Video: The Riders Overlooked By Modern Geometry

Mar 28, 2024
by Christina Chappetta  

Over the past decade, the biking industry has seen a shift towards larger reach values on most mountain bikes, particularly those on the gravity end of the spectrum. While bikes are undoubtedly better for it, this trend can pose challenges for individuals on the extremes of size who still seek the same performance as their peers.

To best cover this topic, I chatted to Pinkbike's own Jessie-May Morgan and Ben Cathro, riders who like her often sit outside of the typical sizing range, to understand not only why they love the bikes of 2024 but also what they would like to see improved upon in coming years.

What's MOST important for you when choosing a bike?



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244 Comments
  • 79 0
 This comment is the "I just ride whatever good deal I find on PB buy/sell" option
  • 6 0
 real
  • 4 1
 "value and spec"?
  • 78 18
 How about overlooking those of us who live east of the Rockies who ride singletrack and don't want 64 deg HTA and 78 deg STA but still want more than 110mm of travel? Yes there are options out there but it feels like every year the bikes get longer and slacker and more tailored to the folks living in PNW steeps and not much else.
  • 10 4
 One of my favorite bikes to date had a 66degree HTA and 120mm travel. Wish I still had it but unfortunately it didn't get much ride time out here. I did bring it to ride in Florida and Louisiana of all places, so I feel for you! That will always be my N+1 bike because they are so dang fun and fast.
  • 23 0
 Almost every single manufacturer makes something between 120 and 140mm with around a 65ish (some adjustable +/-1 degree) headtube, moderate wheelbase and sensible seat tube. They're the only bikes I ride locally and the only issue I've had is deciding which one of the plethora available I want to ride.
  • 11 4
 They are around, but they are under the umbrella of "XC" bikes. My only problem with them is that they are spec'd more for light weight and lapping an XC course and start off at a higher price point than "trail" bikes.

I'm in the SF Bay Area, and outside of a few places, trails have not changed much in 20 years, and XC bikes are still what gets the job done in a majority of trails around here.
  • 7 1
 I have this thought quite a bit lately. I received a warranty replacement frame late last year. The 2021 frame that I broke was a great east coast bike. The new 2023 version I received is not the same bike at all. Steep seat tube, high sack, more travel, unsupportive pedaling - its probably a cool bike out west.
  • 30 4
 I think you are assuming that slacker bikes cant be fun anywhere but in the steep mtns. I dont find this to be true.
  • 7 0
 @cougar797: I have a very slack hardtail that is very fun everywhere. But not slacker bikes are created equal
  • 8 1
 @dirtbaggraeme: And every year a manufacturer will take one of those bikes and turns it into some enduro sled. I'm not saying there aren't options out there, I'm saying that over time those options have declined because of current design trends that are tailored to more extreme terrain areas that not everyone rides.

One example, Canyon Spectral. The 2020 version had a 66 deg HTA, perfect for upper midwest/east coast riding. Current one has 64 deg HTA. It's an entirely different bike now.
  • 3 0
 @XC-Only: You're right about the cost of XC bikes. But most XC bikes are still light on suspension travel. I want to know what happened to all of the 130mm, 65-66 deg HTA trail bikes. Plenty of 110mm, 67 HTA uber light XC bikes and 150mm, 64 HTA bikes but not as much in between.
  • 9 3
 I hear you, but will say that many riders, myself included, prefer slacker HTA's all around. Take a place like the close to town trails in Bend Oregon for instance. Pretty flat, can be quite technical. I have more fun carving these trails with a slack HTA then picking through them on a bike that's more turny.
  • 9 2
 @hankj: that’s where I’ve gotten too. Can’t say I ever get on a bike and go man I wish this was steeper.
  • 4 2
 santa cruz 5010
  • 3 1
 I think I get what you are saying. My preferred trails are tight and technical, not well suited for long enduro bikes. Sure, my XC bike is perfect for those. Except then I see all the features off to the sides of the trails with huge drops and hucks, and I would never do those on a bike with short travel. My 2018 170mm enduro bike still fits my riding style. I can fit into tighter places that longer bikes don't fit in, while still doing stupid stuff that I need the long travel to absorb. Sure it is a bit more of a handful when things get steep and fast, but I manage. I haven't ridden a more modern bike with this kind of travel, so I can't say a newer bike won't do the job. But I do fear the idea.
  • 5 0
 @novajustin: Yes, bikes like the 5010 still exist, but they're becoming fewer over time. Its direct competitor, the Ibis Mojo, was discontinued altogether.
  • 18 1
 I think everyone should head over to NSMB and read Dave Tolnai's piece and regain a bit of perspective in their lives and just ride their bicycle:
nsmb.com/articles/nobody-actually-knows-what-theyre-doing
  • 2 0
 @vitaflo: Canyon is one example, I'll also give you the most recent norco updates, but bikes with 140+ mm of rear travel have the capability to handle more descent focused terrain, so it should come as no suprise some brands want to push those bikes in that direction. Canyon took a more agressive path, but similar travel bikes from Yeti, Pivot, Ibis, Rocky, Trek... all have 140 options that sit more on the trail side, most of which have been iterated on in the last couple years and remain pretty steadfast on geo. And If you look between 120 and 130mm there are even more options suitable to rolling terrain.
Personally, I like that there are choices, if you want an aggressive 140mm bike for your riding style and terrain, I'm glad they exist, just like I'm glad the yt izzo and dozens of other bikes exist for my local, undulating, xc trail network spotted with some bigger features.
  • 8 9
 yes we should overlook you.
  • 15 0
 Add to that how about a suspension design that doesn't require mach stupid to feel great. In PA it's rock soup and root salad for miles so it's mostly lower speed hits. Not every longer travel bike has to automatically be a down biased geo specific enduro machine.
  • 16 4
 boooo. bad take. a 64 degree head angle is not the reason you're not having fun in the elevationally challenged geolocations.
  • 8 2
 Great. Geometry Privilege.
  • 2 3
 @j1sisslow: my 62.5 HT is a hoot.
  • 2 0
 @dirtbaggraeme: I rode a Tallboy for the past four summers, now have a Spur. Tallboy was a bit burlier and cushier, Spur a bit snappier and efficient. Both had geometry that can handle tight techy east coast trails (but not as fast as longer travel, burlier bikes on the way down) or rolly, flowy Bend area trails (but not as fast as a moder XC bike). Geometry works over a wide range of terrain as long as you aren't racing for sprint- seconds. I am sure there are lots of bikes you could say the same- Top Fuel?
  • 2 0
 @energetik: get your stuff custom tuned, it makes a massive difference!
  • 2 0
 @dcaf: Exactly.
  • 20 0
 Especially for those who want 27.5 setup. (dare I suggest even 26).
No argument that a bigger front wheel makes things faster, and easier...

But I know I'm not the only one who got hooked by mountain biking for the technical challenge and jibby good times. Strangely a lot of us could be in this just to have fun, not win races or the dissociated egotrip of KOMs. If we want maximum absolute speed and technically easy we can always go for a gravel/ road ride.

The "Bikes are great, There's so many options, Just ride and be happy" argument has obvious validity -- EXCEPT for the perpetual trail dumbing effect of slacker longer bikes and their "heroic trail work" peeps that keep straightening out legacy singletracks - instead of building their skills, learning how to corner, and considering there are plenty of straighter trails to ride mach 9000 mini DH bikes on without castrating the rare twisty sinuous gems we have left.
  • 1 0
 @JSTootell: The older Pivot Switchblade, circa 2019 was the bike that I should have kept. It had a more XC focused geometry, but the suspension to allow for some knuckle tight situations
  • 1 0
 @christinachappetta: Would you care to identify that bike, please?!
  • 3 0
 Pivot Switchblade and Ibis Ripley have pretty good geo for rolling East Coast singletrack.
  • 2 0
 There’s a ton of steep chunky riding east of the Rockies.
  • 1 0
 @neb636: I bet that changes soon - trend is going away from the geo of those two bikes.
  • 1 0
 There's literally a review of the Marin Rift Zone XR on Singletracks today. 150/130 with a 65.5 HT angle. You're welcome.
  • 1 0
 Revel Rascal, also an option as a trail bike at 140/130 with a 65.5 HT angle. Tons of fun, playful trail bike options out there if you looked before complaining.

SCOR 4060 ST has a 65.5 in the steep setting and that's a 150/140 trail bike.
  • 6 0
 @WoodenCrow: it has become virtulay impossible to get bikes if you want full 27.5 now . only a couple of options left now
  • 3 1
 @FoxRedLabs: buy a 29er with a flip chip, put it in the high position, get a 15-20mm lower headset cup extender, then throw some 27.5 wheels on!
  • 4 0
 @alienator064: or just keep riding the dedicated 27.5 bike I already have
  • 1 0
 Take a look at any Marin mountain bike. very sensible numbers for the midwestern/ east coast riding scene
  • 2 0
 @alienator064: just think its a pity options are disapearing, i get it though whats the pint of building bikes you cant sell. Luckily theres a few manufacturers still flying the flag
  • 2 0
 @vitaflo: 5010 isn't the bike it used to be either, 29" front wheel on a 140mm fork, and a lower link driven VPP that is more smashy and less poppy. The 5010v5 rides a lot more like a previous generation Bronson than it does a previous generation 5010.
  • 1 0
 @FoxRedLabs: fair. but luckily with some aftermarket modifications 27.5 wheels are totally viable on many bikes (especially mullet bikes), just wanted to get the word out there.
  • 2 0
 @alienator064: yeah 100% , going up 20mm in travel gets the same axle to crown length then adding the deadtube extender compensates for the small radius wheel so its totaly doable
  • 1 0
 @BlackVR: i missed the windo on the bronson, by the time i was ina position to buy one it had gone mullet
  • 1 0
 @gulogulointhearctic: Most accurate take I've read in a hot minute. Plus, no amount of tweaking and fiddling will improve your riding as much as time on trail will. Not that no adjustments are worthy, but you get the idea.
  • 2 0
 @FoxRedLabs: I rented a more modern bike with the 29" wheels just to see what I was missing. Was expecting better rolling over chunk, but honestly couldn't really tell much difference-- but I usually run a 2.6 up front on my 27.5 and this bike had a 2.4.

What I DID notice was an uncomfortable amount of wheel flop on slow speed steep tight corners (guess that's the slacker HTA, bigger wheel, and maybe different offset?). Also noticed a lot of BB and pedal strikes.

The newer bike was a ton of fun at speed on flow, but really didn't impress much on steep chunk and more "natural" trails.
  • 1 0
 @Fribble: I did extensive back I back testing with modern 29ers and found the same with the wheel flop and lack of confidence in the front end , so was faster on my 27.5 as being short and being a flat pedal rider so have naturally more rear weight bias, struggled with getting enough weight through the front end so really struggled with front end traction so have just stuck with 27.5
  • 40 0
 Seat tube insertion depth is the most overlooked feature. Any bike with an interrupted seat tube is defective in my eyes, especially in smaller frames.
  • 16 1
 100%! Like what do I even do with a 125mm dropper hah put it on my gravel bike??
  • 2 0
 @christinachappetta: Wait, does your gravel bike not have a dropper?
  • 2 0
 @dirtbaggraeme: And seat tube length, haha
  • 1 0
 Why? Do you need to make sure your saddle hits your tire when the suspension is bottomed out and your dropper is all the way down? There is only so much dropper that will actually fit on small bikes before the saddle hits the tire.
  • 34 3
 Thank you for coming up with this topic Pinkbike. Me as a 5,3 (163cm) rider, I am wondering if bike companies think all smaller people died during Covid, as some are not even offering S sized frames anymore and starting their line up with size M like Deviate with the Claymore MX shortest reach of 460mm. WTF!?
  • 34 1
 I think that's more likely a product of Deviate not having enough money to afford tooling for four front triangles rather than any intention to specifically not produce a bike for you.
  • 9 4
 Same buddy, same! Unfortunately, the lack of available sizing has made choosing bikes a littler tricky over the years. I'm thankful for all the great options and newer brands available now, but still am left wanting more sometimes.
  • 5 0
 @j-t-g: I'm with you on this one, smaller brands will cater to the masses. Where as the big brands have everything from XS-XXL.

If they can only afford to produce 2-3 frame size options, they're going to be the most popular
  • 18 1
 Until a few years ago all bikes were too small for tall people. I guess we’re going from one extreme to the other now.
  • 3 2
 @Kai-P: You make a great point! haha
  • 2 0
 Atherton has a lot of sizes, and will do custom sizing too
  • 4 0
 @j-t-g: This is correct. When deciding on a sizing strategy, the correct approach is to determine the target demographic as a distribution curve and calculate the economics of covering the tail ends of the curve. Two unknown factors are whether there exists more addressable market at the ends of the curves that has not previously been reached due to lack of availability from the company in question, and the sensitivity of customers to precise sizing within the range (i.e. whether potential customers are put off by large steps in sizing).

The three main choices when choosing their sizing:

1. High tooling cost with small steps between sizes, covering the core size range.
2. High tooling cost with large steps between sizes, covering a larger range.
3. Low tooling cost with large steps between sizes, covering the core size range.

This particularly applies to molded carbon frames due to high tooling cost; it's less expensive to experiment with sizing when using lugged or welded construction. Modular inserts can reduce the risk to the company and add a feature for the customer.
  • 6 0
 Helping my 5' tall girlfriend bike shop sucks.
  • 2 0
 @JSTootell: Knolly Endorphin
  • 7 1
 @JSTootell: But you'll get a great deal in the Pinkbike BuySell on a fork with a steerer that some fool cut to 6"!
  • 5 2
 It's a fact of life that long travel 29er's dont package down to small frames.
  • 1 0
 @jokullthor: no carbon option. But otherwise okay.

She is on an Epic and Stumpy right now. She's set for a little bit now that I think I've talked her out of buying a full suspension XC bike :lol
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: funny you mention that, I just gave her my 32 SC from my bike after buying a 34.
  • 8 0
 @JSTootell: Makes sense. Weight and stiffness are also important considerations for small and/or light riders. It's disappointing to see a 100 lb rider and a 200+ lb rider on equipment that differs only in the lengths of the central spans of their front triangles.

A rider that applies half the load to the bike should be on a bike that weighs about half as much. Similarly, huge riders need to accept commensurately hefty bikes. It's wild to hear a rider rationalizing that since they weigh fifty or a hundred pounds extra, they need the lightest possible bike to help them on climbs.
  • 3 0
 @JSTootell: second the Knolly endorphin if she’s looking for a longer travel bike. I’m 5’1 and struggled with a size small yeti SB140… the 430 reach was too long. Bought a XS Knolly endorphin and it fits like a glove. I also have an epic evo size small that fits great too. She will want to be in that 415-420 ish reach range for sure.
  • 1 0
 @R-M-R: yeah, she has an FTP half of what I have. Funny how my 35 pound trail big is no big deal, but her aluminum Transition at 40 pounds was a struggle.

Fun on the DH though.
  • 1 0
 @tg222: the Stumpy with the shortest stem I could find is working pretty well for her. The Endorphin and Stumpy are similar enough geometry, with a few things being better on the S bike (shorter reach, 148 axle spacing, and importantly less weight). She was on a 170mm bike before but the weight was just too much and she likes to climb, we virtually never shuttle, with a 4 hour day just being a normal fun ride.
  • 2 0
 @JSTootell: I know, the weight of the aluminum frame does get to me with longer trail rides, so I feel you. The stumpy evo was exactly what I wanted but felt like I was inbetween the s1 and s2. Oh the struggle.
  • 1 0
 I agree sort of. I can find small bikes and I like the size of the bike I have (banshee runs v3). But it has an extremely short seat tube insert length. I'm maxed out with a 125mm oneup v2 dropper. Also running a mini mullet, I love it. No, I'm not fast, but it is fun.
  • 19 1
 I must be missing something or not know what I’m doing because I pretty much do the opposite of what Pink bike says is good.

“29 wheel in the front!!” “High rise bars!” - I’m 5’1 with a short inseam. With these long stack heights, I don’t even know how I could get front wheel traction and good climbing position with a 29er in the front. In fact, I switched to flat bars on my enduro bike (gasp) and I felt like I was pushing into corners waaaay better and felt more “in it” in steeps.

“Full 27.5 doesn’t roll as good!” - idk, the full 27.5 really has its advantages in steeps and jumping to prevent buzzing my butt. I roll over rocks fine. I don’t understand why the industry is so hell bent on the 29 narrative.

“Long chain stays! Stable!” - I find confidence and stability in being able to maneuver my bike quickly to where it needs to go with the shorter chain stay, but maybe it’s because I’m small and weak.

am I way off the mark or do my short friends relate?
  • 1 0
 Yeah, I'm not exactly short, but average-ish, 5'7". I do get your point. I do have a 30" inseam. It's become a bit crazy though. I have bought the same brand 29er hardtails, On One, over the last 10 years. I originally bought based on my old 26" (Medium) bikes. All have the same stack, different bar rises. So, the 1st bike, an Inbred (S) 120mm fork, 68hta, 579mm ETT, 435mm chainstays. Very agile, can emergency manual with just a slight pull up. But it felt like it needed more reach. 2nd bike, Scandal (M) 140mm fork, 65hta, 615mm ETT, 440mm chainstays. It is fun at speed, but isn't as agile going slower and is hard to emergency manual. The front stays planted on climbs. BUT, the wheelbase is 3" longer then the Inbred. 3rd bike. Huntsman (M) 140mm fork, 65hta, 615mmETT, 444mm chainstays. Very stable at speed, but is so numb, horrible at slow speeds. I consider myself skilled at manuals, it's near impossible to lift. It's also 3" longer wheelbase then the Scandal and 6" longer then the Inbred. I need short chainstays to make my rides fun. I don't think long chainstays are the "trick".
  • 2 0
 I'm not short (184 cm ) but totally agree. Never liked 29 or overly long bikes
  • 2 0
 It's the extremes, I'm 6'5" and although I'm now definitely able to buy a bike with long enough reach, I still feel that stack needs to catch up. I have high rise bars and an absurd number of stem spacers as well as a high rise stem.
  • 14 4
 Personally, this whole longer reach trend is no good. Perfect reach for me using RAD sizing and personal experience is around 460mm and not many bikes are at this mark anymore, it’s between most medium and larges. A few years back this was a large and now larges are 470+, so I end up sizes down and feels a lot better to be at 455mm.
  • 6 0
 the secret ingredient is more stack.
  • 4 0
 I rode size Large from the 1990's until... Then the local twisty/turny trails started feeling not all that fun anymore. Now I ride Medium (S3) size bikes and I'm all happy again. Bigger wheels, slacker head angle, shorter stem are all great, the very steep seat angles nowadays, not so sure, the much longer reach and wheel base - not for me, not for how I prefer to ride.
  • 3 0
 100%, sizing down is the way to go if you are actually conscious about bike handling and riding dynamics, a higher stack also helps when things get steep if you feel like the reach is slightly too short.
  • 2 0
 I'm with ya brother - i'm 6-4 and ride a S4 Spec At ~475mm reach with a taller cockpit setup, feels great all around. Played with the RAD and RAAD and I find it's close to getting an ideal setup.
  • 3 0
 I’m not sure longer reach is much of a “trend” anymore. I think we’ve settled on “longer than 10-15 years ago is better,” and bikes have stabilized and more or less stopped growing. By that I mean a large is around 475, a medium around 450 (+/- 5mm), etc. Sure, there are aggressive outliers, but overall, I think we are done with the radical evolution.

That’s said, buy the size that’s right for you and don’t worry about the sizing labels. As a rule of thumb, I think RAD sizing is great, but I’m not an absolutist — I feel like for me there is some wiggle room if it’s slightly longer.
  • 10 0
 High stack is killing shorter riders IMO. Can’t even get your seat high enough when climbing….155 cranks actually help with this…gives you a little higher seat on the way up and closer to
Bar height.
  • 1 19
flag justinfoil (Mar 28, 2024 at 11:07) (Below Threshold)
 Why would you change your seat height? The BB is as the same height, so the center of the pedaling circle is at the same height. You gain 1 or 2 mm in crotch height when standing with pedals level, but why would standing position dictate seat height?
  • 19 0
 @justinfoil: shorter crank length means the bottom of your pedal stroke is not as far away from your saddle. You should raise your saddle around one centimeter if your cranks go from 165cm to 155cm.
  • 1 19
flag justinfoil (Mar 28, 2024 at 14:35) (Below Threshold)
 @Spencermon: It also means the top of your pedal stroke is 10mm farther from your saddle, so should you lower your saddle by 10mm?. Of course not. The important thing is that the power portion of the pedal stroke (close to cranks horizontal) is pretty much the same distance from the saddle, meaning you don't need to raise it at all.

Using the bottom of the pedal stroke as a gauge is just a starting point that happened to work well for the average person on 170-175mm cranks. Actual data-driven bike fits use many more factors than that, including knee flexion at top of the pedal stroke (is less with short cranks, should you lower your saddle to match this?), total knee extension difference (much less with shorter cranks, a good thing), and more. The very common KOPS metric is done with the cranks horizontal, when the crank length has _nothing_ to do with the saddle's vertical distance from the pedals.

Either way, if you shorten your cranks, at least just ride them a few times without any saddle height change. Maybe you'll want to raise it, as everything fit-wise is personal, but very likely you won't feel a need to because the power stroke is at the same height.
  • 1 0
 buy merida then....
  • 3 0
 @justinfoil: it’s not about power in the classic sense…it’s about fit. The bike fits fine going down but on the the up with the post up the seat is well below the bars which is very uncomfortable place to be. You’re over thinking and applying what seems to be road/xc fit mentality to enduro bikes and fit issues for short people…the whole point of this article.
  • 3 0
 @justinfoil: I think a few things still stand, one of which being that legs are stronger the less you have to bend them. Ideally, most people feel most comfort when the leg gets closer to straight. I don't know why that still isn't the case when you change the crank length? Or do people with shorter cranks somehow not care about that anymore?
  • 1 0
 But on the flip size the companies don't increase the stack height enough for bigger sizes. Like on the Spec Enduro the reach goes up 17% from S1 to S5 but the stack only changes 3.5%.
  • 3 0
 @93EXCivic: exactly! Reach is a piece of the fit puzzle but now stack is the big driver of proper fit. Look at the Madonna review…even kaz notes the stack height makes the bike fit really well.
  • 1 2
 @Spencermon: And 10mm less extension is what... 1.5% less? Reduces the angle by... practically nothing. Sure if you want to optimize for maximum power, which presupposes you already had a bike fit on the longer cranks, move your seat up with shorter cranks, but _NOT_ just a blanket "match the crank length difference". It would require another bike fit, including fore-aft saddle adjustment, and perhaps even saddle angle or changing saddles completely since all the hip/knee/ankle angles change double at the top of stroke if you only try to match leg extension at the bottom (0x), and half that in the mid-stroke (power stroke!).

I'm also not saying you should never change your seat height, just that a blanket statement to always match the crank length change with an increase in seat height is stupid. Try it as-is first, try half way if you don't like it, try all the way if you still don't like it.

Same with the usual blanket statement to decrease chainring size: just try it first!
  • 1 1
 @wolftwenty1: In regards to tall stack, shorter cranks could be said to _allow_ a higher saddle height to better match a tall stack, but they don't _require_ a taller saddle height.

I initially followed the stupid recommendation to raise my saddle 10mm going from 170mm to 160mm cranks. I hated it, because my power stroke was 10mm out of position. Lowered it 5mm, felt better, but still didn't like it, and I ended up pretty close to exactly the same, maybe 2mm higher. But not _because_ of the higher bottom stroke, rather because that height feels optimal for the power stroke and having a higher bottom stroke _allowed_ me to comfortably raise it a bit.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: all gret points and not here to argue your experience. But guessing you’re an averaged sized human…10mm in saddle height for someone 5’2” makes a huge difference. Either way, works well for my wife and allows her to run a longer dropper. Just a suggestion for the shorties out there.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: and yea. There were other adjustments to her saddle as well. Hell a slightly thicker flat pedal even have her 2mm more. 170 cranks replaced with 155 and shamans flat pedals instead of one ups literally raised her saddle 17-ish mm. For her height it made all the difference.
  • 1 2
 @wolftwenty1: "10mm in saddle height for someone 5’2” makes a huge difference"

Exactly why the "raise your saddle the same length as you shortened the cranks" is stupid! It doesn't take into account anything else. As you said, it "allows" changing saddle position, but I'm also saying it shouldn't dictate it.
  • 4 0
 @justinfoil: sorry that I must have forgot to type out all the exceptions, eventualities, and possible permutations regarding my statement. Next time I'll make sure to get my thesis and subsequent paper peer reviewed before submitting it to a comment section.
  • 1 1
 @Spencermon: You don't need all that, just need to understand that it proves my point. If "10mm is huge for someone short", that means that "10mm is not so huge for someone tall", which in turn means a blanket statement like "always go 10mm higher" is just wrong.

And yes, you should.
  • 2 0
 @justinfoil: I never said "always go 10mm higher" You've blown this all out of proportion.
  • 1 0
 @Spencermon: You didn't, but the whole thread started with someone saying short cranks automatically give you more seat height, following the usual blanket statement that seat height has to go up with crank shortening, which is not true, and you _seem_ to agree with, but also keep trying to tell me I'm wrong about.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: I just engaged to correct your first statement 155 is pretty short for cranks and if someone swapped from stock cranks, they are likely swapping out 165s or 170s. It's not at all uncommon for most people to raise their saddle to be comfortable with their leg extension. I just have yet to encounter anyone who swapped to shorter cranks and DIDNT raise their saddle. They probably exist, but every single person who I have seen swap cranks shorter did raise their saddle. So it's weird for you to tell everyone that we're wrong and shouldn't do what we feel is comfortable.
  • 1 0
 @Spencermon: Many (not everyone) raises their saddle because pinkbike and every other website tells them it's required when going to shorter cranks, with _zero_ reasoning as to why. Because of this, not many even try the same saddle height with shorter cranks.

I'm NOT saying you or anyone is wrong for your preferred saddle height regardless of crank length, I'm saying it's stupid for anyone to say the saddle raise should be automatic with shorter cranks, which goes along with "shorter cranks [automatically] means higher saddle to help counter tall stack" from the OP. It should be "shorter cranks _allow_ a higher saddle if needed to counter a tall stack", and that's all I've been saying the whole time.

I did not say your wife should lower her saddle back down, nor that she's wrong for raising it, just that I think she, and everyone, should have try with it at the old height first. And that everyone should stop insisting that the raise has to be done: it's just another option that shorter cranks open up, not a necessity.

For a long time, every single person had 175mm cranks. Guess that means no one should have ever tried shorter ones..
  • 3 0
 @justinfoil: lol. You guys still going on this JFC. Maybe tell Henry to do a podcast on it.
  • 1 0
 @wolftwenty1: honestly sometimes I keep commenting so that I have some form of conversation throughout my work day.
  • 19 11
 This is silly. Anyone who is "overlooked" by modern geo was even _more_ overlooked by previous geo. Most bikes now have much expanded size ranges on both ends. And, perhaps even more importantly, virtually every one now has much shorter seat-tubes and stand-over across the sizes, so shorter riders aren't limited, by seat height/dropper length preference, to those (now often even smaller if needed) small sizes if they do prefer a longer reach and wheelbase.
  • 20 7
 You sound like an "average" size rider. But I agree with you in that we do have more options than ever, it's just some of us still don't have what we think is the perfect option, and that's a bummer when bikes cost as much as they do brand new.
  • 10 0
 agree with @christinachappetta here, there are more options now, but some of those options may be merely pretending to help. a size small shouldn't have a 450 reach, but that is exactly what some brands do. Many bikes that have a low mount shock that pierces the seat tube severely limit dropper post options for those with shorter seat tubes. It's never an issue for the larger sizes, but it can start to feel like the smaller sizes are afterthoughts for the companies designing the bikes.
  • 2 5
 @christinachappetta: but that's just the industry in general, not "modern geometry". Modern geo has only helped by making more sizes actually viable for shorter people. Sure, not every shorter rider is going to even want to size up to some brand's medium from small, but in the past that would have been completely non-viable for those that do want the longer bike thanks to seat height and stand-over, while it's often at least an option nowadays depending on reach preference.

I just don't see how moden geo has made anything worse, especially when adjusting for small brands that simply don't make smaller sizes and their mediums and larges might have "too much" reach even if they do have a viable seat post height for shorter riders. But again, that's not the geo's fault. That's just capitalism failing a minority group.

Yes, perhaps you don't have the perfect option, yet. But you _definitely_ have better options than before.
  • 7 1
 @christinachappetta: Hell I’m the most average size possible, 5’ 10” (178cm), and I am almost always between a medium and large. It’s relatively difficult to find bikes that fit me the way I want and I’m usually deciding between too long or too short. If we could all be on custom frames that would be great, but the reality of making only a few sizes for the entire population of riders is that some people will struggle to find the right fit
  • 1 0
 @Greasybrisket: agreed. As I’m the same height as you are.
But, it is not enoying enough for me to go the custom geo or, Atherton route.
Nevertheless, an ML Madonna v3 for example, would be highly appreciated!
  • 2 0
 @Spencermon: you might take a look at Merida. Seattubewise, there are on the correct route to proper sizing.
Unfortunately, they’re expensive and got headsetcablerouting
  • 3 0
 @qbensis: oh pivot as well has super short seat tubes on the smaller sizes with sufficient insertion depths. Some brands get it, but its a shame that it's only some not all.
  • 2 5
 @christinachappetta: you sound like a shawwty
  • 2 0
 I don’t know. I think the issue here is that we all vary in about a million ways in size and dimensions. It’s impossible to cater to everyone. Maybe there’s a market for a company that caters to the extreme small or large sizes?

On another note, every time I see Christina ride, I think, “Man, her bike looks too big.” That’s not a personal knock. Now I understand.
  • 2 0
 @Spencermon: "a size small shouldn't have a 450 reach"

That's just, like, your opinion, man.

15 years ago you would have said a size large shouldn't have a 450mm reach, it's all relative. Plus, I think we've gotten to the point where the names of sizes shouldn't matter. It's not whether the size "small" fits you, it's whether there is any size with a reach (and any other geo specs) in your preference.

It's also interesting that Christina mentions that maybe the size small isn't "thought out" as well. I think smaller sizes actually benefitted more from prior trends than the largest sizes. Slack seat tube angles (absolute and effective) gave tall riders a greater disadvantage by hanging their seat way out back to get the seat height they needed. Sure, shorter riders might not be able to fit their maximum chosen dropper, but that complaint is still happening for a decent chunk of bikes in the middle sizes, and at least they're relatively centered on the bike compared to the talls would have been.

Same for size-specific chainstays (and seat tube angles): these _really_ help the XL and XXL riders since with silly shirt chainstays they end up in the back seat automatically, requiring more effort to weight the front-wheel relative to a size with a closer front-center to rear-center ratio. Riders on smaller sizes already benefitted from the race to tiniest chainstays, what hurt though was the need for 29 everywhere, limiting the chainstay length minimum to something often sub optimal for a size XS. Are mullets "modern geo"? Because they definitely helped here, allowing size-specific chainstays to both grow _and_ shrink.
  • 8 1
 5'11 is one of if not the most common heights and I remember shopping for a bike and it was almost impossible to find a bike that didn't put 5'11 in-between a medium and a large. I think brands purposely make it so people around 5'11 can "fit" on both medium and large frames because they think it will sell more frames, but the reality is in-between sizes don't fit at all. I was cramped on a medium and larges work but feel a little too big.

What I want to see a lot more of is adjustable headsets and chainstays so people that don't land square in the middle of the size charts can actually dial in the fit.
  • 3 0
 Exactly, same here. Riders that are 5'10 - 5'11 often get stuck between a M and L frame size. Ideally I like a reach about 470mm. I thought the 'average' height would be right in the middle of a size range, not at the top or bottom of the range.
  • 2 0
 Fellow average-height king here.

I've demoed M and L sizes of the same frame back-to-back a couple of times. You can definitely ride either one and be just fine. So really, we are being catered you. You could toss a coin and be ok either way or you can pick the one that caters to your preferred riding style and body proportions (legs vs torso).

I used to ride mediums because I liked the quicker handling of the shorter wheelbases. Then I injured my shoulder and found that the longer reach/wheelbase of a large helps me keep the front wheel in front of me.

When you're right in the middle of the size range, sure you might "know" exactly which size the manufacturer thinks you should ride. But I think the choice of being between sizes is better.

:: cues up "Freedom of Choice" by Devo ::
  • 1 0
 Yeah. I agree. I’m 5’11” and in between sizes on almost every brand. I prefer boutique bikes but I end up on Trek and Specialized because of the M/L and S4 options.
  • 1 0
 Yes. At 5-11, I can’t tell if I’ve got it good because I have a choice, or if it’s just a complication because I’m afraid I’ll end up picking the wrong choice.

Most brands and models, I go large. On certain brands (Yeti, Pivot’s Firebird 29er), I go medium. Guess a test ride for everything is in order.
  • 7 0
 I've always been fascinated by this topic as a shorty myself. Everyone is a size small at some point in their life... yet companies often don't make bikes for smaller people. I've had this discussion at every bike company I've worked at now and the argument that makes me scratch my head is, "We never sell many small bikes." Wanna know why? Because you don't make them or order them! Make more small bikes! I will die on this hill!
  • 10 2
 Short people got no reason to live They got little hands And little eyes And they walk around Tellin' great big lies They got little noses And tiny little teeth They wear platform shoes On their nasty little feet
  • 7 0
 An interesting point to note is that lots of riders will say “I’m average height, I’m ~5’10” / 178cm”. That’s only average height amongst men of Northern European genetic heritage. The average height amongst most other genetic groups of men is shorter and even more so for women.

Obviously the MTB world is massively dominated by male European and North American riders but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of riders for whom average height is a lot less.

(This size issue is seen across many many industries, including things like crash test dummies for car safety testing…)
  • 4 0
 As a 5'3" person who wears (heavily modified) men's clothes, this makes me unreasonably annoyed. How have we as a global culture worked ourselves into this statistically impossible position where like 80% of men are below average height?
  • 6 0
 I’m 5’4, 164 cm tall. The struggle for good sizing is real. I think the reach measurement has been overstated to some extent. It seems like it has become one the most important sizing parameters but it shouldn’t be the only one. Often times steep seat tubes come at the expense of top tube lengths. Last season I bought a Fuel Ex in medium to get the tt length I wanted. 585 I think. The small was 3cm shorter. As it is I sometimes bump my pad encased knees in to the grips on tight uphills so a shorter tt would make that worse. Standing to accelerate on a short bike would be a problem too.

I’m not sure if the 78° seat tube angle and subsequent forward seat placement is better or worse. Where I live I can be on trails before I’m properly warmed up and I’ve started getting hamstring cramps on the first short steep climbs. Never happen with a further back seat position. But it might be an age thing too being 66 now. Mt take on a further forward seating position is that it helps tall riders not loop out when climbing a bike with short rear centre. It just puts their centre of mass a bit ahead of the rear contact patch. While that may be more efficient in one sense, it might be less efficient in an ergonomic sense because if the seat is further forward, one will be sitting more upright.

I also prefer dual 29 wheels for the better rolling. I did a short experiment with a mullet on my hardtail. Back to back on a 30 minute loop that climbed and descended. Twice. I couldn’t tell the difference. Sure I scuff my butt sometimes but it’s never caused a problem. I do have long legs for my height though. Crotch to floor is 31 inches.

It took me a bit to adapt to the longer bike climbing the Legacy Climb in Squamish. I had no issues with my old Chameleon hardtail or my medium 2019 Remedy but I was having issues on tight corners with the longer more slack Fuel ex. But I have adapted now. And the new bike descends a bit better too.

The best quote I heard about bike fit and this would apply to geometry as well, "It’s a spider web. You pull here and it changes somewhere else."
  • 6 0
 I think there are fit issues depending on how you want to ride. I’m 5’10” and feel most comfortable on bikes with around a 450mm reach. I once bought a bike with too long a reach as the enduro-oriented bike reviewers on PB, NSMB, etc, who are about my height preferred them; then found this didn’t fit how I wanted to ride. With bike reviewers more focused on XC, Flow MTB, STW, etc., again who are about my height, I found they preferred smaller bikes. I’m wondering if the always longer, slacker, longer, trend is so aimed at enduro/down hill folks, that many of us who are more XC or trail oriented are just along for the ride. For me, this means that in the past I bought large frames. Today I’m riding medium frames. But in reality, I’m just looking for a bike with around 450mm reach and a stack that puts the bars at saddle height.
  • 11 5
 The reach measurements have gotten stupid long. At 6'2" I'm stretched out and leaned over to the point my neck and scaps are super sore if I'm in the saddle too long. For me, 475mm reach is max. When I see size large frames with 500mm reach, I'm annoyed.
  • 5 0
 You say this and I used to agree but not all reaches are the same. I bought a dreadnought in XL at 509mm reach, MX'd it for a 501mm reach to make it shorter. I got a XL Norco fluid at 510mm reach and the front triangle feels smaller with a 50mm stem vs the 30mm on the dread. The fluid feels great but the dreadnought is now for sale. Obviously there's a bunch of other things going on with the dreadnought which makes it feel larger. But reach to reach on bikes isn't proportional.
  • 12 0
 A bike's geometry is way more than reach. You need to look at everything together (ST angle, HT angle, stack). You need to take effective top tube into consideration too. If two bikes have identical reach of 425 with a ST angle of 76 on one and 78 on the other, and all else being equal, the slacker ST will have a longer effective TT.
  • 3 0
 Reach is not the same as effective top tube. The effective top tub and stem length will determine how stretched out you are, but with a steep STA you can have a longer reach but a shorter effective top tube.
  • 1 0
 @skiboot1: how tall are you? I’m 6’2” and ride a large Dreadnought (full 29 and 50mm stem). I can’t imagine riding an XL. It would be unwieldy.
  • 1 0
 @Bad-Mechanic: True but STAs also don't work everywhere at least in my experience. Where I am with a decent amount of rolling terrain, I don't like the bikes I have tested with steep STAs.
  • 1 0
 @Offrhodes: but it depends on use case to a certain extent and what you want to optimize....reach is associated with optimizing standing/descending while ETT is more closely related with pedaling. Yeah yeah, we do both, but I always feel more at home with a shorter reach and slightly longer stem with a STA 76ish even if my pedaling position is not optimal. Ends up putting me on bikes circa 2018 geo....
  • 1 0
 @skiboot1: have you tried a size large Dreadnought? Might make you want to sell the Norco haha.
  • 1 0
 @jessemeyers: honestly the dreadnought isn't too bad anymore. I ride in multiple areas with flatter terrain. The fluid is way too fun on terrain where it's a slough on the dread.
  • 1 0
 @skiboot1: ah, make sense. I don’t really ride any flat trails.
  • 5 0
 When I saw the title of the post/video, I was excited thinking, “maybe they’ll call out the ridiculous corner the industry has painted us into.” After watching it, I’m shaking my head at the lack of real substance.

Half the video has Ben Cathro talking about his difficulties with fit and durability. No offense to Cathro, he’s an excellent rider and I enjoy watching his tutorial videos with my wife who is learning how to ride, but at 6’7” he’s at 99.969 percentile male height in the UK! It would be downright irresponsible for a bike company to spend its limited resources to build a production bike to fit someone so far out at the end of the bell curve. Sorry Ben, you’re going to struggle with fit on production bikes just like you no doubt have trouble fitting in some standard size vehicles and furniture. Ben would be best served going custom. His opinion however, does not belong in this discussion.

What needs to be communicated is that the industry has forgotten a huge portion of potential customers. A 5’4” woman is 52.8 percentile in the US. That means 52 out of 100 women are shorter than that…shorter than Christina. That the author is having trouble finding appropriate bikes at that height, wtf are shorter riders supposed to do? Indeed I’ve seen ladies struggling on XS framed 29 bikes that are too long and slack for their fledgling skills and body size. So the industry is saying half the potential women riders need to spring for a custom frame?! And oh by the way here’s a bunch of geo numbers for you to learn without context because we failed at our job to optimize around known human factors.

From my standpoint, I also feel left behind. At 5’9” I’m at 45.9 percentile in the US. I have the ability and desire to ride a 160+mm bike on all trails but there are hardly any available now with 27.5 front and rear wheels; nearly all have at least 29 front. While I get along fine on 29 up to 140 travel, any more travel raises the stack and standover to unacceptable heights. So I bought one of two identified options of full 27.5 160+ frames that had reasonably designed suspension 6 months ago. In a size medium, it was so long, low, and slack that any ride that wasn’t straight up and straight down was not fun. I ended up steepening the head angle 2* to 65 to liven it up on singletrack but it’s largely uninspiring still. For some of us it’s about fun, not strava times.

At more than 3 decades of riding, I know what works for me but nothing is currently being made. I have to go custom too. And 45 out of 100 guys are shorter than me! While I feel for all who are going through tough times in the post COVID bike industry, I can’t help but think they also brought it on themselves by building only trendy bikes for racers that don’t work for the average rider.
  • 6 2
 Those poll options have both enough overlap or disparity as to be completely pointless. "Correct sizing" is dependent on "suits your riding style". The "latest technology" does not necessarily preclude _any_ of the other "choices". Nor do the wheel sizes, although those definitely can effect and are an important part of the "correct sizing" and "riding style" choices.

Also, if you're letting wheel size or frame storage dictate your choices, either solely or simply above "correct sizing" and riding style", you're an idiot. If you put them in a poll, it kinda shows that your think your readers might be idiots.
  • 2 3
 It's just a fun way to engage isn't it? But from my perspective, if a bike doesn't fit me properly then what does it matter of the build kit is top end or if it has 170mm "enduro" travel. You can change forks and linkages sometimes to fix those issues. And if you're Henry Quinney then frame storage is a MUST! he probably chose that one.
  • 6 0
 Accurate. Most of these survey articles are click-baity and insulting to readers' intelligence.
  • 2 1
 @christinachappetta: Exactly, "if" the bike doesn't fit, "then" the build doesn't matter. "If" the build is junk, "then" the wheel size becomes moot. It's a whole list of if/then going down, excepting the ones that overlap, like fit and ride style which are directly linked and should be counted as one.

Anyone who prioritizes storage cubbies over fit (which includes riding style) is doing it very wrong, and no one should be listening to them.
  • 1 0
 My lady friend picked her bike with a few factors in mind, wheel size being close to top of that list. You calling her an idiot?
  • 2 0
 @christinachappetta: Just to give project managers a much needed laugh during these tough times, you guys should do a poll on who considers themselves "between sizes." I'd bet at least 3/4 of riders consider themselves to be so (and to be clear, I am undoubtedly, unequivocally one of the ones that is actually between sizes!).
  • 4 0
 Seat tube insertion, anyone on a small frame should be able to run at least a 170mm dropper, medium frames 210mm, large 240mm. Bike/body separation is most important, all modern geo is working towards that goal. Reach and chain stay length are user and location dependent.
  • 6 1
 I disagree with this. Many small long travel frames are going to have tire and seat interference on large impacts. A 170 worked on my Honzo ESD because it was a hardtail. No way would it work on my Stumpjumper EVO. I would scrape the seat with the tire a lot.
  • 1 1
 @Offrhodes so you're stuck with a 150mm dropper...good luck with that. Maybe demo something with modern geo.
  • 5 1
 I'm a 6'5" (197cm) XC rider and racer. There is no off the shelf perfect bike for me. But modern geo is closer/better than a few years ago. Stack is always too low, or wheelbase too short. And I don't care about a short seat tube. In fact i would prefer a 520-530mm seat tube for aesthetics (ie a seatpost that is less than a mile long). The Tallboy xxl is about the perfect compromise, if a bit ugly, and the Stumpjumper S6 is close, also ugly. My Izzo xxl is good , but needed riser bars and stem. Most (with few exceptions) other modern trail and enduro bikes have a strangely short top tube. A long bike with a short cockpit does me no good.
  • 4 0
 My wife is 5'0" and bike shopping for her is awful. There are brands out there with appropriate reach numbers, but the real killer is usually standover. Short height often means short legs, and that equals no standover, even on short travel bikes (Ibis Ripley). Yes you can get full 27.5" bikes, but that is not what she wants, she loves 29ers, and trail bikes are fine (no sendy-jumpy). The other killer is weight: everything is chonky and it doesn't need to be. Then you take other brands who post fantastic standover heights on geo charts only to find out they measure at the lowest point (underneath the seat) where no butt can reach. Frustrating.
  • 3 0
 It's not really a modern geometry issue though is it? I'm not denying it's an issue but has the difference between an XS and and an XL changed much over time?

I know bigger wheels make smaller sizes awkward in some cases but a lot of brands make smaller sizes 27.5 rear for that reason.
  • 3 0
 If people think it's bad now, where were they 10 years ago?
  • 5 0
 It totally is. 10 years ago we all had short chainstays and the same stupid slack seat angle. Everything was optimized for a 5’8” guy to be well positioned and everyone else just had to suck it up. Tall guys at full saddle extension were basically flipping over backwards, their center of gravity behind the rear axle in some cases. Not to mention super low stack in the bigger sizes, glad we are finally figuring this stuff out.
  • 1 0
 @alexsin: Seeing size specific chainstay lengths is really reassuring, but I honestly think brands are still missing the mark. Often those chainstays vary by 5mm from M to XL, which won't do anything to keep my 6'6" (198cm) tailbone from sticking out over the rear axle when climbing. Likewise, on the shorter side, a 425mm chainstay isn't "short" for a 5'2" rider. We have a solution for super short chainstays, its called Superboost 157, but its marketed as a way to make your rear end stiffer and more extreme, not a way to make smaller frames fit more riders. It would be rad to see XS/S bikes with a 415mm chainstay superboost mullet setup while M-XXL run a 430-440mm chainstay on boost dropouts.
Its good business sense to build bikes that fit the majority of riders the majority of the time. Its a race to the middle. The bell curve of rider sizes points directly toward how much time and effort is put into the geometry and fit of a new model. I WANT to see the same conscious effort put toward the extreme ends of the size spectrum, but its not practical to spend that R&D budget on the lowest sell-through.
  • 1 0
 @j-t-g: it was easier for shorter riders cause the front ends were higher given smaller wheels.
  • 1 0
 @wolftwenty1: as a tall rider, I can say it wasn't. Small bikes and especially extra small bikes were stupid with totally inappropriate standovers, seat insertion depths, etc. Medium/large homies were ok but many small and xl bikes were stupid.
  • 1 0
 @BsampSy: The main issue is that for the last 20 years we rode what was convenient for manufacturers to produce which invariably meant maximum sharing of frame parts between sizes. But at current prices people are justifiably asking: just how much do we have to spend before these people build each size actually dialled for the person expected to ride it? XS bikes should be good for XS riders, XXL bikes should be good for XXL riders. At least that's finally happening to some degree and the outliers have some options. For the last many years Geometron was literally the only good choice for taller guys. Now Santa Cruz and Transition and a few others are getting there. It's better than it was. Vote with your dollars.
  • 1 0
 @j-t-g: totally. My bad had a typo…it was easier for shorter riders given lower front ends.
  • 3 0
 I REALLY, REALLY wanted to vote dual 275 bikes are most important just to skew the marketing data real quick but I hate to be dishonest. Anyone wanna draw up an over under on which year will have no dual 275 models from north american brands? We're already down to less than 10 models I think.
  • 7 2
 Thank you for being honest on the poll haha I also had a hard time picking the MOST important feature but really...it came down to size for me. Wrong size and it doesn't matter what spec it is haha
  • 2 0
 @christinachappetta: Unless I'm making a slopeduro out of a size small/medium 275 bike running 26s. Otherwise how else can I 360?? Won't catch me doing it on the 64 degree 29er rig in large lol
  • 10 0
 Honestly, I clicked it cuz it’s true when I really think about it. I ride a 27.5 2019 yt jeffsy. Everyone I go looking for new bikes, the first thing I search for is 27.5 options and then all the rest. Probably need to get on a good 29 to see what I’m missing but I can’t seem to get over the ole 27.5.
  • 4 0
 @ridingbiking: Yes, and in north america for brand new models it's almost down to like 10 models. I have ridden a 29er. Obviously totally fine bikes but I have to quite distinctly change my style of riding to use it and it's a more passive, controlled, fast style of riding. And sadly, for beginners it feels like a more forgiving roll over and better climbing experience (by a tiny margin). So basically every average rider and strava hound wants one, and the people who just wanna have fun and flick the bike all over every side hit of tight single track or twisty switchbacks is left in the dust Frown
  • 4 1
 @lepigpen: If I'm doing a 360 something has gone terribly wrong LOL
  • 6 0
 As a taller than average and heavier than average rider (6'1"/240lb), I personally prefer 27.5 on both ends. I don't ride in a style that needs the bigger front wheel, I pick up my front wheel rather than smash through stuff. I think 27.5 are inherently stronger and anything that is less likely to break is for me. I like my tacos post-ride not mid-ride.
  • 1 1
 @christinachappetta: You can do it! Get the ifht boys to take you to the local foam pit. Start on a BMX or DJer Smile The people aint ready for slopestyle Chappetta
  • 3 0
 @lepigpen: If you think 27.5 is good for doing a 360, wait till you try a 20.
  • 1 0
 @TheR: That's where I learned em.
  • 1 0
 @TheR: dude it’s crazy. I stopped riding bmx last year due to just getting old haha. And I’ve been on a dj since but I got in my buddies bmx the other day and tried a 3 and it’s ridiculous house easy it is. I forgot after a year off of one.
  • 3 0
 I voted for that ,unironically. I'm 6'1" and will always ride a Large 27.5 bike.
  • 3 0
 At 6ft 3. The most important things are stack, chainstay and seat angel. Tall stack keeps me more upright and inside the bike feel. Chainstays, the longer the better I want to feel as balanced as I can front to rear. Seat angle 77.5-78 so I'm not hanging over the rear axel.
  • 1 0
 I am 6'2" and personally I want a tall stack, stacker STA (on a hardtail I like around 74 so with mind that steepens to about 75ish when the fork compresses to normal) and a shorter chainstay. Tall stack keeps my comfortable. Short chainstays help make the bike more fun to throw around. A steep STA is great for just straight up and down but where I am it doesn't work on flatter sections.
  • 5 0
 SIZE MATTERS!! Now that they make proper sized bikes for people over 6'2" it is a much better world.
  • 5 0
 It's just another trend from the bike industry to make you think your bike is outdated. Industry being industry.
  • 2 0
 At 186/6'1.5", I was led to buy a 500mm reach bike. I came from a 476mm reach bike. While it is great in high speed straight aways, it's such a different beast to turn around tight turns, around trees, switch backs, etc. I leave on the east coast and we have steeps, but they are always accompanied by tight and twisty tracks. I really think sizing is two elements and not just height: 1. What is your height and 2. Where do you ride? Ride out west where you have more wide open trails, feel comfortable buying the bigger size range. Leave out East or in Europe, feel comfortable buying the smaller size range.

TLBig Grin R - Don't buy just based on height ranges. It is completely possible to size down and fit the cockpit to you vs. sizing up and having a bike that doesn't suit your area.
  • 3 1
 I don’t like the trend for xc bikes going super slack now. Not everyone wants to ride a WC track on an xc bike but just want to put some miles in and get the most help climbing.
Round here most tracks are like a bridleway with super steep climbs and long mellow descents.
  • 2 0
 Gravel bikes are taking over from light weight, low-capability XC bikes. Sounds ideal for what you describe.
  • 1 0
 @PhillipJ: I agree, gravel seems to be the new xc, but it’s not very comfortable and slow cause it’s so bumpy without full sus.
  • 2 0
 This is why Atherton. Custom sizing, and no one is left out.

At 5’3, 130 pounds, I’ve always had to custom tune shocks and forks to get it feeling right.

Unfortunately, being at either end of the spectrum means spending more money if you want the perfect setup. I realize not everyone is picky, but I can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube…
  • 2 0
 I currently have 3 MTBs...

Surly Krampus with a 69° HA
Stooge MK4 with a 66° HA
Ragley Bluepug with a 63.5° HA

I enjoy riding all of them and ride them all on the same terrain.
Do I have a point? Not really. Just that bikes are good and we shouldn't get too hung up the minutiae.
  • 2 0
 so at 5'7" with short arms/legs I'm struggling to get a new frame with a reach of about 400mm, Back in the day that was a large frame. Now some new dh frames are 445 in a small. My old yoke is 370, my transition double is 390 and my craftworks is 400. I ride a 50mm stem as like to get weight on front wheel. I've tried 10mm stem on longer reach but just doesn't work.
Maybe we need xs size about 400 reach like commencal does. Forbiden supernought is 420 with reach adjust will bring to 413. That or mullet and older frame like 2017 jedi to reduce reach with angle headset.
  • 2 0
 The industry really needs to shed more light into the fact, that there's not THE e.g. 6' rider. I'm 6', but have a huge torso length, more in line with people like Ben. Therefore a typical size L bike can feel small for me, while high stack numbers of certain frames can pose a problem.

Just like sizing a bike only via reach and ignore everything else there should be more guiding how different body proportions affect size and component choice. I'm a tinkerer, I figure it out myself by constantly testing enw stuff, but there are many people who don't have the money and/or time to do this.
  • 3 0
 The only requirements are aluminum frame, high enough BB to run 26" wheels, and not ridiculously long. The riders who were left behind are the riders who like riding tight, technical shit. You can ride blue flow on any bike!
  • 2 0
 I will be buried with my 2016 Banshee Spitfire V2 for this reason. I am 5'3" with a 30" inseam, AKA I am short and have a proportionally short torso. The front end on most new bikes is on another continent as far as I'm concerned. I run 30mm stems, 165mm cranks (would go shorter but I'm too cheap), and flat bars chopped to 710mm (so 31.8 XC bars only, because 35s cut that short are miserably stiff if the control area even allows it).
  • 5 0
 Why is durability not an option in the poll?
  • 5 4
 Reach numbers have just got silly and I hope we see things rad back to a more reasonable place soon. 500+ reach is just not needed. I’m 6’3 and I like a reach around 485mm. The fact that in many models that number is getting closer to the medium than a large is a joke.
  • 1 0
 I think the problem was that we never had a great choice before, not very long ago I had to find the largest bike I could and make it work. If you want to size down it's possible, but for the longest time we had no options to go up on size.
  • 1 0
 I'm sim height and aim for 475-480, it's what has always felt the best to me.
  • 1 0
 Great Topic! But there are some parameters that limit getting that perfect size on the far end of the spectrum that manufactures have to work around. On ultra small sizes, they are still limited by the available tire sizes and fitting all the suspension and desired kinematics to fit within that small size. Same for the ultra tall riders. Also, we must consider that the added cost manufactures incure offering some many sizes. Consider the Moto world, dirtbikes don't really come in sizes! We are pretty lucky in we have so many choices.
  • 1 0
 The realization I found most interesting here is that despite having ridden years (almost a couple decades) AND having been on the same bike brand for the past 12 or so, I cannot rattle off what I feel the ideal geometry numbers are for myself like Christina was able to. Some of that for her surely comes from all the different bike access that being at PB presents, but you’d think an experienced rider would have a better idea.

For example, I have a 2020 Bronson with as set up reach of 436 and a 2023 nomad with as set up reach of 452 (both mediums, stem lengths almost exactly the same). The bikes clearly feel overall different on the trail but I can’t say I can clearly feel the reach number when riding.
  • 2 0
 I think te bit that is overlooked is proportion. My wife is 5ft 4 and I’m 5ft 9 yet we have the same inside leg length. She finds bike stack too low and I hind stand over too high if we get the rest right.
  • 2 0
 Agreed - proportion is hugely important. Gazelles really benefit from steeper STA climbing and longer rear triangle descending (so they're not way out there over the rear wheel). Apes benefit from longer front triangles and higher stacks. And then there's weight - as Christina pointed out, lighter riders aren't necessarily better off with beefy components (super stiff sidewalls and heavy wheels/tires don't buy them that much reliability but impose huge cost in terms of weight and sluggishness).

What would be really handy would be bike reviews being done on more than just the one size (usually a L, sometimes a M) with generally the same size testers. Yep, it's a lot more work to test two or three different sizes of the same model with two or three sets of testers to see if they scale properly or if the smaller/larger sizes are severely compromised, but without that, there's just not a lot of value in a review for a person who's NOT 5'10" and 170# (and no, comments on "size specific chainstay length" don't make up for that).

Some bikes tend to scale really well across the range - there's a lot of thought given to size specific suspension tunes, slightly different STA, appropriate stack height, maybe size specific rear triangle length. Others scale horribly.
  • 1 0
 I think my legs are a bit longer in proportion to my torso. I’ve generally always fit well with a size large but the current reach sizing is getting very close to too big for me. My next bike will probably be shorter on reach. I’ve ridden bikes with reach values from 455 to 487mm over the last 7 years. At 6ft tall my ideal size is about 475mm.
  • 1 0
 Correct sizing for the win!, but within this community (or any avid cycling community) that would be expected. Everything else is secondary. I think if you stay in the sport for any length of time the bike you'll eventually find yourself on is a partscaster build with the frame being the physical and spiritual heart of the bike.
  • 3 2
 All of pinkbikers (*most): "we want more Grim Donut content please!" .... Pinkbike: "hmmm I don't think so" .... pinkbikers: "at least a raw of it shredding some rad gnar in the sun?" .... Pinkbike: "no that would be too sick. Here's some stuff about a rather fugly looking Orbea"....

Give us Grim Donut content please. We want and need it. That bike is a celebrity without any negatives.

Also well done on this vid @christinachappetta
Informative and interesting.
  • 2 1
 I feel dirty for admitting it, but I'm one of only four who has so far voted for frame storage. Frame storage is more addictive than Fentanyl. I'd rather ride a big wheel with frame storage than a perfectly sized Ibis Ripmo.
  • 1 0
 I never imagined so many great bikes [& variety/options/sizes] as we have currently! I think the problem is that most folks don't actually "ride" bikes unless they think they will like them. I encourage people to ride/try/demo a larger frame, slacker head angle, longer wheelbase, longer travel bike than you ever thought you'd like... I think most riders will be amazed at how fun and rideable new geo bikes are. Happy trails!
  • 3 2
 I find that modern bikes are too long for me. The marketing copy says "relaxed", "stretched out", "limousine-like", but what I often get is a cramp in my delts. Similar deal with handlebar width- they're so flipping wide, as if every rider thought, correctly or not, that they have a lumberjack's shoulders. I'm not asking for 1990s reach and chopped down bars, but the defaults today feel a bit much to me.
  • 3 0
 you can always cut a bar down, but you can't grow it longer.

it's much better to ship a bike with bars much too wide than a little bit narrow, because only one of those problems is fixable without $$.
  • 1 0
 @orion86: True, but top tubes can't be cut.
  • 1 0
 Cool video, makes a point. I'm 163cm (around 5'4") and most size small (S2 in Specialized speak) frames are a good fit. I'm comfortable in a reach range of 425-440 and currently most "smalls" are spot on for me. Back in 2016-17 only the most progressive brands were a good fit and tall seat tubes didn't allow sizing up. Now everyone has caught up but a few have gotten carried away with reaches as long as 460 for their smallest offerings. Then other brands don't offer anything that fits, starting their models from a size medium, esp for full 29". On wheelsize, mullet setups are good news for us shorter folks. Full 27.5 is still a great fit but you loose that big front wheel security when things become rough and fast.
  • 5 1
 6ft in me boots an finding mediums too long. Modern bike sizing is jacked!!
  • 1 0
 Great video on an often overlooked, but vital aspect of bike selection. I'm a bike fitter and I've had clients who were on new bikes that were completely the wrong size. With the rise of direct to consumer bike sales this trend has grown. If you are ordering from a direct to consumer brand take the extra time to go through the sizing process on the website. Also don't be afraid to swap out components to get a better fit. Pro tip: your bars are too wide, your grips are too thick, and your brake lever reach needs to be adjusted.
  • 1 0
 I'm 6'-7" 240 lbs. There is no bike that fits me. No cars either. I have a Ford F250 Extra Cab and my head rubs the roof. Can't see when the signals change unless I lower my head to the steering wheel. Rarely pants or shirts fit. XXL for tall thinner guys are rare. Awesome shoe collection in size US 14. too. Have to buy online only. I ride a Santa Cruz Hightower XXL with 240mm dropper, rising stem, 35mm riser bars, 220 rotors. Code brakes (not enough), Heavy enduro rims, with heavy duty eHubs because I've spun two 370 hubs out of the hub housing in less than a year. I replace my BB every 3 months. Only other bike I've ridden with a size that almost fits me is the Specialized S6, but the headtube is way too short. I'd need 175mm rise bars, just so my knees don't hit the handlebars when I pedal. Most people have no idea.
  • 1 0
 I"n in the same boat as you, was going to suggest checking out the geometry on an aluminium norco fluid fs, i find it fits me really well at 6'8"and I've still got a spacer above the stem with stock bars. That being said I had a look at the geo charts for the hightower and it looks like a bigger bike excluding reach and wheelbase, so, i dunno...
  • 3 0
 It's a mix of things, but I am very shop loyal. Luckily the shop I use carries a wide variety of great brands.
  • 3 1
 By the poll numbers so far of people with the perfect bike and wont be changing anytime soon, looks like there are 10 people riding a Geometron.
  • 2 1
 I’m literally the most average size 5 foot 8 male and sometimes i find that a medium is too small and a large is too big. Strange times. Less so nowadays but in like 2018 this was a “big” problem for me.
  • 1 0
 While @ 5'-11" I can easily choose to up-size or down-size to get my preferred Reach, I mostly choose a bike based on my preferred Reach to Rear Center ratio for the intended purpose.
  • 2 1
 In real world, so many people would never fit on a bike at all. So why bother, everybody has to chose the sport (if at all) that best suits his/her body and abilities.
  • 3 0
 why bother? That's a pretty nice way to say you don't care about others enjoyment.
  • 3 0
 Where is the internal headset cable routing option?
  • 2 0
 I think people with shorter inseams like shorter chainstays. Shorter legs means less leverage over the rear triangle
  • 2 0
 At 196cm I'm the world's tallest midget, so I have no idea what size bike to ride.
  • 1 0
 190cm here, average proportions for a tall man. I'm lucky - it seems like I am the exact intended dimensions for nearly all brands XL frames.
  • 1 1
 You are not abnormally tall - Ben is taller than you, Greg Minaar is close, I think most XL's work if you want to size down which seems to be the trend these days but many XXL's should be plenty big for ya. I'm 193cm and prefer a L in most (Specialized S4).
  • 1 0
 Even as someone who sits in the 'normal' range of most sizes I'd love it if more bikes allowed for reach adjustments. I'd much rather lengthen the reach than my stem.
  • 3 1
 What about a bike that won’t crack within a season or two.
  • 1 1
 I think that could fall under VALUE and spec haha no one wants to replace a bike after a season bc of a cracked frame...I think.
  • 2 0
 @christinachappetta: you should read the comments on the new scalpel article. Surprises abound.
  • 2 0
 Another reason to route your cables externally, makes swapping frame members way faster.
  • 2 0
 The people demand more M/L options
  • 1 0
 There should be more sizes available to reduce the gaps between the current numbers
  • 1 0
 A High Pivot MX bike around 154mm with an accessory and water bottle mounted. And maybe some in frame storage that.
  • 1 0
 Thats why there are so many kids bikes these days...
  • 1 0
 Run lighter oil ratios for light people
  • 1 0
 Oh, let’s not forget crank length either folks!
  • 1 1
 and yet most are still riding the wrong sizing or using stupid things like RAD.
  • 1 0
 Peasants, I only ride bikes with size specific chainstays.
  • 1 0
 Geometry!
  • 2 2
 Missing answer. A motor and battery.
  • 1 0
 External cable routing.
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