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  1. #1
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    Inexpensive mountain bikes

    I am casually looking for an inexpensive mountain bike that would be more suitable than my Cannondale Quick for ratty dirt roads, fire roads, and some non-technical mountain bike trails. I had put knobby tires on my Quick and have used it. Now I find that the tires have been rubbing on my fork and have removed paint down to the carbon. A full suspension seems over the top for my needs, pricey, and difficult to find for someone 4'11" tall with a short reach. So, I am looking at hardtail bikes.

    My standover is about 27.5" but I have very short arms. My Quick has a 50.5 effective top tube, which is pretty good.

    So far I have found:

    Specialized Myka Sport (maybe disc) that comes in a 13" size, 52.5cm top tube, and about 25.6" on standover, at $630. Or I could go as low as their non-disc, nonsport version at $470.


    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...cname=Mountain

    Specialized Jett Comp, also in a 13" size, 53cm top tube (getting to be a bit much), with bout 25.6" on standover, but kind of pricey at $1250:



    A bit more out of the box, a kids mountain bike with a 12" frame, 49cm Top tube and 24 inch wheels, a Kona Kula at $949:

    http://www.konaworld.com/kids.cfm?content=kula_2-4

    Bikes direct has a number of possibilities in their Motobecane brand, with 52cm top tubes, and acceptable stand over at 26", but most seem to be sold out and the ones I originally looked at are now gone.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by bingo296; 09-26-12 at 07:10 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member metabike's Avatar
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    I wouldn't go the 24" wheel route - my wife is just a smidge shorter than you and we tried a 24" years ago. Limited tire availability, smaller wheels aren't so hot off-road, & heavy frames (to handle the abuse of kids they don't build 'em light). She now has a Jamis MTB that is a 12" or 13" frame (I think). Back to your dilemma, have you given any thought to a cyclocross bike? One could do pretty much all that you want to do, plus, if you ever got the itch to do any longer road rides, the drop bars + some slicks would be a better road bike than your Quick.

  3. #3
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    If going off road then you will need a certain amount of quality on the bike. The two main things are the suspension forks and the wheels. Not saying you are going to get these with a "Known" brand either as these parts cost. I am not talking Top grade but the forks should be rebuildable for servicing and not sealed units and the wheels will have to be strong. Not the sort of thing that normally comes on a low grade bike.

    I am not as short as you but on MTB's have pretty small bikes. Easy enough to adapt a bike that is nearly small enough by fitting riser bars and short bar stems and Inline seat posts that bring the saddle just a bit more forward but riding one that is too large is not the wisest thing to do- so make certain you do get the right size bike.

    On brakes- I still use V Brakes and not discs and never found the necessity for disc brakes other than Rim wear on the wheels. Except on the Tandem but that is a different king of beastie.

    Take time on your bike selection and even more so- take time in finding the right Local bike Shop (LBS) It is the LBS that is the problem. The right one will be able to advise you correctly on the bike and then help with any fitting issues that may arise.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  4. #4
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    Take time on your bike selection and even more so- take time in finding the right Local bike Shop (LBS) It is the LBS that is the problem. The right one will be able to advise you correctly on the bike and then help with any fitting issues that may arise.
    That's what I think too.

    At 4'11" you're going to be hard to fit. If you want to be comfortable, you need to find a good fitter. Somebody local, who knows your local riding conditions would be best.

    Are you sure you need knobby tires? Unless you're riding some pretty extream conditions, I think that knobby bicycle tires are over rated.

  5. #5
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    Are you convinced you need a suspension fork? For the kind of riding you describe, you may not, and that opens the door to all kinds of earlyish ('80s?) mountain bikes. Around here you can get hardtail mountain bikes in thrift shops, in very good condition, for less than $50. We have several decent bikes, including an Atlantis and Rambouillet, but the ones we ride every day for shopping and general use are a Specialized Hard Rock and Bridgestone MB3 from the Salvation Army. I got them for $25 and $40, and all they needed was lubrication. They're pleasant to ride, durable, and with road or combo tires they're fine on pavement.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    I got them for $25 and $40, and all they needed was lubrication. They're pleasant to ride, durable, and with road or combo tires they're fine on pavement.
    That's fine for folks like you and me but the OP is only 4'11".

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    as part of a new bike purchase the Suspension forks don't add much price,
    given OEM get them by the Thousand count lots, from other asian companies
    so the shipping between them is probably Local..

    on the retail end buying a bike , there are likely a lot of other component upgrades
    that are packaged with the suspension fork..

    Such as in trek's Navigator , a good gravel trail and street cruise around bike ..

    1.0 was an 8 speed 1 chainring rigid fork, and seat post..
    2.0 added the suspension fork a triple crank, spring suspension seat post
    and an adjustable angle stem

    BTW the Women's step thru frames started up from a 13" size/seat tube-length.
    and curving down from there stand over was pretty low..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 09-30-12 at 01:23 PM.

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