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Old 01-05-08, 04:16 PM   #1
DonValley
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My Wife wants to ride

My wife wants me to find her a bike. She wants to take up mountain bike riding with her girlfriend. So I have to figure out what to get her. I was thinking she would like a mid grade Cross Contry FS . The Queen Kikapu or that type thing. Something with good components, but not the latest, greatest. She is 5ft 2 and a half, mid forties, aerobically fit, a little extra padding 135lbs. (She would kill me if she happens across this site!!). Would a 14 inch size be about right? I want to buy this time of year, figuring I can get a better deal out there in bike land. I have a Kona Deluxe Hardtail that I enjoy. Lot's of single track available locally. Suggestions appreciated.
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Old 01-05-08, 04:23 PM   #2
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are you sure a very nice bike would be appropriate for her? my mom is in her mid fourties and shes not exactly arobically fit but i know that id never get her a bike to ride thats over $150. shed lose interest and stop riding it very quickly.
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Old 01-05-08, 04:30 PM   #3
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I just got my wife a Specialized Safire Comp, which is the 08 version of the Stumpjumper for women. It has mid-level components generally, with a 120mm Float RL fork, and weighs about 26-27lbs. The LBS was selling it at $2,099 but I got it down to $1,890. She's 5'3" with short legs and I got the small, which I think is 13" (but I'm not sure). It fits her well.

She really really likes it, and she wasn't a big MTBer beforehand either. I looked all around for a small women's specific stumpjumper from 2007 because it would have been cheaper but didn't find it any where. The small men's, which apparently is more or less equal to the medium women's, did not fit her.
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Old 01-05-08, 04:30 PM   #4
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are you sure a very nice bike would be appropriate for her? my mom is in her mid fourties and shes not exactly arobically fit but i know that id never get her a bike to ride thats over $150. shed lose interest and stop riding it very quickly.
Wow, extraordinarily unhelpful.

It's a tired answer, but in terms of sizing, she really needs to go and try out some bikes at a shop.

I'd also make weight a consideration. At 135 she is pretty light and pushing a 30+ pound full suspension around may not be fun for her. If your local singletrack is not super rocky or rooty but has a lot of climbing I'd consider a nice light hardtail. Specialized has a lot of WSD stuff out now which may or may not work for her but is worth a test ride.

EDIT: KayGee beat me to the punch
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Old 01-05-08, 04:34 PM   #5
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Wow, extraordinarily unhelpful.

It's a tired answer, but in terms of sizing, she really needs to go and try out some bikes at a shop.

I'd also make weight a consideration. At 135 she is pretty light and pushing a 30+ pound full suspension around may not be fun for her. If your local singletrack is not super rocky or rooty but has a lot of climbing I'd consider a nice light hardtail. Specialized has a lot of WSD stuff out now which may or may not work for her but is worth a test ride.

EDIT: KayGee beat me to the punch
I actually got her the FSR, but a light hardtail might not be bad if she doesn't want to ride technical stuff. I would probably still suggest a lighter full suspension bike just because I think she will like it more.
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Old 01-05-08, 04:38 PM   #6
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Well i think a FS is a little much for someone who is just getting into the sport. Mostly because you don't know if she will enjoy it or not and then your out a bunch of money on a FS bike. I would suggest looking at a nice hardtail at first before spending a load of cash on a FS. Thats just my opinion, it's your money and as others have said a FS bike would be very good decision also.

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Old 01-05-08, 04:44 PM   #7
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Well i think a FS is a little much for someone who is just getting into the sport. Mostly just because you don't know if she will enjoy it or not and then your out a bunch of money on a FS bike. I would suggest looking at a nice hardtail at first before spending a load of cash on a FS.
Perhaps, especially if money is a big issue or if the terrain wouldn't be better for a FS. From my wife's experience though, she much prefers the FS because, according to her, it handles better than her previous hardtail (which was relatively low end and which she rarely rode) and is better for the terrain we go riding on, i.e., more rocky, bumpy, etc.
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Old 01-05-08, 04:52 PM   #8
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Perhaps, especially if money is a big issue or if the terrain wouldn't be better for a FS. From my wife's experience though, she much prefers the FS because, according to her, it handles better than her previous hardtail (which was relatively low end and which she rarely rode) and is better for the terrain we go riding on, i.e., more rocky, bumpy, etc.
I agree with you KayGee.

DonValley maybe you should have your wife test ride a few models instead of having you pick her out one. That way she will get one she likes and you will know if it fits her.
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Old 01-05-08, 05:12 PM   #9
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As I stated earlier, I think that the decision between hardtail or full sus should be made based more on the local terrain than the fact that she is a new rider. The OP is obviously fine with dropping a decent amount of cash into the bike.

Remember too that she is a new rider and thus has none of the accessories she may want/need.
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Old 01-05-08, 08:08 PM   #10
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As I stated earlier, I think that the decision between hardtail or full sus should be made based more on the local terrain than the fact that she is a new rider. The OP is obviously fine with dropping a decent amount of cash into the bike.

Remember too that she is a new rider and thus has none of the accessories she may want/need.
I agree, though there is limited terrain where I'd prefer a hardtail to a good xc full suspension bike. Also, my experience has been that older people (not old, but in people in their 40s and above) that are more recreational riders tend to prefer FS cuz it's a cushier ride.
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Old 01-05-08, 09:10 PM   #11
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I'd look on ebay ... small frame sizes tend to be cheap. I know, I know ride it first is the rule, but screw that I'm saving a grand, and all the bikes I test feel weird anyway.
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Old 01-05-08, 09:43 PM   #12
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My wife wants me to find her a bike.
that sucks
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Old 01-05-08, 09:46 PM   #13
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Thanks for the tips. VG replies...even the one at $150. I think she would enjoy the FS more, that is my reasoning. I am sure I would enjoy FS more for some terrain, but like my hardtail for the fact that you gotta jump around on it to get over and around stuff. I am looking into Ebay. I got my bike there and saved more than 50% off buying retail/new. I can drop $1000 or slightly more in a used bike.
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Old 01-06-08, 02:34 PM   #14
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Ok Guys, Here is a woman's perspective who was pretty much in the same postition as the OP's wife.

Riding a piece of crap is NOT the way to inspire the love of this sport. That is how I started out. I had a $150 mongoose from a box store. I would set up the rides with my husband but after trying to push around a 35 pound bike...27% of my total body (130) weight.

If you guys weigh 190, that is equal to a 51.3 pound bike.

Even though I didn't know anything about components at that time, it was obvious that I had a crappy bike compared to my husband's Cannondale - a 20 year old Cannondale with Suntour componets STILL blew away the junk on that mongoose. My bike would barely coast, turning the cranks was like grinding coffee, the brakes wouldn't stop. Any bumps on the trail would knock the chain off, causing me to crash once or twice. Needless to say, our rides lasted barely 20 minutes before I would call it off, angry and frustrated. I clearly noticed that my husband did NOT have the issues that I was having and it clearly was the bike causing problems, not me.

I actually snuck a ride on my husband's 20 year old Cannondale and that was the deciding factor. I went out on my own and even though it was too big for me, it was a hallelujah moment. It was smooth - not the trail, but the bike. Smooth shifting, pedaling, braking, handling, things didn't fall off when I put the pressure on the pedals.

The next weekend I bought myself a Cannondale F300 hardtail. I have since sold the hardtail and now have a custom built, full XT, Santa Cruz Juliana. The best money I have ever spent. It is lightweight so it is in proportion with my bodyweight/bike weight. The full suspension has allowed me to riding longer on the rough stuff with better handling. Everything any mountain biker would want.

Now I get into the backcountry and do winter riding (on a hardtail Kona) and see things and go places I would never have seen before.

My opinion is getting anyone a $150 piece of junk is setting them up for failure. It's no fun. So I'm glad that you are looking for a better bike for her, just make sure it fits her, being as little as she is, she may need a women's specific bike which has a shorter toptube so she isn't reaching out too far, which I found causes fatigue quickly.

And btw, I'm in my 40's and can outride my 16 yr old son and hang with my husband

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Old 01-06-08, 04:44 PM   #15
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Since you have a Kona I would guess you have a Kona dealer nearby? If so then take her there and try ALL the xc and all mountain bikes they have as well as the same "styles" from the other manufacturers.

Best thing though is to take her to as many shops as you can and have her sit/try as many bikes as you can then let her pick which one felt the best. If there is a shop that has a few different demo bikes then have the Mrs take a few out for a ride, more then around the lot, more like a good 10 to 15min (at a minimum) ride. Then let her decide.

When we bought my wife her first mtb we hit up 6 different shops (yeah you may not have that many in yer area) and she decided which one she felt the best on. We spent some $$$ on an entry level f/s Diamondback with LX/XT components. The fork was crap but I had plans on changing it out anyways and she felt the most comfortable on that bike.

She really got into riding so I upgraded the bike until there was nothing else to upgrade, then we bought her a new frame and I built it up with some sweet components. She has been on the same rig now for 5yrs.

I would say do not put an emphasis on getting a "women specific" bike either unless that is what fits and she feels the best on. I know a few female riders that are on the short side, 4'10 to 5'4", and feel much better on a regular geometry bike then a WSD.

If you do buy her a bike without her trying it out, ask the shop if they would exchange it for another size if she feels uncomfortable on it. Also, it would be better to buy and undersized bike then over, it is easier to "add" a bit of size to a bike then to try and "shrink" it.

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Old 01-06-08, 06:59 PM   #16
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Is your wife concerned about how cute the bike is? I only mention it because, while it would never occur to me, both my wife and 20-year-old daughter (the two most significant females in my life) consider cuteness to be one of the prime considerations when buying anything, and that includes bikes. If your wife is anything like mine, I suggest you deal with all of the issues of components, setup, weight, geometry, etc., but make sure the cuteness factor is weighed prominently before making a decision.
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Old 01-08-08, 07:35 AM   #17
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Ok Guys, Here is a woman's perspective who was pretty much in the same postition as the OP's wife.

Riding a piece of crap is NOT the way to inspire the love of this sport. That is how I started out. I had a $150 mongoose from a box store. I would set up the rides with my husband but after trying to push around a 35 pound bike...27% of my total body (130) weight.


My opinion is getting anyone a $150 piece of junk is setting them up for failure. It's no fun. So I'm glad that you are looking for a better bike for her, just make sure it fits her, being as little as she is, she may need a women's specific bike which has a shorter toptube so she isn't reaching out too far, which I found causes fatigue quickly.

And btw, I'm in my 40's and can outride my 16 yr old son and hang with my husband

I've always encouraged (nagged?) my wife to participate in my activities over the past many years together. I get her the same or better quality gear that I get.

About a year ago I upgraded her to a FS as I have one. I built her a Santa Cruz Superlight. I've got more money in it ($2900) than my Stumpjumper FSR ($2700) and it's way over-kill for the type of riding she does. But it makes her a better rider and she has much more fun with it. There's also the pride of ownership and the motivation to ride more.

You can get a superlite on-line for about $1800. I like it better than my FSR.

A worth while investment just from the health benefits alone.

We are big into canoeing as well. She's got 4 solo boats and I've got three. We share two tandems.

Al

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Old 01-08-08, 10:09 AM   #18
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are you sure a very nice bike would be appropriate for her? my mom is in her mid fourties and shes not exactly arobically fit but i know that id never get her a bike to ride thats over $150. shed lose interest and stop riding it very quickly.
I would think that more likely to happen with a teenager... so, teenagers should get walmart bikes?
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Old 01-09-08, 07:49 PM   #19
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Ok Guys, Here is a woman's perspective who was pretty much in the same postition as the OP's wife.

Riding a piece of crap is NOT the way to inspire the love of this sport. That is how I started out. I had a $150 mongoose from a box store. I would set up the rides with my husband but after trying to push around a 35 pound bike...27% of my total body (130) weight.

If you guys weigh 190, that is equal to a 51.3 pound bike.

The next weekend I bought myself a Cannondale F300 hardtail. I have since sold the hardtail and now have a custom built, full XT, Santa Cruz Juliana. The best money I have ever spent. It is lightweight so it is in proportion with my bodyweight/bike weight. The full suspension has allowed me to riding longer on the rough stuff with better handling. Everything any mountain biker would want.

Now I get into the backcountry and do winter riding (on a hardtail Kona) and see things and go places I would never have seen before.

My opinion is getting anyone a $150 piece of junk is setting them up for failure. It's no fun. So I'm glad that you are looking for a better bike for her, just make sure it fits her, being as little as she is, she may need a women's specific bike which has a shorter toptube so she isn't reaching out too far, which I found causes fatigue quickly.

And btw, I'm in my 40's and can outride my 16 yr old son and hang with my husband
Absolutely agree 100%!!!
I just got a 2008 Specialized S-Works Safire - the smallest off the rack bike I could get - and super light! My old clunker was too big, and a huge percentage of my body weight (I'm 5 feet and fit); and I never liked riding off road. The new Specialized Safire models are smaller - and awesome! I'm ready to get super dirty now!

And, yes, I can keep up with the boys too -
and I'm also in my 40s...
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