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  1. #1
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    Another Bike Suggestion Post

    Looking for a bike for my girlfriend. She's only mtn biked once before but is a quick learner. We will mostly be riding at Galbraith mountain and Duthie Hill. She's a confident rider without much fear.

    5'2" 120 lb
    Around $1500 budget. Will probably buy used. Full sus
    Rode a Trek Lush on her first day and enjoyed it. I felt like this wasn't a great long term bike for her, though, because of its non aggressive geometry.
    No 29" wheels
    Uphill lockout preferred

    Yes I know there are hundreds of threads just like this one and I have read through several. She's not posting because she's working a job this summer without internets. Thanks for the help!

  2. #2
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    I think fit and finding one that is either lightly used or has been well-maintained would be the most important considerations. Many people never do anything to their bikes, and if you have to have the shocks sent in for rebuild right off it will add to the pricetag significantly. I don't think the brand matters that much, these bikes are all pretty competitive, as long as it is for the type of riding she wants to do (eg not a downhill bike for xc) but be sure to research what it sold for new, some people really overprice their old rides. Just like a car, bikes lose value as soon as they leave the showroom.

  3. #3
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    I love my Liv! A brand new Liv Embolden would fit your price tag. It's got tons of great reviews from the bike mags and I don;t think you could go wrong. It might not have a ton of high end components, but it is still a very capable bike. You could always spend $$$ to either upgrade the bike later or sell and buy a new one if she really gets into biking and this bike isn't enough for her.

  4. #4
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    The Lush (or Liv Embolden as well) look like good bikes. She's 5'2" tall. While short people can ride 29ers, why do you want her on one? The Giants have good suspension. Unless you mostly ride up fire roads, I wouldn't worry about a lock out.

  5. #5
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    Im 52 as well. Not sure I would feel as comfortable on a bike with 29 tires as I do on my 27.5 one. As for the lockout, I have to agree with MSU. My bike (Liv Lust) does have a lockout but I pretty much never use it. Not even when I am riding 20 km uphill on a fire road. I dont find the savings in energy to be worth the loss of comfort for my butt. My bum is much happier with the suspension on, especially on long rides

  6. #6
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    This is all excellent advice. For the 29" question, I don't think it is a great starting point for a beginner and may cause her to skip over some fundamental skills, also I think the trails around Galbraith are not ideal for a 29". Not very wide open. Mostly windy and tech (depending on the trail). I thought of a lockout mainly because it makes a dramatic difference for me because I ride a plush bike, but maybe a lower travel stiffer bike is not as important. So that's a good thing to consider because it would bring the price tag down a bit. We would mainly be riding up fire roads, though.

    As for the fit, I think it can be difficult for a beginner to know what feels right because they just haven't ridden many bikes before. Any advice for that?

    Looking for some other specific bike suggestions or brands. Also how much travel is enough? 120? 140?

  7. #7
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    Fit is a tough one for sure. Don't forget that some changes can easily be made to make it fit better though. In the Liv line-up, 5'2" is squarely in the middle of the height range for an XS frame. Small frame size height range starts at 5'2". Since I got mine on Kijiji, I didn't really have a choice in sizing. When I first got the bike, we were just getting back into biking after a 20 year hiatus and I thought the small frame felt great. After riding for a while and improving, I could definitely see where the XS probably would have been a better fit me. I ended up getting a much shorter stem and a new set of bars with much greater backsweep and I feel that that the bike fits me much better now. Have her check both sizes out at a bike shop and have someone there who is good with fitting the bikes explain to her how it should feel and help her decide. If one feels way more comfortable to her than the other, pick the comfortable one and you can make minor changes later.

    As for the travel, my bike actually only has 100 mm of travel. I am significantly heavier than your GF and have never felt it bottom out and never felt that it was lacking. I have ridden many km's on fire roads and done tons of riding in the mountains including some pretty technical downhills and never felt that my bike lacked anything in any way. Most of our trails here are super rooty and rocky as well so the suspension definitely gets a workout.

    Another change I made to my bike was the saddle. I just couldn't get the srock one to work for me. Everyone told me that when you were starting biking, your butt would be sore until it acclimated and/or you broke in the saddle, but that never seemed to happen. I got my sit bones measured at my LBS and got a new saddle and it is sooooo much better. Just something to consider if she also can't get past the sore bum period.

  8. #8
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    I'm also 5'2" but have quite a long inseam for my height (30.5"), so make sure she measures her inseam correctly as that will have a bearing on whether she should be on a small or XS frame. The few XS bikes that I was able to find and demo felt too cramped to me... I felt like I was perched on top of the bike with too much weight on my hands as I was trying to push the bars away. On a frame that is too long I felt stretched, also with too much weight on the hands but in a different way, more as though you are trying to support your torso. The right reach will allow her to lightly grip the bars. It's hard to describe for a newbie, but once she sits on several bikes in succession she'll feel the difference.

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  9. #9
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    27.5". a 5'2" woman should not be riding a 29er unless she is a Pro XC racer and even then it's questionable.

    Go for a XC/ Trail bike. Unless she is an atypical woman rider, she is not going to be shredding enduro lines, and those kind of bikes can really slow a smaller person down.

    YT makes some killer, women specific trail bikes with modern geometry at great prices.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suns_PSD View Post
    27.5". a 5'2" woman should not be riding a 29er unless she is a Pro XC racer and even then it's questionable.

    Go for a XC/ Trail bike. Unless she is an atypical woman rider, she is not going to be shredding enduro lines, and those kind of bikes can really slow a smaller person down.

    YT makes some killer, women specific trail bikes with modern geometry at great prices.
    That's a really big assumption you're making there about women not shredding enduro lines Suns_PSD. Around here, women ripping it up on enduro bikes are the norm. The OP mentioned that his girlfriend is confident and has no fear... an enduro bike is absolutely suitablefor her if she wants to get rowdy on the trail.

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  11. #11
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    Fair enough.

  12. #12
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    Women's specific bikes don't seem to be significantly different than mens or unisex. It just seems like the top tube curls down for an easier dismount. She'll probably try out several women's and men's bikes to see what she likes.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by elm. View Post
    Women's specific bikes don't seem to be significantly different than mens or unisex. It just seems like the top tube curls down for an easier dismount. She'll probably try out several women's and men's bikes to see what she likes.
    They're really not much different at all. It used to be that manufacturers would give women's bikes a pretty pink colour scheme, put crappier components on them than the equivalent unisex bike, and then charge a premium for them. Things have changed, and most manufacturers are using the same frames as the unisex version, changing out the grips and saddles, and maybe setting up the suspension with a lighter tune. For example, a Juliana Roubion is a SC Bronson with a different paint job, lighter suspension tune and women's saddle. Liv and Canyon do actually make frames with a slightly different geometry for their women's models, but they are in the minority. Loads of us here (including me) ride unisex bikes with no problems

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