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Advice needed for new MTB

Discussion in 'Mud Hunnies' started by treesquirrel, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. treesquirrel

    treesquirrel Chimp

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    Greetings Ladies!

    I would like to upgrade to a new MTB, and would like to know what you all might recommend.

    I currently ride a Marin HT. I have been riding about 4 years. My experience level based on the trail-type is advanced intermediate for those living in mountain areas or advanced in FL where I live. I do not ride FS. I am looking to spend around 2k but will go over slightly if needed, and don't have enough technical knowledge to build from frame up. I would like to stick with a HT.

    I ride a road bike (Bianchi) everyday and mtb on the weekends... Hanna Park if anyone is familiar with those trails. I have experience with all of the trails there if that helps any. I especially need a bike with disc brakes and one that handles well, massive amounts of nested tree roots ,as that is the terrain there at Hanna.

    Thank you all for any advice you are able to give. :)
     
    #1 -   Aug 26, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2010

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  2. miatagal96

    miatagal96 Chimp

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    Need more info. What don't you like about your current bike? What do you hope to get out of an upgrade? What model is your current bike? Sometimes upgrading components (especially wheels) can make a big difference, especially if you like your frame geometry.

    Also, do you intend to keep your current bike as a back-up bike? If you want a second bike, then a whole new bike is the way to go. If not, another option is to find the frame of your dreams, have the bike shop move your best components over to that frame, and upgrade your worst components. You'll end up with a bike worth more than $2k. Any remaining components can be upgraded over time until you have the total bike of your dreams. If you go this route, I would consider a steel bike (I have the Voodoo Bizango). It's a little heavier, but it's a little less jarring than aluminum. Other friends of mine have gone the scantium Al frame route to minimize weight and are happy.

    Other things to ask yourself is whether you want to stick to 26" wheels. 29ers will roll over the roots easier, but it's harder to pick up the front end because of longer chainstays; they maintain their momentum better, but aren't as snappy and quick accelerating. If you're under 5'6", you probably don't want to consider a 29er. A bike with 650B wheels is in between 26" and 29" (Soma makes a frame to accomodate these). They are less common which means that there aren't as many tire choices, but it's an option that I would consider if I needed a new hard tail.

    Also, if you are under 5'5", or have a short torso, you might want to try a women's specific frame.

    If possible, test-drive. There are lots of good options out there in the $2k range. I really like the Fox F100 fork, so I'd probably lean towards a bike with that fork. I'd also look at the wheels since they are so important to the feel and performance of a bike. I have had great luck with wheels that retail around $500 to $600. If a bike cheaps out on the wheels, I wouldn't go for it.

    I would definitely look at Specialized Stumpjumper--great bikes. The geometry is a little racy for me as I like riser bars, but that's just me.
     
  3. treesquirrel

    treesquirrel Chimp

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    Thanks for the great response. My current bike is a Marin Bolinas Ridge HT. It doesn't have disc brakes and after I spent the week riding Tsali with my brakes going out in mud and creek beds I am determined to get a new bike that can handle those conditions. I am a photographer and I pack a lot with my bike into the Florida swamps to take pics so will keep this bike just to make those trips. I am only 5'4" so your advice on frames is very helpful. The more I look at 29ers I agree with you I think it will be too much bike for me. I really need something that handles well over massive amounts of tree roots as that is what the trails mostly consist of here on the adv. trails. I need a bike I can handle better. I was ignorant when I bought this bike from one of our local shops and my new bike guy told me they sold me this bike that is way too big. I didn't know at the time I got it how much I would be riding so I went towards a moderately priced bike.

    Your advice is invaluable and I will definitely look into those you suggested. Thanks so much and do let me know if you think of anything else. CHEERS!
     
  4. TreeSaw

    TreeSaw Mama Monkey

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    Welcome and here are a few more thoughts for you on your search for a new bike:

    1. A full bike purchase is likely your best bet and I would strongly encourage you to test ride as many different bikes as you can and see what feels good to you. Everyone's ride preference is different. I personally am lucky enough to have several bikes to choose from, but ride my Orbea Hardtail the most because it fits well and feels the best to me.

    2. Can you get to a shop and be measured/sized? I am only 5'4" tall but definitely don't fit a women's specific geometry (shorter top tube doesn't really work for me and I have a short inseam) and fit pretty well on many unisex frames. Be very particular about top tube length and standover height. Most companies are getting better about really making a true women's specific frame with more suitable geometry and women's specific parts rather than just offering lesser quality parts and girlie colors so you can still find something good if you are truly in need of a women's specific bike.

    3. Be wary of small 29ers, I have tried several and many comanies really don't get it! The frames are small enough to fit, but it's easy to put your foot in the front wheel because they're too short to accomodate the 29" wheel clearance. The only 29er that I rode and the geometry was good was the Gary Fisher (now Trek) Superfly. Honestly, I still preferred my 26" hardtail.

    4. Parts to look for both individually and if you buy a full-build...I definitely prefer Fox forks; they work great are light weight and very low maintenance. For brakes, I love my Avid Juicy 7's. I have small hands and the fit and feel of the levers in my hands is WAY better than any other brakes I have ridden. Wheels - I personally have had great luck with all of my Mavic wheels (they're all tubeless too which I love because they're low maintenance and I don't get flats). The Mavic wheels are a bit pricey, but I have found them to be tough, reliable and light weight. Stans also makes some really nice wheel sets too. I have opted to run tubeless so I can run less air pressure for more traction over wet rocks and roots which is a huge plus for the conditions that I ride in. Saddles - again, if you can get fitted your butt will thank you! I have had great luck with Terry Saddles and LUNA Saddles too, but go with what's most comfortable for you. Drivetrain...I'm a SRAM person, but have a bike that is full XTR (because that's how it came). Personally, I love SRAM X9 - affordable, durable and work, but the newer XT stuff from Shimano is also good. I wouldn't pay the extra for the XTR or X0 stuff, but that may just be me.

    5. Bikes to check out (there are literally tons of them so really, try to throw a leg over as many as you can!):
    a) Specialized Stumpjumper (more racey geometry) or Rockhopper are both solid bikes and have a women's specific option available if you need it;
    b) Kona Cindercone (a note of warning...Kona tends to have a slightly larger sizing on their bikes than other companies);
    c) The Scott Scale is a nice hardtail and come with a variety of options.
    d) Trek is making some nice hardtails, etc.
    (the list could go on and on!)

    Good luck and happy shopping!
     
  5. nutz

    nutz Chimp

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    hope I'm not over steping in this thread (I am a guy)

    I worked in a bike shop for a while and no matter what bike/build up you choose, I would find a great bike shop to fit the bike to you.

    when I say fit the bike to you I DO NOT mean the frame size (but that is basic important)

    if you are dropping 2k + they should do a pro-fit for you

    some thing that are the MOST important but also the most overlooked

    stem length and rise= this will have a dramatic effect on the bike handleing. short/high is tight steer and relaxed feel (more AM/FR) long and low is fast and powerfull (XC/race)

    handle bar rise= see above, but a shorter stem will generally need more rise (or longer steerer if you can)

    handle bar width= leaving em too wide will kill speed too narrow will kill control

    crank length= this should be proportunate to the legs, I dont know how many X-small bikes I have seen with 170mm cranks (face palm)

    any great bike shop will do this automaticaly and not charge you an arm and a leg for the swap outs (it will cost extra but will be worth it ) they can usually offset the prices by selling your stuff as new take-off or just giving you the new parts at a discounted rate with the bike purchase.

    a proper set up will even make a good bike feel like a great bike, I'm sorry I dont have any suggestions for female specific bikes but I would say leave the HT behind and discover all the new experiences some of the newer FS bikes can provide ;)
    +1 on fox up front, disks and tubeless
    happy trails