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New mountain bike

By anke13 - Posted on 03 December 2008

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Hi all,

I'm once again looking for your valued opinion and advice. Plus, I know it's great fun to spend someone else's money for a change Smiling

I'm currently toying with the idea of buying my first dual suspension bike and since I'm not very tall or heavy, I'm specifically looking at women's bikes. My budget is $2500 (and this time I'd like to stick to it).

Here are three I have so far come up with. I have no idea about components when it comes to mountain bikes, so not sure how you would rate these.

Most of you have seen my current hardtail, which feels a bit like a tank, so I'd definitely would like something a bit lighter.

Specialized Myka FSR Comp Womens 2009 -

Trek Fuel EX 5.5 WSD -

Giant Cypher Womens 2009 -


The Giant looks like the best value of the three.

Hmmm... that Trek doesn't appear to have the ABP - looks like you have to go a Fuel EX 7 for that.

Doesn't seem to be much it in on the specs - but agree with Damien here - if forced to pick one it'd be the Giant. Oh... then I notice the Giant has QR15 fork - nice plus (although how relevant is this for lighter riders?). None say what adjustment the forks have, that might come into it.

What's probably quiet important is a nice relationship with the LBS you buy from - go see if you can try out your options on some dirt before making a decision. Go for a ride with a shock pump so you can adjust the shock/fork while testing.

They are 3 very similar bikes there. The Giant has the best fork compared to the others. The rest of the spec is very very similar with mainly Deore or SLX level drivetrain which is good enough. The Giant also has a hollowtech crank which should be slightly lighter than the Octalink ones on the other two.

The decision will probably come down to what fits you best as the price is almost identical for all three.

Hello (gosh I'm here a lot today)

My only advise would be to test ride them all first.. then get the Giant (probably)

Does that help?

Have you considered 2nd hand?

Only asking because I always see, hardly ridden expensive bikes on ebay, that retail for 5k selling for 1-2k as the seller had great plans to 'ride that bike to work and get fit for summer' that never eventuate.

I reckon there are some great bargains to be had on mountain bikes that have never touched a mountain.

Worst case scenario is you give it a full service when you get it and its still cost you less than 1/2 youde pay in the shop.

Not really helping so far as what bike, but still something to consider to extend your budget or save you money Smiling

I dont ride my bike, my bike rides me... we are currently in counseling...

It's a lot harder to choose a mountain bike than a road bike, since I have no clue about the components and there are so many bikes out there.

Darkmuncan - I looked a second hand bikes before buying my road bike and unfortunately, all of them were too big for me. But will look again...

Thanks, again.

Hey anke, If I was you I would be VERY careful about making sure the bike is the right size. I see you are looking at female design bikes.
After reading a reveiw of a female designed bike it highlighted a few problems, the biggest one been fit and bike control and the second been that the female design bike was heavier than the male bike that was bigger.
Females are lighter and generally not as strong so they should be riding a lighter bike! the difference between the two bikes they were talking about was a 5% increase in bike weight for the female rider (when taking body weights into account) 5% is a lot of extra weight for a female design bike!
V rides a 16" giant and it fits her pretty well. I would say ride the standard trance X3 in a 14.5" (XS)and see if it works for you before considering going down the road of a female design

I'm not at all sold on the female specific bikes and will definitely get measured.

Been looking with Jem at womens specific and they are mostly either low end cheap or top end pricey.
I would agree with Supagav totally from shopping around.
There is a huge choice in "mens" while only a very small choice in womens specific.

What real differences are there between male and female bikes? Is it just a wider saddle!?

Have you seen some of the colours and floral patterns on the female ones? It makes even the toughest mountain biker throw up...

I think I'll be looking at mens bikes and just make sure the shocks are adjustable, so they actually work with my weight.

Allegedly women have shorter arms for their size than men, so women's bikes should have shorter stem and/or top tube.

Oh yeah, and then they come in girlie colours and with pretty decals.

should get one of these bike's..... "girlie colours and with pretty decals".....

Yeah they shorten the top tube by making the seat tube angle steeper. this in turn moves the rider forwards on the bike. another words they change the handling to fit a smaller rider. (not for the best I reckon). the problem with doing these changes to the frame means the your range of adjustment is restricted compared to a "mans" frame....

I looked at women specific bikes before I bought my dually and decided against it. For reasons like price, variety ...
I know I am not exactly short or a lightweight so it probably didn't matter that much in my case anyway. When I went to get the bike set up I got a shorter head stem and it was fine for my arm and upper body length.
Happy days Smiling

I'd be inclined to ditch the FM specific stuff

With these 3 I would choose the Giant because I like the Fox F120 and float shock combo better than the Rock Shox Tora even tho the Tora has lock out. (this model Fox doesn't)
X fusion shocks get a good write up for an unknown brand - but not sure of this model.

A good frame, fork and shock combo I think is most important.
Most other components can and will be replaced over time
But of course, I'm no expert - ask anyone and they'll agree

Pick some shops you like, take their bikes for test rides over Xmas, and in the New Year when their sales drop start talking turkey with them.

If you're gonna get a mens you might as well get this manly one which was posted up a while ago? Sticking out tongue

ahh, still makes me laugh Laughing out loud

Anke , I will make sure that Sophie gets to see you request. She spent months looking at /trying differnt womens full sus. bikes before she got the Sewanee. I know she seriously though about at least one other. Basically you do not need a lot of travel and light weight is key. (Budget of $2500 may not get you that!)



and it's all about looks!

Get the bike you like the look of. I think if you like the look of your bike, you are more likely to bond with it and ride it more. My bike loves a good ride, and I love the look of it.

Women's specific bikes are not all they crack up to be, a small size mens bike is just as suitable and probably better priced (since more men buy bikes);
see for example, 2008 Kona Dawg
2007 mongoose teocali elite
2008 Norco six 2

PS: i don't work at bike barn, just bought my bike there.

all those bikes are way better spec'd then the ones you're looking at. just depends on the typre of riding you do. The Teocali will also get you in way under budget. The Kona is a good all rounder and has bullet proof strength. Bike barn also offer 12 months free services (not 1 free service like most bike shops)

I saw an AMB that had better specced bikes for around 2K than the ones in your original post
Look around and take your time
Great bikes that jpack has suggested but maybe a little more than what you need. Maybe.
For your sort of riding Anke I think around 100-120mm of travel front and rear would suffice.
I think variable travel is more useful than lockout (changes head angles for easier climbing)
A new bike is a big thing. Ask everyone on your next ride, narrow it down and you won't be dissappointed whatever you get.

I say ,ya gotta like how it feels, and obviously the look of it as well,it's easy to get caught up in the tech side of it all, but i think most bikes in that price range are all well equipped.....GO FOR THE GIANT...

A mate of mine has the Teocali - it's fairly light. well spec'd, has adjustable front travel front (95-140mm) and back (124-145mm). it's also cheap enough ($1899) to spend a bit on upgrading a few parts (and selling the original ones on ebay). the only thing i would change initially is the Hayes HFX 9 brakes. Try get some Avids or the new shimano XT's (if you like the transformer appearance).

also remember, that small changes like stem length and angle, as well as handlebar width and rise can very much change the feel of A bike and it's comfort.

Good luck

PS bike barn is also selling norco fluids at very good prices.

I'm starting to get a much better idea of what to look for.

Although, with all this rain, maybe I should invest in something with a roof Smiling

Isn't the Teocali is a bit big for a small girlie type? Think you'd be better off with a Canaan. Jeff has one and think he's pretty happy with it.

Canaan is a very short travel XC bike.
Teocali is a more all mountain bike. Drop the suspension on the teocali to the lowest travel and you basically have a canaan.
I prefer longer suspension bikes as they are more forgiving, and comfortable. more laid back riding position.
I'm fairly short at 5'6", and my mates small teocali feels quite small in the cockpit. Once again, a shorter stem will allow better reach, if reach is a problem.

also check out for great deals
eg: teocali elite womens:
canaan elite womens

just depends on the sort of riding. very personal choice

if i were going for a mongoose, i'd get the khyber, but thats cos i like longer travel, more free-ride bikes

I like German brands!!!
My F A T is very similar to the Ghost brand, which you can get from T7!!
have a look at that one, T think good value for $.

Hi Anke
I can happily recomend the Mongoose Canaan, after having done 3 marathons on mine. It has 100mm travel both ends so is pretty comfortable
for those 100km marathons. Turn the pro-peddle on for speed and off for extra comfort & decents. I think a small frame would fit you well,
you may even be still able to pick up an '08 bike at the old price if you are very lucky.

I spent years pondering this one (and until I had saved up a lot, I stuck with a light hardtail) and concluded that women specific bikes don't mean much and they are often bad value for money, not to mention the stupid colours. What does your hardtail actually weigh ? Also, don't believe the weights on the specs, make the shop weigh it in front of you !

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