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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    15" or 16.25" XLM

    Hi Guys,

    I was hoping to touch base with a few folks who have either a 15" or 16.25" Merlin XLM.

    I am looking to order a new frame, but can't decide which size to get and ringing around the dealers in the UK, no-one has one to try for size

    I am 5ft 7 with a 31" inside leg.

    I have a Rigormootis at the moment which is a 16" C-C and 17.3" C-T.

    The problem is that the XLM has a longer top tube for the seat tube length.

    1) My current Rigor 16" C-C has an eff top tube of 22" (This is perfect with an 80mm stem)
    2) The 15" XLM has an eff top tube of 22.2
    3) The 16.25 XLM has an eff top tube of 22.8

    I was wondering if anyone with either frame size could give any guidance on what size you ride and how tall you are.

    I know that it's not the ideal way, but any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for your help


  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    I have both size Merlins but not XLMs. It may not be much help but here goes..

    My size 15 or small size Merlin mountain is circa 1991 so the effective top tube is 21.54 I think. My 2003 16.25 Merlin ExtraFat has a 22.5 effective top tube. I am 5'6" with inseam of 30.25 in, longish arms.

    The small size 15 has about 2 1/2 inches difference from top of saddle to top of handlebar. The shorter top tube back then was compensated with longer stems where 120mm was pretty popular.

    The size 16.25 can be adjusted from level saddle to bar height to 1 in difference, depending on what handlebar I choose to use. Level with a lo rise bar to 1 in lower with a straight handlebar.

    As you go bigger size not only the top tube increases horizontally but the head tube also increases vertically.

    The bigger size feels more stable. The smaller size is racier being in a more aero position but has more handlebar drop - one factor you should consider. My advise would be, if you ride tight single tracks go with the smaller size. The bigger size is no slouch but the smaller one is more flickable.

    You can see both bikes on my pic gallery.
    Last edited by older guy; 08-12-2009 at 09:41 AM.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Hi, thanks for the advice.

    Looking at the geometries, I could pretty much ride both frames. I like my bikes to be quite compact, so I think it'll be the 15" frame.

    I can always put a higher rise stem on it to offset the difference of the headtube length.

    Thanks again for all your help


  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    I have 15.5 inch Ctr of bb to Ctr of toptube, inseam with ridind shoes around 30inch; I'm about 168cm- 5'7".

    XLM year 2000-2001

    Effective TT is about 22.5" and I use a 135mm integrated stem and bar. My xlm is in the show us your merlin / litespeed post.

    I've set it up like a racer/climbing machine.I think you're in the " in between size zone" guy. My thoughts are- it depends on your riding style. I prefer a slightly smaller frame so that I can " stretch" the frame using combination of stem length, set back/ laid back seatpost, crank length etc.

    Can't do that with a big-ger frame.

    Using different fork will also affect the feeling of the ride.I tried using 2 forks on this frame: fox f80 rLt/c (1st gen-01/02) and the 03' rock shox SID team.

    The fox gives a longer wheelbase to around 42-43 inches measured hub to gives a stable ride both up and downhill, but slower climb/ acceleration.

    The SID(current setup) gives a shorter wheelbase around 41.5" it gives a faster response , rocket like acceleration, but les stable on downhill. Never tried marzocchi or answer/manitou fork.

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