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  1. #1
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    Buying new MTB - need help!!!!

    I've been riding for over 5 years now and am ready to buy a better mountain bike. I'm 5'-3" and currently ride a men's 15.5" frame Trek 6500 26" wheel. I do a variety of riding but mainly ride trails with lots of hills up and down (no big mountains in my area) and some technical stuff, no big drops. I'm looking for a kick a** hardtail with good components with a budget around $2000.

    I need input on several things:

    - 29er, 650b, or 26? - Is a 29er too big for me? 650b's seem to be a great middle ground but don't seem to be catching on much?

    - Men's frames that typically fit women? - in doing some research it seems that women's bikes tend to be more expensive than men's for the same quality of bike. I'd prefer to get a men's bike and would need a small or XS frame size. Any specific companies have men's bikes that tend to fit women's geometry?

    - General recommendations for specific bikes or bike companies that I should take a look at?

    Any and all advice is much appreciated! Thanks everyone!

  2. #2
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    Don't get stuck on if a bike is a men's or woman's ,get the one that fits. Wheel size is a personal choice ,borrow,rent ,demo, or test ride as many bikes as you can.There are people your size riding 29er's. The market for 650's is growing now ,at least around here.

  3. #3
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    I know fit is most important, but the bike shops around me don't have many options, especially in my size. Usually they'll have one beginner level women's frame, or a bunch of men's medium sized frames.

    I need to do some traveling to other bike shops for test rides so just looking to narrow down some of my choices a bit.

  4. #4
    XC-Chick
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    Bike shops don't tend to stock smaller bikes due to low demand, and being 'stuck' with it at the end of the season - which frankly...sucks for anyone who is looking for one. I recommend considering brands you like - the bigger the brand the more likely you'll find something in your budget range - example, Giant, Specialized, Cannondale, etc.

    As for wheel size, here is how I've looked at it - 26" wheels come on price point bikes, AND long travel bikes these days. 29" and 27.5 a.k.a. 650b, come on XC and hardtails. I would nix 26" unless you are looking for price point, or find something amazing (i.e. good deal, and you love it). There are a lot of people who are shorter in stature that do ride 29", but I personally think that is because of what has been available - since 650b is being more mass produced now (Giant), you are more apt to find that size more easily.

    I would push you toward 650b...check this one out, and know 'there is hope' for the price point, and wheel size...now you have to find frame size that will work.
    XtC 27.5 2 (2014) - Bikes | Giant Bicycles | United States

    You can upgrade parts later...go for the best frame/fit/wheel size you can find - then build up later with upgrades if you need.

    This one, is a bit out of price range - but work with the right dealer and you can probably get this close to working - the size will be right, wheel size is good, and it is CARBON.
    Obsess Advanced 2 (2014) - Bikes | Giant Bicycles | United States

    You won't have to upgrade anytime soon with that one....

    Lastly...ask your dealers when the next 'demo days' are, come spring...your going to see more around...
    Good luck on your search!! Buying a new bike is so much fun!!

  5. #5
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    I moved from a hard tail to a small Yeti 575-amazing and changes your downhill biking big time-it rolls smoothly anf feels sturdy and strong

    Demo'd a Santa cruz Blur LT carbon and wow is all i can say but has wow price too

    I was lucky enough to demo a few bikes and then bought an ex demo Yeti-think mens bikes need a ride to see how you feel-I am 5ft 4

  6. #6
    Rock n' Roller
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    I love 26ers. To be honest, the extra benefits that you gain from a larger wheel can be earned with skill and practice. Anyone who says the 26er is dead needs to ride the Ibis Mojo HD or the Evil uprising or the Yeti sb66c. Just my thoughts. That being said, to each their own. It's amazing that there are more choices out there and more options to find the perfect bike for you. As a small gal (around 5 feet) I prefer 26ers. Also, I love enduro style riding - techy, fun, jumping beans which is the 26ers playground. I think that the 650b and 29ers aren't as fast or playful with my geometry.

    The point? You won't know what you like until you ride it. After riding for a few years, you get an idea of what you like/love in a bike. Get a bike that you love, that fits and that you adore. Test them all out. Ride as many as you can. Don't get caught up on gender or wheel size. Get a bike that makes you smile and scream with glee with every turn. Don't fall into the marketing trap. Get a bike that will make you a better rider, that you will grow into, and that you will learn to love for years to come. For me, that bike was a Ibis Mojo HD (a 26er with 160mm travel in the front and rear). Get the bike that you love and it will love you for years to come.

  7. #7
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    I like 29ers for hardtails, they seem to just roll over everything. I'm taller than you though ~5'8" so I'm not sure if you'd feel like it's just too big. I would then go for the 27.5". Look at local bike shops and at ads for second hand bikes where you might find some smaller sizes. Norco makes carbon hard tails for under $2000 if there are any norco dealers in your area, I would look into that.

  8. #8
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    I just got a rumor comp 29" after riding a hard tail 26.5"... love it, never Looking back! I like the attention to the ladies in this bike, in a male dominated sport.

  9. #9
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    I really wouldn't think too much of women specific designs..."shrink n pink" of standard models. They typically have shorter top tubes over standard size models. There are manufacturers that make XS size frames...like Niner. At 5'3"... That is the size you would ride.

    Once you find the right size frame...then look into dialing in the fit. That would be: bar (width), stem (length), post (offset or zero offset), and saddle.

    One thing you do need to consider is the bar height on a 29er. Due to the size of the wheels...the front end can only be so low on a really small frame. I've seen way to many people including shorter men...with their bar sky high compared to the saddle. With the bar that high...it can make the front end real floaty and unable to dig the front wheel in when going through turns.

    Test ride lots...and happy hunting!
    Cervelo S2
    Specialized Carve Pro
    Pivot Mach 5

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