I'm in the market for a nice steel XC hardtail to run with a 100mm fork (Manitou R7 MRD that I already have).
Some research and my shortlist (in order) is:
1. Sanderson Life
2. Cotic Soul
3. Rock Lobster 853 (probably best value).
The advice I seek is mostly around sizing.
I'm 1.77 or marginally under 5'10" with a 32.7" inseam. Coming from the road and then fully rigid MTB, I might have a little preference for long and low in the front.
The Soul would be easy: 17.5" medium recommended for 5'8 to 6'1. Effective TT 59 cm (23.25"). Cool. I'd try that with a 90mm stem.
The Life is confusing (how true). The smallest (16") still has a 61.2 cm (24.1") effective TT!!! That could be just great. Long and low But I'm scared I make a mistake because 16 just doesn't sound right...? The 18" Life has a 62.5 cm eff TTand really starts to sound too long then.
The Loster is the opposite. The 17" only has a 57.8 cm (22.75) eff TT. The 19" is not much longer (0.25") and I already fear standover issues (32" standover with 32.7" inseam).
So, the Soul sounds like 'no risk' in terms of the available size and geometry. The Life is different, could be better, but '16' just doesn't sound like my size.
What do you guys think? 16" Life, 18" Life, or 17.5" Soul?
Writing this I think the Lobster is off the short list...
BTW, any other contenders that I should consider? I won't warm up to a steel frame much heavier than those three (just under or spot on 2kg).
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