29er frame choices for short guy- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    29er frame choices for short guy

    Guys,

    Im 5'5'' and have a very short inseam at about 26". Im looking at a new FS purchase in the 2k range and XT spec.................

    I have looked into 29ers and the Jamis 650s, but all of the standovers are several inches larger than what I need. I have a 28.8 standover now on my HT and it crushes my "boys" if I stand. If I am on my tippy toes i still touch, but its not painful.

    I truly want to get into a 29, but see very few choices small enough, with the exception of some very high end (out of my price range) bikes. I will ride 2-3 days a week for fitness, and have an XT equipped 2006 Jamis hardtail. I cant invest 4-5k in a niner or equivalent. I'm about ready to pull the plug on a 2012 GT Sensor 1.0. Its all XT, has nice Shocks, and is current in technology. There is an XS available for 1800.00. I want to ride in comfort and confidence. I feel this will be a significant improvement over my current setup, but I feel like I am missing out if I dont go 29.

    Are there any reasonably priced 29er options out there for the weekend warrior, or should I go with the GT, which has an awesome equipment spec and pricepoint?

  2. #2
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    Santa Cruz Superlight 29

  3. #3
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    I'm same height, have gt sensor 1.0 and LOVE it, but a about to pull trigger on 29er. My sensor was bought new 6 months ago but is a 2010 bike. Intersted? $1k take it! Paid $2k 6 months ago!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogsim View Post
    Santa Cruz Superlight 29
    Where do I get one of these? No LBS carry them. Im assuming it would have to be an online purchase.......................are there suggested Santa Cruz dealers?

    Little pricey but may be doable if I can find in correct size.

  5. #5
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    Where do you live?
    I agree on the Santa Cruz Superlight 29. The medium frame was surprisingly small and I'm 5'4.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Uno View Post
    Where do you live?
    I agree on the Santa Cruz Superlight 29. The medium frame was surprisingly small and I'm 5'4.
    Virginia.

  7. #7
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    Wtf is that about?

  8. #8
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    From the Santa Cruz website:

    Bicycle Pro Shop - Alexandria
    3240 Duke St
    Alaxandria, VA 22314
    202 337 0311
    Bicycle Pro Shop - Best Bike Store in the DC area, located in Alexandria & Georgetown


    Three Sports
    445 North Ridge Rd
    Richmond, VA 23229
    (804)288-4000


    Just The Right Gear
    2265 Catawba Valley Drive
    Salem, VA 24153
    (540)384-7800

    If that doesn't work, cambriabike.com carries alot of Santa Cruz frames and bikes. I'm sure there are others as well.
    Enjoy the ride!

  9. #9
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    Santa Cruz Superlight or a Jet 9 (non RDO), the Jet 9 in a small has a standover height of 27.4 with a 100mm fork
    JET 9
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    Niner Jet 9
    Misfit diSSent 1x11

  10. #10
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    The niners are way out of my price range. The super light is a stretch but possible. I wonder about the single pivot and marginal components in the rxc package compared to the full xt/fox 32 gt in a 26"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philip Clemmons View Post
    The niners are way out of my price range. The super light is a stretch but possible. I wonder about the single pivot and marginal components in the rxc package compared to the full xt/fox 32 gt in a 26"
    a 2K price in a FS bike with XT level parts is gonna be very hard to find, you're gonna have to get lucky and a leftover bike. Being only 5'5, I know how hard it is to find a good fitting frame even in a 26. There's a few more options in hardtails and luckily I was only looking for a 29 HT.
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  12. #12
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    Though I have a 29er myself-I'm 5-10, I did ride a 650B and there was a noticeable difference from a 26. Before you decide, I would suggest you try out a 650B bike.
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  13. #13
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    Jet 9 has a lower SO than any of the FS 650 bikes that are out or currently listing geo specs. Specialized also might have some bikes to fit the bill.
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  14. #14
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    I'm in the same boat, beleive me I was very close to pulling the trigger on a small Jet 9 before I decided to stay HT. It's probably your best option.

    buy the frame and save up to build it I guess or look for something used

    Niner JET 9 Frame

    or this:
    Niner JET 9 Complete Bike
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  15. #15
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    I wish people would stop shooting bikes around here. It will also be difficult to wash it down a drain. I still recommend buying one instead.

    You should also check out a Giant Anthem X29er in XS.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in southwest Utah

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    I wish people would stop shooting bikes around here. It will also be difficult to wash it down a drain. I still recommend buying one instead.

    You should also check out a Giant Anthem X29er in XS.
    Good choice but still 1 inch less standover than the Niner and comparibly priced. When you're short SO dictates your choices while TT length IMO is a better way to fit a bike.
    Last edited by pascale27; 09-22-2012 at 02:58 PM.
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  17. #17
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    At 26" your options are going to be very limited. I've got a few inches of inseam on you and had a tough time finding something affordable that would work.

    I agree that the Superlight 29 should go right to the top of your list. Of all the 29ers I demoed it's the only one that would work for somebody with even a little bit less leg than I have. If the smallest SL 29 doesn't work, you'll probably have to stick with 26" wheels. 650b is no help at this point because the bikes that are available today are mostly geared toward longer travel, not lower standover.

    If the idea of riding a "women's bike" doesn't put you off, you might also look at some of the women's specific 29ers like the Trek Lush. Keep in mind that you can't *totally* judge standover from the geometry tables. One manufacturer might measure standover farther from the seat tube than another, so the bike with the higher standover might actually be lower at the critical point.

  18. #18
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    Also, you're not going to hit your price point for a full XT bike unless you limit yourself to brands like GT that are only sold in big chain stores. Your options will open up a lot more if you're willing to compromise on component spec. Expect to pay at least $4000 for a full suspension 29er with full XT from a regular bike shop brand. And even budget components like Deore or x5 perform really well these days.

  19. #19
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    If a santa cruz superlight 29 will fit i would highly recommend it! I just got a 2013 sl29 about a month ago and am having a wonderful time riding it!
    An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence. Marco Polo

  20. #20
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    Salsa makes a few small bikes such as the El Mar, check them out.

  21. #21
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    Standover not as important as top tube length in my opinion. I am 5'5" with a 26 inch inseam and have a turner Sultan 29er which has a lot of standover. IT actually has more standover space than my 26 inch bikes. I know you said hard to find Santa Cruz dealers, but in my mind its imperative to test ride (even for more than a few days) before buying.
    "Chancho. When you are a man sometimes you wear stretchy pants... Its for fun..."

  22. #22
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    Im on Superfly 2012, carbon, its fantastic ! !

  23. #23
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    FM036 15.5'' full suespension frame.

  24. #24
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    Shorty, just get on er and ride!

    -from one shorty to another

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post

    You should also check out a Giant Anthem X29er in XS.
    ^^^This, and in your budget. I've not seen an XS yet, but they are great riding bikes.

  26. #26
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    If you're willing to go with a buy direct approach, you may want to consider Fezzari.

    They will get you close to your price point with XT components, and they generally have lower SO compared to similarly sized frames on other manufacturer's bikes.

    The Santa Cruz Superlight 29 in Small has a 27.2" SO.

    The Fezzari Hidden Peak XT 29er in a Small has a 26.5" SO.

    They can customize if necessary to meet your price point.

    Good luck!

  27. #27
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    I'm vertically challenged as well, but don't really think much about it...just got a new Spesh FS com carb evoR 29er, ride freakin great! Prob better if it were about 1" shorter, but no biggy!!! I just wanna ride!

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    hmmm, would actually be better if "I" were one inch taller, not the bike shorter lol. XS may be way to go, but you said you were 5'5" that should be more then adequate for most smalls.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by everything motorcycl View Post
    hmmm, would actually be better if "I" were one inch taller, not the bike shorter lol. XS may be way to go, but you said you were 5'5" that should be more then adequate for most smalls.
    XS is gonna have a short TT length. If you're looking for a new bike know the geo of your old bike and try to get a similar length TT.
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  30. #30
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    KHS Flagstaff

  31. #31
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    I'm .4" taller than the height you listed and the Kona 18 fits me.

  32. #32
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    I'm a medium sized man and also vote on the tallboy. I was the hardcore 26 inch guy with a background in motocross that proclaimed I would never own a 29er. Being pressured by a salesman, I threw my leg over a tallboy one day with flops and jeans, bunny hopped and cleared a median around 3 to 4 feet with ease, climbed it up a set of steep steps, did a few tight turn tests and decided I was sold. Its a stable, nimble comfortable, cross country, trail bike that lives up to all the hype. Screw the 650b!

    I also test rode a Superlight which was also very impressive but once you've had carbon its very hard to go back to aluminum. The VPP was hard to pass up as well.

  33. #33
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    I feel your pain. I'm 5'5 on a good day, with short legs and a long (for my height) torso and average length arms. Last year, I went through a very expensive experiment getting my new Niner Air 9 Carbon to fit OK, and you'll want to pay attention to some things below:

    Head-Tube Angle: If too slack, your front wheel is going to want "flop" in slow corners and require lots of body english to turn. Can be difficult to control. If too steep, you migh have some toe overlap. I would err on the side of accepting some toe overlap for a quicker handling bike.

    Axle to Crown Length: Pretty simple stuff here, but I was popping wheelies for awhile with my Niner because the bars were so high (can only bring seat so high before I can't reach the pedals). I slammed the stem and it still wasn't enough. Ended up reducing my fork from a 100 to 80 and buying some extra goodies (-20 degree stem and zero stack stuff) to get it to the lowest position possible.

    Still want my front end lower (there is a seat to handlebar RISE), but it is controllable at this point. Good Luck!

  34. #34
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    ....manufacturers tend to build the smaller frames to avoid toe overlap, which results in a slacker front end that handles slowly.

  35. #35
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    I am most excited about...

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  36. #36
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    I am also just as short and was wondering if the 29er route should be avoided, I am also light weight at around 145 pounds and was wondering if the extra weight would be worth it, as well as fitting.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by elbowtko View Post
    I am also just as short and was wondering if the 29er route should be avoided, I am also light weight at around 145 pounds and was wondering if the extra weight would be worth it, as well as fitting.
    HT or FS? If you can find a proper fitting frame your weight shouldn't be an issue. Love my Misfit, rarely ride my Top Fuel.
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