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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got back into riding about a year ago, after nearly a decade of rest. Ended up with a Trance X 29 2 (L), since it was about the only thing LBS had in stock.

A year later and Im now venturing back into more technical and aggressive terrain and the bike is starting to feel a bit big in some tight situation. At 5'11, Im pretty much right in between M and L and Ive also lost around 30 lbs (down to 155-160) during this year.

Had the world been normal, I would have gone to check out some demo bikes and figure out if Im simply just lacking technique still, or if I should look at downsizing. However, the world is not normal.

As testing bikes now is going to be a bit trickier, Im trying to figure out whether I should focus more on going down in wheel or frame size, or both. I like the Trance overall, so would probably get a second bike, budget around $5k

If youre around my size, what do you ride?
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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It's not 1990 anymore. I would recommend upsizing over downsizing, as you don't want to be riding in a cramped position most of the time and modern geometry and droppers mean you don't take a big maneuverability hit.
 
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Bike space is affected by height and actual inseam. If you have short legs you get a longer torso then someone your height with longer legs. The short leg guy needs more cockpit space and often a larger size in comparison.
You can do things to affect the cockpit space by moving your seat, changing the width/rise/sweep of your bars and changing the length of your stem.
Your bike has 486mm low and 494mm high reach. 800mm wide bars. 50mm stem. Could be long.
Things you can try.
Move your seat forward on its rails.
Switch to a 40 or 35mm stem.
Switch to 760mm bars or cut yours. You can kinda test that by moving your hands in on your current bars.
 

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always licking the glass
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My husband is around your size. He rides a 27.5. I’m 5’4”/5’5”, and sometimes 27.5 feels like a big wheel to me, other times not enough. One of my bikes is currently plus tires, but I’ll also try it as a 29er. I’ve ridden one 29er that i liked but at the time I wasn’t in the market for one (the OG Ripley). But for me, 27.5 is perfect for most of my riding.

TL:DR; it’s a matter of the bike geometry on what you’re comfortable with. Today it’s harder to find shorter travel 27.5, which is super frustrating, but they do exist. It’s easier to find longer travel 27.5, and you can find both easily in long travel.

I used to size down, but now I tend to size up (I’m usually between a medium and small, depending on the bike). If you’re concerned about playfulness, look for a shorter chainstay and if possible 27.5 wheels.
 

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For what it's worth, I'm 5'11 (with a 6'2 armspan) and I usually ride a size large V1 sentinel. I have issues getting enough front traction out of it, to the point where I've lowered the bar height quite a bit. I recently rode the latest mullet bronson in size medium and had tons of front grip. It also had quite a high front end, but the shorter reach and more centralized position in the bike really helped. The smaller size didn't really seem to hurt with downhill performance. I may end up riding a medium bike soon. Long story short, it could be worth trying a few different sizes.
 

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I agree with others that a large frame seems to generally suit you best, brand sizing nuances aside. My bars on my XL frame are 740 and I ride a 40mm stem. I also have my seat far forward. I appreciate the longer reach of the XL though. Now, my geo isn’t exactly modern aggressive though. My next modern bike will be a large. I’m 6’0, 32” inseam, ape +1.5
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the insights everyone. I was really hoping for some moral support in trying to buy a second bike, but some really good points have been made, so I might have to table that for a bit and make sure I do more testing/tweaking first. :D
 

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It's good to go through this size tuning with your existing bike. What you learn can then help you better pick a second bike so you're not in the same spot on that bike.
Yes! I have a geo spreadsheet going that has my bike, any bikes I've ridden (friends, my son's bike), as well as bikes I'm interested in. It's easy to compare and contrast what I liked/didn't like and how it all compare. It's the state of things right now. Otherwise, Outerbike is coming...but no way I can convince the wife to let me spend $250 to try a bunch of bikes. I would recommend it if you can, though.
 

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I'm 6'0", and in the past I've preferred to go medium rather than large. I sat on a Diamondback large, and it just felt too big. Too high and too stretched. I have a 32" inseam. Now wheel size, I like a 29er. I have been looking at some Treks, and I like that now they've included a M/L size. I think that would be perfect.
 

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If you're getting into more spicy trails... up-sizing, makes more sense than remaining on 'M' sized whips.

I'm 6ft w/ 32" inseam & Ape Index of +5.

I prefer size 'L' bikes. I've tried 'M' bikes based on numbers like 'Reach' and 'Wheelbase' and ended up on a bike that felt too short on gnarly descents.

Even rode an 'XL' Transition Bandit 29 for 18 or so months...

It had quite conservative numbers by today's standards.

Was a more an 'on the top' feeling bike than 'in the bike' feel.

Still fun too ride on trails that weren't too janky.

If you can't demo, doing your checks and balances is even more important.

Reviewers often give their physical statistics and compare to other steeds.

Read those other steeds reviews and crunch some numbers.

Speaking to your lbs 'may' help... I say 'may' as an lbs of mine once recommended going 19.5 on a '17 Trek Remedy.

I demo'ed a 21.5 which felt perfect. Treks are a brand which historically have had toiter cockpits.

Sent from my Asus Rog 3
 

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I'm 6'0", and in the past I've preferred to go medium rather than large. I sat on a Diamondback large, and it just felt too big. Too high and too stretched. I have a 32" inseam. Now wheel size, I like a 29er. I have been looking at some Treks, and I like that now they've included a M/L size. I think that would be perfect.
if you got used to medium in the past, no doubt you'd still feel better on one these days. I started on a XL (with more XC geo) and even my son's smaller Large feels tiny to me. I'll definitely by on a 460+ reach bike with ETT in the 640's. I can mess with seated feel after the fact.
 
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