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  1. #1
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    Giant and Specialized Frame Sizes

    Would appreciate some advice...

    Planning to get a bike - one of the following:

    Giant Anthem X (Medium or Large)
    Giant Trance X (Medium or Large)
    Specialized Epic (Medium or Large)
    Specialized Stumpjumper (Medium or Large)

    ... and I think that fit is probably more critical than other factors (eg 4 or 5 inches of suspension) assuming the above four models (8 if accounting for sizing) are all good bikes

    I am 182.5cm (a smidge under 6'0 - Giant sizing chart say Medium is compatible to rider heights up to 6'1 and the Large size range begins at 6'0)

    My inseam is 87cm (ie there is a fair amount of seatpost on bikes I ride)

    It seem that I am in a bit of a no man's land when it comes to the frame sizing charts, almost like I should be riding a Giant size Medium-Large, but they don't make that size for mountain bikes (unlike road bikes).

    Having test ridden most of the above combinations (sic), the two that feel best in terms of body position on the bike are the Giant Anthem X (Medium) and the Specialized Stumpjumper (Large). The Large Stumpjumper feels better (more comfortable) than the Medium Anthem X (which has a hint of upper back strain), but both feel reasonable (although the grips on the handlebars are about 4-5cm below my seat height on the Medium Anthem X), and I probably prefer the concept of the Anthem X.

    I am also more partial to Giant's Maestro floating pivot point suspension than I am to Specialized FSR Brain system. It seems to me that the Brain was invoked to deal with a suboptimal initial system as there seems to be a better pedal platform on the Giant (at least with the Brain thing turned off - and I'm not that into having a million things to adjust on the trail). The other reason I am more partial to 4 inches is that I am more inclined to off-road 'touring' (long and comfortable but not very hardcore trail rides) than I am to dropping, jumping or hanging out in rock gardens. So I would expect the bike to be comfortable over 3 to 6 hour rides.

    By comparison to the above two bikes, the Large Anthem X and Large Epic feel quite stretched out, as does the Large Trance X. The first two seem to create a hint of upper back strain as well. All three of these large size bikes also seem to have compromised handling - not enough weight on the front wheel - with me on them. The handling of the Large Stumpjumper is reasonable (with me on it) and the Anthem X is knife-like in its surety and precision.

    It's a pity that these companies don't produce the same choices of mountain bike frame sizes as they do road bike frames (for which a Giant Defy Advanced Medium-Large fits me perfectly, as does a Large Giant CRX for that matter).

    Any suggestions on which frame size (from the above mountain bike models) I should be dealing with, compromising with? I definitely don't want to plough thousands on a bike that gives me back strain of any sort. It's hard to tell whether the awareness of mild back strain is a result of adjusting to a new bike and that the sensations might go away over time, or indeed if the problem may worsen into something that causes me serious buyer's regret...

    Should I lobby the bike companies to make more sizes?

  2. #2
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    Last year i had the same problem i was thinking about Trance, Trance X, Epic and Stumpy
    My final choice was Stumpjumper due to a good price given by Local shop.
    I am 170 and ride Stumpjumper size M, go for L
    I really do enjoy the bike and as far as now did not had any problems with the suspension

  3. #3
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    I'm 5'll and I found that a medium giant fit me best for their line, and a large specialized was the best fit. Because of the fit, I found the specialized to actually be more maneuverable than the Trance, but less than an anthem x (seriously, that thing was sick fast and was easy to move around), however, I found that the trance I couldn't steer as well and just didn't feel as good as the stumpy.

    What I would do is try to ride them all back to back, I was leaning towards giant until I rode a large stumpy, followed by a trance x2, the stumpy felt better in pro-pedal, and really plush in fully active, and the trance just felt way too active in active mode.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by marbroz
    Last year i had the same problem i was thinking about Trance, Trance X, Epic and Stumpy
    My final choice was Stumpjumper due to a good price given by Local shop.
    I am 170 and ride Stumpjumper size M, go for L
    I really do enjoy the bike and as far as now did not had any problems with the suspension

    ...definitely agree with you that an L Stumpjumper would be the right size on a Specialized - isn't amazing that bike reviews don't take into account how some bikes will naturally fit some journalists better than others? I'm sure many of the comments about bike handling for a particular style of bike come down to bike fit... see, how could someone who did not fit a particular bike frame without having to do multiple significant adjustments to stems and the like, which ultimately affect the weight distribution of the bike and its manoeuvrability, give it an honest review?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlockinz
    I'm 5'll and I found that a medium giant fit me best for their line, and a large specialized was the best fit. Because of the fit, I found the specialized to actually be more maneuverable than the Trance, but less than an anthem x (seriously, that thing was sick fast and was easy to move around), however, I found that the trance I couldn't steer as well and just didn't feel as good as the stumpy.

    What I would do is try to ride them all back to back, I was leaning towards giant until I rode a large stumpy, followed by a trance x2, the stumpy felt better in pro-pedal, and really plush in fully active, and the trance just felt way too active in active mode.

    so why did you go for the L Stumpjumper rather than the Medium Anthem X (given how you rate the Anthem X)? Was the Stumpjumper a better fit for you or did you just want a 5 inch travel bike instead of a 4 inch one?


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by lookin
    so why did you go for the L Stumpjumper rather than the Medium Anthem X (given how you rate the Anthem X)? Was the Stumpjumper a better fit for you or did you just want a 5 inch travel bike instead of a 4 inch one?

    I thought the stumpy was a better overall bike, and had better components than the anthems that I could afford, so I went with the stumpy. However, if I was still looking to do real fast aggressive XC only, I'd have gone with the Anthem X.

    The anthem would have been great if you really liked hardtails but decided to step into an FS line, but I wanted to have something that toed the line as a more all around bike, and the stumpy struck me as the best that I could get for a well rounded fit.

    If I win the lottery, I'd get an anthem X1 or X0 as well, but instead I'll just use my hardtail if I really want to attack singletracks. The Anthem X rode like a hardtail, I never really felt the rear suspension, even when fully active. The stiffness was actually the reason I shied from it, I wanted something a little more plush, but not as plush as the Trance X

  7. #7
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    so you have all been extremely helpful

    and even though 70% of people would ride the large Anthem X (it seems), it's very hard to look past those who swear by the Medium size. (and even though handling on the large might be ok when one is up and moving the bike around underneath, i cannot see that being the case when one is riding seated or hovering above the seat - short wheelbases and probably weight distribution is often overlooked in trying to be comfortable, but unlike the old days, comfort is as important as handling, and aerodynamics is considered redundant for trail riding)

    this may sound like a cop out, but i am going to stay away from the Anthem X (in Medium or Large). it is certainly my favourite bike design - especially its characteristics on the medium frame for my dimensions - with the market leading Maestro suspension, 4 inches of travel, steep head angle, shorter wheelbase, and light weight

    the bike which fits me best is the Large Stumpjumper, and its a good bike, but not one that i have any great desire for, and it certainly does not have my preferred suspension design and definitely does not have my preferred geometry and weight - i would certainly not buy a new one though, and might get one second hand just to have a ride at the moment, or only get it if there is some deep discount on the thing, so i can be sure that the market is not getting the wrong price signals from me. Overall, the market will certainly get few of my dollars, Giant will lose their sale from me at the moment for not having a Medium-Large size, which hopefully they will bring into production in due course, but the Specialized company will not gain much either (because i am not endorsing their bike designs, only the fit, which should not be so hard to achieve for any manufacturer with a proper range of sizes), and so although i may be riding a Large Stumpjumper over the next couple of years, maybe, and somewhat reluctantly, as soon as Giant brings out their Medium-Large size, which is the gap in their frame sizes, BANG! I will be onto it

    well, i guess it is not really a cop because i have made the decision that BIKE FIT IS SO CRITICAL that getting the bike that fits properly (without excessive stem, handlebar, seatpost adjustments, etc) is more important that getting the bike you want (in terms of outright design and engineering prowess - a lot of people talk about how good Specialized's research capability is, but I'm pretty sure they just advertise it more than Giant do, which is unfortunate for the perception of Giant because research dollars translate directly into innovation and everyone wants the technology to improve, however Giant does do innovation pretty damn well, and they embrace complexity and sophistication over complication, what i am saying is that a lot of their design is more seamless with the bike, more subtle, at least as effective)





    another aside on bike fit: for those who know road bikes, i would dearly love to have a Giant TCR Advanced SL bike, but I simply cannot ride any of the sizes because the geometry is all wrong for me (i get bent over in a position that will do long term damage to my family prospects); on the other hand the Giant Defy Advanced is an excellent bike and fits me perfectly as it comes. (well i could ride a TCR if i was desperate to, but it would look pretty bizarre having a riser bar on that bike)

  8. #8
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    ^^^^^

    Just wait till a few seasons on the stumpy, you may learn to love it .

    Seriously though, who gives a damn about all the engineering if you're riding a bike that fits, don't over think it, just get out there and enjoy it, that stumpy will take you places.

  9. #9
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    I'm a bit late on this thread but I went through the same just before Xmas. In the end I chose the older Trance frame rather than the X because the X didn't give anything useful for all-day riding.

    I chose the Trance over the Epic or Stumpy as I cab't see how the brain helps when you hit a rock or tree trunk - it only reacts after you've hit it - so why bother? The Epic is nice to ride but is now quite old design compared to the Maestro.

    I chose the Trance 0over the anthem as my mates whi ride those are all fast and young and don't care about comfort.

    I knew the off-the-shelf setup wasn't right and tried a longer stem to help me on the medium frame. I couldn't decide what length so I bought a cheap one of each of 110mm 120mm and 130mm - all 6°, and have swapped them around until I feel settled. Oh and I've put a 3° flat bar on.

    Looks like its going to be the 120mm upside down that gives me the length/drop that feels OK and not too different from the road bike.So now I'll buy a good quality 120mm.

    I'll keep the other set of cheap ones as I just might need them again when I buy the next bike.

    As someone else said, if I won the lottery I'd also buy an Anthem to replace the HT.

  10. #10
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    A few observations:

    1. You are posting on a Specialized forum. Perhaps best not to belittle the marquee amongst the devoted (Please pardon me if I am misinterpreting your comments). Specialized does a great deal of innovation and R&D. It is one of the leading companies in developing a broad range of innovative products. There are many others, Giant among them, who product high quality and cutting edge bicycles. I don’t think that people grandstand on the amount of R&D that Specialized does. I do think that Giant, by virtue of being an Asian company, may get overlooked especially in the US. It is a bit of jingoism, but you find that anywhere.

    Truth in advertizing: Specialized didn’t really “invent” the FSR suspension, they’ve just gone a long way to perfect the Horst linkage. Giant has also used the Horst linkage rear suspension for the NRS line of full sus bikes. Of course Giant didn’t really invent the short dual link suspension either…

    2. There are many high quality suspension designs out there. All have their short comings and advantages. The maestro suspension isn’t the first or the only short, dual link suspension format out there. See also Santa Cruz/Intense, DW-link (a growing family including Turner and that guy is really smart), Niner, BMC, etc. I would tend to agree with you that, as it is implemented by Specialized, the Horst linkage doesn’t do as much as SDL suspensions in isolating pedaling forces – the performance of the shock excluded. But each suspension’s strength at isolating pedaling forces and bob are also relative to the gear selection. As your chain moves through the gears the force vector acting on the rear suspension will change and so will your pedaling performance. The SDL suspensions are apparently difficult to engineer. According to Dave Weagle moving a link even a few millimeters can ruin a good suspension design. To make it work you need very good theoretical engineers, or you build thousands of prototypes. Giant apparently has some good engineers as the Maestro suspension is very good.

    3. Don’t disregard a suspension design because it uses a well designed shock to overcome some limitations. You are buying the whole bike, not just part of it. The whole package has to work. Believe me, Specialized makes it work. Giant makes it work. The brain is more than just a very good shock. It is an inertia valve controlling the lockout. I’m sure that is way too simple of an explanation, but it works and it is highly tunable to how you ride. If you are not into making a lot of adjustments while you ride then a brain may be what you are looking for. It takes some initial time investment, but once you get it dialed in you just point and shoot. On an RP23 you have to select the lockout, with the Brain you tune it to select the lockout as you want, but can then forget about it and ride. Not everybody likes it, but that’s cool, too.

    4. Fit is more important than how cool you perceive the suspension to be. To that extent I agree with schlockinz – buy the bike and ride it like you stole it! But don’t buy something that you will have second thoughts about. I bought an Epic and should have followed my gut and gotten a Yeti AS-R. Still, the Epic is a damn fine bike and very well made. Look at the reviews here. You won’t see one that says “Worked great until the seat tube sheered off at the BB.” At least for the alloy frames.

    Bottom line (finally): It seems to me that you are less than enthusiastic about the Stumpy, though there may be some discordance between what you think you want and what works best for you. Buying a used bike might seem like an economical decision, but I doubt it will be in the long run. You will keep thinking about another bike and the next thing you know you’re back in the market. Look for a bike with 4” of travel and steep angles and with cockpit dimension that mimic the Stumpy, but expand your options. You’ll only have to buy one bike that way and be much happier.

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