15 inch frame too small for 5"8" 5-9" person?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Strumpetto, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. Strumpetto

    Strumpetto New Member

    Jul 13, 2007
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    Hi all,

    I am not new to mountain biking, but I have never really been picky about the particulars. I have always simply gotten medium, or 18" inch bikes, as I am about 5'9". I have found a bike on Ebay that I am very fond of, but it is a 15 inch frame. Can I get away with such a small frame? Can I not just simply raise the seat? Is a smaller frame not better for aggressively moving through technical sections? Thank you!

  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

    Jul 23, 2005
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    Yes, I think you can buy-and-ride that 15" frame -- I guess it really depends on the terrain you are riding on AND how you relate to it. Are the sizes you are referring to center-to-center or center-to-top?

    I presume what you are referring to as a 'small' frame has 54cm (?) virtual top tube vs. a 56cm (?) virtual top tube for what you are describing as a medium frame ... is that right?

    I'm 5'9" and I reckon I use a "small" frame -- 14.75" (c-c) with a 54cm top tube & 'regular' 350mm seatpost (the top of my saddle is 28.25" above the BB spindle with 175mm cranks). I guess the stem length & handlebar rise have varied ... the current bar has no rise but a short 100mm stem + 3cm of spacers below the stem -- maybe, that's too relaxed a riding configuration for you.

    If you like the fit of your current frame, then UNLESS you are already using a fairly long stem, you can simply put a longer stem on the "small" frame + possibly a 400mm seatpost if your saddle height is more than 28.5" above the BB spindle to match the fit of how your current MTB is set up.
  3. autom8ed

    autom8ed New Member

    Mar 25, 2007
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    I'm 5'9 and was new to mountain biking as well when i got my first bike about a month ago.. all the sales reps thought i'd need a medium or 17" frame as did I. After test riding a 17" bike, i noticed a little shoulder stiffness.. I got measured at REI and turns out a 15" frame was exactly what I needed.

    Not to assume that it will be the same in your case.. but you should get measured to be sure. All the best componentry and high tech materials won't make up for the added comfort you will get from a properly fitted bike.

    My local REI did it for free. Hope that helps.