Your help would be greatly appreciated picking out my wife's first mountain bicycle.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Your help would be greatly appreciated picking out my wife's first mountain bicycle.

    Hello there, I don't mean to invade the women's forum so sorry about that. I just don't know where else to receive guidance on what style of MTB to purchase my wife for her first one.

    It goes with out saying that my overriding desire is that she has fun, feels comfortable, and wants to enjoy this lifestyle a bit with me, and help me draw our daughter in to the healthy habit as well. She is slender, but not particularly strong nor athletic. I charge obstacles, take risks and what not, that will never be her and I'm fine with that. I will mostly take her to XC style trails. But the trails I frequent get harder and rockier quickly and that will happen eventually. The trails are loose and I recall when I started the insecurity of the looseness of our trails effected my confidence, so I'm certain she will feel the same.

    The budget will likely be in the $2k- $3K on a high quality used bike. for me a high quality bike increases my enjoyment and I figure the same would occur with her. And I'm a bit of a bargain hunter.

    My question isn't exactly WHICH bike to get here but more WHAT style/ kind to get her. I'm pretty stuck on 27.5" wheels because I think that's a better fit for someone in the 5'4" range.

    First category I'm considering is a modern high quality 27.5+ hard tail. The new Diamondback R-Sync would be a leading contender because of the steep seat tube angle, high efficiency, and very light weight.

    Second category is likely a 2 year old 27.5 dual suspension trail bike. I can purchase a darn good Specialized StumpJumper in my price range as they are everywhere. The issue I have is the narrow tires and wheels, but also FSR suspension design really doesn't pedal well, and I don't won't her to be any farther behind me than need be. But it's basically a $5K bike for $2K and they are easy to find.

    Third choice would be full suspension 27.5 PLUS bike. The dream rig would be a Yeti 5+ (I ride Yeti myself) but locating a size small in my budget is a stretch. what I know about Switch Infinity however is that it is an efficient design and that matters to me.

    Can anyone offer me some guidance?

  2. #2
    Don't worry, be happy!
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    Does she want to mountain bike? Or is this *your* idea.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica View Post
    Does she want to mountain bike? Or is this *your* idea.
    I was wobdering the same thing....

    and, was thinking that she needs to have a simple sturdy bike that she can "communicate" with if she is as new as she sounds. Getting her some super decked out carbon fiber dual squish race bike is probably NOT going to be beneficial for her at first...to me, that is a bike that is a variation on a theme..the theme being simple, sturdy, and ridable.

    I would tell you to go full rigid steel because that is the world I know, and it is the ultimate original "theme", but more than likely you will go with a hardtail, which will work too. When I first met my fiance, I started to introduce her to our "world", and she started on her old 1992 Trek 820. We eventually went bike shopping (for my step son as well), and she really didn't like anything other than her Trek. So that is what she rides now. It has new tires, brake pads, cables etc, and a big squishy seat and it is all hers!!

    As you know, proper fit is the MOST IMPORTANT thing...then getting her something SHE is going to want to get on every time. Something that she will have ownership of. all of my buds who tried to get their girls into riding always just gave them a "hand me down" bike, or went and got something with out them. It sounds like you are taking the first steps to at least avoid just getting her something with out her input, but just be careful.
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  4. #4
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    For traction and confidence on loose trails, I would consider a plus or even fatbike. I think having very low gears is also great because a less fit person can do more pedaling and less walking, which is more fun (assuming you have hills there). A lot of bikes are set up with gearing that does not match the rider, in my opinion. I wouldn't recommend a dream bike for a beginner; maybe not low end, but I wouldn't go crazy. It's not clear if she has tried trailriding, some do not like it, but family trips on the bike path or rail trail would also be a great activity for all, so try not to let the bike get dusty if she doesn't like your trails.

  5. #5
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    Forget old school rigid bikes... sure, you can learn to be a more skilled rider by starting on one, but it's a painful path to progression and frankly most women aren't interested in getting hurt.

    The key is to get something forgiving and comfortable. That could be a plus hardtail or a dual squish, depending on your wife's personal feelings on the matter. She needs to test ride both styles and see what she prefers. From what you've said about progressing into more rocky areas, I'd say dual squish.

    Honestly, the FSR suspension is fine... a new rider isn't going to be able to feel the difference between that, VPP or DWLink without riding the bikes back to back anyway. The inability to run wider tyres would be enough to steer me away from the FSR though. You could also look at a used Santa Cruz, Giant etc... really any bike that's a couple of years old and 2-3k used is going to be a nice bike. Just make sure it's set up right. 175mm cranks are standard on most bikes and they're too long for us short people. Most unisex bikes are geared too high, so slap on a 28 or 30t oval chainring so she can actually ride up hills instead of walking. I swapped out my cranks for 165mm and the chainring for a 28t oval shortly after I got my bike and have no regrets. Wider tyres are better for beginners... yes, they have more rolling resistance, but they are also forgiving and confidence inspiring when you run them tubeless at super low pressure (low teens for me).

    As for 29er vs 27.5, it's personal choice and at 5'2" I have ridden 29ers that felt too big and some that didn't. Consider though that it's easier to find a 27.5 that will fit large tyres than a 29er. I would rather have 2.8" wide 27.5s than 2.4" wide 29s.

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  6. #6
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    Forget old school rigid bikes... sure, you can learn to be a more skilled rider by starting on one, but it's a painful path to progression and frankly most women aren't interested in getting hurt.

    The key is to get something forgiving and comfortable. That could be a plus hardtail or a dual squish, depending on your wife's personal feelings on the matter. She needs to test ride both styles and see what she prefers. From what you've said about progressing into more rocky areas, I'd say dual squish.
    What she said.

  7. #7
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    Find a clinic too. Even the most well meaning spouse is not necessarily the best teacher.

  8. #8
    always licking the glass
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    Did you ask her what she wants? I mean, that's my biggest issue with these type of posts. You guys should ask the actual riders, not a bunch of us in the 21st keyboard brigade

    Not that we don't mind helping, but you really need to talk to her first and see what she wants.

  9. #9
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    Some good info.

    She wants to join me riding and work on her fitness in ways besides just the gym and yoga. she has also noticed a positive improvement in my general appearance since I began biking 4 years ago and that longevity and youthfulness aspect is appealing to her. She has no idea what kind of bike she wants, they all look the same. She wants me to use my better judgement and make the correct decision.

    We did a movie in the park with my neighbors last night, who happen to be people I mountain bike with. The other wife emphatically told my wife that 'hard tails are just awful, so uncomfortable, positively miserable. Get a dual squish!'.

    Even our 'smooth' terrain here, can be quite rough compared to other locales so that seems to be a factor. I'll be 100% shopping for a full squish after that convo.

    At 5'11" I have had a very positive experience dropping from 175mm cranks to, 170s. So I will definitely put her on 165 mm cranks ASAP. I consider that critical.

    Thanks for the input, I think I'm just going to try and find a decent standard 27.5 full squish and try to get some 2.5 tires on it for some comfort while maintaining a bit of compliance.

    Thanks again.

  10. #10
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    This should do it.
    Your help would be greatly appreciated picking out my wife's first mountain bicycle.-c25e5fbd-3763-481d-b009-a0ee2aaeef44.jpg

  11. #11
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    I just bought her this very well speced and lightly ridden Giant Anthem SX size small. Great and fast bike for a not strong rider.

    Great build, great parts all over, new Knight CF wheels. Nice and plump but fast rolling Schwalbe tires too

    Even though Giant recommends this bike for a 3.5" - 5.5" taller individual, the fit is perfect for her at 5' 3.5". It being bigger really allowed me to shove the seat forward to offset the overly slack seat tube angle of the bike.

    I'm getting it dialed in, getting a women's saddle, cutting the bars (they were wider than my L enduro bike!), ordering 165mm cranks, setting up suspension, and repairing the dropper cable.

    My wife is totally jazzed but we won't do a real trail ride until the Fall since temps are currently triple digits with oppressive humidity. She is going to practice, practice, practice in the 'hood: unclipping (multi-directional cleats backed all of the way out), shifting, braking, and just riding up and down our front curb to prepare her for basic trail obstacles.

    Thanks for ther input everyone!


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  12. #12
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    Flat pedals for beginners ftw. I have been teaching mtb for 8+ years and for most beginners, even with practice, clipless detract from the learning curve and cause a lot of stress and reduction in confidence. She can always try them later once she feels really confident with everything else.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the input. As a relative beginner myself I really felt the same way until I discovered XTR 9020 pedals and multi directional cleats. That combo pops out if your foot goes in any direction other than straight up. Literally if you try to remove your foot at all, it comes out like you are on flats. Maybe easier.

    The big problem with flats, is they wrecked my shins. Seriously, in 3 months I went from nice shins to permanently severely scarred shins. My wife doesn't want that. Soccer shin guards help as lot, but have their own issues and you'll still receive damage.

    I'll go to flats at the first sign of trouble.

    Thanks again.

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  14. #14
    L1MEY
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    Nice bike!

    Bar width should be about the same as feels comfortable for doing pushups. Don't be too eager to chop big lumps off the ends... most women around here tend to like bars in the 760mm area. Start by putting the controls inboard before doing any actual cutting, then when you do cut, do it in 5mm increments.

    Many people are moving away from clips and back to flats as the advantages outweigh the disadvantages... being able to dab a foot down at any time is a real confidence booster, plus you learn better bike handling skills via weighting/unweighting techniques. I was on clips for 12 years and have become a much more proficient rider since switching back to flats and I'm no longer cheating by pulling up on jumps. G-form shin/knee pads should fix the issue of banged up shins before it happens. With good shoes like 5.10's and grippy pedals there shouldn't be too many pedal to shin contacts anyway.

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  15. #15
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    If she struggles at all, I'll put her on flats asap.

    I will say, that I was a diehard flats guy, but when I discovered, xtr shimano pedals & multi- directional cleats, that changed overnight. If you can take your foot off of a flat pedal, you will be out of these pedals I promise you. The only time they don't release is when you pull directly straight up, they release with any other movement at all.

    If someone in the know had told me about the above set up, my shins would look a lot better and I would have cleared a lot more stuff.

    Thanks again.

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  16. #16
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    My wife hates wide tires. She just started to see the benifits of 2.5 minions where we ride.

    Back story I was in the same boat. Found a killer deal on a Kona Precept 131. 1k no signs of wear. Even the aredents had the mold knobs. Switched the front Ardent for a DHR 2.3

    She's now killing it on the trails but when we stated she never even had ridden a bike. The extra travel is good even on XC when she forgot to stand going over roots and stuff.

    I'd hold off on clipless my wife is now just starting.

  17. #17
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    I'm glad I didn't go with a plus bike in the end.

    New women's saddle on the way.

    Anyone have some 165mm Sram NX GXP cranks they want to sell?

    The bike has 170s which I can trade as well.



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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suns_PSD View Post
    I'm glad I didn't go with a plus bike in the end.

    New women's saddle on the way.

    Anyone have some 165mm Sram NX GXP cranks they want to sell?

    The bike has 170s which I can trade as well.



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    The NX are 120.00 on Ebay. I bought a 165mm last month.

  19. #19
    BOOM goes the dynamite!
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    It's the multi-release cleats that make it easier. XTR is for the ego.
    :nono: :thumbsup:

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by noapathy View Post
    It's the multi-release cleats that make it easier. XTR is for the ego.
    Makes sense.

    But I had a spare set of XTRs on the shelf so that doesn't hurt!

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suns_PSD View Post
    Makes sense.

    But I had a spare set of XTRs on the shelf so that doesn't hurt!
    That never hurts...well, unless they fall on your foot.
    :nono: :thumbsup:

  22. #22
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    I ordered some GX 165 cranks all of the way from Taiwan. They are getting harder to get quickly in GXP, since DUB is the new system.

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suns_PSD View Post
    If she struggles at all, I'll put her on flats asap.

    I will say, that I was a diehard flats guy, but when I discovered, xtr shimano pedals & multi- directional cleats, that changed overnight. If you can take your foot off of a flat pedal, you will be out of these pedals I promise you. The only time they don't release is when you pull directly straight up, they release with any other movement at all.

    If someone in the know had told me about the above set up, my shins would look a lot better and I would have cleared a lot more stuff.

    Thanks again.

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    My wife is about to start on some mallets with the pins screwed down and older cleats pretty much the same as you mentioned. Once the cleats break in they feel about the same as you mentioned.

    If you find she need even short cranks Canfield have short GPX style cranks. I have 29" inseam and like 165mm lower than that I find gearing to be more effected.

  24. #24
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    I might reconsider putting her on flats for the first year. Don't want to add something else for her to have to think about.

    The problem is, they flippin' destroy your shins. From my experience, it's hard to avoid that.

    I do believe they teach better technique overall.

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  25. #25
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    ^^Sticky soled flat-specific shoes, like 5,10s help. Also, riding heavy into the pedals, heels down, in the rough stuff. If she's that concerned she can try shinguards.

  26. #26
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    Composite flats help... it's not as painful getting smacked in the shin with plastic as it is with aluminium. Race Face Chester or OneUp composite pedals are both excellent. I own both on 2 different bikes and they keep your feet from moving so well that you can drag your feet across the bottom of the stroke like you can with clips. Combine them with some sticky shoes like 5.10's for maximum foot retention.

    I'm not sure why you have had such bad luck with shin strikes that you have destroyed your shins, but it sounds pretty painful . If your wife is freaked out by your experience then some shin guards should put her at ease. Kids' lightweight football (soccer) guards should work, as will some lightweight knee/shin combos like G-Form.
    Ride like a girl! :cornut:

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by mahgnillig View Post
    Composite flats help... it's not as painful getting smacked in the shin with plastic as it is with aluminium. Race Face Chester or OneUp composite pedals are both excellent. I own both on 2 different bikes and they keep your feet from moving so well that you can drag your feet across the bottom of the stroke like you can with clips. Combine them with some sticky shoes like 5.10's for maximum foot retention.

    I'm not sure why you have had such bad luck with shin strikes that you have destroyed your shins, but it sounds pretty painful . If your wife is freaked out by your experience then some shin guards should put her at ease. Kids' lightweight football (soccer) guards should work, as will some lightweight knee/shin combos like G-Form.
    My wife has the battle wounds of flats and a chain ring shark bite. She wears them proudly but has now wants clipless and 1x11

  28. #28
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    Though I'd share with you my wife's clipless adventure. She didn't like the Crankbrothers Mallet. So we tried all the pedals in the spare parts drawer. She either didn't gel with any of them. She asked me why I like my pedals (Vtwins) and asked to try them. She loved them. They have the 12į slant so you kind of kick your foot at the pedal and your in. With multi release it's almost instinctive to get out.

  29. #29
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    I really thought your choice of mallets with strange. I personally despise those pedals. I can't get out of them.
    I will give some updates as my wife starts riding, I'm still working on the bike getting some smaller cranks on it and what not. Also it's a 100゚ here currently.

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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suns_PSD View Post
    I really thought your choice of mallets with strange. I personally despise those pedals. I can't get out of them.
    I will give some updates as my wife starts riding, I'm still working on the bike getting some smaller cranks on it and what not. Also it's a 100゚ here currently.

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    I had some cleats I used a dremel on to solve that issue. She wanted pins incase she wanted to unclip but the feeling was to vague to know if she was in. The Vtwins can have pins or added thickness for pedal feel.

  31. #31
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    Thought I would chime in with these (https://www.fyxation.com/collections...platform-pedal. My girlfriend got into riding recently and didn't like the idea of potentially scarring her shins up as much as mine with flats, these are much more forgiving. If you pair them with a pair of MTB specific flat shoes they are just as secure as pedals with metal pins.

  32. #32
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    The wife had her first day on a MTB. I tried really hard to get her to practice more in the neighborhood, shifting and what not, but she flat refused. Said it was boring.

    She looked serious as a heart attack, did great, cleared a dozen rock gardens that i'm not sure I would have cleared my first day on a bike about 4 years ago.

    When we were done she said it wasn't fun. After we were home, she came up and gave me a kiss and said it was fun, she was just really scared. So proud of her!

    She asked for a new dropper remote cause she said the cheap one was just too hard to operate. So I already ordered a Wolf Tooth easy action.

    I did start her off on some magnesium Crampon pedals I had on the shelf. Clipless would have added a whole other dimension she wasn't ready for. It could be 6 months, or never, that I move her to clipless pedals.

    I do see that she felt more comfortable sitting but in time she started to see that standing provides many advantages and she started to do it. There were a few physical struggles, but not even 1 crash which is great.

    Her bike is sick. You can tell it's a really efficient platform. Great bike that will last her years and in time my daughter (who is a lot taller for her age than my wife) should be able to ride it. Wouldn't do anything different in that regard.


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  33. #33
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    Glad to hear she did well! My wife told me it took a few rides for the fear to drop enough that the reward factor kicked in when she cleared something. If you run into other women on the trail they tend to be more encouraging and it helps. Where we live we dont have any really long downhills. We went to WNC on vacation and were riding up long climb and she stopped and asked how were going to get back down. I told her this was an easy trail so we'll turn around and come back down. She had a fit. And was yelling at me. Until a women who was in her 60s or more came down, stopped and asked her what was wrong. She said that this was one of the most fun trails to learn on and told my wife to live a little. She sucked it up and loved it. By the end of our trip she was doing the tech downhills.

  34. #34
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    Nice, I should add that we did meet and ride with a very encouraging woman which was a huge help imo.
    This woman was a stranger but she was awesome.

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  35. #35
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    Some knee and elbow pads might help with the fear factor. Also, look for a ladies skills clinic in your area... learning in a group setting with other women is a great confidence booster. If you don't have any nearby then there are lots she could travel to for a weekend away.

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  36. #36
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    For sure on all points. But gear is tough when it's 100+ degrees this time of year.

    They have an all women's ride behind the bike shop very near our home on a somewhat regular basis. I think they do them monthly. These particular trails are also what I would call the easiest and most XC like in the Austin area.

    Coincidentally the ride group is called 'Ride like a Girl', like the notation you have in your last message. Any relation or pure coincidence?

    If my wife has the interest, all the resources needed are right here. Convenient and all but free. I must be careful however, as I can press too hard at times.

  37. #37
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    Second bike ride for the wife is in the books as we both played hooky from work this morning after dropping off our 6 year old.

    We found a fun little single track that was smooth but windy through trees and she really enjoyed it and over the entire ride (4.8 miles) averaged 6 mph, which was about double what she averaged the first ride. She said "that was really fun, can we do that again?" That was awesome! She had one fall but popped right back up.

    2 Issues:

    1) What air pressure should she be running, she weighs 122#? At 20 F 22R on some rather slippery Schwalbes she felt nervous and was getting a lot of slides. I have ordered a front Recon 2.6 Maxxterra and a rear Ikon 2.35 Maxxspeed which will be mounted for the next ride. so I guess what air pressure would you guys recommend for these new tires? I'm thinking 16 F & 19 R on her 30mm ID wheels. She is a very casual rider after all and doesn't smash anything and I'm sticking to XC trails for her.

    2) The other issue is she is really getting numb hands like she has way too much weight on them. Her seat is slid all of the way forward and the bike has a 50mm stem on it (stock was 70, bike is a size men's small Giant Anthem SX and she is 5'3.5") and her positioning looks aggressive but very normal. I think she is maintaining a death grip and keeping her wrists really cocked for essentially the entire ride. This one will probably work itself out soon once she relaxes and continues to stand more. I also just purchased her some soft and small diameter grips which I will install also before her next ride which might help. If the pain continues I'll likely buy a shorter stem.

    Any advise?

  38. #38
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    Hand position probably won't "work itself out". She needs to be shown how her forearm, wrist and index finger should align. Did you set up the brakes for small hands?

  39. #39
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    Hand numbness had been an issue with me for a while. Things to consider. Short cranks(longer cranks help push you up) and steep STA or seat slid forward puts the weight past the BB so you're putting a lot of your weight on the bars.
    I'd slide it back and get a shorter stem. Is she long torso short arms? If so raise the stack height as well.

    I'm 5'6 with short arms. My bars are 1.5 inches above the saddle.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica View Post
    Hand position probably won't "work itself out". She needs to be shown how her forearm, wrist and index finger should align. Did you set up the brakes for small hands?
    This as well I have M8000 levers that I bent since winding them in enough for my short fingers I would lose bracing force. I bent them with 2 crescent wrenches.

  41. #41
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    All good advise.

    I set the bars, levers, seat, etc... the best I could being that I'm shaped like a taller man. I adjusted her levers in, pointed them down slightly, etc..

    I'd raise the bars more if the fork steer tube wasn't so short. I think I can do a bit more and will before her next ride.

    I already moved the bike to 165mm cranks as it's a change I knew was needed.

    I do think some of it is never having ridden a bike and not standing up. I'll keep messing with it.

    NO interest in sliding back the seat however as this '17 Giant Anthem SX Small already has an old school slack seat tube angle.

  42. #42
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    I would not worry about a slack seat tube angle, that will give her confidence descending. Plus tires at low pressure gave me the most confidence and properly set up suspension.


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  43. #43
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    Re. tyre pressures - she could probably go even lower than your starting point... I run 13 front / 15 rear on my 2.6 Nobby Nics. I would say your suggestion of 16/19 is the top end of what she should be looking at, though it's going to depend on how much the tyres want to fold over when turning at speed.

    Re. grips - she is most likely death gripping the bars and is probably also not aligning her wrists properly (not her fault if she's brand new to riding). It could also be the grips themselves... I have tried several that have made my hands go numb, and I now have ESI Chunky grips, which are the best I've found for my hands. Another thing to consider is bar rise... I run a 35mm rise bar on a 40mm stem and it works much better than my previous 10mm rise / 50mm stem. It's really important to rotate the bars so that they're in the preferred position, so play around with that a bit on the trail. Last thing I have on this is that it's possible to end up with too much pressure in your hands from having the reach too short, as well as too long. Play around with fore/aft saddle position and saddle tilt while out on the trail. Personally I like to have my saddle slightly nose-high otherwise I feel like I have to continually push myself away from the bars when seated, leading to numb hands. The same happens if I move my saddle forward too far... I get pressure on my hands from trying to push the bars away, even if the difference is 5mm. Playing with saddle and bar positions costs nothing but a bit of time and might solve all her problems without having to buy new stuff.
    Ride like a girl! :cornut:

  44. #44
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    Just a consideration. Align the brake handles so it's a relatively straight skeletal alignment from the finger on the handle, to the wrist, to the elbow and shoulder. Not really sure if I explained that well, but if the brake handles are too elevated, it will cock the wrists back which is pretty uncomfortable. If the handles are too low, it will force the shoulders forward, putting more pressure on the hands.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suns_PSD View Post
    All good advise.

    I set the bars, levers, seat, etc... the best I could being that I'm shaped like a taller man. I adjusted her levers in, pointed them down slightly, etc..

    I'd raise the bars more if the fork steer tube wasn't so short. I think I can do a bit more and will before her next ride.

    I already moved the bike to 165mm cranks as it's a change I knew was needed.

    I do think some of it is never having ridden a bike and not standing up. I'll keep messing with it.

    NO interest in sliding back the seat however as this '17 Giant Anthem SX Small already has an old school slack seat tube angle.
    My bike (and my wife's as well) are both set up such that there is about a 2" drop from handle height to seat. We are both in our mid-60's and this really helps with lower back comfort and keeping the weight relatively low on the hands. Even riding aggressively in Moab is not a problem for me with this geometry for the climbs and inspires confidence on the descents, even with a dropper.

    You can get an angled stem or riser bars to accomplish this if there's not enough room for spacers (as mentioned before).

    The seat tube angle of 73 degrees is not particularly slack (My Yeti 2016 SB5 is 73.7). This may be a factor if your inseam is 35", but I doubt it's an issue for a woman of 5'4"). Regardless of STA, you CAN have the seat too far forward. I'm not saying you do, but you may want to reconsider it - especially as you've shortened the crank length considerably.

    There's no hurry on this. Just go out and have fun. My wife started riding at the age of 58. She believed she would never advance beyond an area we call, "Round Valley", maybe 200 feet of climbing in 5 miles, which was just fine, as far as I was concerned. For her 64th birthday, she rode to the ridge in Park City, Utah (9500 feet) which was an 18 miler with 2800 feet of climbing. The important thing is to go out and have fun, not become a female Fabien Barel.

  46. #46
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    You guys have great advice.

    I'm going to give 1 final ride report and then I'll quit with the mundane reports.

    My wife arranged a baby sitter today for our 6 year old so we could ride. As in she genuinely wanted to ride.

    We did 6 miles and averaged 6 mph. She averaged 1.5mph on her first ride, 3.8 on the second, 6mph on the third on the same trail but covering more and more terrain each time.

    She did some 8-14' mild to bumpy chutes that had her terrified last time, like they were positively nothing. The constant nervousness about all the rocks that we have on trails here, well she doesn't seem to mind them much anymore. No falls.

    She was so clumsy on the bike the first day that she literally crashed after riding 20' on pavement but she is now really comfortable, executing sharp turns, practicing her braking, etc. She honestly is pretty good and has went over some sections that I don't know that I could have completed or even attempted on my 3rd ride just 4 years ago (i'm a fanatic now). My wife doesn't know if she wants to do the beginner women's rides she was considering just last week, as she is concerned they won't set expectations high enough. She has decided that I won't lead her down anything she can't handle, so likes to just follow me and will attempt it.

    As far as her wrists, well we have worked on that a lot. Her positioning and bike set up is ideal. She has relaxed enough where she stands and shakes out her hands on a regular basis. She is still having issues.

    My opinion, is that she has carpal tunnel and the bike riding is bringing it out. She is 45 btw. I had it several years ago and only motocross riding would bring it out. When I told her my thoughts, she said 'oh my fingers have been going a bit numb when I type for a couple of years now'. She is making an appointment to get checked this week. She is mostly bummed about maybe having to miss some riding during recovery.

    I will mount the new 10mm shorter stem I bought and will just slide the seat back 10mm as that will give her a more natural position as I currently have the seat all of the way forward.

    Thanks for all of y'all's great advice.

    Ps. I have new tires, 2.6 Rekon & 2.35 Ikon arriving in a couple of days for her bike. The XC schwalbes the bike came with are really quite slippery and we are both looking forward to having some tires with more priority on traction, than just the lowest possible rolling resistance. I think once she feels more traction, it will further improve confidence.

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  47. #47
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    New tires (2.6 Rekon front & 2.35 Ikon rear) & even lower pressures (15 F & 18 R) left my lovely (and turns out athletic!) Wife thrilled with her bike, and her ride in general. She tackled several significant rock gardens. Impressed me thoroughly. She is actually a 'rider' now. Four rides in and she thoroughly enjoys the sport/ activity. 7.8 miles @ 5.8 mph today.

    Hands are still problematic and she will be tested soon for carpal tunnel, however she is not having nearly the problems as she has dropped the death grip.

    I have a shorter stem on the way which will allow me to slide the seat slightly further back. Generally i'm a fan of steep seat tube angles but I feel this part of her setup is a little off and can be improved upon.

    A lightweight 40mm 6 degree rise Wren stem is on the way. A nice short stem is a more modern fit anyways.

    - take care



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  48. #48
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    If it is CTS helps keep it at bay a bit as well while riding.

  49. #49
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    My wife is really enjoying riding now. Progressing very well.

    CTS is way less inflamed now that her controls are dialed and she is more relaxed.

    I really had her on a rough path for about a ride and a quarter of the next one, as I had over tightened the steering bearing preload and made the steering a little sticky really upsetting the handling of the bike. She struggled to describe what she was feeling and I struggled to put 2 and 2 together. But we worked through it and her confidence came right back.

    Pic from yesterday. It was 102 and 86% RH but she was all in.



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    Last edited by Suns_PSD; 08-20-2018 at 08:48 AM.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suns_PSD View Post
    My wife is really enjoying riding now. Progressing very well.

    CTS is way less inflamed now that her controls are dialed and she is more relaxed.

    I really had her on a rough path for about a ride and a quarter of the next one, as I had over tightened the stem and made the steering a little sticky really upsetting the handling of the bike. She struggled to describe what she was feeling and I struggled to put 2 and 2 together. But we worked through it and her confidence came right back.

    Pic from yesterday. It was 102 and 86% RH but she was all in.



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    The headset bearing should be set with the top cap and the spacers, NOT the stem. The stem should be loose when you set the bearings, then tighten down the stem. You should be able to really torque down on the stem. Do not ride with a loose stem. In no way should having a tight stem affect steering. Please retighten her stem.

  51. #51
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    Sorry if I wasn't clear. The top cap was too tight which clearly is the bearing preload.

    Bearing preload is fixed now and stem (as always) is torqued to spec.

    This thread and many of the contributors have been a wonderful help in my wife's introduction to MTBing being a successful one. If the goal is to assist more people in enjoying the healthy outdoor life style that MTBing brings, we have been a huge success. She loves it and frankly without a lot of assistance, it would not have happened.

    Out of respect for the possible notion that the women's forum, should only be for women, I'm no longer going to post here however.

    To all the wonderful ladies, ride on!

    Edit: I choose not to add a post, but instead just update this one as the info might be useful to someone, down the road.

    My wife was tested and has very light Carpal Tunnel in one hand, it's not really the source of her hand pain. She was holding her bars very awkwardly which was a huge contributor, and fearful having little 2 wheeled experience. She also types a lot, while being in awkward positions.

    Her work life (she is a therapist and carries a heavy bag on her shoulder daily) is a factor according to her PT and effecting her neck which in turn effects the nerves all of the way in her hands. So we will be making some changes there.

    It's funny the paths that life can lead you on, and something as simple as riding a bicycle can be a catalyst. We had already kicked around the idea of her altering her profession in a way that allowed her to spend more time with our child and in the home as that is what she really prefers. I already work a ton as a business owner and that's not going to end until I sell. Something about us spending time together on the bikes, made us both agree that life is a bit too short and that she should pursue some different directions for her profession, that will come with significant pay cuts, but will be rewarding in other ways. I was always the hold out for financial reasons. The goals are mainly more time for our kid, for us, for physical activity together, for better overall health and quality of life. It's not 100% but she is likely to get off the corporate train, do some additional training, and become a part time therapist out of our home. It's funny how life works out and there is zero doubt that getting her on a bike, has made us both suddenly show more interest in quality of life issues. She literally mentions more bike rides as a major factor in her outlook change. Biking is good for the soul.

    ~ take care
    Last edited by Suns_PSD; 08-22-2018 at 02:44 AM.

  52. #52
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    It's been 10 months since I purchased a '17 Giant Anthem SX small for my wife to learn to ride. She had no experience and was only vaguely interested but willing to try so I rolled the dice in the name of athletic and outdoorsy family time with our young daughter. Total pay off!
    After a bumpy start she is a full on mountain biker now. Not only does she ride with me, but also with our 7 year old, with a few friends and ride groups, and even by herself quite often. Her idea of a vacation now includes mountain biking as a family.
    It's been darn expensive but totally worth it. She had some ideas now of what she wanted in her next bike, so I tracked one down for her (last one for years I swear).

    Thanks for all of your help in advising me on helping her get started.

    Her new Mondraker Foxy 27.5 XRSL.



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    Last edited by Suns_PSD; 06-05-2019 at 05:14 AM.

  53. #53
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    ^^Great news!!

  54. #54
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    Love this! So awesome. Mountain biking is life changing for sure. My husband and I (and our kids) started biking all at the same time 2 years ago and it has been the absolute best thing we possibly could have done for our family!

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by mLeier View Post
    Love this! So awesome. Mountain biking is life changing for sure. My husband and I (and our kids) started biking all at the same time 2 years ago and it has been the absolute best thing we possibly could have done for our family!
    I'll tell you another thing was that was not planned, we both, but especially her, look (and feel) notably younger.
    We both use to be really fit but over the last 8 years of baby rearing, business ownership, and frankly too much booze, we had faded from our former glory.
    As of now we are both the most fit we have been since before the baby was born. We are lean and strong and our mid-upper 40s bods aren't much different than they were in our physical prime 20 years ago.
    But also my wife's face looks more youthful, in fact a lot more youthful. She sincerely looks like she went and had some expensive procedure done, but she didn't. Sweat, exercise, less weight, and less stress are the factors here.
    Here is 1 downside: my wife had the first cavities of her life, 2 in fact. She's never had a sweet tooth. I suspect that drinking our sugar filled electrolyte mix, for several hours a week is what caused this. Made worse by the bite valve that places the sugar directly on your teeth.

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  56. #56
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    I could have written that word for word! We are in the best shape of our lives! Same thing. Kids got in the way, drinking got in the way... since we started biking (and fat biking and cross country skiing in the winter) Iíve dropped 50 lbs and my husband has dropped 35. I think we both look better than we ever have and I definitely look and feel younger than I did 10 years ago (Iím 42 now). Itís glorious!!! Itís also been amazing for my husbandís mental health and work related stress. So thankful that we got into this amazing sport. I tell everyone that a mountain bike is the answer to all of lifeís problems.

    In place of sugary electrolyte drinks, we either add lemon juice and a bit of himalayan salt to to our water or sometimes use a magnesium powder drink like Natural Calm that is sweetened with stevia. Both of those are fantastic, natural alternatives to electrolyte drinks and really work well to keep you hydrated and keep the muscle cramps away.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by mLeier View Post
    I could have written that word for word! We are in the best shape of our lives! Same thing. Kids got in the way, drinking got in the way... since we started biking (and fat biking and cross country skiing in the winter) Iíve dropped 50 lbs and my husband has dropped 35. I think we both look better than we ever have and I definitely look and feel younger than I did 10 years ago (Iím 42 now). Itís glorious!!! Itís also been amazing for my husbandís mental health and work related stress. So thankful that we got into this amazing sport. I tell everyone that a mountain bike is the answer to all of lifeís problems.

    In place of sugary electrolyte drinks, we either add lemon juice and a bit of himalayan salt to to our water or sometimes use a magnesium powder drink like Natural Calm that is sweetened with stevia. Both of those are fantastic, natural alternatives to electrolyte drinks and really work well to keep you hydrated and keep the muscle cramps away.
    Thanks for the hydration suggestion, we'll check it out!

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