Sports FAQ
Home / Mountain Biking


ellerie2011-03-14 18:18:23 +0000 #1
Ok.. I started mtn biking three years ago on my son's Kona and it's done the trick surprisingly well, but it's time for my own now. I'm 5'3" and am Looking at the GF Mamba WSD. Love the idea of the 29" wheels, but the bike shop isn't sure that standover room is sufficient. I didn't have all that much on the one I've been using, but it hadn't been an issue... They suggested the Trek 6000.

Thoughts? Other suggestions?
Becky2011-03-14 18:32:47 +0000 #2
What's your inseam? I'm only an inch taller than you, but have a cycling inseam of ~33". For me, standover is never an issue

If your legs are shorter than mine, standover could be a concern....

When I was test-riding 29ers, it became apparent that I had to be aware of the handlebar height and the saddle-to-bar drop. On some bikes, I couldn't get the bars low enough- felt like I was riding ape-hanger handlebars! That 29" front wheel really jacks up the whole front end! If you have short legs, I would pay close attention to saddle-to-bar drop. My bars are about as low as I can make them and they're still only a tiny bit lower than the saddle, despite all of my leg length.

I love my 29er, but I can see how fit could become problematic for someone shorter or proportioned differently than me.
ellerie2011-03-14 18:24:17 +0000 #3
Sadly, my inseam is only about 29". That's definitely the sticking point. Thanks!
Cataboo2011-03-14 19:16:28 +0000 #4
If you want something bigger than 26" - you could maybe try going for a 650b - you probably won't find anything stock, but a 29er is going to be pushing it I think.

I know I googled 29ers and short people a while ago and there were some people at 5'1 riding them - there's a whole thread of people's 29er build for short people on some website (I think I followed a link off here - so maybe search the forum for more 29er threads)
SheFly2011-03-14 19:08:33 +0000 #5
You should definitely investigate this. I have a lot of friends in your height range who are riding 29ers and love them.

Becky2011-03-14 20:34:08 +0000 #6
Willow Koerber is only 5'2" and racing a 29er, so it can definitely be done with the right geometry.
rocknrollgirl2011-03-14 19:24:12 +0000 #7
I am 5'3 and 1/2 and I am on a 29er. Salsa Mamacita. It depends on your geometry and the bike's. I do not have any standover room, but that does not bother me. What does bother me is that it is tough to bail off of when I need to. It is a long way to the ground for short people.

You may have to have one costum built, which would be pricey.

One thing I will tell you, is that for small women, you will need very light wheels and I would suggest going tubless. I started with stock wheels and had a hard time getting the bike to repsond because of the rotational mass of a heavy wheel.

We just upgraded to Stan's Crest tubeless and what a huge difference. It is like a new bike.

Good luck. I love mine.
Irulan2011-03-14 20:13:13 +0000 #8
Many tiny women ride them and love them. My friend Collette is 4-11" and is one of them. There is much discussion of this (what brands, which frames etc) in the women's lounge at

So few mountain bikes come with 650 wheel size it's hardly worth mentioning.



Other posts in this category