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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 11 year old daughter is outgrowing her 24" Orbea and I am looking at building her next bike. She is 4'9" but I am expecting a growth spurt in the next few months. She is racing NICA this year so I am looking for something more XC focused. She is still a beginner doing mostly greens and blues.

She did a parking lot ride on a Spec Pitch and it seemed to fit pretty well. The stack seemed really high though. I am also looking at a Trek Xcaliber and a Trailcraft Big Mesa (27.5 build) as I can get both as frame only.

Looking at the geo numbers the Trailcraft has a much lower stack according to a third party website (Trailcraft does not list the stack or reach on their site) compared to the other 2. 461mm vs 560mm. The stack on her current Orbea is 500mm. This is the most confounding issue for me. Is the Trailcraft low or are the others high?

The eff TT on the Pitch and XCal are both around 540 while the Trailcraft is 525. She did not look to stretched out on the Pitch but it was only a parking lot test.

There is a larger size of the Trailcraft that has a 560 top tube and 529 stack. Is the 560 TT going to be too long?

The Trailcraft is the most expensive at 699, the Trek is 599 and I can get the Pitch for 400 (complete bike). The only big downside to the Pitch is that it has a straight steerer so finding a decent fork (42mm offset) will be challenging and would not be able to move to the next bike.

I have a spreadsheet with all the main players and these seemed like the best choices (my daughter really wants the orbea alma carbon but $1500 for the frame is not in the budget at this point). Are there other good options I should be looking at?

I am not in a rush but I figure this process could take a few months. Thanks for the help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Rocky Mountain Soul 10 is 27.5, comes in XS, 11-42 8 speed 1x drive train. It's $729 CAD, so probably $600ish USD.

I have a daughter the same age and size and she loves it.
I had not looked at the Soul yet. It looks like a real good option. The stack on the soul is 600mm, which is the highest of all the bikes so far. It sounds like it is not an issue for you. Am I making too much of this one measurement?
 

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I hate when people don't answer the question posted, but that's exactly what I'm going to do here... so sorry...

My daughter is 4'8" currently and fits really perfect on her xs 27.5 at the moment. She can also pedal around on my wife's small niner rip 9 quite comfortably, so I would be looking at a small or xs 29er if we were getting a new bike today. I'd really look at a small Ibis DV9 frame for her. She'd be sitting on the top tube with her feet flat at that height but could totally ride it comfortably for quite a while. At $999 msrp, its quite a bit less than a Pivot Les or Niner Air 9 rdo that give NICA discounts.

If you are really set on a set on an Xs 27.5, look for a Pivot Les 27.5, Trek Procaliber, Canyon Exceed, or a Norco Revolver. You'll have to look on the used market for the last two as they changed up their sizing for this model year. There's a couple chiner 27.5 frames out there for less than $500 that could work for you as well.

Happy hunting! Let us know what you come up with!
 

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Marin offers their Bobcat and Wildcat (women-specific) hardtail bikes in XS.

OP has said that they aren't looking for a FS bike. But just for the purposes of anyone finding this thread in the future when looking for XS 27.5 options, it's worth noting that Marin offers the Hawk Hill in an XS size.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the input guys. She is not the most powerful rider so I am really hesitant to jump to a 29er. I can get a pretty good discount through Trek so I am looking pretty hard at the Procaliber. I am waiting for the 2020’s as she does not like the color of the 2019’s. I am also scouring the used market but these bikes are hard to find.

That Ibis is definitely a good deal. I can’t believe Pivot wants that much for the Les. The wife caught wind of how much I was thinking of spending and is reigning me in unfortunately. Luckily I have some time to keep looking.

Also I contacted Trailcraft and my stack numbers where way off. Their stack was right in line with everyone else.
 

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I'm in a similar situation. Closing in on the next bike for my twin girls who also do some racing. I ruined them last year by taking them up a chair lift. Now they complain about pedaling much of anything. I also arrived at the Trek & the Trailcraft. Many of the aforementioned bikes are pretty heavy for any sort of racing. I'm inclined to buy a pair of Trailcraft bikes and just put slightly more burly tires on them. Curious what direction you go.

P. S. I agree with you about a 29er for a young girl who's racing. I think it would make things more challenging. Which is the opposite of what you want.
 

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I think OP is on the right path but just wanted to say that riders under about 5'6" shouldn't be on 29ers unless they are very strong or are racing XC at a high level on smooth trails.
Just because 29 ers are faster for the average 5' 11" male mountain bike reviewer, does not make them the correct choice for a 5' child or woman.
Good luck.

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So I went and talked with a a fellow dad who works at a bike shop. He has a daughter the same height as mine but one year younger (she is a stronger rider than my daughter). I really respect his opinion. He was really pushing us to an XS 29er rockhopper. My daughter test road both the Rockhopper and an XS 27.5 Pitch. It was just a parking lot ride but there was a grass hill she could climb. My daughter really liked the 29er better. When I asked why she said it was smoother in the grass. It did fit her well and she did not seem to have any issues with the bigger wheels. I am definitely confused and conflicted at this point. The Rockhopper is about $600 cheaper than the Trailcraft. I have a spare XTR drivetrain that I am throwing on what ever I choose. For the price difference I could also get a set of Crest wheels and really lighten it up.

He could just be trying to sell me a bike, but I don’t really think so. He knew I was looking at $2000 bikes and did not push me to the more expensive Chisel (actually discouraged it).
 

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Yes, on smooth constant speed terrain, bigger tires are going to always be better. Does that describe your trails?
The additional inertia of a 29" wheel sure is a hindrance for a 100# female, on terrain that requires lots of acceleration & maneuvering.
Physics doesn't lie. Ever put larger wheels/ tires on a truck and felt what it does to your acceleration?
Also, it's hard to get enough stand over, and keep the front tire from touching the riders foot when turning on an XS 29er. The bikes usually don't fit really well.
Good luck.

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
We are in Northeast TN and our trails and the NICA courses will be pretty smooth. When we go to Brevard we ride DuPont and not Pisgah. I completely agree with the acceleration issues of the larger wheel and a small 90 lbs girl (that is my main concern). My counter point would be the larger wheel will help hold speed better so the need to accelerate is less. I do not know this, just applying the same logic to both sides of the argument (I am an engineer so I do understand the physics of it).

I also realize that I completely discounted the idea of a 29er from other posters earlier. I definitely had some conformational bias going. There are kids at practice that are on 29ers and 27.5+ that seem to do fine. That being said they are boys and my daughter is smaller than most of them. I wish we could demo both to really know.

I do appreciate all the advice by everyone so far.
 

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My 4'9" 10 year old has no issues climbing on her SMALL 29er.

If your kid/wife/gf/short dude has issues climbing a 29er, get better tires and maybe lighter wheels.
 

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https://www.specialized.com/us/en/epic-hardtail/p/171127?color=264116-171127

New Epics and Sworks epics have a xs (13.5ish) frame again for this year. 750gram $2500 frame only option for those that need that. The epic is around 900g for the frame.
That looks like a great option. I wish the XS size came with 27.5 wheels, though, like the Treks, Pivots, and Norcos do.

My son is on a NICA team and still on a 24" bike. He is small, about 4'7", and the 24" still fits him okay, but he could probably move up to an XS bike with bigger wheels. I think a 27.5 would be ideal, but I see middle school kids on 29ers doing just fine.

Anyone know how much those wheels weigh on the Epic Hardtail? That might be the one thing I'd want to swap for something lighter. I suspect the Eagle SX drivetrain will work fine for a kid, and the Judy gold fork should be fine too.
 
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