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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2014

    Looking for a new bike. 5'4" on a good day with short legs and long torso. Thoughts?


    I bought my first bike with very little consideration as to options. I love the first bike, but as I am riding more I realize there are some size issues...basically it's too big.

    I am mostly a cross country rider and do some DH, though nothing worthy of a big bike.

    I don't want to make the same mistake this time. I'm starting to demo bikes and would love your thoughts on the following questions:

    1) What bikes should I consider?

    2) 26"? 27.5"? 29er? Does me being short make a difference?

    3) What other questions should I be asking?



  2. #2
    Moderator Moderator
    Reputation: mtbxplorer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Sarah, give us a feel for your budget. Nothing worse than $5000 suggestions when your budget is $1500. Have you decided if you want full suspension or hardtail? Whereabouts are you and what are your trails like? A lot of climbing? A lot of rocky tech? Have fun with your search. As you find bikes you're interested in, take some notes on the specs so you can compare to other bikes easily.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    I'm am not quite 5'-2" so my legs are even shorter than yours .

    My first bike was a specialized Hardrock women's specific Medium I bike was a Pivot Mach 4 women's specific extra small I think. Both 26". I have tried 29ers and they seem huge to me and I like tight technical riding so not a good fit for me.

  4. #4
    Reputation: petey15's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Hi Sarah,

    I'm just a hair taller than you are (5'5" with shoes, or so the doc says ) and am in the process of looking for a more aggressive bike, myself. Stripes made a good suggestion to me and I started a little spreadsheet so I could more easily compare bikes. Have you been properly measure yet so you know what reach and stack you may be looking for? Did you say what your inseam was? Some people say standover doesn't matter, but if you're a beginner or getting into some more aggressive riding, I think it does. Once you get an idea of what size you may be and what would work for you, then the real fun begins

    I've learned the hard way that demoing bikes is very important. Just because something sounds like it'll fit on paper, doesn't mean you're going to feel the same way when you actually get on it. I'd recommend seeing if there are any demos coming your way, and go to them. Nothing beats getting to try out a bike on the trail, as opposed to the parking lot.

    As far as finding something you can ride trail with and also downhill...perhaps you want to concentrate on an all-mountain/enduro style bike. If by downhill you don't necessarily mean bike parks, and more like just technical downhills on your local trails, you could get by with a little less travel and look into trail/aggressive trail options.

    I am currently riding a small Giant Trance X 29er. I absolutely love the bike for trail riding and it has fantastic standover room. It is a bit stretched out though in regards to reach, so something like that may or may not work for you. The other problem shorter riders tend to find with 29ers is toe overlap.

    Let us know more about what type of riding you are going to do and your budget and it'll help us, help you
    Guerrilla Gravity BAMF, RideGG, Cycle-CNY,

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: CycleMainiac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    I am just barely 5'2" and recently got a 27.5. I ride mostly xc and 26" for 20+ years. I got a cheap hardtail 29er just to ride enough to see if it was worth getting a 29er squishy I really wanted; the Niner *****. I liked the rolling momentum and feeling tall on the 29er but handling and steering was clumsy at best. I ended up with a Scott Genius 650B. The 27.5 gives me what I liked about the 29er, rolling momentum even going up short steep stuff, with out being as heavy and hard to steer as the 29er. My new bike only feels heavier when I am lifting it on and off the rack, not while riding it. I my finally spending lots of quality tie with my new bike and hitting all the familiar trails and absolutely LOVING it. In some ways is like rediscovering riding all over again.
    "My daughter says I shouldn't dance like this, but I'm going to anyway!" Toni Price, Hippy Hour, 11/21

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Nakedbabytoes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    I am 5'3" and my biggest issue after SO is toe overlap. On larger diameter wheels, I tend to hit my feet on my front tire in tight turns. I find on I can ride 700c or 29er wheels only on road type bike that normally don't require tight turns like an MTB or technical bike might. So yes, test rides are your friend! Obviously, by my siggy, I have lots of bikes I found that did fit the bill. Be patient. You'll find it.
    2014 Big Dummy
    2015 Salsa Beargrease Carbon 1
    2015 Ice Cream Truck

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