Maybe it's time to give up the dream- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Sofa King We Todd Did
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    Maybe it's time to give up the dream

    As I'd been doing my research over the past few days on viable frame candidates, I'm starting to realize that maybe 29ers just aren't for me, as much as I want one. I really wanted to build one up, not simply buy it off the shelf. And so when I had read that Brant at On*One was working on one (heh), I really wanted to see what he and the gang would produce. Alas, he's said that that project is stalled, nevermind that that they wouldn't be producing any in my size anyhow. Bummer.

    Nevermind, I thought, I'd been lusting after a Karate Monkey forever and a half now, so that's certainly a viable option. That's why I posted a thread a few months back, trying to learn what I can about the Monkey. Looking at the geometry, I wanted to make sure that even the small size wouldn't be too big for me. At 5'4", I didn't want look like Mini-Me on a Harley. So I e-mailed the boys are Surly. Nick at Surly was superquick to respond. Told me what some his concerns with fit might be (high front-end), and that the best thing for me to was to test ride a Monkey. One slight note of assurance he did give me was that a woman at 5'5" fit the small frame well.

    And so I called a whole bunch of shops in my area (NYC). Not one has a KM in stock. Heck, not one has any Surly in stock - they all offer to order one of me, but no Surly dealer has any Surly bikes! But I'm not about go order a frame that I have no assurance it will fit me.

    And maybe I'm in denial here. 'Cause the more people I talk to, the more indication I get that these big wheels might not be for me. I'm simply too short for these bigger wheels. And so maybe I shouldn't force the issue. One thing I can do, perhaps to remove all doubt is to go ride an off-the-shelf Fisher 29er.

    Here's how I make myself completely insane. I lust after bikes that won't fit me. Yet, when I look at the geometry numbers for the Fisher 29ers, I'd fit the small frames like a glove. But I'm not particularly keen on a Fisher. Don't get me wrong, I love Fisher bikes - my first bike I bought last spring is a Fisher - but for a singlespeed 29er, I wanted to build up something with a bit more character, not just an off-the-shelf Rig. Cloxxi reco'd that I look into a custom frame. Thing is, that's a fair amount more money than I have available to me to spend on a frame.

    I dunno, I think I'm going to let this thing die. I'm short, I need to ride 26" wheels, and that's what I need to deal with that. But I wanted to thank the lot of you anyway for all the information and help you've offered up over the past couple of months. I'll continue to remain intrigued with this category of bikes, but I think I'll accept that they're not for me.

  2. #2
    The Duuude, man...
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpinWheelz
    Here's how I make myself completely insane. I lust after bikes that won't fit me. Yet, when I look at the geometry numbers for the Fisher 29ers, I'd fit the small frames like a glove.
    How about this:

    Step 1:
    Buy a frame-only size small fisher 29er hardtail (cheapest one they have, not the supercal - they're all the same frame w/diff paint anyway).

    Step 2:
    Send frame to custom painter/powdercoater of your choice. There are folks out there who do straight up SICK paint jobs on bikes..get crazy, make it unique, make it so far from a Fisher people would never guess.

    Step 3:
    Build it up as custom as you want...

    Step 4:
    Enjoy, never look back.
    FS: Everything

  3. #3
    jl
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    Here's another idea. Get the rig, ride it a while see if you like it.

    Then do the 'Cloxxki'--sell that frame and use the money towards a custom frame. All-in-all you'll have spent less money then buying the components for a custom frame.
    We don't need more to be thankful for; we just need to be more thankful.

  4. #4
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    You're really keen on avoiding the "off the shelf" thing. So buy the bike, strip it, auction the components, and build to taste. I've done that with three bikes now, and the return has been good enough in each instance to take my net cost for the frame down to $200 to $0.

    Mail ordering a frame I haven't ridden gives me fits, but I've done it twice for myself and once for my wife, each time with lots of painstaking research and double-checking of figures. Each time it has paid off.

  5. #5
    Recovering couch patato
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    Not sure if you want singlespeed, but the Rig is a good option at least learn about fit issues and get some rides in. If you first sell the Reba fork and get a KM rigid, your initial costs drops to ~$700-800. Sell the frame for ~350, add $350 for a custom frame, and you have a rigid SS custom bike you spent $1050-1150 on. Ride the thing, save up for a rear wheel and chain guide, and upgrade to gears cannibalizing your present ride. Sell the Rig's original Bontrager SS rear wheel to fund rebuild of the cannibalized bike, or other upgrades. all this could be done with the X-Caiber as well, which has all the geared parts readily installed, but the frame won't sell for the same amount, but $250-300 is still not impossible.
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

  6. #6
    Occasionally engaged…
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    Find a frame that's not suspension corrected...

    Quote Originally Posted by SpinWheelz
    Nick at Surly was superquick to respond. Told me what some his concerns with fit might be (high front-end), and that the best thing for me to was to test ride a Monkey. One slight note of assurance he did give me was that a woman at 5'5" fit the small frame well.
    If you plan on going with a "firm front end" (a.k.a. - rigid), get a custom builder to make you a frame that is not suspension corrected and mate it with the appropriate length fork. A 29er frame would fit you just fine if it's not built to deal with a suspension fork. There might even be a stock cyclocross frame out there that would work (e.g - have enough tire clearance).

    (p.s. - I'm going to start a campaign to rid the cycling world of the inappropriate term "rigid" and replace it with something like "firm" to indicate the true nature of riding without mechanical shock absorbers -- wish me luck!)

  7. #7
    Recovering couch patato
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    Even better : an on-One Mary bar has some 1.5" of rise, but can be flipped to lower the bars. Being not too tall, a typical Trekking bar may suffice for you. I just bought some for €9,20 a piece, 266g, 1.5" rise, 50º sweep, black and 605mm wide. Grip position compares to a 20/630mm flat bar. In your case, being short, you can use a normal length stem as the trekking bar most only has back sweep. The Mary bar has 2" forward sweep to get rid of that, so you'd use a shortish stem anyway.
    For alternative bars, look on the SS forum, search for a topic "poor man's h-bar".

    A tall front may NEVER again shy any rider out of 29", there are planty options. Most will say a flipped flat riser bar is ungly, but it sure will work.
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

  8. #8
    Sofa King We Todd Did
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    Cloxxi, actually I had posted my own intepretation of a makeshift H-bar in that thread. These would be the same bars I would look to put on a 29er. They're steel cruiser bars which I inverted - so they drop instead of rise - and then wrapped with bar tape. Double wrapped in the primary grip area to mimic the girth of regular grips. I friggin' love 'em. I find them to be a more workable solution compared to the regular moustache bars.

    This is an older picture, taken the night I slapped them on for the first time. The setup now sports a much longer stem so that the main grip area is ahead of the steerer tube, not behind it.
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  9. #9
    This place needs an enema
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    Bs

    If you want to ride 26" wheels then do it. If you want to ride 29"ers, then stop beating around the bush and do it. Surly is not the only game in town--although they are a great place to start if you don't want to spend a pile of cash. Airborne makes a 16" ti B29 frame with a ridiculously dropped top tube that fits my 5'4" fiancee (see photo) like it was custom built for her, and that's with an 80mm travel fork. It's 22lbs, tubeless, and with the compliant ride of a ti frame and layback post. It is, by far, her favorite bike ever. You can order it frame only, or frame/fork/HS, or as a complete bike. www.airborne.net

    Lenz has built a 15" Leviathan if you want to go FS--I should have the first one here (for my 5'4" fiancee) by the end of the month. www.lenzsport.com

    There are also dozens of small frame builders out there that will make you a frame that fits perfectly for not a lot of $$$. www.waltworks.com or www.wilycycles.com to start.

    If someone tells you that you're too short for 29" wheels, they don't know what they're talking about--go to someone more educated.

    MC
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  10. #10
    mtbr member
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    CloxxKi reco'd that I look into a custom frame. Thing is, that's a fair amount more money than I have available to me to spend on a frame.

    Custom need not be expensive. Idoru got his frame from a local builder for less than a KM frame.

  11. #11
    ali'i hua
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    how about going with the first part of your custom title, Sofa King! Pat is awesome to work with, and you could have a full-blown custom 29er for about $1k.

  12. #12
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    Spinz

    My wife is 4 ft 11 in. with a short inseam. She can stand over the 16inch Airborne B-29 and has about as much clearance as she does on her 14inch Marin 26er hardtail. This was with a Marz fork on the B-29. However the top tube was a bit too long for her.

    Heres the thing just get the bike that is going to make you happy. Dont over think this. Its a bike, its for recreation and enjoyment. If you wont be happy with an off the shelf bike just go custom its shouldnt be too hard to make a 29er to fit someone 5ft 4in (sez I who has no idea about bike design). Contact Walt at Waltworks for a sweet frame and fork combo. Or head north a bit to New Paltz and talk to the folks a Vicious Cycles. (Exit 17?? Off the thrruway I think, only a few hours north of the city by car).

    Slightly off topic, I live in AK but grew up north of NYC. Ever ride the trails around Stewart Airport? Ive spent a lot of time in those trials, as well as the carriage roads around New Paltz. Good stuff. Nice road riding into the mountains too. Man, now Im homesick.

    Adam

    Quote Originally Posted by SpinWheelz
    As I'd been doing my research over the past few days on viable frame candidates, I'm starting to realize that maybe 29ers just aren't for me, as much as I want one. I really wanted to build one up, not simply buy it off the shelf. And so when I had read that Brant at On*One was working on one (heh), I really wanted to see what he and the gang would produce. Alas, he's said that that project is stalled, nevermind that that they wouldn't be producing any in my size anyhow. Bummer.

    Nevermind, I thought, I'd been lusting after a Karate Monkey forever and a half now, so that's certainly a viable option. That's why I posted a thread a few months back, trying to learn what I can about the Monkey. Looking at the geometry, I wanted to make sure that even the small size wouldn't be too big for me. At 5'4", I didn't want look like Mini-Me on a Harley. So I e-mailed the boys are Surly. Nick at Surly was superquick to respond. Told me what some his concerns with fit might be (high front-end), and that the best thing for me to was to test ride a Monkey. One slight note of assurance he did give me was that a woman at 5'5" fit the small frame well.

    And so I called a whole bunch of shops in my area (NYC). Not one has a KM in stock. Heck, not one has any Surly in stock - they all offer to order one of me, but no Surly dealer has any Surly bikes! But I'm not about go order a frame that I have no assurance it will fit me.

    And maybe I'm in denial here. 'Cause the more people I talk to, the more indication I get that these big wheels might not be for me. I'm simply too short for these bigger wheels. And so maybe I shouldn't force the issue. One thing I can do, perhaps to remove all doubt is to go ride an off-the-shelf Fisher 29er.

    Here's how I make myself completely insane. I lust after bikes that won't fit me. Yet, when I look at the geometry numbers for the Fisher 29ers, I'd fit the small frames like a glove. But I'm not particularly keen on a Fisher. Don't get me wrong, I love Fisher bikes - my first bike I bought last spring is a Fisher - but for a singlespeed 29er, I wanted to build up something with a bit more character, not just an off-the-shelf Rig. Cloxxi reco'd that I look into a custom frame. Thing is, that's a fair amount more money than I have available to me to spend on a frame.

    I dunno, I think I'm going to let this thing die. I'm short, I need to ride 26" wheels, and that's what I need to deal with that. But I wanted to thank the lot of you anyway for all the information and help you've offered up over the past couple of months. I'll continue to remain intrigued with this category of bikes, but I think I'll accept that they're not for me.
    Last edited by Adam; 01-07-2005 at 02:20 PM. Reason: correction

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpinWheelz
    As I'd been doing my research over the past few days on viable frame candidates, I'm starting to realize that maybe 29ers just aren't for me, as much as I want one.

    Told me what some his concerns with fit might be (high front-end), and that the best thing for me to was to test ride a Monkey. One slight note of assurance he did give me was that a woman at 5'5" fit the small frame well. And so I called a whole bunch of shops in my area (NYC). Not one has a KM in stock. Heck, not one has any Surly in stock - they all offer to order one of me, but no Surly dealer has any Surly bikes! But I'm not about go order a frame that I have no assurance it will fit me.

    And maybe I'm in denial here. 'Cause the more people I talk to, the more indication I get that these big wheels might not be for me. I'm simply too short for these bigger wheels. And so maybe I shouldn't force the issue. One thing I can do, perhaps to remove all doubt is to go ride an off-the-shelf Fisher 29er. ... When I look at the geometry numbers for the Fisher 29ers, I'd fit the small frames like a glove.
    Do go ride a Fisher ... if you say the Fishers' geometry should fit you like a glove, I'm not sure why the KM wouldn't. I'm not surprised you can't find a KM fully built anywhere: since the KM is marketed as frame-only, you will find only a handful of very enterprising shops anywhere who would have fully built ones lying around. I know you're at the other end of the country, but if you ever happened to be in Oregon you'd be very welcome to take my Small singlespeed KM out for a test ride.

    Anyway, as I see it the 3 fit concerns you will have are:
    [*]Cockpit/top tube length: the small KM is actually 0.5" shorter in length than the Small Fisher bikes, so I don't see why the KM wouldn't fit you here -- if you think the Fisher will work. BTW, I'm 5'7" and I just barely fit the Small KM ... but I have slightly longer legs and shorter torso than some my size (I think), so if your proportions are opposite (short legs, long torso), length should NOT be a problem.
    [*]Bar height: shouldn't be much different Surly vs. Fisher, since they're both built around 80mm forks. Actually, the Surly's head tube is 0.4" shorter than the Fisher's, so the Surly will be slightly lower. If it's still too high, the drop handlebar option is a good one: I've run the same cruiser bars flipped as shown in that pic on my 'crosser, and although I didn't like it as much offroad as onroad, that's just personal preference. And if you go custom and rigid, as already mentioned, you can have your frame built around a shorter fork and solve this problem completely.
    [*]Standover: At least according to the stated standover specs for Fisher and Surly, the Surly is higher by 1.9 inches. But wait. Especially on a small 29"er the top tube ends up at a pretty radical angle, and the standover measurement can vary radically depending on precisely where they measure it: who knows if they're measuring in the same spot anyway? I'm not aware of any standard for this. To be honest, given the Fisher's higher BB and longer seat tube, I'd expect the Fisher to have higher standover.

    In any event, standover could be your biggest concern, since if your torso/arms fit the length of these bikes you've probably got pretty short legs even for someone of your height. It's possible that this will force you to go custom. A custom builder can improve your standover clearance by building you something with an unusually short seat tube, or an Airborne-style bent top tube.

    Really, I'm not convinced you can't make 29" work. It's a stretch (so to speak) for people of your height, but you wouldn't be the only one doing it. Since you are at the very bottom end of the height range, you may well have to go custom to make it work. I believe that cockpit length and toe clearance, and not standover, are the limiting factor in keeping some shorter riders from being able to make 29"ing work (and as a 5'7" guy myself, I've given this some thought). If your torso and arms are too short, you'll have to shorten the top tube to the point that either (1) you run into toe clearance problems with the front wheel or (2) you've slacked out the steering too much to avoid problem 1.

    One solution to this problem (not that you have any control over this) is to have small feet, of course: what's your shoe size? Another clever solution is employed by the KM, increasing the fork rake to move the wheel a bit further out from the toes while speeding up the handling. I don't know at what point handling gets goofy, but it's possible that a decrease of .5 degrees in head angle, combined with a few extra mm of rake (of course we're deep into custom territory here). Each of those two changes increases the distance between your feet and front tire, yet they cancel each other out in terms of trail, if I understand it correctly.

    OK, I'm not a bike designer, just a geek who spends too much time on these forums, but as I see it the bottom line is this: if you can fit the Fisher 29"ers length-wise, I don't see why the Monkey wouldn't fit you. And even if the Fisher doesn't quite work for you, it doesn't mean you're out of the game -- although you might have to go custom, and maybe that pushes it out of reach budget-wise. If it comes to that, that's a decision you'll have to make.

    Hope this helps. Best of luck, and feel free to come to Oregon and test ride mine!

    - Dan

  14. #14
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    Small frames

    Spinz,

    I'm currently on the phone with Marty at www.mudbats.com, he swears he can build you a frame without any issue. Give him a call at 517-749-0588 - preferable. Hope that helps.

    Jason

  15. #15
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    custom frame

    I just got my 29er frame from Walt great guy easy to work with and really did a nice job. He gets my vote

  16. #16
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! Airborne

    ...if you are fast you can get a 2004 Airborne Dreadnaught Titanium Twenty-Nine Inch Wheel Single Speed Frame, 16’' MODEL CLOSEOUT for $700:
    http://www.airborne.net/eready/janet.../clearance.asp

    /P

  17. #17
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    QUOTE=mikesee]Airborne makes a 16" ti B29 frame with a ridiculously dropped top tube that fits my 5'4" fiancee (see photo) like it was custom built for her, and that's with an 80mm travel fork.[/QUOTE]

    mikesee - No wonder you're the "Man of the Year". All around 29er dude extraordinaire AND a fiancee riding a 29er!

    My chickie rides road, does that count for something, come on, they're 700c!!??

    SpinWheelz - If the shoe fits, wear it! Get a Fisher and go enjoy 29er bliss, if you love it then go custom.

  18. #18
    Only dead people are old
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    If you want to ride 26" wheels then do it. If you want to ride 29"ers, then stop beating around the bush and do it...
    Yeah, what he said...

    Short people and 29ers go together well with the right bike fit - don't let others decide for you.

  19. #19
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    um small frames?

    these belong to a poster on this forum... i think you catch the drift..

    so its simply about finding aframe wee enough for under carriage clearance..
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  20. #20
    Sofa King We Todd Did
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    I've taken my time to read through all your feedback, fellas. Thank you for giving enough of a sh!t to talk me though all this. So far this dilemma has be almost entirely theoretical - like most of you have advised, I need to go to the shop and give a 29er a proper ride. If this category of ride doesn't appeal to me, then going back and forth about what kind of frame doesn't really matter, does it.

    Glowboy, thanks for really taking the time to dumb things down for me, as well as the offer for the ride (as improbable it might be for me to take you up on it!). I particularly enjoyed mikesee's brand of tough love on the issue - the bastard's voted man of the year and now he wants to slap everyone around! Cheers, mate. Mike, along with the rest of you seem convinced that a 29er can work for me. I just need to do more research, try them out, etc. What I do know right now is that a custom built ride is right out. I understand the costs involved and they are well out of reach at the moment, even with our more affordable sponsors, contributors and the like. I just don't have the dosh for that sort of build. I'm sure that one day I will, just not right now. But after all is said and done, and I find out that the only way I'm ever going fit on a 29er (off-the-shelf frames like the Airbornes, etc. notwithstanding) is to have one built for me, then I'll do the right thing, save up my cabbage and go for it.

    At the same time, I also got thinking about the Fisher Rig this morning. What on earth is so wrong about the Rig? I take a look at the build and it's got most of what I want out of a 29er. Singlespeed, mechanical disc brakes, a decent collection of parts, totally sweet color. When I costed out a Monkey, I came in around $900 for the build, and this was with a decent collection of parts I had lying around already. For $100 more, I'd get a pretty good squishy fork with a host of brand new parts on the Rig. What shouldn't I consider the Rig if it's pretty much everything I'm looking for? I think I got distracted by wanting to build my own bike, who knows.

    What I do know is that I need to give my bike shop a call and arrange to have a ride on a small-sized 29er. Everything should work itself out after that.

    Thanks again to everyone for all thoughtful input. Maybe the dream won't die, maybe it'll be put on hold for a bit. But let's see where this takes me.

    Cheers.

  21. #21
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    If SS is all you want, then limit your efforts to obtaining an S Rig for a bit less than retail, and take it from there. And as I said, you can easily sell the Reba and buy a KM fork if you're really tight on cash. Focus on hitting the trails. Custom may not be necessary at all.

    Good luck!

    J
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

  22. #22
    Witty McWitterson
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    Jason, what's up with Mudbats? They look like nice frames. Is he looking for forks or something? Where's he located?
    Just a regular guy.

  23. #23
    Schipperkes are cool.
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    Step 1:
    Buy a frame-only size small fisher 29er hardtail (cheapest one they have, not the supercal - they're all the same frame w/diff paint anyway
    No, they are not.
    The Xcaliber and the Paragon are the same frame for 2005, $1270 & $1540.
    There is no more Supercal. Good Luck on eBay or here.
    The Montare is a totaly different jobbie, it's the same as the 129/229.

    I have put 3 customers on Small 29" Fishers with out any problems. The KM is a bit taller and gangly looking-not as refined as the Fishers Do not compare your height to a female of the same, they have longer femur bones.

    You might be better off on a 26" wheeled wonder-it's not a bad thing. Like you said, it might not be for you.

    Good Luck,

    Scoty
    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Better suited to non-aggressive 125# gals named Russell.
    I ride so slow, your Garmin will shut off.

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