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Disadvantage to a smaller bike?

BigHitComp04

Monkey
Jun 20, 2005
587
2
Morgantown, WV
I just sold my bike and im looking at either an 08 Demo 8 II or a 08 Iron Horse Sunday Team. But basically, what i was wondering is if riding a smaller bike somehow hinders the performance? I should definitely ride a medium, im about 5'9 or 5'10, but i really like smaller bikes. When im talking about performance im mainly talking about downhill performance. Ive heard the Athertons ride or at least used to ride XS bikes and it definitely doesnt slow them down. So if anybody has any input just let me know.

Thanks!
 

Dogboy

Turbo Monkey
Apr 12, 2004
3,135
273
Chapel Hill, NC
I just sold my bike and im looking at either an 08 Demo 8 II or a 08 Iron Horse Sunday Team. But basically, what i was wondering is if riding a smaller bike somehow hinders the performance? I should definitely ride a medium, im about 5'9 or 5'10, but i really like smaller bikes. When im talking about performance im mainly talking about downhill performance. Ive heard the Athertons ride or at least used to ride XS bikes and it definitely doesnt slow them down. So if anybody has any input just let me know.

Thanks!
Dan and Gee ride L/XL Commencal Supreme DH bikes. Hardly small.
 

ZHendo

Turbo Monkey
Oct 29, 2006
1,617
84
PNW
think about it. the shorter bike will have a shorter wheelbase, making it more nimble and able to change direction. it will also jump a little better. longer bikes take the cake when it comes to stability and staying level over gnar. i personally like longer bikes, but there are a lot of people that like shorter bikes for the flickability.
 

DirtEveryDay

Turbo Monkey
Nov 24, 2003
2,695
4
Pacific North Wet
I'm 5'7"(still taller than most dwarves, damnit!) and currently on a small Mongoose Black Diamond. I've been riding medium Specialized Demo 8s and SXs for the last 3-4 years. I've noticed(so far, not a lot of time on the Goose yet) that there's more negatives to riding too large of a bike, than too small. It would be different, too, if my Mongoose were a DH bike and not a trail bike, as I can't tell if my Mongoose feels twitchy because it's too small/short or because the headangle is like 67 degrees. I really only notice its small size when climbing, but when it's time to rip, I forget all about the bike. I was constantly aware of the medium Demo and/or SX under me during a race, so it must have been NOT doing what I wanted it to do, but the Mongoose has far exceeded Specialized bikes in every way so far, so could be just the bike. I'll be picking up an ECD soon, and more than likely getting a medium again. Maybe...?
I'm thinking at 5'9" ish, you should be on mediums.
 

Alloy

Monkey
Aug 13, 2004
289
0
thousand oaks, ca
Someone could prove me wrong on this, but with my experience testing bikes, a large bike will put out a couple seconds faster time on most courses... you won't actually feel this on the trail. Actually a large bike will feel slower, like it wallows and doesn't like to change directions.
 

LukeD

Monkey
Sep 9, 2001
751
2
Massachusetts
honestly i think it comes down to personal preferance and riding style. I went from riding a 15" Orange 222 to a medium 17" sunday. both totally different rides for completely different riding styles. the orange was much easier to get the bike airborne. the bike was much more springy and could be popped off of anything. it was very easy to jump over to a different line... however when the going gets rough it cannot match the bigger sunday for stability. so getting back to your original question, I think you have to look at how you ride and decide which would match your riding style the best. i don't think you really have to worry about gaining or losing tenths of a second by changing sizes. unless you are at the world cup level or racing the kamakazi it won't be a huge performance difference at all. unless of course the bike is way too big or way too small to the point where you can't ride it properly haha
 

BigHitComp04

Monkey
Jun 20, 2005
587
2
Morgantown, WV
Hey Luke, just out of curiosity how tall are you? Im starting to think a Small Demo 8 if i get that, and a Medium Sunday if i get that. Those two sizes are relatively similar geometry wise.
 

Rover Nick

Monkey
Oct 17, 2006
280
0
The biggest drawback to riding a very small frame is that it won't be big enough.
:stupid:

I'm borderline between med and large on most bikes and I generally prefer the smaller(but really depends on the bike). But to me it seems kinda strange to run a clear size down, but try it, you may like it.

FWIW, Duncan Riffle is 6'2 and rides a med.
 

Steve M

Turbo Monkey
Mar 3, 2007
1,995
23
Whistler
I find if your bike is too short for you, you have to hang further off the back because weighting the handlebars (at least as much as I like to, maybe not everyone likes the same body positioning) tends to make you feel more prone to OTB episodes. Longer cockpits let you get over the front more aggressively without doing that.
 

jamesdc

Monkey
May 6, 2007
469
0
I've gotten used to riding smallerbikes since every bike is a small bike to me, it is alot easier to whip around on tight trails.
 

fattirerider

Chimp
Jul 17, 2006
13
0
PNW
Go by the geometry not the size. Try a few bike and measure the top tube length. It seems every company measures different, horizontal or the actual length. I'm 6'2" and find I like about a 22" actual toptube. My medium Cove Std has a 21.7" actual tt.

I allways measure a frame from the center of the headtube to center of the seat tube so I can go by my own numbers. The horizontal will change depending on the seat tube and rider since every bike and rider is different.
 

Steve M

Turbo Monkey
Mar 3, 2007
1,995
23
Whistler
Go by the geometry not the size. Try a few bike and measure the top tube length. It seems every company measures different, horizontal or the actual length. I'm 6'2" and find I like about a 22" actual toptube. My medium Cove Std has a 21.7" actual tt.

I allways measure a frame from the center of the headtube to center of the seat tube so I can go by my own numbers. The horizontal will change depending on the seat tube and rider since every bike and rider is different.
Actual top tubes mean absolutely nothing on any bike where you're normally standing up to ride it, because the position of the seat can be just about anywhere relative to the BB. What you really should be measuring is the distance from BB to the headtube (preferably top centre but bottom centre is not so bad anyway), because this is the measurement that most accurately reflects the distance between the BB and the bars, and thus how big a bike feels.
 
Apr 16, 2005
457
0
Charlotte, NC
im 5'8 and started riding a small m3. The only difference to me is that you get back pains after a long day because curving your back more. The medium is more comfortable, but the small will just do anything you want it to do. definatelly more control.
 

DirtEveryDay

Turbo Monkey
Nov 24, 2003
2,695
4
Pacific North Wet
Another thing I did when I switched to a smaller frame was 3/4" riser bars and a zerostack headset. So I'm not just behind the bike like was stated, but down low OVER the bike. So it really is small and tight.... I'll let that linger for a minute while I go find my wife.............................................................................................................
OK, where was I... OH! It's all about the geo and how it's set up. A small frame with 17" chainstays will feel like a yard dart, and super short CSs will leave you riding the rear through rough stuff.
I do think that for fast, gnar courses, it would be smarter to be on a bike with some cockpit room. Keep those bars low and you'll be able to lean on them a bit while you crank.
 

kidwoo

Celebrating No-Pants Day
Aug 25, 2003
23,629
3,041
In my pants
Someone could prove me wrong on this, but with my experience testing bikes, a large bike will put out a couple seconds faster time on most courses... you won't actually feel this on the trail. Actually a large bike will feel slower, like it wallows and doesn't like to change directions.
I would think that would depend on the course a bit.


I was talking to a bike designer in socal about his next revisions to their dh frame and I kept saying short rear end-must have. He mentioned that a lot of the guys in the states were saying this but most of his euro guys were asking for longer rear ends......very good riders mind you. The conclusion I came to was that their race courses are just faster, steeper and gnarlier than anything in the states and a longer bike allows you to hang it out there a bit more:D
 
i forgot to mention, i ride a large sx trail but i'm a teeeeny bit below 6'0.
I'm 6'1 and ride a medium SX Trail. also ride a demo 8 in a medium, but the wheelbase is really long on specialized bikes. Great for stability and rough trails, but lacks the cornering of a shorter wheelbased bike.

All depends what type of terrain you are riding. if you ride a lot of gnar you may want a longer wheelbase, but if you ride tight, not terribly rocky/rough terrain then the shorter bike is the ticket in my opinion.
 

buckoW

Turbo Monkey
Mar 1, 2007
1,690
551
Champery, Switzerland
I like short TT and short CS for most stuff (Champery WC track) but when the track is over 4 minutes I get tired towards the end I like a longer TT and when it gets super fast and not so technical I like a bit longer CS. It depends on what you ride and how you ride it but low bar and BB height is always the same (low as I can get it).
 

BigHitComp04

Monkey
Jun 20, 2005
587
2
Morgantown, WV
I'm 6'1 and ride a medium SX Trail. also ride a demo 8 in a medium, but the wheelbase is really long on specialized bikes. Great for stability and rough trails, but lacks the cornering of a shorter wheelbased bike.

All depends what type of terrain you are riding. if you ride a lot of gnar you may want a longer wheelbase, but if you ride tight, not terribly rocky/rough terrain then the shorter bike is the ticket in my opinion.
I noticed that too, the Demo especially are super long. I think the small Demo 8 II has an inch longer wheelbase than the medium Iron Horse Sunday Team. I think ill probably be getting a small Demo 8 if i get that, and a medium Sunday if i get that. Thanks for all the help guys.