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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so here is the question.

I'm looking to upgrade this next season with a new frame to build up. But with Covid, I haven't actually been able to find any Demos, so I haven't been able to throw a leg over a bike with similar geo to what I'm wanting. And I'm kind of stuck on sizing.

I'm 6'1", with a ~36.25" cycling inseam (extended pedal to top of seat measurement). My current bike is a 2018 Kona Process 153 29'er, in size Large. This puts me between an L, or XL for most brands.

The bike I'm currently most interested in, is the Privateer 141, which I can't really demo here in the US anyway. And as it happens, it has VERY similar geo to the 2020 and newer Norco Sight (same HTA, same/similar reach, similar chainstay lengths, similar seat tube angles, etc). But since the Norco has such similar geo, I've been wondering if I can find a demo on it, and use it as a stand in for the Privateer. And what is interesting, is if I go by Norcos sizing recommendations, I'm solidly on a size XL for their brand. On Privateer's sizing chart I'm somewhat between sizes, but most people my height seem to ride a P3 (large).

Here is what I mean.

Bike/SizeReachStackETTSpan (hypotenuse of stack and reach, similar to RAD, but without bars and stem)
Norco Sight XL515mm630mm649mm814mm
Norco Sight Large485mm621mm621mm788mm
2018 Kona Process 153 Large475mm621mm632mm782mm
Privateer 141 P4 (XL)510mm646mm640mm823mm
Privateer 141 P3 (Large)485mm637mm612mm801mm

I can either choose similar reach to my current bike, but shrink the ETT by quite a bit, or I grow reach by a lot, and stay closerish on ETT.

If I'm honest with myself, I think my current bike is at least some amount small for me, at least while standing (which should mean I want more reach). Seated I seem to more or less be ballpark correct. I've got a 50mm stem on there, and used to have a 38mm riser bar on there, but took that off as it was making it hard to weight the front correctly. And when I ride extended downhills, I feel my back is a bit "scrunched", leading me to believe I could stretch out a bit more. But, looking at the span measurement above, it looks like pretty much all of the bikes would be "some" amount bigger. But without the ability to demo/rent, I'm not sure how much bigger I want/need.

So, any thoughts? Is anyone else in this situation, where they're having to choose between sizing by similar reach, or by similar ETT? Am I wildly overthinking things?
 

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I'm 5'10, 31in inseam. Legs and torso are propotional. Always a M in aluminum. Ran the numbers and thought I'd be a M on an Ibis. When I say I ran the numbers, I even took into account how a wider bar would affect reach. Then I sat on a M. It was too small for me. The cockpit felt a little cramped when seated, but I swear 1/3 of my body could go over the front wheel when standing in the pedals. 50mm stem. As soon as I rode a L, (also a 50mm stem) I knew that was the one for me. I know how you feel being on the cusp.

If you want a bike you can flick and huck, stay at the top of the smaller frame. If you want more of a sled like feel, size up.

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***Edit - Added my numbers (Old vs New)
 

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I’m an inch taller, shorter inseam and +2 ape. I generally size by ett and stack. Personally, for taller guys, I find stack to be critical. Meaning, I’ll take as much stack height as I can get. And then ett, assuming you will be climbing the bike and want a comfortable seated position.

I’ve never understood the more recent fixation on reach. It’s important, but generally third on my list (maybe fourth after wheelbase).
 

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Id go with the XL and downsize the stem if its too long....

The thing is making longer bike slightly shorter lets the bike handle better. There really is no downside on a modern bike to running a 35mm stem. Just keep stack in check on long travel 29er and you should have no issue getting weight on the front when you need it.
 

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I'd just order the P141 in L and call it good, but I've never been in the "upsize it" camp so take the opinion with that in mind. The XL has 1300mm WB and 452mm CS...that's a long bike.

Biasing for ETT vs Reach might depend on your trails and riding style - Reach is far more important to me because if I'm seated pedaling, I'm probably climbing and I want the shorter ETT. On flats / rolling terrain and downs I'm usually standing, so ETT is removed from the picture. Shortening it up on recent bikes hasn't bothered me at all, and I actually found recently that going back to longer ETT really bothered me.

Where does your saddle sit on the rails currently? You have flexibility there to consider as well.
 

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Reach and stack are vital for me. Especially to address fit and have the handling correct. For example, I know what bar width and stem length are correct for me, and how slack I want a bike. The reach and stack let me know if that will be fine and the bike will fit.
 

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Ok, so here is the question.

I'm looking to upgrade this next season with a new frame to build up. But with Covid, I haven't actually been able to find any Demos, so I haven't been able to throw a leg over a bike with similar geo to what I'm wanting. And I'm kind of stuck on sizing.

I'm 6'1", with a ~36.25" cycling inseam (extended pedal to top of seat measurement). My current bike is a 2018 Kona Process 153 29'er, in size Large. This puts me between an L, or XL for most brands.

The bike I'm currently most interested in, is the Privateer 141, which I can't really demo here in the US anyway. And as it happens, it has VERY similar geo to the 2020 and newer Norco Sight (same HTA, same/similar reach, similar chainstay lengths, similar seat tube angles, etc). But since the Norco has such similar geo, I've been wondering if I can find a demo on it, and use it as a stand in for the Privateer. And what is interesting, is if I go by Norcos sizing recommendations, I'm solidly on a size XL for their brand. On Privateer's sizing chart I'm somewhat between sizes, but most people my height seem to ride a P3 (large).

Here is what I mean.

Bike/SizeReachStackETTSpan (hypotenuse of stack and reach, similar to RAD, but without bars and stem)
Norco Sight XL515mm630mm649mm814mm
Norco Sight Large485mm621mm621mm788mm
2018 Kona Process 153 Large475mm621mm632mm782mm
Privateer 141 P4 (XL)510mm646mm640mm823mm
Privateer 141 P3 (Large)485mm637mm612mm801mm

I can either choose similar reach to my current bike, but shrink the ETT by quite a bit, or I grow reach by a lot, and stay closerish on ETT.

If I'm honest with myself, I think my current bike is at least some amount small for me, at least while standing (which should mean I want more reach). Seated I seem to more or less be ballpark correct. I've got a 50mm stem on there, and used to have a 38mm riser bar on there, but took that off as it was making it hard to weight the front correctly. And when I ride extended downhills, I feel my back is a bit "scrunched", leading me to believe I could stretch out a bit more. But, looking at the span measurement above, it looks like pretty much all of the bikes would be "some" amount bigger. But without the ability to demo/rent, I'm not sure how much bigger I want/need.

So, any thoughts? Is anyone else in this situation, where they're having to choose between sizing by similar reach, or by similar ETT? Am I wildly overthinking things?
Your problem is going to be the tall stack height. Going by ETT (seated pedaling position) you would be on the XL 141 with a 40mm stem and whatever rise bar gets you to that preferred bar height.

The Privateer bikes aren't really designed for rolling type terrain where you are constantly going up and down, they are perfect for the long less technical climb up and nice long down. This is why the ETT is shorter with a very steep seat tube angle, sit and spin.
 

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How far forward are you running your saddle now?

The Large 141 is a significant step in size over your bike. ETT is a much easier to work around as you can slide your seat back if you need to. Reach/stack are what actually determine the size of the bike where it counts. Unless your saddle is currently slid all the way back I'd lean towards the large because the XL is probably going to feel cumbersome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Lots of interesting replies, thanks everyone.

I live in the greater Seattle of the PNW. So my riding is up, and then down. I don’t really ride rolling or flat terrain. So I’m not terribly worried about how it rides in those situations.

My saddle is currently slammed forward in the rails. But I think that is mostly for two reasons.

One of the other difficulties I’m having is that my Kona has a ~67 degree actual seat tube angle. At my saddle height, the listed “effective” seat tube angle of 76 I’m pretty sure is a fantasy. And so I’m pretty sure my actual ETT is a bit longer than stated. The Norco and Privateer both have much steeper actual seat tube angles, so I’m thinking their actual ETT at my saddle height my be a bit shorter than listed.

The other problem is that my local trail system has a few climbs over 30% grade. So my slack actual seat tube angle plus my saddle height and that climb, with my Konas short 425mm chainstays, makes my butt feel very over the rear axle.
 

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This thread shows why it is nice to be able to sit on a bike before buying it, unless you really know what you need, or are right in the middle of a size chart. Being someone often between frame sizes, I can relate.

I used to always end up upsizing, but with reach being designed around shorter stems, you lose some wiggle room. Especially some of the more experimental frames.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I think the shorter ETT might be the way to go. The reach is longer so the shorter ETT comes entirely from the steeper STA which is what you've been trying to achieve by sliding the saddle forward.
Yeah, the ETT on the Privateer is absolutely from the very steep effective, and actual seat tube angles. But I'm worried that because I'm coming from a bike with longer ETT a much slacker actual STA, and a higher than average saddle height (which should mean my personal ETT is longer than the geo chart says), that going to a bike with a shorter ETT, and steeper actual seat tube angle will make the cockpit feel super compact (because the steeper actual STA should mean I don't grow my personal ETT as much as my current bike does).

Also, maybe I'm reading into it a bit. But Norco touts their "ride aligned" thing quite a bit, talking about how they have done sizing for each body size, using a ton of biomechanical data/etc. And again, on their sizing chart, I'm an XL. And their XL is essentially the same as the Privateer 141's P4.

This thread shows why it is nice to be able to sit on a bike before buying it, unless you really know what you need, or are right in the middle of a size chart. Being someone often between frame sizes, I can relate.

I used to always end up upsizing, but with reach being designed around shorter stems, you lose some wiggle room. Especially some of the more experimental frames.
This is exactly the problem. And the Privateer is more on the "experimental" (or at least "less proven") side of the geo spectrum. They do offer free returns, but that doesn't mean much to me when if I wanted to return it, I'd be out another 6 months of waiting.

And the lack of demos available isn't just for these boutique brands. All demos in my area have been shut down for almost 2 years now. Even Transition, and other local companys still aren't doing it, and the last 2 years of our local bike bike fair/demo day have been canceled as well. Its just how it is right now.
 

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Just my two cents:
  • Ett dominates seated reach and feel.
  • stack height is important. A bike with 20mm less stack height as another bike will feel 8 mm shorter when you add spacers to bring the bar height to the same level.
  • Reach is how stretched out you are standing. Longer reaches on new bikes are great, but we quickly adapt to different reaches. I can jump from my fs bike with a 470 reach to my hardtail with 430 (actual difference 30mm due to different stem lenths) and quickly adjust.
 
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It looks like you know which way to go. Fwiw I'd definitely consider stack, ETT, STA as you have and then seat tube and length front / rear centre ratio.
It's always a compromise so focus on what's hard / impossible to change.

The other additional element I'm finding counts is the leverage ratio. I'm 1.93m and 107kg ready to ride and that puts and suspension design to the test. Higher ratios make it much harder to the sweet spot in suspension settings.

Nice selection of bikes to choose from btw!
 

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And the lack of demos available isn't just for these boutique brands. All demos in my area have been shut down for almost 2 years now. Even Transition, and other local companys still aren't doing it, and the last 2 years of our local bike bike fair/demo day have been canceled as well. Its just how it is right now.
Transition is doing factory demos again. Stopped into Outpost this afternoon, pretty cool spot!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Transition is doing factory demos again. Stopped into Outpost this afternoon, pretty cool spot!
Hey, you're right!

I've been checking their factory demo page off and on for months. I even emailed them about when they'd turn it back on, and never heard anything back. But it looks like its available now. That might be just the ticket. The Transition Sentinel in XL, is fairly close to the Privateer 141 P4 (Sentinel has 9mm less rach, and 6mm less stack, and an ETT 1mm longer). And their demos are only $60 for 4 hours. Thats a lot more reasonable than renting typically is.

I did also look around more today, and found that there is a shop somewhat close that has a Norco Sight C2 in stock in L and XL that I could rent. So I may at least go there and try to sit on them (although renting 2x bikes eats into my budget by $250).
 

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One question I suppose that is worth asking maybe, is how steep do you want your seat tube angle? In that seated position wise I would expect that a P3 with saddle a bit back, and a P4 with saddle a bit forward, will feel similar, with the exception of the seat tube angle being much steeper on the P4. Right now at 6'0 I am riding the P3 on rolling terrain, and it feels reasonable, however if I were to start riding steep continuous long climbs I think I would want to slide the saddle forward, in which case I do think the seated position would start feeling a bit cramped.

I will say though I think I have some genetic predisposition to steep seat tube angles. Riding my gravel bike on steep climbs I was miserable the whole time with the slack STA and short chainstays. Reading reviews for the 141 they suggested sliding the saddle back, however riding rolling terrain I am very happy with the saddle in the middle of the rails. I am not sure why I like steep STA, but honestly if I were in your position, with very long continuous climbs, I think I would go with the P4 and slam the saddle forward. But obviously I think that is contingent on enjoying such a steep STA.

In the next year I may be moving to a place with much bigger elevation changes, so I will update if I enjoy the seat slammed all the way forward there :)
 

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I’m 6”2’ and similarly in between sizes. Especially since stand over is not so much a limiting factor anymore, most people have 2 sizes to choose from. I have XL and L bikes in modern geo and i am comfortable on both. The bigger size is more stable at high speed, smaller of the two is more maneuverable.

I believe upsizing usually pairs better with longer travle when the goal is maximum speed. Smaller choice is better with shorter travel for being more agile on the trail. That said my biggest bike in terms of geometry is a honzo esd hardtail and it is a blast.

I would choose size based on the riding style you want to pursue most often on the bike and adjust fit with smaller parts.
 

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choose highest stack first.
then pick the reach you want for technical riding downhill at speed

so what about ett and sta?

sta are getting steeper lately so ett has been betting shorter. some chain stays longer also, but thats a wheelbase thing mostly. ett doesnt matter as much anymore imo

i found that as you rotate the seat forward of the bb, you switch to quads more. so you raise your seated position significantly (remember stack) and tip the seat down a bit. to me the bike doesnt really feel smaller. because im moving upwards. what i do notice is the change in leg muscles being used. also that the front stays down and that its easier to apply power. part of that is my center of gravity moving forward between the wheels and part is the better position wrt gravity allowing application of power. when you hit the sweet spot it almost feels like both tires are equally carrying load on the climb. of course a steeper climb will force you onto the nose of the saddle. but thats when your chasing that max climbing grade.
obviously a steep sta bike rides differently on flat rolling terrain, placing more weight on your hands. but tipping the seat up makes a big diff and you can always move the seat back.

something ive also noticed is a move to shorter cranks, this reduces the angles your legs go through as the knee doesnt come as high at the top of the stroke and it also raises the seat further reducing knee angles. (your knees feel further from the bars w smaller cranks)

i guess im saying you shouldnt worry so much about ett and instead focus on stack and reach.

at 64 hta half of the increase in stack goes into additional wheelbase, so a 500 reach bike w stack 660 feels like a 515 reach bike at 630 stack.

you said your current bike feels short standing. so calculate how much longer you might like. then see if the new bike meets that after accounting for stack changes.

then for bike feel, look at the fr rr wheelbase changes and see which one is better balance. then remember the steeper sta will just be extra icing on the cake so to speak.

the L 141 will feel bigger and more balanced and will climb much better. its just up to you to decide if you want a bike another bit bigger again. which you could compensate for w smaller stem seat forward and shorter cranks.

good luck
 
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