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  1. #1
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    New Bike Advice, Merlin XLM

    I'll try not to go on forever, so I'll try and keep it short.

    My current mountain bike is a well-appointed (for that era) 1996 Trek 8500. Many upgrades from the stock 8 speed XT, including a sweet Ti Syncros seat post, some XTR and a CK headset. I used to race the thing back in the day, and riding kind of gotten away from me.

    I've reecently rekindled my interest in mountain biking while mainly focusing on XC. If I can get back into shape I'll try some racing next season. It may be important to note I'll be hitting the trail at least weekly.

    Anyway, the Trek is getting pretty worn out. The Judy SL had some water in it when I pulled the fork apart a few weeks ago and the chain and cassette are very worn.

    Since I've discovered it to be impossible to locate quality 8 speed components, I decided to get a new bike OR, as a somewhat temporary cash saver, dropping a grand or so on an XT/XRT mix drivetrain replacement for my Trek.

    Until today.

    I swung by one of my LBS and I ran into the owner. Long story short, he offered me a unbeatable price on a slightly (seven or so rides) used Merlin XLM with full XTR.

    He let me take it out on the trail and I've found that it may be a little short as I was really having trouble maintaining traction on the uphills while in the saddle. The seat is pushed all of the way back on the rails. It seemed as though as if it had a offset seat post the fit would have been much better. The positive was that I didn't get 'numb' as I sometimes do while on my Trek. I also didn't feel cramped.

    I'm about 5'10, and the frame is 16.25. I've always preferred smaller mountain frames, but I don't know if this is taking things a bit too far.

    I do have to say though, having never ridden a bike this nice, that it was an experience from the heavens. The XTR shifted flawlessly, the brakes were awesome and the titanium was much plusher than my aluminum Trek.

    I had been considering a FS, 29ers, and a plethora of other options down the road until this deal came up.

    So, what do you think?

  2. #2
    Beyond Definition
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    Wow, just looked that bike up. That is one fine piece of machinery. If I had that kind of money.... Anyway as you said the frame might be to small, you are the same height as me and I ride a 18in frame. The Merlin has a 17.5 in frame it might be a little better. Just my opinion though. I'd say if you feel comfortable on it with some adjustments get it.
    2009 Giant Yukon

  3. #3
    mtbr member
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    Your ideal size is 17.5 just like what the other poster said.

    Some racers prefer smaller frames because they are more agile, more flickable, and they have a more aero-position, relative to the bigger size. This is evidenced by the amount of seatpost showing and about 2 to 4 inches difference in saddle to bar height.

    However, you can only go smaller with limitations. 1. the seatpost is not past the maximum limit. 2. with correct saddle height, the handlebar is not too low so as to cause shoulder and neck pains. 3. you can actually fit comfortably in the cockpit and your pedaling position is not compromised.

    I remembered the time I saw a Klein Attitude with full XTR on sale from $3,000 to $1650. Frame was 1 size smaller for me. I rode the bike in the parking lot while the store manager was looking. He asked if I was comfortable and said that I was cutting it to close. From the brochure I could go either size. I still bought it and it put a smile on my face every ride. It was a blast to ride on tight and twisty single tracks. Anyway, I've always liked quick, nimble and responsive bikes maybe because of my roadbike background.

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