Bikepacking and rough road touring - what style bike?


New Member
Mar 7, 2021
Inland Australia
Hi, I am getting back into riding and my girlfriend wants to join in (she has ridden casually before). Looking for advice on finding a bike for her - she's tiny (4'11"), and she doesn't want to spend a lot on a bike just yet.

I suspect we'll mostly favour gentle tracks, rail trails, winery regions and the like, but we also want to explore the forest near home which is all hard clay, corrugated and rutted roads.

I'm leaning towards a (non suspension) 29+ adventure tourer for me, mostly for that big tyre comfort on the local tracks and so I can haul gear when bikepacking. I'm not sure what style of bike to recommend for her, but I'm thinking small (womens or boys) mountain bikes will be the most cheaply available and comfortable?

I've read that petite / light ladies might prefer full suspension, is this true? I'm concerned that it will be the wrong choice for the long easy sealed trails, but equally concerned that she'll be shaken to bits on our first local forest ride. Would regular 26" MTB tyres offer her the same kind of ride that I'll get with my 29+? Would front suspension make up the difference, or should we be looking at full suspension?

Interested to hear thoughts and experience from the ladies :)

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