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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a competitive DH racer
I'm about 5'7-5'8

I've never done BMX or Moto. I learned how to ride on a mountain bike. My first few bikes were hand-me-down semi-nice bikes but were WAY too big for me. So essentially I'm used to much bigger bikes than what's right for my height. Over the 6 or 7 years since I started riding I've used smaller and smaller bikes. I'm now using mediums. (ASX, Scythe)

I want to make the shift to a downhill bike and I seem to have a very nice opportunity before me to get a rather nice one. The problem is it's a small. I know I'm right at the edge of medium/small and there are a lot of riders out there (mostly originating from BMX) that ride sizes that are slightly too small for them.

Basically, I want to learn how to ride a small bike!

I've tried an small DH bike like the one I might getting (being vague FTW!) and I can get used to the ckocpit size with my arms but my problem is my legs. They hit the fork pretty badly and I'm already pretty used to knee'ing my handlebars on my medium (it has a single crown so not much fork problems here). This is especially a problem on short uphill bursts on DH courses when you throw your weight forward and pedal.

Possible Solutions:

Stem: I don't know whether to go shorter or longer. If shorter it would push my weight further back giving me (in theory!) more leg clearance at the expense of ckocpit room. If longer it would go with the regular rule of thumb for bike sizes that are too small for the rider.

Seatpost: I know it won't make a difference when I'm standing up but it might help "convince" my body to, by default, take a more rearward-biased stance.

Higher Seatpost: I usually run mine relatively low because I almost never sit down on DH courses but it might also have made me take a lower stance by default on the bike - knees more bent and therefore closer to the fork/bars. Learning to ride with a higher post might help this?

Shorter crank arms: Smaller rotation of legs so therefore I don't need to bend my knees as much to pedal. But realistically 5mm isn't going to make a significant difference...

Any suggestions towards technique or set ups to compensate for the size would be very welcome!

Thanks
 

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maker of trail
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Don't make your stem longer
Layback post and wide bars might help.
I ride a large (right size for me) and I've also owned mediums, the smaller bikes are more fun to throw around and maneuverable, the large feels more competent on faster trails, but I miss the flickability... Overall I definitely prefer the large now though.

I would seriously think about not buying the wrong size for you, even if it is a good deal. Unless you can buy it, try it, and if you don't like it sell it for minimal loss, or you can cannibalize it later for parts for a larger frame. lots of options anyway.
 

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Quarashi said:
I'm a competitive DH racer
I'm about 5'7-5'8

I've never done BMX or Moto. I learned how to ride on a mountain bike. My first few bikes were hand-me-down semi-nice bikes but were WAY too big for me. So essentially I'm used to much bigger bikes than what's right for my height. Over the 6 or 7 years since I started riding I've used smaller and smaller bikes. I'm now using mediums. (ASX, Scythe)

I want to make the shift to a downhill bike and I seem to have a very nice opportunity before me to get a rather nice one. The problem is it's a small. I know I'm right at the edge of medium/small and there are a lot of riders out there (mostly originating from BMX) that ride sizes that are slightly too small for them.

Basically, I want to learn how to ride a small bike!

I've tried an small DH bike like the one I might getting (being vague FTW!) and I can get used to the ckocpit size with my arms but my problem is my legs. They hit the fork pretty badly and I'm already pretty used to knee'ing my handlebars on my medium (it has a single crown so not much fork problems here). This is especially a problem on short uphill bursts on DH courses when you throw your weight forward and pedal.

Possible Solutions:

Stem: I don't know whether to go shorter or longer. If shorter it would push my weight further back giving me (in theory!) more leg clearance at the expense of ckocpit room. If longer it would go with the regular rule of thumb for bike sizes that are too small for the rider.

Seatpost: I know it won't make a difference when I'm standing up but it might help "convince" my body to, by default, take a more rearward-biased stance.

Higher Seatpost: I usually run mine relatively low because I almost never sit down on DH courses but it might also have made me take a lower stance by default on the bike - knees more bent and therefore closer to the fork/bars. Learning to ride with a higher post might help this?

Shorter crank arms: Smaller rotation of legs so therefore I don't need to bend my knees as much to pedal. But realistically 5mm isn't going to make a significant difference...

Any suggestions towards technique or set ups to compensate for the size would be very welcome!

Thanks
I am 5'8 as well. When I got my first DH bike, it was a medium sized frame, then when it developed a crack, I had them swap it to a small. I never realized a significant difference in stability at speed, but did notice that I could make the bike do what I wanted it to do more easily. They were fully stock old school Giant DH teams (the 2000 models). I amnow on a Giant Reign X in size medium. I got the medium because I invisioned riding more cross county on it with the occasional shuttle or lift day. Now I am thinking I would have prefered the small. The front end would come up more easily and I could toss it around more easily than the medium which would make it more fun on the descents nd the little differnce in length on the climbs would probably not make much difference. In any event, I guess I will likely have another DH sled in the future but it will likely be a size small. I did ride quite a bit of bmx(20") until I was 20, so that may be part of it, but i rode a S&M Holmes, so I rode a bigger 20"bike.
 
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