I've never had a 29er before. I am going to get a Jamis dakota team. I am 5'11 with 33" inseam. My 26" jamis is a 17" and it is a little small. I'm not sure if the 29er will fit better in the 17" or the 19". Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
I'm not familiar with Jamis, but I have always used the stand over highth as a guide. It sometimes is given in metric, but it is easy to convert to inches and I allow at least 1" additional. I purchased a mobecane based upon this factor and it fits great.
Get on them both (if you can) and see which one feels better. Personally I'm not in to measure this or that.. get what feels best when your pedaling. I am about the same size and when I was looking at Jamis I was in the 19" frame.
Can you ride them at your LBS or are you ordering one? I would throw the numbers out the window and go ride the bike if you can. I've rode some 17's that felt big and some 19's that felt small. I'm the exact same measurements as you and I ride a 17.5 GF 29er but I was initially going to get a 19 based on the numbers. Glad I had access to ride both sizes.
I've been trying to figure out the sizing for a 29er as well. I have 2 26er's and they are both 18 inch bikes and fit me fine. Should I drop down a frame size on a 29er to compensate for the larger tires? I've ridden a 17 & 18 inch size frame at my lbs and can't decide which one would handle better once I get into some twisty turns on the trail. I'm not new to mtn biking but I am new to the 29er. I've heard a lot of people say that 29er's don't handle as well as 26er's do which makes me think I need the smaller frame but I'm not sure if that statement is fact or just what people who aren't use to them say.
Im the same height as the OP,my El Mariachi fits me fine and is an 18". My new build is a Spearfish and have opted for the same size. As others have said try different frames out, I didn't and just went with what I would normally ride in a 26er, I was just lucky I guess. I have stuck with Salsa, I will be using the same stem and bars, it works with the El Mariachi so I'm hoping it going to work out ok with the Spearfish.
The 19 has an almost 24 effective top tube right? If so I'd go with that. My dimensions are exactly the same as yours. I was riding a medium Racer-X that had a 23 ETT. Went with a Large Tallboy which has a 24 ETT which fits me so much better.
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