11th December 2017

Mountain Bikes for Short People and Tall Kids

kids mountain biking

Two happy mountain bikers from the Ginger Squirrels group in Scotland.

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It can be a struggle to find a decent mountain bike when you’re a short adult or tall child – say between 5 foot to 5 foot 6 – as manufacturers tend to design bikes for “average” heights. We hooked up with Yvonne who runs the Ginger Squirrel mountain biking group, and here’s her experience of buying mountain bikes for the taller Junior Squirrels:

“Santa came early in the Ginger Squirrel HQ for the Junior Squirrels. After much complaints logged with the parental units in the household we began researching what to replace their 24 inched wheeled bikes with.

Now they are over the 5-foot height mark we are now considering smaller adult frames. With a price range of approximately £1000 per bike we were on a mission. This is where things got tricky. At 5-foot-9 inches (175cm), I had never encountered any problems getting the bike I want, every bike comes in my size. It turns out though, when you are under 5-foot-6 (168cm) it is not guaranteed your size is even made, let alone in stock in this country. This turned into a massive headache trying to locate bikes to fit which were full-suspension with decent reliable build kits. Women, young adults and shorter men really do get the short end of the stick on this one.

In the end I went into an Edinburgh Bike Coop store and asked them to list me every single bike they could get their hands on, across all the brands they stocked, which would fit a shorter person as a starting point. I then took away their details and googled reviews for a weekend as getting one in to demo is pretty much impossible for this size.

There were a few points to consider:

  • Bent top tubes or angled top tubes help with standover
  • Shorter cranks stop pedal striking and are more comfortable for shorter legs
  • Shorter and young adults still want wide handle bars to rail corners
  • You are not going to fit a long dropper post on any extra small frame
  • Boys will not buy a bike with any sort of female orientated name. Even if it fits better. They will consider a female bike if it is called “compact” or given a generic unisex name. The moment you add “womens” to the title or call it “diva” then the boys rule it out even if it is perfect. Similarly some brands have one name for their boys range, and a completely different brand name for the womens. Those get scored out too.

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We eventually decided on Marin Hawk Hill Full Suspension bikes. Why?.. Because they ticked every box as this review will show. What is more, we could not believe there was a full suspension bike made by such a large brand for this price which we had not seen more of.

A full suss for £1300 is unheard of.

The Junior Squirrels like them so much they wrote this awesome thank you card to the EBC Guys.”

childrens thank you card

Thanks Yvonne! We were happy to help.

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