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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    SURLY BUILD: 20" or 22"?

    Im going to build a Surly Troll from the frame up when I get home. I am stressing as to whether to get 20" or 22 inch frame.
    Where I am now I am renting mountain bikes for the day. TREK brand. They have both 20 and 22 inch bikes for me to rent and ride for the day. Once I decide which I prefer, can I safely transfer that size to ordering my Surly Troll frame, or is there more to the equasion than that? Is there more to consider than just trying a different brand of bike and feeling good on that size frame?
    At home I ride a REI Novara Safari. I have the biggest size, XXL, a 21 inch frame. It fits my like a glove.

  2. #2
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    How tall are you? I'm 6'3" with relatively long legs and a XL Surly KM fits me very well. With seat at correct height (same on both bikes) how much post is showing? As a (very) general rule if I have to have the seatpost at or near max to get correct height I'll size up.

  3. #3
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    You should be able to find geometry charts for the Trek you are riding online (or bring a measuring tape next time you go out). Find out the seat tube length and the effective top tube length for the Trek that fits best, and then get the Surly frame that best matches those measurements. IMO, the effective top tube measurement is the single most important measurement that affects how the bike fits you, the exact seat tube length is not as important as you can adjust the seatpost height without changing the handling of the bike too much (whereas changing stem length to get the reach right affects the handling).

  4. #4
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    Ill work on both those answers as I ride around on both the bikes I have access to. On the 22 inch I raise the seat just a couple inches. On the 20 inch I raise it 4 inches. Ill consider the top tube height. But actually either will do fine, just the way I have tried them. But it is an important decision--the bike will be with me for a long time.
    Im 6'2". I like my XXL touring bike (21 inch). I like how big it is and how I can 'stretch out' on the frame. I cant stand riding a too small bike.
    I might use the troll for touring. Im in Nepal now, and am thinking of doing a long bike trip here, and down into India.
    Anyway, you answered the question. I need to decide which bike fits me best, take into consideration the top tube measurement, and order the Surly that is closest to it. As I said, either one will probably be fine, and Ill have made my decision by the time I get back to Alaska in April and start building my Surly Troll.

  5. #5
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    I have a bunch of 20" Surlys, I'm 6 foot even, I'm too big for 18" Surly frames. Unless your body has some very uncommon proportions, 22" is for you.
    Transition Bandit 29
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskadude View Post
    On the 22 inch I raise the seat just a couple inches.

    Do you mean that with the seat set at the right height for correct leg extension you only have 2 inches of post showing? If so that would be indicative of a frame that was too large.

  7. #7
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    Although I will continue my tests, I think 20 inch wins. Its a tossup though, its splitting hairs: I also like 22 inch. one of the bikes I am renting has disk brakes which I have never experienced before. They stop on a dime! I will build these into the surly troll. Also both of them have lower gearing than my REI Novara Safari and I will build that into the troll also. Good for climbing hills, disk brakes nice for coasting down. Cant wait to get building this bike.

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