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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My girlfriend and I are looking at a new bike for her. She's just gotten into riding and we're checking out small all-mountain bikes - she's 5'2".

Not surprisingly, standover is a bit of an issue. We may be able to find something (have just started looking) but I know that switching to a 24" wheel in the back will help, in addition to the frame design itself.

What I'm wondering about is, are there any benefits or drawbacks to running a dual 24" set-up, aside from tire selection?

And just how much of a difference does it make to switch from dual 26" wheels to either one or two 24" wheels?

Thanks very much for the input.

Painter
 

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drev-il, not Dr. Evil!
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painter said:
What I'm wondering about is, are there any benefits or drawbacks to running a dual 24" set-up, aside from tire selection?

Painter
Lighter weight frame and suspension fork selections are limited.

It's been years since I looked for a fully built 24" bike, but all of the selections at the time were heavier and had less durable parts on them.

For a woman of 5'2", you should be able to find her a smaller, decent 26" wheeled bike.
 

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Rollin' a fatty
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There's almost nothing worth the $$$ on the 24" bike arena. One thing that could be considered is put 24" wheels on a 26" bike, off course it will have to be disk because the v's won't work.

I'm considering this setup for my son's new bike. He's already on a 24" bike but wants a FS frame and there's nothing affordable worth considering. Specialized has a 24" FSR and Kona has the Stinky Jr. but again the part selection is not great and these bikes aren't cheap. The FSR is about $600 and the Stinky is around $1500 for the whole bike and a kid will out grow it pretty quickly.

I'll be looking for a XXS FS frame and use 24" disk ready wheels on his new bike.
 

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My sister is on a 24" wheeled bike and she is 9. At 5' tall I am on a Trek 6700 WSD and it fits perfect.

My Dad looked at doing my sister up a 24" DH/freeride bike but the cost just was not worth it. The stinky JR at $1500.00 is stupid priced. What 8-12 year old is going to get a 1500.00 bike that will last 1 maybe 2 years b4 outgrowing.

How old is your Son I know my sister still wants a big shot dh bike
 

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Back in the day....

Way back when, when mountain bikes were the "new" thing, bikes with 24" wheels were about as common as 26" wheels. And my first mountain bike was of this category (the 24"-wheeled category). I still ride my 24"-wheeled bike, but mostly as a commuter. I'm now on an XXSmall Racer-X with 26" wheels. (I'm 5'1", so I'm a bit shorter than your wife).

Some observations on my 24" experience:
(1) Putting on a smaller wheel will lower the BB -- especially if the bike was originally designed for 26" wheels. This can be an issue, especially on FS bikes where the manufacturers many times lower the BB on small frames just to get the suspension to fit. (Some DHers do like this lower center of gravity, but I find that it can be hard to clear rocky bits if your BB is too low.)
(2) Not only is the tire selection less abundant; but so are all other wheel parts. The last time I had one of my 24" wheels rebuilt, we had to use a mix of mtb and bmx parts. (I kept my mtb hub, bought a bmx rim, and had the spokes custom cut to fit.) This was a while ago, when there weren't too many kids bikes, so 24" wheels weren't as pouplar as they are now. But anyway, rebuilding that wheel was a bit more of a hassle. Also regarding tire selection: I'm now running bmx tires on the 24" wheels -- and they are perfect for the commuting that I do! They hook up OK enough on dirt, but wouldn't be my first choice if I was riding more mtb vs commuting.
(3) It can even be a challenge to buy tubes! Basically the exchange is something like:
"I'd like some 24" Shraeder Valve tubes, please." They hand me some 26" tube.
"No, I'd like 24's"
Then I get the stupid-female-doesn't-really-know-what-she-wants-treatment
"No, ma'am, you want the 26" tubes."
"Um, who's the customer here? I want the 24" tubes, that's the size wheels that are on my bike, so please sell me the 24" tubes."
"Um, OK, but keep the receipt, in case you need to return them" snicker, snicker
(4) I do think that smaller bikes look much more proportional with the smaller wheels. My two bikes are so different in so many ways that I can't really compare the handling difference with just the wheel size, but looking more proportional might mean that they are more easy to control, perhaps. My 26" wheels are so big in proportion to my XXSmall Racer-X that people frequently ask if I'm running 29" wheels....um, nope, it's just 26" wheels on a really small bike.

Finally, there are some good quality bikes of all sorts out there for the vertically challenged rider. The only thing that I can't seem to find that would fit someone of my height would be something like a big hit bike. Other than that, there really are lots of nice smaller frames, that run with standard 26" wheels. Because things like standover figure in a lot more when you have short legs, I think that test riding a bunch of models is the best bet for finding something that would work.
 

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i worship Mr T
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painter said:
My girlfriend and I are looking at a new bike for her. She's just gotten into riding and we're checking out small all-mountain bikes - she's 5'2".

Not surprisingly, standover is a bit of an issue. We may be able to find something (have just started looking) but I know that switching to a 24" wheel in the back will help, in addition to the frame design itself.

What I'm wondering about is, are there any benefits or drawbacks to running a dual 24" set-up, aside from tire selection?

And just how much of a difference does it make to switch from dual 26" wheels to either one or two 24" wheels?

Thanks very much for the input.

Painter
unless your girlfriend has disproportionately short legs there is no reason why you won't be able to find a bike that fits her with 26" wheels. even my friend who is 4'10" rides a bike with 26" wheels (XXS Titus Racer X).

look at the companies that make women's specific frames. i'm 5'1" and i ride an XS Trek 8000 WSD. with the sloping top tube design of most mtb's standover should not be an issue for your girlfriend.

rt
 

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Forget the 24" thing, it's just not worth it.

At just barely over 5'2" I ride a XS Titus Racer X, My friend at 4'11" is on an XXS Racer X.
Santa Cruz Juliaana are another option.

Careful with Fishers, their TT length is usually longer. Trek has WSD.

There are way better choices out there in 26" bikes for smaller riders.
 

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Rollin' a fatty
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For a short adult the expense of a XXS Titus frame is not a big deal as would be for a kid that will outgrow it in no time, a 1K frame for a kid is not an option.

I was looking for a XXS Jamis Dakar but haven't had any luck, any pointers for a FS rig for a kid?
 

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24" wheeled bikes

You shouldn't have a problem finding a bike with 26" wheels that fits her but if you really want a 24" rear wheel, get her a dirt jumping frame like a .243 or a Banshee Morphine. It could be set up for cross country altough it probably wouldn't be comfy for long rides and would have a lower BB. It could work though. Check out Kona's, they used to have really low TT's on their small bikes.
 

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the bomb
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only for a dh bike

painter said:
Not surprisingly, standover is a bit of an issue. We may be able to find something (have just started looking) but I know that switching to a 24" wheel in the back will help, in addition to the frame design itself. Painter
The think this only works for a strictly dh bike.

Check out the titus loco moto too, if you want something with a little more travel. I'm 5' 3.5" but I've got LOTS of stand over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the help, everyone. Those are all great answers, and told me exactly what I needed to know.

We'll worry more about standover than wheel size, and I think there are a few all-mountain designs out there that should work - one of them being a size small Norco Fluid.

Budget is a bit of an issue after dropping a chunk of cash on armour, so a boutique bike from the U.S. (we live in Vancouver) is probably a bit more of an investment than she's into right now.

Appreciate the input. :)

P
 

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DiRt DeViL said:
There's almost nothing worth the $$$ on the 24" bike arena. One thing that could be considered is put 24" wheels on a 26" bike, off course it will have to be disk because the v's won't work.

I'm considering this setup for my son's new bike. He's already on a 24" bike but wants a FS frame and there's nothing affordable worth considering. Specialized has a 24" FSR and Kona has the Stinky Jr. but again the part selection is not great and these bikes aren't cheap. The FSR is about $600 and the Stinky is around $1500 for the whole bike and a kid will out grow it pretty quickly.

I'll be looking for a XXS FS frame and use 24" disk ready wheels on his new bike.
specialized also offers the bighit in a 24" wheel. we have been looking into it for my 6yr old. they run about $700. its a step up from the fsr.
 

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Stick with 26"

I'll add to the chorus here and say you should stick with 26" wheels. Parts availability is ok on 24" stuff, but handling (especially in technical terrain) is going to suffer, even if the frame is designed for 24" wheels.

I don't build FS bikes, but for my customers I generally recommend 29" (yep!) wheels for riders 5'5" or so and up, 26" wheels for folks 5' to 5'5", and 24" only for the real pixies or children. There are exceptions of course, depending on the rider and riding style. Go with the biggest wheels you can that won't cause problems (ie toe overlap, standover). And consider a female specific frame (or a custom) regardless, assuming you're a vaguely "average" female. Getting a professional bike fit before purchasing is a really good idea as well.

-Walt
 

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If in Vancouver look at a Brodie. They are made locally and are an awsome bike.. They also have factory clearance right now as well so you can get some good deals. The Brodie also has a steep sloaping top tube that helps the standover
 

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Small Fluid

painter said:
Thanks for the help, everyone. Those are all great answers, and told me exactly what I needed to know.

We'll worry more about standover than wheel size, and I think there are a few all-mountain designs out there that should work - one of them being a size small Norco Fluid.

Budget is a bit of an issue after dropping a chunk of cash on armour, so a boutique bike from the U.S. (we live in Vancouver) is probably a bit more of an investment than she's into right now.

Appreciate the input. :)

P
As stated earlier, I'm 5"1', and had the opportunity to ride a small Norco Fluid a few years ago. Very nice bike. Handled well, plenty of standover, with a 4" travel fork on the front -- but I think my friend (same height as me) has upgraded to 5" travel fork and is still A-OK with the standover & handling.

Have your GF post pics when she gets the bike!
 
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