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  1. #1
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    WTB: Budget Full Suspension Trail Bike for Mrs. LWS

    Since 26" wheels have ceased to roll in the last couple of years, anybody upgrading to a 27.5/650b/29/27+/29+ and need to get rid of their worthless, unrideable trail bike?

    Looking for a bike for my wife. Interested in Trail Bikes slightly more biased toward pedaling than descending. Want a complete bike. 120 - 140mm travel?

    Budget: $800 - $1200 for a complete bike. Would consider a frame if it's fairly modern geometry and inexpensive.

    She 5' 6" and probably needs a size small frame.
    Last edited by Leavenworth Skier; 06-14-2018 at 07:25 AM.

  2. #2
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    I'm going to be a complete douche and link to this, which I know is a fair amount over your top end, but the spec on this thing for the price is insane. Dantheman and I both got one for our better halves a few weeks ago: https://www.americasbikecompany.com/...clutch-2-w.htm

  3. #3
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    What about bikesdirect.com

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by RootSkier View Post
    I'm going to be a complete douche and link to this, which I know is a fair amount over your top end, but the spec on this thing for the price is insane. Dantheman and I both got one for our better halves a few weeks ago: https://www.americasbikecompany.com/...clutch-2-w.htm
    for what it is, that's actually a great deal. I'd jump on it but I want to get in to something a little cheaper so she can decide if she likes it or not. She's coming off a 10 year old bottom spec hardtail.

    I should mention that she will need a small frame size.

    Quote Originally Posted by The SnowShow View Post
    What about bikesdirect.com
    I am a bike jong, navigating good vs. shit is tough for me. I'd love to see a bike or 2 worth buying.

  5. #5
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    If you have an REI around, see if they have any Diamondback releases in stock to sit on. Same bike basically.

  6. #6
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    Get her a modern bike with modern geometry. She will like it way more. Nothing wrong with 26 inch wheels but less and less modern geo with 26 inch wheels..

    If she likes riding an ancient hardtail enough to want a full squish, she deserves a modern bike..

  7. #7
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    I’d update your original post to include what frame size you think you want and her height.

    I got my first FS MTB here on TGR 10 years ago for $900, and it served me well before I started dropping real cash on bikes.
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leavenworth Skier View Post
    She 5' 6" and probably needs a size small frame.
    A lot is going to depend on the brand. My wife is 5' 5" and rides a medium Santa Cruz 5010. But she has long legs / inseam, so it kind of depends.

  9. #9
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    We discussed further today and I think the plan will be to rent/borrow/demo bikes all summer so she can get a good feel for what she's looking for exactly, vs. just buying something on a "deal" that is sub-optimal. Then this winter we'll go on a hunt for frames or bikes either lightly used or extreme closeout that match what she'd like.

  10. #10
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    Yeah I agree it could go either way on frame size ...

    My guess is new-school geo probably small frame
    Old school geo / women's specific design probably medium frame and swap to a 50mm stem.

    New school geo frames tend to have 20-40mm more reach (lateral distance between bottom bracket and top of head tube) than old school geo or women's specific designed frames. One downside of "medium" old school geo frames is that some of them, especially XC-marketed frames, can have high standover clearance that could be intimidating to a shorter new rider. A good example would be Giant Anthem which used to have a pretty high top tube relative to frame length.

    Anyways, don't rule out a medium, especially if it's a short-reach frame with good standover clearance.

    130mm sounds about right. Also keep in mind 130 front/100 rear bikes which might be fine for a new rider who isn't going to be pushing the limits.

    Within your pricepoint I'd look around for a used SC Superlight 27.5, Aluminum 5010, Liv Lust / Giant Trance in good condition that hasn't been ridden very much. They could all be purchased new around $1800-2500 depending on build kit/sale ...
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtngirl79 View Post
    Get her a modern bike with modern geometry. She will like it way more. Nothing wrong with 26 inch wheels but less and less modern geo with 26 inch wheels..

    If she likes riding an ancient hardtail enough to want a full squish, she deserves a modern bike..
    what bikes do you enjoy?

  12. #12
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    I could sell my size M 2007 Gary Fisher HiFi, aka Scary Gary, if that's interesting to you. Here's a photo album from summer 2014:

    https://www.pinkbike.com/u/toddball/...y-Fisher-HiFi/

    Upgrades:
    SRAM X9 1x10 drivetrain (done summer 2014)
    50mm stem, ~760mm bars (also summer 2014)
    Shimano Deore hydraulic brakes (last fall/winter, so not in photos)

    It climbs pretty well, and is very fun on flow trails. Unfortunately the reach is too short for me (5'9") now that I have a short stem on it, so it's a little scary on more technical trails. I haven't ridden much since moving to WA in summer 2015, but I'm getting back into it and considering getting a longer bike.

    Let me know if you want to check it out. Will be bringing it to Leavenworth this weekend, but will most likely be riding it. No idea what it's worth.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toddball View Post
    I could sell my size M 2007 Gary Fisher HiFi, aka Scary Gary, if that's interesting to you. Here's a photo album from summer 2014:

    https://www.pinkbike.com/u/toddball/...y-Fisher-HiFi/

    Upgrades:
    SRAM X9 1x10 drivetrain (done summer 2014)
    50mm stem, ~760mm bars (also summer 2014)
    Shimano Deore hydraulic brakes (last fall/winter, so not in photos)

    It climbs pretty well, and is very fun on flow trails. Unfortunately the reach is too short for me (5'9") now that I have a short stem on it, so it's a little scary on more technical trails. I haven't ridden much since moving to WA in summer 2015, but I'm getting back into it and considering getting a longer bike.

    Let me know if you want to check it out. Will be bringing it to Leavenworth this weekend, but will most likely be riding it. No idea what it's worth.
    I want to get her on something modern. Slack, low, short, long, plush, pedals easy, dropper, blah blah blah, + tires, boost, bro.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leavenworth Skier View Post
    I want to get her on something modern. Slack, low, short, long, plush, pedals easy, dropper, blah blah blah, + tires, boost, bro.
    Don't forget about fork offset, I hear that is very important.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leavenworth Skier View Post
    I want to get her on something modern. Slack, low, short, long, plush, pedals easy, dropper, blah blah blah, + tires, boost, bro.
    Then just buy the Clutch.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leavenworth Skier View Post
    We discussed further today and I think the plan will be to rent/borrow/demo bikes all summer so she can get a good feel for what she's looking for exactly, vs. just buying something on a "deal" that is sub-optimal. Then this winter we'll go on a hunt for frames or bikes either lightly used or extreme closeout that match what she'd like.
    I get it but I am also of the belief that unless she is a really, really good rider, that a few hours on various bikes will not really give her much useful info on what she wants, long term. There are so many good bikes now that you are not going to go wrong so long as you get something modern, in the right size, with decent parts, and with the "right" amount of travel for whatever it is she is ultimately looking for.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    Then just buy the Clutch.
    Right?

    Leavenworth Skier, if you are concerned about that being a "good" bike I would recommend you read some reviews of the DB Release which is the same exact bike. The reviews are outstanding, across the board.

  18. #18
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    I took a few laps on altachic's and can vouch for it being a great bike. I'm not a big fan of the tire spec, but they're a good choice for a beginner/intermediate rider. You are simply not going to find something equivalent on the used market for $1,000.

  19. #19
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    I was in the same position as you rSO three years ago. I was riding an old 26er, 100mm, v-brakes, hardtail. (But in my defense, it was TI so it was pretty rad.)

    I thought about demoing a bunch of bikes like you propose. From what I gathered, I would probably like one a bit more than another, but all of them were going to be a massive improvement over what I was on. None of them was going to hold me back as an intermediate mtber. But then I realized: if I fall in love with a 3k or 4k bike, big deal. I still can't afford it.

    So I bought a Release 1 (which is the same bike as the Clutch) based on reviews, specs, etc for ~$1500. In retrospec I wish I'd gotten the 2 but $4-500 seemed like a lot extra at the time. I'm pretty happy with the bike. I don't have any direct comparisons that I've ridden, as everything I've demo'd has higher spec so it is hard to tell components from the bike. Closest spec was a 2016 SC Heckler, and the Release is way more stable at speed, and just as jibby. I like the 150/130 setup for the riding I do even if it is a bit overkill out front at times.

    Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Dealing with demoing/renting/borrowing every time you want to go for a ride is a PITA -- esp if you do it in a way so she'll get to be on modern bikes of different types that match the trail you're riding. And at the end of the day -- I'm guessing Mrs. LVS doesn't cycle through bikes like you do skis. If she still demo's after the fact and falls in love with another bike, you're not going to take a huge fiscal hit reselling something of that level.

    Note -- you can also buy the Clutch directly from DB. It's $1999 with the easy-to-access corporate discount. 3% Cash-back through AJ. Plus 5% cash-back through paypal if you have a chase card right now. Basically same price as going through the other, but maybe a slightly less of a headache should you ever need to deal with the company. I've had a good experience when I needed to work with them.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leavenworth Skier View Post
    what bikes do you enjoy?
    I'm just under 5'4" and other than the old 2002 pahoehoe both of my mountain bikes have been medium.

    My first full squish was a kona process 134 and it was stolen and now I have a steel kona honzo. If I had picked out the honzo, I would have chosen a small because kona made them bigger (the process was a 2016, the honzo 2018) but the honzo was a friends that let me borrow, then buy it when mine was stolen and I got use to it and it gives me warm fuzzies because it was his...

    I'm a little different than most women, though.. I have short legs, a lot of upper body strength and no problem aggressively throwing my weight around...

    On the old kona that was a little too small with out dated geo, I went over the bars constantly. If I wasn't me...ie, if I were reluctant or timid I fell so much that I would have quit. I think it also made me learn to ride way better. That bike did me no favors.

    The vast majority... maybe all modern bikes are "good"... so looking only at modern bikes, for a new rider stand over is a big thing. Being able to just put a foot down or step off the bike is huge for having the confidence to try to ride over things. Don't go off of geometry charts, though. You have to stand over the bikes.

    I have been lusting over rockies lately but a friend is sponsored by them and I have to stand on my toes to stand over hers. You can deal with that once your confident but it really does slow you down in the beginning.

    Another thing to think about... what kind of rider does your wife want to be?

    Is she super stoked to get shredy or does she just want to come a long? Everyone wants a full squish bike but in order to pump the terrain you have to work through all that suspension so many people who start with full suspension just ride along and let their shock do the work. They never learn to use the terrain to their advantage or think about line choice....a hardtail makes you learn to ride... and a modern hardtail will feel way different than the current outdated low end one...

    My friends on full suspension bikes all love to ride my honzo, and I honestly like it better than the process.

    As for sizing, a smaller bike is easier to flick around, more playful.. Shaums March rides medium frames and I'm pretty sure he's around 6 ft?... but a bigger bike is more stable. At 5' 5'' I would for sure try both smalls and mediums actually on trail. Maybe demo both and you ride one so she can try features on both sizes.

    Also realize what you can do with bike set up... you can slide the seat forward or back, shorter or longer stem plus wider or narrower bars...

    Narrow bars will lengthen the reach where as wider bars will shorten it. Wider bars make the bike more stable but too wide will make turning difficult and weaken your position... You can pop the end caps out of the grips and move everything in or out on the bars to get a feel for what feels best.

    Dropping the stem will make technical climbing easier but decendening more difficult.

    Everything's a trade off and it's difficult for a beginner to get the perfect bike with the perfect set up because they just don't know yet...

    So long, low and slack

  21. #21
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    Whatever happens, make sure it’s her choice; it will be for the best. I speak from experience. Bikes are not skis. They’re harder to flip if you don’t dig them. Shipping can be a bitch because of size and complexity to assemble, etc.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtngirl79 View Post
    I'm just under 5'4" and other than the old 2002 pahoehoe both of my mountain bikes have been medium.

    My first full squish was a kona process 134 and it was stolen and now I have a steel kona honzo. If I had picked out the honzo, I would have chosen a small because kona made them bigger (the process was a 2016, the honzo 2018) but the honzo was a friends that let me borrow, then buy it when mine was stolen and I got use to it and it gives me warm fuzzies because it was his...

    I'm a little different than most women, though.. I have short legs, a lot of upper body strength and no problem aggressively throwing my weight around...

    On the old kona that was a little too small with out dated geo, I went over the bars constantly. If I wasn't me...ie, if I were reluctant or timid I fell so much that I would have quit. I think it also made me learn to ride way better. That bike did me no favors.

    The vast majority... maybe all modern bikes are "good"... so looking only at modern bikes, for a new rider stand over is a big thing. Being able to just put a foot down or step off the bike is huge for having the confidence to try to ride over things. Don't go off of geometry charts, though. You have to stand over the bikes.

    I have been lusting over rockies lately but a friend is sponsored by them and I have to stand on my toes to stand over hers. You can deal with that once your confident but it really does slow you down in the beginning.

    Another thing to think about... what kind of rider does your wife want to be?

    Is she super stoked to get shredy or does she just want to come a long? Everyone wants a full squish bike but in order to pump the terrain you have to work through all that suspension so many people who start with full suspension just ride along and let their shock do the work. They never learn to use the terrain to their advantage or think about line choice....a hardtail makes you learn to ride... and a modern hardtail will feel way different than the current outdated low end one...

    My friends on full suspension bikes all love to ride my honzo, and I honestly like it better than the process.

    As for sizing, a smaller bike is easier to flick around, more playful.. Shaums March rides medium frames and I'm pretty sure he's around 6 ft?... but a bigger bike is more stable. At 5' 5'' I would for sure try both smalls and mediums actually on trail. Maybe demo both and you ride one so she can try features on both sizes.

    Also realize what you can do with bike set up... you can slide the seat forward or back, shorter or longer stem plus wider or narrower bars...

    Narrow bars will lengthen the reach where as wider bars will shorten it. Wider bars make the bike more stable but too wide will make turning difficult and weaken your position... You can pop the end caps out of the grips and move everything in or out on the bars to get a feel for what feels best.

    Dropping the stem will make technical climbing easier but decendening more difficult.

    Everything's a trade off and it's difficult for a beginner to get the perfect bike with the perfect set up because they just don't know yet...

    So long, low and slack
    Damn MG that's a great summary of bike fitting info.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leavenworth Skier View Post
    slightly more biased toward pedaling than descending. .
    Like pedaling rail road grades or climbing mountains?

    The Diamond back linked may have a nice spec, but it weighs in at 31.2 pounds without mud, and that rectangle flat downtube looks like it would collect plentiful mud. Not exactly feather weight if she's going to climb a few thousand vert on the average short ride and several thousand on a big ride.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leavenworth Skier View Post
    I want to get her on something modern. Slack, low, short, long, plush, pedals easy, dropper, blah blah blah, + tires, boost, bro.
    I don't think you need something that runs Boost and clears a tire bigger than 2.5". You can get modern geometry and components a year or two used sans boost and save some dough unless you are in love with the idea of chainstays that clear 2.8" so much that you will spend 500 bucks or more on it.

    Demoing heavily and shopping sales this fall is a nice idea. Locally, we have a lot of stuff that gets sold out of rental and demo fleets at that time of year.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rideski View Post
    Like pedaling rail road grades or climbing mountains?

    The Diamond back linked may have a nice spec, but it weighs in at 31.2 pounds without mud, and that rectangle flat downtube looks like it would collect plentiful mud. Not exactly feather weight if she's going to climb a few thousand vert on the average short ride and several thousand on a big ride.
    Long, low, long travel, slack FS -- unless you're willing to spend several thousands -- are gonna be 30# or a bit more. The equivalent Santa Cruz is 30.6 when setup tubeless. The DB will shave a few tenths going tubeless (the stock tubes are fucking absurd.)

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