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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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.
 

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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.
 

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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?
 

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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.
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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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.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
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.
 

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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.
 

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L1MEY
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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.
 

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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.
 
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