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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I keep hearing the term Clydesdale coming up. I guess I am a Clydesdale. I am 6'4" and 200lbs. I started riding a year ago, when I bought a new mtn bike. I bought a brand new Hard Rock Sport Disk XXL. it was pretty cheap even by Hardrock Standards. I got it for $350 new. I guess that shop couldn't move such a big bike.
My LBS keeps trying to sell me an upgrade in an XL. He says my bike is too big, I took my bike into the store and we compared side by side. When I sat on both bikes in a comfortable riding position there was only a few inches difference in seat post adjustment. He still says I will enjoy the XL better and be more comfortable. That the geometry is different
Is he just trying to sell me a bike? I have a lot of leg, and arm, I wear a 38 length jean. Does that in the XXL bike category ?
 

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passed out in your garden
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First of all, dont worry about labels, lm 6' 2" and approx 210, but lm just a big bloke who rides :)

Secondly, how did the XL feel? would it be worth the money to buy in your opinion? what is your riding like? is it worth waiting a year and saving and then getting an even better bike?

and most importantly, what colour is it? :D

The fact you've asked, means you're curious and thinkibg about the new bike, or just confused.......
 

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On wuss patrol
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Farmer, you are on the cusp of Clyde-dom. Clydes are typically characterized by weight at 200lbs plus, exclusive of height although at 6'4", you are taller than many manufacturers cater to and at the upper end of others.

To say an XXL or XL fits you best or that you'd be more comfortable or have more fun on one or the other actually depends on specific dimensions and geometry. I believe the XXL Hardrock has a 23" seat tube. I've seen brands where an XL is a 21" tube and others where it's 22". Then there's effective top tube, stack, reach, and the overrated stand over. All of these things combined with stem length and rise, seat setback, bar rise, seat tube angle, etc, combine for fit possibilities. Yes, the XL whatever might be a little more playful for you, more snappy in its handling, but may not be as comfortable on longer rides, depending on how all the fit aspects come together to suit you and work with your riding style.

I have a 6'5" friend who has a couple XL's or 21" seat tube frames and they work well for him. I'm 6'7" and ride 21"-23" frames with various fit components adjusted as needed to work for me.

I wouldn't say he is just trying to sell a bike but I would suggest a proper fitting and test ride should be in order.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, it is a long story. I bought the XXL like I said about a year ago because I felt like it was a deal I couldn't pass up. They retailed for like $690 and being a beginner I couldn't justify (to my wife) throwing down that kinda cash. This one was on sale for $350. I'm sure it was because of the size.
I have always rode what ever, which at my height has always been something too small. I still have the medium Ralegh that I rode to class college and I wonder "How did I ever ride that thing"
I work on a big ranch now and I live there. On the ranch we have 22 miles of two track access road, and who knows how much single track (made by the cows), plus there are a lot of places to ride in the area. I often ride to the office which is 7 miles of two track. So that's my riding environment.
After a few months I convinced my wife that I was serious about riding, so I talked her into letting me spend about $1500 on a bike. Because I was used to small bikes I have developed a tendency of riding standing up. Plus I wasn't used to the seat, so it hurt to ride after a while. So I started researching a new bike, I made the mistake of watching too many youtube videos and decided I needed a dirt jumper. I convinced myself (call it a midlife crisis from my BMX days) that I needed the smaller bike because the geometry would be better from a standing position. So instead of spending my money on a new XL Specialized Carve, or Rockhopper like my LBS tried to talk me into, I bought a GT LA Bomba. It is supposed to be a hybrid BMX/MTB.
I loved it for about a month, It didn't climb worth a crap, but I thought I would get used to it. Well it has been about 8 months and I have found that the longer I ride the more I end up in the saddle. In other words I am not commuting to class anymore bouncing off curbs and through ditches. After a few months with the GT, I started riding the old XXL a lot more. The GT hasn't been ridden in months.
The XXL is a joy to ride, I cant get enough. I ride just about everyday. 2 miles, then 5 miles, now 10 miles. A couple days ago I started thinking about my options. I took the Hardrock out for a ride, down a familiar trail(about 5 miles) then I took the GT down the same trail. The 29" Hardrock is so much faster, and more comfortable than the 26" GT. So yesterday I went into my local bike shop, and told him with great humility. You were right, I should'a bought the Carve.
I spent $1500 on the La Bomba so my budget is blown. I just cant buy a new bike. I can sell the La Bomba but I am not going to get my $1500 back. If I am lucky I might get $800. The Hardrock is pretty scuffed up from a lot of riding and hauling around, has a bent rim, and the shock is worthless. (That is one thing the GT has over the Hardrock) So I told him, why don't I just take the components off of the GT that will fit. It has some good components, and part out the rest, then use the rest of the cash to buy new wheels and a fork. Or just sell the LaBomba whole and take the money and build up the Hard rock.
That's when he said the XXL is too big.
What sucks about it is if I have $800 and buy a new bike, I'm gonna end up with another bike the same caliber as the Hardrock I already have. Just in an XL.
I brought the bike in and we measured the difference. I didn't see a difference between the two. The standover height is very different, but from the same riding position the height from the ground to the top of the seat post is the same for both bikes. Even after measuring, he says I need a smaller bike.
My LBS guy gave me some good advice last time and I didn't take it. Now I have a GT LaBomba sitting idle in the spare bedroom instead of tearing up the trails on a Carve.
 

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You can sell both bikes and get a well-fitted upgrade with a little more cash. Or, spend a little on the Hardrock with a wheel fix and better fork. I recommend the former although you'd be fortunate to get $800-$900 between the two. Very good used hard tails can be had in that price range, though.
 

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R.I.P. DogFriend
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At 6'4" that's not really out of the realm of that XXL Hard Rock with it's 660mm ETT (the more critical measurement when sizing a bike) measurement. It's your 38" inseam that makes me think you are kind of long legged with a little shorter than average torso relatively speaking. That is where the XXL might be getting too big for you in particular.

Since you are working with limited budget and want to end up with a bike that fits well, you will have to make some concessions, but I think you have options.

If you could sell the GT La Bomba for $800, that would give you some cash to do something like this:

Airborne Goblin frame : $249

There is a SR Suntour upgrade deal that will get you a SR Suntour Epicon (air spring) fork for about $189 (shipped I believe), and I think that you might qualify for. That would leave about $350 for some wheels and other incidentals, which is IMHO very do-able.

Here is an excellent semi-budget wheelset for $275:

Sun Ringle Charger Expert 29er Mountain Bike Wheelset 15mm Black Red | eBay

The Goblin frame comes with a headset, so if you do the fork upgrade, you should be able to get the right steerer size and axle configurations (that your new wheels and frame would have).

That would get you onto a bike that fits with a new air spring fork and good tubeless ready wheels.

Then, sell the Hard Rock frame for a few bucks and take your wife out for dinner.

Patience and creativity will get you there. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The LaBomba is definitely going on the auction block. I will keep the Hardrock just to have something to ride till the right deal shows up. Then keep it/sell it/whatever. I need to stay off the net, maybe. I have noticed that everyone upgrades their bike components. It also seems that every year, the new stuff is better and the old stuff is crap according to the bike shops. That's why I wonder if the LBS is just trying to sell me a new bike. I've been lurking on here for about a year, and I have noticed that 80% of the time the description of their bike goes something like this.
"I have a 2000 so and so, with a blah blah fork, and a this brand wheels, and new brakes on the way."
The LBS says you can't build a bike as cheap as you can buy a new one. So when you upgrade, just buy a new bike. Looks to me like it doesn't matter if you buy a $300 bike or a $2000 bike. Eventually you will replace all the components anyway. I figure bikes are like new cars. Their built with cost, availability, and performance in mind in that order.
I have recently seen a lot of Hardrocks on the web that have been modified to the specs of a higher end bike. If the bike fits wouldn't it be more cost effective to update parts as you go along, than to buy a new bike.
No car nuts I know buy a brand new car and add new go fast goodies. They usually buy a used car and make them faster than a new models. A 2000 Mustang with a supercharger and slicks is a lot faster than a stock 2014 mustang.
I have a 30 year old jeep that has modified suspension, bigger tires and a rear locker. It will go more places, more reliably, with more finesse than any new jeep. It would be crazy expensive to buy a brand new jeep, pull all the new parts off of it and build it as capable as my current ride. I don't understand how bikes are so different!!
Which is why I think sometimes my LBS is just trying to sell me a new bike, like a car dealership, they are not in the business of selling new parts.
But I am new to this sport and pretty confused.
 

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Cactus Cuddler
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You're big enough to be in the realm that bikes engineered around the median rider are going to be problematic in ways the Lilliputians cannot understand.

The car analogy is close, but flawed in that cars require bespoke hardware to run - bikes are a lot more standard fare, and in a lot of cases are comparing which manufacturer happened to turn out a model of those generic Freightliner/Dart/Merc work vans. They're interchangeable as far as parts, and what matters most is the spec of the components on the frame, since junk parts on it determine the performance more than the underlying frame. Worse yet, bike manufacturers get much better deals on groupsets, which means it actually is more expensive to build a bike than just accept whatever peanut-counter approved spec a brand is shipping out with that frame, so building yourself only saves money if your intent was to swap out a lot of those parts anyway.

The real issue is that there's a bigger difference between cheap (both cost and build quality/parts quality) bikes and one worth putting more money into; much larger than the difference between a civic and a Wrangler. Think of it more like computers of comparable cost range - you have to get above a price floor (usually around $800 for desktops (hardtails) and $1400 for laptops (full suspension) before you end up with better interchangeable parts at all, and so many models are just stripped out versions with cheaper filler parts than what that platform was intended to run on (go to NewEgg, look at an entire line of identical looking laptops: the cheapest one to somebody who doesn't understand the underlying spec and performance will be mystified to the cost difference, while somebody who knows what each part does will see why that same case with different parts is total crap and the mid-range and above flavors are the only ones worth buying).

So you're right about LBS trying to sell people on newer bikes, mostly because those are easier to service for them. You'll honestly have to think about bikes like buying computer hardware - research a crapton, and go in knowing more than the over the counter sales jockeys who may or may not care about MTB riding themselves.
Buying used bikes is just as bad as computer hardware again - unless you know what you're looking for, the tendency is just to inherit somebody else's problematic equipment, which can be even more costly.

Finally, you do need to understand which parts make a performance difference FOR YOU, and which don't. For some it's the wheels/tires they notice most, others it's the drivetrain/pedals, and a lot of people care probably too much about suspension travel and feel. For me it's brakes/tires, but I know that's not the norm. It's a lot more about understanding which parts you care about. Analogy again - Jeeps are really different because anybody who actually leaves pavement with theirs want something different, which is why you see huge tired rock-crawlers, or more streetable versions with some engine mods; or you'll even see very capable jeeps where the off-road capability isn't the direct immediate goal. The difference is that Jeeps have a lot more DIY improvements, and that market is larger and generally smarter when it comes to buying parts, better mountain bikes have the problem of a very large number of uneducated buyers who want something which looks awesome, but may not get used enough to expose just how crappy a lot of the parts are, whereas a Jeep will get daily driven, and then taken off road and wheeled until something breaks or a winch is required - so crap parts get weeded out. The higher end bikes tend to be bought by people that are ironically more casual bikers, or are hardcore bikers in the sense that they're high earning professionals who are very passionate about bikes and spend their free time riding them, but that most of the true enthusiasts can only afford mid-grade hardware.

Why this site tends to be an enabler-pile is that with the right knowledge, a 5-10 year old bike can be super competitive with new equipment, but it takes a lot of the right information to make that work. The issue is that mountain biking over the last 8 years has received a LOT of really good hand-me-down tech on the suspension, brakes, and material science front that has only partially tricked down to the reasonable price range (Carbon fibre frames/wheelsets are absurdly expensive, but Shimano Deore Hydro brakes are a phenomenal value; the RockShox Pike RCT3/Charger with Monarch R+ is a great shock system, but the real value is still in the simplest Fox34 and lower end Revelation with the basic FoxCTD or Monarch). To make that worse, the bike industry is exceptionally stupid about making certain specifications obsolete - with computer stuff there are performance reasons, on the bike side a ton of dumb standards are regularly adopted, and just as quickly abandoned.
The prices are equally absurd - in a lot of the component specs, knowing what I know now I can pick out the 1-3 items where they deliberately took an inferior part in order to round the price out to exactly $799 or something, instead of making it an $817 bike that was substantially better. Worse is when they spec on just ONE component from a higher component tier, especially if it's one that independently can't improve the riding experience (e.g. an X9 shifter on a bike with an X7 derailleur, and X5/Deore parts everywhere else does not make it an X9 level bike, but they will advertise it as such; especially if a bike would otherwise be $1270, they'll spec on one part that costs them $15 more to make it $1299). It can be pretty bad at times.

So, as much as it sounds like selling both would be a 'bad' idea, it's not. For a hardtail XC focused bike, the worthwhile options DO open up right at where your budget would be after selling both. If you can get to something with tubeless ready wheels, a solo air fork (The RockShox Sector ideally, though SunTour's Raidon has improved a ton), hydraulic brakes (mechanical disk suck for anybody over 180lb), and a decent frame then you're so tremendously better off. Anything less is like getting a Camaro body with a Geo Metro drivetrain, there's only so much hot rodding you can do, and you're still money behind just starting off with the V8 version that comes with better brakes/suspension/interior; same idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I am so glad I joined this forum and started this thread. You guys have been so helpful. Thank you for your advice.
Tellehama I like your statement ....

"The difference is that Jeeps have a lot more DIY improvements, and that market is larger and generally smarter when it comes to buying parts, better mountain bikes have the problem of a very large number of uneducated buyers who want something which looks awesome, but may not get used enough to expose just how crappy a lot of the parts are, whereas a Jeep will get daily driven, and then taken off road and wheeled until something breaks or a winch is required - so crap parts get weeded out. The higher end bikes tend to be bought by people that are ironically more casual bikers, or are hardcore bikers in the sense that they're high earning professionals who are very passionate about bikes and spend their free time riding them, but that most of the true enthusiasts can only afford mid-grade hardware."

I do feel pressured at the bike shops not only from the salesmen, but other riders who own the best and the latest and greatest. I often feel like I am paying just for a decal. I use the Jeep analogy because I am familiar with it. When off-roading there are often people who own very highly modified vehicles who do not know how to use them, yet there are very talented drivers who are very capable in mildly modified vehicles. They are always more impressive and gain more respect. In the bike world I want to be one of them.
So the GT is definitely going on the auction block. I am going to keep practicing on my Hardrock XXL. And I am going to start building me a nice, "affordable" bike that fits right. I think I will follow JeffJ's advice, maybe patiently build the Airborne frame with some well thought out ebay/closeout/hand me down components. Perhaps by the time I get the bike built I will have become a much better rider and be able to use it to it's full capability.
Hell, if anything it will teach me how to work on my bike and that's part of the fun.
 
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