What frame size are you riding?!

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by taylormade, Jul 29, 2003.

  1. taylormade

    taylormade New Member

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    Hey all! I'm new to this forum, but I can already tell it's full of great info and cool riders.

    My question is this:
    I'm getting ready to make my first mtn bike purchase after getting the fever to get into the sport. I have friends who are into mtn biking and ready to show me the ropes on the trails. Plus, I'm considering starting to train to do a triathlon in the spring, but need some wheels to at least get me through my first one (with slicks of course).

    I'm having a hard time figuring out what size frame I'm supposed to have. I am 5'5", 130 lbs and oh yeah, a female! (don't know if that makes a difference) and the bikes I'm deciding between are the Giant Iguana, Kona Blast and possibly the Trek 4900. The Iguana, for example, comes in 14" and 17" - 17" seems too big, 15" too small. My guess would be about a 16" which the Kona carries. It's too bad they all don't just carry frames in inch increments!! I know everyone says go by "feel" but I can't really tell. And my LBS's are all being pretty vague. Just curious what size everyone else out there is riding.

    Any help would be much appreciated. Also, if anyone has any comments to sway me one way or the other on the bike selections that would be EXCELLENT!

    Thanks!
     
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  2. MOkokopelli

    MOkokopelli New Member

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    First, check out the manufacturers that have women's specific sizing. You might be able to "feel" the right size on one of those.

    next, there is more to fit than just frame size. Stem length, setback seatposts, and saddle position can all play a part. Some companies have sizing charts that show suggested sizing. For instance, I'm 5' 10" and the following chart for my bike shows I can fit into a medium with a 120mm stem or a Large with a 100mm

    Sizing

    Funny thing is that I set a Large up with a 120mm stem. Hmm? say's something about personal preference.

    Sorry, I know that's not what you wanted to hear but I thought I'd offer. Good luck.
     
  3. troyq

    troyq New Member

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    Generally there will be some overlap between height/frame size and for this very reason you will not really know for sure until you ride it...

    Like MOkokopelli says above, the components make a difference to your positioning on the bike... probably the most important is the seat post angle and stem.

    I have two GT mtbs, one medium (17") and one large (18" i think)... the 17" which i use mainly for off-road is perhaps a little on the small side for me but it also makes it feel more manoeuvrable.
    Because i have the seat post a bit higher than standard, it puts me over the back wheel a little more which is great for downhill but i have to work harder uphill.

    I use the large mostly for commuting and I feel definately more centered (front to back) over this bike but it doesn't feel as manoeuvrable as the other (but riding on the road who cares!)

    If you can't really tell the difference between the sizes, I would be inclined to go with the smaller size as it's likely to be a little lighter and you can always adjust or get a different seatpost/stem to fine tune it...
     
  4. BungedUP

    BungedUP New Member

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    I would consider riding as many bikes as possible at several different bike shops. You mentioned that you can't really tell, but that you felt that 17" was too big and that 15" was too small. For your size, that sounds right (that you would be in between those two sizes). It sounds as if you CAN tell, even if it is a subtle sense.

    If you ride a bike, and everything feels pretty good, but you feel you are reaching too far, look at the stem and see whether the stem is long or short to begin with. If it is a short stem, you probably wll have a limited ability to shorten up that end of the bike to make it fit you. If it is a longer length however, then you might be able to find something shorter that will fix your problem. If you really like a bike, ask the shop if they will allow you to try it with a different stem, that would be a more comfortable length for you (some shops will do this sort of thing, but not all). If you feel like you wish you could just slide your rear back an inch, ask the shop to move the seat back for you. Don't be afraid to be a pain in the butt, and ask lots of questions.

    Test ride bikes and really put them through their paces. Even if your price range is say between $500-700, try bikes both above and below that range at first and get a feel for what you really want out of a bike. Jump them, ride hard, slow, slalom the bike to see if it feels like it is solid and handles well, and spend at least several minutes (10-20) riding it around. Don't let anyone rush you into a decision, and if you feel like you don't like a bike when you get on it, chances are you won't like it 4 weeks later when you really wish you had bought a different bike. If you don't find anything at a local shop, go to a bigger city nearby on a weekend and try out more bicycles. Don't settle for something out of convenience, unless you are really pressed for time, or have the extra cash to blow.

    I wouldn't get sucked into thinking that you need a woman -specific bike either. Just ride lots of bikes and see which ones talk to you, and make you go "yeah, I like this". Buying a bicycle is a very personal decision. People's bodies vary greatly in lengths of limbs, torso, etc., so its hard for anyones else to say "here is the bike for you" without knowing you pretty well.
     
  5. Ginzu

    Ginzu New Member

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    Inseam would help. I am 5'10" with a 32" inseam and I ride a 17" Jamis with a 22.5 TT and a 120mm stem 10 degree rise. You want between 2-4 inches of clearence when you stand over the TT with shoes on. And you want to consider the TT length too. The more experienced riders go with less stand over height in favor of a longer TT so they can use a shorter stem for quicker handling, genrealy that is the case. Women's specific is marketing. If a "man's" or standard bike fits go with it. If a women's fits go with it. Just make sure you have at least 2" of clearence. BTW the sizes 15, 16, 17; doesn't mean that much unless you know how they measured it. Bike companies can't seem to agree on how to measure the seat tube. They all start the measuremnt from the center of the bottom bracket, but they measure anywhere from the middle section of the TT and ST, or the top of the TT at the ST, or to the top of the ST. This can very as much as an inch and a half. Generally a 15 or 16 sounds about right. Most people buy mtb too big for their skill level. Men are the worst. In my bike shop days I don't remember how many men 5'5" wanted to buy a 19 or 21 " frame. I guess it's because our parents always bought the biggest bike we could straddle as kids with the idea we'd grow into it.
     
  6. mdp1116

    mdp1116 New Member

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    i just got a 06 trek 4900D in a 22.5 inch

     
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