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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to buy my wife a new MTB. She's been riding a 10-year-old (or older) Trek 6000 hardtail. It works, but hey—it's old and heavy.

She has back issues...so I'm thinking an FS bike (26") would be great. I realize you get what you pay for (I ride a GF HiFi Pro)...but I don't have a ton of money to spend. I can spend up to $600, that's about it.

So I'd love to hear if it's possible to buy a decent FS bike new for $600...or if that's being unrealistic? I'd consider a better bike second-hand too.

She's not a hardcore rider and weighs about 140lbs, so she's not likely to beat the heck out of whatever she rides (though she'll definitely hurl herself at some tough trails sometimes!).

I figure for $600 I could get something better than the old Trek she's riding now.

Any ideas/recommendations are appreciated!

Scott

EDIT: Bikes Direct has some bikes that *look* fairly decent, but I don't know much about the components (particularly rear shocks with springs, since I've only ridden a Fox Float shock. Here's one, for example—how does this look?
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/600ds.htm
 

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SWriverstone said:
I'm looking to buy my wife a new MTB. She's been riding a 10-year-old (or older) Trek 6000 hardtail. It works, but hey—it's old and heavy.

She has back issues...so I'm thinking an FS bike (26") would be great. I realize you get what you pay for (I ride a GF HiFi Pro)...but I don't have a ton of money to spend. I can spend up to $600, that's about it.

So I'd love to hear if it's possible to buy a decent FS bike new for $600...or if that's being unrealistic? I'd consider a better bike second-hand too.

She's not a hardcore rider and weighs about 140lbs, so she's not likely to beat the heck out of whatever she rides (though she'll definitely hurl herself at some tough trails sometimes!).

I figure for $600 I could get something better than the old Trek she's riding now.

Any ideas/recommendations are appreciated!

Scott

EDIT: Bikes Direct has some bikes that *look* fairly decent, but I don't know much about the components (particularly rear shocks with springs, since I've only ridden a Fox Float shock. Here's one, for example—how does this look?
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/600ds.htm
New $600 FS bikes are low end and heavy. Her 6000 hardtail is probably better and lighter. Look for a reasonable used bike.
 

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Call the glass half empty---- but I would be in the NO camp. It is hard to find a decent hardtail for 600 let alone FS. If you are set on FS and that amount- go to the used market and you could probably do ok. I was on a kick of trying to get a new hardtail, so I did lots of looking around at many manufacturers and the "decent" HT's start around 1k.
 

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I saw a couple of decent GTs on eBay the other day. They were new but closeouts. One was an XS Marathon Sport and the other was a small Marathon Elite women's specific. They may still be listed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
shiggy said:
New $600 FS bikes are low end and heavy. Her 6000 hardtail is probably better and lighter. Look for a reasonable used bike.
Thanks shiggy—so would you say the Motobecane at Bikes Direct (see link above) is low end and heavy too? (I never know what to think when they say "Retail: $1200, On Sale for $559.")

Scott
 

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Better in that price range to buy a good used higher end bike, I think.

Great deals can be had yeilding $1500 performance for much less paid.

eBayyyy......
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm still hoping someone knowledgable can look at the specs on that Motobecane I linked in the original post and tell me if they think it's crap or decent?

I have this notion (not sure where it came from?) that any rear shock with a spring is gonna be total crap...but then I remember than DH bikes have springs...

There's also this Motobecane for $799...
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/fantomtrail_ds08.htm
Different suspension design, maybe better?

Again, she won't ride nearly as often as I do, so I don't think durability is as important (but sure, I don't want a piece of junk that will break on the 10th ride...)

Scott
 

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You may also want to consider a 29er hardtail. The big wheels can smooth things out quite a bit, however, given your wife's weight, she may not be large enough for a 29er to be a good choice for her.

Given her back problems, I believe the proper fit will be the most important factor for her comfort. The effective top tube length is usually the most crucial fitting point. The wrong length can cause or agitate back problems as well as bike handling issues (such as if a longer stem is used to compensate for a too short top tube).

-Pete
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good points Pedalphile. I ride a 29er and she's a big roadie too...so she might like a 29er. I want this to be a surprise...but that's looking more and more difficult to pull off! LOL Might be better to just tell her—then we can go test some bikes—better for her in the long run.

Scott
 

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For that price you obviously can't expect too much and, like you said, your wife isn't going to be DHing it so my guess the Motobecane would be OK but not great depending on what your definition of a tough trail is. I don't think I'd choose Motobecane as my primary ride for serious AM for 5-6 day a week riding longterm but that doesn't sound like what your wife is intending.

That being said, it looks a little heavy, pedals might be a somewhat flimsy (steel and resin plastipedals), and I've heard some people don't care for Dart forks (while others apparently like them). Overall, I've met people who really like Motobecane and others who think that they're only a few steps above big-box bikes (their interpretation - not mine).

IMO and like others have said, if you're willing to be patient and know what you're looking for, buying a somewhat higher-end (gently) used FS rig might pay off in the longer run in terms of satisfaction and for not much more coin.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This is the old Trek 6000 she has now...(but without the toeclips—we put SPDs on it). Manitou forks, center-pull brakes.



I could always upgrade this bike...but it might not be worth it (as other said, looking for a used quality bike is prolly best...)

Scott
 

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I think that Motebecane 600 looks like crap.

A Y-frame!? and it's got one of those extra stays, too - at least the Treks and Specializeds that had that frame style made an effort. :p I wouldn't consider the full-suspension aspect to be value-added. The spec looks like a $700 hardtail to me, which is much more in line with what I think bikesdirect's real savings are.

The 800 looks a little more realistic, I suppose, but I'd be disinclined to trust an off-brand coil-over shock.

A friend of mine picked up a Giant Trance a while ago for $600. He's pretty happy with it, and it has a nice build. I was mad at him - it's nicer than my bike.

It's "that time of year" so maybe after you do your taxes, your budget will change. ;)
 

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First up, ignore the "list" price on the bikesdirect website. They're the only seller, so list price doesn't really matter. Just compare components based on actual prices.

Regarding the Fantom trail DS: It's an ok bike for the price. The Dart 3 is fairly common on beginner bikes, and quite a bit nicer than the dart 2 or some of the suntour options you'll find on bikes in similar price ranges. My wife's myka hardtail has a dart 3 and it's a lot nicer than the suntour that came on my giant hardtail.
General pros: If you're absolutely set on FS and on a new bike, then the bikesdirect bike will probably get you the most for your money (short of finding crazy closeout deals).
Cons: No ability to test fit before buying, unknown rear shock, a hardtail at the same price will have better components
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the input.

Here I was hoping someone would post up with "Yeah man, I bought a cheapo FS bike for $500 and hammered the heck out of it for three years and it worked great—I even won a couple races on it!" :D

But that's fantasy...or is it? :)

Scott
 

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SWriverstone said:
Thanks shiggy—so would you say the Motobecane at Bikes Direct (see link above) is low end and heavy too? (I never know what to think when they say "Retail: $1200, On Sale for $559.")

Scott
Yes, I would. The fork and shock are very basic. Mostly Alivio drivetrain, 12-28 8-sp cassette, cheap crankset. Cheap brakes. Basic frame design that is not really worth upgrading. Would be very surprised if it weighs less than 30 pounds. Would consider it a downgrade from the 6000.

The second motobecane is better, though it uses the same fork and shock.
 

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How about a good suspension post for the bike she's riding now?
 

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I got a used 2007 Specialized FSR XC Rim for $700, and it's great. It's probably just as light as my hardtail. The previous owner had upgraded it to discs (bb5's :() as an added bonus. I was looking on Craigslist forever before I found it. They originally wanted $1000, but I thought that was too much for a bike that retailed for $1200. Eventually (like 2 weeks later they let me know by email) they dropped the price to $700 and that's when I bought it.
 

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SWriverstone said:
Thanks for the input.

Here I was hoping someone would post up with "Yeah man, I bought a cheapo FS bike for $500 and hammered the heck out of it for three years and it worked great—I even won a couple races on it!" :D

But that's fantasy...or is it? :)

Scott
I guess it's up to the rider. I've seen someone on a Motobecane 600DS holding their own at a 24 hour race. The ride quality and longevity of parts won't compare to a higher end FS, but it'll work.
 

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At risk of asking a stupid question...

OP, are you sure that it's the pounding that's aggravating your wife's back? A lot of women, especially smaller ones and especially on older bikes, are riding bikes that don't fit. That makes everything hurt, but the pain usually starts at a weak point, like an old back injury.

Does she get pain riding her road bike? How do the riding positions compare? If her road bike works for her, her MTB position should be pretty similar. She shouldn't have an arched back riding either bike, but may get away with it on the road bike; riding trails will really punish that. Another way of asking this is, if she rode her mountain bike on the road for a while, would it hurt her?
 
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