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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I know little about bikes, but I want to buy my wife an entry level bike on BD. Can anyone take a look at these specs and give me your opinion on what the best quality set you see, based on the frame and components? The price is about the same between all of them:

Save up to 60% off Mountain Bikes - MTB - Fuji Tahoe 29 PRO

Save up to 60% off new Women's Sizes in Mountain Bikes - MTB - Full Suspension Gravity FSX 1.0

Save Up To 60% Off Women's Mountain Bikes - MTB - Motobecane 300HT Women's Mountain Bikes Specific for women

Women's 29er Save up to 60% off new Hybrid Bicycles | Adventure Hybrid 29er Bikes Mercier Elle Adventure
 

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Well, for starters you listed 4 completely different bikes. How tall is your wife, where will she be riding, and what's your budget? That info is way more crucial than component choice. The Gravity full suspension is by far the worst quality bike out of the ones you listed. It seems like you're looking for under $400...it's wise to stay away from low end full suspension bikes in that budget because they will be heavy, have terrible suspension designs, and a good hardtail will treat her better.
 

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There are a few things to consider...

If you buy online you have no idea if the bike will even be close to fitting your wife. Unless your wife is tall I would never consider a 29er as a first mountain bike for my wife.

But the best advice I can offer is to forget about the online birthday surprise and take your wife down to a local shop so she can try out some bikes and see what she wants to or can ride.

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
yes, they are all pretty different. She basically just wants some type of mountain bike to ride on paved bike trails, maybe some unpaved trails....when we go out with the kids. She is probably 5'7" or so. My budget is something under $350. Basically she just wants a bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great advice....I guess it just seems like to find a bike around the $350 range, it will be a Target or Walmart bike, and I had heard that the BD bikes are pretty good quality for a beginner. Thank you for your thoughts on the 29er.
 

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Well you are in a tough spot because you really want to avoid Target/Walmart. You may want to see if there are any demo or slightly used bikes at a shop.

Your best bet, money wise, is to buy used, but that means you have to know what you are looking at and are able to do maintenance on it to get it to work right. I went that route recently for my wife but it took some looking around to find one that was nearly new, and I still went through it... mew brake pads, chain, trued wheels, etc.

Still take her to a bike shop and at least see what is out there.

John
 

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I see your pain here.

"She basically just wants some type of mountain bike to ride on paved bike trails, maybe some unpaved trails....when we go out with the kids."

If your comfortable pick up and fitting a bike a used bike will allow you to get the nicest bike that your wife could us for serious off road riding.

For just putting around I would suggest looking at REI or another sporting goods store.
The bikes will have about the same component quality (in that price range) as the BD bikes you listed and you can actual test ride them. Performance Bike might have something in this price range as well. The benefit of these suggestion really is you can test ride and you have a better chance that the bike was put together by someone slightly more qualified than you would find at Target/Walmart.
 

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Here's a plan...

At 5'7" you wife is probably around a 16"-17" frame.

If you see a bike on Craigslist find out the year, make, and model. Then go to Bikepedia and find out what it originally came with and the original retail price. There are also reviews on mtbr that will help sort out a low end from a higher end. You can go and search on Google or a particular year that can help with the geometry. Retrobike archives have older catalogs in pdf (adobe) that you can download.

IMHO, you are better off finding an early to mid 2000's hardtail in very good condition with v-brakes.

You should probably stick with the popular brands... such as Specialized, Trek, and Giant. But there are also others like Kona, KHS and Bianchi (big in Europe) that may be worth looking at. Keep away from Next, newer Mongoose (Walmart). etc.

Research components, but in the early 2000's Shimano went from Acera/STX to LX to XT to XTR. LX is good and XT is great stuff, XTR is lighter and performs better, but is probably not worth extra dollars in your wife's case.

I use a 25%-35% rule from MSRP as a guide depending on how old and condition. Of the 3 mountain bikes purchased over the past few years all happened to be from 2001... Schwinn Moab for $150, Specialized Rockhopper Pro for $175 and just recently a Trek 8000 for $400. The Trek is pretty light and still had the nubs on the original tires so it was basically new.

When you look at a bike, make sure the suspension fork work ans doesn't show any leaking, if it is too stiff and doesn't move it probably needs a rebuild. You can probably search for other things to check such as chain rings, hubs etc., but the nice thing about looking at used mountain bikes is that you can usually tell the amount of use because of chain suck, and the various scuffs and scrapes that just happen.

John
 

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As a woman .. I highly recommend that you both visit a local bike shop for their advice. Have her try out different bikes before you buy anything. This will help you both narrow down what she will be most satisfied with.

Have her try a 29'er, and probably should go with a medium size frame around 16" -17" as someone else suggested.
 

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If you are the same or similar height as your wife then it's easy buy the second bike you want, ride that one and your wife ride your main ride.

Rule of thumb if you want your wife to enjoy the sport.
Let her ride a better bike than you, in terms of comfort and control. For example, if you ride a Full Suspension it's stupid to buy your wife a cheap hardtail. You can buy a cheap hardtail and ride it and let your wife ride the FS. Properly set it up for her weight and riding style.

If she's only going to ride on paved road then just by her any hybrid, it's cheaper.
 
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