This was the question, and now I have answered it. Although I am not 'super short' (approx 161cm), there was always the worry in the back of my mind that maybe 29" wheels would not be suitable. I had read lots of reviews of bikes for women, particularly Specialized 29" vs Giant 650B, and although both had benefits, I was more and more tempted by the leap to 29" wheels.
Part of my decision was helped along by Marianne (from http://dutchielovescycling.tumblr.com ). She (probably unknowingly) helped me take the plunge and buy the Fate. Marianne had nothing but good words to say about the bike, and fortunately she also recommended me to a really good Specialized mountain bike dealer. Having previously helped out at a bike shop, and looked at many others in the past, I know what makes a good bike shop, with great customer service, and staff who really know their products.
My favorite bike shops (by Steve at Crankstar, and Shayne and Pip at Semiracer) are road-specific... so I was obliged to go elsewhere to buy a new bike for the dirt. In the end, I couldn't have landed at a nicer place. Bicycle Riders Morningside (BRM) now also has my big 'tick of approval'. They were incredibly helpful while I made my decision, without being pushy at any stage. Simon could easily answer all my questions about the different bike options and extras, and had lots of additional helpful tips also. He is also very well trained at bike fitting (a credit to both the body geometry fit (bgfit) system and Simon's own eagerness to learn more about what makes a good fit).
The Fate is a dream to ride, light weight and responsive. The 29" wheels definitely do roll much better over obstacles than my old 26" bike. I did splash out on carbon tubeless wheels, to reduce the weight of the bike, and to gain stiffer, faster rolling, precise wheels. Definitely worth every cent.
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