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Sometimes I really hate being 5'10"...

1924 Views 19 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  bryanus
Bike fitting is such a "try and see" at this height because I'm right smack in the middle of most companies Medium and Large. I've got avg measurements (32" inseam, 61" torso measurement and 62cm long arms).

Currently on a 19" (LARGE) Stumpjumper and am feeling a bit stretched out. Have been lusting after the Fuel EX8 and EX9 and rode the Medium (18.5") around the parking lot yesterday. Noticeably different than my SJ. More upright, more compact with less of an "On top of a horse" feeling. Found a sweet deal on a 19.5" EX9 though and am wondering how that would fit w/ a short stem.

Most of my riding is currently cross country, w/ some light single track. Want to get into more trail and downhill single track though. Much more fun than grinding out miles. Gonna go see if another LBS has a 19.5" for me to sit on.

Any advice fellas?

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Ride the smallest frame size that you can , adust your stem as needed.
I am 5'10" and I ride a 17.5" Fuel EX9. Great fit.
I'm 5'10" and have ridden Ex 9.0 and Ex 9.8 in the 18.5 couldn't be happier. Prior to these I was always on a 17.5" The 19's always felt way too big for me. After being the the 18.5 I got back on my wifes 17.5 and couldn't believe how small it felt and how I used that size for so long.

I think you will be happier on a 18.5 if you can find one. Trek Pro deal through the end of June!
6 foot, i'm on the 19.5/18.5 actual
Trek Size

The best is to get on it. I drove over an hour to test ride an EX 9 that the bike shop was sure it was going to fit (19.5) but it just felt too big, The bike is tip top and you're gonna want to be able to handle through all the dicey sections you'll go through now that you have this bike. I agree with the go small and adjust the stem, I ended up ordering an 18.5 and really like it. Good combination of being able to do some racing, but settle down in the saddle for long burly rides.

oh, and I'm 5-10
try looking at a Gary Fisher, most tall people like the G2 geometry over Trek.
im 5'10" riding a 18.5 fuel ex 8. running a 70mm stem tho...
Stop complaining. Everyone 6'1" and taller all get stuck with an XL.
pretty much in the same boat.

I am also 5'10" and have run into the same problem. I rode a 17" kona dawg three years ago, switched to a 18" which fit fine but was slow. This year I got a Gary Fisher Roscoe 3, in 19" which was close to the same geo and sizing as my 18" dawg. Just felt big, put on a shorter stem that didnt' help. The `17.5 is just a tad too small. I hate having the seatpost stick out a mile. Alas its going on e-bay. I rode a fuel 9.9 in the 18.5 and aside from the stem being too long on the demo bike it felt really good. So I would go with the m/l 18.5 not the 19.5. Just my two cents.
I wouldn't focus on the frame size but effective top tube length.

I am also 5'10" but with shorter arms. I prefer a 23" inch effective top tube, and all my bikes, like a Enduro SL, Norco Torrent, and my semi-custom Seven Ti hardtail have about a 23" measurement.

However, there are some bikes, particularly Santa Cruz, which have frames which measure 22.5" for medium sized frames and 23.5" for larges. And my VP-Free measured 23.2", which was a huge pain at first, particularly as a DH bike, but I got used to it.

Keep checking frame geometries in detail and see what works best for you.
bensf said:
Stop complaining. Everyone 6'1" and taller all get stuck with an XL.
No doubt... At 6'3", I wouldn't even want to get started. I feel for anyone even taller than me whether it's bikes, clothes, etc.

If you ever feel like sending me the pieces off the bottom of your pants when you get them hemmed, send 'em my way.:D
I'm 5' 10" and just bought a 19.5/18.5" EX9. The 18.5/17.5" I first test rode felt too cramped for me (coming from a 2008 Stumpjumper HT which is a VERY stretched out geometry). Took the EX9 out forits first (trail) ride today and I'm LOVING it.

I am 5'10" and from experience over the years I know I need a TT that is between 23.5 and 24 inches. Now that might be long to some my height but that is what I am comfortable on. So, if was going to get an EX I know I would get an 18.5.
I'm the same height and inseam (shorter legs, long torso). I bought a large Gary Fisher 29er HiFi. I have plenty of stand over height and the top tube length is nice and long, which I need instead of going with a medium frame and using a ridiculously long stem.
also 5' 10"

I'm looking to order a trek ex9 and have test ridden the 18.5" frame and the mechanic mentioned that I could go with the 19.5 cause I looked a little cramped. I have a 32" inseam and was wondering if I would have enough standover height to be comfortable? Dan- what's your inseam I noticed you bought the 19.5" frame? Thanks--Steve
I'm 5' 10.5" with a 32" inseam, evenly proportioned. I demo'd the 19.5/18.5 for a weekend and thought it was too big. I came from a 17" specialized s-works hardtail, but as previously mentioned it had a longer top tube compared to similarly sized bikes. I had my LBS order the 18.5/17.5 and right when I sat on it I knew it was perfect. The 19.5/18.5 felt heavier, harder to maneuver, less flickable through tight single track, and was naturally higher off the ground. I felt like I was riding on top of the bike. These problems literally vanished with the 18.5/17.5. You should DEFINITELY ride both sizes before you commit to buying a $2k bike that you will own for a long time.
I am 5' 10.5" with a 31" inseam and I am on a 17.5" (Virtual) EX9.8. I am coming from a 17.5" Epic. My first ride I was pretty miserable. I felt really cramped and had all sorts of muscle aches in my lower back. Then I added a Thomson setback seatpost and that completely fixed me up. It does stick out a bit, but I like that look and I already know I like smaller-ish frames that I can maneuver more easily. I did try an 18.5 Virtual EX9 at the LBS, but it felt too long for me. The 17.5 Virtual has the Top Tube of 23.5", which matches all the other bikes I've ever ridden, including the Epic which felt perfect.
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