Entry level hardtail for fiance'...suggestions needed!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Entry level hardtail for fiance'...suggestions needed!

    Hello ladies,

    I could use your knowledge and suggestions as I am looking for an entry level hardtail for my fiancé. A few quick details...

    Budget is a concern.. after all I just spent a large sum of money on an engagement ring.

    She is quite short, at 5' so finding a frame that fits has been a bit challenging. I'm thinking she will need an XS, perhaps a S depending on make.

    As for overall use of the bike.. She is not and most likely never will be a very daring rider, or even seriously "into" the sport. She more or less likes to tag along occasionally when I ride and will most likely ride it on the street as much as she does on the trail. Trail wise, she will mostly be riding relatively smooth single track with the occasional rock and root.

    Like I said, budget is a concern and would like to keep it well under 1k. The more bang for the buck the better. If I can find something solid for $600, fantastic. With that said, I do not want a cheap piece of junk. I want something that she will feel comfortable on and will inspire confidence.

    Still debating whether to get a "womens" model? From what I have read it seems not to really be necessary.

    Bikes that I have considered:

    Marin Wildcat Trail 5
    Kona Tika
    Kona Mohala (really to expensive though)
    Rocky Mountain Growler 20
    Vitus Sentier W+

    Any and all suggestions are welcome!

    Thanks!
    Last edited by cj_desmit; 03-23-2018 at 03:27 AM.

  2. #2
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    Which model of Rocky's are you considering? The first one in your list just says "Rocky Mountain, but not which model. Take a look at the Rocky Soul 27.5 as well. That's what my wife rides (the 2017 730). She's 5' 4" and has the S. I do plan on upgrading the fork on it at some point using Suntour's upgrade program. The main drawback with the lower end bikes is the quality of the forks.

  3. #3
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    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but substandard forks on a lot of entry level bikes are way worse for a small woman than for an average sized man as they don't actually travel. I had a Suntour XCM 100mm fork on my ski bike for about 5 minutes before I figured out that I was getting about an inch out of the advertised 4 inches of travel, even jumping up and down on it, because my weight wasn't enough to compress the spring.

    I don't know much about those specific bikes you mentioned, but look for something with a decent fork and plus tyres... those things will make all the difference to both her comfort and her confidence on the bike. The Trek Roscoe is over your budget, but that would be my starting point if I was looking for an entry level hardtail.
    Ride like a girl! :cornut:

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparkman999 View Post
    Which model of Rocky's are you considering? The first one in your list just says "Rocky Mountain, but not which model. Take a look at the Rocky Soul 27.5 as well. That's what my wife rides (the 2017 730). She's 5' 4" and has the S. I do plan on upgrading the fork on it at some point using Suntour's upgrade program. The main drawback with the lower end bikes is the quality of the forks.
    That first Rocky Mountain was a typo. And I completely agree, all the entry level bikes under that 1k price point have a junk fork. A fork is relatively easy to upgrade though as there are a million used rebas and what not out there. I was really just wanting a solid platform with decent components. something with a 1x drivetrain would be ideal for ease of gear selection.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mahgnillig View Post
    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but substandard forks on a lot of entry level bikes are way worse for a small woman than for an average sized man as they don't actually travel. I had a Suntour XCM 100mm fork on my ski bike for about 5 minutes before I figured out that I was getting about an inch out of the advertised 4 inches of travel, even jumping up and down on it, because my weight wasn't enough to compress the spring.

    I don't know much about those specific bikes you mentioned, but look for something with a decent fork and plus tyres... those things will make all the difference to both her comfort and her confidence on the bike. The Trek Roscoe is over your budget, but that would be my starting point if I was looking for an entry level hardtail.
    Yes, the forks have been a concern on the entry level bikes. Any coil fork is going to feel like a pogo stick and be essentially useless. Like I said above though, if that is the only thing that I have to consider upgrading then I'm fine with that. I'll check out the Trek, thanks.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cj_desmit View Post
    Yes, the forks have been a concern on the entry level bikes. Any coil fork is going to feel like a pogo stick and be essentially useless. Like I said above though, if that is the only thing that I have to consider upgrading then I'm fine with that. I'll check out the Trek, thanks.
    You should also look at the used market, even a good 26” bike should be able at your price point.

  7. #7
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    Re: Entry level hardtail for finance'...suggestions needed

    Hey there! I am a 4'11" woman, and purchased my first MTB last year. I ride a Trek Cali S (size 13.5 in) and have loved it. I believe it was discontinued for a new model with a new name last year (2017) but there are many still out there and their prices are super reasonable since they don't make them anymore. I was new to the sport when I got it, but it has had everything I need to get my through learning how to MTB, fun trail riding, technical riding in the Adirondacks, adventure races, and everything in between. It is definitely hard to find a frame being a tiny woman, but this bike has been perfect for me and I highly recommend it.

  8. #8
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    Kelsc, thanks for the reply. I ended up getting a good deal on a new XS Marin Wildcat Trail 5. Before she even knew I had bought it I swapped out the stock spring fork with an air fork. This is her first MTB and she absolutely loves it.. although I think it's mostly because it's her favorite color, teal. It's the simple things I suppose...

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