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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
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    473

    2014 Carbon Hardtail for a 5ft 1in Female

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    Dearest Teamestrogen members,

    I am thinking of selling my full suspension Santa Cruz 26er and buying a Carbon Hardtail 27.5 or 29er next year. I am still in the research stage because low standover is tough to find for a 5ft 1in female.

    Currently I am looking at Niner's Air 9 3star carbon XT 29er XS (688mm standover) and the Giant Obsess 27.5 Advanced 1 XS (668mm). My budget will be around $3500, so, hopefully there will be an end of year sale for the Giant Obsess Advanced 1 which is over my budget.

    I just wanted to see if any petite members of Teamestrogen have tried either of these bikes and your thoughts.

    Unfortunately, demos are not an option due to my size. I will probably have to buy these bikes without being able to give them a test ride.
    2014 Liv Lust
    2013 Specialized Fate Expert with carbon wheelset (sold)
    2012 Specialized Amira Elite
    2010 Santa Cruz Juliana with R kit and Crampon pedals (sold)

    2011 Specialized Ariel Sport,suspension post,Serfas Rx Women's Microfiber saddle (sold)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,940
    I have not tried those particular models, but I just switched over to a 27.5. I am 5'3".

    I have a 29er, and I have a 26er. The new 27.5 bike is perfection. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. The more I ride it the better it gets. I have the Giant Lust 1 Advanced. I cannot say enough good things. I was not able to test ride either, I took a leap of faith based on my bike trusty bike shop guy. If we lived closer I would let you take mine out.

    LOVE IT.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583
    Hi TigerMom.

    I think I remember you saying you were having some trouble with switchbacks, is that right? If so a 27.5 would be a better choice over a 29er for the tighter turning radius and also your height. The Niner has a effective top tube length that is about 2.5 cm longer and a wheelbase that is 3 cm longer. The head tube angle on the two bikes is the same so the Niner will feel more stable at high speeds, but will be less responsive turning and the reach will be farther.

    Are you bent on carbon? Are there any other models you've considered?

    Hope that helps.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
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    473
    Quote Originally Posted by Wahine View Post
    Hi TigerMom.

    I think I remember you saying you were having some trouble with switchbacks, is that right? If so a 27.5 would be a better choice over a 29er for the tighter turning radius and also your height. The Niner has a effective top tube length that is about 2.5 cm longer and a wheelbase that is 3 cm longer. The head tube angle on the two bikes is the same so the Niner will feel more stable at high speeds, but will be less responsive turning and the reach will be farther.

    Are you bent on carbon? Are there any other models you've considered?

    Hope that helps.
    I am not nearly as good of a biker as you Wahine. So, I think that my problem with the switchbacks that I am currently doing has more to do with my lack of handling ability rather than the bike itself. In fact, after one month of practicing on my Santa Cruz Juliana 26er with all of Teamestrogen's great advice, I rode down the same switchbacks on a 29er without any problems. I think for my "beginner to intermediate" level of mountain biking ability, I can still use a 29er on the turns because I am not doing anything crazy gnarly. This is why I am still open to a 29er. Also, since I will be giving up my aluminum full suspension to go hardtail, I figure that the carbon with a bigger 29er wheel will feel similar when going over bumps....which is why I am picking Carbon hardtail over aluminum (I can't afford titanium, which is why I drool over your 2012 Moots Soft-tail). I tried an aluminum 27.5 hardtail and it felt terrible going over ditches and bumps compared to a 29er carbon hardtail. This is also the reason I am scared to buy a 27.5. But I have yet to demo a 27.5 carbon hardtail, so perhaps the comparison is not quite fair.
    2014 Liv Lust
    2013 Specialized Fate Expert with carbon wheelset (sold)
    2012 Specialized Amira Elite
    2010 Santa Cruz Juliana with R kit and Crampon pedals (sold)

    2011 Specialized Ariel Sport,suspension post,Serfas Rx Women's Microfiber saddle (sold)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,940
    I would assume that the Niner carbon because it is a higher end bike was set up with a better wheel set and was probably tubeless which will make it feel different also.

    Here is what I can tell you from first hand experience. Does my 27.5 roll over bumpy stuff as smoothly as my 29er. No. But it is darn close and SO much easier for me to climb on and is a nimble as my 26. Now my bike is also full carbon and a full suspension so that makes a difference in the cush of my ride, and the bikes fits much better than my
    29er which I was stretched out on.

    In a way I was lucky that I had the full range of experiences riding the 26er and the 29er. It made my leap of faith easier. I too would have been afraid if that had not been the case.
    Either way it sounds like you will get a great bike. Keep us posted on the process. If you want any specific info, just yell.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,738
    Don't discount the opportunity to demo a bike in your size. While it's true that small and extra-small demos are less common, they're still sometimes available. My friend was able to demo a Niner Air 9 (not sure if it was alloy or carbon) in XS when the demo truck rolled through last summer. Never hurts to check.... I would also check with your local dealer. They may have your size available, or know of a customer who owns that size and would let you try it out.

    Good luck!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583
    TigerMom, this is a situation where a sizer cycle would be really helpful. A fitter could mock up the tow different bikes based on the gemetry given on the website and you could sit on both just to see how they feel fit-wise and then make your decision based on fit and projected performance.

    This is exactly the kind of service I was hoping to provide with the purchase of a sizer cycle. But I'm not there yet. You could see if someone in your area has a sizer cycle and might be able to do this for you , if you can't find a demo.

    I spent some time last night looking up geometry on various 650b bikes and I was surprised to find that all of the ones I looked at had a higher standover than the two that you listed.

    Have you considered steel? It's slightly heavier (by that I mean about 1 lb for a good steel frame) but it would open up your option significantly.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
    Posts
    473
    Quote Originally Posted by Wahine View Post
    TigerMom, this is a situation where a sizer cycle would be really helpful. A fitter could mock up the tow different bikes based on the gemetry given on the website and you could sit on both just to see how they feel fit-wise and then make your decision based on fit and projected performance.

    This is exactly the kind of service I was hoping to provide with the purchase of a sizer cycle. But I'm not there yet. You could see if someone in your area has a sizer cycle and might be able to do this for you , if you can't find a demo.

    I spent some time last night looking up geometry on various 650b bikes and I was surprised to find that all of the ones I looked at had a higher standover than the two that you listed.

    Have you considered steel? It's slightly heavier (by that I mean about 1 lb for a good steel frame) but it would open up your option significantly.
    I totally wish you lived in the area (@Wahine). But, I don't feel comfortable with internet viewing of my geometry, but I would totally have paid for a sizing with your personal attention.

    I'm scared of steel due to the rust issue and slightly due to the weight issue (but more the rust issue). I am not the best caretaker of bikes. If it is raining/muddy outside, I usually still just hang up my bike without washing/drying. Hopefully, TE members won't yell at me for being lazy to my bikes. But I do take really good care of my dogs and my daughter
    Last edited by TigerMom; 12-10-2013 at 12:31 PM.
    2014 Liv Lust
    2013 Specialized Fate Expert with carbon wheelset (sold)
    2012 Specialized Amira Elite
    2010 Santa Cruz Juliana with R kit and Crampon pedals (sold)

    2011 Specialized Ariel Sport,suspension post,Serfas Rx Women's Microfiber saddle (sold)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583
    Quote Originally Posted by TigerMom View Post
    I totally wish you lived in the area (@Wahine). But, I don't feel comfortable with internet viewing of my geometry, but I would totally have paid for a sizing with your personal attention.

    I'm scared of steel due to the rust issue and slightly due to the weight issue (but more the rust issue). I am not the best caretaker of bikes. If it is raining/muddy outside, I usually still just hang up my bike without washing/drying. Hopefully, TE members won't yell at me for being lazy to my bikes. But I do take really good care of my dogs and my daughter
    The sizer cycle fit is definitely an in person thing, it is not an internet fitting. I'm suggesting you might be able to find someone in your area that does it, in person, it's the only way to use a sizer cycle.

    Steel carries some issues, but so does carbon. I used to ride a carbon mtn bike but I cracked a chainstay when I fell to the side into a rock. Fortunately I could replace it, but it cost nearly $300 to do so. With the number of times I hear rocks kick up and hit my downtube, I'd be afraid of fracturing carbon. Also, if you're not great about cleaning your bike, make sure any carbon frame you get is a single piece and not glued anywhere. Sweat, sports drinks etc, can break down the glue they use at carbon junctions and can cause them to fail.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,403
    aren't there some new carbon composites that are supposed to be more durable now?
    2015 Liv Intrigue 2
    Pro Mongoose Titanium Singlespeed
    2012 Trek Madone 4.6 Compact SRAM

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583
    I'm sure there are. But they still won't be as durable as steel.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

    http://gorgebikefitter.com/


    2007 Look Dura Ace
    2010 Custom Tonic cross with discs, SRAM
    2012 Moots YBB 2 x 10 Shimano XTR
    2014 Soma B-Side SS

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
    Posts
    473
    I just tried a 27.5 again. I had tried a GT aluminum 27.5 full suspension and the Giant Obsess 2 carbon hardtail 27.5 and still not impressed by the 27.5 wheel. I felt like it did not steer that much better than the 29er for me (I am not riding crazy hard switchbacks). Also the 29er rolled sooo much better over rocks and dips when going uphill and downhill for me compared to the 27.5 which would buck me off on some of the big rocks/roots.

    I think that I am going to do more research on 29ers for short people. But, I think my choices are limited due to standover. The only two carbon hardtail 29ers that I could find in the $3500 price range are: Specialized Fate Small which has a standover of 715mm and the Niner Air 9 XS which has a Standover of 688mm.

    Anyone have a preference after riding both bikes as there are no bikes in my size to demo?
    2014 Liv Lust
    2013 Specialized Fate Expert with carbon wheelset (sold)
    2012 Specialized Amira Elite
    2010 Santa Cruz Juliana with R kit and Crampon pedals (sold)

    2011 Specialized Ariel Sport,suspension post,Serfas Rx Women's Microfiber saddle (sold)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
    Posts
    473
    Quote Originally Posted by TigerMom View Post
    I just tried a 27.5 again. I had tried a GT aluminum 27.5 full suspension and the Giant Obsess 2 carbon hardtail 27.5 and still not impressed by the 27.5 wheel. I felt like it did not steer that much better than the 29er for me (I am not riding crazy hard switchbacks). Also the 29er rolled sooo much better over rocks and dips when going uphill and downhill for me compared to the 27.5 which would buck me off on some of the big rocks/roots.

    I think that I am going to do more research on 29ers for short people. But, I think my choices are limited due to standover. The only two carbon hardtail 29ers that I could find in the $3500 price range are: Specialized Fate Small which has a standover of 715mm and the Niner Air 9 XS which has a Standover of 688mm.

    Anyone have a preference after riding both bikes as there are no bikes in my size to demo?
    Dear Wahine,

    Just to let your future petite clients know....the standover for the XS Air 9 hardtail is under-measured. I think that Niner measured standover right where the nose of the saddle is. The standover in reality...add at least another 45mm. Several other short females also complained on the internet regarding Niner's XS/Small "inaccurate" standover measurements (which is why I doubled checked on the Medium Fate and the Small Air 9 as comparisons). For the Fate, probably add 15mm.

    Thus, the only 29er bike in my future is the Specialized Fate.

    I will start saving now and hope that my husband will let me buy over budget.
    2014 Liv Lust
    2013 Specialized Fate Expert with carbon wheelset (sold)
    2012 Specialized Amira Elite
    2010 Santa Cruz Juliana with R kit and Crampon pedals (sold)

    2011 Specialized Ariel Sport,suspension post,Serfas Rx Women's Microfiber saddle (sold)

 

 

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