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  1. #1
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    If not a women's specific frame, then what model is most anatomically friendly?

    Hey ladies,

    Sorry if this has been covered before, but I'm trying to get the old lady into MTB'ing. I have a 1988 KHS Montana Pro (in girly colors) that she's going to give it a go with tomorrow on a long'ish, very newbie friendly fire road climb. If all works out well, I may be looking at building her a bike, a XC hardtail with a 100mm suspension fork. She's a fire road type, and probably won't be hitting epic gnar single track with the fellas.

    Now, I already have ALL the parts to build a very nice bike, I just need a frame. She rides a Specialized Vita currently and LOVES that bike, specifically for the ergonomics. But, finding a women's specific MTB, and even more rare, a frame only, has been difficult.

    She is 5'7" so all the tiny X-Small stuff usually found on Craigslist won't work.

    If worse comes to worst, I may have to go with a standard men's frame. Is there one model in particular that's more "woman friendly" than others? Also, I'm looking at buying something on a budget, and I know the generic hardtail aluminum frames can be had at a steal nowadays.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    How is she proportioned?
    Typicially what makes a women specific frame is that it's designed for bodies that have longer legs and shorter torso. This is some women, but not all. Some women feel a wsd frame was a godsend, many of us ride men's frames just fine.

    Other than WSD or putting cute colorful components on it, is there something else you mean by "woman friendly"?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica View Post
    How is she proportioned?
    Typicially what makes a women specific frame is that it's designed for bodies that have longer legs and shorter torso. This is some women, but not all. Some women feel a wsd frame was a godsend, many of us ride men's frames just fine.

    Other than WSD or putting cute colorful components on it, is there something else you mean by "woman friendly"?
    Long legs, short(er) torso is spot on with her. I think this is why she loves her Vita so much.

    I'm looking for men's frame models that may lend itself to *more* towards that type of geo. The rest, I'm sure I can fidge and fudge with component adjustments. Bikesdirect is blowing out the GT Avalanche for $350, but the Alcera/Alivio stuff doesn't excite me, when I have SramX7/X9 stuff ready to go, with a very nice Suntour Epicon XC fork with remote lock-out.

  4. #4
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    I would guess to look up online geometry specs on WSD road/mountain bikes and compare it to men's sizes. I had a WSD Mamba last year that fit well but I really don't know what geometry part made it "WSD" or if it's all hype to sell bikes.

    I also think the top tube is lowered/curved down to get on easier.

    Just checked BD. There is a sizing chart for men and women under the Avalanche 3. Check those out because there are some definite sizing differences within the men/women. I wish they made software where you could lay bike geometries over each other to see the visual differences, not a generic picture. Hope that helps some.

  5. #5
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    I ride Niners, and, at 5'6", I can go small or medium.
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  6. #6
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    Alright gals, I'm at a loss.

    I found a this frame China direct:



    Which looks exactly like lot of the female frames out there. However, she hates the corny graphics (the one I was going to buy is called "Asia Machine" so that purchase ain't happening.

    So now I don't know. I looked at a 16" Motobecane 400ht frame, and the geo specs very closely resemble her Vita in terms of the TT length (the MotoB is .8" longer), standover, etc; the seat tube length is a bit shorter. I figure I can fine tune with components.

    So, what do y'all think? I may ask this in the frame building forum.

  7. #7
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    I actually like the frame and graphics and I'm not a pink fan. You could always send it off to get repainted.

    How did her trip go as your first post said you were taking her out for a ride.

    Your best bet is to take her to the store and try out some bikes. You'll have a much better idea of fit and frame size. Then buy a frame similar or the same as the one she likes.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bethany1 View Post
    I actually like the frame and graphics and I'm not a pink fan. You could always send it off to get repainted.

    How did her trip go as your first post said you were taking her out for a ride.

    Your best bet is to take her to the store and try out some bikes. You'll have a much better idea of fit and frame size. Then buy a frame similar or the same as the one she likes.
    For her first mtb ride, not bad. We did a fireroad climb (Nisene Marks in Santa Cruz) which ended up yielding 2,500' of elevation. Not bad for her, considering 1) it was the biggest climb she's ever done and 2) it was her first MTB ride.

    This was on an old 1988 KHS Montana Pro with cantilever brakes and no suspension. For her, it was painful going downhill, but I assured her that modern geometry, a suspension fork, bigger tires and disc brakes change the ride a LOT.

    She had a big crash three years ago and it's almost like starting from scratch in regards to her confidence, though. She had to walk some of the downhill stuff, even though it was a fireroad. I'm hoping a new bike with modern technology will help her in that department. She's strong going uphill.

    If not a women's specific frame, then what model is most anatomically friendly?-321830307048720591_6266537.jpg

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    For her first mtb ride, not bad. We did a fireroad climb (Nisene Marks in Santa Cruz) which ended up yielding 2,500' of elevation. Not bad for her, considering 1) it was the biggest climb she's ever done and 2) it was her first MTB ride.

    This was on an old 1988 KHS Montana Pro with cantilever brakes and no suspension. For her, it was painful going downhill, but I assured her that modern geometry, a suspension fork, bigger tires and disc brakes change the ride a LOT.

    She had a big crash three years ago and it's almost like starting from scratch in regards to her confidence, though. She had to walk some of the downhill stuff, even though it was a fireroad. I'm hoping a new bike with modern technology will help her in that department. She's strong going uphill.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Disclosure: I had a bad accident 5 years ago that I broke my wrist in 3 places. On the easiest flattest trail too.

    What I've found helped my confidence as far as climbing was losing weight and getting fit. What also helped: getting on flats and staying on them.

    What helped with my confidence for downhills: Getting on a bike with slacker geo and lower BB. Helped me feel that the bike could handle anything I threw at it and made it feel stable.

    Funny thing is, I find myself more comfortable riding technical places than fireroads. Fireroads or really easy singletrack feel like it's easier to check out and not pay attention as opposed to technical where I need to be on my game the entire time.

    As far as type of frame (WSD or unisex/"men's"), I ride a unisex bike. While the WSD fit me, I never cared for it (this is back in 2002, and my suspension was tuned for a max weight of 100 lbs, weaksauce).

    Also, that area I broke my wrist, I won't ride. I ride much harder things, but it's not worth it for my mental state to ride it anymore.

  10. #10
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    I think a lighter weight bike is key especially if the trails are xc or fireroads (easier for climbing)

    My trail bikes were not "women's specific" but they were the right size, had platforms. good brakes, comfy saddle and tires. My personal preference is 26" rather than 29"

    My dh bike is women's specific but it really isn't necessary
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  11. #11
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    On One 456 Carbon

    Hi, I'm also 5'7" with long legs and awhile back I wanted a fun and inexpensive hardtail to ride. My husband built me an On One 456 Carbon, it's bright red and has no graphics on it at all. The frame was about $399. It climbs so easy, is very light, and is a lot of fun to ride, especially on fire roads. I regularly ride it at St Joe's (Los Gatos).

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by skarin View Post
    Hi, I'm also 5'7" with long legs and awhile back I wanted a fun and inexpensive hardtail to ride. My husband built me an On One 456 Carbon, it's bright red and has no graphics on it at all. The frame was about $399. It climbs so easy, is very light, and is a lot of fun to ride, especially on fire roads. I regularly ride it at St Joe's (Los Gatos).
    Well, we'll be looking out for you and your bright red bike at St. Joes! I ride Santa Teresa County park almost every day, but I won't subject my wife to that. St. Joes is relatively tame in comparison, and I think she would enjoy it there. The first MTB ride I took her on was the climb to Sand Point at Nisene in Aptos.

    I ended up with a smaller, non-female specific frame. After reviewing the frame measurements I figure I can build a decent bike that will fit well.

    Thanks for everybody's input. I'll post a pic when I'm done with the build.

  13. #13
    see me rollin, they hatin
    Reputation: NicoleB's Avatar
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    maybe too late, but i can tell you this much. i'm the epitome of short torso, long legs. however, only 2 of my five bikes have ever been specific for the wimminz.

    i only look at top tube length, and i stay away from "racy" because they tend to be long and low, which is the opposite of my body type.
    fap

  14. #14
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    UPDATE!!!

    Finished the Wife Bike. 16" Motobecane 400HT - built almost everything from the parts bin. She just needs to ride it and do some adjustments here and there. I threw a leg over it and pedaled around and it's very comfy and upright. Comes in at a stout 29.72 lbs, which I think is just about right for a budget, entry level MTB.

    2X8 drivetrain, 100mm travel. BB5 brakes, etc. This should get her properly introduced to MTB'ing.

    The wife is a huge No Doubt fan and wears a lot of L.A.M.B (and carries the handbags) so I had this custom headset top cap made, too. Colors are red and purple.

    If not a women's specific frame, then what model is most anatomically friendly?-img_3021.jpg

    If not a women's specific frame, then what model is most anatomically friendly?-img_3017.jpg

    If not a women's specific frame, then what model is most anatomically friendly?-img_3023.jpg

  15. #15
    see me rollin, they hatin
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    that thing is adorb!
    fap

  16. #16
    Team Chilidog!
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    Wow Dion.. beautiful build. The headset cap is a really nice touch.
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  17. #17
    DIY all the way
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Long legs, short(er) torso is spot on with her. I think this is why she loves her Vita so much.

    I'm looking for men's frame models that may lend itself to *more* towards that type of geo. The rest, I'm sure I can fidge and fudge with component adjustments. Bikesdirect is blowing out the GT Avalanche for $350, but the Alcera/Alivio stuff doesn't excite me, when I have SramX7/X9 stuff ready to go, with a very nice Suntour Epicon XC fork with remote lock-out.
    Look into a light DJ frame. The Mrs. here has the same proportions, and is real comfy on one. Just make sure the head angle is not too steep.

    FireEye and Spank both offers good options. Mrs. Magura likes my FireEye Shortfuse 360 a lot as well, as the bike is simply small enough to feel like a 26" does to a big guy.


    Magura

    EDIT: Didn't see the update, sorry, too late then.
    Nice bike you build her

  18. #18
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    Dion, That's one beautiful bike you've built. Love the purple/red accents! Well done.

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