First off, here is some info on me. I have been riding seriously for 12 to 14 months. I raced last season but only in 5 races. I had a 1st, 2nd and a 3rd. I'm getting more serious about racing this year. I plan to move to Cat 2 by the end of the season but would like to get faster before i do. My first 3 bikes were size large. The other day my brother and I were riding and he suggest we switch bikes. He rides a medium salsa. I could tell I was faster through the twistys on his bike. So here is my question. Should I be riding a size medium frame. I'm 5'10 1/2. The local bike store fit me to a large but the three finger between your junk and the frame says a large is too big. Should i consider getting a medium frame? How tall are you and what size frame are you riding?
Dude. 5 races and 3 on the podium? You should start this season in Cat 2.
Clearly you're already considering a size medium frame. So it's a little too late to ask if you should consider it. ;)
There are a couple major differences between frame sizes, in general. Shorter frames typically have a shorter wheelbase and shorter frames typically have a shorter reach. It's possible that you were feeling the shorter wheelbase. It's possible that your frame is set up too long for you and you tend to weight the hell out of the front wheel. It's possible that your brother has lighter wheels, or less weight high on the bike frame. All could effect the handling feel. Check out the geometry charts for your bike and your brother's bike too. In particular, look at head angles, wheelbases, chainstay lengths, and effective top tube lengths.
As far as whether or not to get a new bike, start with whether or not your current bike fits you. If you have a lot of weight on your hands - it doesn't. You may also be able to try moving your brother's wheels over to your bike, just to see what that does for the handling feel. If your bike fits you well and your brother's wheels don't "faster" it, then it's fairly likely something about his frame's geometry.
Although, you don't even mention whether your bike and his bike are even in the same class beyond (I assume) both being mountain bikes.
He is doping. I am calling for an investigation.
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Move up a class - your beginner days should be over - you get faster in the non-competitive season
Are you riding 29?
I am 5'8" & ride medium 17.5" trek superfly al elite. On 26" bike, I ride a 19" frame
I'm 5'9 3/4 with 33"-ish inseam and i ride a medium, but i've considered getting a small for non-racing hardtail purposes. Large is out of the question for any application. My old Giant XTC was medium at 19" and felt big, i now have a medium at 17.5". My road bike is a 54cm, if that's any help.
If i were an inch taller with the same proportions i would certainly still be rocking a medium. If as you say you've actually tested one, the choice should be relatively easy to make.
A little more info. Both bikes are 29ers, both bikes weigh right at 24# and both wheel sets are about the same weight. I have a set of Stan arch ex, and he has a set of Rovals. My inseam is about 31.
Go to the websites for your frame and your brother's. Compare the measurements and geometry.
33" inseam for me, plus long monkey arms, so I have the large El Mariachi and it fits great. But it was close and I believe it fits becuase of my longer arms.
keep in mind that sizing can vary significantly between brands - 1 mans med may be bigger than another's large - typically a med is ~17inch and a large ~19inch (seat tube length) but that can vary significantly and then there's a hundred other geometry figures which have loose and varying relationships to the stated size.
shops often fit purely on height when its more complicated depending on your proportions - seems like you have short legs so probably want a longer TT relative to ST
so not really answering your question, just making life difficult!
i will say though that yes, a smaller bike will typically be quicker in the twisty stuff but it will be less stable in straight line speed so there is a tradeoff - just get what puts you in the right position relative to all the contact points with sensible length seatpost and stem
I'm 6' 2" and built with a long torso. I'm always in between sizes I have started using the "when in doubt go with the smaller size" method. It is easier to make a small frame bigger than a big frame smaller.