1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 30
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    32

    Full Suspension Mountain Bike Frame for short guys

    I am about to purchase (after about 2 months of research) a quality, size small, full suspension mountain bike frame (the likes of Giant Reign X0, Ibis Mojo 140 HD, Santa Cruz Blur TRc, etc.) with seat tube lengths of 15, 15.5, 16 or higher. Only to find out later that with just 5"1" height and insem if about 27-27.5 inches, these bike are categorically quite big for me. I even tested some of them only to find out that the clearance to my crouch and top tube while standing is less than 1 inch. Some LBS suggested to be safer that I get an extra small full suspension bike frame but that is not easy to find, neither those frames with very sloping top tube. Other LBS insisted that I go hardtail and settle for an extra small 13" frame. I really want a full suspension bike so if anybody here could suggest a specific brand or what ever best remedy to resolve my problem, I surely would appreciate your comments. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    13,974
    Are you buying a bike to ride or to stand over?

    Long-travel bikes don't have a lot of clearance for anyone. They really can't - the whole thing is lifted pretty far relative to a position where there's still a little clearance below the crank.

    You may still have trouble finding a frame that works well for you just because the rear linkage demands a certain amount of space to work with in the main triangle.

    Do you have a bike now? Have you actually ridden any of the bikes you listed?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    32
    I have an old hardtail that I ride almost every weekend. No, honestly I have not test driven any of the bikes I mentioned except for the Giant Reign X which I was able to ride (I didn't travel an inch actually) with the assistance of the LBS technician. Just like my hardtail, I think I can drive the Giant Reign X without any problem except during sudden stops when it is possible that my balls could accidentally land on the top tube. The LBS staffs told me to get use to putting my body sideways and one foot first during sudden stops to avoid such accidents but I am still worried, bad things could still happen when least expected. Do you honestly think full suspension bike (all of the models available) is not for me? Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Inspector Gadget
    Reputation: abeckstead's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    608
    Santa Cruz, giant and specialized all make women's full suspension bikes in a xs. They are good bikes and should fit you much better. Sc Juliana, giant has anthem and trance in women's and spesh has the myka and Safire. I don't think the colors are bad and I'm sure things could be massaged anyhow.
    Last edited by abeckstead; 07-04-2012 at 08:30 PM.
    I hope you have a big trunk... cause I'm gonna put my bike in it!

  5. #5
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    13,974
    I think full suspension isn't for me, I just don't like them. However, there are people your size who do. I picked up my first mountain bike in 2000, and while I haven't been riding continuously since then, I've had some pretty high-volume seasons. I've had maybe one fall where I slid forward. I think the standover thing is a bit of a red herring. When I'm actually mountain biking, trails are rarely level. I'm usually either stepping up, in which case I don't need clearance, or stepping down, in which case most bikes don't have enough. You could also slide forward and whack your balls on the stem. Or misjudge the distance to your saddle compressing after a landing and whack them on that. Etc.

    If you're happy with the way your hardtail fits, the important measurement isn't seat tube length. Especially with FS bikes, which are all over the place about their proportions. Reach is the single most important - that's the horizontal distance from the bottom bracket to the axis of the top of the head tube. Since that's a pain-in-the-butt piece of information to find, effective top tube length is pretty good. That's the horizontal distance from the axis of the top of the head tube to the axis of the seat tube. Basically the length a horizontal top tube would be if bikes still had them.

    Look at the geometries of the bikes your interested in. Women's models too - the differences are frequently only as deep as the paint. See if these bikes are even feasible for you. Frame stack height is important too, but good luck figuring it out. This article is about tri bikes, but applies to any.
    Stack & Reach Primer: Chapter One - Slowtwitch.com

    When you've identified some feasible bikes, figure out about dealer networks and demo tours. I was afraid to try a FS for a long time. I can't afford to replace my bike right now, and I was worried that I'd ride one and decide that FS bikes were the only "real" mountain bikes. I bumped into a SRAM XX demo tour and tried the Ibis Mojo. I think a bigger version than you're talking about, and didn't like it. I guess that freed me a little, I've now tried one of the GT iDrive bikes, which I didn't like, and a Giant Anthem 29er, which I disliked least of the group. I'd still like to hop on a Specialized Epic and make sure I'm not missing something, but until then, my aspirational bike is a 29er that comes out of the box race ready. The point being that you've picked out some pretty expensive bikes to want. Make sure you actually like one before buying it.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
    Picture Unrelated
    Reputation: zebrahum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    5,024
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Are you buying a bike to ride or to stand over?
    Best advice you're going to get right there.

    Standover height is nice to have but it is not a requirement in picking a bike. All that actually matters is that you pick a bike that fits well when riding it. I can't help you in your size in particular but I can say that my FS bike has a notoriously high standover of which I "graze" the top tube when I stand over it two footed. I can say with all honesty that I've never hit anything on the top tube during a dismount, crash, or unexpected departure from the bike. My last bike was a hardtail and I was more of a beginner then which I did accidentally dismount many times from and still there I never found myself getting nutted on the top tube; I would instead hit my sensitive area on the stem during OTB maneuvers.

    You never dismount a bike with two feet flat on the ground, you always tip the bike to one side. You might end up hitting yourself on the top tube once or twice, but really that's a small price to pay for riding a bike that actually fits you. Would you give up trail comfort for the countless hours you'll spend not crashing for the compromise of not theoretically nutting yourself?
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: joe_bloe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    629
    Never mind, did some more reading and figured out what I had to say wasn't helpful.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,071
    It looks like Jamis has some smaller 13" frames with a lower standover height. Here is one with a 27.75" inseam:

    Jamis Dakar XCR Expert '09 Frame > Components > Frames > Mountain Bike frames | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,071
    Just re-read your post. I guess you are looking for something other than a 13" frame. I think you might run into problems getting a lower standover height on anything less than a 15" frame. One thing that might help would be to get a fork with less travel - a bike with an 80mm fork will have a lower standover height than a bike with a 120mm travel fork. Just a thought...

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    107
    if anything, a small frame bike will motivate you to stay on the bike and not crash, therefore making you a better rider without even noticing it. haha.

    I'd check out Haro bikes while your at it. my previous Haro bike was a small frame, but felt like a kids bike because it had a low profile. and like others say, no shame in getting a girls frame it you have to. it would be better to ride a girl bike, than to smash nads and be a girl after

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: joeinchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    471
    Quote Originally Posted by dwinski View Post
    Do you honestly think full suspension bike (all of the models available) is not for me?
    Maybe. It depends on fit.
    Quote Originally Posted by dwinski View Post
    I have an old hardtail that I ride almost every weekend.
    How does this bike fit you? If it's good, take some measurements and see how they compare to bikes you might be interested in.

    The Trek Lush or Specialized Safire, as mentioned above, might fit. They feature a relatively low standover height but you really need to consider the other dimensions.

    Lush geo

    Safire geometry

    Rocky Mountain Altitude also offers a smaller option but not in CF.
    Altitude 70 geo

    At 5'1", I think the reach on a 15" bike might be a bit much unless you have a relatively long torso. With a 27" inseam, however, it sounds like your proportions hover around average for someone of your height.

    I'd really encourage you to find out what size works for you, FIRST, and then search accordingly.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    32
    Just an update guys, went to a couple of LBS and just fitted in the Myka OK fits exactly just fine but I believe this is more of a girl's bike. The safire is just like the Myka, can be unisex but almost twice the price of Myka. Saw a Rocky Mountain Altitude 70 frame looks OK appearance and geometry wise but available size is only large. Asked the reps to look for small.

    For the first time I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Your great suggestions are very much appreciated. Geez I really want the small Santa Cruz Blur TRc because of its sloping top tube and great reviews but the real question is at seat tube length = 16 for small, (I can't fit this because it is being sold as a frame only), is this too big for me?????

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: joeinchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    471
    Quote Originally Posted by dwinski View Post
    the real question is at seat tube length = 16 for small, (I can't fit this because it is being sold as a frame only), is this too big for me?????
    You can make a reasonable guess based on what you know works for you. You said the Myka fit, right? Their small has a 394mm (15.5") seat tube and 542mm (21.3") top tube. And it also uses a 60mm stem, which is about as short as they come, but it sounds like a 15-16" frame will fit provided the top tube isn't too much of a reach.

    The small Santa Cruz Blur has a 16" seat tube and 21.8" top tube which is pretty close to the Myka. They offer a 70mm stem on various kits which will stretch the cockpit by an inch over the Myka but, still, pretty close.
    Joe
    Chicago, IL

  14. #14
    T.W.O.
    Reputation: mimi1885's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    8,011
    Quote Originally Posted by dwinski View Post
    Just an update guys, went to a couple of LBS and just fitted in the Myka OK fits exactly just fine but I believe this is more of a girl's bike. The safire is just like the Myka, can be unisex but almost twice the price of Myka. Saw a Rocky Mountain Altitude 70 frame looks OK appearance and geometry wise but available size is only large. Asked the reps to look for small.

    For the first time I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Your great suggestions are very much appreciated. Geez I really want the small Santa Cruz Blur TRc because of its sloping top tube and great reviews but the real question is at seat tube length = 16 for small, (I can't fit this because it is being sold as a frame only), is this too big for me?????
    Stand over clearance is not an issue on the trail so forget about that issue. The most important fit is the toptube reach and fit. Take a test ride see how the handling. A few of my shorter friends 5' and 4'9" rode my small Mojo and Mojo HD without any problems as the matter of fact both are getting the SLR. I have 70mm stem and wide bar on both and they have no problem shifting the body back over the rear tire.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    137
    I'm 5'4 and I'm perfectly fine on my Trek Fuel EX8.
    My sister who is barely 5' can also ride my bike.

    If you're really hurting on inseam then all you do is tilt the bike sideways when at a complete stop. That's what my sister does.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    142
    There are some great suggestions in this thread. I would like to throw out one more thought....look for cycling shoes with the thickest soles you can find. You can increase your effective inseam a bit that way.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    32
    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    Stand over clearance is not an issue on the trail so forget about that issue. The most important fit is the toptube reach and fit. Take a test ride see how the handling. A few of my shorter friends 5' and 4'9" rode my small Mojo and Mojo HD without any problems as the matter of fact both are getting the SLR. I have 70mm stem and wide bar on both and they have no problem shifting the body back over the rear tire.
    Just want to inform you Bro. that test riding is not always possible here in the Philippines. It is only available in some of the popular brands like Giant, Trek and Specialized. In some stores, I can only fit/ride and they don't allow test riding on the road. Ibis Mojo and Santa Cruz are often sold as frames only and as a buyer you should build your own with your own parts. I was informed that the Santa Cruz distributor/dealer has now ordered some built bikes (heckler, superlight and nomad) but the reps can't assemble them for me to fit because they are pre-ordered by the buyers that purchased/advanced ordered them. Crazy but I am trying to negotiate.

    I also dearly want the looks and geometry of the Mojo 140 HD in fact, had researched on installing the Limbo chips to lower it to 140 mm and partnering it with Talas 32 140mm/110mm mostly on the 110mm on flat roads and trails combined. Then all of the sudden, the Ibis reps commented they would hold back selling the "small" ibis mojo HD to me because according to them, it is "quite" big for me, they don't want to take the blame and advised me to look for extra small or size 14,5" or 13" size frames.

    Maybe you could give me the specs of your Ibis Mojo HD so I can compare to what I want to build.

    Jay Uno and dhelm72 thanks for the advise, your inputs are very well noted.

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by dwinski; 07-07-2012 at 06:46 PM.

  18. #18
    T.W.O.
    Reputation: mimi1885's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    8,011
    Quote Originally Posted by dwinski View Post
    Just want to inform you Bro. that test riding is not always possible here in the Philippines. It is only available in some of the popular brands like Giant, Trek and Specialized. In some stores, I can only fit/ride and they don't allow test riding in the road. Ibis Mojo and Santa Cruz are often sold as frames only and as a buyer you should build your own with your own parts. I was informed that the Santa Cruz distributor/dealer has ordered some built bikes but the reps can't assemble them for me to fit because they are pre-ordered by the buyers that purchased/advanced ordered them. Crazy but I am trying to negotiate.

    I also dearly want the looks and geometry of the Mojo 140 HD in fact, had researched on installing the Limbo chips to lower it to 140 mm and partnering it with Talas 32 140mm/110mm mostly on the 110mm on flat roads and trails combined. Then all of the sudden, the Ibis reps commented they would hold back selling the "small" ibis mojo HD to me because according to them, it is "quite" big for me, they don't want to take the blame and advised me to look for extra small or size 14,5" or 13" size frames.

    Maybe you could give me the specs of your Ibis Mojo HD so I can compare to what I want to build.
    Ok "Bro" The spec on my HD ain't going to do Shite for you because I'm running it 650b with big a$$ Magura fork. it would be taller for your spec anyways. Listen many just told you that at your height or shorter they have ridden a small just fine, and I just told you my friend 4'9" Asian chick could ride it with no problem, the only way for you to be absolutely certain is to go somewhere or pay someone to try it out.

    I have both size of the Mojo small and med as well as small HD, I've ridden a large and clearance is not an issue.

    I don't know why the Ibis rep won't sell you the bike but judging from your relentless pursuit to find the bike clear your crotch they just simply feel it's better to just say no now or deal with your wrath later

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    137
    Quote Originally Posted by dwinski View Post

    Jay Uno and dhelm72 thanks for the advise, your inputs are very well noted.

    Thanks again.
    I'm also from the Philippines. Born there but I live in the States. I've visited plenty of times to get an understanding of how hard it would be to go test ride bikes.

    But honestly... Just find the ones with the lowest top tube height to clear your inseam and just learn how to live with it. I started learning riding on a friends large frame bike and well that was just awkward but doable.

    Buy a small 15" framed bike and you'll be fine. If anything you might need a different stem or you might not. Inseam is not as big as a problem as most people this it is.

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    2

    I am 5'6" have a 28" inseam on my pants and found a KHS 204

    I am 5'6" have a 28" inseam on my pants and found a KHS 204 XC small frame to fit well,
    as this is my first post it wont let me include a link so you will have to search for KHS yourself.

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation: TuCsaT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    79
    The Santa Cruz Superlight 29er has the lowest standover of any 29er. take a look at that.
    If only Sikorsky made bikes...

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    85
    5'8", 30inch inseam, 26 inch wheels, 15" non-crotch friendly frame.

    I can saddle the frame in my barefeet; When I bought my bike, I was wearing my Vibrams that day. I would be able to pass for a 17" frame if I had wore my skater shoes though I think.

    I'm happy with the geometry for my body, although I think I lost a bit of travel on my rear shock for using a small frame, I believe the medium frame allows for 1/2" more travel on the shock.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    189
    I'm 5'3" with very short limbs, and I had the same issue when looking for a new bike. I ended up getting a small Giant Trance X since it has a good amount of suspension travel and a relatively low stand-over height (among other reasons). I'm not quite tall enough to clear the top tube when standing on both feet, but for most situations it's not a problem. The only time it is a problem is when I'm on some extremely steep terrain and come to a stop. Since the front wheel is so high up from the steep terrain, it's sometimes impossible to put a foot down without sitting on the top tube.

    The only times I've smashed myself on the top tube are when I'm trying to roll over a log and the bike suddenly stalls. The bike stops moving but my body continues moving forward... Hurts like hell but doesn't happen very often.

    Another thing to note - if you get a small or XS bike, make sure that when you're pedalling and steering the front wheel, that your foot doesn't hit the front wheel. That can be a problem for the smaller frames.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    32
    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    Ok "Bro" The spec on my HD ain't going to do Shite for you because I'm running it 650b with big a$$ Magura fork. it would be taller for your spec anyways. Listen many just told you that at your height or shorter they have ridden a small just fine, and I just told you my friend 4'9" Asian chick could ride it with no problem, the only way for you to be absolutely certain is to go somewhere or pay someone to try it out.

    I have both size of the Mojo small and med as well as small HD, I've ridden a large and clearance is not an issue.

    I don't know why the Ibis rep won't sell you the bike but judging from your relentless pursuit to find the bike clear your crotch they just simply feel it's better to just say no now or deal with your wrath later
    My prime interest Bro is to know the resulting or actual standover height of a small size Ibis Mojo 140mm HD, the one with limbo chips on it (27.5, 28.5 or 29.5 inches). Specifically, I want to have an idea if my legs can go over it considering different sizes of fork and with or without shoes. if it would not be more that 30 inches, At least I think I would have enough confidence that it would not be unsafe for me.

    Anybody with small size Ibis Mojo 140mm HD, if it wouldn't be too much to ask, please let me know your actual standover height and size of fork used. Thanks!

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    648
    For what it's worth, I'm 5'6 and I ride a medium santa cruz superlight 26". I did put on a short stem so it would fit better, so a small would prob be fine for you. Also, as reference check out the Santa Cruz Superlight 29er has a top tube that is lower than the tops of the wheels.



    However, like most bikes the top tube angles upward so if you fell forward you'd rack yourself anyhow.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •