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My girlfriend is almost 5'10" with an inseam of 32.5" She has been riding an old 17.5" Fisher hardtail, but the bike just doesn;t work out for her even with a shorter stem. The reach to the bars is too much, the front end is too high, and combined with the shorter stem (75mm or so), the steering is way too skittish on any ground. On steep climbs, she can;t keep the front down, even in a good position (probably the high front end, ground to h-bar height).

Any suggestions for a new bike? The WSD version of the Fisher is only a half-inch shorter in the top tube and the stem would still have to be pretty short. Is she better off with a smaller men;s bike, say 15.5 inch, with a really long seatpost? Any bikes out there to solve this dilemma?
 

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hrmmm
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Try something other than a fisher...I believe they tend to have longer top tubes to begin with?? I'm 5'10" as well, although I have no problems with reach. I ride a SC Heckler, size large frame. I used to own a K2, that fit very well, too. Bring her with you to your LBS and have her try as many bikes as possible to see what's comfy. Trek also makes women's specific frames, although I've found that being 5'10" doesn't fit women's frames very well.
 

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A friend I bike with is right at 5'11'' and she loves her Cannondale F4000. She rides a medium frame and has said the handling is better than with any other bike she's tried. My husband has this same bike in the same size and previously rode a Trek and Klein that were 17" if that helps for comparison in sizing.

I think Cannondale also has a women specific version of this frame but don't know the difference.
 

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My 2 cents

Try something European...like Bianchi...they use a more compacted geometry that more women find comfortable than men do (though I ride one myself). I would say (as a shop owner that sells both Fisher's and Bianchi's) and have guided literally hundreds (and hundreds) of women though the bike fitting process (though I do not claim to be an expert on women’s fit) I find most (thought not all) tend to lean towards the Bianchi as a more comfortable fit. Give it a try. The "100% Chic Designed" sticker on each bike is also a good selling point to most women...a lot of women like the fact that Bianchi has a female product designer. My wife, like most women, has long legs and a shorter torso...and the Bianchi MTB bike is a great fit for her.
 

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Hey there. I'm 5'9" . I have a Trek 8000 17" (or might be 17.5") and a med Turner Burner.
Both fit perfectly. I found the Fisher top tube too long for me. I've never riden a WSD bike
so can't comment on that.

Titus has some good info about bike fits for women on their site. Maybe this would help.

http://www.titusti.com/womenfit.html
 

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I have a specialised P2 (long) and I'm happy. I'm only 5'8, and it seems like mens bikes fit me fine. I think the problem we girls have is that our legs tend to take up more of our height, so the 'bars are too far away to be comfortable.
Just my two cents.


-skink
 

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lawhoo said:
My girlfriend is almost 5'10" with an inseam of 32.5" She has been riding an old 17.5" Fisher hardtail, but the bike just doesn;t work out for her even with a shorter stem. The reach to the bars is too much, the front end is too high, and combined with the shorter stem (75mm or so), the steering is way too skittish on any ground. On steep climbs, she can;t keep the front down, even in a good position (probably the high front end, ground to h-bar height).

Any suggestions for a new bike? The WSD version of the Fisher is only a half-inch shorter in the top tube and the stem would still have to be pretty short. Is she better off with a smaller men;s bike, say 15.5 inch, with a really long seatpost? Any bikes out there to solve this dilemma?

I'm 5'8" with a 32.5 inseam and ride a 17 Jamis Exile and a 53cm Jamis Nova crossbike. I tried quite a few brands and sizes for the cross, starting at what we fiqured I measured, a 55, but the reach was too far. The Exile fit great without anything but the seat adjusted forward. That was more for my "saddle" comfort than for my reach. I suggest you have her try a few brands to see which fits her best. She might also try riser bars.
 

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I'm 5'11" and I ride an 18 inch RM Element, but started with an 18 inch Marin Pine Mountain. When I was test riding bikes, I found that smaller than 18" felt awful but some bikes in the 18" range felt bad too....including the Fisher. With my RM I almost feel like I could move up to the 19" and be comfortable as well.

I would recommend going to shops with knowledgeable salespeople and riding two different sizes of the same bike. It's a great way to compare and figure out what size bike you should be on.
 

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internet axe murderer
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Hmmmm

No specific bike suggestion, but some thoughts on some of your comments...

The front end being high would make keeping the front end down on climbs more difficult, but it would also help decrease her reach to the bars. A bit of a conflict...

If you need a very short stem to make the reach work, you could try wider bars to help alleviate the skittish steering problem.

When she climbs, is she getting out of the saddle? I'm not saying she should stick with a bike that fits poorly, but for those really steep sections when she really needs to get more weight over the front end, she could try hovering over the end of the saddle instead of staying seated. Then reach to the bars becomes irrelevant. (Maybe she is already doing this.)

Best bet is to have her test ride several different bikes/brands and find out which one fits her the best. May as well try mens and women-specific frames, IMHO.

Spike

lawhoo said:
My girlfriend is almost 5'10" with an inseam of 32.5" She has been riding an old 17.5" Fisher hardtail, but the bike just doesn;t work out for her even with a shorter stem. The reach to the bars is too much, the front end is too high, and combined with the shorter stem (75mm or so), the steering is way too skittish on any ground. On steep climbs, she can;t keep the front down, even in a good position (probably the high front end, ground to h-bar height).

Any suggestions for a new bike? The WSD version of the Fisher is only a half-inch shorter in the top tube and the stem would still have to be pretty short. Is she better off with a smaller men;s bike, say 15.5 inch, with a really long seatpost? Any bikes out there to solve this dilemma?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks everyone for the great advice. We went to 4 shops since I posted this to test ride just about every make out there. She decided on a Fisher Big Sur women's specific. The shorter top tube/front end and more relaxed steering angle, did the trick. Thanks again for the assistance.
 
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