Importance of frame size- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Importance of frame size

    Hey Everyone,

    I'm 5'7". Everything I'm reading says a perfect fit frame is a medium size. But reading around the forums I see allot of people my size enjoy riding large size frames. I'm getting ready to buy a good used bike. Pickings are slim though on the medium size frames. It looks like its about 1 in 5 for sale. My options are much less limited if a large frame will work well.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    I'm 6'0 ,I ride either a medium or large. What matters is the reach ,I would think that you would be reaching too far to bars.You would fit some smalls. Stand over could matter on a large, if you can't get the saddle low enough.

  3. #3
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    For me, the right size is about having good handling and a comfortable ride at the same time. You can probably make a large fit your body, but it might handle oddly on climbs and at low speed.

    For reference, I'm 5'8" and typically like mediums.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    Frame size is literally the most important thing about a bike. Wrong size can easily make the ride not very enjoyable. Or trying to make the bike fit can throw the handling all off.

    That doesn't mean a "size chart" means a alot for bike size. Im 6'1 and can ride a large or XL (19"-21" frame).

    Stand over has nothing to do with the seat height itself, its the length of the seat tube and design of the too tube that determines it. As long as you can stand over the bike and not be balancing on your crotch instead your good. With cycling shorts on Im lucky if I have 3/4" clearance and never once have I been racked by the too tube.

    But reach is what matters above all else, it can be fine tuned with a stem change, small adjustments to seat forward or back, but if you have to go a really short stem and a 0 offset seat post with the seat crammed forward, its way too big of a frame.

    Also, frame size as a listing means LITTLE, need actual frame measurements or better if you can test ride the bike (even if just in the sellers driveway). Frame size gives a reference point but like me, if your torso is long and you not all legs, you can go up a frame size, if your all legs then you'll be towards the smaller of the sizes as reach on a bigger frame will be too long.

  5. #5
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    You need a 28" or less actual inseam to think about fitting on a L.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    Frame size is literally the most important thing about a bike.
    ^ this

    the best way to know if a bike fits you is to ride it. online geometry and size charts can be used as a guide if you know your measurements, but every manufacturer measures a little different and fits a little different. personal preference also factors in.
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  7. #7
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    Very unlikely that you should be on a large. At 5'7" I'd think you might be able to make a small work. I'm 6'1" and ride a large but can make a medium 29er work.

  8. #8
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    Some size charts say I should be on a small (I am 5'8"). I call BS. I like riding mediums, but some larges are plenty comfortable with no modifications.

    Take my current bike for example. Company's size chart says small based on my height. I did a number of online fit calculations, as well as spoke to the fitter at my shop at length prior to ordering it. Based on the pure numbers, ignoring "recommendations", I should be on the medium. I tried out a large in a bike with a similar geometry, and it felt good, too.

    FWIW, the bike in question is a 17" frame for the medium. I have long arms on top of my torso/inseam measurements.

    It's the most comfortable mtb I've ever ridden.

    My wife is 5'4. She rides small mountain bikes.

  9. #9
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    Frame size is very important. At your height i would agree medium would be best, but you will know for sure if you try it out first on a test ride. I'm 5'3.5" and rode a hybrid before i got into mountain biking. When i was fitted for the hybrid i could get on a 17.5" ('medium') frame with 29" wheels. When i went in the store for a mountain bike i tried a 17.5" 29er and it was too big. Tyres add height, and the geometry was completely different to that of the hybrid. So i had to go down a size to the 15.5" ('small') with 27.5" wheels in order to feel fully in control of the bike and comfortable. I could just about manage on the medium but i felt better on the small. If i hadn't tried both no doubt i would have just blindly bought the 17.5" so glad that didn't happen. Make sure you try it out before you buy.

  10. #10
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    There should be plenty of mediums out there; after all, there are about 5 sizes of bikes so 1 in 5 is to be expected. Finding an extra small, for example, mihht be a little more tricky, but I don't think there's any reason to compromise.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Z. Ryder View Post
    There should be plenty of mediums out there; after all, there are about 5 sizes of bikes so 1 in 5 is to be expected. Finding an extra small, for example, mihht be a little more tricky, but I don't think there's any reason to compromise.
    Problem is, it's the mediums that sell. This late in the season it's the odd ball bikes that are still in stock.

  12. #12
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    Large is hardly oddball. I'd think they'd be a little more common in the US, actually. Average for a man here is 5'10", which most brands put on a large.

    Which is consistent with what the OP is noticing.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    either way there is more mediums in the world than XL's, which i usually need. seems every time i'm looking for a bike, like in every bike shop known to man, there is row after row of medium frames and not an XL anywhere in the whole store. blows my mind. and i don't even consider myself that big at 6'3". is there like some secrete big and tall bike shop that harbors all the xl frames in Antarctica or something?
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  14. #14
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    My medium is longer than most larges, until very recently. Most mediums today are longer than larges just a few years ago.

    You should look for a long medium, or an oddball large with an 18 inch seat tube.

  15. #15
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    For some brands, like Niner, you'd probably want a small. Most others you're on the mid- to low-end of the medium range. I don't think a large is a good idea at all.

  16. #16
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    Importance of frame size

    Quote Originally Posted by Slash5 View Post
    Problem is, it's the mediums that sell. This late in the season it's the odd ball bikes that are still in stock.
    That may be true, but OP is looking for a used bike.

  17. #17
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    You have to ride the bike. Anything else is a gamble. A couple laps around the parking lot will tell you.

    I've found the online size calculators to be little off. I'm sure the size they give is applicable to something, but there are too many different styles of frame geometry anymore. Most of the ones that I've used recommend a much shorter effective top tube than what I use on a late style XC bike.

  18. #18
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    Stock of used bikes waxes and wanes too. During the nice part of the season, everyone wants a bike and good ones go quick. Savvy sellers are less likely to try during crappy parts of the year, but with much lower demand, the bikes that are selling can sometimes sit.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Large is hardly oddball. I'd think they'd be a little more common in the US, actually. Average for a man here is 5'10", which most brands put on a large.

    Which is consistent with what the OP is noticing.
    Perhaps the OP is shopping for used - I find it very hard to find a good quality used bike in Large. Tons of small, tons of XL. 1 in 200 are large - and what makes it even worse is 75% of the people listing on the local CL don't list frame size - when you contact them about size - they usually tell me 26" or some other random measurement.

  20. #20
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    OP, also consider the stem length and bar width you want to ride with. Used bikes might be set up with longer stem and more narrow bars than not. Using a 30-50mm stem can alter the fit of top tube length (reach).

  21. #21
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    I'm 5'10" and riding a medium sized frame. Trek Fuel 18,5" with 17,5" actual. No way on earth I'd go for something bigger. You definitely should be looking at small to medium-sized bikes.

  22. #22
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    it seems that online size calculators are based on an older generation of mountain bike geometry.

  23. #23
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    Fit has everything to do with current trends. A medium isnt the same size it used to be. Riders are on much larger bikes today than a few years ago.

    Its hard to say how important fit is when fit keeps changing. Were going inches longer, not millimeters.

    Find a frame that the seat goes low enough to descend and high enough to pedal. The rest is preference. You might not want a 50mm stem. If you get an old geo medium, those short stems cramp you up on the bike.

  24. #24
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    I'm about the same height as the OP, and I like a smaller frame, normally around 17.5. I really hate big frames, they feel so bulky and slow.
    check out my youtube channel if you want: https://www.youtube.com/HACKANDRIDEBIKES

  25. #25
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    Thank you all for your input. I will definitely look for a medium size frame. Sounds like a large frame would be a real mistake.

  26. #26
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    At 5'7", a large by just about any manufacture I can think of it would be too big..regardless of your proportions. Its brand-specific, but a medium would be a safe bet. Obviously, you have to go and sit on some bikes to figure this out. You may even be on the upper end of a small in some brands depending on your proportions and remember, a range of folks can fit on any given size i.e. I am 5'6" and ride a small (15.5") Specy but folks should be able to fit that frame with some adjustments down to 5'2".
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

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  27. #27
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    I'm actually starting to think that maybe a small frame would be better for me. But I hear what you're all saying. Each manufacturer is different. I'll just have to test ride any candidate bike to see how it rides for me. But at this point I wouldnt waste anyones time checking out a large.

  28. #28
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    If you buying a bike from a shop, this shouldn't be a big deal as you should be trying a few different ones and the guys there will know which sizes to try out by just looking at you.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2018 Niner RKT 9 RDO - enduro AF

  29. #29
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    I'm wanting to get a high end bike used. So my pickings are whatever is available on Craigs List.

  30. #30
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    ^^^10-4. I would say stick with small or medium frames, 15-17" seat tubes to at least get in the ball park. Fit isn't rocket science on mountainbikes and buying used means you will likely compromise somewhere. Good luck!
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2018 Niner RKT 9 RDO - enduro AF

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