All the sweet bikes and parts. Mmm … parts.

Should I be on a medium or small bike?

Hi Lee

I just signed up for your RideLogic bike setup service. I’m 5’8″ and am a little stunned at the difference in dimensions that it recommends vs my current bike.

I have one of those long low 27.5 Whyte bikes, and I ride a medium with a 450 mm reach (The RAD on that bike is WAY longer than what RideLogic recommends, but it actually feels really good).

I was shocked when your article said I should be on a 410 mm reach bike. I am looking at 29ers (never owned one before), and I rode a Guerilla Gravity Smash medium which was at 460 mm reach and I hated it.

After looking at RideLogic, I should have demoed the small instead. Most of the bike websites out there say I should be a medium and the average reach on those is 425 mm which still have longer RAD numbers. Do I really need a small??

It looks like RideLogic doesn’t discriminate on someones proportions (arm length, inseam etc). Do those factor in or is it pretty standard that someone who is 5’8″ will fit into a certain RAD?

Matt M.

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Finding a new enduro bike that fits

Hi Lee,

Because I am looking for a new bike I just got a copy of your book Dialed.

While the RAD concept fits to my current short list I see no way to get near to the recommended RAAD numbers. My current bike is a Radon Slide 160, a light Enduro. It has a RAAD of about 55.5° and I am happily riding it for 4.5 years now.

Now taking the measures of a Norco Range XL as an example would give me a perfect RAD, but the RAAD would be 53.7°. To get to an enduro RAAD of 60° I need shorten the reach from 475 to 402 mm and expand the stack from 621 to 670mm for the same RAD. Any other bike I am looking at has similar numbers.

What’s your thought?


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CushCore first impressions

Feels slow, but maybe it’s not slow

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Minion DHF vs. Butcher


Do you prefer the Maxxis Minion DHF over the Specialized Butcher when it comes to dry, roots, pine needles? This is for 29×2.6 on the new Specialized Levo Expert 2019 model that just came out. (I remember you had a 2012 Expert Stumpjumper just like mine.)

I want to keep the weight of the new LEVO low and the Butcher weight is about 200 grams per tire lighter than the Minion. I like the Maxxis High Rollers better than the Specialized tires I tried. Is Maxxis worth the the weight from Butcher to Minion?


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RipRow results in 30 days!

Our friend Asa Shoemaker from BABOB! Women’s MTB Channel has been RipRowing for a month. She’s already down 4 pounds and leaning out!

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Suspension: You don’t know what you don’t know

Today some real experts helped me dial in my suspension, and my bike feels massively better.

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Dialed: The secret math of a perfect mountain bike setup

Dialed helps you select and set up your mountain bike to fit your body and riding style.

• Ride your best.
• Save money by buying smart.
• Reduce injuries.
• Maximize fun.

Dialed was created by world renowned mountain bike instructor Lee McCormack of Lee Likes Bikes. Lee has written 10 books on mountain biking and taught thousands of riders of all levels and styles.

Dialed includes special access to the RideLogic online bike setup calculator, LLBMTB riding school and more.

Dialed is available as an ebook and as a print book.

Learn more and order Dialed here >>>

Faster than I once was, slower than I’ll be

Last week the satellites told me I was riding slower than in past years, and that prompted me to ask if I am Slower than I once was, faster than I’ll be? That doesn’t appear to be true.

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Riding my little gray pill

Why do you ride?

That’s a powerful and seldom asked question. To lose weight, to prove something, to be with friends, to have fun?

Fun is one of the better answers. Let’s dig into that.

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Buying the wrong size bike sucks

Here’s a comment thread from the Lee Likes Bikes MTB School ( – membership required). This poor guy was advised to buy the wrong size bike. I see this happening a lot — and it’s not cool.

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Elbows in or out?

Hi Lee and thanks for all the great info online.

Last year I got some instruction at Whistler and my instructor kept on stressing elbows out – “chicken wings.”

Then I bought the book Mastering Mountain Bike Skills 3rd Edition and learned that elbows out used to be taught but is actually wrong, hold elbows behind grips.

This week I’m riding sweep for my son’s DH camp and the instructors stress elbows out. I even spoke to one great, extremely experienced instructor after and he doubled down on elbows out.

Can you clarify the thinking behind in and out and why you changed? I haven’t been this confused since girls in high school.


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I am so stoked for the new Shimano XTR M9100 group

Not only will it have the XTR sweetness and Shimano bulletproofness, it’s also a very thorough approach to dialing in your bike for your riding style:

• Wide variety of 1x and 2x gearing options
• Refined shifters and derailleurs
• Dropper seatpost remote
• More powerful brakes in XC and enduro styles
• Pedals with greater shoe contact and support
• And more

In my opinion, the other drivetrain company is a marketing company. They innovate, and they reach the market early and, in my experience, quality isn’t on point. I’m talking about brakes that don’t work consistently, a dropper that never worked once, and top-level drivetrain parts that need immediate warranty. If you don’t know the difference, you can be happy. If you know the difference, and you pay serious money, this is not OK.

Shimano is an engineering company. They might not be first to market, but they take their work seriously, and when they launch a product it’s dialed. How many times have I warranted a Shimano part over the past 25+ years? Zero.

Whenever I get a bike with the other components, the first thing I change is the brakes (depending on my mood, I’ll run XT, XTR, Saint or Zee; those levers are like a pacifier — they make me feel safe). I ride the other drivetrain until it wears out or breaks or just plain annoys me, then I upgrade — generally to workhorse XT but occasionally and gloriously to XTR.

Once my bike is wearing Shimano, I stop worrying about braking and shifting, and I focus on riding. As someone who relies on his bikes to make a living, I can’t over stress how nice it is to KNOW my stuff is going to function. Oh yeah, and meanwhile the SPD pedals just plain work. And work and work. I’ve been riding the same pedals for more than a decade. Shoot, I have some 636s from when I was racing downhill. Scratched but functional. Just like me!

Shimano fishing reels are the same way. I still have the ultralight spinning reel I received for Christmas when I was 10 years old. That’s 38 years of abuse, including some crazy saltwater adventures. Tuna … dorado … yellowtail … that little reel kicks ass.

I have received generous support from Shimano. They believe in my mission to save the world through better shredding, and I appreciate their help. But most of the Shimano parts I use — ever since forever and even today — are purchased with my own money through a local bike shop. I recently bought XT brakes for my S-Works Fuse and Zee brakes and XT drivetrain for my Enduro. Again, I appreciate Shimano’s help, but I don’t wait for it. If I need parts that work for me, I buy them.

If all goes well (either with Shimano or my businesses), I’ll be rocking the XTR 1x drivetrain with Wide Range cassette, XTR chain guide, XTR 4-piston brakes, and XTR trail pedals. Hashtag ride with impunity.

Read more about the new Shimano XTR M9100 group here >>>