Size matters

Not just the wheel size but the frame size too. I have just had a good, nay, great ride on a medium 29er. Previously I had only ridden large 29ers, mostly the Scott Scale 29er Pro. Thanks to a friendly customer and a timely first free service I have been out and about on the Scott Scale 29er Elite. It is a medium and we customised it by fitting a 90mm stem, it came with a 70mm, and some Easton EA70 680mm bars. It came with Scott Pilot 660mm.

For my ride I fit my favourite Ergon GE1 grips, raised the saddle and let some air out of the tyres. It was fresh, sunny and dry so the trails were perfect and dust free.

Immediately the bike felt right, the fit was more what I was used too. I had got very used to the long (620mm) top tube of the Scott Scale 29er Pro large. As 29ers are so high at the front the extra length suited me (I like my bike low at the front) so it didn’t feel too stretched but the whole thing felt a bit big. On the medium the first climb seemed easier, my legs have finally recovered after a couple of easy weeks but being more over the front end meant the I could pedal easier too.

Next up was the sheep track, flat out and safe – that is what 29ers do! After the Monarch’s Way down to No-Man’s Land I had my next challenge up the cinder track to Langmead’s Tomb. It was a breeze despite the big wheel size. Then onto what we all want: single track, technical trails and descents. I was up to the woods above Steyning. The larger Scott Scale Pro was good here. The Medium Scale Elite really excelled. Everything was easier and faster dispelling any myth that 29ers are not good in tight single track. It seems that 29ers fly better too. On every part of the trail I felt quicker and more confident. Whilst the large was more than capable, it felt a bit of a handful, whereas the medium had all the advantages but felt eminently chuckable. It devoured the trail down to Mouse Lane.

Scott Scale 29er Elite
Scott Scale 29er Elite

On the climb back up I decided to take the left hand, steep and rutted bridleway that is usually only ridden down. I dropped into the granny and rode up with ease and a gear to spare. The trails were perfect and my legs good but all credit must be given to the Scott. No loss of traction nor any hint of losing the front end.

That left the final test: the rooty trail around the top of the horse shoe ridden downhill as opposed to my usual up hill. I really needed some one to race against to see just how quick I was going.

My passion for things “off road” has returned after riding this bike.

The Scott Scale 29er Elite (medium – 600mm top tube) weighs 25.55 lbs, has a light 6061 frame and 100mm  Rock Shox Recon Gold air forks with a pop loc, SLX/XT 3 x 10 transmission, Avid Elixir 3 brakes and a Scott/Deore/DT wheel package shod with Schwalbe Rocket Rons. In other words a work horse – everything that you’d need without breaking the bank. At £1399 this bike is a bargain, ideal for upgrading, but I’d be happy to ride it as it is. It is 1.76lbs heavier (and £700 cheaper) than the carbon Pro bike but with the better fit I found it more comfortable (I can hardly believe that but that was how it felt – the extra seat post probably helped), a better climber and way better in the technical stuff. No doubt I’ll be riding a carbon 29er in my size at some stage in the future, bring on the 2012 bikes!

Don’t ever let your girl friend or boy friend say that size doesn’t matter. It does.

I now feel confident to help you choose the right size for you.

By the way I am 1.78m/5’10” with an inside leg of 84cm/33″ – short body/long legs BUT I like to ride low at the front, road or off road.

Quest Adventure for 29ers in the South East

5 Comments Add yours

  1. peter says:

    thanks for the post. I am debating the large v medium pro scale 29. I am 5′ 11 3/4″ and squarely in a large based on the scott fit chart. what d’ya think???

    Vermont USA

    1. Based on my experience and all the bikes and customers that we have had so far, I’d recommend large. I loved the medium but I am both shorter than you by nearly 2″ and have a really short body. I have only ridden the medium once and most of my recent rides on the large I didn’t even notice that it was a bit big. It is amazing what you get used to.
      Go large!

  2. Charles says:

    Hi Questadventure,
    Good insights. I am about to buy a Scott Spark Large, but am wondering if I should rather go XL. I am 1.85cm (6’1″), but quite long inner leg length at 90cm (35″). 90cm is aligned with 1.92cm height on most online size charts, and this on the Scott sizing chart puts me in the XL range.
    Charts also seem to be different for hard tail versus dual suspension.
    Any advice?
    Thanks, Charles.

    1. Hi,
      Probably XL. Take a look at the picture. I’m 5’10″/ 1.78 with a 33″ inside leg and that bike is a large. It doesn’t look big does it? Jimbo my colleague is 6’1″ and he would use a large but he likes to ride very up right, high bars and straight back (he is a very skillful rider). I am the opposite, I usually ride with the bars low and stretched but since 29ers have come about I’m getting used to this more comfortable position. So if you like reach go for XL. Don’t try to relate 29er top tube lengths to 26″ as they appear much much longer on paper than they are on the bike as the front is so much higher.
      Hope that that helps.

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