27.5+ vs. full Squish for beginner?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    27.5+ vs. full Squish for beginner?

    Ladies,

    Maybe you can help me out. My wife has decided she wants an MTB. She's a brand new beginner. We've demo'd a few bikes and she says things like "I like this," "this one's ok," and "this is good" But: she has no baseline to compare anything to (everything's OK compared to the beach cruiser she has). So the "demo process" has been successful in that she really wants a bike...but unsuccessful in figuring out what bike.

    She's fairly standard for fitting purposes 5'8" with longish limbs, so fitting is not an issue.

    Basically, I'm torn between something like a Norco Fluid HT+/Trek Roscoe and a short travel full squish bike like Marin Rift Zone or Scott Spark 960. We ride in Delaware and SE PA, and as a beginner, I don't think she needs more than that (if she gets betterer, we can always get a new bike).

    I've read that beginners like full squish b/c they'll feel more confident and won't get beat up as much. But, there's added expense, weight, and complexity to a full squish.

    I've also read that 27.5 inspires confidence and gives some squish. There's weight in the wheels...but is that cancelled out by less weight b/c there's no suspension?

    In reality, I'll get her whatever she wants...I just want her to be happy and to keep biking once she gets it.

    So ladies: which would you prefer (especially as a beginner): full squish or 27.5?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    always licking the glass
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    I run two plus bikes: one hardtail and one full suspension. I absolutely love them.

    Plus hard tails, especially with an all mountain geo, are absolutely wonderful to ride on.

  3. #3
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    No responses yet?

    Well, for my daughter, who is cautious, her biggest issue was traction. She gravitated instantly to plus bikes, which gave her more confidence on loose surfaces. Suspension was not even a consideration. At her speeds, the cush of plus tires was sufficient.

    I rented a 27.5+ and really enjoyed the traction. I typically ride a rigid 29er (which also has plenty of roll-over and traction). The 27.5+ has less roll-over.

    Full sus.? It might take some diligence to assure it is set up correctly, but without rider input other than "it's ok..." you might be shooting in the dark.

    I tend to try to simplify until the rider can decide for themselves.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  4. #4
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    As a 42 year old woman who just started mountain biking 2 years ago, and who has fallen absolutely in love with it, I say 100% go for the full squish. It is soooo much more enjoyable. So much easier on the body. I don't even ever lock out my rear shock during long climbs. I say go for the best of both worlds and get a full squish that can accommodate 2.6" tires. There are even some that will fit 2.8" (Julianas).

    I'm not familiar with the area that you ride in. What kind of riding do you do? Realistically, she is going to be riding what you ride. Hopefully she will love it so much that she gets to be as good as you are and can enjoy the same trails. Travel-wise, if you wouldn't get the bike for yourself, don't get it for her unless you want to be (hopefully) buying her a new bike in a few years.

    I bought a like new, used Liv Lust with 100 mm of travel front and back when I started 2 years ago and I am on the hunt for a new bike this summer. My skills have progressed quickly and I am not finding my bike's suspension to be enough for a lot of the trails that we ride. I am looking for something around 140 front and 130 back.

    It's ok that her only feedback right now is "this is good" or "this is ok". There are so many amazing bikes out there that it is really hard to go wrong even when choosing a long term bike. The 2 most important things are to make sure that you pick a bike that is going to really fit the conditions that you ride (so take a look at your own bike and what you wish was different) and that whatever bike that she does get, really fits her properly. That's part of the problem with my bike. It's too big and gives me back and shoulder pains.

    Have fun shopping for a new bike!

  5. #5
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    Not a lady...but my $.02...a hardtail will potentially make you a better rider. You'll be more likely to learn to pick better lines and ride with a little more finesse in order to avoid bigger bumps since a HT is a a bit less forgiving in the ride quality department. A new rider on FS may be more likely to just bulldoze through stuff since the ride is softer and there is less perceived penalty for doing so.

    As far as the weight....it's not an apples to apples comparison. A 28 pound hardtail with really heavy wheels/tires is not the same as a 28 pound full suspension with lighter wheels. Rotating weight (wheels/tires) is a bigger penalty than a heavier bike.
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  6. #6
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    My wife started with a hybrid because she thought shed want to ride both light trails and paved paths. We quickly found out it wasnt that great at either. 2 tires and mediocre coil fork left her soured on any trail experiences on it so she stopped riding dirt with me at all.

    A few years later on vacation to Santa Cruz, we demoed bikes from the ibis and Santa Cruz factories. Both FS plus bikes. That really opened her eyes to the possibility of actually trying to ride trails again.

    So she did sort of have time on both a hardtail and full-squish to see some kind of difference.

    Ended up buying her an 27.5 ibis Mojo 3, running 2.8 tires, which she loves. She felt much more confident on the plus tires and more comfortable with the full suspension.

    Obviously, the demo rides are crucial, but it can be hard to come up with specific reactions and thoughts right away.

    Based on our experiences, my vote would be for a full-sus bike. I ride both an HT and a FS, but its hard for me to picture my wife enjoying a hardtail now after seeing how much she loves her Mojo.


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Not a lady...but my $.02...a hardtail will potentially make you a better rider. You'll be more likely to learn to pick better lines and ride with a little more finesse in order to avoid bigger bumps since a HT is a a bit less forgiving in the ride quality department. A new rider on FS may be more likely to just bulldoze through stuff since the ride is softer and there is less perceived penalty for doing so.

    As far as the weight....it's not an apples to apples comparison. A 28 pound hardtail with really heavy wheels/tires is not the same as a 28 pound full suspension with lighter wheels. Rotating weight (wheels/tires) is a bigger penalty than a heavier bike.
    While "getting better" is great, I'm fine with her bulldozing stuff. I mean: I'd rather her be more comfortable than worry about line choice, finesse, or a bunch of other stuff...just: get on it and enjoy the ride.

    Mostly, we'll be riding smooth-ish single track; there are some rocks and roots, but it's generally smooth and flowy. (I do worry that as she does get better, we'll get into rockier and rootier terrain and that the 27.7+HT will beat her up too much).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Not a lady...but my $.02...a hardtail will potentially make you a better rider. You'll be more likely to learn to pick better lines and ride with a little more finesse in order to avoid bigger bumps since a HT is a a bit less forgiving in the ride quality department. A new rider on FS may be more likely to just bulldoze through stuff since the ride is softer and there is less perceived penalty for doing so.
    I see the point to this for young kids or for people who think they might want to get really serious about riding. I can tell you though, that as an adult woman getting into riding, comfort and confidence definitely take precedence over small gains in technique.
    Quote Originally Posted by HawkGX View Post

    Ended up buying her an 27.5 ibis Mojo 3, running 2.8 tires, which she loves.
    Oooh! This bike is at the top of my list for possible bikes for me! Can't wait to get out and demo one!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mLeier View Post
    I see the point to this for young kids or for people who think they might want to get really serious about riding. I can tell you though, that as an adult woman getting into riding, comfort and confidence definitely take precedence over small gains in technique.


    Oooh! This bike is at the top of my list for possible bikes for me! Can't wait to get out and demo one!
    The Mojo is definitely an excellent bike. She's "let" me ride it a couple times (OK, maybe I snuck in a few rides while she was out of town), and it's a lot of fun. Pedals and climbs very well, handles the chunky terrain well too.

    She wasn't interested in a 29er at the time we bought it, but she actually rode her first 29er last week on vacation in Sedona (and on 2.3 tires no less!). I was very surprised that she got on so well with it, as she'd been so opposed to the idea for awhile. So don't rule out demoing 29er bikes as well, just to see the difference.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mLeier View Post
    I see the point to this for young kids or for people who think they might want to get really serious about riding. I can tell you though, that as an adult woman getting into riding, comfort and confidence definitely take precedence over small gains in technique.
    ^ This.

    Skip the hardtail... dual squish is comfy, bulldozer mode is fun.
    Ride like a girl! :cornut:

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mahgnillig View Post
    ^ This.

    Skip the hardtail... dual squish is comfy, bulldozer mode is fun.
    I dunno. Both can be fun

    I really really like my plus hardtail. Its an aggressive all-mountain hardtail that I can take down technical stuff. While its not at plow speed, it certainly is fun.

    My full suspension bike I want to ride faster downhill but even that I run with plus tires. I think its just the plus tires that make everything fun no matter what the chassis is.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by stripes View Post
    I dunno. Both can be fun

    I really really like my plus hardtail. Its an aggressive all-mountain hardtail that I can take down technical stuff. While its not at plow speed, it certainly is fun.

    My full suspension bike I want to ride faster downhill but even that I run with plus tires. I think its just the plus tires that make everything fun no matter what the chassis is.
    I totally agree that hardtails can be fun! I just don't buy the old trope that everyone's first bike must be a hardtail because it's the best/only way to learn. Yes, a hardtail will probably make you a better rider if you have the drive to become a better rider, but a lot of people just want to go out and ride in comfort. Personally I'm content to make up for my mediocre skills by using dual squish technology to point and plough. Also, my butt is happier
    Ride like a girl! :cornut:

  13. #13
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    I'd look for something light. The spark 960 is 32 lbs and 29 wheels. Scott did 27.5 Spark last year. Maybe you can get a discount on one left over. I'd negotiate for 35% off and go carbon.

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