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.
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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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    Shorter frame + longer stem or longer frame + shorter stem?

    Getting new fitness/commuter bike with flat bar: click.

    I'm 179cm with 81cm inseam. I'm between M and L size and if I go with M I have to use 110mm or 120mm stem. If I go with L I have to use 90mm or 100mm stem.

    M size has 77cm standover height and L size has 80cm.

    M size has 5mm longer TT than my current bike, but I'm using 130mm stem on my current bike and would like to use a little shorter on the new bike (100-110mm).

    I'm riding from bar ends 90% of time.

  2. #2
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    You'd probably be better off with the Longer frame.

  3. #3
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    Go with the large.

  4. #4
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    On a bike that is to be used on the road, I'd probably go with the M. 1cm of standover doesn't sound like enough room (especially for a guy who presumably has stuff hanging a little below the pubic bone), plus 110-120mm is closer to the sweet spot for stem length for commuters IMO.

  5. #5
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    The bike will be used on the road and trails where MTB is not needed around 20-50km. I'm going to get road bike for longer and road only rides.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by empre View Post
    The bike will be used on the road and trails where MTB is not needed around 20-50km. I'm going to get road bike for longer and road only rides.
    There's a reason why road bikes don't have really long stems ... Besides, 99% of your stops will be planned stops, where it is very easy to slide off the seat as you place one foot on the ground, and keep the other one on a pedal, and if you're trail riding ... How often are you going to dismount in a straddling the bike fashion ?


    Unless you get something with an unreasonably low BB, and/or ride with the seat to low, you'll be doing dismounting to the side ... Go with the long frame/short stem combination.

    Opinion based on a converted to street 29'r HT that get's ridden regularly, and other than a required tire change, I'd feel quite at home taking to the trails.

  7. #7
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    110-120mm isn't that long of a stem, especially on a road bike. The best option would probably be to ride both frames if you can. Buy the frame that fits best and adjust stem accordingly.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeabuser View Post
    There's a reason why road bikes don't have really long stems ... Besides, 99% of your stops will be planned stops, where it is very easy to slide off the seat as you place one foot on the ground, and keep the other one on a pedal, and if you're trail riding ... How often are you going to dismount in a straddling the bike fashion ?


    Unless you get something with an unreasonably low BB, and/or ride with the seat to low, you'll be doing dismounting to the side ... Go with the long frame/short stem combination.

    Opinion based on a converted to street 29'r HT that get's ridden regularly, and other than a required tire change, I'd feel quite at home taking to the trails.
    There's link in the fist post for the qeometry of the new bike.

    This is how my current bike looks (I have moved the saddle about 2cm/1inch forward from the picture though): http://i.imgur.com/u00n5sg.jpg

    It has 130mm stem, 570mm top tube (horizontal), 480mm seat tube, 140mm head tube and 1045mm wheelbase (my own measurements). It has worked fine for this purpose.

    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    The best option would probably be to ride both frames if you can. Buy the frame that fits best and adjust stem accordingly.
    Yeah.. too bad no one sells these near me.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by empre View Post
    There's link in the fist post for the qeometry of the new bike.

    This is how my current bike looks (I have moved the saddle about 2cm/1inch forward from the picture though): http://i.imgur.com/u00n5sg.jpg

    It has 130mm stem, 570mm top tube (horizontal), 480mm seat tube, 140mm head tube and 1045mm wheelbase. It has worked fine for this purpose.
    So wait, what's wrong with this bike, and why did you move the seat forward? If the frame were too small, you'd probably be moving the seat backwards, right? Were you adjusting for reach or for better pedaling positioning?

    If this bike works, just keep it and buy a road bike (you said you were planning on buying one).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    So wait, what's wrong with this bike, and why did you move the seat forward? If the frame were too small, you'd probably be moving the seat backwards, right? Were you adjusting for reach or for better pedaling positioning?

    If this bike works, just keep it and buy a road bike (you said you were planning on buying one).
    This is not my bike and I need my own and yes I will buy a roadie too.

    I was a little too scretched and I had slight lower back pains in that saddle position so I experiemented a little and found that minus 2,5cm/1inch from the position in the picture worked/felt better. As you can see from the picture the saddle was as far as it could go. Actually it was about 5mm over the "don't go over this line" mark.

    I tried to move the saddle another 2cm forward last week, but the saddle position to the pedals went too far so I backed it up about 1,5cm which seems to be the sweet spot.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by empre View Post
    There's link in the fist post for the qeometry of the new bike.

    This is how my current bike looks (I have moved the saddle about 2cm/1inch forward from the picture though): http://i.imgur.com/u00n5sg.jpg

    It has 130mm stem, 570mm top tube (horizontal), 480mm seat tube, 140mm head tube and 1045mm wheelbase (my own measurements). It has worked fine for this purpose.


    Yeah.. too bad no one sells these near me.
    Why did you move the seat that far forward ?
    If it's a reach issue, get a shorter stem, keep the bike, and go with s0ckeyes suggestion.
    If that's what it takes to be aligned over the pedals, use that relationship to find your next bike.

    ETA:
    Never mind ... Just read your last.
    Time to revisit your first post ... Hang on.....................

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by empre View Post
    Getting new fitness/commuter bike with flat bar: click.

    I'm 179cm with 81cm inseam. I'm between M and L size and if I go with M I have to use 110mm or 120mm stem. If I go with L I have to use 90mm or 100mm stem.

    M size has 77cm standover height and L size has 80cm.

    M size has 5mm longer TT than my current bike, but I'm using 130mm stem on my current bike and would like to use a little shorter on the new bike (100-110mm).

    I'm riding from bar ends 90% of time.
    Coupling this with your last ... Seat slide forward almost to the limit ... I get a whole new picture.

    Go with the Medium frame.

    You're making adjustments to the current bikes seating location, because the frame/stem is stretching you beyond what is comfortable and natural for you.

    You're thinking is correct !
    Medium frame, and a bit shorter stem than the current bike.
    That should allow you to set the seat to a proper location, and then determine the correct stem length for your body.

    That bar end thing had me thinking you were cramped, and trying to extend the bike a bit more.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeabuser View Post
    Why did you move the seat that far forward ?
    The center of the clamp is about 10mm in front of the center mark in the rails now.

  14. #14
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    Yeah, that's what I thought. Set your saddle to the correct position, then adjust the stem length (130mm is a really long stem).

    If this were your bike, I think you could just adjust the stem, but since it's not...I stand on my initial recommendation of the M frame. Even better, go to a bike store and buy a bike locally. That way you'll be more likely to get something that fits and is comfortable for you.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeabuser View Post
    Coupling this with your last ... Seat slide forward almost to the limit ... I get a whole new picture.

    Go with the Medium frame.

    You're making adjustments to the current bikes seating location, because the frame/stem is stretching you beyond what is comfortable and natural for you.

    You're thinking is correct !
    Medium frame, and a bit shorter stem than the current bike.
    That should allow you to set the seat to a proper location, and then determine the correct stem length for your body.

    That bar end thing had me thinking you were cramped, and trying to extend the bike a bit more.
    This is how the saddle position is now: http://i.imgur.com/tQKdPYr.jpg

    I have the bar ends because I like the natural position of the hands in long rides and also to get a bit more "aero" position when it's windy etc They are also good when climping up hills. I use the normal hand position when changing gears or when there's tricky spots on the road/rail etc and in the winter because of the snow (scandinavian winter).

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by empre View Post
    I was a little too scretched and I had slight lower back pains in that saddle position so I experiemented a little and found that minus 2,5cm/1inch from the position in the picture worked/felt better. As you can see from the picture the saddle was as far as it could go. Actually it was about 5mm over the "don't go over this line" mark.

    I tried to move the saddle another 2cm forward last week, but the saddle position to the pedals went too far so I backed it up about 1,5cm which seems to be the sweet spot.
    Quote Originally Posted by empre View Post
    I have the bar ends because I like the natural position of the hands in long rides and also to get a bit more "aero" position when it's windy etc They are also good when climping up hills. I use the normal hand position when changing gears or when there's tricky spots on the road/rail etc and in the winter because of the snow (scandinavian winter).
    So, it's slid back ... My mistake !

    Yet you say you feel stretched out on the bike, while liking the bar ends for a more aerodynamic position

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeabuser View Post
    So, it's slid back ... My mistake !

    Yet you say you feel stretched out on the bike, while liking the bar ends for a more aerodynamic position
    I'm confused too. Best advice for the OP is probably to go to an LBS and get things straightened out.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    I'm confused too. Best advice for the OP is probably to go to an LBS and get things straightened out.
    I was waiting for the next installment before suggesting that ... Ya beat me to it.

  19. #19
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    Yes I felt screthed out and that's why I moved the saddle where it is now.

    I use the bar ends in two ways. Check these pictures:

    http://i.imgur.com/noNzg9F.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/Xe5Mz8R.jpg (without the marks)

    When I ride normaly my hands are in the green position. When there's a lot of wind I move my hands to red position (this is too far for normal riding). I also use the red position if there's a really steep hills in the trail and I ride standing. 90% of the time I ride with my hands in the green position no matter if I sit or stand.

  20. #20
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    Re: Shorter frame + longer stem or longer frame + shorter stem?

    Considering that has a laid-back seat post, your saddle is still back from center, you have a long stem already, AND you ride the first part of the bar ends as a baseline, I say you go with a large frame and shorter stem. The large frame will help get the saddle fore-aft in the proper position, perhaps without a lay-back post. Be sure to set the saddle position based on you leg/femur position relative to the pedals. Don't set the saddle based on reach. Once the saddle is set, then determine the proper stem length bass on reach. Initially base it on your current setup measuring from the nose of the saddle to the area of the bar ends you ride most comfortably, assuming you want that distance to the grips on the handlebars of the new bike.

    We are about the same height, but my legs are almost 2 inches longer than yours, which means my torso is shorter. I have a medium road racing bike with average stem (had large frame previously) and a large mountain bike with 70mm stem. Of course bike geometries vary greatly, but considering how much you seem to be trying to stretch your current bike and you that just gave a relatively long torso, go for the large MTB/commuter bike now.

    Once you have that dialed in, you will need to revisit the question when it comes to road bike buying since the geo and fit is different....

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2

  21. #21
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    Thanks albert and other guys for the suggestions. I still have few things to add to the mix if it makes any difference

    Yes my torso might be a little longer than usually, but my neck is also a little bit longer than usually.

    I test rode Cannondale Bad Boy 6 earlier this year in both size M and L and it seems to have very similar geometry as Focus Planet TR I'm looking to buy: same top tube lengths, same head and seat tube angles.. other dimensions are very similar too. I remember that both sizes felt ok and I couldn't decide which would be better

    I also test rode Trek Crossrip in size 54 few months ago and it felt very good with saddle in the center position and hands on the hoods. They didn't have size 56 so I asked them to move the saddle 15mm back so I could see if the 56 would be too long and I was too scretched with that saddle position so 56 would have been too big for me in that bike.

  22. #22
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    Fork length plus head tube length in my bike is 545mm (405mm + 140mm). In Focus size M it is 555mm (415mm + 140mm) and in size L 575mm (415mm + 160mm). I wouldn't want the bar any higher than it's in my current bike so the M size would fit better to that picture, but then again I have riser bar which is about 20-25mm if I remember right and Focus has normal flat bar without any rise and also the longer stem in my current bike makes the bar go little higher so adding those measurements would make the L seem better choise as the head tube dimensions go and the ammount of spacers in each bike makes the difference too.. I'm not sure if the head tube dimension should be looked that much it seems? Also there's always option to flip the stem if needed.

    By the way I also measured my finger tip to finger tip dimension when my hands are on the side and it was 181,5cm. So that was 2,5cm/1inch longer than my height.

  23. #23
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    Been calling on the shops and closest shop that has size M and L is about 200km away and I would have to buy 80(100$) worth of fuel to visit them so not going to happen

  24. #24
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    IMHO, hybrids suck. If you're planning to buy a road bike anyway, do that first. Give yourself several weeks to get used to it and try it on the trails you're imagining you'd ride this bike on, then decide if there really is a hole in your stable.

    There's an independent frame builder named Walt, IIRC. I think his company is Waltwerks. He wrote a blog a while ago proposing that stem length and head angle aren't as important to handling as we've thought - front-center length is really important. That's the horizontal distance from the bottom bracket of a frame to the front hub. If I read your question correctly, that's what you're adjusting, because pairing the stem length change and top tube length change as you're proposing keeps your reach constant and presumably the head angles of the bikes are the same.

    While 130 is a very long stem for a mountain bike, consider that road bikes have a fair amount of length added to their reach by the shape of the handlebars. Bar ends do that too. But, if you're spending most of your time on your bar ends, I question your choice of class of bicycle.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    Thanks for the thoughts.

    I need flat bar bike too because it's a lot better in winter when the roads are full of snow. Icy and bumby roads that are packed with snow half of the time aren't good for road bike. Sometimes there are so much snow that I can only drive walking speed max. I don't use bar ends at the winter nearly as much as in spring/summer/fall for that same reason.

    I've been looking pictures of road bike handlebars to get and idea of the hood position compared to my situation

    One thing that came to my mind yesterday was that the position of the handlebar/barends is good when pedaling standing.

    Maybe I should order one of those stems that can be adjusted so I could test how the different stem lenghts work with my current bike as the Focus size M has only 5mm longer top tube than my current bike. It would at least give me an idea if the M size is too small with around 110mm stem. I don't know, I'm out of ideas.

    I think I need to test something in real life like that stem length as all the reading on the internet for the past few weeks haven't given any clearer idea of the size.

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