Has the bike industry forgotten smaller riders?

Hello Lee,

I am a new member of the Lee Likes Bikes MTB School but have followed you for a while and  read your book probably close to 8-9 years ago. Still have it and review it from time to time.

I am  55, and have been riding for most of my adult life (MTB/Rd/Tri).

I have been wanting to buy a new mountain bike for years, but at 58 inches tall and 95 lbs, I have been challenged and frustrated.

The last bike I purchased, which is my current one,  was in 2010 or 2011; a Pivot mach 4 in XS ( yes 26″). I purchased it sight unseen. At the time I felt it was too big, ( compared to my hard tail Mojo – which I LOVED).

In the last 5 years or so, I have attempted to test ride different rigs. Out of the handful I have tried (availability being the primary issue), none feel like they fit. Has the industry forgotten about shorter statured riders, or is there something out there?

I keep looking online at various manufacturer’ sites, but what looks like a possibility on paper,  may not always the case.

Would I be able to find a resource on your site that would lead me the right direction?

Not really sure how to start. I appreciate your time,


Hi Marlene!

Thanks for reaching out.

The industry, in its sheeplike pursuit of longer and longer geometry, has left smaller riders behind.

I can help in a few ways:

– Check out the bike sizing charts on llbmtb.com (membership is required). They’re not organized by size, so it’ll take some digging. Two bikes I’ve sent smaller riders to are previous-generation Stumpjumper 27.5s and Pivot Trail 429s.

– By running a bit of math, I can tell you the ideal frame reach for you is about 370mm. Finding that will be tough. Get as close as you can.

– If you want help, check out RideLogic consultations. I can spend a bit of time looking for viable options, and I can model stem/bar setups for you.

These days, availability is tough for many bikes. But you need such a small bike, maybe there’s one waiting for you.

What do you think?


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