I'm a long time bike lover but not a "cyclist". I've never done spandex and can't see myself able to get over it. I'm always commuting (taking a break for a month for a broken ankle) and I live in MT just to be able to play in the mountains.
I've been deciding to try a cross bike and get involved. I don't want to be on a team (at least not yet...too much fuss), just ride around the mountains and have fun messing around and playing hard. I used to downhill a lot and I feel I'm getting too old to enjoy the risk and my favorite trails are closed/closing. I also commute all over. In fact I've had to drive my bike up to downhill ranges to get a good ride in. This has struck me as crazy from time to time. A fast enough bike to take me 15-20 miles out of town and into the mountains to play is ideal. have a cruiser for short trips but I really am a sucker for performance, and thae charm of my clunker wears very thin. I mostly just lend it to friends. Hucking a bike around town (my downhill) that weighs nearly half what I do gets pretty old.
My issue is that I'm a small woman. Riding downhill I had to ride a hardtail and mess around with my front suspension quite a bit because I weigh right around 100llbs(Generally 5 pounds under or over(though I've been adding muscle mass and I'm up just a bit)). and they don't seem to make adult bikes with suspension for people under 120 llbs. I am a bit over 5'4", so I'm not child sized. There's a whole section for big people that love bikes, but I get frustrated at times looking for myself.
I want a light bike but am concerned about the shock that aluminum delivers, even with carbon forks, for someone without enough density to just absorb big jolts, but steel is heavy and carbon is risky/ short lived when you beat it up as I plan to and I can only dream of being able to afford titanium.
Finding used bikes is more challenging for women my size as well. Apparently it isn't common for small women to like to have fun outdoors on bikes and not shopping and tanning. jk. But in all earnestness I've found bikes even in my size category to be slim pickings at best.
I have been looking at the motobecane Phantom Cross pro. It seems that for a "first" cross bike, it's a pretty good bargain, and a nice way to get all the performance from a componenent/weight standpoint to keep me motivated and encourange me to improve my skills/ learn what I really want out of a cross bike. I can't beleive that all those components come in at the price offered and I'm not a beleiver in getting more than you pay for. How can a bike have a frame worth 2 poos and come with all that luscious gadgetry?
I see that a lot of people in this forum seem to think that it's a pretty good way to go, but I would love feedback from anyone that is more informed. Any suggestions for frame material/ makers/buildups would make me very happy! Thanks so much!!!!