thinking about buying a used medium VP free but I am 5'7'' and it seems like the medium might be too big. Can I make it workable for my height if i shorten the stem? I want to use the bike for everything downhill, freeride, and even some pedaling uphill
Go with size S. I too thought I could make a M work but even with a 30mm stem I felt too stretched out. For whatever reason, SC made the free longer than their other bikes. I'm 5"8 and feel SC M's fit me perfect, not the free though.
I'm 6' and have 2 largeFrees. One is a pedaly big bike with a 180 single crown. The other is a park rig with a 200 dual crown. 50mm stems on both.
24" top tubes are the shortest I will ride.
If you like small bikes, then get the small. It may feel crowded though as a pedal bike when turning the bars. It will be fun in a straight line and in the air.
You really are between sizes if you want a do everything bike.
You can ride the medium no problem with a 50mm stem. There's just under an 1" and 1/4 in top tube difference, which is a big gap. The 23.2" on the medium is big jump from the 22" top tube on the small.
What length stem do you like to ride?
I think it's a waste of a free to put anything longer than 50mm on there.
So, if you're happy with the 50mm stem and want to ride both up and down, go medium.
If you will use the bike mostly for park/stunts/shuttles/jumps then you can get away with the small.
For the VP Free, smaller does not equate to nimbler or more flickable. The bike is burly and more than a bit of a tank. Best at speed in a straight line or confidently launched off of bigger hits. It's pretty forgiving and won't punish you too much for mistakes like poor weight distribution, casing jumps, and riding straight into rock gardens on a poor line choice.
I'm 6 ft and have a medium. I only use it for shuttling and while I wouldn't want to pedal it, it feels pretty good on the DH and slope style trails.
And I do run a longer stem...I think it's a 65mm with a 5* rise. and it's perfect.
I tried the 50mm Marz integrated stems but then the bike felt REAL cramped.
You may feel good on a medium if your pedaling, but I think it may feel like an out of control freight train if your hitting serious DH runs.
M VP Free's run bigger than other SC M's. Use that as your base line. If you like the feel of say a M heckler, Nomad, or Bullit, go S Free; if you feel those bike's in size M are on the small side, go M Free. I currently own a 2010 Nomad size M with 50mm stem, I had an 06 Free with 30mm stem. The Free felt longer even with that shorty stem.
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