All the sweet bikes and parts. Mmm … parts.

Measuring RAAD on a bike

Hi Lee,

I’m enjoying the book Dialed: the secret math of a perfect mountain bike setup and really appreciate the MTB specific and rider-centric approach to bike fitting. I was wondering if you can guide me toward how to accurately measure my RAAD? There’s plenty of info in the book on how it should be set, but I’m not clear on the best way to measure it. Any recommended tool? Protractor devices and angle finders are generally not very long and would likely lack precision if trying to measure from the center point of the bottom bracket.

My RAD is prefect, surprisingly, with a fully stock bike (Large 2021 Epic EVO), so I’m afraid to tinker with the wrong adjustments and just end up messing up my RAD by trying to dial in my RAAD. Any tips on accurate measuring would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
Matt

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What size Nukeproof Mega 290 should I ride?

Hey Lee!

I’m going to be getting a nuke proof Mega 290. I’m kinda a outlier. I’m 6″4″ 260 lb. I’m in shape and lean. Just a big dude. Most of my height is in my torso with a 36 biking inseam. 32 pants inseam. How can I measure for my torso correctly?
I am enduro racer with weekend all mountain. I am registered for big mountain enduro races this year. My goal is to beat all the 20 year olds and take the podium from the masters class 🙂 and be a racer even at 45. It’s my dream!
Cheers!
BTW- thank you for your program and skill sets has made a world of difference!!!!

Scott

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Has the bike industry forgotten smaller riders?

Hello Lee,

I am a new member of the Lee Likes Bikes MTB School but have followed you for a while and  read your book probably close to 8-9 years ago. Still have it and review it from time to time.

I am  55, and have been riding for most of my adult life (MTB/Rd/Tri).

I have been wanting to buy a new mountain bike for years, but at 58 inches tall and 95 lbs, I have been challenged and frustrated.

The last bike I purchased, which is my current one,  was in 2010 or 2011; a Pivot mach 4 in XS ( yes 26″). I purchased it sight unseen. At the time I felt it was too big, ( compared to my hard tail Mojo – which I LOVED).

In the last 5 years or so, I have attempted to test ride different rigs. Out of the handful I have tried (availability being the primary issue), none feel like they fit. Has the industry forgotten about shorter statured riders, or is there something out there?

I keep looking online at various manufacturer’ sites, but what looks like a possibility on paper,  may not always the case.

Would I be able to find a resource on your site that would lead me the right direction?

Not really sure how to start. I appreciate your time,

Marlene

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Yet another rider on a bike that’s too big

Hi Lee,
I’ve recently purchased your book Dialed to help me try to understand better where I’m at with my current mountain bike, all the changes in frame geometry (not to mention suspension) in the past five or so years, and now the changes literally in how people ride.
I’ve been riding a long time, which may be part of the problem. I’m a 50 year old woman who got her first mtb back in the days of the 26″ wheel. I rode and raced xc for years, mostly on a singlespeed 29er. And then I got into a really big wreck – I don’t race anymore. Still riding though and I love all the suspension being offered by manufacturers now. Last year before shit hit the fan I bought myself a Pivot Switchblade. I just love it. But… when I went to test ride the demos, the XS felt ridiculously small, uncomfortably so. My husband said it looked like I was on a kids bike. The small felt pretty good. The deal is, I am 5’2″. The size chart says I’m totally within the range for the XS, not even on the cusp of small. So, based on my initial impression, I went and bought the small anyway because I just didn’t like how the XS felt.
Fast forward a year of really learning how to ride my amazing new bike – I can ride so much more stuff I can’t believe it. But, there are times on the trail, mostly steep or technical or both (up or down) where I suddenly feel like I’ve got a shitton of bike underneath me and it just feels really unwieldy, hard to manage, clumsy. I started looking into sizing and the fact that I’d colored out of the lines by buying a larger bike than Pivot recommended for my height, which lead me to your book.
I measured from my knuckle to the floor in the stance you specified. 77cm. Bike from BB to midpoint between grip throughline, 80cm. SO… does this mean that I truly am on a bike that’s too large? According to the equation you also suggested, (height x 4.6) = 724.5. Is this so much l lower than my knuckle to floor measurement because my legs are long?
Anyway, do you have any advice? I realize a long travel 29er isn’t going to be a spry, ‘playful’ type of bike and I really should be on something more like the 5.5 – but size will still matter for that if I decide to buy another bike (cringe).
Thanks for such a good manual for evaluating frame fit!
Best regards,
Lisa

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Pro BMXer Barry Nobles compares race vs. casual shoes

Barry Nobles is a badass.

In this video he compares start/sprint speed between his ultra-stiff carbon race shoes and softer skate-style shoes. He prefers the look and comfort of the skate shoes but doesn’t want to give up speed.

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To BMX or not to BMX?

Hi Lee,

My name is Gavin, I emailed you with some questions about mountain biking a few years ago and I have another question for you now. I have been much more serious about mountain biking the past few years, and I bought myself a 2016 cannondale habit just after I emailed you last. I have been looking at maybe buying a dirt jumper for a while now but half a year ago I moved to Washington, Connecticut. The area I am in has 3 bmx tracks within an hour so I am trying to figure out if I should get a dirt jump bike or a bmx bike. Having a dirt jumper where I live would be fun because I live on a boarding school campus, but with the bmx tracks near me and the lower price of a bmx bike, I am quite torn. I would really appreciate it if you could help me out with this.

Thanks,
Gavin

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Should I ride a small or medium Specialized Epic?

Hi Lee,

The information in these books (Dialed and F6) is great. I do have one question. I am planning on upgrading from a 2008 Med S-works Epic to a 2021 Epic Pro. The geometry has changed drastically especially with the release of the 2021 bike. Based on your charts in the Dialed In book, you recommend a reach of 410mm for my height (5’ 8”). Based on the radically different geometry this puts me on a small frame. As you are very familiar with Specialized can you give me any insight into going longer with the new geo on the med frame (possibly shorter stem depending on SHO) vs. holding back and riding a small frame? I live in the SE USA and the most technical riding is done during my Xterra races at Oak Mountain (way less technical than out west).

Thank you,
Trey

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Solution to terrible hand and wrist pain?

Hi Lee,

Hope this email finds you well my friend. You might remember our convo, but I’m writing you b/c I’ve been experiencing terrible hand and wrist pain on my rides and wondering if you could provide some help as the discomfort is so bad, it’s really bumming me out.

Some background info (again):

  • I’m 173 cm tall / 215 lbs
  • All my riding is New England roots and rocks
  • Riding a medium Ibis Ripley V4
  • Handlebars – One up – cut down to 760mm
  • Stem – been constantly going back and forth between 40 & 50mm. I know you said 30 is better (and I know it improves my RAD) – but I found the 30 made my steering just too twitchy
  • Grips – I played with ESI, all the Ergons and currency running the PNW Loams
As mentioned I keep going back and forth on stem length. TBH – 50mm is most comfortable, but 40mm adds a bit of confidence in the steering when I’m hitting the blue/black tech trails (though I do feel a bit cramped in the cockpit).

We already chatted stem size, and I still can’t find the answer, but what I do notice is that my wrists are never straight when I grip. My hands are always bent inwards and not parallel with bar.

Maybe I need to try SQlab?

Any advice would be helpful and thanks again in advance.

-J

Riding the 2021 Specialized Epic EVO Pro

I spent yesterday on the brand new 2021 Specialized Epic EVO Pro.

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Handlebar sweep and roll

Hi Lee,

I was wondering if you can comment on how handlebar roll affects hand and wrist position while riding. I had a coaching session with a local guy here and he rolled my bar upwards so that I effectively had more stack height. It immediately felt more comfortable, it seemed like the way the bar sweep worked with that angle put my wrists in a more comfortable position. I did not think about it too much until I stripped down my bike and forgot to mark the handle bar to put it back. Obviously the way you roll the bar will also change the reach and stack but do you have any rules of thumb for getting forearms and wrists are in a strong comfortable position. Or am I barking up the wrong tree here?

Jarred

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Flying with a Trust fork

Hey Lee,

Have you ever flown with a trust fork?  Looking at it, it doesn’t look like it would fit into my bike bag so would complicate things for my trips to the mountains.  Any experience/ideas for plane travel with them?

Paul

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DIY deadlift device (video)

We should all be doing deadlifts, but many of us don’t have access to a gym (especially during the coronavirus crisis), nor do we have room for big weights at home. Here’s the DIY deadlift device I use when I’m home and on the road.