I have recently been testing two mountain bikes: one with a 44cm (~17.5") frame, which I bought second-hand and one with a 45.7cm frame (~18"), which I bought new but want to return it as I like the second hand one better.

My question is: given the fact that the smaller one has 60cm stack, 40.5cm reach and 58cm effective top tube, while the larger has about 63cm stack, 41cm reach and about 60cm effective top tube, is it possibile I would not be able to tune the smaller one to fit similarly to the second one (e.g using a stem extender and/or angled stem to raise stack..)? Or should I be able to make them feel pretty much the same, in which case I can return the bigger one without regrets?

I like the equipment, looks and lower standover of the first one better, but I get some pain in my wrists, hopefully because of the placement/width of the handlebar and also some pretty annoyig middle-back pain.. However, the larger one does not really cause this pain, but I get more butt pain, ankle pain..

I also want to mention the smaller bike has 27.5" wheels, while the bigger has 29". I seem to like 27.5 better, though I only tested on road and a short gravel uphill road.

I am 180cm tall with a 78-79cm inseam.

  • 1
    "Or should I be able to make them feel pretty much the same" Depends on the stem length and spacers currently installed. If they are already at the maximum of what’s reasonably possible then you are out of luck. But usually it’s easily possible to go 2cm in either direction from the default configuration.
    – Michael
    Commented Aug 21, 2020 at 6:36
  • Thank you. I was thinking I could get one of these stem extenders to increase the hanlebar height of the handlebars and/or an angled stem and/or rise bars bicycles.stackexchange.com/q/44799/50924
    – PhantomR
    Commented Aug 21, 2020 at 6:46
  • 1
    That’s a last resort solution I wouldn’t deliberately use on a new bike.
    – Michael
    Commented Aug 21, 2020 at 6:50
  • I will try to keep that in mind, thank you. At the moment I am trying a stem whose angle is configurable.
    – PhantomR
    Commented Aug 22, 2020 at 4:51


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