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Hello all,

I'm buying my girlfriend a bike for christmas and after reading countless threads I've nailed it down between two, maybe three bikes.

She is 5'6" was a competitive runner in college, good roadbiker and has been on a MTB in mammoth a few times. I ride XC on a GT iDrive 3" suspension in the rear and 100mm up front locally in Orange County, nothing crazy but have been riding for almost 10 years.

The two bikes im looking at are a Specialized Safire and Era, and maybe a Santa Cruz Juliana. My thinking is that any of them would be more bike than she needs but would definitely leave room to grow into. I think the Safire might be a better choice since it has more suspension and maybe she would feel more comfortable because of that, I'm more of an XC person though so if it was up to me it would be the Era. I just want her to have as much fun as I do in the saddle.

What do you ladies think? Era, Safire, or Juliana.

Thanks in advance for your advice
 

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Slothful dirt hippie
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If she's interested in XC, throw the Giant Anthem X into the mix. Got husband an Anthem this year and it is really amazing- I'll definitely be trying one when bike shopping time comes.
 

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Slothful dirt hippie
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Yeah, pretty hard to beat 4" of decent rear sus design + Fox F series fork + they can be (re)built under 25 lbs. Especially at the price they're asking.
 

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You could add the Giant Cypher or Trance X bikes series, Spec. Stumpjumper FSR or the FSR XC even the top of the line Myka FSR Expert is very reasonably priced with 100mm travel Now toss in the Trek Fuel EX series (and WSD)

Head angle

Safire, Stumpy FSR, FSR XC, Myka is 68.5 degrees very stable and upright riding position

Trek Fuel EX series is 69 degrees

Giant Cypher and Trance X series is 69.5

ERA is 70 degrees and pehaps to twitchy for her starting out?

Not sure about the SC Juliana

I think the best bang for the buck is the Giant bikes and last I checked Giant still had 09 leftovers available for great prices. I personally hate the Specialized cable routing under the BB and the tight everthing in the swingarm pivot area. Love the ABP and Floater on the Trek and the Maestro on the Giant. 15mm front axle on the Giant as well.

Oh, if I has to pick between your 3 I would go Safire. Great do it all bike with nice riding position, very low standover height and pretty light.
 

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Currently I own an Anthem-W (2008), and a new S Works Safire. The Anthem has me more in an XC, stretched out kind of an 'attack' position. I toned that down a bit by changing the handlebar to a Race Face carbon with a bit more rise, and it also took the sting from the vibrations. I love carbon bars for that.

The Safire has a more upright position, with a shorter toptube. I lowered the stem by two spacers to get me a little lower on the front and that has improved the feel; I guess I am used to the way the Anthem is setup as I've had it longer. The Safire is great for trailriding and the extra suspension (and I guess that 'Brain' shock) has me clearing stuff that had me walking or 'tiptoeing' over on the Anthem as mine only has 3.5" travel.

The Trance is an excellent bike if the 4" of travel on the current Anthem is not enough; Maestro suspension is awesome. I must say, for trail riding, nothing beats having that extra travel when you hit the rock gardens.
 
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