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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got back into the sport 6 months ago after a long hiatus. I have a 2013 trek mamba I recently replace the brakes and tires on to enjoy the season while I wait for my Santa Cruz to ship in November. My girlfriend would love to join me on the occasional green, and ideally I would give her my mamba when my new bike arrives.

Here's the issue - I'm 5'7" and my mamba is a Trek 15.5 frame with 2013 geometry. We are both 5'7" and the bike is definitely a little bit small for me. The thing is, she has a shorter torso and longer legs, so theoretically the reach is fine. But when she rides it, she doesn't love the wrist angle and feels like the geo is off.

Anyway, I'm wondering what I could do to the stem to fix a bike that would work fine if the angles were a bit better. Anyone have any advice?
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Dropper post? That would go miles IMO to deal with geometry issues while during descent, tight corners or technical stuff (even on flat).
 

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Has she ever ridden MTB before? if not, she may not be expecting the more aggressive seated position compared to a city bike. Riser bars, spacers under the stem to get that up as high as the steerer allows, shorter stem or riser stem I wouldn't go too nuts on the stem shortening.

if the wrists are wrong, figure out if it is because the controls are at the wrong angle for green trails or if it is the bar sweep. Again it might be a city bike thing.

To max out her comfort, hit all the touchpoints on the bike: Grips, seat, pedals. I'd consider those before geo. But after you fix the riding position and wrist angle.

if she supports most of her torso on her arms, keep the rides short or else she will get sore wrists and shoulders. With sore shoulders she can rest on her back, but you probably don't want her to have sore wrists under any circumstances!
 

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The size should be in her ballpark, but it would be surprising if your setup fit her as is without some tweeking of the cockpit setup. My wife and I end up on very similar sized frames (in some cases the exact same frame), but the setup is quite different.

Some general advice: just go with what makes her comfy. Worry about performance and stuff later.
 

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Digit Datum
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Sell the bike, buy another with the proceeds.
I've tried this with my wife, though a small bike can be adjusted to accommodate her, she's way more comfortable and confident on a bigger bike with a longer wheelbase - and thus has a better time, crashes less, and wants to ride more.
 

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Stems are very quick and easy to swap. So go with her to your shop and ask the service guys to let you try a shorter stem with up angle. They'll have a box of used stems for 31.9 bars in the back. Take your multitool and do the swap for one or more for her to test. Go on a weekday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Stems are very quick and easy to swap. So go with her to your shop and ask the service guys to let you try a shorter stem with up angle. They'll have a box of used stems for 31.9 bars in the back. Take your multitool and do the swap for one or more for her to test. Go on a weekday.
That is an awesome idea, thank you!
 

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I'm assuming after googling that big you or your gf arent crushing double black runs at the local bike park and are simply tootling along gravel or pavel roads?

if yes buy a stem and or handle bar and stick it on. Before doing that the get the gf to ride your new bike. Does she still complain? if yes, its just a complaint because of being new to biking. If no, then buy the stem.

Side note. Are you planning on going any decent tech? if yes, grab that bike by the stem and back of the seat and hammer throw it into the skip bin and buy a decent bike latest geo shredder.
 

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watch the handlebar size/sweep, RAD, and reach videos on the Joy of Bike youtube channel.
Get the measurements for her (takes about 10 min), then you can easily see if the frame will work at all, and if so, what changes you need to make to set the reach and RAD using these measurements, and order up new bars and stem to match (the bars should also match her wrist angle).
I've now fit four very different sized people in my family with this and it's been within the ballpark everytime. Only small adjustments needed to suit rider preference.
 

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always licking the glass
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A couple of options:

  • New girlfriend
  • Shorter stem/higher rise + more sweep bars and adjust angle of levers

Option 1 might be cheaper, but option 2 likely better.
Option 3:
Sell old mountain bike and let her pick her own.

That is provided option 1 is out of the question ;)
 

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I see so many times the guy ripping down the trail on the modern bike and the poor gf struggling way behind on the old beater, sometimes sitting on the side of the trail after crashing. Not a good way to get the gf into the sport. My suggestion: for the times you ride together, let your gf ride the new bike and you ride your old one. If she starts to enjoy it, get her a new bike.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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I'm with others who are saying that the best path might be to just get her one she likes better to start with.

My wife's first bike was something that should have been close enough to fitting that minor adjustments should have got it dialed in. But that didn't happen. She never felt truly confident on that bike, no matter what I did to it. We did use it as a reference point to choose something else later, and got much, much closer to fitting her well.
 
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