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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

My daughter (15 years old) is getting hooked into mountain biking, but her current hard tail is not really suited for her. I want to get her a dual suspension frame that will allow her to enjoy the sport and become more adept and confident, but I have a limited budget. I would be building it myself with all the parts from her current bike, which are pretty good.

I've looked at the Santa Cruz Juliana, but at $900+tax for the frame is a bit out of range right now. JensonUSA has a very good deal for some OEM KHS XC 204 four bar (no horst link) frames at $269 + shipping.

I don't really know the KHS frame nor any of the quirks on that suspension design. Does anyone know if this is a good frame to go with or whether I should wait and try to get the Juliana?

Any other thoughts or recommendations?

Thanks to everyone!
 

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Orthie251 said:
Hello,

My daughter (15 years old) is getting hooked into mountain biking, but her current hard tail is not really suited for her. I want to get her a dual suspension frame that will allow her to enjoy the sport and become more adept and confident, but I have a limited budget. I would be building it myself with all the parts from her current bike, which are pretty good.

I've looked at the Santa Cruz Juliana, but at $900+tax for the frame is a bit out of range right now. JensonUSA has a very good deal for some OEM KHS XC 204 four bar (no horst link) frames at $269 + shipping.

I don't really know the KHS frame nor any of the quirks on that suspension design. Does anyone know if this is a good frame to go with or whether I should wait and try to get the Juliana?

Any other thoughts or recommendations?

Thanks to everyone!
The Juliana would be a really good bike, however what sort of lifespan are you expecting out of the bike? At 15 she is still growing and it would be a real shame to get such a nice bike only to have her outgrow it in a year or so.

The KHS is not a bad bike, especially for the money. Might be a good stop gap. It will be heavier then the juliana. Also the stratos coil shock on the KHS will be nothing spectacular. Also even the small KHS is probably going to be bigger then the juliana if sizing is a concern.

Why are you so intent on the FS bikes? You can get some really nice hardtails, for less money and flip them over easier (on the pocket book) as she outgrows them. Plus hardtails teach you better riding skills.

my $.02
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply :)

At 15, I believe my daughter is almost fully grown up. Besides, according to the Santa Cruz sizing webpage, I could either go with a Medium frame and a longer stem or a Large frame and a shorter stem. This last option would cover any future growth, so she could keep the bike for a very long time or hand it down to her sister that is currently 12 years old.

From a price point of view I have to agree with you. I would buy the frame that most closely matches the tob tube measurment of the Large Juliana, which I think is the Medium KHS. Do you think that the KHS being a regular male designed frame, even with the same top tube the fit and/or handling would suffer? What I am afraid of, is that once she has the KHS it would be even harder to justify (from a financial point of view) to go for the Juliana and she would be stuck with the KHS. Do you feel the Juliana is a highly superior frame that justifies the difference in price? Is the rear suspension design much more effective or very similar in performance?

I agree with you on the hardtail teaching you better riding skills. However, when I take my daughters to the trails, she gets really scared going on descents (even really easy ones) with all the bouncing around. I still haven't given her clipless pedals, she is riding on large platform pedals until her handling and control improve significantly. She likes the hardtail on the climbs, but feels very insecure on the descents. That is primarily the main reason I am considering the FS frame, for the added confort and security it will provide. I know the design of the suspension in the Santa Cruz will tend to lock out the suspension when she applies the rear brake, but overall it should give her the added security and confidence to enjoy riding with me and allow her to control her fears.

Her current hardtail is a Marin aluminum hardtail that has a very long top tube for her, so she is using a 50 mm stem that makes the handling of the bike very nervous for her.

my $.02[/QUOTE]
 

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OK, if she likes the feel of the hardtail on the climbs, then that KHS is definately going to be a mistake due to the shock that it has on it. She will be much better off on a Juliana with a shock that has stable platform. The Juliana is a very fine tuned single pivot design. Yes, the back end will tend to lock out the suspension a bit, but because it is a shorter travel bike it will not be as noticable as on a 7" rig.

As for the "male" design VS "female" design the bigger items would be if you purchased the complete bike. Items like seat, smaller grips etc come into play, but as you are looking at a frame only it is not a big issue.

To answer your question if I believe the Juliana is a superior frame to justify the price, When you factor in the frame quality, plus the development of that particular design, plus the better shock, plus the warranty and excellent customer support you will get from Santa Cruz, I really do believe that it is a better option.

Now do I believe that a XC FS bike is going to make your daughter more confident descending? Possibly not. The bouncing around could be largely contributed to what fork she currently has on her existing bike, and also her seating position. Is she sitting or standing for descents?

I remember when I got my first FS bike. It had a first generation RS psylo on the front. It was OK, but I was still nervous descending. Then I got on the Marzocchi wagon and WOW I could not believe how much better a good fork made.

Tag. Your it!

TJ

Orthie251 said:
Thanks for the reply :)

At 15, I believe my daughter is almost fully grown up. Besides, according to the Santa Cruz sizing webpage, I could either go with a Medium frame and a longer stem or a Large frame and a shorter stem. This last option would cover any future growth, so she could keep the bike for a very long time or hand it down to her sister that is currently 12 years old.

From a price point of view I have to agree with you. I would buy the frame that most closely matches the tob tube measurment of the Large Juliana, which I think is the Medium KHS. Do you think that the KHS being a regular male designed frame, even with the same top tube the fit and/or handling would suffer? What I am afraid of, is that once she has the KHS it would be even harder to justify (from a financial point of view) to go for the Juliana and she would be stuck with the KHS. Do you feel the Juliana is a highly superior frame that justifies the difference in price? Is the rear suspension design much more effective or very similar in performance?

I agree with you on the hardtail teaching you better riding skills. However, when I take my daughters to the trails, she gets really scared going on descents (even really easy ones) with all the bouncing around. I still haven't given her clipless pedals, she is riding on large platform pedals until her handling and control improve significantly. She likes the hardtail on the climbs, but feels very insecure on the descents. That is primarily the main reason I am considering the FS frame, for the added confort and security it will provide. I know the design of the suspension in the Santa Cruz will tend to lock out the suspension when she applies the rear brake, but overall it should give her the added security and confidence to enjoy riding with me and allow her to control her fears.

Her current hardtail is a Marin aluminum hardtail that has a very long top tube for her, so she is using a 50 mm stem that makes the handling of the bike very nervous for her.

my $.02
[/QUOTE]
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for all the valid points you make. She is using an older Marzocchi fork that is surely in need of an overhaul and getting springs that are suitable for her weight. I guess I should take care of that first, and then see how it improves her feeling of the bike. It is an 80 mm fork, but it should feel like new with fresh oil and new springs! I'll also work on her technique and have her try tubeless tires so she can run lower pressures and use that extra cushioning as well. I know I love it!

After these changes, I'll review how she feels and decide if it makes sense to get a Juliana for her, or if she's happy with her hardtail and so on... :)

Thanks again for the very good points you brought up! They were very helpful.
 

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Orthie251 said:
Thank you for all the valid points you make. She is using an older Marzocchi fork that is surely in need of an overhaul and getting springs that are suitable for her weight. I guess I should take care of that first, and then see how it improves her feeling of the bike. It is an 80 mm fork, but it should feel like new with fresh oil and new springs! I'll also work on her technique and have her try tubeless tires so she can run lower pressures and use that extra cushioning as well. I know I love it!

After these changes, I'll review how she feels and decide if it makes sense to get a Juliana for her, or if she's happy with her hardtail and so on... :)

Thanks again for the very good points you brought up! They were very helpful.
Oh there is still more, possibly widen the bars to make the front less twitchy, You are spot on with the tubeless to add a bit as well. Rebuild that Marzocchi. Make sure the damping characteristics are OK and the thing isnt just a pogostick. Pogosticks have their place in society, just not attached to a mountain bike :D

All those items combined should be less then the KHS and might make all the difference. Plus tinkering on bikes is fun!
 

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So why would the KHS be such a bad choice? I just bought one and I'm real happy with it thus far. The rear shock seems pretty nice to me, rebound adjust only, but geez, my fork is rebound only too.

This is my first full squish bike too, I just wanted to smooth out the washboardy stuff. YMMV, as I am a clydesdale.
 

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RidgeRunner said:
So why would the KHS be such a bad choice? I just bought one and I'm real happy with it thus far. The rear shock seems pretty nice to me, rebound adjust only, but geez, my fork is rebound only too.

This is my first full squish bike too, I just wanted to smooth out the washboardy stuff. YMMV, as I am a clydesdale.
Not a bad choice, just when compared to a Juliana with a stable platform shock it is not as nice a choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
006_007 said:
Would look better on a Juliana ;)
Hey, hey, no need to argue! :)

I found a medium size GT i-Drive Team (yellow and blue) brand new in Supergo for $299. They didn't have any smalls left, but I cannot find the measurment of the top tube for the medium frame online. The reviews are great about this frame. Any thoughts about it? I fear it may be too long horizontally, but since it is not built up, it is difficult for me to compare it to my daughter's current hardtail (2001 Marin Nail Trail - yellow). Her Marin is a 15" frame with a top tube that I have estimated to be around 23" or close to that.

According to the Santa Cruz Juliana website, the Large frame has a top tube length of 22.5"

Thanks again! :)
 

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There are a few similarities here with my wife (although she's not 15!). She got hooked riding just over a year ago, starting off on a Trek 4500 hardtail. At first she was very scared of downhills - even easy ones. I noticed the stock Rockshox Judy fork was not really working well for her light weight (110 lbs). It basically wasn't moving and transmitted all the bumps and vibration through the bars. I replaced it with a Rockshox SID and this really transformed the whole bike for her. She was very surprised at the difference - especially since the two forks visually look almost identical! Anyway her confidence grew, but she was still a little limited by lack of rear suspension - since we tend to ride pretty technical singletrack most of the time.

For Christmas, she went the whole hog and bought a Ventana El Saltamontes with 5" travel front and rear. This is simply a stunning trail bike with capability far in excess of her current riding skills (or mine too for that matter). Interestingly, she was actually slower on it for the first couple of rides while she adjusted to the rear suspension and longer travel. Despite this she loved it from the start and soon realised she could ride more technical terrain up and downhill. Now she's moved on another level and really starting to get the benefit of this investment.

So my points are this:-

It's a good idea to get your daughter a top quality FS bike if she's serious about mountain biking. It will make her a better rider if she sticks with it.

You don't need to buy a women's specific model (this is mainly marketing BS anyway). In fact the likes of Ventana and Turner don't even bother to try this patronising marketing trick.

A well respected UK magazine recently reviewed the market for top end women's specific bikes (including the Juliana and Specialised FSR) and concluded that a custom build from Ventana or Turner was a better bet for the money. They considered the FSR good value and the Juliana over-priced (hence the custom recommendation)

Hope this helps a little
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you! :)

Hope this helps a little[/QUOTE]

Yes it does! :)
I am waiting for the arrival of a Small GT i-Drive team frame (dual suspension - short travel) so I can build it up for my daughter. The frame is on sale at Supergo for $299, which I think is a great deal as this was a top of the line frame in 2001 and all I've read about the i-Drive system is very positive. I think it will allow my daughter to achieve what she is looking for without spending a lot of money at this point.

If in the future she becomes really hooked on mountain biking, then I know there are many other options out there. I would definitely try to get her a Titus Racer-X, which is what I ride.

Thanks for all your feedback!
 

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Orthie251 said:
Hope this helps a little
Yes it does! :)
I am waiting for the arrival of a Small GT i-Drive team frame (dual suspension - short travel) so I can build it up for my daughter. The frame is on sale at Supergo for $299, which I think is a great deal as this was a top of the line frame in 2001 and all I've read about the i-Drive system is very positive. I think it will allow my daughter to achieve what she is looking for without spending a lot of money at this point.

If in the future she becomes really hooked on mountain biking, then I know there are many other options out there. I would definitely try to get her a Titus Racer-X, which is what I ride.

Thanks for all your feedback![/QUOTE]

No problem. Hope she enjoys the GT and keeps on riding!
 
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