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  1. #1
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    Short rider specs/options

    I'm 5'6", riding a low-end 26" hardtail: 16" frame, 41" wheelbase, 70.5 deg HT.

    Despite all of its massive shortcomings, this bike does get around tight technical hairpins, which is VERY relevant to my riding (my local trail is El Prieto in LA).

    Sooner or later, I'd like to move up to a decent FS bike--but it looks like there's no obvious equivalent on the market? For example, Giant's purest XC full-suss bike appears to be the Anthem. In size XS, it has a 68 deg HT and 42.9" wheelbase.

    That sounds like a pretty different-handling bike--right? I'm looking for a Jeep, but everything around looks like a Ford Raptor, as far as I can tell. Am I just taking #s to seriously? It would just suck to move up to a nicer bike and get clumsier and slower on my usual trail...

  2. #2
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    Not sure about your trails, but as a fellow vertically-challenged rider at 5'5", don't worry about it. On a longer bike, you may have to adjust your lines a little bit, but you will probably be faster overall.

    My new 27" ht is 10cm longer and 4 degrees slacker than my old 26" ht and I'm faster everywhere, including super tight & twisty technical trails. I did have to pick new lines here and there, but it was very easy to adjust. Most importantly though, the increased control when speeds pick up is unreal.

    70 degree headtube angles do not belong in mountain bike frames in my opinion, glad to see everything getting slacker.

  3. #3
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    I'm 5'6"-5'7" on a good day. Right now my main ride is a Whyte G160. The reach on that beast is 17.8", wheelbase is 46", HT angle is like 65, and it handles and rides beautifully. The reason, the entire geometry in whole is better and more efficient especially the ST angle which is about 75. Sure at first it feels clumsier and awkward. But you start getting used to it and before you know it your faster and more efficient everywhere and realizing that you can be even faster in the downs. That's just the new standards, long, low and slack. Started with the brits, and then European bikes and finally us Americans are coming around to it. Seems crazy but try any of the newer bikes, without any preconceived notions or doubts and you'll realize how much better bikes with these geometries work. I also upgraded from an upright, uptight Scott HT. Now I run my Whyte Enduro beast and a Kona HEI HEI DL in medium cause I like the roominess to move around the bike and have it move around with me and cause its so much faster and definitely more composed than my Scott HT. Don't be afraid, embrace the change.

  4. #4
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    More efficient everywhere EXCEPT going around switchbacks, which is the OP's issue. He does have a point. Tight turns we could just ride on the old short-wheelbase bikes now requires advanced skills to avoid stopping.

    Sent from my SM-P900 using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    at 5'6" I don't see why worry about, don't get too concentrated on numbers and try some bikes, you are hardly a XS on any bike, most like a solid S and potentially M on some brands, you are likely to ride a M Santa Cruz for instance

    yeah new bikes are likely to have a longer wheel base but you shouldn't be trying to find a closer number to your current bike

  6. #6
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    Well, I'm sure you all are right that I would have gotten used to it, but after a lot of internal debate, I just found (and bought) a nice old Rocky Mountain Element 26" tonight. Only an inch longer than the old hardtail, with old school steep XC geometry. Dilemma solved! I appreciate the input.

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