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  1. #1
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    I want to buy my wife a bling 29er!

    So my wife currently rides a Pivot Mach 5 that she doesn't enjoy riding so much. She is 5' 5" tall and a 31" inseam and super long arms, short torso. I have ridden 29er's 6' 2" for 10 years and I am trying to talk her into looking at a 29er. She seems to think she is too small; however the bikes I'm looking at Niner Jet 9 RDO and Scott Scale Carbon come in small and the Niner in extra small. Her biggest complaint with the Pivot is the 13.75" BB height and getting stuck and hav eto bail and getting back onto the bike again. So with all that said ladies chim in here and help me buy my wife a new bike! Thanks ahead of time!

  2. #2
    Dudette
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    What is it about the Mach 5 she doesn't enjoy? What size is it? You mentioned the BB height on her current bike is causing her to get hung up? In what way? Is the stand over too high and preventing her from easily getting back on the bike, especially on uneven ground? Does she even enjoy mountain biking or expressed an interest in 29ers, or do you think it will make her ride more enjoyable or easier?

    Before buying, she should try to demo as many as possible. For some women, women's-specific bikes seem to fit better. Others, like me, are happier on unisex versions. It's all about fit and how she feels on the bike. Most manufacturers have calendars with bike demo dates on their web pages, including Niner. More manufacturers are addressing the needs of smaller riders including Trek, Giant and Niner. A few of us on this board have purchased the Giant Trance X 29er and are extremely happy with the fit and ride. The BB height on this model is 13.25", so depending, there is the possibility for more pedal strikes.

    What type of terrain will you be riding? Are you looking for full-suspension or hard tail? There are a lot of things to consider before any of us can make some helpful suggestions, including what kind of budget are you working with?

  3. #3
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    So the Mach 5 with the 13.75" BB height makes it difficult in uphill situations to get started again with the saddle in the proper position for pedal axle to knee ratio. It is a small mens and she was professionally fit on this bike so sizing is not the issue at all. She has ridden and raced mountain bikes for 26 years so yes she does enjoy mountain biking. She was a Arizona state mountain bike champion back in the day when there was no suspension, so her level of experience is pretty vast, especially on HT's as this was her first FS. We thought that this would be a good jump into FS and would have plenty of travel and have a good confidence level. Her and my preference tends to be more XC and not the typical free-ride style that most seem to be after. I have ridden 29ers for the last 10 years and currently have a 4" travel XC bike as well as a carbon HT. My thoughts are for the style of riding that we prefer that a 29er would be perfect. She is not so sure yet and hasn't been able to demo one at this time. I truly see right now it makes no sence in buying a 26" bike unless the fit comes into play. Women specific bikes do not work well for her as she has mostly ridden unisex bikes her whole cycling career. I have seen some people that have 29er's that really have them set up wrong or they truly need to be on a 26" bike. Handlebars 2-3" or more above the saddle height is not a good fit and is truly a compromise. I have been looking at Niner Air 9 RDO and Jet 9 RDO, Scott Spark 29er and Scale 29er as well as the Specialized Fate so budget is not an issue and we are exploring both HT and FS as noted here.
    So that should be enough information as I was really just looking for some input from women around her size that were riding 29er's. Perhaps a few photos of your bikes and set up would help. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Dudette
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    There are a few threads on this forum about women and 29ers, along with one specifically about the Giant Trance X 29er. It's unisex...I have tried/demo'd WSD bikes before and felt too cramped in the cockpit. As I have mine set up (size small) all spacers below the stem and have the stem flipped. My saddle is even with the bars. Low stand over height makes it easier to get back on and started on hills.

  5. #5
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    Have her try a medium Santa Cruz Tallboy for its low bottom bracket. I've rented/demo'ed the Tallboy (in both carbon & aluminum) twice and I liked it. Even so, when I tried the Trance X 29'er 0 I liked it more. So much so that I bought one. I can't quote numbers, but the TX 29 has a comfortably low bb and the standover is awesome. I am 5' 7" and the small fits me well. If I were an inch taller I might have gone medium. I've swapped out the factory bars and heavy seatpost for Easton carbon.

    Have you checked out the Niner Jet 9 RDO?

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the tip, will look at the Tallboy. All of you seem to like the Trance X 29er by Giant. What about the 4" travel Anthem? Yes Niner Jet 9 RDO is on the list as well.

  7. #7
    see me rollin, they hatin
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    i also have the trance which i enjoy. i'm a similar proportion to your wife. i'm only 5'3, but all of my height is in my legs. that means that i often have to jack up the saddle a bit, but then i felt like my bars were too low, and i felt tippy while descending. it was always a struggle. being so short, i didnt think a 29er would ever work, but the Trance did. My bars and saddle are also about even with eachother. the BB is low....low enough that i've had a tad more strikes, but generally i feel stable mounting and dismounting. Sometimes there is an annoying compromise between the most efficient saddle height (leg extension) and your comfortable center of gravity. i find that i COULD scoot my saddle up a tad higher, but then, like your wife, i have trouble bailing and getting back on...i also feel less safe.
    fap

  8. #8
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    petey15 So my wife wants real life transition story from the 26er life to now the 29er. I have explained the fit is taken care of, as the matter of fact some of the 29ers have a lower SO than her current bike so I think that detail is out of the way now. She wants to know what were your fears, what to you dislike, what can you do better and what is not as good as a 26er. Can you give me a quick overview I can share with her? She has heard me and that I will never go back but she wants to hear it from someone her size! Thanks for any input. V

  9. #9
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    Ok, to be honest, I figured my next bike was going to be a Pivot Mach 5.7. I figured full suspension 29ers were just going to be too big, between stand over and ETT. Then I heard about the TX29er, and as luck would have it, our LBS hosted a demo.

    I figured I'd be an xs. They unfortunately had none of them in that size to demo, but they did have an xs in the Anthem 29er. I swung a leg over and instantly felt the cockpit was too small. It felt awkward to me. They rolled the small TX 29 over and like Nicole said above, it just felt "right" to me. The spacers had been removed from under the stem and the stem was also flipped. The seat was adjusted and it's almost dead even with the bars. I rode it in the parking lot and it seemed fine, but who can really tell there?

    I was able to test ride it on our local trail later. Right off I started on some rather tight and twisty single track that slowly climbs to the top of a ridge. There are lots of roots and I would struggle on my old bike. I rolled right over some areas that have always given me trouble and didn't feel like I had to manhandle or put a lot of effort in to finesse it through the trees. I was very surprised at how stable the bike was at slow speeds and how well it made its way through the tight, twisty stuff. I wasn't expecting that.

    I made the climb much faster. Rather than struggle over the roots, the 29" wheels just rolled on over. It's going to sound cliche, but really, it was almost effortless. Dismounting and climbing back on was much easier than my old bike. There is a lot of great things to say about the components on this bike, but I'll skip that because you wanted to know more about transitioning from 26" wheels to 29" wheels.

    After I got to the top of the first climb, I rode along a ridge on some fairly level terrain. Now, I've heard a lot about the bigger wheels taking a while to build up momentum and get going...but I honestly don't notice that on this bike. Then again, I wasn't concerned about being first out of the gate. BUT, I did notice how much they haul, and that bike hauled, when I hit the throttle a bit. And, I got my first taste of the term "flickable". This bike hopped over small stuff so easily and was just so maneuverable. Again, I was expecting to have to put more input into it, but I just didn't find this to be the case. I had been really excited to try the bike, and compare it to my dream bike (the Pivot).

    Next step was to take it downhill. In a word? Inspiring. Rocky rough stuff with roots thrown in for fun that would throw my wheels around on my old bike just didn't seem to matter. It just wants to go over everything. I flew down the hill with the biggest grin on my face and knew this bike was going to be a serious contender. As luck would have it, my LBS was able to get me a fantastic deal on the small XO, and I jumped at the offer, and never looked back or second-guessed myself.

    So, while my initial test ride was highly favorable, it's not the same as spending a lot more time in the saddle and really put it to the test (at least as much as I was able to, and I can say with confidence this bike can handle way more than I am currently comfortable dishing out). So, first group ride. Right away my friends noticed how much faster I climbed. I suck at climbing. This thing scampers. As we hummed along on the trail, we approached a log pile that has always been my nemesis. I decided to try it. I sailed right over it as if I had always done it. After that one, several more followed. I was elated. I had been so frustrated by my fear of going over stuff and having to constantly dismount. Besides the bigger wheels, I just felt so much more stable. And knowing I could dismount without coming down on the top tube, for me, was huge. I know a lot of people don't find standover as important, but the top tube on my old bike had been right "there" and I don't care if you are a woman, it still hurts!

    Cornering, that's something else I'm starting to enjoy! I just didn't feel stable before, and like I couldn't really lean into the turn. I'd fight it. Much to my delight, when I hit my first banked turn, I leaned the bike over and felt what it was like to corner. The more I tried, the more I found I could do.

    Descending. Between the bigger wheels and slacker head angle, pointing the bike downhill over rough and technical stuff is so much more fun. I'm able to move around in the cockpit easily. I feel like I'm riding in the bike, between the wheels, rather than perched on top of them. So, I don't feel too tall or top heavy.

    So for me, this transition to a full suspension 29er has been confidence-boosting. This is totally been the bike for me, and I don't find myself regretting the decision to go to a 29er instead of a 26" bike. But, it's totally about your perception. I'm sure your wife may have read how others tried them and wouldn't give up their 26ers for anything. The majority of the trails I ride range from technical xc/trail. For me, this bike is perfect for that. It doesn't tire me out as much on longer rides. I find myself deliberately choosing harder lines. I think if xc and technical trails are what you are riding, a 29er could definitely be in the cards for her.

    The bad? Honestly, for me, I can't come up with anything yet. I don't think I will. I sold my old bike and still have a hardtail 26er hanging out collecting dust. I have a singlespeed 29er I built up from the frame a couple of years ago, and that's used for pure xc stuff and winter riding. It's got a much more xc geometry and I wanted something with full suspension and with a more aggressive geometry. Between that and the larger wheels, this bike has been a game-changer for me. Would it be for your wife? Only she can decide that, but hopefully you'll get to try out some different bikes so she can see for herself. I didn't really feel like I had to transition; it felt natural and right.

    So, this wasn't very quick, but there was so much to share. Hope this helped!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by vcyclist View Post
    petey15 So my wife wants real life transition story from the 26er life to now the 29er. I have explained the fit is taken care of, as the matter of fact some of the 29ers have a lower SO than her current bike so I think that detail is out of the way now. She wants to know what were your fears, what to you dislike, what can you do better and what is not as good as a 26er. Can you give me a quick overview I can share with her? She has heard me and that I will never go back but she wants to hear it from someone her size! Thanks for any input. V
    I am also 5'5 and female, just got my first 29er but test rode several before I got one. Some I loved and some I hated, although it's very personal as I know other girls who loved the ones I hated!

    I got a Lapierre XR team, but also test rode several others including Scott Spark and Scale and Specialized Fate and Epic.

    In the end I got the Lapierre based on reviews, geo and shop sponsorship - but it's worked out perfectly and I love the bike. I'm still not 100% used to it yet but it climbs so well and just floats over obstacles that would stop my small wheels in their tracks. It feels stable on downhills and somehow balanced - doesn't seem to want to buck me over the bars.

    In test rides I loved the Epic but hated the Spark. I liked the Scale probably more than the Fate. I decided I wanted full sus and the Epic was simply out of my price range.

    I originally looked at 29er to be competitive in longer races with large amounts of fire road (where the bigger wheels just roll away) but in my most recent race all on single track I simply loved the 29er (more detail in the blog in signature).

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