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Quick and easy way to find your ideal MTB handlebar width

This article is adapted from the book Dialed and ran on Pinkbike.

I hope you find it helpful.

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Dialing in your bike setup step 1: Make it RAD

 

 

This article is adapted from the book Dialed and ran on Pinkbike. It lays out the most important aspect of mountain bike fit and setup.
I hope you find it helpful!

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Question about RAD bike-setup number

Lee,

I wanted to discuss your RAD number idea a little more.  I read your article on Pinkbike and used the suggested ratio to calculate my RAD number and then went out to the shop and checked all my bikes.  It was interesting.  My BMX and 4X/dirt jump bike both were spot on the number.  My medium Yeti SB66 with 50 mm stem was 20mm longer and my Specialized Epic WC was 70 mm longer.  I found this interesting as did not set up any of these bike with RAD.  I got to thinking and have an additional question.  Both the BMX and dirt jumper you ride standing up all the time.  However with the Yeti and Epic I spend and increasing amount of time sitting and pedaling.  I put a long seatpost in the dirt jumper and got my saddle position set and that made the reach to the bars feel way to close for seated riding.  Your thoughts?  As a side note one thing that I have noticed in the past on my bikes is that I tend to tuck the front wheel in corners as apposed to a front wheel slide.  Could this be due to to much weight on the front wheel?  Also with regards to “new” bikes out there I would typically be a size M, but with longer reach numbers maybe I need to look at size S as you suggest.

In any case, thanks for you input as always.  You have been great to both Susan and myself in the past.  I have also gotten the pump track built in the back yard, so if you ever make it up to Spokane you have a place to stay and rip some laps. 

Greg S

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Questions after reading Dialed

Hi Lee,

First of all, thank you for all your work on the blog – it really is a standout in the bike-internet-knowledge base. As well as Dialed e-book that I bought today.

After reading it, I have some questions. Perhaps you will find time to answer them?

1. How can I access the rider-and-bike calculator (I always get a “This page requires a membership to view” notification when I login with my e-mail: wooyek@gmail.com)?
2. “RAD, RAAD, Reach and Stack Table” – are these actual frame dimensions (“official” reach/stack used by manufacturers) or do they include cockpit dimensions?
3. If handlebar rotation should not be used to dial-in the RAD, what method should be used first, give the stem spacers are not enough?
4. What is your method to measure RAAD?
5. How would you describe rider’s “average proportions”? Do you know the average inseam-to-height ratio?
Thank you in advance, best regards!

Michal

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Dialed bike setup and front/rear weight distribution

Lee,

We at Trail Werks Cyclery are trying to use your Dialed theories to fit body/bike but I have some questions that I’m sure you’ve thought about.

Front/rear wheel attack position weight distribution – auto racing wants 50/50. What’s the theory on two-wheeled sports where body weight has such a huge impact? Is it 60/40 on flat ground? How does your RAAD affect that, if at all? We want to be able to set up suspension along with rider position. Does the front/rear weight balance shift with RAAD from xc race to dh? How? Is one more important than the other?

I hope this doesn’t drive you nuts. I’m hoping you tell me they are just two different things.

Thanks again. You’ve made me very busy thinking, talking to customers and measuring shit… Nice work.

Michael K

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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?

Cheers,
Christoph

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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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Buying the wrong size bike sucks

Here’s a comment thread from the Lee Likes Bikes MTB School (www.llbmtb.com – 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.

Andrew

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2017 Specialized Fuse Comp fork upgrade


Lee,

What would you suggest that won’t break the bank? I have $500 to spend.

I weight 225 lbs. Like to hit the jumps at the local bike park (Rockburn) and go through and not around stuff. Live in Maryland.  Ride allot at Patapsco.  

Do I need 34 mm stanchions? It is my one bike quiver.

Michael

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Butcher and Slaughter tire combo

Hey Lee, hope all is well…

I came across your review of the Specialized Butcher/Slaughter and find it to be a very interesting set-up.

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Sizing down when you get a new bike


Lee – So I played around with the RAD calculator at the Lee Likes Bikes MTB School for my Pivot LES and proposed rocky Mountain Element. Both bikes on the small come out spot on for the RAD but the reach and rise are too short and tall respectively for the bikes compared to the calculations using the XC or Trail setting, so I end up with more of an Enduro setup.

The Rocky Mountain size guide has me on the end of small or beginning of medium and one of the Michigan shops I called recommends sizing up. However when I enter the dimensions for the M Element frame in the RideLogic™ bike calculator, the RAD gets too big. In the comment section you say the RAD is more important than reach/rise in terms of priority. Any additional thoughts?

Scott B


Scott!

Thanks for reaching out, and for being a member of the Lee Likes Bikes MTB School.

The core tenant of the RideLogic™ Bike Setup Method is matching the distance between your bike’s bottom bracket and grips to the distance between your feet and hands. This is called the Rider Area Distance. Since I’m in charge, I call it the RAD.


Rider Area Distance (RAD).

The secondary measurement is Rider Area Angle in Degrees (RAAD). This is the angle of your RAD compared with level. RAAD tends to vary with the type of bike. Low RAAD for an XC race bike; high RAAD for a downhill bike.


Rider Area Angle in Degrees (RAAD).

In my experience, RAD is most important measurement by a mile. Any bike with a perfect RAD and a reasonable RAAD rides great.

If you go for the larger frame, the reach can be so long it’s hard to get a short enough RAD. If you can get the RAD correct, the RAAD will end up low, and you’ll end up with a bike with a long, “XC” feeling cockpit. For most riders this will not feel good, especially on fun terrain. In my work with lots of folks, almost everyone, no matter their riding style, prefers a higher RAAD like you find on an enduro bike.

Modern bikes are getting longer and longer. More specifically, their reaches (horizontal distance from bottom bracket to top of head tube) are getting longer. In many cases, the stacks (vertical distance from bottom bracket to head tube) are also getting higher. It’s very common that riders need to “size down.”

Everyone: Before you buy a bike, plug your numbers and your bike’s numbers into the RideLogic™ calculators. They are available, along with tons of great skills lessons, with a Lee Likes Bikes MTB School membership. You can use the same calculators, and the RideLogic™ on-bike test, to dial in your current bike.

My new medium 2017 Enduro, which is amazing, is 20mm longer than my medium Stumpy. While I got the Enduro’s RAD within a few millimeters of perfect, the cockpit is too long for me, and it’s giving me a hard time. If my shoulders were healthy it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but this is hurting me so much that I think I’m going to return the free bike and try to get a small.


2017 Specialzied Enduro Öhlins Coil. This is an awesome, amazing, impressive machine! It’s just a bit long for me.

I hope that helps,

Lee


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