Are you looking for a new bike? – Read this before you spend $$$
Choosing a new mountain bike it tricker than ever. There are so many styles of bikes — cross country, downcountry, trail, enduro, freeride (if that’s still a thing), downhill, dirt jump, slopestyle — not to mention various wheel sizes, suspenssion travels, geometries, materials, and most of all marketing messages. Most riders buy whatever bike the bike companies and media their buddies have convinced them is cool. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as the bike style fits your budget and riding style and — THIS IS IMPORTANT — the bike fits your body.
Most ride on bikes that don’t fit them. We can go into excruciating detail (scroll down to “About that newfangled geometry” in my review of the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO), but to sum it up:
Right now the buzz words are “longer, slacker and more stable.” The images we see show people hauling ass and hitting big drops, jumps, etc., and a convincing case has been made for these monster bikes. Keep in mind, “stable” is another way to express “uncontrollable” or “unturnable.” Funny: When I started riding in 1988 the buzzword was “agility,” which is another way to express “sketchy.” Fact is, all bikes handle great. The limiting factor is the human.
As part of the trend toward megabikes, frame reaches are getting longer. Frame reach is the horizontal distance between the bike frame’s bottom bracket (where the crank arms attach) and the middle of the top of the head tube (where the stem and handlebars attach). when you look at which bike size to buy, frame reach is the number to look at.
A current size small might have a longer reach than a size large from a few years ago, but the bike maker never updated the size chart. How can a 5’8″ rider need a medium frame with a 415mm reach in 2012 and now the same rider, who has not grown, needs a “medium” frame with a 460mm reach?
Many riders these days have frames whose reaches are too long for them. They can’t climb, corner, descend, pump, drop or jump safely. Some of you are making do with what you have, but you might be enduring pain in your shoulders and neck, and you likely ride with a general sense of unease. This is because your bike is too long for you. You can’t know how amazingly great a bike can feel until you get one that fits you perfectly. Then there’s no going back.
If you’re under about 5’8″ (173cm), it’s getting hard to find bikes that fit correctly. This is almost half of men and the majority of women. We work hard to give smaller riders good options and the ability to make informed choices about the bikes they ride.
My personal mission is to help you live your most joyful life using your mountain bike as the vehicle. This is why I’ve worked so hard to refine my skills curriculum so it’s very easy to use, and why I’ve come up with the RideLogic method for bike selection and setup. RideLogic is simple. It’s easy to use. It’s logically unassailable. And it can help you pick your next bike, then make it perfect for you. The key measurement is the distance between your hands and feet, aka Rider Area Distance aka RAD. Once you discover your ideal RAD, you can apply the same logic to every mountain bike you ride. It’s so simple!
We can help you in several ways:
Dialed: The secret math to the perfect mountain bike setup
The ebook and print book Dialed details the RideLogic approach to selecting and setting up your bike. It gives you practical advice plus includes a code for a free month at our online school, where you can use the bike fit calculators.
RideLogic online MTB school
Our online mountain bike school provides a full set of tools and lessons to dial in your riding skills and, of course, your bike. The crown jewel of the site is our bike-fit calculator that lets you model every detail of your frame, stem, bars and spacers — before you spend big money on that sweet new bike. Our members love the site and community. We encourage you to join us!
Bike selection and setup consulations
Save time and stress and money and bitter disappointment by letting us do the thinking for you. Please don’t be “that person” with the $8k bike that doesn’t fit and will never feel great. Riders under about 5’8″ need this service the most.
Looking for a new bike? We’ll help you chose the model and size, plus dial in your cockpit for a perfect fit. The smartest $199 you’ll ever spend >>>
Already have a bike? We’ll help you make it fit you even better. Stop guessing for a mere $149 >>>