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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm 6'3" 3/4 and ride a XL SJ FSR and feel pretty comfortable on it. My buddy is about 6'2.5" and has opted to ride a L Pivot mach 5 and likes the control he has with the L frame. By transitioning to a 29er should i stick with XL size or could i almost achieve the same comfort on a L? if so, are there some ideas of different modifications to optimize the cockpit?


thanks.
 

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You should take measurements from your current bike and see which size Pivot most closely matches this. Or go to the shop you plan to buy the bike from and get fit.

A demo isn't a bad idea either. An XL probably isn't available, but chances are good you could find a L to try out.
 

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Do not simply go...

by sizes as in L, XL, etc. Different manufacturers have different geometries from each other so one companies medium could have the same eff tt as another companies Large or even XL. That being said, I try to ride the smallest frame that fits me comfortably. I have found that smaller triangles tend to be more responsive than larger ones. There is a lag in response on say a 21 in frame compared to a 19 or 20. Also the shorter wheelbase is helpful if where you live and ride is tight and twisty like where I live and ride. I am 6ft 2in and ride 19 and 20 in frames. I will not buy a 21in frame under any circumstances, but that is me.

Edit: Some manufacturers have gotten smart and now use "size specific tubing" to do away with the flex that causes the lag in response I mentioned. That however, does not address the wheelbase issue. Depending on where you live and ride it may be no issue at all though.
 

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Do some homework. Check the geometries and compare them. Things to check and compare are seat tube length, seat tube angle, top tube length, and standover height. Compare your current bike (if you are satisfied with the fit etc.) to any new bike you are thinking of, and go with the size that most closely matches what you have. Then compare the geometry of the next size down. Most minor differences in the above can be compensated for with stem length, seat fore and aft position, and/or seat height. Bike fit is always a personal preference area and cockpit "mods", stem length and rise, bar width and height, seat position, etc. are always subjective. They can only be recommended or only become apparent after you've ridden the bike. So a basic geometry comparison and then test riding is going to be the only way you can really answer your question. Even then you won't know for sure until you ride the bike(s).

From there, test ride your choices in the size that matches your current bike most closely and the next size down. The biggest thing to remember is that 29ers ride and handle differently. Most manufacturers have the 29er figured out to the point where the bikes handle very well, etc. But they still don't ride the same as a 26er. So test ride a lot! I'd also suggest getting your buddy to let you ride his Pivot. It may or may not be the same for every size L 29er out there, but it will give you an idea of what you are looking at.

It's pretty much a myth that in transitioning from a 26" to a 29er that you need to go a size down. Back when 29ers first came out, yes. Manufacturers were simply moding a 26" frame to fit bigger wheels and not modifying the geometry to go along with it. Most now have their frames refined to the point where and XL 29er and an XL 26" fit the same.

So I can't really make a recommendation one way or the other. It's going to boil down to your personal preference. Personally I'm 6' 5" with long legs, I ride and XL period. I've tried Ls from various manufacturers and usually end up with way to much exposed seat post and/or way long stems and still end up a bit cramped in the cockpit. Your call, do some homework, then get out there and test ride. You'll figure out what will work for you. :thumbsup:

Good Dirt
 

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Squash gave some really good advice there and you for sure should take it to heart. This being said just browsing the geo charts of the bikes you mentioned I would say YES, definitely give the L a go if it's the Pivot 429 as the ETT is a whopping 25.75" (closer really to being an XXL in any other brands lineup) and you're SJ's ETT is only 25.25", so 1/2" longer. If you're talking another brands XL, then as Squash said, compare the geometries and test ride.
 

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Some great....

Do some homework. Check the geometries and compare them. Things to check and compare are seat tube length, seat tube angle, top tube length, and standover height. Compare your current bike (if you are satisfied with the fit etc.) to any new bike you are thinking of, and go with the size that most closely matches what you have. Then compare the geometry of the next size down. Most minor differences in the above can be compensated for with stem length, seat fore and aft position, and/or seat height. Bike fit is always a personal preference area and cockpit "mods", stem length and rise, bar width and height, seat position, etc. are always subjective. They can only be recommended or only become apparent after you've ridden the bike. So a basic geometry comparison and then test riding is going to be the only way you can really answer your question. Even then you won't know for sure until you ride the bike(s).

From there, test ride your choices in the size that matches your current bike most closely and the next size down. The biggest thing to remember is that 29ers ride and handle differently. Most manufacturers have the 29er figured out to the point where the bikes handle very well, etc. But they still don't ride the same as a 26er. So test ride a lot! I'd also suggest getting your buddy to let you ride his Pivot. It may or may not be the same for every size L 29er out there, but it will give you an idea of what you are looking at.

It's pretty much a myth that in transitioning from a 26" to a 29er that you need to go a size down. Back when 29ers first came out, yes. Manufacturers were simply moding a 26" frame to fit bigger wheels and not modifying the geometry to go along with it. Most now have their frames refined to the point where and XL 29er and an XL 26" fit the same.

So I can't really make a recommendation one way or the other. It's going to boil down to your personal preference. Personally I'm 6' 5" with long legs, I ride and XL period. I've tried Ls from various manufacturers and usually end up with way to much exposed seat post and/or way long stems and still end up a bit cramped in the cockpit. Your call, do some homework, then get out there and test ride. You'll figure out what will work for you. :thumbsup:

Good Dirt
advice here. Should really help the OP in his search. I did not realize that people were being told to ride a size down when going from 26er to 29er. That is interesting. I tried riding a smaller size back when I was riding 26ers. I was a 21in die hard before. A guy from CBO schooled me on the benefits on riding the smallest frame that actually fits. Man, he was so right.That being said, I cannot imagine anyone your height on any size large bike that I have ridden.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you guys.... I wasn't aware of the myth of sizing down either from a 26 to a 29er... i just naturally assumed that smaller the frame (within reason) would provide improved control.. Ultimately i have many more late nights doing some research on geometry and then hop on as many bikes i can get my hands on. It's more rare to find XL frames for sale used versus L.

Once again i appreciate the detailed responses.
 

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It's pretty much a myth that in transitioning from a 26" to a 29er that you need to go a size down. Back when 29ers first came out, yes. Manufacturers were simply moding a 26" frame to fit bigger wheels and not modifying the geometry to go along with it. Most now have their frames refined to the point where and XL 29er and an XL 26" fit the same.
Interesting. I'd like to build up a Redline D660 frame that I can get, but I just found out its a 19". My other option is a Sette Razzo(complete), 18". For my height(maybe 5'10 on a good day?), my inseam is 33.5, short torso, but long reach. The effective top tube length on the Razzo is the same as the listed top tube length on the D660, but it doesn't say whether thats effective or actual. The wheelbase on the D660 will be about 43.2 vs 42.6 on the Razzo. I'm having trouble locating a shop with D660s for me check out
 

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My two cents...

" A guy from CBO schooled me on the benefits on riding the smallest frame that actually fits. Man, he was so right."

I'll try to keep this short and sweet...:D

One can comfortably fit on at least two sizes of bikes.

It depends on what type of riding your doing. If I was between two sizes, and was doing downhill/jumping, I would go with the smaller size.

If I was racing, or liked to do distance rides, or was concerned with pedaling efficiency, I would go with a larger frame.

I spend most of my time riding a frame that others may may think is too big. Why? I have long legs and like to run my seat high. If my seat is high, my bars also have to be at a similar height. Therefore, I need a longer head tube so I can get the bars in the right postion without excessive spacers, riser bars, riser stem etc. Also, because of the long wheelbase, the bike feels super stable at speed.
 

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" A guy from CBO schooled me on the benefits on riding the smallest frame that actually fits. Man, he was so right."

I'll try to keep this short and sweet...:D

One can comfortably fit on at least two sizes of bikes.

It depends on what type of riding your doing. If I was between two sizes, and was doing regular downhill/jumping, I would go with the smaller size.

If was racing, or liked to do distance rides, or was concerned with pedaling efficiency, I would go with a larger frame.

I spend most of my time riding a frame that others may may think is too big. Why? I have long legs and like to run my seat high. If my seat is high, my bars also have to be at a similar height. Therefore, I need a longer head tube so I can get the bars in the right postion without excessive spacers, riser bars, riser stem etc. Also, because of the long wheelbase, the bike feels super stable at speed.
The majority of my riding is done on flowy single track with short but steep somewhat technical(lots of shale) uphills and downhills. Some drops, but nothing too big.
 

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This being said just browsing the geo charts of the bikes you mentioned I would say YES, definitely give the L a go if it's the Pivot 429 as the ETT is a whopping 25.75" (closer really to being an XXL in any other brands lineup) and you're SJ's ETT is only 25.25", so 1/2" longer.
I am very close to the OP's height (I'm 6' 3.5" - he's 6' 3.75"). If I look at my size XL Niner JET 9 bike, with the 100mm fork on it, my ETT is 25.4". Using a 105mm stem, which I flip negative to get 7mm more reach in length, my seat is slammed all the way back (as far as the seat will go on the rails) to get my "fit" on an XL. So I know I wouldn't have any issues at all on the size XL Pivot 429 as it is only 8.89 mm longer than my size XL JET's TT. The next size down in the Pivot, the size L, has a pretty short ETT of 24.75. My Surly Karate Monkey in XL has a 24.9" ETT and I have to use a 130mm stem with the seat jammed all the way back on the rails to make it "fit".

Not saying the OP couldn't make the size L work. Just saying, that for me - and being very similar to his height with my long legs and arms - I would feel like I was on a kid's bike riding a size L Pivot 429. The XL would be perfect for me.

BB
 

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Bruce, all though you are more upright than most racers I have seen, you are still a racer and like a more stretched out position I think than most. Also it really depends on a riders flexibility and terrain, those are the 2 biggest factors. Since I've moved to a shorter stem and raised in a bit I've been more comfortable overall on the trails and definitely on the DHs, but the change came because of 2 reasons, 1 - I fugged my back, so flexibility isn't what it was (and a few more years older) and 2 I am riding more aggressive trails more often now.

I agree though fit is preferential and I too like you will be going for the XL Prime who's ETT is 25.5" compared to my current 25.25" and going down to a much shorter stem which works because it will help with aggressive/steep DHs. Biggest thing doing this will be the super long wheelbase of about 48" and this I am truly waiting to see what it's like on our tight stuff. Also I don't think I've ever had an ETT come out to exactly what the manufacturer stated in the geo charts, normally a bit shorter.

........my bikes are setup like this...........................

Not saying the OP couldn't make the size L work. Just saying, that for me - and being very similar to his height with my long legs and arms - I would feel like I was on a kid's bike riding a size L Pivot 429. The XL would be perfect for me.

BB
 

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Bruce, all though you are more upright than most racers I have seen, you are still a racer and like a more stretched out position I think than most. Also it really depends on a riders flexibility and terrain, those are the 2 biggest factors.
True. Not to mention, all sorts of plumbing adjustments via amount of back sweep one has in their handlebars can be used in addition to the stem length and height.

I'm not really too stretched out as you mention for an XC racer, but perhaps more so than a non XC racer/rider. I find that with shorter stems or if I sit too upright my back gets torched and pounded a lot more than if my cockpit is set up in a good balanced position. Not to mention, seated climbing suffers for me with a short cockpit which is one of the of reasons I was comparing my height to the OP's for guys in the 6'3" - 6'4" height range. I'm down to 0 spacers on my RIP and one 20mm spacer on my JET (with the stem flipped negative). Regardless, I would feel really cramped on a size L frame and feel like I dwarfed the bike without going to some odd measures of a bent seatpost and pretty long stem. I would also lose about 15mm in HT length and 20mm in the front to center measurement.

Bluff Riders Charge banking the turn

Seated climb on a pretty decent steep opening climb. I got pushed off the trail to the right at the bottom of the climb, so I just stayed over there until the top...

BorderBattleClimb

And hard to think dropping down from an XL to a size L on my other race bike (Dos) would make sense. The XL looks tiny underneath me as it is. 120mm 0 degree rise stem, saddle jammed all the way back on the rails. And the OP is a smidge taller than me.

Wheelhouse Drops
 

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Yeah, bar sweep plays a lot into it - I only run 9 degrees. Since you run a straight post and I run a setback maybe that's where the fit difference is between us and me running 110mms mostly. Wow, I used to ride like you running close to no spacers and neg stem, but that was years ago.
As to your other bikes, well yeah, Salsa and Surly's XL are actually closer to everyone elses L if you ask me.
Thing that has me between the Monkey and Paradox is that I prefer a longer cockpit on the Monkey, even though I try to set them up the same, same distance plumb at back of saddle to BB, but then longer overall cockpit - must be the difference in geo as setup and front centres.

True. Not to mention, all sorts of plumbing adjustments via amount of back sweep one has in their handlebars can be used in addition to the stem length and height.

I'm not really too stretched out as you mention for an XC racer, but perhaps more so than a non XC racer/rider. I find that with shorter stems or if I sit too upright my back gets torched and pounded a lot more than if my cockpit is set up in a good balanced position. Not to mention, seated climbing suffers for me with a short cockpit which is one of the of reasons I was comparing my height to the OP's for guys in the 6'3" - 6'4" height range. I'm down to 0 spacers on my RIP and one 20mm spacer on my JET (with the stem flipped negative). Regardless, I would feel really cramped on a size L frame and feel like I dwarfed the bike without going to some odd measures of a bent seatpost and pretty long stem. I would also lose about 15mm in HT length and 20mm in the front to center measurement.

Seated climb on a pretty decent steep opening climb. I got pushed off the trail to the right at the bottom of the climb, so I just stayed over there until the top...

And hard to think dropping down from an XL to a size L on my other race bike (Dos) would make sense. The XL looks tiny underneath me as it is. 120mm 0 degree rise stem, saddle jammed all the way back on the rails. And the OP is a smidge taller than me.
 

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Yeah, bar sweep plays a lot into it - I only run 9 degrees. Since you run a straight post and I run a setback maybe that's where the fit difference is between us and me running 110mms mostly. Wow, I used to ride like you running close to no spacers and neg stem, but that was years ago.
Although I don't feel like it getting out of bed in the morning, maybe I've gotten a bit more flexible in my old age.;) Bar width and sweep certainly play into it. I know if I was running 720mm width bars (no matter what the sweep), I'd have a heck of a lot shorter stem on my bikes than I do with 640-660mm width bars. That may account for a lot of differences - at least in stem length, but I don't think it would cause me to change frame size. But it could allow me to get set up in a fit that works on a smaller frame.

As to your other bikes, well yeah, Salsa and Surly's XL are actually closer to everyone elses L if you ask me.
Yup. 25" ETT with an 80mm fork. I'm running it at 100mm so it "might" be more like a 25.x" ETT with the longer travel fork. But it is like the KMonkey - shorter for an XL than a lot of other brands out there.

Thing that has me between the Monkey and Paradox is that I prefer a longer cockpit on the Monkey, even though I try to set them up the same, same distance plumb at back of saddle to BB, but then longer overall cockpit - must be the difference in geo as setup and front centres.
Those stack and reach measurements, seat tube and head tube angles, bar width, sweep, stem length - all play into the fit/feel.

One way to tell, I guess if we both took a measurement from the nose end of the saddle to the front of the bar at the stem and one from the rear of the saddle to the front of the bar. We might have very similar measurements for that before accounting for bar sweep.

I like thesenator's comment in the above post: "One can comfortably fit on at least two sizes of bikes."

Yes, via plumbing (stem, bars, spacers, seatpost, saddle) one can dial in more than one specific frame size to ride - especially the closer they are in physical attributes to being a "tweener" body size. And I suppose it is no surprise that I prefer the stability of the XL frame size for the type of riding I do. I've demoed plenty of Fisher/Niner/Specialized/Salsa size L, XL and XXL frames - mostly through the good fortune of demo tents at big race venues to know that the XL is my optimum starting point.

I guess that all gets us back to a recommendation for the OP at 6' 3.75" to toss a leg over some size L's and size XL's with the big wheels to get a sense of what an optimum starting size would be for him. Even if it is simply spinning bike shop parking lot circles, it's a start. Best, of course, is to borrow/rent/demo some on real dirt.

BB
 
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