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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    XL 26'er Bike fitment w/pics

    I feel too over the bar. I can see the front axle under the handlebar. But I feel a shorter stem will cramp the cockpit.
    Top Tube - 23"-23.5"
    Seat tube to center of TT - 20"
    Stem - 100mm 70*/30*
    Headset angle - 72*-73*
    Seat is towards the back on rail clamp.


    What do you think?


    Elbows slightly bent

    Cockpit view (taken from view finder)




    I ordered some Easton riser handlebars. (mid rise), now I need a stem. I'm thinking 70mm and keep the 30* angle?
    '98 GT Backwoods

  2. #2
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    I think you look too big for that frame. You look to be at least 6'3" to 6'4" of possibly taller (hard to tell for certain just looking at a photograph). If you are that tall, a 23" to 23.5" top tube (if measured like I point out in the pic below) is considered quite a bit too short for typical XC riding. Of course you can ride any bike size you please, but if you are 6'3" to 6'4", I think you'd fit better on a bike with an effective top tube length more in the 25" to 25.5" range IMHO for general XC riding.

    I have two 22" GT frames from back in the mid to early 90's (your looks closer to late 90's or maybe a little newer), and the 91 GT Timberline has a top tube length of 22.75" which is far too short for me to ride seriously off road as I am 6'5". Consequently, I have it set up as a commuter with street-ish tires. Top tubes got gradually longer since that time, but I have a feeling that bike is just too small for you based on the pics and measurements you provided unless you're just riding bike paths and the streets, or very casual trails/fire roads.

    EDIT: OK, I see you are on a 20" Backwoods from 1998, so I was about right on the vintage. Just curious how tall you are?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails XL 26'er Bike fitment w/pics-dsc04427a.jpg  


  3. #3
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    Hey, you've got an eye!

    Yea i'm in between 6'3-6'4. I do ride it for commuting on streets.

    My seat tube measurement is as you describe, from BB to center of top tube. 20"
    Effective top tube still measures around 23"-23.5" based on your picture.


    I just wanted a urban commuter I could do fun stuff with. (speed,sweet jumps, wheelies, etc) Should I look into a 29'er? Kind of a bummer, I thought it might hav I already had this bike planned out. Bought some easton riser handlebars, 175mm m737 deore XT crank (stock was 170mm)

    I almost thought the bike was too big because I couldn't stick wheelies, unlike a 18" L hybrid timberline, but i assumed its due to the handlebar height difference/geometry. Back to square one. Any recommendations? Should I just get a single speed? I want full rigid.
    '98 GT Backwoods

  4. #4
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    For general commuting and goofing around on, you're probably fine.

    If you like wheelie-ing, you probably want something with short-ish chainstays which will make it easier to loft the front end, but if you're looking to stay on the budget-wise end of the spectrum, you may as well stick with what you have.

    I wouldn't do anything to cramp the cockpit any further just to be able to wheelie easier, but that's me. You've already got the saddle back quite a ways, and a longish stem, and it still feels close to being too cramped. So, yes, that frame is too small, but you can ride it until you try/demo some newer bikes to see what you like in a frame that fits properly.

    If you're ready to spend a little money, a 29er may fit you like you've never fit on a bike before. You may not like it, but tall guys are the people 29ers generally work best for. There are some made these days with pretty short chainstays that are made for tossing around. Many of the shortest-chainstay 29ers won't accommodate a front derailleur, but some do. The Diamonback Mason is one example that ticks some boxes for you. Maybe not the greatest pure commuter, but you seem to be looking for something to have some fun with while doing some commuting too.

    BTW: I'm 6'5" and the top tube on my current hardtail is 26"

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