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As some of you may have guessed from the title of my blog, I’m not very tall – 5′ 4″ to be precise. The reason for this is I have short legs – 28″ or around 71cm. Now I have happily negotiated my way through life without this really being an issue, but I’ve been looking at new bikes recently and have run into a big issue – they’re too big!
This never used to be an issue, but standover heights on new bikes seem to be every increasing – especially on bikes with the new larger wheel sizes and full suspension bikes.
Ok, I know I’m short, but I can’t be an anomaly of nature. I can buy trousers easily enough – a “short” trouser fits me just fine and is catered to my inside leg, so why are cycle manufacturers now denying the existence of short men?
(to be fair, women seem much better catered for).
In my quest to find a new bike I have found it very hard to find a full suspension bike that I can actually stand astride, let alone have any clearance of the top tube. I have yet to find a 29″er that I can touch the floor from the top tube, which crazily rules out entire manufacturers – Specialized to name and shame an example – or entire product lines – Trek’s Fuel EX range as another example. How heightest is that?!
“Can I interest you in a bike sir? Oh no sorry, according to our design team, men of your height don’t exist, so you can’t have a mountain bike”.
Fortunately there are one or two manufacturers who appear to have not quite given up on the vertically challenged and in case anyone else is in the same predicament, I decided to compile a list of all these bikes that cater for us shorties.
It’s called The Shortlist and can be found here. Appropriately it’s not very long at the moment, but I’d love to hear from people if they have any suggestions – especially manufacturers. You can drop me your suggestions here.
Link – The Shortlist
So I have looked at replacement parts for my bike, and a potential successor, so now I have to decide which way to go.
If I upgrade the parts on my bike I get to keep it’s great steel frame and setup.
If I go with the new bike I get all parts replaced and a more modern ride. Read More
Having looked at replacement parts in Part 2, the other side of the conundrum is a new bike. Taking the equivalent budget from the parts I would need, and then using the Cycletowork scheme to gross it up, I would have a healthy budget of £1,000 for a new bike. So what’s out there? Read More
My 14 year old Kona has seen better days. Or to be more precise, certain parts have worn out and others are a bit ropey! It definitely needs the entire drivetrain replacing, including shifters, the front brake level is slightly broken and I’ve always thought the fork was too heavy for such a light bike. As I said in my part 1 post, that adds up to most of a bike, and could actually be as much as a new bike, but what would I get and which is better? So in this post I’m looking at the parts: what to get, what it would cost, and how would it change my bike. Read More
I currently have a Kona Explosif 1999 model, which I hand built myself, and I’m very fond of. It has a steel frame – Reynolds 853 tubing – and has a ride that only steel gives. It accelerates like whippet, especially offroad and on technical sections and gives me a grin even when I just take it round the block.
However, I built it in 1999, and it needs some serious maintenance and upgrades now. The entire drivetrain is shot and needs replacing, the forks are worrying me a bit (but are probably ok) and at the weekend I bent one of the brake levers (it’s got V brakes and it pre-dates discs!). Read More