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Hi! New bike may be too big?

Hi, I ordered the DRT 1.2 L and just picked it up yesterday (very pleased at the speed and quality of the work!). I'd ordered the L because I'm 5' 11 1/2' with my shoes and the sizing guide puts me square in the middle for L.

Well, I took the bike home and took it to our basement straight off. All is good, but when I stand over the frame I *just* clear it.  Growing up, that seemed to be the rule. However, I was reading the manual (yes, some folks DO! 🙂 ) & I hit the section of the manual where it suggests that I *should* be clearing it by at least 2" and 3-4" if I plan to be doing trail riding (which I do) and to not even ride this bike around the block, just call to exchange the bike.

Should I be exchanging the bike for the 'M' size model?



2 Replies

@AbeM Congrats on the new bike!

There are a lot of factors that go into fitting a bike, but one of the most important, particularly for a mountain bike, is the standover height. Unfortunately, that corresponds to inseam length and that can vary widely from person to person. As an example, I am 6 feet tall (technically on the line between a large and an extra large frame), however, I ride a medium frame mountain bike because I have a really short inseam (barely 30" with shoes on). 

The need for extra clearance on a mountain bike, particularly for trail riding, is due to the more technical nature of trails and the likelihood of needing to stop quickly and put a foot down (an obstacle like a rock or log, misjudging a steep uphill, running into a moose on the trail, etc.). Any time you come out of the saddle and put your feet down, you have a chance of landing on your top tube and ruining your day. Ensuring you have enough clearance to do that comfortably is why the suggestion of 2" is the starting point. The more aggressive your riding style and the terrain is, the more room you'll need. 

All of that is to say that you'll want to think about how and where you ride now, and how you want to develop as a rider into the future. If you have a little clearance over your top tube now and you're riding singletrack trails that you're familiar with then you might be okay with the size large. However, if you are looking to push your skill as a mountain biker, develop as a rider, and push on to harder trails, then it may be advisable to drop down a size. 

I would recommend to take it for a spin up and down your block, stopping and starting again, dropping out of the saddle and testing that standover height. If you feel like you have any concerns about it or it makes you nervous in the slightest, I would say that dropping down to a medium would likely be a good idea. 

Hopefully this helps, don't hesitate to reach out if you have more questions! Let us know how it all works out!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Hey @REI-JohnJ!

Great advice. Sitting on the bike was just fine, but yes, the upper bar was just *too* close for comfort. I also couldn't get over how looong and tall the bike is to ride. Maybe I could get used to that part, but dismounting and sudden drops would still be a concern.
So, I figured out which local REI had the most similar models with the Medium size in stock and went in to do the exchange. It was great. They found another bike, had me do a fit assessment, and talked through possible adjustments we could make if it turns out the reach isn't long enough.

So, in the end, due to limited model availability, my inability to wait to go riding with my daughter, and some available credit, I went with a Medium frame on the DRT 2.2.

Whew, that is a lot of biking tech.

AND we went riding last night and this morning (my daughter is relentless) AND I've already had a sudden unintentional stop and 'dismount' on an inclined rocky terrain where I had to drop off the pedals (to stop the bike and I from rolling backward). I was fine in this case, but just as you described above, on the previous bike, this would've resulted in 5-10min of me reliving Nelida's mean kick to my groin in 7th grade. 

Now... I need to work on strength and cardio!