Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

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boogle2
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Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby boogle2 » Wed May 24, 2017 3:03 pm

Hello,

Been going through a couple of iterations with the girlfriend of the proper bike for her, and just can't seem to find the right package. Started on a '08 KTM 250SXF, and it was just way too big. We do mostly tighter single track with some wider quad trails mixed in for cruising. We now have a Honda '13 150r, however, there are some short falls there as well. 150r's do not make the best trail bikes, as their motors don't like to chug, and have quite poor low RPM and off-idle response. Also, the smaller rim sizes can make roots and rocks more interesting for her. Not to mention, it can be an absolute bear to start, which complicates the stall-out issues even more as she will get pretty tired from kicking.

Has anyone found the solution for a great woods bike for shorter people? She's about 5'6" and the seat height of the 150r is perfect (32.8"). She could probably live with another inch and a half or two up, but no more than that. Also - don't really like the idea of shaving the seat down to a plank due to comfort issues.

If someone could build the ultimate bike, it would probably have
- 33-34" seat height
- 21/18" tire set
- 150r-250X type power
- electric start
- fuel injection (or an easily jetted 2 stroke)

I have heard of the Service Honda's, however they appear to be out of business and used ones are hard to come by. Anyone have any input?

Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

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malcolmzilla
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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby malcolmzilla » Wed May 24, 2017 3:22 pm

200 xcw estart, hard to find used
lower a 250xcw or xcw-f (EFI)
15 Yamaha YZ250FX, 270cc, cams
15 XC250
11 Berg 570, dualsport and supermoto
17 PW50
78ish CT70
Just another Dirt Donkey...

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cycleworks
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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby cycleworks » Wed May 24, 2017 3:31 pm

KTM Freeride checks most of those boxes!
Allison - Parts Department - Cycleworks Calgary (403) 230-1920
2018 250 XCW

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trailguy
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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby trailguy » Wed May 24, 2017 5:50 pm

Another vote for the Freeride or a 150 XCW, leave the stock seat and lower the suspension slightly, very light flickable bike with E-start.
I have spent alot of time building a 2017 XC150 from a 2017 SX150. Bike runs very clean with good bottom end power, so I have some good set up tricks for the 150XCW (same motor ) if you go that route.

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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby golarge » Wed May 24, 2017 9:25 pm

And another vote. Freeride.
Yup. Got a new one.

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boogle2
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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby boogle2 » Thu May 25, 2017 8:42 am

I never thought of the freeride! Looks like I could get it in that 34.5" seat height range with a lowering kit.

Anyone have feedback on how bad vibrations are? Doesn't look like it has the same updated motor with counter balance shaft as the '17's. Also is the carb fairly forgiving with elevation/temp changes? Reviews I am reading say it has very nice down low grunt, but nothing that will rip your arms off which is perfect. It also looks to have lights already and estart, which is another plus!

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Dobi
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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby Dobi » Thu May 25, 2017 10:13 am

My wife got a freeride this year and she absolutely loves it. She had a 200XC 2 kids ago and was leaning that way until she sat on the freeride in Cycleworks showroom.

The vibration isn't too bad, other than set the float I haven't touched the carb (it's a little rich, but not fouling plugs :D). I did swap out the stock tires and have ordered some upgraded brake parts, but that is mostly because I play on it and feel they are weak :blush:

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RJHenry
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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby RJHenry » Thu May 25, 2017 1:06 pm

I have built two bikes for ladies - one built with a friend for his wife, the second still ridden by my wife.
1) Honda 250X - added a lowering link, bar risers, flatter bend handlebar, slid the fork tubes up in the triple clamp - achieved about 1.5" lowering.
2) Husqvarna FE250 - Lightest springs available, Koubalink, bar risers, flatter bend handlebar, slid the fork tubes up in the triple clamp, Husky "Low" seat - achieved about 1.75" lower. I subsequently added a rekluse and had the euro ECM map loaded into this bike.

Both bikes are good woods bikes from the start - solid torque, very tractable power, with electric start, lights and spark arrestors. The Honda charges slowly due to stator design and sometimes runs down the battery, so my friend did the Li-Ion battery and I opted to do one for the Husky as well - it is a few pounds up high, makes a small but worthwhile difference.

In both cases we were motivated by wanting "full size" wheel diameters and durability, and by the opportunity to have "fleet" commonality to the bike we ride. Both ladies are fit and with a bit of a learning curve have grown comfortable with the weight of the 4 stroke as a compromise for the torque and engine character.

The decision to use a link / slide the forks up in the clamps came from a "trial run" mindset - if it doesn't work, the bike can be stock height in fifteen minutes, and we are only out the cost of the lowering link, handlebar, and risers rather than the cost of installing (and reversing) a full internal suspension modification. When she rides the bike to the point that the wheel is hitting the fender, it is time to raise the bike up again. Now in the third season for each - two satisfied customers!
Robert J Henry
2016 Husqvarna FE350

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AM407
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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby AM407 » Thu May 25, 2017 7:33 pm

My wife is a little bit shorter (5'5") and it took us a while to find the perfect bike. KX-100 was too peaky, too cramped, and the smaller wheels/tires aren't great on the trail. Lowered 200 XC-W was much better, but seemed a little big/heavy for her, and I think we lost a lot of suspension performance in the lowering.

We finally ended up with an Ossa Explorer (trials bike with a seat) and she loved it. It handled steep, tight, twisty singletrack like you'd expect a trials bike to, yet she also found it plenty stable on higher-speed double track and even sandy, whooped-out trails in the desert. It just fit her perfectly, and at 165 lbs (the bike, not her!) she could toss it around like she never could with the KTM.

I'd be looking hard at the Honda Montesa Cota if we were shopping for a new bike for her now.

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boogle2
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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby boogle2 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:10 pm

Where is there an OSSA dealer in Calgary? That is an interesting idea. With lights and an e-start that would be a great solution!

I think we may have settled on a lowered 150XCW. Don at pro action says he can take 2-2.5" out of it which should get us close to her Honda 150R in terms of seat height. Also the new 150XCWs look to be about 18 lbs lighter than the old 200's, so that definitely helps. I was looking at used 200's till I read that.

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cycleworks
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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby cycleworks » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:43 pm

Totally a good thought, but the new 150's (while super light and awesome) still lack on the bottom end, which can be a challenge for a less-aggressive rider. I don't know her riding style, but I know I would find that frustrating at the bottom of a big hill!
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AM407
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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby AM407 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:05 pm

boogle2 wrote:Where is there an OSSA dealer in Calgary? That is an interesting idea. With lights and an e-start that would be a great solution!

I think we may have settled on a lowered 150XCW. Don at pro action says he can take 2-2.5" out of it which should get us close to her Honda 150R in terms of seat height. Also the new 150XCWs look to be about 18 lbs lighter than the old 200's, so that definitely helps. I was looking at used 200's till I read that.


From what I can tell, OSSA has gone bankrupt, so unfortunately I don't think you'll find a dealer in Calgary or anywhere else. Blackfoot Direct sells Beta, who makes the Trial-Sport with a seat, and then there's the previously-mentioned Honda Montesa. Don't know if you'll find either of those in a dealer's showroom, but I'd highly recommend having a look and maybe getting your girlfriend to sit on one.

We also had Pro-Action lower my wife's 200 XC-W (by 2-3" IIRC) and set it up for her weight and riding ability. She liked it okay (and loved the lower seat height), but I got the feeling we had lost a bunch of suspension performance. I know it rode like a lumber wagon compared to my Pro-Action 250 XC-W (not lowered), but that's probably not a fair test given that I probably weigh 60 lbs more than her in all my gear. Still, even when she rode it, she for sure never called it plush.

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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby Brass » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:47 pm

Check out the Beta Xtrainer. It may suit your needs.

Lowering a bike's suspension 2-3" will kill the ride, handling and geometry.
The voices are back. Awesome!

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RJHenry
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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby RJHenry » Wed Jun 07, 2017 7:25 am

AM407 wrote: Still, even when she rode it, she for sure never called it plush.

Did you spring it softer for her weight? I am a firm believer in springs first, valving second.
Robert J Henry
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AM407
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Re: Best Woods Bike for Shorter Women

Postby AM407 » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:51 am

RJHenry wrote:
AM407 wrote: Still, even when she rode it, she for sure never called it plush.

Did you spring it softer for her weight? I am a firm believer in springs first, valving second.


It was 6-7 years ago, and we sold the bike a few years after, so I don't remember all the details. I know we bought the bike from Cycle Works already lowered (I think still on the stock springs.) The seat height was great, but from watching my wife ride the bike, I had the feeling it wasn't as good as it could be.

I think she rode it like that for a season, then I took it to Chris at Pro-Action and spent around $1K for a re-valve and re-spring (looking at old pics, I can see a progressive rate spring on the back.) I can't remember the details, but he also made some changes to the way the lowering was done (something about using/not using a spacer ??? )

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.

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