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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,

I am 180cm tall, exactly on the borderline between M & L in most MTB sizing.
My last bike was an M-size hardtail reach 420mm & its been great, but I gradually felt i needed something longer & always had the seat moved back maximum. Often perching myself beyond the back of it too.

This time around I thought I would get L-size for my FS bike. Reach is 470.
So now I find this bike a big size difference! It seems huge & heavy ... trying to get used to it. Mainly I find the weight of it a struggle. My hardtail is 12.5kg, this one is 14.5kg
I know everyone says "it's not the weight" - but man my arms are killing me! :cryin: but I have been practicing hops & wheelies a lot.

I changed the dropper to a 120mm as the 150 was too much. With the 120 dropper at minimum the seat height still makes me nervous, I'd like it to be even lower, but in reality its only about 5mm-10mm higher than my hardtail, so it should be OK.

I am wondering if I should get a shorter stem or what? (current one is 45mm, I was considering NS quantum 35mm to maybe make the bike feel more playful.)
Obviously it would be pointless to negate the extra reach, but what things might help a rider who is the bottom end of L size? or is it just a matter of getting used to it?

I am feeling quite disappointed as I was super excited to get an FS bike but I'm not enjoying the ride that much as I don't feel I have control of this tank.
 

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No known cure
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180cm? You're borderline for 23.75 inch TT, metric 603?mm reach M/L frame, what wheel size, what elevation do you live at, in metres and feet? What's your ape index? We need to know this before you can swing a leg over a frame. Air or coil? Boost? XD or cassette? Male, female or disgengered?. Tubes or sealant? Mineral oil or DOT10,? Up country, down country, cross country, all mountain, DH, mullet, reverse mullet, or god, allah, buddah dogma, loki, forbid...single speed? East coast, west coast, up coast, down south? AL, steel, carbon fiber (or is it fibre?) maybe Ti? Specifics please. Don't forget to choose fork rake.
 

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WillWorkForTrail
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The first thing that jumps out at me is you quote reach numbers but talk about where the seat was on your hardtail. Reach is the distance from the BB to the HT while the seat to the HT is Top Tube length. So you might be completely barking up the wrong tree in your search for fit if you’re evaluating fit using the completely wrong number for the feeling you’re trying to correct.
 

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Cycologist
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What years and models are the old hardtail and the new full suspension? Sounds like it may be more than just the difference in sizes. How does the distance from the center of the headset cap to the center of the saddle compare? I compare this number a lot.
 

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180cm rider on a bike with a 470mm reach does seem like quite a stretch -- pun intended. That is on the extreme end of long bikes. I am only a few mm shorter than you and I cannot imagine riding a bike with a reach that long, even with a short stem. At 175cm, I picked my current frame partially on the short-by today's standards- reach measure and high BB so I can use a short stem and not feel like I am inside the bike and just hanging on. That frame of yours is just too long for you and your preferences. There's not much you can do about that.

You and I might have similar riding styles: I like being ON the bike and in control, sacrificing some stability for flickability, to employ and overused term. Others prefer that "in the bike" feeling that you have to adapt to if the terrain requires it.

You might try getting your handlebar lower and use the shortest stem you can find. A handlebar with more backsweep might also help shorten the effective reach.
 

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U sayin' Bolt ?
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I would try the shorter stem. Sometimes 10mm can make a big difference. Give that a month or so, and if the bike is still a pain to ride, consider it a learning experience and swap out the frame.
 

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How does the distance from the center of the headset cap to the center of the saddle compare? I compare this number a lot.
This number means nothing when you are standing up and wrangling the bike over terrain. Even worse if you use the dropper post a lot. You can build two bikes with the same saddle-to-cockpit lengths but with wildly different reach because of seat tube angles. Sitting on a bike with a steep STA and a long reach can feel the same as a bike with a slacker STA and much shorter reach, but when you take the saddle out of the way, the bikes will feel vastly different, for better or worse.

There could be a lot more to these two bikes. The fact that one is a hardtail and the other has rear suspension means that they might require a different fit and riding style to which OP is not yet accustomed. How to ride a FS bike is outside if my wheelhouse, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks guys. I might be using the wrong numbers yes. Im not really sure... which is why I am asking. But from what I read; Reach was a better measurement of fit than toptube. I used the reach of the bike models to help evaluate my size. Meaning that I felt 420 was not enough by at very least 3cm. So I figured the 270 reach bike was the better option rather than another M size & feeling it was too small.

The Hardtail is 2017 & the FS is 2019. So yes, also longer geometry has developed in recent years.

Chazpat. I measured as you suggested HS centre to Saddle centre & it was 57cm & 60cm. Not a big difference. I will post the actual measurements below. The RED ones are the bikes I have.

I would say that riding the bike & arm length feel good, so i guess the reach is suitable for me. I feel happy about that.
But I guess where I feel uncomfortable is the height, weight & maneuverability. It's more of a personal perception thats hard to explain. On the HT I feel that I can throw the bike around easily & if I fall off its easy to get away from the bike or slide to the floor. With the bigger bike I feel less in control & a crash will end up in a twisted pile of bone & metal (LOL)

It's quite possible I just need time to adjust & moving from HT to FS this is normal... or not. Did you feel this way?

Perhaps I should add that the type of trails I ride are natural forest, narrow, roots. There is no flowy sections or wide open spaces, its all enclosed & semi-technical.
I am thankfully finding the rear shock a great help for this.
 

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There is a lot more to how the bike fits and handles than reach, but reach is important. Overall, the new bike is much longer. Longer chainstays, much longer reach, much longer top tube. Hard to compare stack height because of the suspension/ hardtail dynamic.

Try this: measure the distance from your BB center to the center point between your grips. This is what Lee McCormack called Rider Area Distance or RAD. Regardless of how you feel about Lee's fit recommendations (he will tell you to ride a very compact setup, which many people don't like and bucks the modern trend for long bikes), it's a useful starting point.
most likey, the new bike has a much longer RAD. If the hardtail felt a bit small, and the FS bike feels big, find a happy medium. That can be achieved by lowering your handlebar by lowering your stem, getting a lower handlebar, or both. A stem with shorter reach or a handlebar with more backsweep can shorte the effective reach as well. That's part of why I am using an SQLabs x12 handlebar.

There's nothing you can about chainstays length, but be aware that 10mm of CSL makes a difference. Also, it looks like you went from XC 27.5 tires to 27.5+ tires. That will make the back end feel even longer. It's mostly a matter of adapting in that regard.

The elephant in the room is FS versus hardtail. You will need to adapt to riding suspension and fat tires, but you also need to fine-tune the suspension settings. I can't help you there.
 

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Your bike sucks
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Right - it's a different bike. Increased STA by a degree or so plus a longer reach. The HTA is slacker and you have more wheelbase - not to mention FS vs. Hardtail.

Yeah, its going to feel different full stop. Add in suspension and weight - there's no way you are going have the same bike feel between the two. That said, I personally don't think your new bike numbers are off the charts given your height; it may not be what you want or be the fit you were seeking but you are not way out there.

I was expecting something more dramatic - like numbers compared between 73 STA and 77 STA. From your first post, it sounds like you were feeling cramped while seated pedaling on the old bike - ETT generally is going to be the number look at there. The reach/stack isolated #s would be more appropriate to use for standing attack position and how far front center you need to feel.

You listed that your riding areas are narrow/windy - this may not be the ideal platform for you. That said, I'd give it some time - maybe try out that 30-35mm stem to see how you adjust. It does take time - for example, I'm running an ultra long 500mm reach w/ a slew of other aggressive #s - at first, I had some times where it felt like a handful - now its all second nature as I dismissed my old muscle memory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks again guys, some very helpful info.
I will give it some time & see how my habits adapt.

I had my eye on the SixC bars anyway & they have less rise.

It's reassuring to hear the size isnt way out there. I knew it couldn't be because it is my size, albeit minimum qualifications. But of course I want to feel at home on the bike & enjoy it.
I appreciate your friendly replies & advice.
 

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Try this: measure the distance from your BB center to the center point between your grips. This is what Lee McCormack called Rider Area Distance or RAD.
I was actually just reading about this RAD yesterday and was going to try it out this weekend to see if I need to fine tune my cockpit (new shorter stem, new wider and higher rise handlebar).

so my question is: on one end you start from the BB, but on the other, the website says "to your grips" (yellow).

you mentioned to the center between that grips, that makes more sense (green).

I figured the straight line, the green line, is more accurate when measuring RAD. I am taking into consideration the bar sweep as well.

Aircraft Model aircraft Pattern Radio-controlled aircraft Radio-controlled toy
 

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Midpoint between the grips on a up-down, front back axis. Put a yard stick (or metre stick) on top of your grips, find the center, and a spot about 1cm below that is what you want. See graphic on the link I posted, that's the RAD.

Bicycle frame Bicycle tire Wheel Bicycle wheel Bicycle wheel rim


It's not an exact science, but you can measure this within 1cm of correct and use that number as a reference. Crank arm length, shoe and pedal thickness, handlebar width have a negligible effect on the results.

If you have a common denominator in using a handlebar that has about the same dimensions, you can just measure from the BB to the center of the handlebar clamp and eliminate the guesswork.
 

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I am 180cm tall, exactly on the borderline between M & L in most MTB sizing.
My last bike was an M-size hardtail reach 420mm & its been great, but I gradually felt i needed something longer & always had the seat moved back maximum. Often perching myself beyond the back of it too.

This time around I thought I would get L-size for my FS bike. Reach is 470.
So now I find this bike a big size difference! It seems huge & heavy ... trying to get used to it. Mainly I find the weight of it a struggle. My hardtail is 12.5kg, this one is 14.5kg
I know everyone says "it's not the weight" - but man my arms are killing me! :cryin: but I have been practicing hops & wheelies a lot.
You listed that your riding areas are narrow/windy - this may not be the ideal platform for you. That said, I'd give it some time
I'm a very similar size to OP. I can understand how the hardtail might feel a little short, but I think Carl's on to something here, and it's something that stuck out to me as I was reading through OP's comments. Longer bikes ARE more of a handful to ride on really twisty trails, and it has nothing to do with hops and wheelies. It's about turning technique. To pull off a turn on a given corner, a longer, slacker bike will need to be leaned more aggressively to maintain speed. You're really going to be fighting the bike if you try steering the same with both. That might be even harder to do if tree or terrain clearance puts limits on you. Given the trail character, a super long bike is probably not the most ideal.

The bike I'm riding most right now is somewhere between the two bikes OP is comparing. It's a Guerrilla Gravity Pedalhead hardtail. In medium, 451mm reach, 635mm ETT. Mine is lengthened/slacked more than OEM for my local terrain, which is generally more open with long climbs and long descents with fewer tight corners. Still, I do have some twisty stuff that's accessible to me that I ride occasionally, and handling my longer bike on that stuff can be a challenge. It always takes a bit of easing into before I start feeling comfortable.
 

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I'm curious how the bike adjustment actually looks. Is the seatpost extra low? If not, can you pedal freely without rocking your hips? How long is the stem?
 

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Cycologist
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This number means nothing when you are standing up and wrangling the bike over terrain. Even worse if you use the dropper post a lot. You can build two bikes with the same saddle-to-cockpit lengths but with wildly different reach because of seat tube angles. Sitting on a bike with a steep STA and a long reach can feel the same as a bike with a slacker STA and much shorter reach, but when you take the saddle out of the way, the bikes will feel vastly different, for better or worse.

There could be a lot more to these two bikes. The fact that one is a hardtail and the other has rear suspension means that they might require a different fit and riding style to which OP is not yet accustomed. How to ride a FS bike is outside if my wheelhouse, though.
It's worked for me every time, measure on a bike that fits well and compare it to a bike that needs some fine tuning. It's a great starting point for me, a lot better than just comparing reach numbers on a website.

And that's why I asked the OP what the bikes are.
 

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A couple of things:

1. You have slammed the seat as far forward as possible, correct?

2. I don't know what the the FS and HT bikes are, but a lot of modern bikes ask to be ridden pretty far forward. If your HT was steeper and you got used to keeping your weight back to compensate, you may have it in the wrong place for getting the most out of your newer bike. Having your weight too far back on a bike with a slack front end can lead to not having enough weight on the front and so feeling like you're losing control (or actually losing control as it isn't gong to bite into the turn). This one would take some getting used to.
 

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well mannered lout
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Not to downplay the bike fit issues... that all needs to be fixed, but a lot of the perceived heft and sluggish feel is going to get solved with suspension set up and just getting used to riding a suspension bike. How your suspension is loading and unloading is much more important to get the bike to behave than working it over with upper body strength. Much of the technique is the same but with a system of dampers delaying how the rider input comes back through. I don’t think I have described that well I, but learning how to get the very best from a suspension bike will take time.
 
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