Project Wife Bike - Wife is 5'2"; Not Sure about a 29.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Project Wife Bike - Wife is 5'2"; Not Sure about a 29.

    The wife and I used to ride together every weekend, until kids and all that responsibility stuff. She had a Trek Fuel EX5.5 WSD, but it was so heavy (33 pounds), and she wasn't riding it, so I sold it last year.

    But now she wants to get back into it, and this time I want to build it from the frame up, so I can piece it together how i want.

    She's only 5'2". (she says 5'3")

    I had planned on building her an Extra-Small Yeti ASR5c - a simple, capable lightweight carbon 26r that I bet I could build in the 22-24 pound range, max.

    But a friend of mine said I was nuts and should build her a 29. I was assuming that at her height, it might feel cumbersome, but that's hard for me to gauge.

    Yeah yeah she should go demo one, and maybe we will, but I'm curious if anyone else out there has their kinda-short wife or girlfriend on a 29.

    We are in Northern UT where its rocky with big climbs. The trail she would ride most of the time is right behind our house - rocky, solid climb.

    But now some manufacturers are placing wheel size in direct proportion with the size - the new Yeti ASRc for example is 27.5 at a certain point in the smaller sizes; the larger sizes are 29. I would have to think that there is something to that logic.

    I feel like a 26 or 27.5 might be the better option, but curious if anyone has experience.

  2. #2
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    My wife's got an inch or two on yours, but she's never been happier on a bike then when I found an old Lenz Leviathan from a PinkBike user. I can't remember if it was a small or medium in their sizing, but with a 50mm stem its been perfect for her. Previous bike was a GT FS 26er, which never worked for her at all, and she's loved the roll-over and speed factor that the 29er has, even in our tight and twisty trails she rides in the PNW. The beautiful part of the Lenz was that it was old, so it was cheap, but pretty light... far lighter than her older GT.

    Again, its the boring answer, but demos might be the best option... and maybe look at finding other trails to 'restart' on? I've noticed my wife's skills, enjoyment, and desire to bike have all increased when we found stuff that was easy/accessible for her (and maybe less fun for I) and now she's willing to take on newer, harder challenges.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by padrefan1982 View Post
    My wife's got an inch or two on yours, but she's never been happier on a bike then when I found an old Lenz Leviathan from a PinkBike user. I can't remember if it was a small or medium in their sizing, but with a 50mm stem its been perfect for her. Previous bike was a GT FS 26er, which never worked for her at all, and she's loved the roll-over and speed factor that the 29er has, even in our tight and twisty trails she rides in the PNW. The beautiful part of the Lenz was that it was old, so it was cheap, but pretty light... far lighter than her older GT.

    Again, its the boring answer, but demos might be the best option... and maybe look at finding other trails to 'restart' on? I've noticed my wife's skills, enjoyment, and desire to bike have all increased when we found stuff that was easy/accessible for her (and maybe less fun for I) and now she's willing to take on newer, harder challenges.
    Thanks. I know when I personally went to a 29, I was totally blown away at the rollover factor, and the ease of tech-drops, etc. So I would assume regardless of height, it would be an advantage, but ... I rarely feel the negatives of the 29 (tight cornering), but maybe at 5'2" those negatives are even worse. Like I said, there has to be a reason why companies place wheel size in-accordance-to size.

    Her skill set probably didn't go anywhere, but yeah I agree (its only been 3 years, so not *too* long...kinda). I'll set her loose on some smooth stuff first - but we have a great trail that we can ride right from our house. Just an up-and-back, but 12 miles and 2k of climbing in rocky conditions. Good for cardio and tech skills. I just want her to get out and be a little more independent again.

    I do plan do this on the cheap too - but the weight is my biggest concern. She's petite - tough, but little. I'll keep watching PB among others to try to find a deal on a carbon frame - and actually with needing an XS, closeouts will work really well into my favor too.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by KGAmoto View Post
    Thanks. I know when I personally went to a 29, I was totally blown away at the rollover factor, and the ease of tech-drops, etc. So I would assume regardless of height, it would be an advantage, but ... I rarely feel the negatives of the 29 (tight cornering), but maybe at 5'2" those negatives are even worse. Like I said, there has to be a reason why companies place wheel size in-accordance-to size.

    Her skill set probably didn't go anywhere, but yeah I agree (its only been 3 years, so not *too* long...kinda). I'll set her loose on some smooth stuff first - but we have a great trail that we can ride right from our house. Just an up-and-back, but 12 miles and 2k of climbing in rocky conditions. Good for cardio and tech skills. I just want her to get out and be a little more independent again.

    I do plan do this on the cheap too - but the weight is my biggest concern. She's petite - tough, but little. I'll keep watching PB among others to try to find a deal on a carbon frame - and actually with needing an XS, closeouts will work really well into my favor too.
    "Like I said, there has to be a reason why companies place wheel size in-accordance-to size"

    Yes there is! For the riding you explained it sounds like she would be better off with a 26" or 27.5". My son is about her height and has a 26" wheeled FS bike and 29'er HT. Loves them both for different types of riding.

  5. #5
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    My wife is also about 5ft2 and after test riding chose a 26" xc hardtail which she loves riding and we got a good bit off the price. Best to let her choose the bike she likes. I have a 29" xc hardtail.

  6. #6
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    I'm going opposite of everyone else.

    My wife is 5'3" on a good day. She loves her S Tallboy2C. She also has a S Niner EMD that she has no problems with.....she actually rides it more often. Niner now makes an XS frame size, which was not available when we built my wife's bike.

    I don't think I could get her to go back to 26" wheels.
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  7. #7
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    I would say that 5'1-2" is probably about the limit of how small a person can reasonably fit on a 29er. Under 5 foot would be better off with a smaller wheel.

    My wife(5'2") just had her first ride on her Salsa Spearfish 29 (16" frame) and she loved it. First 29er for her. She was amazed at how smooth everything was(it only has 80mm rear travel) and how well it kept momentum. She loved it after first ride. The standover was a bit of a stretch and an extra inch of clearance would have helped.

  8. #8
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    With the quantity of good 650B setups for that height range, I'd at least try it. The Beti ASR would be the first one to check out, but the Giant AnthemSX line is actually pretty awesome in the smaller wheelsize too.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tehllama View Post
    With the quantity of good 650B setups for that height range, I'd at least try it. The Beti ASR would be the first one to check out, but the Giant AnthemSX line is actually pretty awesome in the smaller wheelsize too.
    Yeah I agree and the Yeti Beti ASRc would be my first pick (I'm partial), but this is going to be a on a tight budget. I'm not convinced she'll have the initiative to go ride by herself too often (its very hard for us to have free-time together); I don't want to drop 4k on a bike as an experiment.

    Plus, it will be fun for us to build it up together. Ok maybe just fun for me.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by KGAmoto View Post
    Yeah I agree and the Yeti Beti ASRc would be my first pick (I'm partial), but this is going to be a on a tight budget. I'm not convinced she'll have the initiative to go ride by herself too often (its very hard for us to have free-time together); I don't want to drop 4k on a bike as an experiment.

    Plus, it will be fun for us to build it up together. Ok maybe just fun for me.
    With 26" wheels being out of style :-) that is your best value.....27.5 and 29 inch wheels bikes are generally more expensive.

    For my 10 year old he outgrew his 24" wheeled bike and I found a XS 26" SC Nickel for $900. Alum frame but it had a Fox fork, Chris King wheels and Sram XO drivetrain. Probably cost $4K or more to build that bike.

    You could find a really nice 26" SC Blur (Carbon) or something similar CHEAP these days.

  11. #11
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    I was thinking Blur or something too - even an older ASRc would be pretty brilliant, and it's still totally possible to find some really nice 26" wheels (at one point the closeout Mavic Crossmax or whatever kits were so cheap, I was tempted to snap up the set just to build a short travel goofing around bike.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeZee View Post
    With 26" wheels being out of style :-) that is your best value.....27.5 and 29 inch wheels bikes are generally more expensive.

    For my 10 year old he outgrew his 24" wheeled bike and I found a XS 26" SC Nickel for $900. Alum frame but it had a Fox fork, Chris King wheels and Sram XO drivetrain. Probably cost $4K or more to build that bike.

    You could find a really nice 26" SC Blur (Carbon) or something similar CHEAP these days.
    Yep thats why my first thought is the ASR5c. Cheap, but really light and damn good. But I'm sure finding a Small ASR5c frame won't be easy. But yes, a Blur, etc. 26" was my first thought because of budget. Wheels will be cheap, etc. But finding a GOOD fork I think will be tougher since it would probably be 1 1/8" straight.

    I had a 2013 Giant Reign 1 and couldn't give it away (I had a**holes offering me $1200 for it). 26" stuff is cheap now, but I wonder how quickly it will be tough to find tires, etc. You'd think legacy stuff like that should be around for quite a while, but the 27.5 "thing" happened overnight.

  13. #13
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    Are you in the Ogden area?

    My wife, who is 5'5", rode a 29er for awhile and hated it. Her last 2 bikes have been 650b and her current bike is a Juliana Furtado. She loves it.
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    I would look for a 650b xc and trail bike. Something like the tHunderBolt 730.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by KGAmoto View Post
    Yep thats why my first thought is the ASR5c. Cheap, but really light and damn good. But I'm sure finding a Small ASR5c frame won't be easy. But yes, a Blur, etc. 26" was my first thought because of budget. Wheels will be cheap, etc. But finding a GOOD fork I think will be tougher since it would probably be 1 1/8" straight.

    I had a 2013 Giant Reign 1 and couldn't give it away (I had a**holes offering me $1200 for it). 26" stuff is cheap now, but I wonder how quickly it will be tough to find tires, etc. You'd think legacy stuff like that should be around for quite a while, but the 27.5 "thing" happened overnight.
    My son's Nickel has a tapered HT. Tires should be around for a long time...

    Components > Wheels, Tires and Tubes > Tires and Tubes > Tires | Jenson USA.

    However if you can swing it a safer bet is a 27.5" wheeled bike

  16. #16
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    Other thing is when you put a small rider on a 29er is the sky high handlebar. That often puts the rider in a super upright position and can suck when it comes to handling.

  17. #17
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    (dgw2jr - I'm in the SLC area)

    Yeah a 27.5 would be my choice if I had all three options laying in front of me right now.

    And thanks for the reminder about high-bars @RS VR6 - good point.

    I think she'll feel like she's riding a huge tractor with the big wheels. I'll get her on mine to get a rough gauge.

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    I'm 5'6. Was on a Epic WC and now on a Thunderbolt BCE. Very different bikes...

    Epic was fast, but very tall. The Thunderbolt far better fitting and more stable. I understand geo plays a role but I would generally recommend 27.5 for anyone using a small or XS frame.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doingitright View Post
    I'm 5'6. Was on a Epic WC and now on a Thunderbolt BCE. Very different bikes...

    Epic was fast, but very tall. The Thunderbolt far better fitting and more stable. I understand geo plays a role but I would generally recommend 27.5 for anyone using a small or XS frame.
    Thanks and yeah I agree; the comments here just reinforce what I was generally thinking. I had little intention of a 29 build but after my friend "insisted", I thought I'd get some other opinions.
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  20. #20
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    Some brands have the specific woman's geometry. Is should be 29" WMS geometry in S size

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    Quote Originally Posted by RS VR6 View Post
    Other thing is when you put a small rider on a 29er is the sky high handlebar. That often puts the rider in a super upright position and can suck when it comes to handling.
    Are you sure about super high handle bar position?
    Check out the upside-down risers?
    Low Top RDO

  22. #22
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    Let her ride a couple 29ers and see what she thinks. At her height, and being on the cusp size wise, I wouldn't risk plunking down cash without a real world experiment.

    As for the Yeti asr5, you'll have to pry mine from my dead hands. I also ride a TransAM 29 so no 26" bias here. That bike freaking rips. I'm even upgrading my worn fork as opposed to selling and buying a 27.5, boost crap, etc

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnigro View Post
    Let her ride a couple 29ers and see what she thinks. At her height, and being on the cusp size wise, I wouldn't risk plunking down cash without a real world experiment.

    As for the Yeti asr5, you'll have to pry mine from my dead hands. I also ride a TransAM 29 so no 26" bias here. That bike freaking rips. I'm even upgrading my worn fork as opposed to selling and buying a 27.5, boost crap, etc
    Yep I agree and I need to get her on a 29 to see. I demo'd a bike myself last week, thinking that was the direction I wanted to go for next year. Glad I tried it - I didn't really like it and made me realize how good my current setup is (SB95).

    And yes, I'm pretty sure I'll have to wait patiently for an ASR5c to pop up, especially in her size (XS or S - not even sure).

  24. #24
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    What's her inseam?
    My GF is 5 foot and has a 26.5" inseam. Find a bike to fit her is a PITA for what she likes to ride. She wants a 140ish travel bike.
    So far its a Giant, Kona or a Transition

    The "Women-Specific" bikes are not so Women Specific at all with most of their XS bikes having a 28+ stand over. Their WSD are more moving towards a saddle and bars

    Have you looked at The Kona Process 134 SE, Transition Scout/Transam. not knowing her inseam

    my GF hates 29er's loves 26's and wants to get a 27.5
    Too Many .

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent701 View Post
    What's her inseam?
    My GF is 5 foot and has a 26.5" inseam. Find a bike to fit her is a PITA for what she likes to ride. She wants a 140ish travel bike.
    So far its a Giant, Kona or a Transition

    The "Women-Specific" bikes are not so Women Specific at all with most of their XS bikes having a 28+ stand over. Their WSD are more moving towards a saddle and bars

    Have you looked at The Kona Process 134 SE, Transition Scout/Transam. not knowing her inseam

    my GF hates 29er's loves 26's and wants to get a 27.5
    Her inseam is 29". I'm sure stand-over will be an issue no matter what, but she'll be ok.

    Haven't looked at those. I really do want the Yeti ASR5c because of the weight and versatility of the frame. But I've been searching for anything "size small" to see what comes up. Found a Giant Intrigue but it's priced too high and again, the weight of the build is a priority for me. Although that would indeed be a great option

    That said, I would prefer a 27.5 for her
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by KGAmoto View Post
    Her inseam is 29". I'm sure stand-over will be an issue no matter what, but she'll be ok.

    Haven't looked at those. I really do want the Yeti ASR5c because of the weight and versatility of the frame. But I've been searching for anything "size small" to see what comes up. Found a Giant Intrigue but it's priced too high and again, the weight of the build is a priority for me. Although that would indeed be a great option

    That said, I would prefer a 27.5 for her
    with a 29" inseam she is golden. Basically any bike she can have.
    Too Many .

  27. #27
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    My wife is 5 ft even, I put her on a Trek Cali size 14 which has 29 wheels. She loves it compared to the Skye w/27.5 wheels that she had. One thing we did was flipped the stem to lower the handlebar which can be an issue with someone of that height on 29's.

  28. #28
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    How about a Kona Process 134 SE... designed for smaller riders.

    Best stand over you'll find.

    Plus a really fun ride (we want our women to have fun, don't we?)

    Whether they have a frame only option is the big question.

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  29. #29
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    My son is right about 5 feet and I have him on a Specialized Myka 29er. I just can't bring myself to start using another wheel size in the family. He went straight from 24" wheels to 29.

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    my friend is about 5'1 or so. She rides the smallest size Niner Jet 9 and loves it on our rocky, rough trails. That small frame with the big wheels is a marvel of how to defy the laws of physics.

  31. #31
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    I'm a little over 5'3". I agree with those who say she needs to test ride different wheel sizes. If I was smaller I may not like a 29er because of the stand over height. Mounting and dismounting is a pain in the ass however, I love the way the bike rolls so I put up with it and she may too.

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    One of my old roommates is about that height and could never really get along with her Trek 4300, so we chipped in and bought her a redline monocog flight frame. we built up with whatever junk I had on the work bench and she ponied up and put some Hopes/Crest wheels on it and has been riding it SS for years now. It weighs 24lbs or so, and she absolutely loves it and probably doubled her average speed on the trail. That basic bicycle completely transformed her riding in a very good way.

    From what I've seen, if she likes technical riding, I might not go for a 29er, but if she likes XC type riding, it might be a very good fit.

  33. #33
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    your wife is all legs, congrats! whats her reach like? With that inseam, it opens up a lot of possibilities, especially if her reach matches her legs. i'm 5'7" with a 29" inseam, and I can usually fit a medium in most 29ers. I'm usually between a small and medium with most brands. She definitely has to demo some bikes first hand with those proportions.

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    I was in the same dilemma, what shall I buy for my wife. She wants to start MTBing and I didn't want the bike to feel so huge for her. She is 5'1, and the problem is her inseam is 28.5 inches, so I needed a standover height under that at least by one inch. Even in small, 27.5 or 29er, there was not much that fit the bill. Treks bike have a very large standover that just would not work for her. I wanted her to be able to stand over the bike with both feet on the ground, here is what I found that fit the bill.

    Yeti Beti 27.5 - XS - - stand over - 761mm/29.9 inches

    Niner Jet 9 or RDO 29er - XS or small - stand over - XS 679mm/26.7 inches; small frame 696mm/27.40inches

    Juliana Joplin 29er Carbon - small - standover - 716mm/28.2inches

    Specialized Rumor 27.5 - small - standover - 695mm/27.3inches

    Specialized Rumor 29er - small - standover - 703mm/27.6inches

    I boiled it down to these as they are supposedly "women" specific. What I learned about Specialized is that it is designed for women by women and from what I learned these women are 5ft - 5'3 inches that worked on designing this bike. So they were probably very well aware of the need of a good stand over for shorter women with longer torso and shorter inseam, i.e., my wife.

    Comp. Cyclist has some serious deals on the Julian Joplin, $1200 for a carbon frame only. Juliana Joplin Carbon Mountain Bike Frame-2014 | Competitive Cyclist

    Keep in mind the Joplin is actually a Tallboy just rebranded. I was so tempted to purchase one from CC because they were offering a killer spec at a crazy deal. But, the standover is not good for my wife so I passed it up. However, if you look at the standover heights, the choices were limited to Niner and Spec.

    You can also get the Jet 9 RDO in XS as well but will pay MORE. I had difficulty tracking down a Niner Jet 9 Carbon in time for her birthday in that size. For my wife I went with Spec Rumor. THere are good reviews on the Rumer's geometry as it was reviewed in Bike mag:
    Specialized unveils new women's 29er

    Specialized Rumor Evo review | 2015 Bible of Bike Tests

    I also chose the 27.5 wheel because of budget and I know my wife she will not like colors offered in their 29er size (maybe you wife may like). The spec was a little below middle of the road but that is ok, the price was right and its her entry level bike. The bike feels lighter than I expected too, I have not weighed it but I suspect its about 26.5 or 27 lbs. I felt the 27.5 will give her some stability with agility as well. Perhaps later down the road she can demo 29ers to see if she would like that or if she feels that is too much for her.

  35. #35
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    Check with your local Specialize dealers, ask them to look in the computer for last years stock on closeout. Ask them for a deal on one of those. There were Rumor's still available in 29er and 27.5. They will only discount last years model but not this years. Ask for this bike, they had a Rumor Elite 29er close out, I believe it was that one, its MSRP was $4200 and they were willing to go $3100 on it. It came with a dropper post as well. I was tempted to buy it but the budget wouldn't budge.

    The Rumor is more of all mountain/trail bike but Spec makes other bikes that women specific as well. Get on the site and have a look, they have hard tails, XC, etc.
    Specialized Bicycle Components

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev. 14 View Post
    I was in the same dilemma, what shall I buy for my wife. She wants to start MTBing and I didn't want the bike to feel so huge for her. She is 5'1, and the problem is her inseam is 28.5 inches, so I needed a standover height under that at least by one inch. Even in small, 27.5 or 29er, there was not much that fit the bill. Treks bike have a very large standover that just would not work for her. I wanted her to be able to stand over the bike with both feet on the ground, here is what I found that fit the bill.

    Yeti Beti 27.5 - XS - - stand over - 761mm/29.9 inches

    Niner Jet 9 or RDO 29er - XS or small - stand over - XS 679mm/26.7 inches; small frame 696mm/27.40inches

    Juliana Joplin 29er Carbon - small - standover - 716mm/28.2inches

    Specialized Rumor 27.5 - small - standover - 695mm/27.3inches

    Specialized Rumor 29er - small - standover - 703mm/27.6inches

    I boiled it down to these as they are supposedly "women" specific. What I learned about Specialized is that it is designed for women by women and from what I learned these women are 5ft - 5'3 inches that worked on designing this bike. So they were probably very well aware of the need of a good stand over for shorter women with longer torso and shorter inseam, i.e., my wife.

    Comp. Cyclist has some serious deals on the Julian Joplin, $1200 for a carbon frame only. Juliana Joplin Carbon Mountain Bike Frame-2014 | Competitive Cyclist

    Keep in mind the Joplin is actually a Tallboy just rebranded. I was so tempted to purchase one from CC because they were offering a killer spec at a crazy deal. But, the standover is not good for my wife so I passed it up. However, if you look at the standover heights, the choices were limited to Niner and Spec.

    You can also get the Jet 9 RDO in XS as well but will pay MORE. I had difficulty tracking down a Niner Jet 9 Carbon in time for her birthday in that size. For my wife I went with Spec Rumor. THere are good reviews on the Rumer's geometry as it was reviewed in Bike mag:
    Specialized unveils new women's 29er

    Specialized Rumor Evo review | 2015 Bible of Bike Tests

    I also chose the 27.5 wheel because of budget and I know my wife she will not like colors offered in their 29er size (maybe you wife may like). The spec was a little below middle of the road but that is ok, the price was right and its her entry level bike. The bike feels lighter than I expected too, I have not weighed it but I suspect its about 26.5 or 27 lbs. I felt the 27.5 will give her some stability with agility as well. Perhaps later down the road she can demo 29ers to see if she would like that or if she feels that is too much for her.
    With her size i would put her on a 650b bike.
    Some of hose bikes off what you are looking for are too big. Look at reach also

    Most of the specialized bikes are newly a men's frame with female parts. Cranks are shorter. Bats are smaller. Front chain ring gear is lower.

    The Trek lush has a 26.85 stand over in 15.5" frame and is a 650b 120mm bike.

    The Kona process 134 SE was made this year in a XS for small girls with a 25.5 stand over but a small reach.

  37. #37
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    My wife is 5'-7" and she felt the best on 27.5"/650b bike for trail riding. On the road/bike paths she's on a larger frame with 700c rims.

    It was kind of a fiasco, so I feel your pain. I'm just glad she now has a bike she feels good about riding off road... even if she needs two separate bikes...
    Life is too short to ride a bike you don't love.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent701 View Post
    Most of the specialized bikes are newly a men's frame with female parts. Cranks are shorter. Bats are smaller.
    I'm not sure if you read what I said, the women specific bike Spec is making are designed by women for women. They are not men's frames with female parts, like the Santa Cruz Juliana. Look at the geometry on them, notice how low the standover is, cranks are shorter as well. The reach on the Rumor is in the same ballpark as well. If you read what I said, I did purchase 27.5 and since I can't keep a secret she got to see it and loves it. It fits perfect.

    What do you mean "bats?"

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    I should add based on the above post:

    She also got a female specific bike. Geo is totally different than the same frame size for a man/unisex.
    Life is too short to ride a bike you don't love.

  40. #40
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    Hey guys, I'm trying to find a bike for my husband. Nothing seems to working out. Which is the least fem "women" specific" model out there, although he does like bright colors.

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    650b with slightly wider rims roll great without much of a weight penalty.
    Killing it with close inspection.

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