Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Somewhere between heaven and hell
Bikes: '09 Jamis Komodo, '09 Mirraco Blend One, '08 Cervelo P2C, '08 Specialized Ruby Elite, '07 Yeti AS-R SL, '07 DMR Drone
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No reason to go 24" unless you plan on riding urban assault or DJ. It would probably be hard to find a quality 24" that's not a DJ anyway, since most of the non-DJ 24" mountain bikes are kids' bikes with cheap components. You'll fit perfectly fine on a smaller 26"...look for maybe a 13-14" seattube, and try a few of them out to see what feels good. You may be able to stand over a 29er, but at 5'0, I feel like it's a lot of bike to try to throw around (I'm 5'3 and I tried a 29er, and the clearance was tight and the bike seemed huge, but it's no doubt a preference thing). And I'd say look for a hardtail over a rigid. You can get a nice hardtail for $850, and you'll appreciate having the front suspension, even on beginner trails.