1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Building Bike for the G/F

    So I have a new g/f who is interested in coming biking with me She has a crappy wallyworld bike and hates riding it, so I'm going to put a nice one together for her. I don't have tons of cash and was looking at finding a used Trek/Specialized/etc hardtail and getting it cleaned up.

    1) I have a Marzocchi MX fork with 100mm from my Kona, can I replace a solid fork with this?
    2) This guy has a 29er frame for sale *cheap*, can I run a 26" wheel in back till I find a good 29er? and will running the 29 in back and 26 in front screw things too badly?
    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/bik/1689422361.html

    Any simple, blunt answers would be appreciated.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Might be cheaper to get her on something like this:
    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/bik/1692031926.html

    There is a lot of cost to build up a frame. To answer you, yes, you can run 26" wheels on a 29er frame as long as you are using disc brakes (they are called 69ers for future reference). I see a lot of nice bikes on your Craigslist. Wished ours looked like that.

    Anyways, unless you have all the components already to build that frame, I wouldn't bother. First you don't know if it will fit her good. Second, the cost would outweigh the finished results. You would actually save money buying a full bike.

  3. #3
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    +1 on better buying a complete bike for what you are looking for. It will be cheaper.

  4. #4
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    and 69'ers usually have the 9'er in the front! May not handle well the other way around???
    I'm beginning to overcome my "momentum issues" but even that is happening slowly.

    MTB Name - Crustius Maximus

  5. #5
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    I figured a complete bike would be easier, that frame deal just seems way good. I googled/searched on 69ers and 96ers and couldn't find anything about putting the 9'er in back and 6 in front...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_cowboy
    2) This guy has a 29er frame for sale *cheap*, can I run a 26" wheel in back till I find a good 29er? and will running the 29 in back and 26 in front screw things too badly?
    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/bik/1689422361.html

    Any simple, blunt answers would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    I've never seen a 26 in the fron and 29 in the back. Always the other way around. 29" in the front to roll over stuff and the 26 on the tail end.
    I'm beginning to overcome my "momentum issues" but even that is happening slowly.

    MTB Name - Crustius Maximus

  7. #7
    nocturnal oblivion
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    I figured the best mtb for a new & non-dedicated rider such as a GF would be an easier geared SS 29er hardtail. Give her some front suspension, just a cheaper shorter travel coil fork.

  8. #8
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    How tall is your GF?

    Isn't a 19" kind of a big frame?

  9. #9
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    She's 5'10" with a 34" inseam, so I figured an 18/19" frame would work good
    I have a short travel (100mm) fork, if I get an older bike with a rigid one, is there any problems swapping them out?

  10. #10
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    My girlfriend's built like that too.

    You may find it more difficult to get a good fit on a unisex frame. Torso length determines frame size, but the head tubes on 17" frames are frequently a little short to get the handlebars high enough to match where her long legs will put the saddle. Riser bars and a high-angle stem should help.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
    powered by peanut butter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_cowboy
    She's 5'10" with a 34" inseam, so I figured an 18/19" frame would work good
    I have a short travel (100mm) fork, if I get an older bike with a rigid one, is there any problems swapping them out?
    Most suspension forks have a 1 1/8 inch threadless steerer tube. If the rigid fork you're replacing is also 1 1/8'' and threadless, it should be fine.

    Many older bikes, though, have a 1'' threaded steerer, and I don't believe that it's possible to fit a 1 1/8 steerer in there.

    Check out this guide: http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=111

  12. #12
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    My Kona is a 17"... Maybe I'll give the 29er guy a call and build me up a new bike If not, I'll keep an eye out and make sure the bikes I'm looking at are all threadless headsets.

  13. #13
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    Most bikes made from the late 90s on will have threadless headsets and should work fine. Just verify it before you buy one! A 100mm fork shouldn't have too much impact on a frame designed for rigid - will raise the front end slightly.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by turbospartan
    How tall is your GF?

    Isn't a 19" kind of a big frame?

    How about a picture of your girlfriend? lol

  15. #15
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    Performance Bike has a sale on their hard tail mountain frame right now. $79.99.

  16. #16
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    That's a pretty sweet deal...I wonder if their free shipping transfers up to Alaska?

  17. #17
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    I'm not sure about Alaska, but here in Ohio, I can get the free shipping, but the oversize charge ($12) is still there.

    Hardwarz

  18. #18
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    I think I'm going to just keep an eye out for a Trek or something already put together. Be a lot easier and simpler

  19. #19
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    Found a couple craigslist bikes. One is a Kona Blast 17" that doesn't have brakes for $300 and the other is a Specialized Rockhopper with panniers for $150. I would love to get her the Kona (It's what I ride) but I think the Rockhopper is a better deal.

    Any opinions?

  20. #20
    d00bie
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    I say if shes a "new GF", and you dont have " Tons " to spend...Why on gods green earth are YOU building her a bike? Sure, she may say shes interested because you are and yall are new together...It could end up being a disaster...she could get 1/4 of a mile down the road and hate it. Why doesnt she do pick up a $4-500 bike from a LBS?

    I dunno. Just saying.

  21. #21
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    She had a Walmart bike that she hates, but she knows that I'm way into biking and is trusting me to set up a good bike for her. I've built up a couple bikes for friends (2 beach cruisers and one mtn) and enjoy it. She's already athletic and outdoorsy, but doesn't know what to look for in a bike. (She still thinks that $200 is a lot to spend on a bike whereas I'm looking at building a Niner for myself thats going to be over $3000.) Besides, isn't it better that she try it anyways?
    I'm probably going to go with the Specialized, if the lady ever emails me back, because its 1/2 the price and a good base.

  22. #22
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    Werd. I was going to say, Specialized Hardrock or Haro Flightline Series, or even Scott bikes. My GF has a Scott Aspect45 and loves it, its a badass bike!

  23. #23
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    Well, I got one. But its none of the ones I listed lol One of our LBSs had a bike swap and I attended just to see what was available.
    Happened to be a 2006 Kona Lana'i for $165 in a 16" frame in decent shape. Has a Suntour fork that's not horrible. Tires were crap and pedals were broke/mismatched, but I fixed that already. Now It just needs some new brake pads to be up to snuff.
    I'll probably swap out the Suntour for my Marzocchi MZ Comp to give her another 40mm of travel and slow the handling down a bit; and give it a new paint job.


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