Frame size for new build

gmtfd

Dirt Disciple
I’m lucky enough to have a choice of frames for the Marin build I’m planning. I have a 19” (centre to centre) Rocky Ridge and a 17.5” IFT. They’re both ‘94 so the same geometry I believe. I’m intending to ride this bike a lot! Having only started mountain biking about 10 years ago, I want to get a taste of how it was back in the day. (Mind you, I’m plenty old enough to have been into it first time around...)

So, my question is which frame I should use? I’m 5’11” and both my modern MTBs are size L. The bigger frame would presumably feel more like the bikes I usually ride, but I’m aware that in the ‘90s riders often sized down, and doing that would save me a healthy 300g, and perhaps create a more ‘authentic’ experience. I’m wondering what the more experienced retrobikers on here would recommend? I have no problem with running a long stem, although the fact I’m running 90mm and 100mm items on my modern bikes might mean I’d need a super-long one...
 

FluffyChicken

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At almost 5'10 I'd go for the 19" Back in the day.

But build them both and see what you like.
It is the only way.

The IFT is by far the better higher model frame.
 

FluffyChicken

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As there are no frame notes for '94 that I can remember, but 1995 does... then then 17.5 is 3cm lower at the front.

Also the toptube length of the IFT is 2cm longer then the RR for the same size, which does make them about the same length. A touch longer at 57.2 for the IFT and just 56.5cm for the larger RR

So it'll be down to - if you want a long post and low front end or not. Reach will be similar.

Have fun.
(based on 1995 like I said, not 1994)
 
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marc two tone

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Quite a dilemma. You can always transplant most parts between the two anyway, so start with the rocky as it's your kinda size.
The 31.odd seatpost and alu frame conspire to beat your ass and can feel an uninspiring ride. As fluff says, the ift with the monster down tube looks the part and a classy model. Shorter top tube if I recall. For me, try them both but the ift with a steel stem/front shocks may win your heart.
But saying that, rocky ridge build threads are thin on the ground.
 

gmtfd

Dirt Disciple
As there are no frame notes for '94 that I can remember, but 1995 does... then then 17.5 is 3cm lower at the front.

Also the toptube length of the IFT is 2cm longer then the RR for the same size, which does make them about the same length. A touch longer at 57.2 for the IFT and just 56.5cm for the larger RR

Thank you for that valuable information. I'll get the tape measure out in a bit, but assuming the geo is the same from '94 to '95, then I think I will start with the RR as Marc suggests. I'm certainly anticipating some teeth-chattering either way...
 

2manyoranges

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gmtfd - I remember the experience you are talking of. The authentic experience of the 90's was essentially extreme terror on steep downhills, an inability to jump over anything, and a lot more fear of everything - not least because early brakes were terrible. You can replicate all this by removing the brakes from your new bikes, pumping up your tyres to 40 lbs, leaning right over your bars, and screaming.

OR

You can make a retro bike perform really well by - making sure you get a largish frame - the Marin RR sounds good. Use an inline post to get a steeper seat angle. Use a shorter stem than usual, and use old riser bars. Get the widest retro rims - like Mavic CDs - and use wider tyres. Use V brakes or really good cantilevers like Critical Racing with decent levers - XT for example. All this COULD have been done in the 90's. And some of use WERE doing this - Team Marins with LOOONG tip tubes, inline posts, short stems, riser bars, top cants. Reduced the fear factor. Increased the pleasure.
 

mk one

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Im 5'10 and always found the 19" marins too long. The 17.5" bikes are perfect for me and fit the same as most my 18" bikes. But like others have said, best to try them out, everybody fits differently and likes different feels to a bike.
 

pw_pw_la

Retro Guru
gmtfd - I remember the experience you are talking of. The authentic experience of the 90's was essentially extreme terror on steep downhills, an inability to jump over anything, and a lot more fear of everything - not least because early brakes were terrible. You can replicate all this by removing the brakes from your new bikes, pumping up your tyres to 40 lbs, leaning right over your bars, and screaming.

OR

You can make a retro bike perform really well by - making sure you get a largish frame - the Marin RR sounds good. Use an inline post to get a steeper seat angle. Use a shorter stem than usual, and use old riser bars. Get the widest retro rims - like Mavic CDs - and use wider tyres. Use V brakes or really good cantilevers like Critical Racing with decent levers - XT for example. All this COULD have been done in the 90's. And some of use WERE doing this - Team Marins with LOOONG tip tubes, inline posts, short stems, riser bars, top cants. Reduced the fear factor. Increased the pleasure.

Now this makes me quite excited, and also conflicted, as to a new incoming project...

I was thinking a longer stem and flat bar on this one, but your description above has me second-guessing that now!
 

onyerbike531

Old School Hero
I'm around 6ft and I ride a 19" CtT 1991 or 92 Raleigh Yukon with its original bars and stem, I'd have preferred an 18" (did they even make them in that size?) but I can't grumble too much as I found it in a clearance shop for £35; what I will say is it's one of the comfiest bikes I've ever rode. I'm not sure what length the stem is but it looks shorter and more raised than the ones fitted on mtbs from the mid 90s onwards. I reckon it's possible to ride a few different sized frames with a bit of tweaking of the fit.
 

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2manyoranges

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The Complex Simple COTIC now has a super-short stem (35mm) with 40mm Renthal riser bars and rides brilliantly.
 

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