Female trail / enduro bike setup (X-post)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. Female trail / enduro bike setup (X-post)

    Hello all. Asking on behalf of my girlfriend if you don't mind. She doesn't use these forums. We both have Transition Smugglers (Enduro, trail, fun bike), mine is a 2016 model (115 rear travel with 140 mm Pikes up front), hers is the 2018 model, Sram GX build kit with Fox forks and shock, 35mm stem.

    She's about 5' 6", maybe 6.5., quite narrow shoulder to shoulder. Was recommended to go with the medium as was told the small was tiny.
    The situation is that she really liked my bike before buying hers (which is also size M, 50mm stem), but she's struggling a bit to get the confidence and same feel on her bike. She started out on a XC type hardtail for a year before buying her own smuggler, and she was riding some pretty gnarly stuff on her hardtail in that time. So she's somewhat new to mountain biking, but has been at it for 18 months now, and we go out and ride quite regularly, so not at all a beginner, well past that stage.


    -As far as I know, the top tube on the 2018 bike is slightly longer than my 2016 bike, and its built around a shorter stem, and slacker head angle.
    -She cut the stock 780 bars down to 760, then after still finding them far too long, swapped them out for ones we borrowed off a friend which are 700mm (In doing this we had to also borrow a stem which is 15mm longer than the stock stem due to the 31.8 mm bars versus the 35 bars that came on the bike). She has a lot more confidence on these bars for turning, but still finds something isn't right.
    -Is it just a case of riding the bike more?
    -I have tried to tell her its a different cornering technique to cornering on the hardtail and that you have to use your body a bit more due to the geometry.... not so much just turning the bars like on the HT.

    I know all this is slightly vague, just looking for any kind of help for feedback, or just advice or help I can pass on to her. There have been moments on a recent ride or two where she walked sections she would have ridden on her hardtail and we both know it, steep enough and techy enough sections, but still.
    I know this is a bit of a word dump!!
    Just looking to get her confidence back really!!

    Cheers

  2. #2
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    ^^I guess Transition is keeping that a secret, since the website has zero info on geometry or sizing, which is really unusual. Was the hardtail a 29'r also? If I were her I would session some easier trails to learn how the new bike rides, and to push it harder and harder through it's paces on comfortable terrain to gain skills on the new bike rather than jumping into the techy stuff. Everything on a bike is a compromise, so I'm sure there are some things the old bike was better at, such as the ability to toss it around more easily when things threaten to go sideways. And when I wanted to try harder stuff, I would definitely be using the dropper liberally.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    ^^I guess Transition is keeping that a secret, since the website has zero info on geometry or sizing, which is really unusual. Was the hardtail a 29'r also? If I were her I would session some easier trails to learn how the new bike rides, and to push it harder and harder through it's paces on comfortable terrain to gain skills on the new bike rather than jumping into the techy stuff. Everything on a bike is a compromise, so I'm sure there are some things the old bike was better at, such as the ability to toss it around more easily when things threaten to go sideways. And when I wanted to try harder stuff, I would definitely be using the dropper liberally.
    Did you find this page? https://www.transitionbikes.com/Sizing.cfm

    OP, at 5'6", she's right in the middle of S/M. What is her leg/torso ratio? If she's mostly leg, then I can see the medium being too big for her with too long a reach--feeling too stretched out can make cornering feel sketchy as hell. Since she's narrow in the shoulders, it would follow that she doesn't have as long a wingspan as some 5'6" people would have, again contributing to being too stretched out. Has she had a professional fit? How does her body position on the Smuggler compare to her hardtail--keeping in mind that her position on the trail bike should be a little more upright?

  4. #4
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    My bikes always feel big to me until I play around with a bunch of things. Moving the seat forward on the rails has made the biggest difference for me, especially with climbing. Also, buy a shorter stem (they are cheap anyway even if the bars are borrowed) and put the handlebars at the highest that they will go. Doing these 3 things usually transforms any bike from just a bike that I am riding, to being MY bike.

    For reference, I am 5'2" and have a Size S 2015 Liv Lust and a Men's S 2019 Norco Bigfoot.

  5. #5
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    I'll be one to buck the trend and say that bike is way too big for her, 450mm reach for a person 5'6" I'm 6'2" and have bikes with that reach and run a 70mm stem with them and 780mm bar, so there's that first up. Second is the fact that the new version is 18mm longer in reach than old, 1.5 degree slacker HTA and uses a much less offset fork 43mm vs 51mm on the old, so all that is going to add up to feeling MUCH different, especially to someone fairly new to the sport.

    The best thing I cold suggest would be to swap bikes with her and let her ride the old version and you the new, then once she's gotten accustomed to that, then let her try the new one again, you'll also get to feel the difference and can then maybe better try to help dial the fit in for her or just let her keep that if she's happy on it.

    Not everyone is into this new fangled, super long, super slack geo BS, so there's that to look at as well and maybe it's just something you'll need to think of. I personally am not a fan of the trend and hope it stops soon, my ideal trail bike has a HTA of slackest 67.5*, if not when you're in the rolling terrain and tight stuff, it takes a lot more effort to keep the front end weighted, a real PITA. my current main bikes have a 474mm and 484mm reach, 67.5* & 68.5* HTA 40mm & 60mm stems.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy Juice View Post
    Did you find this page? https://www.transitionbikes.com/Sizing.cfm

    OP, at 5'6", she's right in the middle of S/M. What is her leg/torso ratio? If she's mostly leg, then I can see the medium being too big for her with too long a reach--feeling too stretched out can make cornering feel sketchy as hell. Since she's narrow in the shoulders, it would follow that she doesn't have as long a wingspan as some 5'6" people would have, again contributing to being too stretched out. Has she had a professional fit? How does her body position on the Smuggler compare to her hardtail--keeping in mind that her position on the trail bike should be a little more upright?
    This isn't the case for me. I'm 5'6.75, and ride a men's medium. My inseam is 33.3". A small has too low a standover, and I end up maxing out 410 mm seatposts, and still need more. Plus, the stacks on size small bikes are so low that it does not help at all with a short torso. Arm length is very important. Shorter arms equal shorter reach, longer arms equal longer reach. I'm unusual in that I need both a high stack, and a long reach. Those things don't go together well. (short torso, long arms). but the bikes do exist. I just make do and buy the bike I want.

    I'm wondering if the bars are still a little wide. I have 42 cm shoulders, and use 710 mm bars. Strength and width are important to maximize handling. I'm quite stong, but I lose leverage with wider bars. I have a female friend who is a very strong MBer, 5'9", and uses about the same. Not sure of her shoulder width. But if your GF has very narrow shoulders, maybe look there. (It was on my friend's recommendation I go more narrow).

    And yes to a bike fit.
    Last edited by Muirenn; 01-23-2019 at 08:49 AM.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    I'll be one to buck the trend and say that bike is way too big for her, 450mm reach for a person 5'6"
    The reach is 450? Yeah. That's too long.
    2018 Surly Karate Monkey 'dingle' speed
    2013 CAADX 105
    2012 Pinarello Quattro
    2002 Zurich LeMond

  8. #8
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    Slide the seat far forward (also pedals better) and install a short stem. Then start from there.

    I have a new 30mm length (but 35mm diameter) stem that came with my Mondraker frame that I would sell as I never used it. Something along those lines could be very helpful.

    Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk

  9. #9
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    Position over the bottom bracket (fore and aft saddle placement) is used to change knee and body placement over the pedals. It shouldn't be used to change effective cockpit size. People with longer femurs need to be farther back relative to people with shorter femurs.
    2018 Surly Karate Monkey 'dingle' speed
    2013 CAADX 105
    2012 Pinarello Quattro
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