Are 29ers *still* considered unsuitable for shorties?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Are 29ers *still* considered unsuitable for shorties?

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    • #262099

      Asking with respect for development in geometries in recent years. I know it was the case 10~ years ago that they were typically unweildy and common thinking was that you needed the physical size/mass to properly move them about. What seems to be the common thinking now?  Are manufacturers still sticking to this thinking? Are there any companies doing a better job than others?  EG: I notice that Norco seem to highlight their consistent geo feel across all sizes (marketing..), but how much impact does this have??


    • #262103

      no, there are plenty of 29ers for all sizes riders, but often do have a different feel, and it is personally preference.

    • #262110

      I’ll speak for Leah (maybe she’ll chime in here) but at 5′ tall, she hasn’t found a 29er she feels comfortable riding. Her Stumpy is a 27.5.

    • #262119

      I’ve seen a few women on 29ers around here.

    • #262132

      I am ‘5-8″ and a 29er makes me feel less agile and off balance around high speed corners.

    • #262143

      Ultimately, with many modern Mountainbikes for Shorties,  the major issue is standover.  Back in the days of short toptubes, toe overlap was an issue but now that top tubes have gotten longer, standover is the problem for Shorties.   Even in a time when aluminum and carbon fiber can be manipulated into about any shape, most bike manufactures do not build bikes, in 27.5 or 29, with low enough standover for Shorties.   It’s frustrating because there is often plenty of frame space, without affecting the rear suspension system, to make the standover lower.  Even most hardtails, which have no frame space issues,  don’t have low enough  standover for Shorties.   In fact, most of the hardtails actually have higher standover than the full-sus bikes.  The bike industry just won’t make Mountainbikes for Shorties!

      I know this from experience as I am currently trying to buy a mountain bike for my petite 5’3″ spouse.  We tried quite a few size small 27.5 and 29  Mountainbikes.  Even though the toptubes were the right length for her and the bikes fit, the standover is too high.  Even women specific bikes, like Liv and Juliana, have this problem. The extra-small bikes had lower standover but they all had very short toptubes and the only way to get these bikes fit my wife is to use a 90mm stem.  Not good!  The extra-small bikes have top-tube lengths for 4’8″ people and the standover isn’t low enough for them either.  In hardtails, all the size small bikes we tried had too high standover.  We’ve probably tried about 20 different bikes in both 27.5 and 29, hardtail and full-sus, from about 10 different brands and we only found one bike that fit.

      The 29×2.6 Ibis Ripley and Ripmo have about the lowest standover (705mm) of any 29er in size small but I’m guessing you would have to be a long legged 5’4″ to fit these bikes.  Even though the Ibis Ripmo and Ripley fit my wife toptube wise,  the standover was about 25mm to high.  On both the Ripmo and Ripley, there was plenty of  frame space to lower the standover without affecting the suspension system.  Just needed a bit of more dip in the center of the toptube.  So disappointing!  The size small 27.5×2.6 Juliana Furtado and Liv Intrigue had the same problem.   Big brands like Specialized and Trek had some of the highest standovers.  We’ve found only one size small bike with a  low enough standover (683mm) that fit my wife, the 27.5×2.6 Yeti Beti 5.  However, the cheapest version of that bike is $5000.  Ouch!  The 27.5×2.6 Ibis Mojo 3 has a very low standover (676mm) in size small but my local Ibis dealer can’t get one right now in the cheapest $4100 version.

      We even took to asking petite women we met on the trail what bikes they were riding.  We spoke to one 5’0″ women on a size small 27.5×2.6 Trek Remedy and she said the bike fit just fine toptube length wise but the standover was too high and she just learned to live with it.  What a sad state that petite women are forced to ride poorly fitting bikes.  And it is especially sad because these Mountainbikes could easily be designed with lower standovers.   You can see it just by looking at them.  So my shout out to the bike industry is this.  Please build size small and extra-small Mountainbikes with lower standovers so Shorties can also ride 27.5+ and 29ers.  Your missing out on  sales and discriminating against short people!  This is a lack of will not an unsolvable engineering problem.  Mostly you just need to put a downward dip in the center of the toptube instead of using a straight toptube.  Or if you’re using a toptube with a dip,  give it just a bit more dip.  Most of your bikes need about 25mm less standover to better accommodate Shorties.

      So to answer your question.  The bike industry could make 29er/27.5+ bikes to fit Shorties but they mostly don’t or do it very poorly.  Clearly, the Mountainbike industry is still dominated by men even though they claim to have women specific brands.

      To be technical, the standover for size extra-small should be about 650mm and for size small should be about 675mm.  However, very few Mountainbikes are built this way.   Some of the worst standover offenders have size small Mountainbikes with 750mm standover which might not fit even a 5’6″ person.  When your looking for a Mountainbike for Shorties, it’s all about standover height.

    • #262149

      Niner Jet 9 in XS comes with 29 or 27.5+ and a standover of 658mm

      • #262152

        Thanks for the info!  I’ll check it out.

    • #262154

      I check out the Niner on the net and they do show some very low standovers for 27.5/29 bikes in size small and extra small.  I went to my LBS that carries Niner but he was sold every Niner he had ordered for the season.  I’m tempted to order one but I’m concerned about what I would do if it didn’t fit.  It’s a quandry!

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