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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Roadie ready to try the Mountain Bike
Currently ride 54 cm c-t-c road bike (110 stem) and 53 cm Lemond (not sure how measured c-t-c or c-t-t). I don't know my inseam off-hand.

I'm 5'8" and am looking at a 29" wheeled bike.

I've borrowed a 15" bike to ride for the weekend a couple of weeks ago (not a 29") and felt cramped (saddle to bar length). With generic setups, I still felt a bit on the cramped side the 17", but the 19" felt better/more natural. The sales guy said he'd side with putting me on the larger bike. I've got standover room of an inch or two where I'd be standing, but much further up I'd be landing on the top tube for sure. I realize I could put a longer stem on the 17", but don't know enough about MTB fit to be any wiser. Question is, does a 19" bike sound too big for someone of my height?

Apologies in advance if this has been asked this week.
 

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I'm 5' 7" and ride a 17" 29er Fisher hardtail. A lot of fit depends on your leg length and torso length. I like the Fisher for the long TT, it's a lot more comfortable ride for me. Do you like the larger bike for the longer TT? If it is more comfortable to you than the smaller frame, then go with the larger frame, I don't think a 19" is too big for you if you are comfortable on it. Standover height is not that important, it's just a good guide, a starting point.

If you go with a smaller frame and put on a longer stem, the bike will handle a little different than with the short stem. Tends to steer slower with the longer stem.

If you can test ride the bikes, that would be good. If the shop can't let you do it, they might know someone who will let you test ride their own bike. If you can't do a test ride on dirt, then ride each bike at the shop several times, alternating each size. The one you feel natural on is the one to go with. Make the bike fit you, not the other way around.

You have chosen wisely, going with a 29er. Welcome to the semi-dark side. The full dark side is a SS 29er.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Homer,

Thanks for the response. I was actually getting a bike for my wife. She tested and tested (behind the store on pavement). Fisher hardtails 29", Specialized regular size, Bianchi, Redline, and a couple of 'cross bikes. She had narrowed it down to 29er, but took her a while to decide on size. While the saleperson went in to get another bike, I jumped on the 19". It surprised me how light. Anyway, he was surprised to walk out and see me on it, said I looked comfortable (for what that's worth). I hopped off and got on the 17" he had brought out for her. I kind of felt cramped after being on the other one. I had a little bend in my elbows and was comfortable and had a little wiggle room to the top tube on the 19", but I'm new to mountain biking and don't know if or how much room I need to allow (standover as well as reach). Example being the scenario I'm trying to avoid - feel comfortable on the bike riding around the parking lot (more upright than the road bike-comfortable reach), but head off-road and be unhappy from the get go from having a bike that's too big and not having the foresight or experience to know better.
 

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Same height and inseam..

riding a 55cc top tube lenght on the roadie with a 100mm stem. i ride an 18" MTB with a 23" top tube. My advice is go with a top tube between 22.7 and 23"s long. Then use a short stem, straight up post and maybe a riser bar.
I have never found a good fit on manufacturers bikes that are sized 15, 17 or 19.
 

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I'm about 5-9 and ride a 54 cm road bike. For mountain I tend to go back and forth between 17 and 19 inch frames depending on the type/purpose of that particular bike. I'd say that if your wife buys a bike try hers, or since you may buy two from the shop see if they'll let you take one as a demo and ride some trails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks JRM and demtbiker,

The purpose is for riding with the family, at least as a start and then see where it goes. My wife decided on the 19", so I got it for her. The yellow color cost me about $400 - I know better components. Anyway, I bet she'd let me try it out once she's had a chance to break it in with a scratch or two. I'm not in that big of a rush. Thanks for the info.
 
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