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  1. #1
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    Women Specific Design vs. Standard Bikes

    My 9 year old daughter is ready for a new bike, she is 4'10" and 100#. I'm comparing the Trek Marlin 5 and the Skye 27.5 Disc both small. They are comparably priced with the Skye being about $100 more, the biggest difference being the WSD frame and 8 speed Altus vs 7 speed Tourney on the Marlin. She's ridden the Skye and it fits her well, I can't imagine the Marlin in the same size would fit much different. Any input from the ladies?
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  2. #2
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    I'm not personally familiar with the bikes, but the stack and reach and standover look pretty close. I might be inclined toward the Skye for the lower gearing, which can make the difference between riding and walking for a small young rider. I assume, but do not know that the frame is also lighter, since it is the "gold" vs. "silver" aluminum. The Shimano Altus drivetrain on the Skye is also a notch above the Marlin's Tourney drivetrain, which is their lowest offering, I believe. That said, either is probably plenty of bike for a 9 year old.

  3. #3
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    I have to wonder if that's *too* much bike for a 9-year-old. I just bought my 8 year old a 24" bike. How's the reach for the brake levers? The shifters? Of those two, I'd definitely go with the Skye due to the top tube shape. And I'm also annoyed that "they" stopped making 26" bikes, which would be better in this circumstance.

  4. #4
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    She has a 24" bike right now and she looks like an absolute giant riding it, keep in mind she almost 5' tall right now. She rode a small Skye a couple weeks ago and looked like everything fit well. Her legs were positioned properly on the crank down stroke and she didn't have any problem reaching the brakes or shifters.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by askibum02 View Post
    My 9 year old daughter is ready for a new bike, she is 4'10" and 100#.
    Honestly I think the 27.5" bikes are just too big for kids in the 4'8"-5'2" range. Those are bikes sized for me to ride, and I am 5'4" tall. Part of it depends on the use and skill set, and what type of actual riding is going to occur (real MTB, neighborhood, etc.) but a kid under 5' tall riding actual mtb trails shouldn't go from 24" to 27.5" - especially for riding tougher technical terrain.

    Due to the typical lower center of gravity of smaller mountain bike riders and kids, there are several disadvantages of a 27.5 compared to 26":

    1. Higher rotational weight
    2. Front end (handlebar height) that is 1/2"-1" taller than a 26" wheel bike
    3. Longer chainstays typically than a 26"
    4. Longer Wheelbase typically than a 26"

    For normal adult sized ladies, all of the above disadvantages can actually be seen as positives. But for smaller riders (shorter petit women and kids) these bigger 27.5" wheels make the wheel considerably heavier than a 26" wheel. Also, since it's about 1" larger in diameter, it also puts the weight further out from the axle which in turn increases the weight just that much more.

    What does this mean for smaller riders and kids 4'8"-5'2"? These "size xs and small" 27.5" bikes have: (1) longer wheelbases (2) longer chain stays (3) taller front ends and (4) heavier wheels.

    The combination of these 4 issues all noted above will make 27.5" much more difficult to get up to speed, but most importantly from a safety standpoint navigating technical/rocky/rooty terrain will be more cumbersome. Simple tricks like learning to manual, pull wheelies, floating the front wheel, etc. become that much harder during these "sponge" years where crucial life-long skills of learning typically happens at a younger age.

    Options are very limited in the 26" size right now, it seems like the future generation of kids and properly fitting bikes are losing out in this wheel size domination war. There are a few 26" bikes left still from Specialized and Marin. Many 27.5" bikes are getting close to original 26" wheelbase lengths of 40" or less, but still the wheel height/weight/overall bar height remains an issue.
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    I'm working on a high-end fun 26" bike for kids in the 4'8-5'2" height, but likely will be 1/2 year before it is ready. You can read more in this thread post#22. Like my Facebook page linked in the signature for updates.

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by askibum02 View Post
    She has a 24" bike right now and she looks like an absolute giant riding it, keep in mind she almost 5' tall right now. She rode a small Skye a couple weeks ago and looked like everything fit well. Her legs were positioned properly on the crank down stroke and she didn't have any problem reaching the brakes or shifters.
    I'd stick with the Skye then rather than the Marlin, unless you have a chance to try it.

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