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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
I went hiking in Madeira a few years ago and fondly remember the strikingly beautiful island. Essentially a single volcano sticking out of the middle of the ocean, there is massive variety of terrain and climate in one small area. The main feature of the terrain of course is the hills, with some of the most terrifying roads I’ve ever been on! Although I went there hiking, I could instantly see it would be great for mountain biking and was very pleased to stumble across some excellent video and purpose built trails on Madeira from the Trippin guys.
It should go without saying that you should either scope a trail before riding it, or at the very least take it easy on your first run, so that you are prepared for what is coming up.
We all get a bit over excited sometimes though, and these guys did just that! They are very lucky though, as this happened in the Alps, and they’re lucky only one of them got hurt.
So after my dilemma of whether to upgrade or replace my bike, I went for upgrading the drivetrain to start with. I originally built my Kona with 27 speed Deore LX, which at the time was a brand new groupset. SLX is the direct modern equivalent, so I bought a 2 x 10 setup from Merlin Cycles. I actually bought a full groupset and Read More
The X-King from Continental came about as a point between the Mountain King and Rubber King tyres. The idea was for a light, fast rolling but grippy tyre for most conditions. The fast rolling element suggests dry conditions and purpose-built trails, so I gave it run out at the Croft Trail. Read More
Merlin Cycles have been around since 1993, and I think I’ve probably been shopping with them since then.
They initially made their name as mail order custom wheel builders, which is still something do and excel at. I’ve had quite a few wheels from them now, and all have been brilliant. Read More
In the beginning there was steel, and only steel. And the steel was good, steel was strong, cheap and easy to work with.
Then came the others: aluminium, titanium, carbon, magnesium, metal matrix composites, trying to make a lighter, better bike.
And aluminium won, the end.
Well not quite. Read More