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  1. #1
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    Are 29ers only for bigger riders?

    I'm 5'8" I've wanted a 29er for a while. I got one... now I feel like a little kid on my first big boy bike.

    The 29er isn't only for riders 6+ feet?

    On a side note, I bought a Access 29er 9.5. It came with a Velo race type saddle. I always wanted to try one... now that it came on my bike, I want it gone! lol. The saddle is way too firm for me.
    2009 Access 9.5 29er
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  2. #2
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    You might check out Willow and Heather on the Trek/Fisher pro race teams, Fast yes, Tall ,not really.

    Its a very old myth, that keeps popping up.

  3. #3
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    Dwarfs don't ride 29ers. Prove me wrong. Clearly they are only for big people, not little people.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rushman3
    You might check out Willow and Heather on the Trek/Fisher pro race teams, Fast yes, Tall ,not really.

    Its a very old myth, that keeps popping up.
    I believe 5'3" & 5'4" not sure which one is which, but I think the shorter one rides a M and the taller one a S...IIRC.

  5. #5
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    I've answered this question about 20 times on this forum and I'm more than happy to do it again: I'm 5'7", have been riding 29"ers since 2003, and own three of them including a full suspension model. Works for me.
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  6. #6
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    Good, then I'll keep it! lol.
    Now I need a shorter stem...
    2009 Access 9.5 29er
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  7. #7
    Uncle
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    passable

    I'm still a "29ers fit all" skeptic; I don't believe the 29er can work for everyone. That said, your height is definitely not an impediment for 29er fitment. That's not to say that it's the best bike for you, or that you'll love it more than other sized wheels. But lots of riders your height and shorter and getting a lot of their 29" wheeled bikes.

    As for the saddle, best to start thinking along the lines of "size/shape" instead of "firmness." More than only a little padding is very often the least comfortable form of saddle, especially when the rides start to get longer than 10 miles. As for gel saddles, I don't know anyone that rides regularly that uses one; they're good for cruisers and comfort bikes and that's about it. Heavily padded saddles might feel great at first while sitting, but they're a blister maker as soon as you add pedaling into the equation. For longer mtb rides, it's much more important to get something that is comfy while pedaling at a good clip, and under load. After all, we're almost always standing if we're coasting. Most of the time when I help folks with saddles, their complaints of "too firm" really means too narrow, too low, or the bike just doesn't fit them.

    Several years ago, and after about 6 different saddles, I settled in on the WTB Lazer Stealth saddle: 143mm wide, decent padding, and a contoured shape that holds me well under load. I went this route after trying a several "normal width" (mid 130mm area) without luck. I now ride Lazers on both of my mountain bikes, and they work just fine. Still would like to give the Devo a go, but I'm not about to fix what ain't broken, ya know?

    Check mnfctr websites for width specs, and ask friends if they have, collectively, a range of spare saddles that you can borrow for rides. Also, lots of Specialized dealers have the "Assometer" which is a pad you can sit on to measure your sit bones. I did this once just to see if it was useful, and what do you know, my sit bones measured out for a ~142mm saddle; pretty useful indeed.

    Lastly, be prepared to ride 40-50+ good rides before any new-to-you bike feels PERFECTLY dialed in. Instead, make incremental changes, and note "better/worse" for each. Of course, for a nominal fee, you can go get professionally fitted (which might have saved me a year or more; who knows...). "Finding the right saddle & adjusting the fit of the bike" (these should be thought of as one big process, not separate processes) is a slow, challenging, but ultimately rewarding process.


    Good luck.

  8. #8
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    Trek is producing a new women's specific 14.5" frame 29er this year. Your height has nothing to do with the physics of why a 29ers works so well.

    Bottom bracket height and rear triangles are the same regardless of rider height, just the front triangle is bigger for most manufacturers.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy
    I've answered this question about 20 times on this forum and I'm more than happy to do it again: I'm 5'7", have been riding 29"ers since 2003, and own three of them including a full suspension model. Works for me.
    Agreed they are not for everyone (though what is?) but:
    +1 for me (though I'm 5'8")
    +1 for my lady friend who's 5'6"ish on women-spec Fisher
    +2 for my other buddies who are 5'8"ish as well
    and on and on and on....

  10. #10
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    I'm 5'8 & i'm already on my 2nd 29'er...1 rigid SS & 1 geared HT. As soon as my financial problems are over, i would definitely build a FS 29'er. Even my wife who's only 5'4 enjoys riding my 29'ers.

  11. #11
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    Few weeks ago we ran into a 4'11" tall woman riding a singlespeed Superfly. She loves it. No awkward fit issues or anything.
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  12. #12
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    o-m-f-g

    this question is posted at least once a week.

  13. #13
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    Hmm, I have a 5'2" female family member that is on a 2008 Rig 29er and a 2010 HIFI Pro 29er with no problems at all.
    "I ride to clear my head, my head is clearer when I'm riding SS. Therefore, I choose to ride SS."~ Fullrange Drew

  14. #14
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    Yes, you are entirely too small for a 29er.

    I'm surprised Performance even sold you one.

    At my shop there is a "You Must Be THIS TALL To Buy a 29er" sign. You wouldn't have made the cut.

  15. #15
    COMBO - President
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    Quote Originally Posted by Padre
    Yes, you are entirely too small for a 29er.

    I'm surprised Performance even sold you one.

    At my shop there is a "You Must Be THIS TALL To Buy a 29er" sign. You wouldn't have made the cut.
    I hope that is all tongue in cheek, you might want to add some emoticons or something.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardwarz
    I'm 5'8" I've wanted a 29er for a while. I got one... now I feel like a little kid on my first big boy bike.

    The 29er isn't only for riders 6+ feet?

    On a side note, I bought a Access 29er 9.5. It came with a Velo race type saddle. I always wanted to try one... now that it came on my bike, I want it gone! lol. The saddle is way too firm for me.
    Im on the low end of 5'6", a 29er is the best choice for me, I just look smaller riding a bigger bike.
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  17. #17
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    I'm also 5'8", and I love my 29er! I'm faster and better in the technical sections than on my 26", and the ride is more compliant as well. Descending those rocky sections is a whole lot more enjoyable on big volume 29er tires.

    As for a saddle, I've been running the WTB Speed V, and it's super comfortable. I have one on my road bike too, and I can ride 6+ hours on it and still be comfortable. YMMV, and if you have a good LBS in the area they should let you test ride a few saddles before you buy.
    "Got everything you need?"

  18. #18
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    My saddle of choice is the Brooks B17 Ti in Hunter green for my 29er, Its also the same as my road saddles, although they dont get the Ti Rails. Very comfortable and last about as long as youd hope, appx 10 years with good care, some have been known to go for tens of thousands of miles before being replaced.
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  19. #19
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    X-Small

    Quote Originally Posted by FASTK
    Trek is producing a new women's specific 14.5" frame 29er this year.
    There are two WSD GFC by T. Both the X-Caliber and the Mamba have 14.5" sizes.

    Specialized has an XS (or XXS?) Myka 29er coming out which caters to women as tall as 5'...

  20. #20
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    5'8" on a Tomac Flint. It rocks.
    My Voodoo Canzo FS seems to have more issues for my size.
    HT's seem to be no problem.

  21. #21
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    Here she is.... she hasn't gotten on the singletrack yet...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Are 29ers only for bigger riders?-img00172s.jpg  

    Are 29ers only for bigger riders?-img00173s.jpg  

    2009 Access 9.5 29er
    2010 Diamondback Insight RS (700c hybrid)
    Velorazzo frame build (26)

  22. #22
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    Nice bike! How's the ride? Just an observation, the handlebars look high in relation to the saddle or vice-versa for XC/trail riding. A few rides would show you what to adjust & change.

    Congrats on your new bike!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce9er
    I believe 5'3" & 5'4" not sure which one is which, but I think the shorter one rides a M and the taller one a S...IIRC.
    Willow is 5'2
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by nordstern1
    Nice bike! How's the ride? Just an observation, the handlebars look high in relation to the saddle or vice-versa for XC/trail riding. A few rides would show you what to adjust & change.

    Congrats on your new bike!
    Seat height is right, it's as high up as I can get it and still generate power efficiently.
    2009 Access 9.5 29er
    2010 Diamondback Insight RS (700c hybrid)
    Velorazzo frame build (26)

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardwarz
    Seat height is right, it's as high up as I can get it and still generate power efficiently.
    Then probably take out those spacers from under the stem and possibly flip the stem or switch to flat bars depending on fit/feel from there,.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcavy1
    Then probably take out those spacers from under the stem and possibly flip the stem or switch to flat bars depending on fit/feel from there,.
    HA! Never occurred to me to do that...
    2009 Access 9.5 29er
    2010 Diamondback Insight RS (700c hybrid)
    Velorazzo frame build (26)

  27. #27
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    Small frame 29ers look funny. Just like really large frame 26ers.

    You'll also notice that Willow has to use 90mm forks and -12 degree stem to get the front low enough simply because of how high the front end of the frame has to be to accommodate the 29 inch wheel.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by iscarrr
    Small frame 29ers look funny. Just like really large frame 26ers.

    You'll also notice that Willow has to use 90mm forks and -12 degree stem to get the front low enough simply because of how high the front end of the frame has to be to accommodate the 29 inch wheel.
    Yet she would feel completely comfortable with a negative risers like -3 or -5 cm why only positive risers exist and not negative? Something like flipped riser handlebars?

  29. #29
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    I'm 5'6" with a 28 inch inseam and got a 2011 Hifi Deluxe last Friday. It was pretty much a leap of faith because the only 29er in my size I had ever ridden was a RIP Niner and I wasn't impressed with the feel at all.

    Well, after my first few rides I can tell you that this bike can flat out cruise and feels more fitted to me in some ways than the Sugar 3 I've been riding for about 10 years. I was all hung up on the standover height and read countless opinions on the issue. Now as far as I'm concerned, it was wasted energy because it seems to be totally irrelevent.

    I hopped onto my 26 inch Hardrock clunker today for a spin and it already looks stange to see such a small front wheel under me.

    Midgets rule!!

  30. #30
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    I guess it does depend on the frame - at 5'8" I fit great on 29r hardtails - with proper top tube and 80 to 100mm fork, but with a few longer travel frames I have tried it did not feel right at all. I would not get one with more then 100mm travel on the frame and 120mm travel on the fork. Do not believe you can cheat nature here.

    I guess pretty much any adult can be fit on a 29r hardtail. I do not envision giving up my 160mm travel 26r for big wheels.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardwarz
    I'm 5'8" I've wanted a 29er for a while. I got one... now I feel like a little kid on my first big boy bike.

    The 29er isn't only for riders 6+ feet?

    On a side note, I bought a Access 29er 9.5. It came with a Velo race type saddle. I always wanted to try one... now that it came on my bike, I want it gone! lol. The saddle is way too firm for me.
    Go to a shop that has the WTB "test saddle" program! Try a Pure V saddle, buy said saddle, affix to bicycle (29er) and ride thee hell out of it!
    any time spent riding a bicycle is re-cycled goodness....

  32. #32
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    Thats kinda like saying that road bikes and hybrid bike are only for big people. which they are not. I'm about your size maybe an inch less (5'7) and I ride a 17.5 Gary Fisher (just got it Tuesday) and it fits me perfectly! I notice a lot of people about my size on this thread riding a 29er... Good deal

  33. #33
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    It won't be long before we're all riding 24" wheels because they're "more aerodynamic" and short people tell us taller people that we shouldn't be riding 24'ers.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewMiller
    Thats kinda like saying that road bikes and hybrid bike are only for big people. which they are not.
    Road bikes and hybrid bikes do not have many inches of suspension. Fitting a full rigid 29r and a 140mm full suspension AM 29r are two very different things.

  35. #35
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    I have the same problem. Length 5' 8.5". I have decided to go for the 16" Titanium Ragley TD-1, which is designed for a rigid 440mm fork. With this I will still have my saddle to bar drop of almost 2 inches (which I like).
    Hopefully this will work for me.

  36. #36
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    We just got a nice thread started in the Women's Lounge about 29ers. I think everyone who has posted so far is under 5'8"
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    Road bikes and hybrid bikes do not have many inches of suspension. Fitting a full rigid 29r and a 140mm full suspension AM 29r are two very different things.
    Yea your right in that aspect, I was pretty much thinking about the rim size tho. wow I didn't even know that suspension could go to 140mm. I've never ridden a full suspension so I don't know much about them.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    Road bikes and hybrid bikes do not have many inches of suspension. Fitting a full rigid 29r and a 140mm full suspension AM 29r are two very different things.
    Calling BS. The effective top tube, stand over height, set tube angle (in relation to the pedal spindle.) How is that different for a road bike versus a mountain bike? Put aside a Tri-bike.

    For fitting a road or MTB bike, you need stand over clearance, even a 120mm vs. 140mm MTB stand over is marginally affected (<2 centimeters, maybe) then you need effective reach to the bars, again road or MTB will differ but chose the stem length to correct for the desired fit.

    Lastly, chose the right seat post (setback or not) for correct seat tube angle.

    This whole "too short" for a 29er is total BS. Yes is looks odd to see large wheels on a smaller frame at first but it all rides the same regardless of frame size.

  39. #39
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    I have no standover problems even with commercial frames, im 5'6. My sister could ride my bike (and has) She's 5-, has minor standover issues purely because the frame was made for me not her. She can all the same commercially available frames I have test ridden. Ive never met anyone too short for a 29er, although I suspect they may exist. The vast majority of people Im sure can ride one without problems.
    -FreuderLocks

    Edit: I do look funky on it though, makes me look smaller lol.
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by FASTK
    Calling BS. The effective top tube, stand over height, set tube angle (in relation to the pedal spindle.) How is that different for a road bike versus a mountain bike? Put aside a Tri-bike.
    Think about BB height, handbar height, chainstay length, wheelbase, toe overlap and standover that all need to accomodate several inches of wheel movement. It is not just about the distance between saddle, bottom bracket and headtube.

    Yes, it is more difficult to make a well performing long travel small 29r then a full rigid one. Its a fact. BS is on you.

  41. #41
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    i am 5'8" i went from a 26" to a 29" and i dont plan on going back...i likey!
    i'm not joking, posting is scary

  42. #42
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    More pics of my Access 9.5 29er.

    Also, I have a new favorite saddle. It's a cheap $22.00 Bell Dart saddle from WallyWorld. I have it on my FS iDrive 4 and my Access 9.5
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Are 29ers only for bigger riders?-sany0269.jpg  

    Are 29ers only for bigger riders?-sany0267.jpg  

    Are 29ers only for bigger riders?-sany0268.jpg  

    Are 29ers only for bigger riders?-sany0270.jpg  

    2009 Access 9.5 29er
    2010 Diamondback Insight RS (700c hybrid)
    Velorazzo frame build (26)

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