Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@. Skimlinks & other affiliated links are turned on

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • sillygoose
    • By sillygoose 10th Feb 18, 6:35 PM
    • 4,244Posts
    • 5,672Thanks
    sillygoose
    Bike sizing advice
    • #1
    • 10th Feb 18, 6:35 PM
    Bike sizing advice 10th Feb 18 at 6:35 PM
    I took up cycling again due to terrible unfitness and its something I can do, nothing special, got up to a quick 10 mile blast most evenings after work.

    I have a hybrid bike with 700c wheels and no suspension, around here we have lots of cycle pathways but they are pretty rough and my back and joints don't do well with the jarring, or the bike but its lovely routes away from traffic in lovely countryside.

    I have kind of lost my mojo for it lately, I am thinking of changing my bike to a Mountain Bike style with full suspension and smaller wheels (my big wheeled bike isn't very manoeuvrable around the passageways!)

    I am 5' 11" which according the the Halfords size guide is right between a 17" and 20" frame border, would you go bigger or smaller size? I am quite heavy too. Its not a style of bike I am very familiar with to date.

    There is a mind boggling choice but I don't want to spend a huge amount for my level of careful usage.
    Last edited by sillygoose; 10-02-2018 at 6:48 PM.
Page 1
    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 10th Feb 18, 6:57 PM
    • 6,862 Posts
    • 5,601 Thanks
    Norman Castle
    • #2
    • 10th Feb 18, 6:57 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Feb 18, 6:57 PM
    Try a suspension seat post and investigate fitting suspension forks. Full suspension bikes are hard work and good suspension is expensive.

    I have kind of lost my mojo for it lately
    Me too. getting cold, wet and muddy saps mojo's.
    Last edited by Norman Castle; 10-02-2018 at 7:00 PM.
    Don't harass a hippie. You'll get bad karma.

    Never trust a newbie with a rtb tale.
    • sillygoose
    • By sillygoose 10th Feb 18, 7:08 PM
    • 4,244 Posts
    • 5,672 Thanks
    sillygoose
    • #3
    • 10th Feb 18, 7:08 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Feb 18, 7:08 PM
    Try a suspension seat post and investigate fitting suspension forks. Full suspension bikes are hard work and good suspension is expensive.

    Me too. getting cold, wet and muddy saps mojo's.
    Originally posted by Norman Castle
    I already have a suspension post which is the only reason its been tolerable to be honest. Whilst that helps me, and I really try to avoid bumps, but with no give in the rear I have had to upgrade the rear axle twice.

    I am curious in what way are full suspension bikes hard work? you mean the extra weight or something else?

    Thanks!

    (and yes cold and wet, I didn't mind at first and you do warm up, its just that first mile of freezing air in your lungs.. brrrr!)
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 10th Feb 18, 8:59 PM
    • 8,077 Posts
    • 5,842 Thanks
    esuhl
    • #4
    • 10th Feb 18, 8:59 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Feb 18, 8:59 PM
    I am curious in what way are full suspension bikes hard work? you mean the extra weight or something else?
    Originally posted by sillygoose
    The inefficiency. Some of the energy you generate is used by the rear suspension, so it's more effort to propel the bike forwards. And cheap rear-suspension is quite heavy too.

    The general rule-of-thumb that I've heard oft repeated is that, unless you're spending 1000 or more, you'd be much better off avoiding rear suspension. You really don't need it unless you're into downhill racing, anyway.

    What width of tyres do you currently have on your 700c bike? I think the wider tyres of a mountain bike would probably give more cushioning to your ride and let you run them at a lower pressure...
    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 10th Feb 18, 9:13 PM
    • 6,862 Posts
    • 5,601 Thanks
    Norman Castle
    • #5
    • 10th Feb 18, 9:13 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Feb 18, 9:13 PM
    I've done about 14,000 miles on a hard tail mountain bike and only had about 4 rear wheel spokes break in that time. My neighbour who has a cheap full suspension bike had the rear wheel bearing collapse after very few miles. The difference being I stand up for the bumps and he stays seated. Try standing on the pedals over the bumps. It puts less strain on you and the bike.
    Don't harass a hippie. You'll get bad karma.

    Never trust a newbie with a rtb tale.
    • Voyager2002
    • By Voyager2002 13th Feb 18, 7:07 PM
    • 12,057 Posts
    • 8,194 Thanks
    Voyager2002
    • #6
    • 13th Feb 18, 7:07 PM
    • #6
    • 13th Feb 18, 7:07 PM
    In order to get the sizing right, go to a decent bike shop and try out a few, and take their advice (one you are confident that the person knows what they are talking about). This is one thing that you really cannot do on-line.
    • chunkytfg
    • By chunkytfg 21st Feb 18, 6:29 PM
    • 280 Posts
    • 352 Thanks
    chunkytfg
    • #7
    • 21st Feb 18, 6:29 PM
    • #7
    • 21st Feb 18, 6:29 PM
    What width of tyres do you currently have on your 700c bike? I think the wider tyres of a mountain bike would probably give more cushioning to your ride and let you run them at a lower pressure...
    Originally posted by esuhl
    This is where you need to start first.

    Making some massive assumptions i would guess if you're poking in Halfords for a bik then your original hybrid is maybe a boardman one? I have a Boardman Hybrid and it has 28mm tyres. If you haven't fitted ful mudgaurds on it you can probably fit something like 32mm tyres on it and then drop the tyre pressure all the way down to ~60psi. You may find that is enough to remove the Jarring effect of the lack of suspension. Add some good padded gloves with gel pads on the palms and youre good to go.
    Those who risk nothing, Do nothing, achieve nothing, become nothing
    Sealed POt Challenge No. 359
    • Nasqueron
    • By Nasqueron 21st Feb 18, 7:20 PM
    • 4,313 Posts
    • 2,530 Thanks
    Nasqueron
    • #8
    • 21st Feb 18, 7:20 PM
    • #8
    • 21st Feb 18, 7:20 PM
    Could have a look at a fat bike as an alternative as you can run the tyres at very low pressure. For a commute a full suspension isn't really needed though personally if I get a MTB I'll go that way as I get back ache from riding trails on my CX without any suspension and a hard tail will just mean I get more pain with all bumps going through the saddle.

    Make sure you have good clothing with good padding too.

    Also, consider road riding, I commute daily on a road bike and frankly I use the roads because they're maintained, cycle paths are not so ice, leaves, mud, potholes etc are all issues
    • parking_question_chap
    • By parking_question_chap 22nd Feb 18, 7:44 PM
    • 1,593 Posts
    • 1,383 Thanks
    parking_question_chap
    • #9
    • 22nd Feb 18, 7:44 PM
    • #9
    • 22nd Feb 18, 7:44 PM
    I am 6 foot with 19 inch frame.

    I would suggest you get 18 or 19 inch.

    Forget the suspension, just stand for the bumps. Might sound a hassle, but the suspension will take a lot of energy from your forward motion.
    • millie84
    • By millie84 23rd Feb 18, 9:29 AM
    • 87 Posts
    • 32 Thanks
    millie84
    Could have a look at a fat bike as an alternative as you can run the tyres at very low pressure. For a commute a full suspension isn't really needed though personally if I get a MTB I'll go that way as I get back ache from riding trails on my CX without any suspension and a hard tail will just mean I get more pain with all bumps going through the saddle.

    Make sure you have good clothing with good padding too.

    Also, consider road riding, I commute daily on a road bike and frankly I use the roads because they're maintained, cycle paths are not so ice, leaves, mud, potholes etc are all issues
    Originally posted by Nasqueron
    I've just got a "semi-fat" 27.5+ bike. Its a Hardtail, but the huge tyres (2.8"wide) make it feel more like it has full suspension.
    I've not had a proper go on it yet, but from what I have done, it's very grippy, and mud doesn't bother it in the slightest.
    I will use it for commuting (eventually), mostly through the woods but some road riding.
    • Johnmcl7
    • By Johnmcl7 28th Feb 18, 9:57 PM
    • 2,433 Posts
    • 1,612 Thanks
    Johnmcl7
    With regards to sizing I very much agree with the recommendation to try the bikes out yourself, the problem is that people are different proportions so what fits one height may not fit another. For the mountain bike, I usually go a bit smaller than the recommendation as I find the fit is better (I find the reach is too long if I go the correct size) and prefer to have the smaller frame for maneuvering.

    I'd also agree on avoiding full suspension bikes, the advantage of this type of bike is to be able to carry a lot of speed over technical trail features but you're just looking for comfort, the suspension doesn't really help and they're quite a bit more expensive, heavier and less efficient to pedal.

    What I find does help is a bigger tyre at a lower pressure to soak up the bumps, I have a full suspension 29er, a hard trail 29+ (bigger than a normal tyre but smaller than a fat bike) and a rigid fat bike which has 4in tyres and no suspension at all. One of the first questions I always get asked about the fat bike is do the big tyres act like suspension to which I reply no, they help soak up the rough terrain but when the bike is hitting drops and landing from jumps, it's quite a hard landing as the tyres do little to help there.

    The full suspension bike and hardtail in comparison are much better and easier at landing but the 29er even though it's a full suspension is the least comfortable on a rough trail, to stop it bobbing too much I usually ride with it completely locked out until it's onto technical features.

    I'm talking about very rough off road terrain though, I think a plus or fat bike would be overkill for what you're wanting and plus bikes are a bit more expensive than they should be as they're still new. I'd recommend if possible finding a local place that will hire you a bog standard hardtail mountain bike and give it a go, making sure the place hiring it help you set up the tyre pressure.

    I also have a 700c rigid road bike and it's pretty much unrideable on anything other than smooth road or cycle paths, the thin wheels just soak up nothing and have to be run at a fairly high pressure. The first mountain bike I bought was a standard hardtail nothing fancy but it was vastly more comfortable than the road bike on the likes of canal paths and similar. Plus the advantage of normal size tyres is they're less work, plus and fat bike tyres particularly at low pressure can be quite a bit harder work to pedal as there's a lot more drag with them.

    If you do get more adventurous and start taking on some trails, a hardtail is still very capable even on challenging trail features.
    • Nasqueron
    • By Nasqueron 4th Mar 18, 11:57 AM
    • 4,313 Posts
    • 2,530 Thanks
    Nasqueron
    snip
    Originally posted by Johnmcl7
    Out of interest, what level of technical riding are you talking about?

    I ride at Cannock Chase on the blue trail, I do not intend to ever be a technical MTB rider doing 30mph through forest trails downhill, not really convinced on drops either as I always fear damaging the frame even if it's not likely! However, doing some of the more basic trails there or possibly Dalby Forest would be of interest and potentially using the bike in winter in snow with the wider tyres (perhaps even studded ones).

    My thoughts would be on comfort most of all and then ease of climbing trails (I'm a strong enough rider on the road and on the CX on light trails so could get up most things if there is grip)

    So the question is more:

    Fat bike
    Full suspension
    Hard tail with + wheels

    I'm guessing 27.5" wheels would be best for my riding as I don't need the speed (29") and not doing downhill stuff (26")

    Apologies for thread hijack OP
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 4th Mar 18, 4:52 PM
    • 8,077 Posts
    • 5,842 Thanks
    esuhl
    For a commute a full suspension isn't really needed though personally if I get a MTB I'll go that way as I get back ache from riding trails on my CX without any suspension and a hard tail will just mean I get more pain with all bumps going through the saddle.
    Originally posted by Nasqueron
    Unless you have medical problems with your back, my guess would be that backache is much more likely to be caused by a poorly-fitting bike than a lack of rear suspension.

    I got terrible backache when I first got my bike. The first thing I did was to get a rack and panniers so I didn't need to carry a bag on my back. It made a huge difference, but didn't fix the problem.

    Changing the stem size (the bit that grips the handlebars and attaches to the forks) really helped. I got one a bit shorter (so I didn't feel so "stretched out"), and with a steeper incline (raising the height of the handlebars so I wasn't bending over as far).

    And maybe this is imaginary, but I got a new saddle recently, and I'm sure there's a bit more flex in the metal rails.

    Oh -- I almost forgot -- the saddle that came with my bike was like sitting on a plate of metal. It was agonising! I threw it out the day I got the bike and used the one off my 15-year old 100 bike. Even that made a huge difference in comfort. The new saddle is quite wide and has thick (but firm) padding.

    Don't know if any of this helps...
    • Nasqueron
    • By Nasqueron 8th Mar 18, 10:40 AM
    • 4,313 Posts
    • 2,530 Thanks
    Nasqueron
    Unless you have medical problems with your back, my guess would be that backache is much more likely to be caused by a poorly-fitting bike than a lack of rear suspension.

    I got terrible backache when I first got my bike. The first thing I did was to get a rack and panniers so I didn't need to carry a bag on my back. It made a huge difference, but didn't fix the problem.

    Changing the stem size (the bit that grips the handlebars and attaches to the forks) really helped. I got one a bit shorter (so I didn't feel so "stretched out"), and with a steeper incline (raising the height of the handlebars so I wasn't bending over as far).

    And maybe this is imaginary, but I got a new saddle recently, and I'm sure there's a bit more flex in the metal rails.

    Oh -- I almost forgot -- the saddle that came with my bike was like sitting on a plate of metal. It was agonising! I threw it out the day I got the bike and used the one off my 15-year old 100 bike. Even that made a huge difference in comfort. The new saddle is quite wide and has thick (but firm) padding.

    Don't know if any of this helps...
    Originally posted by esuhl

    I've had my main road bike fitted properly and the position on the CX and my other road bike are fairly similar (they were fitted by the bike shop at purchase, not a full fit). I do have minor back ache problems on and off regardless so jarring over bike trails doesn't help much
    • Johnmcl7
    • By Johnmcl7 8th Mar 18, 2:35 PM
    • 2,433 Posts
    • 1,612 Thanks
    Johnmcl7
    Out of interest, what level of technical riding are you talking about?

    I ride at Cannock Chase on the blue trail, I do not intend to ever be a technical MTB rider doing 30mph through forest trails downhill, not really convinced on drops either as I always fear damaging the frame even if it's not likely! However, doing some of the more basic trails there or possibly Dalby Forest would be of interest and potentially using the bike in winter in snow with the wider tyres (perhaps even studded ones).

    My thoughts would be on comfort most of all and then ease of climbing trails (I'm a strong enough rider on the road and on the CX on light trails so could get up most things if there is grip)

    So the question is more:

    Fat bike
    Full suspension
    Hard tail with + wheels

    I'm guessing 27.5" wheels would be best for my riding as I don't need the speed (29") and not doing downhill stuff (26")

    Apologies for thread hijack OP
    Originally posted by Nasqueron
    I ride a mix of trails both purpose built trail centres and natural trails, predominantly the latter and all year round. Non-purpose built trails are usually a bit tougher as they're more slippery and have more features like tree roots and similar particularly over winter where the tracks get churned up in a way a trail centre does not.

    This is where the bigger tyres show their advantage as with big rims you can run the tyres at a low pressure to give more grip and more float over rough surfaces. Over the winter, the massive grip and traction from the fat bike tyres makes it much better at coping with the very slippery trails.

    The fat bike isn't much us at trail centres though as they have good surfaces so you don't get the advantage of its float and grip, the plus bike similarly doesn't have as much an advantage either.

    Full suspension bikes have come on hugely and it's now possible to get decent all rounders for around 1,000 so you don't pay the weight penalty you previously did. For descents even just blue ones I find the full suspension more comfortable on my legs as the hard tail needs quite a bit of control since they're doing all the work soaking up the movement of the bike. The big plus tyres don't really help in place of suspension.

    I wouldn't discount the 29er as just being a speed option as the bigger wheels make it easier to roll over features and I liked the stable feel of them. My full suspension bike is a 29er and while it's not great at jumping, it's superb at feeling well planted and stable over everything.

    There's no one answer to it though and a lot of it comes down to preference, it's a small group I ride with weekly and we go out all year round but there's a real mix of bikes although mostly still 'skinny' bikes.

    John
    • Nasqueron
    • By Nasqueron 9th Mar 18, 4:59 PM
    • 4,313 Posts
    • 2,530 Thanks
    Nasqueron
    I ride a mix of trails both purpose built trail centres and natural trails, predominantly the latter and all year round. Non-purpose built trails are usually a bit tougher as they're more slippery and have more features like tree roots and similar particularly over winter where the tracks get churned up in a way a trail centre does not.

    This is where the bigger tyres show their advantage as with big rims you can run the tyres at a low pressure to give more grip and more float over rough surfaces. Over the winter, the massive grip and traction from the fat bike tyres makes it much better at coping with the very slippery trails.

    The fat bike isn't much us at trail centres though as they have good surfaces so you don't get the advantage of its float and grip, the plus bike similarly doesn't have as much an advantage either.

    Full suspension bikes have come on hugely and it's now possible to get decent all rounders for around 1,000 so you don't pay the weight penalty you previously did. For descents even just blue ones I find the full suspension more comfortable on my legs as the hard tail needs quite a bit of control since they're doing all the work soaking up the movement of the bike. The big plus tyres don't really help in place of suspension.

    I wouldn't discount the 29er as just being a speed option as the bigger wheels make it easier to roll over features and I liked the stable feel of them. My full suspension bike is a 29er and while it's not great at jumping, it's superb at feeling well planted and stable over everything.

    There's no one answer to it though and a lot of it comes down to preference, it's a small group I ride with weekly and we go out all year round but there's a real mix of bikes although mostly still 'skinny' bikes.

    John
    Originally posted by Johnmcl7
    I probably ought to try hire bikes, I know you can at Cannock. The fat bike is probably a luxury I don't need as I don't ride on sand and we don't get snow often enough.

    The idea of a more flexible MTB that can do say + tyres for snow riding to work but can also do 30-50 for trail riding appeals.

    I can afford to spend more than 1000 on a bike, the question is more whether a full suspension is really worth doing for light trails so try before buy!
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 9th Mar 18, 7:57 PM
    • 8,077 Posts
    • 5,842 Thanks
    esuhl
    I ride a mix of trails both purpose built trail centres and natural trails, predominantly the latter and all year round. Non-purpose built trails are usually a bit tougher as they're more slippery and have more features like tree roots and similar particularly over winter where the tracks get churned up in a way a trail centre does not.

    This is where the bigger tyres show their advantage as with big rims you can run the tyres at a low pressure to give more grip and more float over rough surfaces. Over the winter, the massive grip and traction from the fat bike tyres makes it much better at coping with the very slippery trails.

    The fat bike isn't much us at trail centres though as they have good surfaces so you don't get the advantage of its float and grip, the plus bike similarly doesn't have as much an advantage either.
    Originally posted by Johnmcl7
    Don't know if it helps anyone, but the brand and type of tyre makes a huge difference to grip and feeling "at one" with the surface you're riding on.

    My bike came with Michelin Dry tyres, which scared the **** out of me when I went through a puddle, braked gently on tarmac, and the rear wheel jumped a metre to the side in the blink of an eye. They were really twitchy and flipped from gripping perfectly, to total loss of traction. Not much good off-road either.

    I got some Kenda Nevegal DTC tyres and they are amazing. If they slide out, they do so gradually and predictably, they grip wet tree roots, tarmac, loose sandy soil/gravel -- everything except thick wet mud. I absolutely love them. :-)

    So... even tyres of the same size and type vary a lot in performance.
    • scd3scd4
    • By scd3scd4 9th Mar 18, 9:33 PM
    • 770 Posts
    • 633 Thanks
    scd3scd4
    I ride 20 miles a shift to work and back all year. I ride a Whyte hybrid 700 x 32


    I always lock the front suspension. The ride is a mix of Thames footpaths, shingle and road.


    10 miles is no bad, don't be to hard on yourself.
    • LiamSmith
    • By LiamSmith 10th Mar 18, 3:18 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    LiamSmith
    Do you really think, that driving a bike, is not dangerous,
    • scd3scd4
    • By scd3scd4 10th Mar 18, 4:11 PM
    • 770 Posts
    • 633 Thanks
    scd3scd4
    Do you really think, that driving a bike, is not dangerous,
    Originally posted by LiamSmith
    What's the point? People not exercising more than a couple of hours a month is also dangerous.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

2,846Posts Today

7,871Users online

Martin's Twitter
  • I hate customer service lines that ALWAYS say, every time you ring (at any time in the day)... "sorry we are experi? https://t.co/GGCGM0WNai

  • After the news I'm suing facebook over scam ads, people keep sending me ads with my pic in asking, ?is THIS ad with? https://t.co/lhTmijgnWt

  • So Facebook just waxed lyrical about all the things they're doing to stop fake ads. Whoop de whoop. Yet THESE SCA? https://t.co/hP4q6kRuuQ

  • Follow Martin