Clydesdale? Athena? More like a fat pony :|
Hey all! This seems like the right place for this rant
I am female, and short and stout (here is my han-dle here is my spout...). Not exactly an Athena build. I am having TONS of problems finding a bike the right size. I am 5'3", 27"-28" inseam, and big. Short arms. Every bike shop I have gone into look at me and scour for 14" bikes. I thought I was a 15". I am currently riding a 16". My current bike is a 1996 Diamondback Outlook I inherited. I hate it. I can tell it is too big, I have to shift myself to constantly get my weight back to where it should be. It feels like a beast pulling it up a hill, but that is partially me too >.<
I am looking at some bikes to upgrade. I am looking for used, as I wasn't anticipating the bike to not fit (the owner was 5'1", but I guess she never rode it. It most likely never fit her anyways). I can put up with the bike for a little bit, though it is just uncomfortable and kinda discourages me from wanting to get out on it. It is definitely meant for weekend warriors or occasional riders. But, I am REALLY dedicated to pushing this and getting the weight off! I used to ride all the effin time as a kid on my mountain bike, and I LOVED it! I want to fall in love again
My budget is around $200-$300. I can go to $300 in a few weeks or a month, but right now I only have $200 in hand. I have been agonizing over all the bikes out there, checked out bikes direct, ebay, and of course craigslist. The most important, number one thing, is fit. Once I get the right fit, I will go into details later. My plan is to get something that is older, but a solid start. A solid frame, a few good components, and the rest upgradable. The idea is to grow the bike with me over the years until I have the money and skill for a full upgrade, and maybe two different bikes once the bug has sunk it's teeth in
Right now, I need the bike for a short commute to work (2 miles) and for training and exercise. I currently ride in the park a few blocks from me. It has lots of dirt paths of increasing difficulty, and is right next to a nice mountain range. I tried riding in the dirt, but found my shitty brakes to be a death trap. I am staying on the path until I get something that won't kill me offroad. But, I want to get into mountain biking! I want to climb the mountains I see every day My thoughts on this are to start with a base mountain bike, which is what I am most comfortable on, get better at biking, learn technical stuff and get rougher, building it up to a good bike as I get better. At that point, I will get a commuter, maybe a hybrid, for getting to work so I don't have to risk my nice mountain annihilator. I am trying to eliminate getting a 'meh' bike I am going to be trying to offload at a fraction of what I paid in a few years.
Now, this was the original plan. But after shopping around I have a few options, and need some help deciding!
First off, I can reverse the order and start with a hybrid commuter. One LBS is willing to sell me a brand new 2012 or 2013 13.5" Jamis Explorer for $220. I think it was an Explorer 1.0? I tried it, didn't like how much it felt like a cruiser. I feel better above the handlebars. But the LBS guys said it was adjusted to feel like that, and can be adjusted to feel like a mountain bike. It had a nice suspension in the seat, which they said is adjustable. Not sure if it can be adjusted to a fat pony like me... I am afraid I will bounce on it and bottom out with painful *CLUNK*s. It also has front suspension, not sure if it will withstand my weight or if I need to swap for a fork. The LBS guys didn't seem concerned about the shocks and my size, saying it can all be adjusted for me.
And the other option is to go with the original idea and start with a solid mountain bike. This one from Craigslist looks the most promising. Guy said he will work with me to go down to $350, but I won't be able to afford that for a few more weeks. Most likely will be gone by then. My only major concern about it is the dent on the top tube. He says it hasn't given him any problems, but a fat pony like me may be too much if I come down on it too hard. If this is a screaming deal I can't pass up, I can over extend myself, ask the power company for an extension, and pick it up thursday when I get paid. The bike is 16", which could possibly be too big, but I was told that if fitted correctly, it *can* work. I am able to ride my 16" regardless of the fact it isn't perfect. And everything I found about Balance bikes RAVED how awesomely balanced they are, so it may feel just fine.
The other option is to build. I have never built before. Took a wheel off for the first time today to transport the diamondback. I have been spending a couple weeks learning about bikes and components, but still feel lost as to what I need. There are SO many options and shitty walmart parts floating around, I am really afraid I am going to get myself ripped off and stuck with a broken bike and no money to fix it. Another LBS I went to, after a little nudging, I got the owner working with me. He pulled out a 14" Woman's Haro V2 frame, either 2005 or 2006 by my best guess based on info online. He said it was a 14", and it was purple and either silver or white (was really dusty, but otherwise looked brand new). We talked a bit about taking the frame he just pulled out of his project pile and making a bike around it. He said to come back next week or give him a call to see what he has come up with. I suggested cannibalizing my current bike for parts as well, he told me to go ahead and bring it by next week when I come to see him. Here are the specs of my current bike. Everything is stock except the new tires, new handlebar grips, and a better saddle. Saddle, post, and tires are obvious things that can be salvaged. What else looks good, based on everything I have mentioned? Should I spend a little money and bring him a decent used front shock instead of using a fork? There seen to be a few shocks for sale cheap on the classifieds here! Recommendations? Anything in particular I should look for, considering I am a fat pony build? Those rims any good, or am I going to warp them with my first real trail? Should I nip this build in the bud with some disc brakes? Are there any affordable ones that aren't death traps?
Anywho, if building this thing seems like the best plan, maybe we can brainstorm what to put in this thing? Salvage what is worthwhile from the Diamondback, and there is a budget of about $160 for parts (the guy said $45 for the frame, including the dropout that he said was the only thing of real value to him). I will have more of a budget around January, maybe a couple months sooner if there is a good work season. There are some bikes I can buy on craigslist for parts, like Diamondback Crestview Bicycle or Aggressor 1.0 Mountain Bike - (says it is missing a wheel but both are in picture? And disc brakes, so maybe one being MIA makes the other useless?). ****, I could grab the diamondback for 10 bucks and the other one for the 150 and still be on budget if this seems like a good idea!
Any and all input is greatly appreciated!
Last edited by Bikemaya; 10-04-2012 at 04:43 AM.
A couple more bikes that may be worth stripping for parts?
IBOC Pro Series Mongoose Mountain Bike
Trek Bicycle (maybe if I can talk them down to like $75? The Bikepedia lists some pretty non impressive components)
1984 Vintage Specialized Stump Jumper Bike (Palm Springs)
First, I would rule out building up a frame. Even with mostly parts you already have, that's going to be more expensive than you'd think, unless you REALLY know what you're doing, and even then there's often unexpected expenses you just can't get around.
Used can be a good option, if you can find a bike in your size, that was owned by someone that took care of it - that you trust took care of it. That balance bike, for example... that huge dent would be a non-starter for me. It might be fine, but it might not. Craigslist also... for some reason people think their old junk is way more valuable than it really is on there. Half of what that guy with the balance is asking wouldn't be a smoking deal, considering how old and damaged that thing is.
I'd also steer you toward newer bikes. A top-shelf bike from 1990 might not be as nice a ride as a entry level one today (depending on what you want from it, of course) and most certainly will have parts that would be hard to replace today - like a 1" fork.
Just a quick look... The Jamis Trail XR looks to me like a solid choice. Best thing about it, IMO is the lack of a suspension fork. That lets them put some more money in the other components (it's got better drivetrain and brake parts than I see on anything else near the price), which, again my opinion, is a good thing because the fork that comes on a $300 is never going to be worth much. It comes in small sizes and female-specific.
I'm not familiar with every bike in this range, nor what you can find at a shop, but that's the sort of thing I'd look for: a new bike, that doesn't stretch your budget, without suspension.
I'd check out the Trek 820 WSD, the 13 inch frame. It's $370 which is a little more than $300 but it's a good deal for a new bike
Cannondale has some perfect bikes for you are looking for with their Quick models but you going to have to look for used since they're way over your budget.
The LBS has the trek 820 women's for $320. They tried to sell me one, but I wasn't totally sold on it.
The other LBS had a 13" Jamis Explorer 1.0 stepover they would sell to me new for $220. It's a hybrid, wasn't crazy about the feel. I like the balance and positioning on a mountain bike far better than a cruiser, and the guy said it can be adjusted to feel like one.
If I built one, to begin with, the LBS guy would do the initial build. I would basically bring him parts and he would scrounge up what he had lying around to get something going for my budget. My plan after the initial build is to keep my eye out for upgrades. A couple things on the bike that are solid and don't need upgrading for a while is ideal, especially harder things to install. But I can slowly swap out the crappy parts as I find money and parts. Obviously, I would take the bike back to him to install anything I don't feel comfortable working on. He seemed excited about the project too I didn't go into this expecting someone to build a custom bike for me, it was his idea!
The final question I had is just advice about when to look for LBS deals. I asked all of them and got hemming and hawing from 3 out of the 4 I visited, and they told me they were just small markdowns. One shop's entire business is based around seasonal tourism, so they had the exact month I should come back for screaming deals. March. They sell the bikes they had been renting out all season that hit the set number of miles. He said some will be older high end, and some will be last year's models, and all are well maintained retired members of their fleet. And there will be tons of them. Now, if I remember correctly, he told me they offer a 3 year warranty on parts, plus manufacturer's lifetime warranty on frame. Free tune ups and adjustments for the first year. People say the best used cars tend to come from car rental companies, seems to make sense the same would be true for bikes! So, that is the 'Wait for March when I will have more money and can get a killer deal' plan. But I am concerned I might lose interest if I have more obstacles to dissuade me from wanting to ride. Or, worse, I will hurt myself trying to do something with my current bike it really shouldn't be doing.
Some more craigslist complete bikes.
WTF is a Mongoose Quartz? I can't find any info on it! MONGOOSE QUARTZ AL 26" MTN BIKE
And old specialized hardrock Specialized Mountain Bike Don't know what year it is, but the location is far enough away it is only worth driving there if I know I want it.
that Mongoose is a Wal Mart bike. Stay away from it.
That seems to be the status quo of every mongoose I run across. I have mostly stopped even looking at them. I had just never heard of that one and thought I might have found one of their elusive 'non-toy' bikes I keep hearing about :|
You won't find one of their non toy bikes in the US. At least not a a slightly modern one.
From what I hear they have some real bikes they sell overseas.
I have my dad's '96 mongoose maneuver sitting in the garage. Bike is rock solid, name brand components, works as nicely as the day he bought it. Nice ride, it just is too big for me. The diamondback isn't faring as well, but it is a slightly better fit. It's a shame Mongoose went the route they did :/
Have you looked on ebay?
What I do is put the bike company in front of the letters "mtb" and that pulls up all the info for the particular bike company.
(Example: GT mtb, Jamis mtb, Trek mtb, etc.)
Make sure you are looking in the sporting goods department.
...Also...post up some threads in the Women's Lounge forum here at mtbr.com if you haven't already done that.
Unless you want to start off wth a rigid fork, your suspension fork should not be anything lower than a Rock Shox Recon I would say. You will have to get a spring kit for your fork that is designed for your weight unless you use air fork.
...most importantly, try to be patient and try to save up some more money so you can get a good bike first time around. No sense wasting money buying something you will end up not using later on. We all go through this.
...try to be patient and stay on mtbr.com. you can't go wrong.Too many people here for you to suffer a mistake. You are in the right place. People from all over the world post up on mtbr. How can you lose? When folks agree on something in numbers you're probably on the right track.
...keep posting up at different times of the day and in many forums...and keep a notebook.
watch out for my replies too.
...offhand i would say look on performancebike.com and nashbar.com for some bike deals...but don't buy til you let some forum members know what you found so you won't make ANY mistakes.
i have more than you.
...because i have me and you.
My first mistake was blowing all my money on Nashbar and Amazon on accessories! I was chomping at the bit (and got some KILLER deals) waiting five effin days for the shop to finish the tuneup. Only after I got that bike home, and began riding it, did I realize my mistake...
I also won't go to that LBS again.
They did a shitty job on the tuneup on one bike, and the other was used so little and stored so well I know it just needed some grease and a good wipe down to work like new (the guy chuckled when I brought the dust caked bike in and asked how it was stored to keep it in such good shape. It was stored in a regular outdoor garage where there is high elevation, mild to chilly temps, very dry air... a nice retirement location for a bike I guess :P) Nothing was wrong with either bike, each cost $40 of pure labor for a tuneup I doubt they spent more than 15 minutes on (maybe 20 to clean the dust off of the nicer one ). If they did, they would have seen the shitty brake pads needed replacement (DUH) and they would have ridden the ****ing thing to realize the derailleurs needed adjusting so I could get more than 4 gears on my 18 gear bike :|. Yes, I took it back and made them fix it. He wanted to hold on to it for the weekend. I told him it was my only bike and I really didn't want to be without it. Five minutes later, after a TEST RIDE this time, he had it adjusted. And he tried to sell me $10/ pair brake pads instead of just throwing on some generic ones from the parts bin, which would seem to be the right thing to do considering they missed it the first time... and that's something basic I expected to be included in a tune up anyways...
There is another shop only a couple miles further away than the shitty nearby one. They were super chill and did their best to work with me to get me a bike, even suggesting when I should come back for their killer deals. I will go to them next time my bike needs work. But, I also would rather learn to do my own tuneups, chain greasing, simple maintenance, etc. instead of paying someone for it.
In retrospect, I should have tried out the bike before anything else and realized I was already beyond it. The good news is, I have a decent helmet, a couple basic lights, a repair kit, and clothes that will wick sweat and heat off me (I live in the desert. This is the first time I have purchased sport specific athletic wear, because I know I can seriously hurt myself if I don't keep the heat off). I hopefully won't hurt myself *too* badly despite my bike's best efforts
And I will keep posting my craigslist finds! If something looks good, or even has salvageable parts that can extend the life of my current ride, I would like to know! I am going to check out one tomorrow that has been wasting away in the guy's yard. It sounds like he just wants someone to haul it away. It might have some stuff I can pull, namely the Shimano Acera Derailleurs that would be a huge upgrade from my tourney ones if they can be saved. What do you guys think? What should I look for to check if parts can be salvaged from the elements? Diamondback Crestview Bicycle
This one is also VERY tempting to strip to have the LBS guy pop onto the 14" frame. It would be my whole budget, so this bike would need to have all the major stuff (I can pull my seatpost, saddle, handebar covers from old bike). Should I check it out? What little things should I look for that might be missing/ broken that will get me? IBOC Pro Series Mongoose Mountain Bike
The other bikes I am keeping an eye on, with the idea of stripping for parts, are these:
Specialized Mountain Bike (actually looks like it *may* be a small frame too! Waiting to hear back...)
1984 Vintage Specialized Stump Jumper Bike (Palm Springs) (I would feel bad stripping this beauty... I hope it gets a good home with someone who will ride it well!)
Aggressor 1.0 Mountain Bike - (based on the boats in the background of one picture, it wasn't taken locally. The area code is not local either. I am afraid I might get mugged. I will bring my mace )
Trek Bicycle (lowest end components out of everything I am looking at, but also looks complete.)
trek 1420 mens bike (not sure if the conversion will be doable using parts from my mountain bike to bridge the gap?)
i have more than you.
...because i have me and you.
Well, I do need materials to play with and learn how to build At the very least, the one the guy is throwing away would be worth picking up to tinker with!
Where do you get your parts from? New? Used off ebay?
Originally Posted by Bikemaya
pricepoint.com, ebay, jensonusa.com, performancebike.com,, artscyclery.com, crosslakesales.com, niagaracycelworks, blueskycycling.com,...on and on.
...when I do ebay, often I just put in the color and mtb behind it.(blue mtb, red mtb, etc.)
...or sometimes just put mtb in the search under sporting goods where it says categories.
then i view sellers other items after i bring something up. you can go on the "Where are the best deals?" forum here at mtbr.
...And the guys will tell you where to get stuff here too.
Read the reviews too. There's tons of stuff out there.
i have more than you.
...because i have me and you.
My brother had a Mongoose Rockadile back in the 90's. One of my friends bought it from him and still has it. They used to be great bikes.
Originally Posted by Bikemaya
Bah. Guy already sold the junker
My brain is mush from everything I have been sifting through today. I narrowed down the two components I want to be decent on my first build. A solid and relatively inexpensive crankset and some decent v-brakes that won't get me killed. As much as I WANT nice derailleurs, I don't need them. There seem to be a lot of them floating around, so upgrading shouldn't be a problem. I need a bit of help in terms of what to look for in these two. Being short with short legs, I want a shorter crank, correct? And other than reviews or just trying them, I am not sure how to sniff out good brakes.
For everything else, I was trying to sift through all the sales from Clearance Offers - Massive Savings
I could build a bike from the clearance. It is pretty insane. Anywho, the things I picked out and was looking at:
Wheels. Clearance Offers - Massive Savings I can't tell what size the Mach 1 are?
A nice short stem FSA HS-06-TH Stem | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com and cheap, but quality handlebar RaceFace Evolve XC Flat Bars 2012 | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com
and headset Syncros Cromoly Threadless Headset | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com
Depending on what speed I decide to go with, SRAM PG820 8 Speed MTB Cassette | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com for 24 speed setup,
crazy cheap suspension fork Post Moderne Cozy-St Fork | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com
Shifter SRAM X9 8 Speed Twister Shifter | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com which I am a bit unclear about the specs. Is it only eight gears (it says front and back) or is it the eight plus the three on the crank, for 24? Is it just the shifter for the rear, and I need one for the crank?)
Front derailleur. Shimano LX M567 Top Swing 8sp Front Mech | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com
SRAM X9 2x10sp Low Direct Front Mech | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com is a much nicer model, but I am getting lost again as to what I need. I read a thread about the long vs short front derailluers, and it seems silly to me to lock out any gears, so I should go for long. How do I know if they are long ones? and the 42-32-22 is standard for cranksets, so I imagine I want the 42T model? But which 'spec'? GAH.
It probably would be way less of a headache to keep checking craigslist for a complete bike... but at least I am learning about this **** by googling all these parts!
umm... Unless I'm reading it wrong, I think those Mach 1 wheels are only 20". Also, that fork is for a 700c wheel. This stuff is all wrong.
Sette Reken Alloy Hardtail Frame at Price Point
Check out this frame in small or 14". Give me some time and I'll look up some deals on wheels and a fork.
Too bad you live on the other coast. I've been building bikes for women and kids lately and have come up with a good, solid, simple build that works well.
The latest is a 13" framed 29er hardtail for my sister in law's girlfriend. She needed low standover height.
The link to the frame I'm showing you requires 26" wheels and fork. All should be easy enough to find.
BlueSkyCycling.com - Shimano Deore Disc Wheelset W/Sun Rhyno Lite Rims
My 8 year old is currently riding Rhyno-Lite rims in 24" with Deore hubs. Bombproof wheelset. I laced them myself and spent more than what these cost.
RST GILA T9 100mm Suspension Mtb 26" Bike Fork Disc / V Brake White NEW | eBay
I would hate to see you buy some crappy fork. Maybe start on a rigid fork and upgrade later?
The owner of one of the LBS has a 14" Haro V2 frame for me, and said he would work with me to get a complete build around it. I know if I leave it all up to him, I am relying on whatever he has lying around, so I told him I would try to find some parts for him. I still have a complete bike, so I figure whatever I don't buy can be scrounged off that, so all I am paying the guy is $45 for the frame and whatever he says his time putting it together is worth.
Was the fork I linked no good? I couldn't find any info on it, but considering what the site *claimed* it normally retails for, I thought there might be a good chance it is decent! Is the one you linked any good, or should I just wait to upgrade to something better later? A good crankset and good v brakes are my priority to get for the build, the rest I just hope to get lucky and find some good deals on low and mid grade name brand stuff.
Now, how do I shop for rigid forks? Can that be pulled from my current bike too? Hmmm...come to think of it, the Haro frame is aluminum, and my current bike is steel. No dice. I am kind of curious to see what the LBS guy throws on it...
Found that fork you linked at another site with free shipping.
RST GILA T9 100mm Suspension Mountain Bike Fork Disc / V Brake White NEW: 348912 Random Bike Parts
Can't beat $15 for Deore brakes! Random Bike Parts > Brakes,Brakesets,Calipers,Linear Pull,V-Brake,Disc,Hydraulic,Front,Rear,Canti
They have some cheap ass wheels too! Random Bike Parts > Bike,Bicycles,Wheel,Wheelset,Mtn,26",Mountain,Freeride,DH,Race,Single Track
All their **** is cheap. I will definitely hold onto that site for checking prices.
45 for that frame seems like a fine deal. 15 for brakes is great too.
The wheels I linked up are very strong and stiff, PLUS it's Shimano hubs that you can use if you upgrade to discs and the rims are V brake ready. And they come with the skewers. It's a win win...
You can use a steel fork on an aluminum frame as long as the headtube and steerer are compatible. If you can pirate the fork off your current bike and save up for a good air fork down the road, go for it.
How depressing, Mongoose used to be independent and make a really nice bike.
Originally Posted by NYrr496
Anyhow, I would stick to Craigslist or ebay and look for local listings so you can check for fit live in person.
Alright, will stick that wheelset on my xmas list for sure! To get me until then, I had already planned on taking them off my current build.
What about the other stuff? Solid finds? Should I pull the trigger on the handbar/ stem/ and headset, cassette, shifter, and one of the front derailleurs?
And does anyone know anything about that "Post Moderne Cozy' suspension fork? My best guess as to the year of the frame is '05 or '06, both which came stock with an 'RST Capa T5', 75mm. What I read is that you want to try to match the specs of stock as much as you can so maintain the intended geometry. There isn't much info on the bikepedia about the fork, so I am not sure what size I need? Obviously, a 26", everyone says air is king, and as generous travel as I can afford for a fat pony. Beyond that, I don't know how to choose one that is the right size!