Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    11

    Clyde getting back into biking, advice with frame size needed.

    Hi,

    I'm planning to get back on biking after 10 years of break. In that time I gained decent amount of weight and currently my weight is around 280 lbs. I'm 6'2" with ~34" leg inseam and I was test driving some bikes today. My goal is to get back to old hobby and lose some weight in the process (goal is at <200 lbs).

    I tested Kona Hoss (both 20" and 22"), Specialized Rockhopper Comp disc (21") and Cube Acid and Cube ltd Team (both as 20" and 22"). With each bike I was able to make a short test drive at the parking lot. I might go and try out some 29ers, but at least for now I'm planning to get a 26" mtb.

    From those I mostly liked the Kona Hoss, but I'm here with a bit of a problem. I liked the 22" more over 20", the riding position felt bit more right and the bike wasn't that "edgy" for my taste. I felt like I had the needed space to work in with the 22". Aso the guy owning the shop said that the 22" seems to fit me better and that the geometry on 20" wasn't just right. My only concern is that there isn't that much space between the top bar and my crotch (about 1 to 2 inches with my shoes on). Many people suggest that you should have atleast 3 inches (or more) space on that departament.

    Ofcourse there are different point of views on the sizing, but I think I'm a bit between the border between 20" and 22" with the sizing.

    I know it's hard to say from this, but does the 22" sounds like an overkill? The riding position felt a bit better, but after 10 years I'm not the best to judge the best riding before I get more mileage. I'm mostly worried if the standover is too high on the 22" Hoss, and if that should be concidered more.

    I'm not going to ride hardcore trails atleast at the beginning. First I would like to get fit and ride some easier trails as well as commuting.

    Any tips concerning this matter are appreciated

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Nubster's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,418
    For what it is worth I have ZERO room between the top tube and the boys on my new bike and I had less than an inch on my old bike. No issues to this point. The bigger frame felt better to me and I think I would rather take the slight risk of squishing things but be comfortable on the bike rather than cramped in the cockpit. I may regret it one day if I come off the bike too fast or in the wrong manner but until then I am happy with my decision.

  3. #3
    Mouth-Breather / Huffer
    Reputation: dog.gone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    650
    Go with the better-fitting 22" frame; the "boys" will be fine and you'll be happier.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    363
    If you want to descend gnarly trails and catch some air, get the 20" Hoss.

    If you want to lose 80lbs, get the 21" Rockhopper and climb, climb, climb.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    11
    Thanks for the feedback.

    I think, as allready was stated, I should go with the one that feels better at this time, which is the 22" Hoss, instead of stearing at the numbers and figuring it out from there. From the first test drives I just felt the best. Do you really think there is a big different between the 20" and 22" when it comes down to do some more technical stuff (as beanfink stated)?

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    363
    I'm not sure what you mean by "feels right."

    Does that mean the cockpit length is right? (saddle position, effective top tube, stem length)

    You like the way the bike handles? (head tube angle, fork length, chainstay length)

    You like the "feel" of the bike? (frame material characteristics, frame stiffness, fork stiffness, wheel stiffness, crank stiffness)

    I recommended a Rockhopper over a Hoss because:

    1.) The cockpit length could be made pretty much the same -- the 21" Rockhopper and 22" Hoss both bikes have a 25" effective top tube, but the Rockhopper has slightly lower standover.

    High standover is fine until you nut yourself on the top tube. Then you'll find yourself wishing for a U-frame.

    2.) The Rockhopper has steeper geometry (head and seat tube angles) than the Hoss, which is why I recommend it for climbing and losing weight.

    3.) The Hoss is heavier and stiffer than the Rockhopper, and it comes with a 20mm thru-axle fork and 2.35" tires. It'll be more fun on the descents than the Rockhopper -- until you nut yourself of the top tube. 20" frame = more standover clearance.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    11
    Ok, what i mean with the "right feeling" would be:

    First of all the cockpit length just felt right; the riding position was feeling better in a sense that my body was in a better angle when riding and I still can throw my ass over the seat when I put my arms straight and move my weight backwards. The another thing was the way the bike handled. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but the 22" was acting more stable in a way I wanted it to feel when trying turn the bike with different diameters. I used to ride a 18" bike and I didn't like the "itchy" character of the handling. This might refer to head tube length and handling as you put it. Maybe the more sharp would come handy when riding lot more technical trails with steep turns, but I'm looking more "stable" output at the moment. Third, frame felt rather stiff too, and the extra weight really doesn't count that much overall. Maybe it related as a more "stiff" overall feel, but it just felt solid. Unfortunately the bikes were not in a same store, so I couldn't try them both at the same time.

    Of course all this might change when I get more experience, as I said it has been a while since I've been on a mountain bike and what "feels right / I would imagine is what I want" now might not be the same what "I might find that I need" later on. But then again that might be in a later stage when I know more what I want and what my style with the bike would be. What I might think I want now and what I find comfortable and capable of doing might be two different things in the end.

    Long, long climbs and long descents are luxury that I might get 1-2 times a year when I make my trip out of town with friends. Yes, then the more steeper geometry on the climbs would be better, but my day-to-day ride would be to commute and go ride to the forests and off-road paths/trails/roads outside the town with rather mild climbs.

  8. #8
    Mouth-Breather / Huffer
    Reputation: dog.gone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    650
    Quote Originally Posted by beanfink
    I'm not sure what you mean by "feels right."

    Does that mean the cockpit length is right? (saddle position, effective top tube, stem length)

    You like the way the bike handles? (head tube angle, fork length, chainstay length)

    You like the "feel" of the bike? (frame material characteristics, frame stiffness, fork stiffness, wheel stiffness, crank stiffness)

    I recommended a Rockhopper over a Hoss because:

    1.) The cockpit length could be made pretty much the same -- the 21" Rockhopper and 22" Hoss both bikes have a 25" effective top tube, but the Rockhopper has slightly lower standover.

    High standover is fine until you nut yourself on the top tube. Then you'll find yourself wishing for a U-frame.

    2.) The Rockhopper has steeper geometry (head and seat tube angles) than the Hoss, which is why I recommend it for climbing and losing weight.

    3.) The Hoss is heavier and stiffer than the Rockhopper, and it comes with a 20mm thru-axle fork and 2.35" tires. It'll be more fun on the descents than the Rockhopper -- until you nut yourself of the top tube. 20" frame = more standover clearance.
    Beanfink's responses are well thought out and logical. You won't go wrong if you follow his suggestions.

    My reason for suggesting that a tall standover height might be acceptable is merely from my highly subjective experience. Proportionately, I am a bit of a gorilla - long torso, long arms and relatively short inseam. For me to get the correct (and comfortable) top tube length, I have had to face the reality of living with a low-ball-clearance-factor.

    Even back in the day when it was standard for MTBers to have 3"-4" clearance for the boys, I typically had to deal with 1"-2". Way back when, I raced XC and experienced the thrill of gonzo DH action without having ever busted a nut. Ever. And I'm not known for staying on top of my bike...

    Now that I've returned to biking (and the wonderful world of 29ers), I find I still have to face the clearance issue. While I may not be doing any more DH action (XC only!), I have already had more than my fair share of spills. I still haven't busted a nut.

    Again, this has been my experience, so my suggestion is certainly YMMV - my apologies for not having stated such in my original post. Again, Beanfink's logic is correct and his advice sage.

    For reference purposes only, I'm roughly 6'2", 280# and ride a rigid(!) steel 29er. Even though I ride hard and over (and through) some rough stuff, I don't miss having suspension. Fortunately, I have retained some semblance of sanity and opted to forgo the concept of a single speed.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    11
    I agree, those are good points.

    I checked the frame sizes from kona website and seems that the 20" only has 0.8" lower standover, and equally smaller frame proportions (about), so for me it boils down to 21" Rockhopper and 22" Hoss, since they both have about the same cockpit length (effective top tube length) and those proportions felt the best (22" Hoss).

    I might go and have another round with each bike.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    11
    Well, just as an update I ended up with the 22" Hoss.

    I went to the store to try out the Rockhopper, but the frame size wasn't available anymore. A bit funny since I emailed them and they confirmed that they have it in stock, but it was different person I ended up talking in the store. The 21" just wasn't available at the store, atleast at the moment (seems that many resellers around here are starting to have shortage on particular frame sizes). They really tried to sell me the Cube, but it was just too much outside my pricerange, and I was more interested of the Rockhopper.

    So I went and picked up the 22" Hoss. I had a hard time deciding between the 20" and 22", but in the end the driving position and the way it behaved was better on 22". I also got a nice deal on it, seems that sales are starting to hit this time of the year. Time will tell if the decision went right (I really hope so ). Went for a short ride on gravel roads afterwards and it felt good.

  11. #11
    Mouth-Breather / Huffer
    Reputation: dog.gone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    650
    Congrats! Did the LBS help you set up your riding position at all?

    Be sure to post up pics of your ride when you have a chance.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    11
    Thanks

    Actually the shop where I bought my Kona was the only shop that was willing to give any help or advices for me to choose the right frame size (or the right bike in general in the end) for me. That was a big plus and in the end they helped me to find a good riding position, hence one more reason I ended up with the 22" -version. I think this is a good starting position to get back to cycling and to start up with some XC biking again.

    I will post some pics later after I get some mileage under my belt (well, ofcourse I took some pics, but everything is just too shiny and new at the moment ).

    Thanks for everyone who helped with this issue!

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    6
    Slight off-beat advise but if you do a combination of commuting and light off-road perhaps consider a commuter with the option of changing slick dressed stock 700c wheels (much better on road) with 26" knobblies for some off-roading. My advise would be cannondale's bad boy ultra, the one with the superb air-sprung fatty needle bearing fork with full (in this instance a total lock-out unlike many other forks ... hello reba).

    Absolutely superb frame and the xl has a nice sloping top tube. Additionally, the bike has a relatively high front end compared to most other normally sprung bikes ie. less than 140mm front forks and ships with a riser stem that lifts the front height adequately for me even with a flat bar and the bike looks aesthetically right unlike some! (I considered on one's mary bars on some other bikes, no need here). Reach is perfect, not cramped and I have a 36" inside leg (6ft3") and it feels completely balanced. Not to much weight over the bars which puts to much pressure on wrists, neck and shoulders.

    I ride the thing off-road, single track with the stock wheels and schwalbe slicks in the dry! Strong rims but for serious terrain you need to switch wheels or change tyres to some semis (you are limited to around 700 x 35 this way as the headshock valve interferes with anything bigger).

    I have the Alfine internal hub version. Superb even though it adds a little bit of weight. Low maintenance, slick and it looks gorgeous, almost single speed-like. A few high-end manufacturers now use alfines for their off-road bikes. If you can't afford a roloff this is the way to go ... but it adds cost to making a second wheel set (around 250 for the rear).

    The big headshock headtube and oversized downtube add strength to where it's needed. Lovely looking bike.

    Other than that and if you offroad almost exclusively ... go 29er and I'd choose On-one's Scandal. You can specify it yourself. Complete bikes start from just over 1k to around 2000. Gary fisher's Paragon looks good too though I've never used one.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    11

    Just an update after some mileage.

    Well, just as an update, I've been riding almost daily for the past weeks and I have some initial feelings about the 09 Kona Hoss 22":

    I can say that the frame is very stiff. Even with larger frame it feels stiff, since the frame just holds up itself just nicely even on bigger sizes.

    It feels stable and works very well on descents and wider trails which gives me confidence to try and push it harder. So far I've been riding a lot on hard surfaces and tarmac, but I also took it with me on my trip to up north and drove some deserted logging roads and I really like how the bike behaves on those conditions. That is the sweet spot for my riding at the moment and I enjoy how the bike rides on those surfaces.

    On more technical and more unforgiving paths/trails (those small trails in the middle of the forest) with more loose sruface, steep turns and lots of bigger rocks and roots on the road I'm not feeling that comfortable with it. But then again, I'm not fit enough to drive those paths more than 100 meters at a time. My Hoss might not have the nimblest frame size and geometry, but I at this point I think it's more about the fact that I'm having enough challenge to keep my overweight body moving even on straight roads.

    I'm not sure if the height of the top tube might become a problem not just because of the standover, but the way i can tilt the bike when needed (if it's even needed, not sure how to describe it but just some fast corners I was trying to steer the bike more in to the turn). All of this not a problem yet, though. At the moment I just enjoy the ride and the fact that it carries me and my weight rather well, no matter how hard I try to ride it. It might just be that I'm not fit enough for those conditions, not because of the bike is lacking.

    So far i haven't had that much issues with climbing, but the hills aren't that long around here either. But my daily mileage increases day by day, so I think I discover the exact kind of a a bike I might end up wanting after I lose some pounds and get my technique tuned over the brute force method I use now. I think then I can start to understand the whole thing better. But I need to get there first..

    All in all, it has serve me well so far, and as i said earlier, it's a good starting to point to go ahead and discover what I want and can do with a mountain bike. I really like it, although there is this small "what if" in the back of my head how the 20" -frame would work out (I know it's too late for that). The 22" Feels like a juggernaut though and carries my weight without a problem even on bad surfaces.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    15

    Kona Hoss

    I just picked up a 22" Kona Hoss this weekend. I am 6'2", 240 lbs, and getting back into riding after a 10 layoff. I was a little nervous about the 22" frame but it has proved to be no problem on the trails this weekend. I upgraded from an old 18" GT Pantera I had which I cracked the headtube on recently. The new Hoss feels heavier in the flats but I can climb better with it. I think the frame geometry helps me in the climbs, the old GT used to lift the front wheel when I really torqued on it.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •