21" Full Suspension for 5'11" Guy- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Original MudCult Member
    Reputation: WalleyesAndTNT's Avatar
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    May 2011

    21" Full Suspension for 5'11" Guy

    I use to race 18" Stumpjumers from 88-92 and loved them. Now years later, I want to get back into racing and believe I can compete. The thing is, back then I was fitted, measured and bikes fit like a glove. Right now, I am looking around and found a 2005 Giant NRS C2 full suspension but it is a 21." I have been looking and seeing what that means to guy my size. I love to climb and single track and wonder if anyone my size finds a 21" a good fit? I am just use to a hard tail and am willing to go with the times.
    Any thoughts would be good and appreciated!
    Richmond, MN
    Duluth or Bust

  2. #2
    Reputation: sgltrak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    I'm 5'10" and that would be too big for me. My 2007 Giant Trance was a medium (19" seat tube?) and it fit pretty well. All of my 80s and 90's bikes were 18" or 19". I still prefer to ride frames on the smaller side of the range for my height, as long as I can get the reach right.

    I don't know anything about the bike you are considering, but I'd think about finding a newer full suspension model or sticking to a hardtail. Full suspension has progressed considerably in the past 14 years and a 14 year old bike may have seen a lot of abuse.

    My newest bike is 8 years old, but none of my bikes is full suspension. I sold off my FS bikes a few years back.

  3. #3
    Reputation: jcd46's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    5'11" here, and 19/L fits perfect, I think 21 would be too big.
    Surly Krampus
    All City MMD
    Kona Unit

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: LyNx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Besides that bike being too big for you, it's also outdated and was not really good in it's hay day, so you'll be wasting your money. Even if it was your size and you will not be able to "compete" on that thing vs a modern bike, HT or FS, not unless you've got serious fitness and skills and even then If you're on a limited budget, I highly suggest you look at modern HT's, they've come a LONG way since back then.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
    You're doing mtbr wrong, you're supposed to get increasingly offended by the implications that you're doing ANYTHING wrong.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: fredcook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    These days, with new geometry (and variations within), just going by S, M, L, and 16", 17" 20", etc., really is just a basic starting point. I'm 5'-10, and one of my older bikes is a large and feels small compared to my newest medium bike. Completely different animals. It is best to sit on and ride specific bikes. Size X on one bike can be vastly different on another of the same size. I know, that makes it tough when looking at used bikes where you don't have the luxury of an inventory to try.

    I think many will agree with Lynx. A 2005 bike is going to be pretty dated. Sure, it'll go down the trail. But for competing, you'll be at a disadvantage. Also, you will likely run into limited options for some parts. A lot (like close to all!) parts standards have changed. And if you're competing, that's pretty important.

    If you want to save by buying used, I would suggest going to a shop and have them help with fit on a more recent bike. At the very least, you'll be able to catch up on the latest trends in sizes and geometry.

    But, most importantly, welcome back!
    You didn't quit riding because you're old, you're old because you quit riding.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    A 21" NRS would be too large. I'm 5-10 and my NRS is an 18.5. I've shortened up the stem and added some wider risers to get the fit more modern. It fits me well. As for an NRS being competitive, it depends on what you are racing. For pure XC, geometry wise, newer bikes are only just starting to get more slack and modern. My old bike just got me to a 2nd place AG in an Xterra. It's had a few updates, most importantly front fork, tires and 1x12 drivetrain. But, I find its more about the rider than bike. If you are chasing the top spot in a very competitive race, then a newer bike can make a difference. The biggest issue with a bike that old is keeping it maintained as parts can be tough to come by. Mine has raced its last race.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    21" is generally considered XL, back in '90-ish 21" bikes were perfect for me at 6'3" with 36" actual inseam (I had a Kona Explosif). XLs are still the right fit for me, 21" would almost certainly be too big for you.
    I was also racing back in '89-'92, took a bunch of years off (got a little fat too), got back into racing about 7 years ago. If you're looking to get back into racing, don't waste your money on the '05 26er, technology has improved quite a bit. "If" I were to race a 26er, it would be a Stumpy M4 with decent brakes. But I'm confident I'm faster on my 29ers, and I do ride 26 most of the time. A sandbagger guy won cat2 overall at a recent race on a high-end Giant XTC 26er, I think he should have been with the 1s, so it is possible to do well on a 26er, but I think you pretty much only see 29 in cat1, which is notable.
    There's quite a few race bike discussions on the xc racing and training forum, poke around there for a while.
    skidding is the signature of the novice; learn how to use your brakes.

  8. #8
    No known cure
    Reputation: Vader's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    My last four bikes have been custom, two full suspension; two hardtails by three different builders. I pick all of the numbers besides seat tube height. I'm 5'10.5" and all the seat tubes have been 18".
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    I rode an old Trek Fuel 98 XL frame (2001-ish) at 5'10" a few years ago. It was FS and cheap and in good shape.

    I liked it, it was comfortable enough. I sold it after a few close calls where I had to bail out during slow speed stuff, and couldn't clear the top tube with my leg. Top tubes were higher back then.

    Was an injury waiting to happen. I'm old.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: One Pivot's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    So heres the screwy thing... Im 5'7, and my 2017 medium is just as long as that 21" NRS. Mine is a 17 inch frame, but lengthwise its the same (or pretty damn close).

    You could probably ride that bike just fine. Geometry has changed so dramatically over the years that "fitting" on a modern bike would look significantly different than how that NRS fits.

    Whats your budget? You can get a new marlin 29er for about $500. It would likely function much better than an old NRS. New bikes with deore level gear function better than old XTR does. By a lot, and thats no exaggeration.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: MSU Alum's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    I'll have to agree with everyone that:
    1. It's too big
    2. It's too dated

    It sounds as though at your fitness and skill level (wanting to race) the decision to buy such a dated bike would hold you back, unless you are racing in the clunker category where everyone is on really dated equipment!

    There was a point, 50 years ago, when I raced slalom on Dynamic VR17's. If I were to get back into racing, I wouldn't search out those skis, even though they were great at the time. Move on.

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