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I'm small by guy's standard at 5'4. But my friend at 5' on a good day is REALLY small.

So, the challenge is to find some candidate bikes for her to try. Now, I know there're some options of small bikes around. But for full suspension, the choices are really limited. I'm having a hard time finding enough candidates for her to try to test ride. My current list are:

- Trek Fuel (they're realy stiff, and for god knows what reason, they come ONLY with disc brake! WHY???)
- Specialized FSR
- Santa Cruz Juliana Superlight

I like both the Specialized and SC, both of which I've ridden lots before. But we're having a hard time finding the actual bike for her to test ride. So I thought I should also broaden the list a bit so we may get lucky with a hit.

My thinking is we should not get fixiated on "women specific" bikes, but look into any model that offers really small sizes. Like 13"? What do you guys think?

Also, budgetery constrain will probably put a cap on the mid-thousand range, give or take.

I could use some hints on what brand and model to look into.
 

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Its rough being on the "vertically challanged" side when trying to get a full suspension bike. It limits your choices quite a bit. There is a XXS Women's model Giant Trance which has a 13.5" seat tube. The standover is still a bit high at 29.4" But I guess this is not as much of a concern for your female friend. Trance 3 & 2 should also be below or around your budget. I know there are XXS small Santa Cruz (you mentioned the Juliana) and Titus frames but they are way expensive.

I know the feeling, I'm 5'3 and I wanted a Specialized FSR XC or FSR Stumpjumper but the small frames on both bikes had a 17in. seat tube. When I test rode them, the LBS had to get a really short seatpost that only had about an inch left between top of the seat tube and saddle so I really could not lower my seat for more technical downhill runs. I ended up with the small framed Epic which has a 15" seat tube which gives me more breathing room to lower my saddle.
 

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REI Novara has a 12" frame for thier Bliss. I'm trying to get my wife down to check it out because she's in the same boat.

-Rob
 

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Ventana X5

They make a 13" frame also. This frame should be a better standover height than the bikes you listed. My GF is also 5' 0.5" (had to add that 1/2" or she'd kill me.) and she rides one with enough standover to just clear the top tube flat footed. She does not have the standard female measurements of long legs vs. torso either.

You have to keep in mind the A-C heights of the forks the manufacturers used to get the standover measurement.

Duc
 

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My wife is in the same boat. 5'0'' probably closer to 4'11'' but we won't go down that road any more. Most of the WS bikes are still made for 5'5'' and up. The petite Cannondales are about an 1'' too high just to stand over, much less downhill bailin' room. The new BMC dealer in town swore up and down that the new Shiver womens 15'' full suspension would fit, hah its nearly the same geometry as the Fourstroke and just too big. The Novara Bliss is on sale for $880 through April 1st so were gonna check out that 12'' bike this weekend. Kona has a 14'' Queen Kikapu and Rocky Mountain has a 15'' WS Element, that we will check out if we don't get the Novara.
 

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There's no app for this.
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here's some reading on

Titus and their philosophy for Women's rides:

"So, if you’re a female 5.5” or shorter looking for a women’s specific mountain bike, the following should be on your checklist;

Smaller diameter frame tubes for a lighter, better riding frame.
Suspension tuned or selected with a light rider in mind.
A shorter top tube for a comfortable reach from the seat to the bars.
A smaller frame for more standover.
A steeper seat angle (74-75 degrees) to prevent toe overlap and lengthen the wheelbase.


here are 2 FS bikes

worth a look, they sell lots to smaller ladies.

Jim
 

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Titus makes a beautiful bike but I don't think you could get one in the mid thousand range. Maybe ebay?

Here's a '06 K2 T:Nine Summit on sale for $1289; 28-lb pretty good component group X-9 and they have bikes in XS for riders 5' - 5'3''

http://www.rscycle.com/s.nl/it.A/id.12778/.f?sc=11&category=115

K2 is also elgible at REI for the 20% off coupon this weekend, but I don't see the Summit listed on the website.

The Santa Cruiz Juliana's D XC build is $1599 and 28 lbs might be a good option too.
 

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My wife is petite as well (4'11").
They only real choice was an XXS Titus racer X. Even the Juliana was too big.

Downside is price. But she loves it so it doesn't matter in the end.
 

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We picked up the 12'' Novara Bliss. REI traded out the pedals, seatpost and handlebars. Replaced with carbon post & bars and candy c's, that has dropped the weight about a pound. (31.3lb to 30.4lb) Looking at some Mavic Crosstrails UST to drop about pound more.

She is pretty excited, just need a nice afternoon to try it out.
 

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I just bought the Novara Bliss last night. I am 5'3" and got the 14, so I think the 12 should do for someone in the 4'11'-5'2" range. They are a great price and have pretty decent components for the money. And with REIs return policy it's worth a shot. Most (actually all) LBS didn't even have one in stock for me to sit on and want a sizable deposit for them to order one.

I have just ridden around the yard so far and it feels great. I think I may need to cut the handle bars shorter though. Gonna give it a spin Tuesday night so I will let you all know how it goes.
 

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This probably won't help much as both I am wife are short.

I am 5-6 and wife is 5-4.

I used to own a 06 DiamondBack Sorento, it was size 13, it was mainly for me due to bike shop recommendation, to find out, it fit my wife way better.

In all honesty me @ 5-6, I ride a size 19 Specialized Hardrock.

Size really is a big problem, but this hardrock I got is more the size of a 17 KONA or IronHorse bikes I was testing out. You just really need to hop on some bikes and test them. I like the 19 on the Hardrock. Wife likes the Sorento for her.
 

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Here's some geometry specs for the bikes mentioned. These are from the manufacturers sites except the K2 which came from an online vendor's site as of Sept. 2007. Note the actual stand over height can vary due to where it's measured on the sloping top tube - there doesn't seem to be a standard for where to measure it.

size Standover eff. Top tube
Titus Racer X women's XXS 24.7 20
Titus Motolite XS100 25.8 21.3
Titus Racer X women's xs 26.1 21.2
Titus Motolite 130 XS130 26.3 21.3
REI/Novara Bliss 12” 26.4 21.2
Ventana X5 13” 26.8 20.8
Jamis Dakar XC 13” 27 21.1
K2 t:nine Summit xsm 27.8 21.1
Santa Cruz Juliana xs 27.8 20.5
Trek Fuel EX WSD S (14”) 27.9 20.7
Specialized Stumpjunper FSR Comp Women' s 27.9 21.7
Specialized Stumpjunper FSR Comp Women' s-l 28 21.1
Specialized FSRxc Women's S 28.2 21.1
 

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Short but strong

Sally Collins is a solo 24-hour racer who raises money for leukemia research
Read her inspiring blog here:
http://indiesundancekid.blogspot.com/

She stands 4' 10.5". She rides a XXS Titus Racer X.

Here's her old bike with shock removed for a race.
You should be able get the '07 Racer X on closeout currently.
 

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Novara

We just got back from a week in Moab and Jen has really liked her Novara Bliss. She wasn't totally happy with the fork but we didn't mess with the adjustments (preload/ rebound) much. But over all she rode well and had a great time in the desert! Ya couldn't have asked for better weather; low 80's all week, just enough wind to keep ya cool on the rides and a bit of dew/ sprinkles to keep the dust down. I can't believe how fast a week disappears!

She decided to keep the stock wheels and has had no problems with dealing with the overall weight of the bike. So ladies that want an entry level fs bike, keep the Bliss in mind, you will get a good overall bike with a small price tag!
 

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We found that real-world standover height was just about reverse of the published standover heights on the bikes we tried. The big discrepancy being the use of straight top tubes vs hockey stick shaped top tubes. The bikes with hockey stick shaped top tubes typically had an extra inch or two vs the straight (sloping) top tube bikes.

On the bikes we tried my wife, who is 5'1" found the following standover clearances (The measurements are rough):

Code:
Novara/REI Bliss 12"                                             0" clearance
Specialized FSRxc (aka Myka) Sm                        3/4"   
Specialized Stumpjumper FSR (aka Saphire) Sm    1"
Giant Trance Women's  13.5"                                 2"
We ended up getting the 2006 Trance W 13.5" for $1499 brand new. We had bought a Bliss over the phone but when we went to pick it up realized it didn't fit and returned it before leaving the store.
 

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Standover can be a big problem at that height. My wife is 5'2" with shorter than average legs, and she has a very hard time finding a full suspension bike that she can stand over. It basicly must have a bent top tube. The Titus Motolite has the most top tube clearance of any bike we have looked at. Giant Trances are not too bad. The 2008 Kona Four looks promising, but obviously have not seen one in person yet since they are not out for a couple months yet. A Trek Fuel was the ONLY bike we found with a straight top tube that she could stand over. There may be others, but that was what we found at a reasonable price.
 

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ironhorse has 15" azures and mkiii which have a max. height of 5'6" with the eff. toptube in the same range as the other listed bikes.
 
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