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Thread: Niner sizing..

  1. #1
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    Niner sizing..

    I will be buying my first MB, and up for consideration is a Niner EMD 9. I would like the Air 9, but I think the cost is just out of reach for me. An X7 build on an EMD 9 falls right into my budget. That said, I am 6'3", and seem to fall right inbetween sizes for the Niners! Anyone my height have a preference of Large or XL? Is the weight savings negligible between the two?

    Thanks!

    Amstaff 814

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    I did forget to mention... my LBS does not have Niners in stock, so I can't test them out to check sizing. There will be a local demo date coming up (Dirt Rag Dirt Fest), but it is a couple of months away and I was hoping to purchase something ASAP. Any ideas/opinions/first hand knowledge on sizing would be great!

    Amstaff 814

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    Im 6'3 and had a good 3hour ride on a Large RDO that was perfect for me.....

    Contact niner on their email (available from their website) they were helpful and quick in replying to me...should be aqble to get the information straight from the horses mouth.




    Rider Service, & Sales:
    service@ninerbikes.com

    Not sure who you should contact?
    info@ninerbikes.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrewfuzzy View Post
    Im 6'3 and had a good 3hour ride on a Large RDO that was perfect for me.....

    Contact niner on their email (available from their website) they were helpful and quick in replying to me...should be aqble to get the information straight from the horses mouth.




    Rider Service, & Sales:
    service@ninerbikes.com

    Not sure who you should contact?
    info@ninerbikes.com

    Thanks!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by amstaff 814 View Post
    I will be buying my first MB, and up for consideration is a Niner EMD 9. I would like the Air 9, but I think the cost is just out of reach for me. An X7 build on an EMD 9 falls right into my budget. That said, I am 6'3", and seem to fall right inbetween sizes for the Niners! Anyone my height have a preference of Large or XL? Is the weight savings negligible between the two?

    Thanks!

    Amstaff 814
    At 6'3" - I'd say the XL to start with unless you have an iddy biddy torso and or short arms.

    One of the problems of tall riders - 6'3" and taller - is that most have been squashed on bikes that are too small and have ridden that way for years. So they have adapted to riding on an uncomfortable size frame, but coped with it. That's why you get all sorts of responses on these message boards. Ditto when you walk into any LBS. Considering that only 5% of the US population is our height or above, chances of you actually getting treated correctly by somebody that is of a height in the other 95% of the population is slim to none. You are correct to question the sizing to get it right.

    I would suggest going to the Zen of Zinn - the Master of the Tall Rider himself, Leonard Zinn. Plug your numbers into his calculator for a mountain bike to see what size recommendations the calculator says for you. You can select aggressive, recreational, or casual. The agressive position would be more for XC racing, the recreational more for general trail kicking around and the casual for the most upright position.

    Here's the link: Lennard Zinn bicycle fit calculator:: frame fit calculator:: zinn and the art of bike maintenance fit calculator | Zinn Cycles website

    Just click on the picture with the mountain bike. I'm your height and here are my numbers...

    Aggressive mountain bike position...

    ZinnMountainBikeAggressivePosition

    Recreational Mountain Bike Position...

    ZinnMountainBikeRecreationalPosition

    If I take the XL EMD numbers and compare to what Zinn says for my 6'3" measurements...

    EMD9

    TT range of 635 - 659mm (XL top tube of the EMD is 641 - 645 depending on fork travel)
    Stem length of 128 - 130mm (I run 120mm stems flipped negative for a few more mm's of reach on all my XL Niners)
    Seat Tube length of 488 - 502mm (EMD's is 533 which is fine and won't require an extra long 410mm one thanks to the longer tube. My seat tubes on the full suspension Niners are even longer at around 558mm)
    Recommended Crank length of 189 (I run 180's on my XL Niners)

    I bought my XL Niners (and other XL mountain bikes) long before I knew of Leonard Zinn's fit calculator and expertise working with tall riders. I am just saying all of this since I am your height. My saddles are slammed all the way back on the rails so I can get the knee/pedal spindle ballpark range that works for me, and I use long stems (not as long as Zinn says I should be using, but within 5-10mm's).

    For me, the Top Tube is too short on the size L EMD and it would be a bit of a compromise for me to try to get one to work. I might end up with a setback post and be too far rearward with my weight for constant wheelies going up the hill, and a really long stem to try and get the proper stretched out position to balance that out. Sure, I would adapt and ride, but it wouldn't be the best.

    A few pictures of me on Niner's size XL geometry since I am your height. These are the full suspension XL Niners, but their geometry is very similar.

    BuckHill2

    P1010011

    Sylvan Island

    Swanson XC Cat 2

    JET profile 2012

    Bluff Riders Charge banking the turn

    RIP with XT triple rings

    ClosingThatGap

    Bluff Riders Charge at Mt. Kato

    Great Hawk Bridge Crossing

    Not sure any of that helps, but hopefully it gets you thinking about the XL as the possible ticket for you at 6'3". The road is littered with guys our height trying to get by on 58cm and 61cm road bikes, and the trails are littered with guys our height trying to make do on size L mountain bike frames.

    Even if you cannot demo a size XL Niner where you live, see if you can find other XL's from other companies to test (Specialized, Trek, Salsa, etc...) and compare their numbers with what you felt and what the Niner geometry is.

    Edit to toss in a picture of my new 64cm Specialized Roubaix road bike. Perfect fit right out of the box with the stem flipped negative. I'm in heaven with the Roubaix's compliant frame for the rough bike trails around here. Just about the same as having a Thudbuster ST on to absorb the rough stuff and chatter. And the first road bike I've owned that doesn't shimmy thanks to coming in size HUGE with a headtube and fork designed for a tall rider.

    Again, Zinn's calculator was spot on with my measurements and road bike fit for the tall rider.

    2013Roubaix64cm
    Last edited by BruceBrown; 03-31-2013 at 07:03 AM.

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    Recently just built up an Air 9 with a brand new frame I bought from Tree Fort Bikes for $505 (they were price matching another company). Definitely look around before going with the EMD if you want the AIR 9. I was lucky and snagged that deal while I could.

    I'm 5'8, so I'm not the best comparison, but I am in between the small and medium sizes (per Competitive Cyclist's calculator). I ended up going with the medium. While I think I could have fit just fine on the small, I'm glad I didn't go with it. The decision really came down to my riding style and desire to balance performance with comfort. I could have fit on the small and saved some weight / potentially had a more agile bike, but in the end I'd rather be a little more comfortable on the saddle for longer rides.

    Best of luck with your search. I love my Air 9 build.

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    I'm 6'2" with a 35" cycling inseam and large Niners fit me like a custom build. I'm fairly near the max insertion length for a 410mm seatpost and I run a 110 stem with some spacers along with 100mm travel forks (Rock Shox). Stable at speed and great in the tighter single track.

    My nephew is 6'3" with very long legs and is a strong Cat 1 racer. He started last season on an XL Air 9 because a 410mm seatpost was too short for him. He really disliked it on technical trails and ended up switching to a large mid-season with an ultra long post. I've also ridden the XL and share my nephew's opinion of its more sluggish handling in tight terrain. Also, the XL just takes up more space due to the longer wheelbase which can make things more difficult in tight spaces or little chicanes.

    If you're on fairly open higher speed trails I don't think you'll give up anything on the XL - it may even be better. However, based on my experience on slower, tighter trails, there is a good chance you'll prefer the handling of the large. Of course you'll need to make sure a 400 mm or 410 mm post gives you adequate seat height.

    Maybe your shop can hook you up with some local guys who would let you take a spin on their Niners to enable you to get a feel for the differences...it would definitely be worth the effort.

  8. #8
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    I'd roll with the XL. I'm about 6'1" and a 19" seat tube (on the L, of which I have a One 9) is about the shortest tube I can run without running out of post at max extension. At 6'3", unless you have stubby legs or enjoy hitting your chin with your knees on a ride, I'd get an XL.

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    I'm a little taller at 6'4", but I much prefer the XL size of my Rip9. I'm usually too cramped and uncomfortable on a large size frame.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredbooxe View Post
    Also, the XL just takes up more space due to the longer wheelbase which can make things more difficult in tight spaces or little chicanes.
    Now that's funny. Really funny!!! Takes up more space? Come on. 20mm is going to make things difficult in tight spaces? I'd say handlebar width would be a much more crucial measurement in the tight and twisty Midwest tree lined courses than 3/4's of a silly inch in wheelbase length. I don't ever recall having to parallel park in the middle of an XC race.

    My 29"er - all size XL - wheelbases...

    1175mm - RIP 9
    1152mm - JET 9
    1125.8mm - Dos Niner
    1093mm - Karate Monkey

    The JET 9 is the quickest in the tight and twisty of the bunch.

    Was there any real time data collected to actually confirm that your nephew's lap times were slower on the size XL compared to the L? Or was it just his perception? Data is data. Perception is pointless without it.

    An ultra long seatpost (longer than 410mm) on a size L frame just sounds bad out of the gate for fit. But I'm sure his foot/spindle/knee orientation must be dialed enough to make it work. Or he adapted to make it work.

    Hard to argue with Zinn based on his experience and history with bike fit for tall riders.

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    Thanks for the classy, condescending reply. I'm very impressed.

    In fact, yes, wheelbase makes a difference. Longer wheelbase = increased turning arc = more space required. Most of the time it's no big deal, and on slow stuff it's often possible to pivot on the front wheel, but sometimes it matters. For instance, on trails with little 'kinks/chicanes that I could straighten-out on my 26" bike and ride full speed, I found that I often had to slow down because I could no longer run a straight line. I bounced off a few trees and bruised my hips in learning this. And L to XL makes a difference as well.

    Niner's have short seat tubes and relatively long effective top tubes. It's not necessarily true that a longer post for a racer is a bad thing. (Notice I recommended the OP confirm he's ok with a std length post). Is my nephew faster on the smaller bike in technical terrain? Yes he is. The basis for this conclusion is that guys who pulled him in tight, technical terrain in race situations on his XL could no longer do so on the large. In addition, he could run with them in these conditions during the prior year when he was able to ride a large with a 410mm post. And, of course, on fast, open terrain there was no disadvantage to the XL.

    I'm glad you're happy on your XL. I very strongly prefer a large. Given my basic proportions and riding style, I'm sure that I would prefer a large Niner even if I were an inch taller. Depending on preference and proportion the OP may be happier with the XL, but he may prefer the L. I think the Worst case is he buys a large sight unseen and discovers he needs more seat height than possible with a 410mm post.

    Hope this tangent is helpful to the OP.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredbooxe View Post
    Thanks for the classy, condescending reply. I'm very impressed.
    Glad to impress.

    We're talking about a wheelbase difference of only 1.7%, which caused me to make my comments as it is such a small difference. But, as you mention must be a big enough of a deal for your nephew to drop the competition.

    Quote Originally Posted by fredbooxe View Post
    In fact, yes, wheelbase makes a difference. Longer wheelbase = increased turning arc = more space required. Most of the time it's no big deal, and on slow stuff it's often possible to pivot on the front wheel, but sometimes it matters. For instance, on trails with little 'kinks/chicanes that I could straighten-out on my 26" bike and ride full speed, I found that I often had to slow down because I could no longer run a straight line. I bounced off a few trees and bruised my hips in learning this. And L to XL makes a difference as well.

    Niner's have short seat tubes and relatively long effective top tubes. It's not necessarily true that a longer post for a racer is a bad thing. (Notice I recommended the OP confirm he's ok with a std length post). Is my nephew faster on the smaller bike in technical terrain? Yes he is. The basis for this conclusion is that guys who pulled him in tight, technical terrain in race situations on his XL could no longer do so on the large. In addition, he could run with them in these conditions during the prior year when he was able to ride a large with a 410mm post. And, of course, on fast, open terrain there was no disadvantage to the XL.

    I'm glad you're happy on your XL. I very strongly prefer a large. Given my basic proportions and riding style, I'm sure that I would prefer a large Niner even if I were an inch taller. Depending on preference and proportion the OP may be happier with the XL, but he may prefer the L. I think the Worst case is he buys a large sight unseen and discovers he needs more seat height than possible with a 410mm post.

    Hope this tangent is helpful to the OP.
    A couple of tall drinks of water (both are 6'2") professional mountain bikers riding 29"ers and winning are always interesting to see their set ups. One rides and wins on a size XL, the other on a size L - albeit in Specialized brand which have measurements similar to the Niners.

    Todd Wells, at 6'2" (187.96cm), rides the XL bikes with -6 degree, 105mm stems.

    Pro Bike: Todd Wells' Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper 29er - BikeRadar

    Olympic bike: Todd Wells' S-Works Stumpjumper 29

    Pro Bike: Todd Wells? Specialized S-Works Epic 29er - BikeRadar



    Jaroslav Kulhavy at 6'2" (187cm) also rides a Specialized, and prefers a set up such as you and your nephew ride via the size L, but with a longer stem to make up for the shorter top tube.

    Dalby Forest, Yorkshire

    Rides with a 120mm stem slammed and flipped negative 21 degrees. One could argue with that stretched out set up that the length of his position may equate to something different, but it sure is an aggressive position on a mountain bike.

    Hard to argue that both Todd and Jaroslav are finding no problems through the tight and twisty despite one being on a size XL, and the other on a size L.

    They're both "shorter" to me as I am 5cm taller.

    At least the OP has plenty of opinion to make him think about it all. That extra 20mm's in headtube length between the size L Niner and size XL Niner is a Godsend for me at my height.

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    Niner sizing..

    I'm 6'3" and the EMD was the first Large that fit me perfectly. All other brands were always XL. I sit on a Thompson setback and use a 90 stem. Good luck.



    Sent from a cliche device from a cliche location...

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    Wow! There is a lot of great info here! I appreciate everyone taking the time to help me out with this. Even though opinions may differ, I think I just need to sling a leg over the bikes to see what works for me. My gut is telling me XL based on feedback from other riders as well as the Zinn calculator. Trying (if I can find one) a Large will only confirm that the XL is right for me, or possibly give me another viable option. A win-win.

    Now I need to think about an Air 9 build (thanks Jonhaas!) to see if I can make it work for around the same price as a Cannondale F29 1 alloy ($2,200ish). I've never built a bike... but have a full shop/garage and usually work on things with motors (non-human powered motors, that is!). Well, I'll save my Niner bike buiding questions for another post! Thanks again for all of the help.

    Amsaff 814

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruski View Post
    I'm 6'3" and the EMD was the first Large that fit me perfectly. All other brands were always XL. I sit on a Thompson setback and use a 90 stem. Good luck.
    6'3" dwarfing the size XL Jet 9...

    Swanson Blur

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    just a quick question. .on the Zinn site, under the recreational position it puts me out 10mm more but with what i have now i'm very stretched out now, i have a little pain on my hands and i dont see how 10mm more is realistic let alone the 25mm more for the agressive. does that seem right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by vegan_warrior View Post
    just a quick question. .on the Zinn site, under the recreational position it puts me out 10mm more but with what i have now i'm very stretched out now, i have a little pain on my hands and i dont see how 10mm more is realistic let alone the 25mm more for the agressive. does that seem right?
    What about the 3rd option at the Zinn site - the "casual" position?

    What the calculator does not report is saddle to bar drop. Most tall guys have bikes with too short of a head tube, too short of a steerer tube and stem angle to get things up to a more comfortable position. The pain on the hands might be due to saddle to bar drop, tilt of saddle, need more sweep with the bar etc... . You could use stems a bit shorter than what the Zinn calculator reports.

    The good thing about the Niner XL frames is the generous 145mm head tube length. Still not as long as you would see in a custom, but high enough with some other plumbing (postive rise stem, riser bar, spacers and a long enough steerer tube) to get things up and comfy and avoid the A$$ in the air and hands way below position (aggressive position).
    Last edited by BruceBrown; 04-20-2013 at 02:48 AM.

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    Casual puts me 17mm closer. So I guess I'm in the ballpark and just need to play with bar height and see if that helps some

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    Quote Originally Posted by vegan_warrior View Post
    Casual puts me 17mm closer. So I guess I'm in the ballpark and just need to play with bar height and see if that helps some
    Yes. Bar height is a biggie. Plenty of guys on smaller sizes that have bar height even with their saddle height (or even plenty having the bars higher than the saddle). Yet, when it comes to tall guys, too many of the XL sizes in the past had very short head tubes and it was nearly impossible to get the bars up close to saddle height without being a licensed plumber. And some of that resulted in really shortening the TT. And if you went with the lower bars, it was really easy to experience numbed hands, etc.. from the severe tilt and balance issues.

    That's all changed with several of the companies going to longer head tubes combined with longer TT's for the XL and XXL and beyond sizes - and of course is and always has been available in a custom frame (such as Zinn or Quiring, etc...). I like to be stretched out on my XL Niners, but I don't like the bars to be way low - so call me stretched out and high.

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    I know I'm kind of late to the show here but I am a tallish guy at 6'1'' but I have a really funky body length going on. I have a 31 inseam but a longer torso/arms that puts me "between" a large or medium for most companies. In the past on 26 inch bikes I'd size down and get setback posts and 110mm+stems to fix it. When I got a HT 29er I got a large frame because according the sizing chart for my height it was perfect. Well, it was a nice comfy ride, road like a boat. I have since decided I like a more agile bike and went with a medium Niner Jet 9. It was the perfect solution. Reminds me of the agile 26 inch bike I had but with the big monster tires. Best of both worlds in my head. My confidence has increased tenfold and I'm able to get through the tight twisty stuff much faster than the old 29er I had.

    If you are an "in-between" bike size go bigger for comfort or smaller for more agile.

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