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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited by Moderator)
Hi all!

My wife and I are relatively new to mountain biking but both really enjoy the sport. I bought an old Trek FS bike for my wife at the end of last year and she wants to upgrade to something a little better. The old one has 26" wheels and she doesn't like the shifting setup. So I have been asking some friends what to upgrade to and have been getting a ton of different feedback. I have narrowed it down to a couple of options and I wanted some experienced input.

Option 1 - I found a 2016 Specialized Rhyme FSR Comp 650B in mint condition for a fair price from a private party.
Option 2 - Look for a new hardtail that has decent specs - i.e. Trek Marlin, Roscoe, etc.

My budget is about $1500. Less is obviously better but I want her to have something she is happy with and can get better on. A good friend says to drop her down to a hardtail to learn on, but my thought is why spend almost the same amount of money on a new hardtail when I can get an older bike with better components for about the same price...? Has the geometry of bikes really changed that much in 5 years? Also the trails around my area are excellent but have a lot of roots and boulders so I feel like a hardtail would be a little rougher to travel over stuff. Again, I'm just learning myself so any feedback would be greatly appreciated!!
1938782
 

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A two to three year old mid level full suspension 29” wheel [better roll over less chance of crashing] bike in the used market should be in that price range. One that was originally 3K. She’d be in newer geometry with decent components and she’ll be happy and can get better on. Happy wife happy life.
 
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It is utter BS that someone should start with a hardtail to learn to ride better. Proper line choice and riding technique are the same, regardless of whether you are riding a full rigid, hardtail, or FS bike. This is coming from someone that started on full rigid bikes (when that was all there is) and still chooses my hardtail for most rides.

The far more important issues are:

1) What bike fits properly? If the bike is the wrong size, it doesn't matter how good it is, or how great of a deal there is to be had, it is no deal.
2) What bike does your wife like? If she doesn't like it, nothing else matters.

I would be inclined towards the Rhyme if she likes it and it fits. It's geometry is reasonably modern (67 head angle) and the full suspension will give her an extra margin of error and be more comfortable. I would invest $100-150 after getting it and convert it to 1x10, which will make it easier to ride and require less thought for your wife. Simply remove the front derailleur, get a 1x chainring (30t is probably a good start) and a Sunrace 11-42 cassette. Also spend a bit of time getting the suspension set up for your wife. Finally, depending on her riding skills and interest, you may want to find a women's riding clinic, which is run by women and have women participants. They are helpful and most women enjoy them as they are supportive and lack the bro "just send it" mentality (what motivates us as guys seems to be off putting to most women).
 

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I'd get the Rhyme if it fits. Better act fast, it's a seller's market! The CTD Evo rear shock is a bit bleah, but at least it doesn't have the CTD Evo fork.

Agree with the 1x10 conversion, although I'd go with an 11-46 Sunrace cassette and the 30t chainring. I think this is what I have on my bike. Also have a Wolf Tooth Goatlink.
 

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I'd get the Rhyme if it fits. Better act fast, it's a seller's market! The CTD Evo rear shock is a bit bleah, but at least it doesn't have the CTD Evo fork.

Agree with the 1x10 conversion, although I'd go with an 11-46 Sunrace cassette and the 30t chainring. I think this is what I have on my bike. Also have a Wolf Tooth Goatlink.
Goatlinks only work for Shimano, the Rhyme has SRAM. I would have suggested the 11-46, but it appears it doesn’t play nice on 10 speed SRAM.
 

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When considering a HT, the questions to ask are how old is your wife and how sturdy is her backside? I'm kidding but I'm serious. If she's over 40 I probably wouldn't consider a hardtail. And the other big question is what are the trails like that you'll be riding? If she loves downhill or the riding is technical (rocks and roots) than I probably would not consider a HT.

Ultimately I think the most important things are the bike is a modern 29er that you won't sink a lot of money into for upgrades and that it's a correctly sized bike that your wife will WANT to ride. If she doesn't love the bike, she won't ride as much and could give up on the sport. But those things considered, I'd definitely consider a hardtail. At $1500, you'll get more hardtail than FS, if that makes sense.

Good places to look for used bikes are Craigslist and FB marketplace. You could consider ebay but only search local listings. Shipping adds cost and you want to be able to walk away from the purchase if the bike isn't as represented. Look for scams, if you have a question on a specific bike, start a thread here and the pros can steer you away.
 

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People keep saying that the OP should get his wife a 29er, with the information we have, a blanket recommendation of one is not good. I love 29" bikes, having gone to one for my trail bike and am having Waltworks build me a 29" hardtail to replace my 27.5" plus that I thought was my last hardtail frame ever. That said, I am 6' tall. 29" is great for taller riders, but as we are seeing, a lot of riders under 6' tall are liking mullets, as the smaller rear wheel provides them additional needed clearance. Women on average are shorter than men (the average height of an adult woman in the USA is 5'4", 95% are under 5'8"). At 5'8" or shorter, many riders prefer a 27.5" wheeled bike. Unless the OP's wife is much taller than average, it is likely that a 27.5" bike will be a better fit for her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the feedback! So to add a little info to help with recommendations. My wife is 30 years old and about 5' 3". We live in the upper peninsula of Michigan which has lots of roots and rocks on the majority of trails. There are obviously flowy trails and jump trails too but the ones we live closest to and bike the most are more natural. The Rhyme is about a 3 hour drive from me which is why I want some feedback before driving down there for her to test ride it. The frame size is a small with 27.5" wheels. So it should fit her fine.

I'm leaning toward driving down to check it out and have her test ride it. I don't know that there will be trails near where the owner lives. So what should I be looking for to make sure it fits her well?
 

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Thanks for all the feedback! So to add a little info to help with recommendations. My wife is 30 years old and about 5' 3". We live in the upper peninsula of Michigan which has lots of roots and rocks on the majority of trails. There are obviously flowy trails and jump trails too but the ones we live closest to and bike the most are more natural. The Rhyme is about a 3 hour drive from me which is why I want some feedback before driving down there for her to test ride it. The frame size is a small with 27.5" wheels. So it should fit her fine.
Given this new info, I'd think FS and 27.5 is the way to go here. Down the road, a hardtail would be a nice change up but if the close trails are more rooty then she'll be happier on a FS. And Cary makes some good points, at 63" tall a 29er would feel awkward and could be difficult for a novice rider to handle.
 
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If your wife is 5'3", you definitely don't need a 29er. My wife is just a bit taller than that and 27.5 already feels like a tractor for her sometimes.

You're right about the trails in the UP; they're pretty much all rocky and rooty. Since your wife has been riding a full suspension up to this point, she's likely not going to be too happy with how she feels on a hardtail. Regardless of how smooth she rides, it still tends to beat you up more.

If it was me, I would be sticking with a full suspension for her so she stays more comfortable. The last thing you want is for her to not want to ride much because she feels beat up on her bike.

I would factor the cost of a service in to that Rhyme, though. I looked at the listing and it's only been used a handful of times, so it's likely not been kept up with services. It's the one I would be leaning towards, though.
 

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Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the feedback! So to add a little info to help with recommendations. My wife is 30 years old and about 5' 3". We live in the upper peninsula of Michigan which has lots of roots and rocks on the majority of trails. There are obviously flowy trails and jump trails too but the ones we live closest to and bike the most are more natural. The Rhyme is about a 3 hour drive from me which is why I want some feedback before driving down there for her to test ride it. The frame size is a small with 27.5" wheels. So it should fit her fine.

I'm leaning toward driving down to check it out and have her test ride it. I don't know that there will be trails near where the owner lives. So what should I be looking for to make sure it fits her well?
At 5'3" the small should be a good fit. Unless she is oddly proportioned, any fitment issues should be easily corrected by saddle adjustment, bar height, and possibly changing the stem if needed. I would expect it to fit pretty well out of the box.

I would suggest taking both a shock and floor pump with you so you can set up the suspension and tires reasonably close for her. Having it too stiff or too soft will massively change how the bike feels. The good news is that the bike has the Autosag shock which makes setting up the rear easier. Go here and download the manual for instructions (page 11 and page 12):


For the fork go here, put in the info and it will give a baseline starting point:


Finally, set the tires at 17/20 to start and the saddle height. That should get everything pretty close and get her a good feel of if she likes the bike. Remember, it will likely feel a lot different than the intense she is on, less pedal bob, longer feeling sitting and standing, slower steering. That is all normal and while it may feel a bit strange at first, after a quick adaptation, results in a more stable bike that will be more confident inspiring,
 

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Goatlinks only work for Shimano, the Rhyme has SRAM. I would have suggested the 11-46, but it appears it doesn’t play nice on 10 speed SRAM.
1. Do not get your wife a hardtail if she's already on a FS and wants to upgrade.

2. If you go with the rhyme and it has an old 10speed group, for under $200 you can be into a shimano 1x11 setup. SLX 11sp RD's are $50 at jenson, shifters are about the same, and a cassette can be had for about $100. Get the smallest front ring you can find, likely a 30T, and you're in business. Worth it if you ask me.

-DS
 

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1. Do not get your wife a hardtail if she's already on a FS and wants to upgrade.

2. If you go with the rhyme and it has an old 10speed group, for under $200 you can be into a shimano 1x11 setup. SLX 11sp RD's are $50 at jenson, shifters are about the same, and a cassette can be had for about $100. Get the smallest front ring you can find, likely a 30T, and you're in business. Worth it if you ask me.

-DS
Great suggestion. I didn’t realize 11 speed could be had for that good of a price. I would recommend this over my sunrace suggestion, as the 11 speed was designed from the ground up for an 11-46.
 

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I'm a taller gal at 5'9"and I can handle a 29er just fine. It's what I prefer. My shorter friends, though, do not do well with 29ers. Before you choose and buy something for her, rather than guess, my suggestion is to let her make the decision. Have her test ride a variety of bikes and listen to her, carefully, about what she does and does not like. I agree about FS. If she's been riding one, already, I doubt she'll fall in love with a hardtail, but you never know. Again, her decision.
 

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Hi all!

My wife and I are relatively new to mountain biking but both really enjoy the sport. I bought an old Trek FS bike for my wife at the end of last year and she wants to upgrade to something a little better. The old one has 26" wheels and she doesn't like the shifting setup. So I have been asking some friends what to upgrade to and have been getting a ton of different feedback. I have narrowed it down to a couple of options and I wanted some experienced input.

Option 1 - I found a 2016 Specialized Rhyme FSR Comp 650B in mint condition for a fair price from a private party.
Option 2 - Look for a new hardtail that has decent specs - i.e. Trek Marlin, Roscoe, etc.

My budget is about $1500. Less is obviously better but I want her to have something she is happy with and can get better on. A good friend says to drop her down to a hardtail to learn on, but my thought is why spend almost the same amount of money on a new hardtail when I can get an older bike with better components for about the same price...? Has the geometry of bikes really changed that much in 5 years? Also the trails around my area are excellent but have a lot of roots and boulders so I feel like a hardtail would be a little rougher to travel over stuff. Again, I'm just learning myself so any feedback would be greatly appreciated!! View attachment 1938782
Hi all!

My wife and I are relatively new to mountain biking but both really enjoy the sport. I bought an old Trek FS bike for my wife at the end of last year and she wants to upgrade to something a little better. The old one has 26" wheels and she doesn't like the shifting setup. So I have been asking some friends what to upgrade to and have been getting a ton of different feedback. I have narrowed it down to a couple of options and I wanted some experienced input.

Option 1 - I found a 2016 Specialized Rhyme FSR Comp 650B in mint condition for a fair price from a private party.
Option 2 - Look for a new hardtail that has decent specs - i.e. Trek Marlin, Roscoe, etc.

My budget is about $1500. Less is obviously better but I want her to have something she is happy with and can get better on. A good friend says to drop her down to a hardtail to learn on, but my thought is why spend almost the same amount of money on a new hardtail when I can get an older bike with better components for about the same price...? Has the geometry of bikes really changed that much in 5 years? Also the trails around my area are excellent but have a lot of roots and boulders so I feel like a hardtail would be a little rougher to travel over stuff. Again, I'm just learning myself so any feedback would be greatly appreciated!! View attachment 1938782
wife and I both bought used bikes January and March of this year, here’s our experience. I bought my FS Fezzari signal peak off a Craigslist ad and was able to ride it and see in person. It was really well taken care of and have had no issues other than regular maintenance. Bought the wife 5’5” 120 a 2017 trek ex 8 27.5+ off pink bike for $1600 shipped. Price too good to be true. Guy lied about condition it needed a lot of maintenance done. Luckily really expensive things like shocks and frame were good, tires were even fair! We’ve spent over $600 getting it revamped and then modified to fit her better. That said it was money well spent and it rides really nicely, the 27.5+ 2.8 tires work so well, I put the 29” 2.6 I’d bought for her to try just in case, on my bike replacing 2.35’s. We’re very new to biking but we have trails within a mile of our house so we ride at least 3 times a week. We have both progressed a lot with everything, speed, handling, braking and track stands! She confidently rides down some steep stuff and over a lot of KC rock gardens. My approach was bikes are holding their values so get FS bikes and learn on them if not we can sell, we have older hybrids we can ride on the street. Also the option to have both 29 and 27.5+ tires and since I bought an extra set we can swap or Mullet if we have an issue and won’t need an instant repair. I realize this was more than some can spend especially after buying a hitch tray rack and tools to work on bikes, oh yeah and quality Kryptonite locks! Oh yeah and quality knee and elbow pads and helmets! I went overboard there and bought Sena mesh intercom helmets, so cool and safe if we get separated. This is a big investment for us and I imagine for you also, we recently took a trip to Utah and rode some amazing trails I never would’ve thought we could do. Thunder mountain with its higher elevation was our most taxing, but her bike having the more controlled tires and being modified to fit her better (rise handlebars and cut to fit her and shortened stem helped alot she’s on a M but in between a M and S bike). My pricing on bikes seems what I’ve heard alot of near 2k for a decent one. But there are alot of factors to consider like racks and safety gear. The cheaper you buy the more you should expect to have to repair, shocks and frames are pricey! This was just our experience in the last 7 months of ownership and riding! Hope it helps Enjoy
 

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At 5'3" the small should be a good fit. Unless she is oddly proportioned, any fitment issues should be easily corrected by saddle adjustment, bar height, and possibly changing the stem if needed. I would expect it to fit pretty well out of the box.

I would suggest taking both a shock and floor pump with you so you can set up the suspension and tires reasonably close for her. Having it too stiff or too soft will massively change how the bike feels. The good news is that the bike has the Autosag shock which makes setting up the rear easier. Go here and download the manual for instructions (page 11 and page 12):


For the fork go here, put in the info and it will give a baseline starting point:


Finally, set the tires at 17/20 to start and the saddle height. That should get everything pretty close and get her a good feel of if she likes the bike. Remember, it will likely feel a lot different than the intense she is on, less pedal bob, longer feeling sitting and standing, slower steering. That is all normal and while it may feel a bit strange at first, after a quick adaptation, results in a more stable bike that will be more confident inspiring,
That’s great advice on setting up a bike for her test ride, setting the shock and rebound will make a big difference in how it rides and feels. 👍🏼
 
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