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what mtb for a beginner who is short

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what mtb for a beginner who is short

Old 07-26-13, 12:54 AM
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what mtb for a beginner who is short

I am 4'11" and just a beginner. I went mtn biking a couple of times but the bikes I borrowed (from friends) were too big so it was not really fun but I would still go again.
I tried the Trek Lush SL WSD with the 26" wheels. It has FS but everyone tells me to get a hardtail because I am a beginner but I can't seem to find one that would fit. I would like to get a mtn bike so I could go with friends and switch it up from riding road.
Is the FS overkill for a beginner?
Can I actually find something my size?

What do you suggest?
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Old 07-26-13, 02:27 AM
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Originally Posted by ____asdfghjkl View Post
Is the FS overkill for a beginner?
No. Beginners get recommended hardtails because they often don't want to spend a ton of money on a bike (especially if they don't know if they'll stick with the sport). You can learn everything on a full-suspension that you'd learn on a hardtail.

Finding a bike that fits when you're short is hard enough. If the Lush fits, feels good, and rides well, do it up.
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Old 07-26-13, 08:07 AM
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As usual, I completely agree with Zephyr. I would assume they are trying to protect you from yourself. But if you think you want to ride and that you'll enjoy it-- you're right. Get the full suspension bike.

At 4'11" an XS 26" bike should work well. You could also look at 24", but they tend to be cheapie kids bikes.
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Old 07-26-13, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
At 4'11" an XS 26" bike should work well. You could also look at 24", but they tend to be cheapie kids bikes.
Or expensive kids' bikes!! I have Commencal Supreme 24 lust (it replaced my Specialized GromHit lust). I don't even know what I'd do with it...maybe replace the Komodo as my "poor climber but damn this is fun once you're at the top" bike. I just want one. SO. MUCH.

But seriously, yeah, Colin nailed it. Most 24s that aren't dirt jumpers or kiddie freeride bikes are cheapie kid's bikes with crap components and heavy everything. Go with the XS 26"...or XXS if you can find one.
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Old 07-26-13, 11:02 AM
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You didn't mention what you are comfortable spending. If the budget is lower, I would definitely stick with a hardtail. There is nothing wrong with a hardtail - they can do anything a FS bike can do just you are the suspension. I always tell new people start with a hardtail because you learn and gain skills you won't if starting out on a FS bike.

You can absolutely find a bike your size. Many companies make women specific sizing and x-small frames. Stay away from 29 wheels - you definately should only consider 26 or smaller wheels. But if you can afford a good FS bike and find one that fits, why not? Just stay away from cheap FS - not worth even the small price you pay.

Another thing to consider - are you handy with a wrench? Much less to go wrong with a HT - alot more can go wrong and needs maintenance on a FS. Just something to think about.

SInce you have some money to spend this is a great bike to consider:

http://www.julianabicycles.com/

Look at the Origin Premiero - which is the Santa Cruz Superlight WSD frame - it comes in a 26 (XS frame) for sizes 4'8" - 5'1". Santa Cruz's Juliana was a bike developed especially for small women and frame sizes. Alot of my tiny friends have been riding Julianas for many years.
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Old 07-26-13, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
You didn't mention what you are comfortable spending. If the budget is lower, I would definitely stick with a hardtail. There is nothing wrong with a hardtail - they can do anything a FS bike can do just you are the suspension. I always tell new people start with a hardtail because you learn and gain skills you won't if starting out on a FS bike.

You can absolutely find a bike your size. Many companies make women specific sizing and x-small frames. Stay away from 29 wheels - you definately should only consider 26 or smaller wheels. But if you can afford a good FS bike and find one that fits, why not? Just stay away from cheap FS - not worth even the small price you pay.

Another thing to consider - are you handy with a wrench? Much less to go wrong with a HT - alot more can go wrong and needs maintenance on a FS. Just something to think about.
1. it is true that budget wasn't explicitly mentioned, and that really cheap full suspension bikes are to be avoided, such as Wal-Mart bikes. but she did mention a particular Trek-- which implies she can afford it-- and that particular bike is a worthy entry-level FS bike.

2. disagree wholeheartedly on learning on a hardtail. you learn lines not by what you can get away with running over, but by knowing where you should be entering and exiting corners, how to negotiate technical features such as roots, rock gardens, climbs and descents, and shockingly... experience. follow your logic backwards. if a HT is better to learn on than FS, why not rigid? why not a 20" BMX bike?

answer: learning to ride technical MTB trails is hard enough. don't make it harder by purchasing a hardtail if your budget allows you to buy a full suspension bike.

3. regarding FS being more maintenance: mostly untrue. an air shock has minimal maintenance compared to almost any fork. bearings and bushings will wear out, after many hours on the bike, but for the average rider they tend to last the whole time you own the bike/frame. riding a lot, say 5x a week for 1-3 hours, is not average. if you ride a lot, you'll have to maintain and repair *any* MTB more than average.
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Old 07-26-13, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
if a HT is better to learn on than FS, why not rigid? why not a 20" BMX bike?
People who learned on a BMX bike are often awesome! But I suspect that has more to do with the fact that 1) BMXers usually start when they're young, fearless, and can heal quickly, and 2) they learned to pump terrain from being forced to do so on a BMX track than it does with starting on a certain type of bike. Ride the bike you like. First of all, you'll enjoy it more, and will want to ride more. Secondly, you'll get good at riding that bike. If you love mountain biking but spend all your time on a BMX bike to hone your skills, you'll finally get back on the mountain bike and it'll feel big, clumsy, and slow responding. And finally, if you're on a bike you're comfortable with, you'll be more likely to ride more confidently, go bigger, and push yourself to try harder features, so you'll actually improve faster.
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Old 07-26-13, 12:41 PM
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Yes, BMX does teach great handling skills as well as pedaling. But taking a BMX bike out on singletrack with roots, rocks, and steep climbs is not easy.

My main point was that when you're learning, it is ideal to use the best equipment for the type of trail you're on. These days, the only reason to prefer a hardtail over full suspension is budget.
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Old 07-26-13, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
2. disagree wholeheartedly on learning on a hardtail. you learn lines not by what you can get away with running over, but by knowing where you should be entering and exiting corners, how to negotiate technical features such as roots, rock gardens, climbs and descents, and shockingly... experience. follow your logic backwards. if a HT is better to learn on than FS, why not rigid? why not a 20" BMX bike?

answer: learning to ride technical MTB trails is hard enough. don't make it harder by purchasing a hardtail if your budget allows you to buy a full suspension bike.

.
I think you missed what I was saying... one can learn to mountain bike on a FS bike just fine but because the bike does some of the work, makes things easier, one will not learn alot of skill... I started on a rigid bike - that was all there was in the 80's. Because the bike was absolutely unforgiving, I needed to learned and understand how to take a line, use my body to weight the bike and drive over obstacles. Everything took a little more tact and planning; all good things to know before riding a FS bike. There is a reason why old experienced guys are going back to rigids... it takes more skill to ride thus you learn better skills.

But i get more are now diving into a FS 29; makes its easier for "newbies" to do more difficult trails. I also know what damage (cause I do trail maintenance) those newbies do to trail because they don't know all the basics of riding.

As to maintenance... Colin you obviously know something about bikes. Alot of women don't. And don't want to. I've learned because it was frankly just easier or cheaper for me but I can say most of my girl friends are clueless which is why I caution them about buying a bike that requires alot of maintenance especially a multiple pivot bike like that Trek.

Recently a good friend of mine had some surgery so my guy and I took her MTB bike (which has been ridden very hard) and did a full overhaul - including sending in the shock and fork for reconditioning. Another friend asked why we did that and we explained just like a car, bikes need full tuneups once in a while. This friend had no idea - of course she is the same friend who lugs her chain (with TriFLow) once every month or so.
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Old 07-26-13, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
My main point was that when you're learning, it is ideal to use the best equipment for the type of trail you're on. These days, the only reason to prefer a hardtail over full suspension is budget.
I have several friends riding full carbon XTR equipped $5,000+ hardtails. Here, a 29 hardtail is actually the preferred bike for racers and alot of riders who prefer having a lighter weight bike for climbing. CA has big mountains and steep trails. Alot of folks prefer the a 29er hardtail 2 X 10's for its ability to climb and descend...
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Old 07-26-13, 02:58 PM
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colin, pam...calm.

OP said HT's don't fit right, and the FS did. That's all that's needed here.

Not pointing fingers at the two of you here, just sayin' GENERALLY: too many people talk to a noob, who says they're looking at X bike, and they say (with best intention), "That's not a good choice, you should go with Y, because..."

And they ALL need to STFU. Unless the noob is looking for a commuter and looking AT a Demo 9, the fact that they talk about bike X does not mean they're asking for advice.

When noob ASKS, "I wanna buy a bike, I saw X, what do you think?" Answer: "Are you riding for A-B-C purpose? You might be better with Y." Noob: "Looked at Y, Y doesn't fit, doesn't feel good to me." Answer: "Get Y anyway." That doesn't fly. If noob says X feels right, let 'em get X; if it IS wrong, they've learned, and you're out ZERO.
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Old 07-26-13, 03:12 PM
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Finding a good fit for a first bike is really key. So DX is spot on here.

My FS bike has pretty good lockouts (at least it did until I rebuilt the Fox.) If you do get the FS bike, try the same trail with the suspension locked out if that is possible on the bike. Get used to the difference in feel. Most of all, enjoy the time with your friends.
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Old 07-26-13, 03:18 PM
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http://i43.tinypic.com/20kbxp2.jpg

http://i43.tinypic.com/1z6boud.jpg

http://i42.tinypic.com/5ofot1.jpg

Some photos of the fit. I had ok clearance.
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Old 07-26-13, 03:22 PM
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Bike looks fine for you.

Saddle looks too low, and I'd also wonder if the sag was set properly. Normally, sag isn't set on a test ride in a parking lot so that's not a surprise or problem, just observation.

Buy it.
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Old 07-26-13, 03:26 PM
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Saddle was slammed down and they said to cut it down an inch.

Sag? Sorry, I am totally a noob
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Old 07-26-13, 03:48 PM
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Did they try to setup the saddle so that you can pedal, or so that you can touch the ground with both feet while seated?

sag is how much suspension travel is used when you sit on the bike. It should be 15 - 30% depending on if you want a firm or plush ride.
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Old 07-26-13, 03:53 PM
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They asked my weight and then pumped the shocks. If that's what you mean :/
and test they set the seat height to where I was on the balls of my feet.
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Old 07-26-13, 04:22 PM
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Putting air in the shock was setting the sag. With Colin the saddle looked a little low IMO. BUT if you feel it pedals well and you have good balance on the trails, then have a blast.

To me it looks like you landed on a very worthy bike to get started with.
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