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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    Small bike causing problems?

    I went on my first real ride today with my younger brother. We rode some really nice single track trails in Michaux Forest here in PA. He rides a lot and it was my first time, and I had some problems along the way. The bike I'm riding is a 16" Cannondale M200 in perfect condition that my Dad bought at least 10 years ago for himself. He gave it to me recently because he can't ride anymore, but I'm 6'4". My legs never straighten while pedaling, and I was having trouble on climbs. Would that be the reason I quite frequently couldn't make it up the hills?
    Next thing, my pedals seemed to catch on everything. Do I need to practice dodging stumps and rocks, or would a small frame be the cause?
    And last, my pinky and ring fingers seemed to be cramped up the whole time. It seemed like it had something to do with braking since my other fingers didn't get cramped. But they would cramp up and not want to work very well.
    I know I need a new bike I was just wondering if the bike made it hard, or if I suck that bad starting out lol. I know I fell down the side of more than one hill this evening, would have made some good videos. Can't wait to go out again.

  2. #2
    more carbon=more awesome
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    Yes, I think you can be certain that a 16" Cannondale is going to give you problems at your height. Not getting the seat high enough puts massive strain on your quads, especially if you aren't used to riding. Regarding the pedals hitting everything, this probably has more to do with the intended purpose of that particular bike. Bottom bracket heights vary somewhat, and frames designed with technical riding in mind are going to have a higher bottom bracket height to clear obstacles.
    Re. the cramping in your fingers, it could be just that the shortness of the bike is putting too much strain on your hands, but I think it is more likely that your brakes are mounted too high, causing you to bend at the wrists and cutting off circulation. Try rotating them down at the front and see how that works.
    But seriously, you need a bigger frame.... Big-time.
    Posting on the basis that ignorance shared is ignorance doubled.

  3. #3
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    Thank you very much. A friend of mine let me ride one of his bikes yesterday, it was a 17.5" GF Wahoo and we moved the seat up the whole way. Pedaling was much easier and an entire different set of muscles seemed to be working. We rode about 13 miles but half was on the street, and the other half was on stone mountain trails. Whenever I'm able to buy a new bike I think I'll look for either a 19" or maybe 21" depending on how they feel and what the bike shop has to say. My friend sold me an almost brand new pair of Sette Epic shoes and Wellgo M3 clipless pedals for $25, so I was pretty happy. I'll also try adjusting the brake levers down a little to see if that helps. Thanks again.

  4. #4
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    my brother is 6'3" and just got a specialized hard rock 21" (it fits him great). i'm 5'10" and have a 17" bike. at your height, you'll kill your body on less than a 19". i'll tell you what some other guy in here told me... TEST RIDE the bike sizes before buying! fortunately mine fits correctly, but i was really worried waiting on my order to come in. by the way, i just got the specialized 2009 rockhopper... it's great--highly recommend it!

  5. #5
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    Thanks I'll have to check them out next time I'm at my LBS. They sell Gary Fisher, Trek, and Specialized bikes, so I'll definitely be able to test some out.

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