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  1. #1
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    What are you riding and why?

    OK ladies, I need your help. I'd like to know what bike you started this insanity with.
    Was it perfect for you? Or...as you rode a little more did you find yourself thinking a diferent (smaller,larger, lighter, heavier, squishier/stiffer) bike would be more to your liking. Did you change? Why and what did you change to?

    I am a small person (5'1" - 29" inseam) and ended up with a 35lb AM FS Small Frame for my first ride. Although I can handle it, it is a little big for me and I really wish it weighed a little less. All suggestions and a summary of your own experience are welcome!

  2. #2
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    I first started mtn biking in 2007. My first mtnb was a used Santa Cruz Heckler. I liked that it was a FS but it was heavy to pedal and the geometry was not right.

    My next bike was a Santa Cruz Blur LT, I got it in 2010 It was the right size (small) and it was lighter. My technical skills had improved immensely mainly because I was also learning to DH. So the Blur was ok on the trails

    I just purchased a Transition Bandit 26" I notice the improvement right away.. The bike is about 3 lbs lighter than the Blur. which will make it even easier for uphill climbs but still heavy enough for all mtn

    I'm liking the lighter bike. The only thing that I'm going to upgrade on it is to get a dropper post (but I m waiting for a Thompson)
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyNAZ View Post
    OK ladies, I need your help. I'd like to know what bike you started this insanity with.
    Was it perfect for you? Or...as you rode a little more did you find yourself thinking a diferent (smaller,larger, lighter, heavier, squishier/stiffer) bike would be more to your liking. Did you change? Why and what did you change to?

    I am a small person (5'1" - 29" inseam) and ended up with a 35lb AM FS Small Frame for my first ride. Although I can handle it, it is a little big for me and I really wish it weighed a little less. All suggestions and a summary of your own experience are welcome!
    I'm riding the sofa. Well, at least until I feel better.

    My first bike was a Canondale hardtail. It was too big for me (I'm 5'5", and I've had a hard time finding bikes that fit until a few years ago), and I had to buy the suspension fork aftermarket. That was 20 years ago.

    After a series of different hardtails and full suspensions over the years, I now have a fleet of three bikes. One is a dirt jumper hardtail, one is an AM full suspension bike, and the other is a full downhill bike. None of them are light, but then again, neither am I.

    How did you end up on a 35 lb bike today? That sounds excessive, unless you like riding like I do (full coil, heavy-duty parts because you break things, etc).

  4. #4
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    My first "mountain bike" was a 1994 Diamondback Sorrento. I never rode it in the dirt. There was a long gap between that bike and my first "real" bike - a 2005 Giant Yukon hardtail. I bought it in 2006 and I suspect the shop I purchased it at was a little eager to get it off their floor, being the previous year's model. I'm 5'4" and it was both small and the components were heavy - but it got me started. I made a lot of upgrades along the way and I keep it mostly for sentimental reasons. Well, it also serves as a loaner bike, too.

    My next bike was an Ibex Super Ignition. It was heavy - at ~ 34lbs, but it was my gateway to a full-suspension rig. It also provided no standover (and despite what people say, it DOES matter to me when I come down wrong whether or not I'm crashing onto the top tube) but was otherwise too small in fit (lesson learned about buying online without really knowing fit). Never-the-less, that bike was a lot of fun for me to learn on and it got me trying more stuff.

    Along the way I also got a Misfit Dissent 29er. I bought that frame online (after I knew what worked for me in regards to geometry) and built it up. Fun bike, light, simple and that's staying in my stable!

    My latest purchase was a Trance X 29er, size small. Two words - game changer! I can't say enough good things about this bike. It's a good 5-6#s lighter than the Ibex (which I sold to a friend) and is very stable. It climbs like a goat, descends like a dream and is going to get me into a lot of trouble! And, most importantly, it fits me like a glove. People could not believe how much progress I started to make once I got that bike. My confidence soared and I was loving it! It's also the most expensive bike I've ever purchased.

    Bottom line, demo bikes (I had demoed the Trance first), get a bike that fits and you're absolutely comfortable with. It's worth a little extra money in the long run!

  5. #5
    see me rollin, they hatin
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    started with a specialized myka hardtail back in 09 (step up from dept store bike!) Honestly, i loved that bike. Mostly because i had nothing else to compare it with. i still maintain it was a decent bike, though, i should have upgraded the stock pedals and tires. The next bike was a full suspension Giant Yukon. i had a lot of fun with that bike, but it was 33 pounds. not terrible, but for somebody my size, it was a bit much. Still, it gave me a boost in confidence. Then i ended up on a whim, buying a nice Stumpjumper, and that was nearly 5 pounds lighter and rode much more nicely. From then on....3 more full suspensions!

    back to my hardtail days though, it was riding some of the trails i still ride now. the only difference is the aggressivness and speed in which i plow into things. i think that bike was totally capable, i just would have had to slow down and be a bit more careful. that didnt matter as a noob, i was still learning and not riding fast anyway.
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  6. #6
    Slothful dirt hippie
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    Hahaha....
    FIRST: Diamondback Topanga fully rigid, which was the kind of thing everyone without a brazillion dollars to drop on something experimental was riding back in 1991. Too small, ate my knees, but had a lot of fun until it was stolen.

    That was replaced with a 1993 GT Backwoods, which was probably a little too big but at least wasn't destroying my knees any more. With the ol' mountain rack it probably weighed ~#40. A Rock Shox Indie fork (with the spongy 'elastomer'!) was a heck of an upgrade at the time. I actually ended up pretty much wearing that bike out.... had ground through drive train #2 and the rims were actually getting thin from brake pad wear.

    The 2002 Marin East Peak I got in 2004 was my first 'modern' FS mountain bike (3"), and it definitely upped the game 1000%. Shorter cockpit and wheelbase meant it was a LOT more confidence inspiring and maneuverable on singletrack. A fork upgrade (80mm SID to keep the geometry the same since that was working well) was a great investment. Probably weighs just under #30. Has several thousand miles on it and still a great trail rig, now used mostly as a 'backup bike' and trail-a-bike dragging.

    The primary current ride is a '09 Ibis Mojo. TT length just about the same as the Marin which seems like the perfect fit for me. The Mojo is ~#27 (mostly stock SLX build), feels much more 'snappy' than the Marin, and both climbing and trail handling are superb. I could get the weight down if I felt like spending the money on it but given all the gear I'm carrying for back country riding I'm not too worried about it. I will say though that for the extended hike-a-bike we encounter, having a lighter bike to push/carry is lovely.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  7. #7
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    I guess I'll play.

    My first mountain bike was a GT that I bought in the early '90s (back when GT was still GT, lol), & probably doesn't even meet the definition of "mountain" by today's standards. But it got me started in the sport & off of the roads/streets. This bike was not perfect for me (not by a long shot), but I rode that for a few years & it served its purpose.

    In '98 I splurged & bought a new Klein hardtail that I rode until last summer. I beat the crap out of that bike & learned a lot over the years - I'm one that believes that if you learn to ride trails on a hardtail, it will teach you good technique & form (especially with regard to unloading the rear). I still have that bike & am slowly morphing it into an urban assault tool. That bike is very light, stiff & fast, & it was a bit of a shock going from that to a 30+ lb FS. That bike was great, but not perfect for me either because it really never fit me right.

    Last summer I found a Trek Fuel EX7 WSD used. At first I thought that with a 16" frame it would be too big, as I'm 5'3 & usually need the smallest thing out there. See, up until this point I'd always been on men's frames, & the compensation was to just get the smallest one. They never quite fit me right though, & this Trek was a revelation. Everything is right where it should be for me, it's like they designed that bike for my body. After personalizing it a bit with my preferred grips, pedals, etc, I really can't imagine wanting anything else. When I bought it, I demoed a lot of new bikes & never found anything that fit me & felt the way that this one does. The only thing that bothered me was how heavy it was, so I started lightening it & I've shaved A LOT of weight off of it in addition to making some really great upgrades. Currently it sits at about 26.5 lbs & I believe that I can pretty easily get it to right at the 24 lb mark. Some would say that I should just invest in a better frame, but 1) it likely won't fit me as well & 2) I can do this for substantially less money than what a carbon bike would cost me.

    Anyway, good luck & keep riding!

  8. #8
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    I bought my first moutain bike in 2000 and it was a Cannondale Jekyl. I knew nothing about mountain bikes and went shopping for it by myself. It had a head shock and stinky CODA components. I road it that way for a few years and then upgraded the fork, swapped out the wheels and changed out the brakes for discs. I still have that bike and like riding it.

    Then I needed a longer travel bike to take on all the trails at Mammoth Mountain, so I bought a Specialized Enduro in 2007. I bought it in a size that was too large for me but road it for a couple of years until I sold it. I am, at best, ambivalent about that bike. I was glad someone was willing to buy it from me for a good price.

    After that, I bought a Transition Syren frame and built it up from there. I ride that bike most everywhere, aside from fireroad trails. It weights in the neighborhood of 35 pounds and has heavy tires and a coil shock on it. I don't worry about the weight of it. I'm not a great climber. A few pounds isn't going to make me much better and I figure that it would be easier and cheaper for me to lose 5 pounds than it would be to buy a lighter bike or swap out parts on my Syren. At 5'9', I could fit on most any bike. I'm sure this won't be my last bike, but I don't have plans (money) to change it out for a new one.

  9. #9
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    I bought a 1988 Ritchey Outback for under $400. Back then all mountain or "all terrain" bikes were rigid. Loved it, big old bull moose bars, U-brakes (poor dirty location under the BB, but now you know why there were V-brakes), biopace chainrings (Shimano oval boondoggle but they never bothered me), all kinds of rack mounts for adventures. http://oldmountainbikes.com/catalogs...hey1988_08.jpg

    Then I got a Kona Kilauea ('96?) with a Marzocchi front shock as an add-on. By that time there were more trails and I loved it. Climbed like a goat and the shock made rides faster and funner.

    An ex got me a softtail frame (1" rear cush to take the edge off), a '98 Litespeed Unicoi, and I still ride that today. It's like an old friend. Titanium is awesome, no paint chips or rust to worry about. Figure I'll get a full suspension when I'm "old" (already 50!).

    I don't worry about weights, I just ride them. I guess I could be faster or better on something else but I'm not competitive minded, I just like to get out in the woods. Fall 2011 I got a fatbike (2012 Fatback), when my office got relocated after tropical storm Irene, and I realized I could get there mostly by snowmobile trail. Love that too.

  10. #10
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    Started mtbing in 1994 in college with a "walmart" bike that I put a rock shock on and rode into the ground
    2. Cannondale 500 (in an awesome green color)
    3. Cannondale Jekyll- looking for a plusher ride, ended up breaking the swing arm
    4. Santa Cruz Blur LT- med school graduation present to myself
    5. Ibis Tranny- wanted a racing HT bike
    6. BMC speedfox- residency graduation present to myself. I had ridden a friend's BMC several times while visiting Boulder and loved the handling and climbing efficiency.

    Next bike (post deployment present to myself)... Was eyeing a BMC 29er Fourstroke, but may give consideration to Niners as well since it looks like I can score a good deal.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    I'm riding the sofa. Well, at least until I feel better.

    My first bike was a Canondale hardtail. It was too big for me (I'm 5'5", and I've had a hard time finding bikes that fit until a few years ago), and I had to buy the suspension fork aftermarket. That was 20 years ago.

    After a series of different hardtails and full suspensions over the years, I now have a fleet of three bikes. One is a dirt jumper hardtail, one is an AM full suspension bike, and the other is a full downhill bike. None of them are light, but then again, neither am I.

    How did you end up on a 35 lb bike today? That sounds excessive, unless you like riding like I do (full coil, heavy-duty parts because you break things, etc).
    It is a 2011 Cannondale Jekyll 5. The LBS offered a good deal. It's a nice ride but a little big. So I started looking around for alternatives. There are not may XS frames out there. I have been eying the Yeti ASR 5C. Hard to find an XS to demo, though.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for all of the good information. I'm glad to see that I am not the only one that looked for a "better fit" after riding some on the first purchase.

  13. #13
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    Right now I am riding a Specialized Fate hard tail 29er. I have been riding it since October. Bike shop was clearing out the 2012 specialized bikes so it was a good deal and the fit was good for a 29er. I am 5'2.

    Previously rode Titus Moto lite and still have the Titus.

    However, I find the Fate much easier to ride than the Titus. After riding the Fate and getting back on the Titus I feel like I am going to go over the handlebars on the Titus. The Fate will do much more that I am doing on it -just getting used to the big wheels.

    I do miss full suspension so I trying to decide if I want to get a full suspension 29er or go 27.5. I was thinking I may try to get a Specialized Era or Safire and convert to 27.5.

    I must say I have been pleasantly surprised by how well the Fate rides.

  14. #14
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    In May 2012 I bought a Giant Rainier 29er since my boyfriend wanted me to bike with him. I ended up falling totally in love with cycling, and quickly out of love with the bike. It was heavy, some components seemed cheap, and it was a size too small for me (I'm 5'8" with a 34" inseam). I started racing, and got the urge to upgrade. So in October I put a 2013 Specialized Epic Expert Carbon on layaway after riding it, and am looking forward to getting it any day now! The bike is not even comparable to the Giant!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sooshee View Post
    In May 2012 I bought a Giant Rainier 29er since my boyfriend wanted me to bike with him. I ended up falling totally in love with cycling, and quickly out of love with the bike. It was heavy, some components seemed cheap, and it was a size too small for me (I'm 5'8" with a 34" inseam). I started racing, and got the urge to upgrade. So in October I put a 2013 Specialized Epic Expert Carbon on layaway after riding it, and am looking forward to getting it any day now! The bike is not even comparable to the Giant!
    Fantastic, I hope you really enjoy it. I am busy saving my pennies for a Yeti ASR 5 C. I have about two months to go. This sport is worse than kayaking $$

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyNAZ View Post
    Fantastic, I hope you really enjoy it. I am busy saving my pennies for a Yeti ASR 5 C. I have about two months to go. This sport is worse than kayaking $$
    Ugh, I know! I can't believe how quickly it can become expensive... luckily we don't have to buy gas or food for the bikes themselves, at least that's what I tell myself And it's nonstop for me, as once I have the Epic for a few months I am wanting to get a cyclocross bike so I am saving my pennies up for that one.

  17. #17
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    I started out on a rigid chromo Nishiki about four years ago. I'm 5'7" and the frame was 21" so it was way too big for me. I still had a blast on that bike though. After over a year on that, I got a real mtb, a Cannondale Trail SL2. It was a vast improvement over the Nishiki as far as build goes, but I hated it. I really despise aluminum HT's. They just are so stiff compared to chromo. Anyway, that bike didn't even last six months for me. It was around that time that I got interested in doing DH, so I replaced the Cannondale with a "hardcore hardtail", an Evil Sovereign (version 1 frame). I absolutely loved that bike, but ended up selling the frame after a couple months so I could get a frame with a shorter TT. That's when I got my current frame, an On One 456 Evo (14"). I built it up with DH in mind, so it is 32lbs with a bombproof wheelset and a dual air Lyrik. I have to say that the 456 is an absolute blast. I'm looking into getting a longer travel FS sometime in the next year like the Trek Scratch or something similar, but I'm still undecided on whether or not to go the FS route.

  18. #18
    Slothful dirt hippie
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    Quote Originally Posted by kt42 View Post
    ...but I'm still undecided on whether or not to go the FS route.
    Husby has a MTB guidebook from ~1989. Back in the early 90s we'd have to go on the longest time estimates, but nowadays we notice that we're able to cut down the times the author listed for a route from 1/4 to 1/3 and we're not even fast riders. IMO the biggest factors are improvements in suspension (back then we didn't have any) and tire designs/rubber compounds.

    I'll tell you right now that if you're doing longer rides, a really well designed and properly tuned FS bike will leave you going at least as fast without feeling nearly as beat up by the end of the day. This may not be important now, but when you become an old broad like me... yeah. The all-day bike is gonna be full squish.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by verslowrdr View Post
    This may not be important now, but when you become an old broad like me... yeah. The all-day bike is gonna be full squish.
    This

  20. #20
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    Currently ride a Niner EMD. Love the handling and the lightness. Was able to build it to 24 lbs which made a big difference in my climbing ability. I love that bike

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyNAZ View Post
    It is a 2011 Cannondale Jekyll 5. The LBS offered a good deal. It's a nice ride but a little big. So I started looking around for alternatives. There are not may XS frames out there. I have been eying the Yeti ASR 5C. Hard to find an XS to demo, though.
    Sorry you're having a hard time finding something to demo. You and I have similar problems. Even smalls are hard to demo, as most shops just have mediums and larges

    This is the reason I've gone to a small builder. It's a little easier for me to find something that fits, and with semi-custom options to tweak things as I want them.
    MTB4Her.com: mountain bike site for women, by women

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyNAZ View Post
    OK ladies, I need your help. I'd like to know what bike you started this insanity with.
    Was it perfect for you? Or...as you rode a little more did you find yourself thinking a diferent (smaller,larger, lighter, heavier, squishier/stiffer) bike would be more to your liking. Did you change? Why and what did you change to?

    I am a small person (5'1" - 29" inseam) and ended up with a 35lb AM FS Small Frame for my first ride. Although I can handle it, it is a little big for me and I really wish it weighed a little less. All suggestions and a summary of your own experience are welcome!
    I just started biking, my boyfriend is teaching me the basics right now. I got an Extra Small frame Giant Trance x2 that weighs about 30 lbs. I am about 5' 3" and 110 lbs. I love the bike so far, its a great size for me, it looks really small but i think it is a good fit for me and would suggest it for someone around my size.
    Last edited by GooberGirl; 01-20-2013 at 06:03 AM.

  23. #23
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    I started off on a Kona Lisa hard tail for my first season. It is a light bike and I plan on keeping it but this past summer I rode a (rental) full suspension for the first time and loved it, I seemed to be able to get up hills and over stuff so much easier. To be honest I don't know if it was the bike or just my confidence as it was a 29'er so it seemed more stable therefor I had more guts. Anyway I now ride a Rocky Mountain FS with upgraded components and I LOVE it. My frame is a large since I am 5'11 and weighs in at 30 lbs. Will probably keep this one for a bit before upgrading but that may change.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyNAZ View Post
    Thanks for all of the good information. I'm glad to see that I am not the only one that looked for a "better fit" after riding some on the first purchase.
    I've spent way too much on frames to get that "better fit."

    To make it frustrating, I've been in between a XS and a medium depending on who makes the frame. For example, I fit a medium Santa Cruz, but I ride a small Ventana with a semi-custom top tube size/reach that's 10mm shorter than the standard small Ventana. Pivots I can ride a small or medium. It's pretty much dependent on your body, since there are no real standards for fit, and how your body is put together can change the fit. I have a proportionally short torso and long legs for my size.

    It also depends on how you like to ride: short stem and wide bars may change the size too. Back when it was important to ride a bike with a long stem (80mm on the short end, 100-120mm was considered "Standard") I would ride an XS frame. But now that I run 50mm stems and a wide bar (29"), I tend to air on the larger size of frames.
    MTB4Her.com: mountain bike site for women, by women

  25. #25
    Serenity now!
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyNAZ View Post
    Fantastic, I hope you really enjoy it. I am busy saving my pennies for a Yeti ASR 5 C. I have about two months to go. This sport is worse than kayaking $$
    LOL- I bought a Yeti ASR 5 (not carbon) for my second bike. I rode a friend's Yeti, and it was light, nimble, and a great climber. I've only taken mine for two spins...it is currently suspended from the garage ceiling waiting for the trails to thaw out.

    My first bike was a Specialized Myka Expert 29'er hardtail. I'm 5'11", so no opinions about how you might like a 29er. I loved it, but it has a pretty minimal front travel, low end components, etc. For me it was a perfect beginner bike. I kept it for my snow bike and "road" bike.
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