Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

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RJHenry
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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby RJHenry » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:35 am

AM407 wrote:It was definitely better, but still seemed less than ideal. My wife was happy enough with it, but I think it just bugged me to spend $8K on a bike with a good stock suspension, then another $1K to tune it, then hobble it by cutting down the travel and ending up with something that performs worse than stock.

Totally understand - I had the same aversion so went with a link and sliding the tubes to keep the investment fairly low and not mess with the internals of the suspension. I figured that the internal limitation must move the "starting point" closer to the midstroke and out of the plush - I am sure it is more complicated than that but I still couldn't get excited about the cost, so did not pursue. With the fork tube "sliding up" in the clamps it imposes an "external limit" of tire to fender :eek: but that is the last couple inches of stroke (which she rarely requires). Hopefully it is still as plush as a 14 4CS can be. :D
Robert J Henry
2016 Husqvarna FE350

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AM407
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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby AM407 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:07 pm

Yep, her first bike was actually a dual-sport KLX250 with a Kouba link and the forks raised in the triple clamps. With the KLX's reasonable seat height, that got it low enough and didn't cost much. It also didn't seem to affect the KLX's suspension much.

Overall, it was a good solution for that bike. Problem was, the stock 200 XC-W seat height is a lot taller, so we needed to go lower, and the bike has the PDS rear, so no links to play with.

Having been there, for sure I'd rather start with a bike that doesn't require any suspension lowering. Freeride and Xtrainer are intriguing, but still around 36" seat height, I believe, so would still need to be lowered for someone shorter and who wants the confidence of being able to put a foot down whenever and wherever.

We were both totally convinced by the trials bike option: 32" seat height right out of the box, full size wheels and tires, 160-ish lbs, torquey motor with loads of grunt and gearing to climb a brick wall or cruise at 80. My wife wasn't convinced when I first suggested it, but she was won over as soon as she threw a leg over it.

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trailguy
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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby trailguy » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:08 pm

At 5' 6" your wife should not need it much lower on the XCW 150. My son is just out of mini bikes and is only 5' 4" riding off-road on a SX 150, re sprung for his weight and 107mm sag with no lower and he can touch really well. The linkage SX does sit lower than XCW but than can be fixed with the Slavens Stink Bug spacer for the XCW's. Re sprung with 110mm sag you should not have to have Don lower it more than one inch, I would not go more than that.

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Brass
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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby Brass » Wed Jun 07, 2017 10:28 pm

As Trailguy says, don't be discouraged by advertised seat height numbers. The rider's weight normally adds about 4 inches of sag (+ - ) so in the real world that 36" seat height is close to 32 when correct springs are installed. Install good quality ultra heavy duty tubes and lower the tire pressure to 8 psi and you're at 31.5" . Then try a low seat or a soft seat that she sinks into more. My wife preferes the soft seat option.

Try to stay away from lowering a bike if at all possible. The fork action suffers just like RH mentioned. Worse is the swingarm geometry is all messed up to the point that it can get difficult to do a simple wheelie to get over small trail obstacles. This is due to the swingarm being closer to parallel to the ground. When you try to wheelie, the weight transfer to rear causes the suspension the sink more and the rear axle starts to climb up above the swingarm pivot point. This causes the front to drop which brings in the problems with lowered forks.
Excellent if you are building a bike for drag racing. No so good for bush use.

Go into the local dealers with your lady and a tape measure. Ask them to take some preload out of the rear spring so you get that 100 mm of sag with her on it and see how she feels. Maybe ask if they have a low seat or soft seat to try. Sure it's a small pain in the rump but the dealers will all understand you're not looking to buy a bike for a growing teenager and no one wants to waste $$ on a bike that is too big. It's an easy adjustment and something that will quickly rule out a bike or possibly help you find the perfect bike for her.

Good luck.
The voices are back. Awesome!

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trailguy
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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby trailguy » Thu Jun 08, 2017 9:29 pm

One issue with the 2017 Hardparts Low seat is the foam was not designed correctly. Instead of removing most of the foam from the bottom at the seat base, they just shaved the top. It is 15mm lower, but short leg riders will only notice that from the seat to the pegs, from the seat to the ground it is no lower than stock. I purchased one for my son and we swapped seats back and forth with no difference in touching the ground. The low seat is so much wider it spreads a short riders legs out considerably more than the stock seat - so no better at touching the ground. He liked the much narrow stock seat so that is what he is running. The soft seat would likely be a better option.

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