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  1. #1
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    XC bike options for my wife

    My wife is looking for a full suss xc bike, and at the moment she's considering the Scott Spark 730 or Giant/Liv Pique Advanced 1 (similar to the Anthem I think). We can get either for almost the same price (the Spark is sightly cheaper). She currently has a 150mm travel trail bike so she's looking for an xc bike, not something that can be used as a do at all, and she doesn't want a hardtail as she's be doing some marathon type racing.

    Both are 120mm front and rear with Fox Float 34 forks, carbon front triangle and aluminium rear triangle, with the Pique being a better spec and about 1.5lbs lighter. She has no problem going to 100mm rear travel, but it seems like manufacturers are bumping up the travel of the xc rigs at this price point.

    Are there any other bikes we should be looking at for her around this same price point, and of the two, any recommendations as to which would be the better xc bike? She's only 5ft 2in so prefers 27.5in over 29in. Unfortunately she won't be able to test ride either.

  2. #2
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    Is there nothing being produced with 26" wheels anymore?

    Without stating the obv. 5'2" isnt very tall and 120mm of travel is still a good chunk to squeeze onto a small frame. The proportions might be better with less travel if you can find it.

    Does it have to be new? Some previous generation stuff was very good and might be more suitable.

    Getting it light as possible and fitting correctly are key.

  3. #3
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    Yeti makes the ASRC in an XS. It's an awesome bike. You can find it or the "Beti" version on steep and cheap/backcountry for like $1500 for the frame.

    They are one of the only companies truly committed to thoughtfully designing MTBs for smaller riders. Support them if you can.

    120mm front/100mm rear on those.

    For the XS (650b bike) you can get away with running the front at 100mm if you so desire and it will still be good. I wouldn't do that on the 29er version though, but that doesn't apply here.

    Maybe if Specialized updates the Era soon, it would be worth a look. Their Women's Epic HT is awesome for small riders, if you want a 29" wheel.

  4. #4
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    Liteville are an interesting company, beautifully engineered and an interesting concept with regards to wheel sizing and frames.

    Liteville - MARATHON FACTORY MACHINE - 101 MK1 - BIKES

    Have a gander, they call it scaled sizing.

  5. #5
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    I'd look at the Pivot Mach 4, it's 100mm for the XS frame

  6. #6
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    Pivot and Liv are both doing a great job making bikes to fit smaller riders. I've heard rave reviews for the Pivot Mach 4 and every bike Liv makes.

    I'm 5'3" and ride a small (15.5") Trek Top Fuel as my race bike. 100mm front and rear stock (though I bumped the fork up to 120). It's a great race bike and I bet it would fit your wife at 5'2". I think they might make a 14.5" in the "WSD" version, but it'll be aluminum. (Double-check me on that, though.) But I think a 15.5" would fit her.

  7. #7
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    I've had a Spark 920 for 4 years. I really like it.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy Juice View Post
    Pivot and Liv are both doing a great job making bikes to fit smaller riders. I've heard rave reviews for the Pivot Mach 4 and every bike Liv makes.

    I'm 5'3" and ride a small (15.5") Trek Top Fuel as my race bike. 100mm front and rear stock (though I bumped the fork up to 120). It's a great race bike and I bet it would fit your wife at 5'2". I think they might make a 14.5" in the "WSD" version, but it'll be aluminum. (Double-check me on that, though.) But I think a 15.5" would fit her.
    My wife is 5'2" and rides the Lush in 15.5" (120 at both ends). The 14.5" frame is CRAZY small. This bike really upped her game. Gave her some extra confidence, and away she went.

    So for racing, I suspect the Top Fuel with a 120 fork mentioned above would be a winner.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  9. #9
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    I've noticed that roadies tend to go for hardtails, and women tend to go for big-hit full suspension. To best take advantage of their abilities, I'd reverse that trend. Women need as light a bike as possible to optimize their watts/kg (and less suspension due to their smaller size). Roadies need something that smoothes out the rough edges and keep their strong legs pointed down the trail.

  10. #10
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    Most world cup races reflect that. Often women are on HT bikes to ge te lightest weight possible, while the men are typically on FS bikes.

    I'm not sure that's the best option though, as nearly everyone can benefit from a FS bike.

  11. #11
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    My gf had the lust at 5'2. Hated how heavy it was. Rides the sworks stumjumper 15.5 mens bike now. An 18lb hardtail beats a 25lb fs all day when you are that small. Shes not even heavy enough to get full use of a fox 34! Anything that would need fox 34 she can ride her trail bike.

    The lightest hardtail with a dropper and 2.3 tires you can build is the best idea imo.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    My gf had the lust at 5'2. Hated how heavy it was. Rides the sworks stumjumper 15.5 mens bike now. An 18lb hardtail beats a 25lb fs all day when you are that small. Shes not even heavy enough to get full use of a fox 34! Anything that would need fox 34 she can ride her trail bike.

    The lightest hardtail with a dropper and 2.3 tires you can build is the best idea imo.

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    My wife's Lush (with Fox 32) and several light parts including wheels weighs in around 23.

    She always chooses that bike for real mtb rides, over her freakishly light S-Works Fate, but maybe our trails our rougher (and we're probably a bit older).

    Agree on the 2.3s. I'm not really sure what role pinner 2.0 xc tires play anymore.
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  13. #13
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    My girlfriend is 5'2" and just got a small Pique Advanced 1, coming from a small 29'er hardtail. She loves the bike. I've seen another local lady on an XS Pique Advanced 1 who is about the same height, so she likely couldn't go wrong with either size. Pique is super solid build too, the carbon wheels are actually really nice - DT star ratchet internals on the hubs. Fox Factory suspension. Full XT is also a decent step above GX and deore level brakes on the 730.

    Giant's Maestro also pedals way nicer than Scott's suspension design. The twin lock is nice, but that's because you need it with Scott's suspension. You never really have to lockout an XC maestro bike on the trail, it's crazy how little movement there is from pedalling.

    I hope you're not in Canada though, cause Giant Canada is all sold out of Pique Adv 1's for the season already, they were almost 2 months ago. Unless you can find a dealer with one on their floor

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by manamana View Post
    My wife is looking for a full suss xc bike, and at the moment she's considering the Scott Spark 730 or Giant/Liv Pique Advanced 1 (similar to the Anthem I think). We can get either for almost the same price (the Spark is sightly cheaper). She currently has a 150mm travel trail bike so she's looking for an xc bike, not something that can be used as a do at all, and she doesn't want a hardtail as she's be doing some marathon type racing.

    Both are 120mm front and rear with Fox Float 34 forks, carbon front triangle and aluminium rear triangle, with the Pique being a better spec and about 1.5lbs lighter. She has no problem going to 100mm rear travel, but it seems like manufacturers are bumping up the travel of the xc rigs at this price point.

    Are there any other bikes we should be looking at for her around this same price point, and of the two, any recommendations as to which would be the better xc bike? She's only 5ft 2in so prefers 27.5in over 29in. Unfortunately she won't be able to test ride either.
    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    The lightest hardtail with a dropper and 2.3 tires you can build is the best idea imo.

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    The woman wants a full suspension...

  15. #15
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy Juice View Post
    The woman wants a full suspension...
    I understood what he was typing. Mine also wanted a fs. Got the lust advanced 1. Rode it 3 months. Its too heavy. Got the sworks world cup hardtail leftover cheap. She loves it. Whats the point of buying a new bike to drop 30mm in travel and use a trail fork for marathon racing. Thats fine if you are a clyde or super aggresive but shes tiny. She wont need to worry about flexing a stepcast. If she wants to increase her speed big time go to the hardtail. Thats a nice two bike setup.

    If not check out the orbea 27.5 bike. Thats what another friend went with after selling her lust.

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  16. #16
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    My wife's Lush (with Fox 32) and several light parts including wheels weighs in around 23.

    She always chooses that bike for real mtb rides, over her freakishly light S-Works Fate, but maybe our trails our rougher (and we're probably a bit older).

    Agree on the 2.3s. I'm not really sure what role pinner 2.0 xc tires play anymore.
    Riding style background and trails for sure matter. Im in Michigan and my gf is a tri/roadie. Stands on hills. Etc. We have smooth brown trail. Basically the same things that come into different tires. "For my area" should be required first words.

    Her sworks wc came with 2.0 fast trak front and 1.9 renegde rear. Then she was the worst cornerer you ever saw, spin out on climbs and fall over. Basically hated her skills. Still got a few top 5 nue, won iceman. Slapped on a 2.4 xking front 2.25 rocket ron rear and shimano brakes over magura and she enjoys ripping corners now and having traction on climbs. Trusts her brakes. Its tough telling another adult what they should do. Im just giving my opinion based on my experience.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    I understood what he was typing. Mine also wanted a fs. Got the lust advanced 1. Rode it 3 months. Its too heavy. Got the sworks world cup hardtail leftover cheap. She loves it. Whats the point of buying a new bike to drop 30mm in travel and use a trail fork for marathon racing. Thats fine if you are a clyde or super aggresive but shes tiny. She wont need to worry about flexing a stepcast. If she wants to increase her speed big time go to the hardtail. Thats a nice two bike setup.

    If not check out the orbea 27.5 bike. Thats what another friend went with after selling her lust.

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    I mean she's coming from a 150mm bike, anything in this class will be lighter than what she's been riding. Also, I'm 5'3", 115 lbs, my bikes are 22, 24, and 29 lbs. None of those are too heavy for me, but that's a very personal benchmark, and you don't know what will be "too heavy" for OP's wife. She could be all muscle for all we know... Going from a 150 to a 120 isn't just about 30mm of travel; geometry and climbing efficiency changes significantly in those classes of bikes, making them better suited for XCM racing... Which of course you know. I'm just saying, maybe you don't know better than this woman what it is that she wants and needs.

  18. #18
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy Juice View Post
    I mean she's coming from a 150mm bike, anything in this class will be lighter than what she's been riding. Also, I'm 5'3", 115 lbs, my bikes are 22, 24, and 29 lbs. None of those are too heavy for me, but that's a very personal benchmark, and you don't know what will be "too heavy" for OP's wife. She could be all muscle for all we know... Going from a 150 to a 120 isn't just about 30mm of travel; geometry and climbing efficiency changes significantly in those classes of bikes, making them better suited for XCM racing... Which of course you know. I'm just saying, maybe you don't know better than this woman what it is that she wants and needs.
    I like your way of explaining it. Im just offering something from my experience with a similar sized woman and bikes. Im not a woman that size so of course you can speak better to that. I told my gf keep the lust we put some valors or something stupid light and some 2.25 xc tires make it xx1 etc and she wont even notice the weight except taking off the bike rack. You know how that went because she has the sworks ht.

    I actually tried getting her to trade the sworks ht for your same top fuel. She told me i was crazy. She likes to plow down the trail so to me the tf or lust work better. So im agreeing with you while also presenting more from her feedback to me.

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  19. #19
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    For small people the 26" wheels really were good. That said, a super light 29er like the SworKS or Canondale plus some HT specific skill training can be very effective. When Allison got her first 29er HT she broke a carbon rim on her first few rides. She was 5'9" and less than 120lbs so tall enough for bigger wheels, but used to leaning on 26" FS crutch. Once she developed a bit of finesse she loved that HT and was having her best year as a pro right up to the end at the Windham WC.

    There are girls that can ride an FS fast, but XC races at the pro level are won and lost on climbing and in the USA we rarely have courses that could put an FS bike with a big enough advantage that carrying the extra weight is warranted.

  20. #20
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    Norco Revolver FS 27.5 comes in XS as does their new Optic 27.5. The Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt's XS is also nice because of low stack height. kona Hei Hei DL trail 27.5 also in XS

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