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.
Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
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    Women's bike size

    I want to buy a bike for my girlfriend to see if she might like mountainbiking. I found a diamondback for cheap, but she is 5'4, and the bike is 17". Will this be a big problem as far as a fit for her? Seems hard to pass up for a very clean, maintained bike (2009, Lux model) for $100 including helmet.
    They call me non-sequitur

  2. #2
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    I hope this doesn't come off too negative but if you buy your girlfriend the wrong size bike you don't have a prayer in her liking biking. This applies to anyone but it seems to be most poignant when people in a relationship are trying to get the other into cycling. The single most important thing about choosing a bike is fit. It doesn't matter how much a bike costs because if it doesn't fit properly it's NOT a good deal.

    So how much biking has your girlfriend done? Has she ever been off road? Has it been a while since she has been on a bike? Take your time getting anyone into cycling if you want this to be a long term thing. Start out with rides to the local movie theater or to go shopping. Once she's comfortable riding the bike, try some bike paths or maybe some mellow dirt roads. You'd be surprised how stressful the dirt or gravel surface can be to some people. When you're ready to move onto singletrack, make it beginner level and make it on a day when the trails are empty. Nothing is worse than running into a bunch of trail users when you're mentally pinned trying to make sure you stay on the trail.

    May I suggest you spend your money on a rental bike? If she loves it then you can get shopping for a bike for her. Rental bikes come in the right size for her and they're usually pretty well taken care of, the right combination for success in introducing the sport to someone.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  3. #3
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    Well, she is very fit, works out a lot, has done lots of watersports. I do not think she has done serious mountain biking, but has some experience as a kid. I'm sure she is ready to attack a beginner singletrail that is close to me with no endurance issues right off without having to "ease" her into it. My LBS is in the process of changing out their rentals and have none available at the moment. I forgot to ask how much rental is, but I know a helmet us $40 + tax, so it seems I can get a whole bike with helmet for a few bucks more than a 1 day rental. According to WMAC's geometry thread, this bike may work if she is shorter legged than usual (if I am reading it right), and I'm thinking this might be the case.
    They call me non-sequitur

  4. #4
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    They call me non-sequitur

  5. #5
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    This fork looks like it will work for bike paths and easy trails for some riding. 25mm stantions and 70mm travel will be tough for the fun trails with rocks and roots. At that time an upgrade or bike change will be necessary. And she should know that.
    Here's some discussion--
    So You Wanna Teach Your Girlfriend or Wife How to Mountain Bike?

  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I sometimes wonder if other posters here live or ride or work out in a vacuum.

    I think you're best off choosing a trail that will be a fun outing, borrowing a bike, and going and doing it. Don't throw a bunch of money at a bike. You don't know if she'll like it, and there's some potential to create all sorts of weird drama and guilt feelings and whatever. You probably have a friend with a smallish 'B' bike even if you don't have one yourself.

    If she thought it was fun, she'll want a bike. Then it'll be something that she wants, and not something that she's doing because she thinks it'll make you happy. Important distinction.

    I tried for a while to get my fiancee into riding with me. We did some road riding with one of my bikes set up for her. Just got a saddle and a stem to make it fit her better. It didn't ultimately go anywhere, but no harm done. She has a hybrid (thankfully from before they started bolting crappy suspension forks to the front of them) so we moved the saddle, which she likes better than the stock one, over to it and I stuffed some fatter tires on it, and we've been doing what she calls "hill biking," because we're just doing some easy lakeside trails and not climbing stuff with that setup. After some false starts with trails that had too much vertical for her comfort level, we're having a lot more fun with these outings. It's been a better fit than riding on the road, so good that I never ran out and bought her a road bike!

    I don't know that mountain biking is likely to become one of her things. But I think she's having fun with these trips and keeping the purchases to a couple of important, relatively inexpensive things to make the bike more fit for that purpose has made it something that she doesn't feel weird about not getting into. Long-term, I think she's more likely to get into it this way than if I threw some money at the project for her to feel guilty about not appreciating.

    It's also not such a bad thing to have some separate activities.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    I'm 5'8" and have a Giant that is a M/16 womens. I have a 34" inseam, so stupidly long legs. The bike is a too small for me, so it is possible that something in that size range could fit her maybe... but as someone who bought and learned to mountain bike on a bike that didn't fit correctly, please do your girlfriend a favor and have her on a bike that properly fits and is properly set up! It could make or break the experience, honestly. Biking is no fun if the bike is too big to handle, knees/back/hands/arms/butt/whatever hurts, etc.

  8. #8
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    Women's bike size

    17" is still too big for trail riding for her. Paved road no problems.


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  9. #9
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    Spending money on a good deal is still a waste if she rides it once and then it sits colleting dust. Find a bike to borrow or rent . Maybe find a demo day and try out some bikes. Has she shown any interest in trying bikes? Being fit for other sports does not mean that you are fit for cycling. You want to like riding ,take it easy and let her decide on the bike and riding .

  10. #10
    Rogue Exterminator
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    Bike sounds a little big IMO but at this time it seems to be a moot point as the craigslist ad posted has been deleted.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  11. #11
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    I have been to multiple bike shops, mostly trying to find the right fit. I have had tweaks in my back after test riding some inappropriately sized bikes. It isn't an easy task. I would suggest having her along to help in the sizing process.

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