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  1. #1
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    Clyde noob - long torso - short legs - want help spec'ing a bike.

    I have consumed most of the threads here, lots of good information and have a much better understanding of the issues.

    My goal is to find a bike that fits, I weight 340 lbs and am 6.3" with a 32.5" inseam, so the 21" xl seem to be fine in the height, but I sit like i am an XXL from the waist up, so I think I am looking for an XL in height and an XXL in top tube length. Every bike I have tried at the LBS feels too close on the handlebars.

    Budget - would like to keep it under 2k , but ideally 1,500 new (Dreaming? or maybe used)

    I want to ride mostly road for the first year till I get under 300 and then start moving to trails, great riding here, but not ready yet.

    I believe I would like full suspension, what little riding I have tried leaves me in great pain in the bum and has discouraged me from riding any more. I am hoping a proper fit bike and I will get accustomed to it.

    I am open to buying anywhere, anyway, just want to get the right spec and get riding.

    So my plan at the moment is to find a steel full suspension bike with the longer top tube, seems like Gary Fisher tend to run longer there?

    I am open to building a bike, I have not done it but a lot of the guys at my work have done it, but they are all small and skinny and have no idea what a real clyde is (until now).

    Southern oregon so bike trails abound and great asphalt roads to get started.

    Any advice or pointers appreciated.

    Craig

  2. #2
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    Get a bike that fits your height then you can adjust the rest with a new stem and/or seat post.

    Also, just because you are heavy you don't need to limit yourself to the road. Surly there are trails that you can start on. Your size really won't be much of a limiting factor. There are plenty of us on here that are north of 300 that hit the woods.

    Pain in the butt...how long have you been riding? If not long than yeah, it's going to hurt. It will hurt for the first couple weeks, sometimes to the point where you don't want to even look at a bike anymore. Just keep riding, your arse will get used to it, you'll develop bike butt. Also make sure your saddle is the correct size. Get measured.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the feedback across the board. My initial foray is to be able to ride 1 hour every day and I have an amazing road right out my front door that goes 60 miles and climbs 2500 feet over 10 miles. I want to 1. Get cardio burn of 1-2 hours a day, and 2. get "re-hooked" on biking and then start hitting the trails.

    I will open my mind on getting to trails, they are close by but my time is very short for the next year.

    Thanks for the butt-awareness comment. 2 weeks of pain, here I come.

    My only comment on the stem and seat post, last time I tried that it did not feel right and felt like the bike was too quick to turn in, and my legs felt too far back over the crank. Maybe I just did not adjust to it, but I am hoping to find out what brands run long in the top tube and start there.

    Thx

    Craig

  4. #4
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    you are nowhere to heavy to ride off road and second the 1st few time you ride its gonna be kinda hard and sucky youre lungs will burn and so will the legs. the more you ride the easier it will get and you'll be shocked at how fast you'll get there trust me the 1st time i went i walked my bike out of the trails the 4th time i went on the same trail it was getting alot easier and fun. buy a bike that fits and get out there and rip it up!!!!!

  5. #5
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    I'm in the same boat with my body proportions. My inseam would be typical if I were 6" shorter. My current bike has suitable standover for my stubby legs but is lacking in top tube length. I run a ridiculously long stem (150mm?) and push the seat all the way back with a layback seatpost.

    I would love to upgrade to an EWR OWB29er in an XL. It has a 19.5 inch seat tube with a 25.5 inch top tube. The dropped top tube and cantilevered seat post offer incredible standover clearance. At $1400 for the frame, it isn't cheap. I'm still digging through couches for change.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dreammed
    My only comment on the stem and seat post, last time I tried that it did not feel right and felt like the bike was too quick to turn in, and my legs felt too far back over the crank. Maybe I just did not adjust to it, but I am hoping to find out what brands run long in the top tube and start there.

    Thx

    Craig
    Yeah...that's what sux...it's a game of give and take and often a game of millimeters. You just need to play around with adjustments until you find something that works good for you. If you have a good shop in your area they often will allow you to try out different stems/seat posts/saddles until you find one that works. You may also consider getting properly fitted to your bike. I did that on my road bike and it made quite a difference. Of course an expensive option is getting a custom frame.
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  7. #7
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    My thoughts....

    Quote Originally Posted by dreammed
    ...

    Budget - would like to keep it under 2k , but ideally 1,500 new (Dreaming? or maybe used)

    I believe I would like full suspension, what little riding I have tried leaves me in great pain in the bum and has discouraged me from riding any more. I am hoping a proper fit bike and I will get accustomed to it.

    Craig
    Here are my thoughts - take them for what they are worth.
    I'd recommend a used hardtail if you can find one. Since you are a fairly new rider, you probably don't know what you like or want out of a bike yet. A less expensive entry level hardtail will ride fine on the road, and give you the ability to start riding trails. As you get beeter off-road, you'll learn what you want out of a bike and be able to make a more informed choice. And, I have always been a huge advocate of learning bike handling skills on a hardtail - it really does make a person a more technically clean rider. Full squish can compensate for some really bad habits, but better not to develop them. And, as someone before said, feel free to experiment with different stems and seatposts - it is amazing what small differences can make.

    Your hind end pain probably won't be helped by fullsus. It will be helped by 1) a properly fit seat, and 2) getting saddle callused (by riding regularly).
    Very common - and after long winter lay-offs I get them pains in the spring.

    But, in the end, follow your bliss and get a fullsus, rigid, or whatever feels best.
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  8. #8
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    Buy the frame that fits your legs. Then swap out the stem to fit your torso. I'm shorter, but have the same portion problems(my legs are short for my height). Also find a local bike shop the has seat meter and let them tell you what size seat you need. I was put on a 175mm seat (some fitting problems during a BG Fit) and the next day my butt was sore, it hurt to sit on the recliner kind of bad. They switched it back to the 155mm that they fit on the first time and I'm fine now. I never thought having the wrong size seat would hurt that much but I now understand why some people complain. Having too wide of a seat really does hurt.

    PS I have been riding for almost a year and half (2-3 times a week) and then switching to the 175mm, 5 miles into the first ride I started to feel pain. Lets just say my BG Fit experience wasn't good. I do believe its just because the local guys are only use to doing road bikes.
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  9. #9
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    6'8" here... long torso

    Actually, I would say buy a bike for the top tube length and use the seat post to adjust for legs.
    I think a shorter top tube with a longer stem would put your weight to far over the front wheel.

    For me, my next mtb will have at least a 26 inch top tube. GaryFisher Rumblefish is one of the few stock options. (at least full susp. )
    E

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigE
    Actually, I would say buy a bike for the top tube length and use the seat post to adjust for legs.
    I think a shorter top tube with a longer stem would put your weight to far over the front wheel.

    For me, my next mtb will have at least a 26 inch top tube. GaryFisher Rumblefish is one of the few stock options. (at least full susp. )
    E
    +1. I've recently been to a pro fitter and that's what he told me too - you don't want to go too far out on the stem because it overweights the front wheel (maybe no big deal on the road, but not ideal for off-road control). Plus if you find that as you get fitter you want to go further out, there's no more room left (or you make the weight imbalance even worse) and you need a new frame. I have a similar problem but in smaller proportions (long torso, short legs) and ended up ordering a custom because the 24" top tubes all had 30"+ standover and my giblets were sitting on the tube at a stop.

  11. #11
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    Check out the Specialized Rockhoppers. They have one at $1450 and another at $1800. They don't list the geometry for the Rockhoppers (at least I couldn't find it), but Specialized usually uses a longish toptube on their hardtails. They also have an air spring fork and a 36 spoke rear wheel (good for us bigg'uns):

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...cname=Mountain

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...cname=Mountain

    The ETT on a Stumpjumper HT is 660mm for a XXL and 640mm for an XL. I would hope the Rockhoppers are similar if not the same, but you'll have to check with a dealer to make sure.

  12. #12
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    All about the top tube

    I sell & fit bikes for a living and fitting someone to a bike is all about the top tube. The seat rails and stem only allow you to adjust the space between the seat and the handlebars by only 2-3 inches. The seat post allows you to adjust up to 6+ inches. As long as you are able to stand over the top tube you are good. Just remeber that head tube will be taller so mess with the headset spacers to hone in the fit. The handling of the bike will change dramatically when you change stems or move forward or backwards over the wheels. You want to be balanced well over bike. I am 5'10 and my torso is longer then my legs, also i have long arms. Every 17 inch bike I had (as suggested by most when they see my height) is way to small on me. My back is always crunched in to fit. A 19 inch is much better but in a xc setup where i need to be lower i become so streched out that i prefer a 21, but then ,my stand over is tight. On a all mountain rig where a short stem is standard, but standover are lower the bigger bike fists great. On a road bike in a racing position i require a 58cm, mostly ride a 56 for everyday, and 54 is suggested by my height and i never can get comfortable.

    If a salesman looks at only your height and makes a snap decision, try another shop.
    Fitting a bike starts with the right size frame for YOUR body, not your height.

    Try the Jamis Dakar XC I believe it comes in a 23 inch for around $1300 with a nice air shock build

    (not a reply to jeff, hit the wrong post reply button)
    Last edited by Nickt30; 02-21-2011 at 05:04 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickt30
    I sell & fit bikes for a living and fitting someone to a bike is all about the top tube. The seat rails and stem only allow you to adjust the space between the seat and the handlebars by only 2-3 inches. The seat post allows you to adjust up to 6+ inches. As long as you are able to stand over the top tube you are good. Just remeber that head tube will be taller so mess with the headset spacers to hone in the fit. The handling of the bike will change dramatically when you change stems or move forward or backwards over the wheels. You want to be balanced well over bike. I am 5'10 and my torso is longer then my legs, also i have long arms. Every 17 inch bike I had (as suggested by most when they see my height) is way to small on me. My back is always crunched in to fit. A 19 inch is much better but in a xc setup where i need to be lower i become so streched out that i prefer a 21, but then ,my stand over is tight. On a all mountain rig where a short stem is standard, but standover are lower the bigger bike fists great. On a road bike in a racing position i require a 58cm, mostly ride a 56 for everyday, and 54 is suggested by my height and i never can get comfortable.

    If a salesman looks at only your height and makes a snap decision, try another shop.
    Fitting a bike starts with the right size frame for YOUR body, not your height.

    Try the Jamis Dakar XC I believe it comes in a 23 inch for around $1300 with a nice air shock build

    (not a reply to jeff, hit the wrong post reply button)
    ^
    All good advice.
    I'm a short legs longer torso (too) but with shortish arms, and I can only recommend you sit on and try a lot of frames as they vary so much.

    My wife's smaller Jamis Dakar ended up being a better geometry than my Rockhopper FSR, ditto my much bigger kid's 18" hardtail Kona Blast. Even though the Rockhopper FSR was in-between the two. One frame is so different than another, that you really have to try them a bunch to get the right one for you. Depends on the riding too, where you want the balance. My climbing crowd back in the day favored stems that got the weight out front, but with my top heavy physique that led to too many damaging endos. Stuff you learn over time, the hard way sometimes.

  14. #14
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    And in general, 29'er frames seem to have longer top tube lengths than their 26" bretheren of similar frame sizes.

    Many frames out there with sloping, or even bent top tubes have lower standover heights, while a frame like a Surly Karate Monkey, while being plenty strong for you, has a nearly horizontal top tube (and a short one at that) making it a poor fit. Often times the full suspension frames out there have a bent top tube, or even a frame like a Soma Juice has a good top tube shape for someone built like you.

  15. #15
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    Hi again - i am back. I had a little neck surgery which kept me off a bike, too much pressure, and I tried a trike but that did not work, so I sold that too. I am now recovered and ready to get a mountain bike, but I am sort of back to ground zero.

    Given not much has changed, 330# 32 inseam and long torso, what bikes should I recommend? Unfortunately I live in a small town focused on bikes and nobody seems to stock any Clyde bikes...

    The only difference now is I dont really have a budget, I can get whatever i should to make this successful. I dont want to go crazier than I have to, but I want the most comfortable bike I can afford that will not brake and last me a long time.

    Has anyone looked at the Zinn bikes, they seem to focus on fit?

    Thanks

    cb

  16. #16
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    I don't think you would have a problem finding a hardtail that fits your budget. That's the kind of bike that you could easily use for both road and trails. I personally think that hardtail 29ers are perfect that kind of use.

    What you need to do is see what is available in your area and try all the brands. You'll get an idea of what fit's your body type. I also have a long torso and short legs, though I'm 5' 8 which is a little different than you. Santa Cruz, Jamis, Haro & Giant all fit me well. Trek, including Gary Fisher, and Specialized don't feel as comfortable. Step 1 is to just focus on brand. After that come back and you can get advice on narrowing it down.
    He who dares....wins!

  17. #17
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    I went to bike shops today and rode a jamis, a rockhopper and trek, and the issue seems to be that I love the 29r's but they seem short from seat to bars. As mentioned I am long waisted and I am also long upper thigh to lower leg, so I really want to move the seat back a bit it feels like on thse bikes.

    I have read more threads and like the idea of a SC Chameleon or similar, but no dealers near me in Southern Oregon.

    Any more bikes I shoudl try and find on CL?

  18. #18
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    I am 6'3", 270 with a 32" inseam. I ride a 23" Kona Hei Hei. It took me a while (and 3 stems, 2 saddles and 2 bars) to dial everything in but now it rides great, fits like a glove.

    Craug

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dreammed View Post
    I went to bike shops today and rode a jamis, a rockhopper and trek, and the issue seems to be that I love the 29r's but they seem short from seat to bars. As mentioned I am long waisted and I am also long upper thigh to lower leg, so I really want to move the seat back a bit it feels like on thse bikes.

    I have read more threads and like the idea of a SC Chameleon or similar, but no dealers near me in Southern Oregon.

    Any more bikes I shoudl try and find on CL?
    No matter what you get it could be that you are going to need a longer stem. I would still though look at every brand you could find. They should all feel somewhat different.

    You can also try different brands on Craigslist. For example you might not have a SC dealer near you but if you can try one that someone is selling on Craigslist and you decide not to buy from them you could easily order online. Santa Cruz, Niner and Jamis are sold from a bunch of online vendors.

    Just be patient and try everything.
    He who dares....wins!

  20. #20
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    That's interesting. I'm a super long torso relative to arms and inseam. I've had neck problems too -- more from road biking than MTB (more upright).

    Get that bike fit properly. I'd recommend anything that gets those handlebars up where they are comfortable so you don't have to end your neck back.

    I'v tried stems that raise the bars up but it's still not enough ... the fork length above the head tube is not cut high enough for comfort at my age and neck status. My next move will be a longer fork on my roadie. It doesn't hurt during a short ride (1 hr), but a day or two after I feel the effects.

    Hate to ditch my gorgeous and fantastic feeling Easton SLX 90 fork but I need to be able to look ahead without further aggravating the neck.

  21. #21
    Swimming thru the Smog
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    If you live in a town with little bike selection, go on vacation to a cycling destination. Living in oregon there are plenty for a weekend trip. Demo a lot of bikes. Learn the geo you like, then buy online.

  22. #22
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    try buying a size up. I am 5'10 with a 30 inch inseam and have a long torso also. I have found that buying a size up, with a nice slopping top tube so you have your stand over. If you buy a size up it is easier to make it smaller by shorter stems and pushing the seat forward. A smaller bike is harder to make bigger without making sacrifices.

    For example if you get a stem longer than 130mm they generally are flexy after 120mm. With a seatpost they generally only have 1 inch of offset which seems like alot but it's not. The top tube fit is very important so make sure you have a correct fit.

    I personally would demo a few bikes of the same model in different sizes you can get an idea of what fits you best. It may take a while but it will be worth your time and effort down the road.

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