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.
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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.
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  1. #1
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    What diameter wheels for 5'3", 110# female?

    I recently started cycling again after many years of not having done so to provide necessary PT.

    My wife has become interested in joining me, and I want to get her a modern bike.

    She is 5'3", 110#, and 50 years of age. Frame sizing definitely needs to be evaluated, but my first question regards appropriate wheel diameter for her?

    I can't really appreciate her geometry/strength directly since I am 6'2" and 220#. My new bike is a 29er, and it is not as "agile" as my older 26 HT, and most certainly not in the same ballpark as the BMXers that I rode in the late 70's / early 80's.

    One other thing...she wants FullS, mostly for comfort rather than necessity like some of y'all younger folks that ride really hard.

    Thank you for your informed input.

  2. #2
    since 4/10/2009
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    my wife is similar size (an inch taller with a few more pounds) and she hasn't found a 29er she's comfortable on. For her, handling is a pretty secondary issue and center of gravity is huge. For her, on 29ers, she feels far too high and unstable.

    She likes small wheels and was shopping last year, when there weren't quite as many 650b bikes available (Liv/Giant and a few other scattered ones). She chose a 26" used Santa Cruz Blur XC and dearly loves that bike.

    I know a woman who is FAR shorter than your wife who loves her new 29er hardtail with the RS1 inverted fork. I'm not even sure she's 5' tall, but she does 24hr solo racing, and was at Worlds this year in Scotland. She's found a way to be comfortable on a 29er at her size, and it involved what most would consider to be a bizarre fit. But she had her fitting done by a local pro, and when you see her RIDE the bike, the position looks right for her. It just required a steep angled stem flipped over to get the handlebars (and her center of gravity) down.

    Your wife will need to ride some bikes and decide for herself what it is that she wants/likes.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Your wife will need to ride some bikes and decide for herself what it is that she wants/likes.
    She has been using my "vintage" Trek 950 HT w/RS Judy as a stopgap measure, but it's 19" size is too big for her, and she is understandably concerned with the standover height.

    I plan to lower the seat as much as possible on my new bike for her to try out FullS, but it is a size XL Spec Stumpy FSR, so it will also be too big for her.

    I just bought an SE OM Flyer this morning because I miss my old school Redline Proline BMXer so much. She can try that as well for size even though it is full rigid. The 180mm cranks will no doubt stretch out her legs, which is also a data point for her to understand.

    Your input is good, and my expectation is that she will gravitate towards the smaller diameter wheels after not too long on my 29er. I will make sure that she tries an appropriately-sized-for-her 29er as well though, so as to isolate variables.

  4. #4
    since 4/10/2009
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    no, dude. wrong. there is only one size difference between my bike and my wife's, but she NEVER tried mine out because it just wouldn't fit. if the bike doesn't fit, the data point is useless.

    take her to different shops or demo events and get her to try bikes HER SIZE so she can get data points. there is absolutely no reason for her to try anything with 180mm cranks. it will do no good.

  5. #5
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    Wink

    Just peeked over at sebikes.com at those Flyers. I didn't realize those were still in production. This 26" looks sweet!



    Now back to our regularly scheduled thread...
    Greg

    2014 Haro FLC 29 Comp
    2009 Red Line MX-24
    1980 Red Line Pro-Line old-school cool

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 80Pro-Line View Post
    Just peeked over at sebikes.com at those Flyers. I didn't realize those were still in production. This 26" looks sweet!



    Now back to our regularly scheduled thread...
    That is the one that I bought. It won't ever be my '79 vintage 5" head tube Proline, but those seem hard to find these days.

    Natehawk, I agree completely. I am working with that which is available. She definitely needs to go actually ride some her size, but there don't seem to be all that many tiny FS bikes around in stock.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by murderman View Post
    That is the one that I bought. It won't ever be my '79 vintage 5" head tube Proline, but those seem hard to find these days.
    I'm sure glad to have held onto mine all this time. Enjoy the SE!
    Greg

    2014 Haro FLC 29 Comp
    2009 Red Line MX-24
    1980 Red Line Pro-Line old-school cool

  8. #8
    Old Fart Swamper
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    For her, on 29ers, she feels far too high and unstable.

    That describes how I felt on my correct for me sized 29er HT,,,

    ,,, I'm 6 ft tall and long legged.

    Am so much happier on my,
    faster,
    faster turning,
    flickable,
    better climbing,
    More stable In every condition I ride in way WAY more fun 650b :P

    I don't need wider bars like I did on my 29er to hustle those bigger
    heavier less ridged wagon wheels around tight spots and corners.

    Yeah I'm sure stronger more skilled riders can do alot better than I could on the 29er's.
    I just didn't have the engines but I will admit spending two summers on the 29er made me alot stonger and makes my 27.5 feel like a
    10 pound lighter model,, both weighed 30 pounds..
    Scott Spark 760
    I no longer clip In,
    got a better seat, and a dropper post.
    Other than It's Bone stock.
    It Just works :P

  9. #9
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    My wife is beginner & the same height/weight/age. She wanted a FS also. It took me a few months of checking CL to finally find her something that fit, a Stumpy Elite WSD 26"--women speciific med. size. It's an older 2004 but has a nice fork & shock, more than she will ever need. There is no way i would have put her on a niner, possibly a small 650b,but those are hard to come by used. She loves it by the way.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 80Pro-Line View Post
    I'm sure glad to have held onto mine all this time. Enjoy the SE!
    I gave my tricked out RLPL away for free with both sets of Skyway Tuffwheels and Arayas back in '89 to a friend who really needed it at that time for basic survival. I don't regret that decision in any way, but I sure do miss that bike now. If you ever see a '79-80 frame and fork for sale, please send me a message.

    Thanks to the rest of all y'all for input. I will try to put my wife on as many bikes as possible to help her understand the differences.

  11. #11
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    What diameter wheels for 5'3", 110# female?

    I had a similar dilemma with a similar sized wife. She was not a skilled rider and wanted FS. She ended up loving Turner plushness, and went from a Flux to a 5.Spot. She's not a super strong masher, so she appreciates the quick spin-up of a light wheel. I'm tempted to get some wider rims for her, but it's insane how fast her xc carbon wheels accelerate with just a push.

    She started with a ti hard tail before the Flux. We still have these older frames, and nearly every part transfers between all three with the same 26" wheelset and tires to suit.

    I think sticking to the smaller wheel size has made her feel a little more confident with less bike to manage. She demoed a Mach 6 and liked it but was not star struck.

    FWIW. BTW, congrats on getting your lady out on the trail with you. That's great stuff.

  12. #12
    Jon
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    Not the same bike anymore though, get a Standard or S&M you can get a Derailour hanger installed on the Standard and run a 24" frame in a 125r frame. Tell Jess Jon sent you ;-)
    Man I hope someone brought TP.

  13. #13
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    I would reccomend your wife to ride a 27.5" MTB, specifically if you are looking at FS bikes, look at the Trek Lush, do some reading and video watching about it. It's what my 5'4" 120# wife will be riding this spring. Perfect for smaller women who want to trail ride.

  14. #14
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    she's starting at 50? That's awesome. I started when I was 51 (3-1/2 years ago) and I've been loving it ever since. The first time I rode a trail I was hooked.

    A friend of mine got his wife who is of similar stature a Trek Lush fs bike (26") and she loves it.

  15. #15
    Hi There!
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    It's not about wheel size, let her try as many different bikes of all wheel sizes until she finds the one that fits her and she feels most comfortable on.
    NTFTC

  16. #16
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    My wife is 5'3 and rides a 26" FS (Knolly endorphin, small). My Mom 5'5" (61) rides a 26" FS Trek Remedy. I would suggest the same.

  17. #17
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    IMHO someone who is 5'3 110, a 29er is too big. 26 would be my first choice for her. A 27.5 should work as well as long as the frame is a small/ medium. A good bike shop will allow her test ride many different bikes to have her make the best decision.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    no, dude. wrong. there is only one size difference between my bike and my wife's, but she NEVER tried mine out because it just wouldn't fit. if the bike doesn't fit, the data point is useless.

    take her to different shops or demo events and get her to try bikes HER SIZE so she can get data points. there is absolutely no reason for her to try anything with 180mm cranks. it will do no good.
    He's going to agree with you, but, unfortunately not follow your advise.
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  19. #19
    Jon
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    The thing about wheel size VS frame size I have found is as stand over decreases and wheel size increases geometry is majorly affected. Proportionately wheel size directly affects handling, as such controll is also a concern.
    Man I hope someone brought TP.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Cycle Shawn View Post
    He's going to agree with you, but, unfortunately not follow your advise.
    Come on now Shawn, is that really a fair statement to make? It is a fool who solicits advice [grammatically correct spelling, BTW] but who does not at least consider same even if he doesn't necessarily agree.

    We live near a major metro population center, and I am not aware of any LBS that have a plethora of tiny sized $3k FS bikes in stock for her to go ride firsthand.

    I am trying to do research among knowledgeable folks so as to hone in on potential better or best options for her to consider. If that doesn't sit well with you, then please enjoy a happy life otherwise.

    Take care, John

  21. #21
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    There's got to be someone who has some. You just may have to take a day and go for a drive. Check out the Juliana bikes from Santa Cruz. They are made for women.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Cycle Shawn View Post
    There's got to be someone who has some. You just may have to take a day and go for a drive. Check out the Juliana bikes from Santa Cruz. They are made for women.
    We live in TX, not CA. Please check out this other thread, since you seem to have good insight.

    men's versus women's geo

  23. #23
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    My vote is 650b/27.5 wheel size

    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Cycle Shawn View Post
    Check out the Juliana bikes from Santa Cruz. They are made for women.
    I built an Size XS, 2013 650b (conversion) Santa Cruz Juli 3.3 with a 120 fork for my wife who is 5'1" and petite and she loves it. I had a really hard time finding a bike frame small enough for my pipsqueak wife

    http://forums.mtbr.com/27-5-650b/201...on-911119.html

    That exact same bike (120 front, 100 rear) is now called the Juliana Origin:

    Juliana Bicycles Origin

    They have a 130/125 version of the same bike called the Juliana Juno

    Juliana Bicycles Juno

    Looks like Size Small of either bike would be perfect for your wife.

    Here's an action shot of the two 'women' in my wife... all smiles and waggy tales!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What diameter wheels for 5'3", 110# female?-img_2933.jpg  

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by 06HokieMTB View Post
    My vote is 650b/27.5 wheel size



    I built an Size XS, 2013 650b (conversion) Santa Cruz Juli 3.3 with a 120 fork for my wife who is 5'1" and petite and she loves it. I had a really hard time finding a bike frame small enough for my pipsqueak wife

    http://forums.mtbr.com/27-5-650b/201...on-911119.html

    That exact same bike (120 front, 100 rear) is now called the Juliana Origin:

    Juliana Bicycles Origin

    They have a 130/125 version of the same bike called the Juliana Juno

    Juliana Bicycles Juno

    Looks like Size Small of either bike would be perfect for your wife.

    Here's an action shot of the two 'women' in my wife... all smiles and waggy tales!
    Most definitely some "nice tails" in that pic; good for all y'all!

    Thank you for the Juliana links. I am a newb, so would you please explain the relationship between Julianna and Santa Cruz?

  25. #25
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    Thru 2013, Santa Cruz made the small and XS sizes of the Superlight and called it the Juli, which is what I built for my wife.

    For 2014, SC expanded their line of womens bikes and now calls the women's brand "Juliana". They now make several womens bikes under the Juliana brand.

    For all intents and purposes, Julianas are smaller versions of existing Santa Cruz bikes
    '14 Bronson C
    '12 Tallboy A (for sale)
    '13 DB Mason 29er/650b+
    '13 SC Juliana 650b'd (wife's)

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