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  1. #1
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    Going Down … a Frame Size

    My first mountain bike—purchased about 5 years ago—was a Large (L) Fisher. Being 6’1”, most manufacturer recommendation put me on either an L or XL. At the time I liked my legs almost fully extend at the bottom of a pedal stroke, so I extended my seat-post as far as allowed by the line on it. After a couple of years riding like that, I broke the frame. Seat post position was thought to have contributed to the break, and it was suggested I move up to an XL frame, which would allow me to keep more seat post in the tube. Another benefit of the larger frame was the increased stability when descending, I really liked this when I first got the XL frame. As I’ve ridden this frame over the last few years, my technical skills have improved, and I’ve started riding with my seat a bit lower so I can move around the saddle more readily.

    Most recently, I’ve been riding my son’s L Giant Ranier--I broke a spoke and bent the derailleur hanger on my XL Fisher a couple weeks back. I’ve really enjoyed the increased ‘flickability’ of this smaller bike. Further, my riding style has changed such that the advantages of XL frame no longer seem relevant; I now ride with my seat-post lower and my increased technical ability (moving around the saddle etc) make me comfortable descending on the smaller frame.

    I’m starting to look for an FS bike, maybe a 29er. I started off thinking XL frame, but based on these recent experiences I’m almost completely converted to L.

    What do y’all think? Anyone else who’s ‘between frame sizes’ have opinions about choosing to bump up or down a size?

  2. #2
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    Seems like you could ride a large frame just take a good look at the seat tube length, some brands have longer tubes than others. I'm between a small and a medium, on the smalls I've owned same as you I always had my seatpost jacked up high. Being a clyde I always felt like I was going to snap it off. The smaller bikes are always easielr to flick around on the tight trails. 6'1 seems reasonable for a large.

  3. #3
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    Reputation: Eric Z's Avatar
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    i'm 6'4 with a 33-34" inseam with somewhat long arms and i ride a 19" GF 29er. the xl felt good but actually a little big for me so i went with a l. over the past couple years, i could go with either and maybe an xl is better now since i'm more confident in my abilities. a 19" sounds perfect for you.
    - 1995 Giant ATX 870
    - 2011 Salsa El Mariachi XL
    - 2011 Kona Unit (singlespeed) XL

  4. #4
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    Reputation: TitaneeNC's Avatar
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    It depends on the bike. I just purchased a large frame and I'm 5'9". I tested the med and large and the med felt like a kids bike. I'm an inch away for the mfg.s recommended sizing for the large.

    Got fitted by my LBS and he felt the large fit me better. There's a lot more to it than just the size. Test different sizes of bikes you're looking for. Each bike's cockpit size is different.

  5. #5
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    What you want to compare is top-tube length. The size of the bike is arbitrary--one company's L is another's XL is another's M is another's 21". If you like the feel of your son's bike, look up it's numbers and start comparing them to bikes you're interested in. Top tube is the most important, but look at head and seat angles as well.

    The problem with long seatposts is not in how much you have showing, but in how much is in the frame. You want to be a couple inches below where the toptube joins the seattube if you're putting a lot of leverage on it. Just look into buying a long, strong seatpost. Thompson is burly as hell and comes in a variety of lengths.

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