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  1. #1
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    More bike buying advice for a wife

    Hi, I'm yet another husband looking for advice buying a bike for the wife. Mine is 5'-1" tall and I'm trying to figure out if she should be on a 29'er or 27.5.

    I've read/heard that shorter female riders at around 5'-2" tall can ride 29'ers okay (i.e. emily batty). But, what's the whole story? She's interested in Santa Cruz bikes (primarily because of colors) and because I've ridden Santa Cruz bikes through the years.

    Any experiences and advice that anyone could share would be very helpful.

  2. #2
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    It's all about preference and also not all 29ers are the same and not all 27.5's are the same, I'm 5'4 and after riding many different bikes I've kinda landed on the General idea that I like hard tails and XC bikes as 29er and longer travel bikes as 27.5, currently my main bike is a RM altitude 150/160 27.5.

    There is no way you are going to be able to find the answer for her, she is going to have to ride the bikes herself and find out if she likes it. I would recommend you go and DEMO some bikes with her and help her that way.

  3. #3
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    I appreciate the advice and agree with you. There are none in her size to demo within several hundred miles of us so I either wait the demo process out for however many months or go to plan B. There are demos of some brands in her size but no bikes that she's interested in. And they are all pretty different with regard to geometry and feel so I don't see the point of demo-ing bikes that we'd never buy.

    So, I am hoping there are some people her size with experiences to share. Also, she only rolls over things, no jumping or drops.

  4. #4
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    If she likes Santa Cruz and the way you are describing her riding I think you should look at either the Santa Cruz 5010 (27.5 130/130) or the Santa Cruz Tallboy (29er 110/120).

    I think she would be happy on either, the 5010 is a fun bike that I really enjoyed.

  5. #5
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    She needs to test-ride a lot of bikes. And...if you could point out the things an experienced cyclist looks for when they test, that would help.

    If you are not an experienced cyclist, then that won't be an option. You might post questions in the beginner or general cycling forum, like, what specific things to look for when test-riding a bike, especially for a newer, petite rider. There are a lot of people there who answer these posts and sell bikes for a living.

    Ah, I see, no bikes that she likes in her size to test. And you've been around for a long time. Good. At least test all the bikes available, compare pros and cons, what seems to be missing, etc. Personally, I test-rode a carbon Specialized Fuse and absolutely loved it. Tested an aluminum Fuse. Eh. Not remotely similar. But I usually like aluminum, so it was just that bike for me. But still. What bikes are available in her size to test?
    Last edited by Muirenn; 08-16-2019 at 02:01 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naolin View Post
    If she likes Santa Cruz and the way you are describing her riding I think you should look at either the Santa Cruz 5010 (27.5 130/130) or the Santa Cruz Tallboy (29er 110/120).

    I think she would be happy on either, the 5010 is a fun bike that I really enjoyed.
    Or Juliana Bikes, since they are the women-specific version of Santa Cruz (unless my memory is really going). They even have a Demo link, perhaps that will be useful.

    https://www.julianabicycles.com/en-US/bikes

    Other than that, Trek, Liv Giant, and Jamis all have mountainbikes with nice women=specific geometry.

    I have also heard (from other women) that smaller riders do better with 27.5, but I ride a men's medium, so that is secondary information.
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  7. #7
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    Check out some of mLeier's posts.

    For example:
    https://forums.mtbr.com/giant/sizing...n-1106169.html

  8. #8
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    Thanks for all the good information and advice. Very helpful.

  9. #9
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    My wife is 5'-1". 29er looked like wagon wheels for her.
    27.5 is definitely better for short people in my opinion.

  10. #10
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    More bike buying advice for a wife

    While some brands have specific women’s frames some are just paint jobs with more women friendly components, i.e. narrower bars, small grips, shock tune, and wider seats. It’s better to think about it as body type specific not gender specific. Depending on your wife’s measurements she may or may not benefit from a “women’s” bike.
    Also something to consider is resale value. For whatever reason when it comes time to sell or upgrade it is much harder to get the money back from a women’s bike because sadly you are effectively eliminating a very large portion of potential buyers, if that’s something you care about.

    Conversely, when selling a standard bike and you mention it was female ridden it moves up the list for many buyers.

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shredmonkey View Post
    While some brands have specific women’s frames some are just paint jobs with more women friendly components, i.e. narrower bars, small grips, shock tune, and wider seats. It’s better to think about it as body type specific not gender specific. Depending on your wife’s measurements she may or may not benefit from a “women’s” bike.
    Also something to consider is resale value. For whatever reason when it comes time to sell or upgrade it is much harder to get the money back from a women’s bike because sadly you are effectively eliminating a very large portion of potential buyers, if that’s something you care about.


    I disagree. If there's a strong women's mtb community it's no trouble at all to sell a WSD bike. They go like hot cakes around here, hard to find.
    Conversely, when selling a standard bike and you mention it was female ridden it moves up the list for many buyers.
    Hiliarious how many guys get sucked in by that.

  12. #12
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    I know a woman at 5'4 or less. Pretty sure she rides a 29'er. Saw her on it once and the bike looks kinda big. The bike does not, just the proportion of wheels vs's frame looks like maybe a 29er.

    My ex girlfriend rides a small frame, 27.5 Juliana at 5'4. She looks appropriate on the bike and she really enjoyed it. however, she was adament to not get a 29'er due to marketing lingo that said how bad a 29 wheel is...even given she's an average rider.

    The women specific Juliana comes pre-equipped with different gearing (28t vs. 30t) and a suspension tune for the assumed lighter rider. Geometry dimensions are same as the SantaCruz 5010. Pretty sure stock bars were same width between the two bikes.
    She needed her bars to be cut down, I think she eventually got that taken care of but she did have to cheat her hands inward on the grips for the most comfort (despite not having bars narrowed at the time).

    I think that was the only differences between the Juliana and 5010, in 2016.

  13. #13
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    I think 27.5 is probably the safe bet. She's coming from a 26'er so the larger size will be a nice benefit. After reading similar questions and responses on MTBR I can see that some women at 5'1 or 5'2 have longer legs. My wife has shorter legs. I can't see her on a 29'er where the wheels are basically half her height.

    I think later on after she has a chance to demo 29'ers she could make an informed choice but the safe bet is a 27.5. Appreciate all the comments.

  14. #14
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    Good luck.
    Last edited by Miker J; 08-19-2019 at 01:58 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Most married women I know are not ripping down the trail flipping, hucking, manualing, jumping, etc... They like a bike that pedals easily smooths out the chatter, and feels stable. Yeah, sounds sexist but it is true in most cases. So, if you can find a bike that fits her go 29.

    I hear you on the color thing. My wife's primary concern with the bike is the color. If I was getting my wife a new bike I'd definitely be looking at Giant's bikes for women (Liv). Saw a few of them in person this week. Wow, those colors are so cool, well it made me jealous. That said, I'm not sure Giant does a 29 for women yet.


    Good luck.
    It’s time to point out that you are in the women’s lounge on a mountain bike forum. This is not a sub forum where it’s a good idea for men to come and talk about women. If you need that, ask the mods to make a subforum for men to discuss romantic heterosexual relationships with each other. Again, plural possessive, ‘women’s lounge.’ I.E., the place for women to come and talk. To each other.

    OP. No problem in asking as long as this kind of thing doesn’t happen.

  16. #16
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    27.5".
    Good luck.

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    I know a woman at 5'4 or less. Pretty sure she rides a 29'er. Saw her on it once and the bike looks kinda big. The bike does not, just the proportion of wheels vs's frame looks like maybe a 29er.

    My ex girlfriend rides a small frame, 27.5 Juliana at 5'4. She looks appropriate on the bike and she really enjoyed it. however, she was adament to not get a 29'er due to marketing lingo that said how bad a 29 wheel is...even given she's an average rider.

    The women specific Juliana comes pre-equipped with different gearing (28t vs. 30t) and a suspension tune for the assumed lighter rider. Geometry dimensions are same as the SantaCruz 5010. Pretty sure stock bars were same width between the two bikes.
    She needed her bars to be cut down, I think she eventually got that taken care of but she did have to cheat her hands inward on the grips for the most comfort (despite not having bars narrowed at the time).

    I think that was the only differences between the Juliana and 5010, in 2016.
    I noticed the Juliana medium ‘Joplin’ model had numbers close to my men’s mountain bike in the same size. But they do have an XS (not in the Joplin, unfortunately) and sometimes that smaller size is important. Plus, some of the Juliana’s have the wheel option of 27.5, or 27.5+. Again, important. They also have the advantage of coming in aluminum, several choices of carbon lay-up, and many different builds. And much higher quality than the average bike company that makes smaller bikes.

    Some companies do a lot with sizing, though. A typical size small in men’s is equivalent to a size medium in a Jamis Dragonfly women’s bike. And appears to be a nice option for some. They also make a small and XS, and the fir numbers are lower than most brands.

  18. #18
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    OP, if your wife is 5'1" with a short inseam then 27.5" is the way to go because she may need an XS model. At 5'2" I have ridden several 29ers and felt comfortable with them, but I have long legs for my height. Santa Cruz and Juliana bikes are great, and as long as it fits properly you really can't go wrong with the specs. The Bronson was my fave when I last demoed SC bikes, but it may be a bit overkill depending on your local terrain. Demos are the way to go, but if you can't find any in your area then at least see if you can arrange some parking lot test rides. Also, if there are any women's ride groups in your area, maybe your wife can meet up with some other riders and try out their bikes before she makes her final decision.
    Ride like a girl! :cornut:

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Most married women I know are not ripping down the trail flipping, hucking, manualing, jumping, etc... They like a bike that pedals easily smooths out the chatter, and feels stable. Yeah, sounds sexist but it is true in most cases. So, if you can find a bike that fits her go 29.

    I hear you on the color thing. My wife's primary concern with the bike is the color. If I was getting my wife a new bike I'd definitely be looking at Giant's bikes for women (Liv). Saw a few of them in person this week. Wow, those colors are so cool, well it made me jealous. That said, I'm not sure Giant does a 29 for women yet.


    Good luck.
    You obviously failed to read the sticky at the top of this forum so I'm reposting it for you:

    The Women's Lounge is a place for mountain biking women to discuss topics of their choosing. Guys are welcome, but consider yourselves guests, in this small corner of Mtbr designated for Women, specifically.

    Wit and humor and being a good sport are appreciated; trolling and baiting are not. Any post that is deemed inappropriate for this forum will be deleted at the moderator's discretion without explanation.

    This includes but is not limited to:

    * Posts that insult women, either individually or in a group

    * Posts that criticize sexual orientation

    * Posters that are deemed to be harrassing female posters

    * mansplaining of any topic

    Here's a hint: if you, as a man, think you just posted something sexist, then how do you think the women here are going to view it? I suggest you toddle off and take your misogynistic rubbish with you.
    Ride like a girl! :cornut:

  20. #20
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    Mods...

    Please delete my post. It has obviously upset people and that was not my intent.

    My apologies to anyone who has been bothered by my post.

    Like most advice given on these boards by many posters my recommendations were based on generalization. Similar to someone suggesting 29ers might not be ideal for relatively shorter riders - no disrespect to short rides, nor did I mean any disrespect to women riders. The typed word often fails to correctly convey the writers intent. If you knew me personally I think what I typed might not have been taken as it was.

    When replying to a post I don't check what forum it belongs to and was not familiar with the culture on this one. Lesson learned.

    Again, Mods, or to anyone whose been upset by the post, get it deleted.

  21. #21
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    The reason I still visit the women's forum is because I want to get women's specific advice to assist my wife's growth as a mountain biker. The reality is that other husbands/ boyfriends are the best source of this info, and only in a few cases do other women even reply with real advise which is really appreciated but limited to just a couple of members. Sprinkled in there are always a few claims of how sexist we are inherently for even trying to help. Because there are way more males that participate in the sport and males in general just tend to be 'gear heads' and pay excessive attention to the equipment itself you are just going to get more male responses.

    My thoughts are that these sort of threads should be moved to the 'General Discussion' forum by the admins so that this area is sex specific and left completely for the women. However, until that occurs I'll continue to participate to assist my wife (who doesn't do forums) otherwise I don't have a good resource to assist her and she won't bother. Heck I wish we could choose our sex when registering and this forum was completely invisible to males.

    ~ take care

  22. #22
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    I think we need a new subforum : Guys seeking advice on on what bike to buy for their wives.

    Honestly, the info has been so gone over, and over, and over I don't know why people don't do a search for the topic before posting. The main reason there not many women respond is that (venturing to speak for who is left in the forum) is that it is worn down topic.

    The other reason is stuff like this:
    Most married women I know are not ripping down the trail flipping, hucking, manualing, jumping, etc... They like a bike that pedals easily smooths out the chatter, and feels stable. Yeah, sounds sexist but it is true in most cases. So, if you can find a bike that fits her go 29.
    Miker J - you can edit your own post. Yeah, it's really offensive. It's downright insulting to the females of this forum. Maybe true in your neighborhood but I seriously doubt it.... Go ahead, I'll say it for who ever is thinking it, we shouldn't be so sensitive. Whatever. I feel sad that someone has such a narrow view of female mountain bikers. They obviously haven't been paying attention to the sport in the last 15 years, much less the representative women posting here.

  23. #23
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    I don't think we need another subforum, as this entire discussion forum is separated as it is in to too many pieces which reduces traffic and interest. Francis needs to consolidate, not separate.

    This topic talked about ad nauseam? Probably. But we are here because we like to talk about bikes, and the info about them advances constantly as do the bikes themselves. So if your a bike nerd, it's still very relevant and being updated.

  24. #24
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    I’m 5’1” and spent as much time as possible demo-ing as many bikes as possible this summer before settling on the one that felt perfect for me. I posted many of the details in this forum if you want to take a look at my other posts. Also, this question has been discussed in many other recent “looking for a bike for my wife” posts as well.

    Long story short, I tried some 29ers and liked how the wheels seemed to roll over everything so easily but still felt more comfortable on a bike with 27.5” wheels. They just fit me better. I don’t know what it is about my bike, whether it is the carbon wheels, or that the 2.6” are just bigger, but they feel as good as any 29er I tried. I was bashing my knees on the top tube of so many other bikes during hard, standing climbs or quick ejections.

    For the record, I am a 42 year old, married mother of 2 that only started biking 2 years ago. I love that my new bike pedals easily, smooths out the chatter and feels stable, but I also enjoy ripping (my husband can’t keep up with me!), hucking, manualing, jumping, etc, (although not flipping) and I love that my bike is playful and lively as well as being stable. Most of the hardcore bikers that I know are around my age and many of them are married women.

  25. #25
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    Also, while I knew exactly what I was looking for and found it in my new Intrigue, there were a lot of other bikes that I would have been happy with. There are so many great bikes out there, it’s hard to go really wrong and a person could probably get used to anything. A 27.5” bike would be the safest bet. I’m not sure if you mentioned anywhere whether or not your wife already rides or what kind of trails are in your area, but my best advice would be to pick a bike for her that has the same kind of specs/geo (in a size/bike that fits her of course) that you would get for yourself if she is going to be riding the same sort of trails that you are.

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