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  1. #1
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    Trail Bike for my Mom!

    Hey everyone- I need some ideas for the perfect trail bike for my mom. She's a cool lady and for her age, is a ripper. She has been MTB'ing for almost 10 years and is 65 years old now and she wants to get the perfect, top-of-the-line bike while she has good riding years left. She has good technical skills, fitness, and courage. She lives in Pisgah area NC (DuPont and easier Pisgah trails) but spends a lot of her time traveling in her trailer hitting trails around the country. Florida in the winter, rest of the country in the other seasons.

    Her progression of bikes has been: Schwinn Moab->Trek Fuel->Liv Intrigue. Complaints about her current bike are that its too heavy and that anytime the trail points uphill it bogs her down more than she feels it should. She wants something that feels sporty/responsive but can still handle her letting it open and eating chunk going downhill. She says that if she would have discovered mountain biking when she was 20 that she would have raced downhill world cups...if that lets you know her mentality.

    In my opinion, she should get something with 120-140mm rear travel that has good anti-squat/pedaling platform built into it. She has tried 29r and wants to stick with 27.5. Relaxed/stable geometry is needed for her safety (who's the parent now?!) but should able to ride twisty xc trails too. Prefers to carbon, and we will probably get frame only and build it up. She 5'5.5" and weighs probably 125-130

    Some frames ive thought of:
    Spot Rollik 557 (think the 607 is too big)
    Transition Scout
    Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt (BC edition?)
    Knolly Endorphin (I ride knolly but may not pedal well enough for her)
    others?

  2. #2
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    Ibis Mojo3? 27.5, DW link, 130 rear travel. I'm thinking emphasis on light weight...def not plus tires...custom tune on the fork and shock for her light weight.
    Do the math.

  3. #3
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    I think the Santa Cruz 5010 is often overlooked and would be a good fit for what you described. It's all carbon, VPP so it pedals well, and can be built up any number of ways. Travel is 130 and you can run it with a 130/140 fork. The Juliana Furtado is the same frame, if she digs the Blue Raspberry colorway.
    The cake is a lie.

  4. #4
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    Turner Flux carbon with a 140mm fork

    Very light and fast and much more capable on the descents than the 120mm suggests.

  5. #5
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    I got my 64 year old wife a medium (she's 5'8" tall, 31" inseam, about) sized Yeti SB5 turq last year custom from Competitivecyclist, Fox 150, with an Ibis 735/I9 boost wheelset, 27.5x2.6" Addix Nobby Nics which fit with lots of room, Next SL crankset (I'm about to put a Chris King PF92 on it for the BB), turquoise Chester flats, turquoise Ergon grips, 26 tooth elliptical chainring, Next carbon low rise bars, the shortest Easton Havoc stem I could get on it, Selle Italia Diva saddle, Transfer dropper, 1x11 with a SRAM cassette, XT shifters, XT brakes (160mm/180mm).... 26.26 pounds (half a pound lighter with Rocket Rons, but she likes the NoNi's better).

    That's for northern Utah riding, with multiple trips to Moab.

    She LOVES it!

  6. #6
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    I was also thinking mojo 3 as she could get the roxy tune from the factory and it is no slouch going up or down. Has the option for 2.35 to 2.8 tires. The 5010 would be similar as well however I personally prefer dw link over vpp but that is just my preference

  7. #7
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    On your list, the one that stands out to me as lightest and most efficient is the Thunderbolt. Extend the fork to 140-150mm for more stability, confidence, etc. With the Ride9 system it will still have a good pedaling geometry.

    Mojo 3 would also be a good one. Short wheelbase, 140/130mm. I'd pick the Thunderbolt over the 5010, just because of geometry changes after extending the fork.

  8. #8
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  9. #9
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    Fuel, though not light, is a very good climber. How about a 9.8 with a light carbon wheelset. Come to think of it, maybe that's all she needs for the Intrigue. Did she have a specific beef with the Fuel, other than porkiness.
    Veni vidi velo!

  10. #10
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    you can get deals on the 5010 through backcountry and others right now. I just built up a 5010 cc. Frame was just over $2000. I have just over $3500, built up as a 11 spd, gx, pike 140, and industry 9 wheelset. Weight was right at 28 lbs for med.

    I also looked at deals for the Yeti SB5 frameset. The deciding factor for me is that Yeti will not warranty a new yeti frame (unless it is built up by a yeti dealer). Santa Cruz will.

    I plan to post my build later. BTW, alot of people put 140 forks on the 5010 without issue. Even a SC mech thought it was the appropriate choice.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libikerdad View Post
    I was also thinking mojo 3...I personally prefer dw link over vpp but that is just my preference
    Yes, and Santa Cruzs are not particularly light. I own a Tallboy 3.
    Do the math.

  12. #12
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    Thunderbolt for sure, light, efficient and fun. My LBS owner raced an enduro season on one and it loved it.

  13. #13
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    Good info so far everyone, thanks for the input. Leaders in the club house are the thunderbolt and mojo 3. I'm kind of against the santa cruz for no real good reason. The scout is probably along the lines of the endorphin and could pedal a bit better. The flux isnt something I thought of and is a great suggestion also.

    I wish they made a more xc/trail version of the rollik. I'm starting to become sold on that suspension platform.

    She moved away from her fuel as it was a 2011 or 2012 and just outdated. Her intrigue probably would benefit from a better build but I also think she needs a geometry update and better pedaling platform.

    What do you think frame size wise? I think medium with short cockpit vs small w/ longer cockpit. I guess that made be frame dependent. Goal would be 26-27ish pounds w/o getting stupid expensive.

  14. #14
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    If you decide on the flux I would recommend medium with 40mm stem at her height. Wheelbase is still short enough for an agile ride.

    My wife is 54 and rides a small with 55mm stem and could easily go 60mm.

    Frame weight is 5.5lbs and is $4458 for gx eagle with fox 34 factory. Pretty great deal for a carbon bike with that spec.

    https://www.turnerbikes.com/bikes/flux-v4-0/

  15. #15
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    Another vote for the Turner Flux, or a Trek Fuel. My 63 year old wife loves her Fuel.

  16. #16
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    I think the Fuel EX is very good, but not a fan of the direction they took with the '17 and later models...longer, lower, slacker, knockblock...
    Do the math.

  17. #17
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    The Norco Optic would very much fit what you're looking for. It's pretty neat that they fit different chain stay lengths for the different sizes.

    Also, the Guerrilla Gravity Shred Dogg. I have one and it's amazing both going up and down.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  18. #18
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    Luckily there are tons of good bikes in the category. Hard to go wrong, it comes down to the finer details. We are really leaning towards the Thunderbolt. Does anyone know if they sell the non BC version in frame only? The only difference is a longer stroked shock so I dont see why they wouldnt. Waiting on feedback from shop/dealer on this question. I guess if they dont, I could swap out to the shorter stroke shock.

    BC version adds 10mm travel and slackens the bike out about 3/4 degree. Doesnt sound like much but I think it was at the sweet spot for her in standard form. Id like to go 140 on the fork so it will slacken it a bit already. Speaking of, anyone done the research on 140mm fork weights? I'm not really a fox fan but maybe they've gotten it together recently. I run Manitou and MRP on the bikes for my wife and I.

  19. #19
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    FWIW: Of the bikes mentioned, the Thunderbolt has my least favorite rear suspension design...Horst link with a bottom swing upper link.

    IDK actual fork weights, but at her weight and 120-140 travel, I'd suggest a Fox 34, and maybe a 34 Step Cast (120 only). The SC is a claimed 1590 gm.
    Do the math.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    FWIW: Of the bikes mentioned, the Thunderbolt has my least favorite rear suspension design...Horst link with a bottom swing upper link.
    It would be worth more with some rationale to explain the dislike...care to elaborate?

  21. #21
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    I prefaced it with "FWIW" because I don't have any rigorous or quantitative analysis/testing to back it up, just some qualitative thoughts and impressions...so it aint worth much.
    Do the math.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaXCarp View Post
    Luckily there are tons of good bikes in the category. Hard to go wrong, it comes down to the finer details. We are really leaning towards the Thunderbolt. Does anyone know if they sell the non BC version in frame only? The only difference is a longer stroked shock so I dont see why they wouldnt. Waiting on feedback from shop/dealer on this question. I guess if they dont, I could swap out to the shorter stroke shock.

    BC version adds 10mm travel and slackens the bike out about 3/4 degree. Doesnt sound like much but I think it was at the sweet spot for her in standard form. Id like to go 140 on the fork so it will slacken it a bit already. Speaking of, anyone done the research on 140mm fork weights? I'm not really a fox fan but maybe they've gotten it together recently. I run Manitou and MRP on the bikes for my wife and I.
    The BC version is designed for 140, as far as I can tell. If you are thinking of the non-BC version running a 140, that'll work. I'm running a 160mm Pike on my SB5. 10mm is a small change, especially if you take sag into account! The manufacturer's estimated weights are pretty accurate and available online. One thing I've found is that the ability to run 2.6" tires is pretty important, at least for me, as it seems to be in my sweet spot for trail riding. I assume the Thunderbolt will give you that option. I wouldn't take a 140mm rear and change it to a 130 with a new shock. That just seems like a waste of money, especially if you want to slacken the HTA.

  23. #23
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    Of course you need to find a demo, if possible. I've seen several youtube reviews that describe RM version of the horst link as very efficient. There are several of the more prominent bike reviewers that chose RM as their personal bike, over all the others they've tested. Just sayin'.

  24. #24
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    Kona Hei Hei. Carbon. I just purchased one. LOVE it! Needs different tires though.

    I'm 5' 2-3" with a short inseam. The standover is more than documented, but it's not horrible. They have ONE XS left.

    Tell Jenson I sent ya.

    Kona Hei Hei Trail Bike 2017 | Jenson USA

  25. #25
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    Is that supposed to say prefers carbon, or prefers aluminum to carbon? If carbon, maybe the yeti beti?
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    You guys suck im all bummed now

  26. #26
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    im tellin you, the Juliana. lifetime frame warranty, threaded bb, lightweight highend carbon

    classy company too. Santa Cruz does a lot right, maybe the most in the MTB world

  27. #27
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    At her weight with high quality suspension 120/120 with wide tires/rims could be very light with enough cushion and good grip. A Sniper Trail with a Mattoc Pro- a little fork weight penalty for the tunability. Similar with a bit less rear would be a Yeti SB100.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigSteve in CO View Post
    Is that supposed to say prefers carbon, or prefers aluminum to carbon? If carbon, maybe the yeti beti?
    Yes, prefer carbon

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    At her weight with high quality suspension 120/120 with wide tires/rims could be very light with enough cushion and good grip. A Sniper Trail with a Mattoc Pro- a little fork weight penalty for the tunability. Similar with a bit less rear would be a Yeti SB100.

    Gonna stick with 27.5 wheels for her riding style preference. Fork will be the next big question. I have a mattoc pro on my both my bikes but tried to put it on my wifes bike and it was too progressive, even with dropping down to like 25PSI. Might have the retune the shimstack. Wife now runs an MRP stage that manages her lightweight a lot better.

    I think the new leader in the clubhouse, mentioned earlier, is the Kona Hei Hei trail. Jenson has a frame for $1700 which is 1k less than the RM. Geometry is nearly indentical, just a bit more XC leaning. Seems to get good reviews. I think its lighter too so building it to 26 should be no problem. Any first hand experience with that frame?

  30. #30
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    Intense recluse also checks most if not all of your boxes.
    Can get a frame for 1500$. From Intense website.

  31. #31
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    Kona Hei Hei = press fit bottom bracket = yuck

  32. #32
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    But it's a fun bike. I am used to riding a fat bike, so this Hei Hei is a big change. I did my fourth ride on it the other day, and I'm sad to say the fattie will not be seeing as much trail time this summer as usual. Hei Hei fun!

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by nauc View Post
    Kona Hei Hei = press fit bottom bracket = yuck
    I agree, but wont be a deal breaker in this case. I will hopefully remedy any potential issue by buying a quality bottom bracket...hope or wheel manufacturing comp. and install correctly.

  34. #34
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    Well we bought the Kona Hei Hei trail frame. Putting the build together now. A combination of light, durable, and budget parts for the build. Again, shoot for <27lbs. Here is what im thinking.

    Manitou Mattoc Pro fork ($450 through CRC)
    BHS hubs to crest mk3 rims
    xt brakes
    xt drivetrain (xtr shifter) 1 x11, 30x11-46, 170mm cranks
    Brand X dropper
    wheels manufacturing BB
    2.35 nobby nic front, 2.25 rocket ron rear
    crank bros iodine carbon bar @ 720mm ish
    grips probably raceface half nelson
    not sure on saddle

    I can come in at $4k even with this build and should hit the target weight, and should out perform any stock build. Thoughts?

  35. #35
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    Depends on your terrain, but not a big fan of NN as a front tire, unless it's on pretty buff hardpack. I'd also consider bigger tires. 2.5F/2.4R. As much traction and cornering confidence, as will fit in the frame. 2

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