Some questions from a former rider.


New Member
Jun 10, 2013
Hi all, I used to ride both road bikes and mountain bikes when I was a teenager, then I took a nasty spill fracturing both wrists and after that I just grew apart from cycling. But since going back to the gym and a new weight loss lifestyle change I realized I do love cycling. (I bike every time I am at the gym and it's the only time I truly enjoy the workout.) No bike currently but I am looking at a Giant Trance X3 I will be replacing the tires with some more green way friendly tires as living in Raleigh, NC we have a ton of green ways and several are within walking distance from where we live. But here are some questions for you. My plan for my riding at first is to lose weight. Currently I am 6'3" and 340 (down from 400 less than 9 months ago). I am definitely looking at a mountain bike as road bikes really aren't my game and won't be at least for the foreseeable future. I would prefer to go with a full suspension bike due to the fact that once I hit closer to my goal weight I will start doing more trail riding and start hitting some fo the actual wilderness paths around here. My biggest questions arise from two debates. 1) 26" vs 29". I get different stories depending which store I go to. The one I trust and know has a great reputation tells me 26" as it will give me a better rise in the long run with what I want to do. Where as my father-in-law was told 29" so that way I won't feel the bumps as much. 2) Horizontal vs Vertical rear suspension. Any insight into this will help. I know it will require me trying out both and seeing what I am comfortable with, but I was wanting to get some preliminary advice. Thanks all!
FWIW. IMO, a person who is taller than 5'10" should definitely consider a 29er over a 26er 9-times-out-of-10 based on my comparatively dwarfish height of 5'9" & feeling that 'I' am on the cusp of riding either-or ...

Consequently, for someone who is taller than 6'1", I think that a 29er is certainly the better choice 10-times-out-of-10.

BTW. Remember, frame size matters ... for someone who is 6'3" tall, I presume that you want a frame whose top tube has an effective length of 62cm ... maybe, 64cm (?) ... but, I would recommend the slightly shorter top tube & adjust the reach with the stem.
Thanks for the advice. I know part of it is going to come down to how it feels on a test ride. I'm trying to stick to a budget but not a horrible budget. Anything under 2k is perfectly fine but the lower the better.

I have noticed that sometimes a pick in 26 is perfectly in my range but moving to a 29 puts it well outside my range. As far as the frame I do remember even when I was younger and after I hit the 6'0" mark the shorter top tubes were still more comfortable for me. So you are probably dead on there.

As for the FSR. It's getting really confusing. My trusted bike store told me either the horizontal or vertical is fine as long as the ride is decent and it fits my price point. But my FIL in Charlotte went to his store and the guy told him I should ONLY look at horizontal as they are superior and give a better ride.
BTW. Regarding the rear suspension type, I think THAT, in part, depends on the types of trails on which you will be riding ...

  • MOST quality rear supensions are pretty good, now ...
    I will give a lot of credit to FOX's rear shock which must have been copied now by everyone else ... I am not sure how many choices you will have with 29er frames at this point in time, but there will definitely be more choices with each successive year

I think that the rear suspensions where the shock is vertical still have the inherent potential for greater travel (presuming the swingarm is designed for it, of course) than the other designs are capable of ...

But, THAT does not necessarily mean that you need to buy a frame which has a vertical rear shock ...

AND, I think you may simply want to consider a 29er Hardtail with a suspension fork until you know you are ready for trails which benefit from a rear suspension BECAUSE improvements in MTB frame design are never-ending ...

And, supposing NOW was two years ago OR any other two year period then you would see the difference in the frames & other components would seem significant compared with changes which you might see in a Road bike ...

And, if you like something in the here-and-now, but won't need it for a couple of years ... well, it may be available as NOS for a fraction of what it would cost "today" ... with, your combined cost being close to the same if you were to buy the full suspension bike this season.
  • Like
Reactions: dweber77
Ok that does make a lot more sense. As of current the trusted LBS was mainly suggesting FSR as a way to help distribute the weight a bit better plus they figured it would be a nice have in my price point since they had an older model that was marked down. Of course this means I have to start poking around the internet looking for more information on FSR. The internet is truly an evil place, I am sure a few more clicks and it would tell me if I bought a vertical FSR that I had cancer.