more I ride it, the smaller it feels...

  4. #4
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    I'm also 5'8" and did the same thing, looking for deals on CL. I found an 18" Raleigh that fits me perfectly. Online size charts say 17" is ideal and I was trying to keep it above 16.5. I actually thought the 18" would be too big for me, but this particular bike seems to be a "small" 18.

    If you got a good deal, post it back up on CL for a few bucks more, settle for what you got for it, and ride it until it sells. Break out the wrenches and tune it up (learn your way around a bike if you don't know it already), and when you get it in good working order, add that to the ad, it helps. Also add some tech info and info about how it will fit (5'0 to 5'4" ish).
    Last edited by cmags; 08-01-2012 at 05:37 PM.

  5. #5
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    A friend of mine has been riding my brothers 16'' Trek and he is 6' 0''. He looks goofy, but does really well. If you have a long enough seat post it should work for the time being. C-list got me into a bike that is a little to large for me...after a stem swap it is much better, but I still lust for a medium framed Rush.

  6. #6
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    Each bike MFG seems to have a different number scale for sizing.
    The better way to measure a bike for your fit is to use the top tube length or "virtual top tube length".
    Google that for more info.
    Also the "Standover height" is important and easy to measure.

  7. #7
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    most important factor?

    If you can find a seatpost long enough so that you can extend your legs to about full extension while pedaling it should be ok.Some companys offer longer than usual seat posts.If you are not able to extend your legs out then you may be at risk for knee problems also seat rail fore and aft position is quite important, your knee needs to be over the pedal axle.Many bike fit guides are out there, you may wish to consult them?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sickmak90 View Post
    A friend of mine has been riding my brothers 16'' Trek and he is 6' 0''. He looks goofy, but does really well.
    You think that looks goofy? I have a friend who is 6' 3" that has been riding a 17" X-Caliber for the past 12 years.



    But he loves the thing.

    I on the other hand am 6' even and ride a large GT Avalanche, a medium DB Overdrive and a large DB Topanga.

    It all really just depends on how the bike actually feels to you when you are riding it.
    ~ 2011 GT Avalanche 2.0
    ~ 1993 Diamondback Topanga
    ~ 2012 Diamondback Overdrive Expert

  9. #9
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    I'm 5'7" and ride a 15" Hardrock quite comfortably. Different bikes fit differently, and people have different dimensions to their body. If it feels small, though, it probably is.
    '10 Hardrock Sport Disc

  10. #10
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    Since you have the bike in hand, try to set it up and see if it works out.

    15" doesn't sound excessively small for someone who's 5'8". In this year's 26" model, the 15" has a 20mm shorter top tube and reach than the 17". For me, that would mean a 110mm stem instead of the 90mm stem I have now. I'm not sure how I'd feel about the handling, I found that while 100mm handled okay it murdered my back, so I never tried. But, give it a shot.

    Here's a link.
    How to Fit a Bicycle

    If the stem that makes you comfortable on the bike turns it into an endo machine, get a bigger bike. Otherwise, you're golden.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    My wife is 5'4" and rides a 15" bike. I am 5'8" and while I "can" ride it, it is sorely obvious that it is the wrong size. A longer seatpost would not fix that.

    The top tube is too short. Plain and simple.

    Standover is the LAST thing someone should measure when considering the bike. See if the bike fits you for RIDING first. If it does, then consider standover. Standover is preference (like whether you like short sleeve or long sleeve shirts), but reach and leg extension is fit (like measuring your neck and chest size for dress shirts)

  12. #12
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    i like smaller frames personally because i'm from bmx.. i think its easier to manipulate the frame. its much easier to control. i'm 5'6 and ride a smaller 16"... if you think its too small though, and you can't find a solution, then yeah... its not gonna work.

  13. #13
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    Mtb fit for me is different from road. Terrain is important and aero is less. I need to first be balanced and in control on the pedals flat back tilt and one side down going down steeps and into curves at bottoms. The seat is low enough so I can move side to side and front to back with the bike angled.
    I have a 20mm setback post and you can slide the seat on the rails for adjustment. I like to be over the rear wheel more than the geo of my current frame is set for.
    The stem and bars also give you fit options. Rise, backsweep and how much you rotate the bars and how wide they are change things.
    If that bike has 600mm riser bars with 9degree backsweep 5degree upsweep and you swap in a 740 flat bar you're going to use up more reach and need a shorter top tube to get your balance right.
    I dropped from a 100 to an 80mm stem and have more stable steering.
    On a steep downhill I'm a little behind the seat with good bar control without too much weight on the front wheel and no endo feeling.
    I can climb seated on the seat nose to keep the front wheel down and still have some traction weight on the rear tire.

    You can play with the seat rail adjustment and the bar rotation and ride some trails with the seat at different heights to see where you're comfortable in the most technically difficult sections.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for all the replies. I have an old Kona 18" that I ride regularly. It fits me well in height and reach.

    I measured it up against the Hardrock last night and with its current stem, it came up about 2" shorter in reach (from tip of stem to center of seat). I have an extra stem that should be able to compensate at least 1" of that.

    As for the height, I used another seatpost and had it at the same height as my Kona, so height is the same. I forgot to measure the crank length though, I should do that tonight. But I'm guessing they are about the same.

    Both have about the same ground clearance too. Only other thing is that the overall length which was about 3" shorter.

    I also noticed that on my 18" Kona, I only get about 1 - 1.5" clearance from top bar to crotch (30 inseam). On the Hardrock, I'm getting about 2.5 - 3".

    I havent really taken the Hardrock out anywhere except on driveway. It needs a bit tuning. I hope to get it fixed up and take it out next week.

  15. #15
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    I found this article to be helpful you should give it a look-through.

    How to Fit Yourself on a Mountain Bike Like a PRO | Mountain Bike Blog || SINGLETRACKS.COM

  16. #16
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    I agree that the top tube length is probably the most important measurement for the ride fit.

    Example: both my (L) Avalanche and my (M) Overdrive have a top tube length with is virtually identical (23.5" vs 23.33") and both feel very comfortable to me while riding.
    ~ 2011 GT Avalanche 2.0
    ~ 1993 Diamondback Topanga
    ~ 2012 Diamondback Overdrive Expert

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by schristie11 View Post
    I found this article to be helpful you should give it a look-through.

    How to Fit Yourself on a Mountain Bike Like a PRO | Mountain Bike Blog || SINGLETRACKS.COM
    thanks for the link. I think that chart is most helpful.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by solidfish View Post
    thanks for the link. I think that chart is most helpful.
    Be sure to read the rest of the article; the chart is the tip of the iceberg.
    Do the exercise of measuring pedal up/down to seat positions, etc.

  19. #19
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  20. #20
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    Seems like a XL or even a Large MTB is hard for me to find on CL

  21. #21
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    That's strange, d_read, for me its the opposite. All L and XL frames here in Atlanta, a few smalls, and very few mediums (my size). O-well, they come up, just gotta move on 'em quick.

  22. #22
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    Fit Calculator

    Competitive cyclist has pretty good fit calculator here:
    Fit Calcualtor
    ,
    it will give you a range for Top tube length and stem length for your measurements: It takes into account the following measurements:

    Inseam:
    Trunk:
    Forearm:
    Arm:
    Thigh:
    Lower Leg:
    Sternal Notch:
    Total Body Height:

    Once all the measurements are done and calculations done it gives you results
    Standover Height Range: 30.4 - 31.1 inches
    Virtual Top Tube: 24.9 - 25.3 inches
    Stem Length: 10.2 - 11.8 cm
    BB-Saddle Position: 74.3 - 75.8cm
    Saddle-Handlebar: 56.5 - 58.1 cm

    Seems to work pretty well IMO
    Cholla cactus=nature's guard rail.

  23. #23
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    I've used that fit calc before and felt it was accurate too.

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