29-er for 5'2" Woman?

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  • 11-24-2012
    rogerfromco
    29-er for 5'2" Woman?
    My wife is recovering from a shoulder injury from a crash earlier this year, but since I just bought a 29er and her bike has never really wow-ed her (SC Blur XC), we are starting to research bikes for her.

    One challenge we have with all gear for her is good quality gear in her size. She's 5' 2" and about 125 lbs.

    Our riding around here in CO is rocky and rooty, with long sustained climbs and downhills. I was wondering if there were ladies her size on here who can recommend a good FS Trail bike with 4+ inches of travel? Wondering if there are any 29-ers that would work or if not, maybe a 650b.

    These recommendations will help focus her reading while she's laid up.

    Thanks in advance. :thumbsup:
  • 11-24-2012
    Jwind
    I live in Moab. My better 1/2 is 5'4" but likes a proportionally small TT. Some good options are the Trek Superfly (and the new ladies 29er) Transition bandit/covert 29ers as well as the Trance X 29er.
  • 11-24-2012
    Niner Bikes
    As a woman in the industry, offering little bikes is a bit of a personal mission for me so I am stoked that we now make a few of our models in XS. You will find that the standover rivals a lot of 26" bikes.

    Jet 9 Carbon
    Jet 9 RDO

    Additionally, we offer some fit tips for smaller riders here, make sure to look at the Girl Bike Love article for specific suggestions about moving from 26 to 29. These suggestions apply to anyone's 29er, not just ours.

    Many riders try to use the same length stem on their 29 as they did on their 26. We have found that going wider in the bar, shorter in the stem and a bit longer in the TT offers a better overall big wheel ride experience - think about something as small as a 50mm for a rider who is 5'2". Above all, you have to ride the bikes, get to a shop to try anything you are interested in and make sure you have her do it with her favorite saddle and a good pair of cycling shorts so that her reach isn't messed up with a bad seat-rider interface.

    There are other great options out there, too. Best of luck!

    Cheers,
    Carla
  • 11-24-2012
    thekarens
    Seems like inseam would be more important than height. My partner and I have the same inseam, 29, but I'm 5'3 and she's 5'5. All her height is in her torso. We ride the same size bike.
  • 11-24-2012
    mimi1885
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rogerfromco View Post
    My wife is recovering from a shoulder injury from a crash earlier this year, but since I just bought a 29er and her bike has never really wow-ed her (SC Blur XC), we are starting to research bikes for her.

    Thanks in advance. :thumbsup:

    What is the SC BXC issue, is it fit? or handling? If she wants the 29er, the tallboy, or the Rip9 would be fun, although she'd probably run into another set of problems. My wife went thru similar things in the end the longer travel trail bike with dropper post seems to be the fix:D
  • 11-24-2012
    Jwind
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Niner Bikes View Post
    As a woman in the industry, offering little bikes is a bit of a personal mission for me so I am stoked that we now make a few of our models in XS. You will find that the standover rivals a lot of 26" bikes.

    That's awesome. Hope you extend that to the NONcarbon siblings. The Rip9 'small' has an ETT of 23.2677. That's awfully close to many manufactures mediums.

    My fiance at 5'5" has ridden a 15.5 trek superfly (22.4 ETT) with a 60mm and a medium (no small) Tallboy LT (23.1mm) with a 45mm. She prefers a wider bar and a more upright postion and the LT is a stretch. At 5'2" I see problems.
  • 11-25-2012
    awatson
    As a small female rider who's 5'3" I can say that I love riding a 29er! Mines a 15.5" Trek Suplerfly 100 and I have no complaints about fit.
  • 11-25-2012
    shenny88
    My concern with smaller sized 29ers is handlebar height. Im 5'8" and normally ride medium/17-18" frames and even i have to slam and flip the stem to get the bar into an aggressive enough (not upright) position. They can only make head tubes so short.

    If anything, find a frame that utilizes an internal or semi integrated headset, and probably an 80mm fork for her. Just my 2 cents.
  • 11-25-2012
    Jwind
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by shenny88 View Post
    My concern with smaller sized 29ers is handlebar height. Im 5'8" and normally ride medium/17-18" frames and even i have to slam and flip the stem to get the bar into an aggressive enough (not upright) position. They can only make head tubes so short.
    .

    Some of us see this as an advantage. Not all of us prefer skin suites and pace lines.

    The problem you outline is not a problem on her bike with a 22.4 in top tube; Unless, of course, you do prefer skin suites and pace lines ;)
  • 11-25-2012
    djork
    Not a big guy here. I'm 5'3" with shoes and ride a small Niner Air 9. I think it is a nice fit for me. I have a Thomson 50mm X4 stem with a Bontrager Big Sweep handlebar. It really doesn't feel or look big. If your wife is also considering a hardtail, then I suggest a look at the old Air 9. I assume the new Air 9 models (matte black with hydro-formed tubing *drooools*) also have the same geometry.

    Edit to add: My Niner is a rigid with a Pace carbon fork that does lower the SO height a bit.
  • 11-26-2012
    Jwind
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by djork View Post
    Not a big guy here. I'm 5'3" with shoes and ride a small Niner Air 9. I think it is a nice fit for me. I have a Thomson 50mm X4 stem with a Bontrager Big Sweep handlebar. It really doesn't feel or look big. If your wife is also considering a hardtail, then I suggest a look at the old Air 9. I assume the new Air 9 models (matte black with hydro-formed tubing *drooools*) also have the same geometry.

    Edit to add: My Niner is a rigid with a Pace carbon fork that does lower the SO height a bit.

    Hardtail is painful around here. That's a no go.
  • 11-26-2012
    rogerfromco
    Thanks for the replies so far. Keep them coming ladies (and gents based on their wives rides). These are going on her "research list" and then she can figure out what to demo.

    Sent from my Android - because Carrier Pigeons are slow!
  • 11-26-2012
    mimi1885
    Basically, to me and my wife the 29er is a double edge sword, it's nice to have easier time rolling over things and more stable overall. It does come at expense of sluggish handling and overall fit. Definitely more serious than the more playful 26er trail bike for an avg female riders.

    When we do the fireroad ride she likes the 29er HT but when we go to some buff-ish singletrack she complains about the bike being heavy, which I figure it out. I do feel similar but I just increase the effort in the corners and/or when lofting front wheel.
  • 11-27-2012
    cecald
    RogerfromCO - mind going into what your wife is looking for & what she doesn't really like about the Santa Cruz? Reason I ask about the SC is because my wife (5'2") and I are looking into putting together a small Blur LTc for her soon. She's not a fan of the XC geometry of her current bike, and we're thinking of trying to fit 650b wheels on there too.

    We'd love to get her to throw a leg over a 29er (Niner, Giant, whatever) - but that's just not a possibility for the next few months because of where we live. I believe there was another thread in the women's forum where maybe 2 people at the same 5'2" height found the Giant trance to be a good fit?
  • 11-27-2012
    petey15
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    Basically, to me and my wife the 29er is a double edge sword, it's nice to have easier time rolling over things and more stable overall. It does come at expense of sluggish handling and overall fit. Definitely more serious than the more playful 26er trail bike for an avg female riders.

    When we do the fireroad ride she likes the 29er HT but when we go to some buff-ish singletrack she complains about the bike being heavy, which I figure it out. I do feel similar but I just increase the effort in the corners and/or when lofting front wheel.

    I would recommend the Trance X 29er. I have tried other 29ers in the past and they just never felt "right" to me. I was in the market for a new bike and honestly, I hadn't really considered a 29er. But when I heard the demo truck was coming to town, I decided to give one a try. On paper, the geo #'s looked great. In fact, I could hardly believe they came in an xs and had massive amounts of standover. How was that possible? To top it off, the HT angle was on the "slacker" side and with the 5" of travel, it sounded too good to be true.

    All I can say is when I first got on the bike, it just felt "right". I took it out for a demo ride and I was amazed at how at home I felt on it. Everything I asked it to do, it did in spades. Climbing was great (and I'm NOT a climber), going through the tight and twisty stuff was not a problem (although I have trimmed the bars down a bit - they are pretty long) and descending was amazing. I'm 5'4" (with shoes) and ride the small.
  • 11-27-2012
    rogerfromco
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cecald View Post
    RogerfromCO - mind going into what your wife is looking for & what she doesn't really like about the Santa Cruz? Reason I ask about the SC is because my wife (5'2") and I are looking into putting together a small Blur LTc for her soon. She's not a fan of the XC geometry of her current bike, and we're thinking of trying to fit 650b wheels on there too.

    We'd love to get her to throw a leg over a 29er (Niner, Giant, whatever) - but that's just not a possibility for the next few months because of where we live. I believe there was another thread in the women's forum where maybe 2 people at the same 5'2" height found the Giant trance to be a good fit?

    One of the main things she doesn't like is the lack of travel when following me on the downhills. She sees me flying over stuff in front of her while she has to pick lines to avoid the big rocks so she doesn't get tossed around. She'd like more travel so she can plow through it.

    It was my idea to see if there is a 29-er that will work for someone her size. I keep seeing small women on 29-ers on the trails and think "maybe there is one that will fit her". I'm amazed at how much easier the big wheels roll over the obstacles and think that with more travel than her current 100mm and a 29" tire, that will smooth out her ride and give her more capability and confidence on the downhills.
  • 11-27-2012
    DeeEight
    Have you considered a 650B yet ?
  • 11-27-2012
    rogerfromco
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DeeEight View Post
    Have you considered a 650B yet ?

    Yes, we are open to the idea, but know nothing about them yet.
  • 11-27-2012
    pixy
    I am 5'3'' with 28" inseam. I started riding a hard tail 29er last year and love it. I have thought about getting a 29er FS as well, but sizing has been difficult because of my inseam. Indeed some companies are making XS and women's specific, but the cockpits are all way too short for me. This is good news, as most women should be able to fit a 29er now, maybe just not me yet. I have had my eyes on Niner and Pivot but I have not found a small to demo.

    In the mean time, I purchased a 650b front wheel and put it on my Titus Motolite which fits me perfect. I lowered the handlebar height a tad to accommodate the higher front wheel and it rides great as a all around trail bike!
  • 11-28-2012
    DeeEight
    Find a KHS or Jamis dealer near you, either should have a 650B on their showroom floor given the brand's have been pushing the format for three years each now. MTBR has a LARGE dedicated 650B forum also to ask questions in. ;)
  • 11-28-2012
    ATXZJ
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rogerfromco View Post
    My wife is recovering from a shoulder injury from a crash earlier this year, but since I just bought a 29er and her bike has never really wow-ed her (SC Blur XC), we are starting to research bikes for her.

    One challenge we have with all gear for her is good quality gear in her size. She's 5' 2" and about 125 lbs.

    Our riding around here in CO is rocky and rooty, with long sustained climbs and downhills. I was wondering if there were ladies her size on here who can recommend a good FS Trail bike with 4+ inches of travel? Wondering if there are any 29-ers that would work or if not, maybe a 650b.

    These recommendations will help focus her reading while she's laid up.

    Thanks in advance. :thumbsup:



    Have you considered a SC superlight 29er or are you done with santa cruz?
    Santa Cruz Bicycles SUPERLIGHT29

    I've seen a few women riding the superlight 29 and they seem to fit quite well. I ride a large SL29er and have taken it on some fairly burly trails here in new mexico with quite a few jumps and drops. It has performed and held up well considering my clyde riding style:D

    For comparison

    My wife is riding a SC Juliana size S with a TT length of 21.8 and a 75mm stem. She is about 5 4" and 116 LBS with a 32" inseam and fits fairly upright on the bike, so much that I had to drop the pressure in the fork to 65 LBS to get the proper sag/compression.
  • 11-28-2012
    laine
    I'm 5'1" with 28"-ish inseam and I have a hardtail 29er. It's a size small Cannondale Tango SL1 and I love it. The standover is probably a tiny bit higher than I would like (it's easy to stand over, but I have stopped short once or twice and banged my crotch into the bar - eek!), but other than that, it fits me pretty well.

    Geometry here:
    TANGO SL 1 - Tango 29er - Hardtail - Women's - Bikes - 2013

    I also test-rode the Specialized Jett size 15" and the Tango just felt like it fit my geometry a little better.

    -laine
  • 11-28-2012
    smithrider
    There is a new Trek Lush 29er coming out that looks promising. I am going to get my wife to throw a leg over one at a demo when they are out this summer.
  • 12-16-2012
    onefuzzy
    So glad I stumbled upon this thread. I 5'.2" with a 29" inseam and am looking for a 29er but in a hardtail. I am currently demoing the niner emd but would rather have the air or sir 9s but I can't find one to even swing my leg over to compare the models.

    Any thoughts on hardtails?
  • 12-16-2012
    ATXZJ
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by onefuzzy View Post
    Any thoughts on hardtails?

    maybe

    Santa Cruz Bicycles HIGHBALL
  • 12-17-2012
    ptbo_mac
    I apologize if its already been posted. I just scanned the thread before posting.
    Check out the Trek Cali line or the Lush 29. My girlfriend is 5ft maybe 5ft 1in on a good day. She tried both the Cali and Lush in there smallest size and loved them both. Of course she loved the lush but it was out of our price range.
    I have bought her a Cali S for Christmas. I am taking a break right now from building it up. I am swapping out a few parts with some XT bits I had lying around.
    The cali had more standover then the 26in skye plus the 29in wheels will help her roll over stuff
  • 12-17-2012
    csledd281
    I am 5'2" and have a 30 inseam and ride a Niner Jet9 in the small size. Absolutely love 29er and will never go back now. Stand over height is great, only thing I might need to do is shorten the stem length.
  • 12-17-2012
    rangeriderdave
    Check out the Pivot 5.7 a friend rides one she about 5'2.
  • 01-03-2013
    shell1967
    Add the Specialized Fate to your list...
    Its a weapon :-)
  • 01-03-2013
    rogerfromco
    Thanks everyone. She has at least 4 more months of PT before she's test riding anything so we'll be open to suggestions for quite a bit longer!

    Sent from my Android - because Carrier Pigeons are slow!
  • 01-05-2013
    ksovich
    I started riding again last year and I am 5ft. I have the Specialized Jett and love it.
  • 01-07-2013
    LB412
    Wife's new Salsa Horsethief arrives tomorrow. She is 5'3"... Ill let you know how it goes.
  • 01-08-2013
    siim_s
    My GF is 160 cm and rides Niner EMD in XS. Really loves it and as the rims are really light Crests, she feels it's not sluggish at all. Also, one of her friends is riding Specialized Fate. She is also about 160-162 cm, but her Fate is 17" frame. Anyway, until you've got lightweight wheels, there's no reason why one should not consider 29er format.
  • 01-08-2013
    rogerfromco
    Thanks everyone. Her shoulder is progressing and she ran for the first time yesterday and signed up for a 1/2 marathon in June. It will still be at least 3 months before she's back out on a bike, but I'm trying to give her things to look forward to. Being so athletic, she's a bit frustrated with all these restrictions right now.

    So far, the list of FS 29ers for a 5' 2" woman listed here includes:

    Giant Trance X 29er
    Niner JET9
    Niner JET9 Carbon
    Niner JET9 RDO
    Salsa Horsethief
    Santa Cruz Superlight 29er
    Transition Bandit
    Transition Covert
    Trek Superfly 100
    Trek Lush 29

    Others were hardtails or 26-ers from what I saw. If I missed one, let me know.
  • 01-08-2013
    LB412
    Santa Cruz Tallboy and Tallboy LT
  • 01-08-2013
    rogerfromco
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by LB412 View Post
    Santa Cruz Tallboy and Tallboy LT

    On the SC website, the smallest framesize I saw under their "sizing" section for both bikes was a Medium which only went down to a 5' 5" rider size. She's 5' 2". Do they make them in smaller sizes but just not list them on the site? :confused:
  • 01-08-2013
    LB412
    You are correct... I mixed up my forums.
  • 01-08-2013
    LB412
    Size S Horsethief is to big for my 5'4" wife. She can pedal it but the stand over is to high. Shipping it back this weekend.
  • 01-08-2013
    LB412
    Add Giant Anthem 29 W to your list
  • 01-08-2013
    cecald
    Taking my 5'2" wife to demo a small Banshee Rune this coming weekend - I'll post up how it fits. Not expecting a miracle, but trying to demo whatever is available to us in the immediate area. I'd love to get her on top of an XS jet 9 rdo as well as some of the above listed bikes.
  • 01-08-2013
    rogerfromco
    Did a little more research on the manufactures websites and updated the list with whatever info I could find on their sizing recommendations and/or standover height.

    Giant Trance X 29er XS (Standover 25.2)
    Giant Anthem 29 W XS (Standover 27.5)
    Niner JET9 Carbon XS (50 55 / Standover 26.5.-26.7)
    Niner JET9 RDO XS (50 55 / Standover 26.5.-26.7)
    Santa Cruz Superlight 29er Sm (50 55 / Standover 27.2)
    Transition Bandit Sm (50 56)
    Transition Covert Sm (50 56)
    Trek Superfly 100 - 15.5 frame (Standover 30.7)
    Trek Lush 29 14 (Standover 28.3)
  • 01-11-2013
    LB412
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rogerfromco View Post
    Did a little more research on the manufactures websites and updated the list with whatever info I could find on their sizing recommendations and/or standover height.

    Giant Trance X 29er XS (Standover 25.2)
    Giant Anthem 29 W XS (Standover 27.5)
    Niner JET9 Carbon XS (50 55 / Standover 26.5.-26.7)
    Niner JET9 RDO XS (50 55 / Standover 26.5.-26.7)
    Santa Cruz Superlight 29er Sm (50 55 / Standover 27.2)
    Transition Bandit Sm (50 56)
    Transition Covert Sm (50 56)
    Trek Superfly 100 - 15.5 frame (Standover 30.7)
    Trek Lush 29 14 (Standover 28.3)

    Just checked out the specialized Camber. Size S looks like it will work. Taking the wife to try it out tomorrow.
  • 01-11-2013
    Jwind
    And the trek has a 28.5 stand over...

    Trek Bicycle
  • 01-12-2013
    LB412
    Surprise, surprise...she rode a bunch of bikes today. She ended up loving a medium Tallboy. We changed the 80mm stem to 60mm and it fit perfectly.
  • 01-12-2013
    Jwind
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by LB412 View Post
    Surprise, surprise...she rode a bunch of bikes today. She ended up loving a medium Tallboy. We changed the 80mm stem to 60mm and it fit perfectly.

    Biggest problem with the talboy and TBLT is the seat tube is too long to accommodate most dropper posts :/
  • 01-12-2013
    mimi1885
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by LB412 View Post
    Surprise, surprise...she rode a bunch of bikes today. She ended up loving a medium Tallboy. We changed the 80mm stem to 60mm and it fit perfectly.

    Nice, on a med no less.


    Sent from my iPhone 4s using Tapatalk
  • 01-12-2013
    ATXZJ
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by LB412 View Post
    Surprise, surprise...she rode a bunch of bikes today. She ended up loving a medium Tallboy. We changed the 80mm stem to 60mm and it fit perfectly.

    Nicely done...cant go wrong with a tallboy:thumbsup:
  • 01-12-2013
    LB412
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Jwind View Post
    Biggest problem with the talboy and TBLT is the seat tube is too long to accommodate most dropper posts :/

    She will be a true XC girl. No need for a dropper post. That said I hav several friends with the KS and Kronolog on this bike... It fits well.
  • 01-13-2013
    petey15
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by LB412 View Post
    Surprise, surprise...she rode a bunch of bikes today. She ended up loving a medium Tallboy. We changed the 80mm stem to 60mm and it fit perfectly.

    Congratulations! Having a bike that fits and that she's happy with are the best ways to get her out on the trails and loving this sport! :thumbsup:
  • 01-13-2013
    LB412
    I am adding a Kronlog to my TB LTc next week. Shop said no problem.