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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is the problem with MTB sizing?

I spoke to 2 different people at Litespeed and did their online sizing calculator and received 3 different recommendations for a hardtail frame size.

Based on a conversation I had on Tues with someone at Litespeed, I bought a 19.5" used Litespeed Lookout off ebay. Then Weds, two other Litespeed employees emailed me back. The first said I needed at 16.5" frame. The second said 18".

Now I am totally confused and worried that the wrong size bike is on it's way to me.

I am 6" tall with 32.5" inseam, 175 lbs, 57cm sternal notch height. What size frame would you think I'd need? The seller of my bike had similar dimensions to me -- 6"1 with 33" inseam.

Did I make a mistake? Oh, so the obvious question is why not go to a local dealer and get sized there? I went to the 2 litespeed dealers in town. Neither had a single Litespeed hardtail in stock (!) and the two very young salespeople who helped me didn't seem to have a clue about what size frame I needed.

I guess the real question is how much of a difference is there between, say an 18" and 19.5" frame? How much difference could and inch and a half make (pls no grammar school answers)?

Thanks.

Jess
 

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Go on line and look at the specs

tingj said:
What is the problem with MTB sizing?

I spoke to 2 different people at Litespeed and did their online sizing calculator and received 3 different recommendations for a hardtail frame size.

Based on a conversation I had on Tues with someone at Litespeed, I bought a 19.5" used Litespeed Lookout off ebay. Then Weds, two other Litespeed employees emailed me back. The first said I needed at 16.5" frame. The second said 18".

Now I am totally confused and worried that the wrong size bike is on it's way to me.

I am 6" tall with 32.5" inseam, 175 lbs, 57cm sternal notch height. What size frame would you think I'd need? The seller of my bike had similar dimensions to me -- 6"1 with 33" inseam.

Did I make a mistake? Oh, so the obvious question is why not go to a local dealer and get sized there? I went to the 2 litespeed dealers in town. Neither had a single Litespeed hardtail in stock (!) and the two very young salespeople who helped me didn't seem to have a clue about what size frame I needed.

I guess the real question is how much of a difference is there between, say an 18" and 19.5" frame? How much difference could and inch and a half make (pls no grammar school answers)?

Thanks.

Jess
and compare it to the bike your'e riding or one you know fits, also I think the top tube measurement and standover are the 2 most important measurements. A wise man much faster than me once said " buy a bike that's close to the right size, dial in the goose neck length and seat position and it will fit just fine." A lot will disagree but how could I argue with a guy named Johnny Focker Faster.
 

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tingj said:
What is the problem with MTB sizing?
(Snip)
I guess the real question is how much of a difference is there between, say an 18" and 19.5" frame? How much difference could and inch and a half make (pls no grammar school answers)?

Compact geometry was created to make fitting easier ( and to make selling frames easier).
Seat posts and stems take up the space that limited frame sizes create. So, you can "get away" with different sized frames by making the fit work with stem,seat post, seat position and bar position. Having said that, everyone will admit that there is really only one size that will fit someone best - not three.

You need to talk to pple about the effects different length stems have on handling. You need to decide what body position suits your riding style best. Then you can look at TT length and ST length.

Your fit metrics sounds like you are fairly square. I would think the 19 is a bit tall and a bit long. Are you SOL? No. You run a shorter stem and you don't show as much seat post.
Maybe you scoot the seat up. If that loads the front too much you try the seat back and try a shorter stem. If the shorter stem leaves you with a wandering front end - well, you stick with the longer stem and learn to live with the laid out position.

I am sure there are other points as well. No doubt others will be along soon to make them.
 

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tingj said:
What is the problem with MTB sizing?

I spoke to 2 different people at Litespeed and did their online sizing calculator and received 3 different recommendations for a hardtail frame size.

Based on a conversation I had on Tues with someone at Litespeed, I bought a 19.5" used Litespeed Lookout off ebay. Then Weds, two other Litespeed employees emailed me back. The first said I needed at 16.5" frame. The second said 18".

Now I am totally confused and worried that the wrong size bike is on it's way to me.

I am 6" tall with 32.5" inseam, 175 lbs, 57cm sternal notch height. What size frame would you think I'd need? The seller of my bike had similar dimensions to me -- 6"1 with 33" inseam.

Did I make a mistake? Oh, so the obvious question is why not go to a local dealer and get sized there? I went to the 2 litespeed dealers in town. Neither had a single Litespeed hardtail in stock (!) and the two very young salespeople who helped me didn't seem to have a clue about what size frame I needed.

I guess the real question is how much of a difference is there between, say an 18" and 19.5" frame? How much difference could and inch and a half make (pls no grammar school answers)?

Thanks.

Jess
there's no way you should be on a 16.5" frame. At 6 feet, an 18" frame would be "pretty small" to you as well, I'd say a 19" may be nice for you, but as this is a mountain bike and going to be manuvered on trails, I'd say that bigger than 19 would not be ideal...
 

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Your size will put you just between the medium and large, with stronger tendency towards the large. Litespeed mediums(18) are 23.5" TT and large (19.5) are 24.3" TT so they tend to run a bit larger than others. No way in hell you can ride a 16.5.
 

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Sounds about right

I'm 6' 1/2" (not sure about my exact inseam size, but around 33") and ride a 20.5 Giant Warp, so a 19.5 could be just about right. I guess you'll see when you get it...you should have about 3 inches of clearance when standing over the top tube. The others are correct that a 16.5 would be way too small--you'd feel like you were on a little clown bike! :D
 

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agree

Hecubus said:
Your size will put you just between the medium and large, with stronger tendency towards the large. Litespeed mediums(18) are 23.5" TT and large (19.5) are 24.3" TT so they tend to run a bit larger than others. No way in hell you can ride a 16.5.
I too think you are in between a M and a L and could ride either size with the appropriate stem.
I guess their specs changed in the decade since I got an Obed, it's an 18.5" with a 22 3/4" TT and a 72.5 degree seat tube angle, which makes the TT "shorter" because you tend to adjust the saddle further forward to compensate for the slackish angle. At least I do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all. My heart rate is almost back to normal. I think the bike I bought may not be the "perfect" size for me, but what "non-custom" frame ever will? Based on what I'm reading here, I'm guessing it will work okay out of the box. Worst case scenario, I may have to change stem or adjust the fore-aft setting on the seatpost. In looking at the geometry, it seems that the Litespeeds run a long top tube. But so do Santa Cruz's, and I fit a Large Heckler comfortably.

Other than that, it should be a beautiful bike. Salivating... I will post a pic when I get it.

Jess

Jwiffle said:
I'm 6' 1/2" (not sure about my exact inseam size, but around 33") and ride a 20.5 Giant Warp, so a 19.5 could be just about right. I guess you'll see when you get it...you should have about 3 inches of clearance when standing over the top tube. The others are correct that a 16.5 would be way too small--you'd feel like you were on a little clown bike! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
JM, one other thing that's relevant is that this will be a on-road training bike. In that application, a longer TT and more stretched out position would be better, right? So maybe the 19" would be better than the 18" after all. Okay, so now I'm rationalizing my purchase a little. Oh, and I'll be running 26x1.0 slicks on it which will make the strandover an inch lower too.

The only time I'll use this one off road is one smooth, non technical singletrack and maybe in a race or two. For anything else, I'll use my trail bike which is sized smaller (Intense 5.5 EVP Medium).

Jess

Jm. said:
there's no way you should be on a 16.5" frame. At 6 feet, an 18" frame would be "pretty small" to you as well, I'd say a 19" may be nice for you, but as this is a mountain bike and going to be manuvered on trails, I'd say that bigger than 19 would not be ideal...
 

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tingj said:
Thanks all. My heart rate is almost back to normal. I think the bike I bought may not be the "perfect" size for me, but what "non-custom" frame ever will? Based on what I'm reading here, I'm guessing it will work okay out of the box. Worst case scenario, I may have to change stem or adjust the fore-aft setting on the seatpost. In looking at the geometry, it seems that the Litespeeds run a long top tube. But so do Santa Cruz's, and I fit a Large Heckler comfortably.

Other than that, it should be a beautiful bike. Salivating... I will post a pic when I get it.

Jess
On the contrary. Santa Cruz has very SHORT top tubes. They are a full inch shorter than Litespeeds at any given size. A 20.5" large SC has a 23.3" TT, litespeed large 19.5" frames have a 24.3" TT. Don't worry, at your size the large is your frame. You will most likely need a fairly short stem around 100-110mm but it should fit good.
 

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bulC said:
I too think you are in between a M and a L and could ride either size with the appropriate stem.
I guess their specs changed in the decade since I got an Obed, it's an 18.5" with a 22 3/4" TT and a 72.5 degree seat tube angle, which makes the TT "shorter" because you tend to adjust the saddle further forward to compensate for the slackish angle. At least I do.
Litespeed changed their geometry in 2001 to follow the GF genesis style geometry and made all their frames a full inch longer for every size. I've owned 3 Litespeeds and find the new sizing tends to run very comfortable for me. The only drawback I find is they still kept a relatively high standover height.
 

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my bros 16.5 Pisgah fits me perfectly with a 120mm stem

tingj said:
JM, one other thing that's relevant is that this will be a on-road training bike. In that application, a longer TT and more stretched out position would be better, right? So maybe the 19" would be better than the 18" after all. Okay, so now I'm rationalizing my purchase a little. Oh, and I'll be running 26x1.0 slicks on it which will make the strandover an inch lower too.

The only time I'll use this one off road is one smooth, non technical singletrack and maybe in a race or two. For anything else, I'll use my trail bike which is sized smaller (Intense 5.5 EVP Medium).

Jess
and I'm almost 5' 10" (with not so long legs) you should be in good shape with a 19.5 for the road, I like a long top tube and short standover myself for my MTB bikes 120mm is about as long as a stem I'd want to go longer than that and the down hill seems to suffer.
 

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Just to help you feel better, I think at your size, you will find the frame perfect with a 100-110 mm stem and straight seatpost. Don't fret you got the right size.
 

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tingj said:
JM, one other thing that's relevant is that this will be a on-road training bike. In that application, a longer TT and more stretched out position would be better, right? So maybe the 19" would be better than the 18" after all. Okay, so now I'm rationalizing my purchase a little. Oh, and I'll be running 26x1.0 slicks on it which will make the strandover an inch lower too.

The only time I'll use this one off road is one smooth, non technical singletrack and maybe in a race or two. For anything else, I'll use my trail bike which is sized smaller (Intense 5.5 EVP Medium).

Jess
Yup, definitely. I'm moving people up an inch or so if they are going to be riding on the road mostly, rather than trails. It's hard selling mountain bikes though because you want to sell the size that you know will be best for the trails, but I have to realize that most of the people that buy bikes from me are going to be riding on the road and paths mostly. I sold 2 bikes today :D
 

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Well, call me crazy but

why in hell would you get a mountain bike to ride roads with? Just what kinda roads you got there? I hope you got an awesome deal on that...and I hope you do end up riding it in dirt also, as it was designed for. As far as fit, yeah, it'll probably be fine, altho your standover might be better for offroad; I think the guess about a 10cm stem is pretty good. Many lesser, and less expensive, mountain bikes would be as good for riding only on roads...JMHO. I suspect you somehow got some misinfo to someone at Litespeed; I hope all their changes haven't yielded bike idiots inside the company!

BTW they had a closeout sale on Litespeed Classics, with Ultegra mostly, at Colorado Cyclist for 2600 recently...now that would be a worthy bike from Litespeed for road training. As I always say, though, suum quique ...

Keep the rubber side down...
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yes, your suggestion makes sense -- buy a road bike for road riding. And that's what I intended to do. However, I demoed several and just never got comfortalble with them. I went to several well regarded shops in Manhattan and was properly fitted, I think. Despite that, my hands and arms and back were always numb and aching after the ride. Something about the positioning of a road bike which I did not like. I tried several "commuter" bikes which were like road bike frames with riser bars and they were better, positioning-wise, but not very nice builds and heavier than a nice hardtail would be.

Yes, I got a nice deal -- a custom 2003 Litespeed lookout with the downtube from the Tanasi (I didn't know you could do that) and custome spec'd for a 100mm fork and regular (non-integrated headset), King headset, hubs, SRAM XO rear deraillereur and twisters, XTR front derailleur, Thompson cockpit, Monkeylite riser bar, X717 rims, and Raceface Next LP carbon cranks and BB. All with less than 500 mi on them. How much sweeter than that could you get?

Bikinfoolferlife said:
why in hell would you get a mountain bike to ride roads with? Just what kinda roads you got there? I hope you got an awesome deal on that...and I hope you do end up riding it in dirt also, as it was designed for. As far as fit, yeah, it'll probably be fine, altho your standover might be better for offroad; I think the guess about a 10cm stem is pretty good. Many lesser, and less expensive, mountain bikes would be as good for riding only on roads...JMHO. I suspect you somehow got some misinfo to someone at Litespeed; I hope all their changes haven't yielded bike idiots inside the company!

BTW they had a closeout sale on Litespeed Classics, with Ultegra mostly, at Colorado Cyclist for 2600 recently...now that would be a worthy bike from Litespeed for road training. As I always say, though, suum quique ...

Keep the rubber side down...
 

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tingj said:
I guess the real question is how much of a difference is there between, say an 18" and 19.5" frame? How much difference could and inch and a half make (pls no grammar school answers)?
TINJI, you are absolutely right - inch and a half can not make that much difference. The 'size' of a bike actually only tells you the length of the seat-tube, and since your seatpost height is adjustable, its very difficult to get a bike that doesn't fit. What you need to be concerned with is the tobe tube length (how long your bike is). Larger size bikes are usually longer, but even that can be changed if you can get a different length stem.

Theoretically, you could make a very small bike fit a very tall person or vise versa. So the only thing that limits the fit of your bike is the standover (unfortunately, this is a tough one to overcome - if you can't stand over a bike without hitting your nads, you're SOL) and the availability of stem lengths and angles.

The balance would be a bit odd if you had a bike that was totally the wrong size - but if you're just 1.5" off, the difference in the dimensions that affect your weight distribution on the bike ( really just the wheelbase - most bikes have the same chainstay length in every size) is not really noticeable - well, it is if you just got off a bike that was totally different, but you get used to it after about 5 minutes - and you should probably err one size larger instead of smaller due to the better stability.

Just sit on it and try to make yourself comfortable and do anything you want with it without diminishing its resale value, then if your convinced that its wrong and its gonna' bug you forever, resell it for the smallest loss you can and get something that you can be comfortable with.

TN
 
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