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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Good FS XC bike for stubby legged guy

    Hey all,

    Trying to get back into the sport after a long hiatus. Spent the last few years on the road, did a few centuries, and the occasional dirt ride on my 1998-99 Rocky Mtn. Element Race. I still like the RM fine, but the thing has been abused and neglected since I bought it, so the suspension seals and just about everything else are suspect. I talked to a couple of bike shops about refreshing it and they all pretty much agreed that it wasn't worth replacing the fork and shock. They all said the new technology was that much better.

    Okay, so I straddled a few new bikes and can't find a 29" bike that doesn't "rub me the wrong way" if you know what I mean (and I think you do). Even a 650b Scott was nudging up against my man-parts. I think a 26" Santa Cruz Blur worked the best, but it was a little tall and was a trail bike, not a XC, so not exactly the kind of riding I do.

    So I'm looking for quick guidance on a good FS XC bike for a guy with short legs. Here are my answer to the sticky questions.

    1) Your budget. I'd like to keep it under $3,000, but would go to $4,000 if it was the perfect bike for me.
    2) What bikes, if any, are you already considering? None, that's why I'm asking.
    3) What type of riding do you intend to do? Cross Country, not too technical. My motto is if I can't ride up it, I don't ride down it. I also don't bomb down trails. We have a lot of trail conflict in the area so I try to be a good trail citizen.
    4) Do you have a preference over a hardtail or full suspension? Full suspension. I find that the wheels stay hooked up better, giving me better control on descents. I'm also good at spinning, so I can climb pretty steep stuff in the saddle and get better grip in that direction, too.
    5) Age, weight and height. 46/210 lb. with gear/5'8"
    6) What sources will you consider buying from? Prefer LBS.
    7) Do you want people to offer you alternative suggestions to issues such as budget, bikes already considered, and sources? Yes, I'm open to suggestions.
    BONUS 8) Low maintenance or affordable shop maintenance is essential. If it has some finicky doo-dad that needs constant adjustment, I'd rather do without. I can adjust derailleurs and rim brakes, but never touched a disc brake before. Also never did any fork maintenance before. I'd probably let a shop do that for me.

    Note: I don't need full-on reviews. Just point me in the right direction and I will do more research. Since I stopped riding dirt, the wheel size thing has just exploded and made it very confusing to my old brain.

    Also, as you can tell by my budget, I don't need the latest/greatest, but would justify better components vs. an overall lighter bike. I'd rather lose 5lb. than spend $500 extra to get a lighter bike.

    Thanks for helping me stimulate the economy!

  2. #2
    Reputation: mimi1885's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    I'd go with the Ibis Mojo it has 5.5" of travel and still kick A$$ on the climb. Time have changed and you don't need to ride a 4" XC bike to get XC performance anymore many trail bikes of 5-6" can easily match or out performed the old XC designs.

    Can you just get another 4" XC bike yeah sure but unless you race you'd not loose XC performance but gaining more control and comfort on the descend. My other choices would be Giant Trance X, Trek Fuel EX8, Pivot 5.7, Turner 5spot. Check them out if you can the suspension set up can pretty much be set it and forget it. Spend a few bucks on adjustable seatpost and you can have it anyway you want on the trail.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Hey there, thanks for the feedback. One reason I was considering a XC bike is I assumed that, for a similar frame size, the lower travel of a XC bike would translate to a lower standover height.

    I checked the Ibis and the Trek and both are right there at 29", which is my inseam. The Turner looks like it's out of my price range. But the Pivot Mach 5.7 looks great for me, though! Small frame has standover of about 28". Giant looks good, too. Much appreciated!

  4. #4
    Reputation: mimi1885's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    What's on the Geo and the actual riding is different. I'm a 5'7" Asian with shorter legs and longer torso. I own a small Mojo, med Mojo, and a small HD with 650b 27.5" tires. I don't have the clearance issue ever. Ibis is pretty low. I'm sure you'd love the small it's low give one a demo if you have the chance.

    Like I said before don't jump back into XC specific bikes just yet, do some demo first. You'd be surprised how well the current trail bikes have to offer, the geometry is pretty much spot on in most bike companies. Ibis is definitely offer awesome geometry beside unless you plan to spend a lot of time on the top tube, the stand over is not that important, I'd be more concern about the top tube/reach and other things before I worry about the stand over.
    Last edited by mimi1885; 06-20-2013 at 12:35 PM.

  5. #5
    Hi There!
    Reputation: TheGweed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    I wouldn't worry about stand-over height as much as top-tube length. Even if you had say two inches stand-over, if you fell off in the way you're thinking about there is no way you would be able to keep your legs perfectly straight and not contact the top tube; does that make sense? You being 5'8" doesn't mean much, it's what your inseam is, measured properly. You should be able to go to different, good LBS and get measured properly and test ride bikes. I'm 5'6" and I ride a size small Santa Cruz Superlight 29 and if fits me perfect, you would probably be on a medium of this bike. It is a XC bike. It's one you should check out, among others.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: laurenlex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by thegweed View Post
    I wouldn't worry about stand-over height as much as top-tube length.
    I agree. The bike needs to fit for when you are riding it, not straddling it. When dismounting a bike in real-world conditions, you get off one side and the bike is tilted sideways, so you gain more standover than when just standing over it in the shop.

    I can recommend the Giant Trance X series. Nice sloped, shaped top tube for clearance. Great suspension that rips on the flats and climbs very good.

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