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my girl rides also
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
....and I wonder what you fine ladies would suggest. She's close to 6' and has a bit of a longer torso. Naturally, she wants to do it for all the right reasons, but has no idea what she wants. I've been riding for about 4 years now, my first bike being a hardtail, but in retrospect, I would've loved to have some squish under my postierior. I know the advantages of both, but I want her to feel good about what she's riding, and I want her to feel confident. I've never gone the "buy the girlfriend a bike" route before, and I figured this may be a good place to start, or at least research a little of what I don't know.

Any thoughts? I'm just stoked that she's into giving it a whirl.
 

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Domestic Fowl
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Sometimes it's tough to make recommendations to total newbies becaue they have no frame of reference whatsoever about what they like or dislike or you to tell what's good or bad as far as fit and comfort. It might be worth spending a little time and renting a few bikes. She may figure out that she just flat hates it. Then if you've bought a bike you're stuck with it.

I'd suggest finding a place that rents decent name brand bikes and rent a hardtail and get her out on a trail. Then go back another day and rent a FS bike and ride the same trail again. Riding the same trail allows keeps you from changing too many variables at one time. This will help her figure out what she likes/dislikes about HT vs FS bike.

I'm sure you already realize this, but you'll get a better quality hardtail setup for money than full suspension for the same amount of money. FS bikes cost more because the frames are more expensive to build.

By far, the most important thing about getting a bikes is fit. If you buy a $5000 bike that doesn't fit, the bike is worthless.

So, as far as getting some suggestions on bikes it would be helpful to know your budget range. If you're talking $500 the suggestions you'll get will be different than if you're talking $1500.

FRC
 

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Good for her (and you)!!!!!

What "type" of riding and what's your budget?

Susan

VA2SLOride said:
....and I wonder what you fine ladies would suggest. She's close to 6' and has a bit of a longer torso. Naturally, she wants to do it for all the right reasons, but has no idea what she wants. I've been riding for about 4 years now, my first bike being a hardtail, but in retrospect, I would've loved to have some squish under my postierior. I know the advantages of both, but I want her to feel good about what she's riding, and I want her to feel confident. I've never gone the "buy the girlfriend a bike" route before, and I figured this may be a good place to start, or at least research a little of what I don't know.

Any thoughts? I'm just stoked that she's into giving it a whirl.
 

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my girl rides also
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
susannyny said:
Good for her (and you)!!!!!

What "type" of riding and what's your budget?

Susan
As far as the riding is concerned, I live on CA's central coast (san luis obispo) and it has a little bit of everything, from asphalt paths to decents that'll make certain areas of your body pucker with fear. Naturally, I'm going to start her off easily. It's all pretty rocky around here, so fat tires and a decent fork are key....at least those were my two most memorable confidence builders when I began.

As far as the budget is concerned, I"m thinking that a grand is my ceiling, so chances are a HT is going to be in order.

I mean, I know what I'd get, but I guess I'm checking out the female perspective here....
 

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Don't worry, be happy!
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gift certificate ( or biking goody basket) and let her pick within parameters. If she doesn't like it, or doesn't like the fit, she'll never ride it as much as you'd want her to.

as for the HT/FS debate, I've of the mind that starting out on a HT gives you better bike handling skills.

formica
 

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Bored Carp
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Hardtail singlespeeds are even cheaper... ;-)

Really, though - include these things in the budget and give your GF a real chance to find out if she likes riding:

1. A really nice pair of women's bike shorts.
2. Chamois cream (not Assos, it has menthol - woo! good for guys, surprising for girls;-)
3. upgrade whatever bike you get with a nice women's saddle right away - start with something from the Terry line. You may have to change this later as she get a better idea about what she wants, but this is a pretty good place to start.

You can also get these things and use them with any rental bike.

Also - if you have clipless pedals, make sure she gets some too - she will be better able to keep up and enjoy the ride WITH you, not behind you. Some people are afraid of putting newbies on clipless, but in my experience, if you don't act like they are scary, she won't think they are.

best of luck,
Chuky
 

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i worship Mr T
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a couple thoughts

chuky said:
Hardtail singlespeeds are even cheaper... ;-)

Really, though - include these things in the budget and give your GF a real chance to find out if she likes riding:

1. A really nice pair of women's bike shorts.
2. Chamois cream (not Assos, it has menthol - woo! good for guys, surprising for girls;-)
3. upgrade whatever bike you get with a nice women's saddle right away - start with something from the Terry line. You may have to change this later as she get a better idea about what she wants, but this is a pretty good place to start.

You can also get these things and use them with any rental bike.

Also - if you have clipless pedals, make sure she gets some too - she will be better able to keep up and enjoy the ride WITH you, not behind you. Some people are afraid of putting newbies on clipless, but in my experience, if you don't act like they are scary, she won't think they are.

best of luck,
Chuky
chuky & others provide some good advice - good cycling shorts are a must, as is the opportunity to try out different bikes. if you have the luxury of being able to rent a variety of decent bikes in your area then she would benefit from that. if not, at least go around to different shops and have her try out several different bikes/brands. she will know which is the most comfortable after she has had a chance to ride a few bikes.

i'd vote for a hard tail over FS for her first bike. more bike for you money and she will learn better handling skills.

however, i don't agree about the terry saddle advice. not every female's rear is compatible with a terry saddle. in fact, i know a lot of women's rears that aren't. she may like the saddle that comes with the bike just fine. but if not, let her look at saddles and try a few out until she finds one that suits her. serfa makes some nice saddles as does WTB.

good luck.

rt
 

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What we did......

My SO (boyfriend then) wanted a new bike and I thought I would like one to. We decided that we had no real deadline in getting a bike. So no pressure.

When we first started we would go to a shop and the sales person would put me on a bike and then put him on a better one. This went on for several shops. Finally at one shop, the Sales guy put us both on higher end bikes. I realized almost immediately what I had been missing. I didn't know bikes could be so different. The SG spent time talking to me and knew what questions to ask to get the answers he needed to give me the right bike. After all was done he told me what I needed to look for and said I should go back to the other shops to try again just to make sure I got the right bike. I did but ended up buying my bike from him.

So the lesson?? Well... The first is let her ride as many bikes as possible. Let her talk to as many shops as possible. If she is like me (kinda shy and non-mechanical) then maybe go to the shops ahead of time and let them know what is going to happen. They should be talking to *her* not you. She will be riding she she has to feel and fit good with the bike (hopefully you won't get busted when one of them tells her "oh this is the girl you were talking about)

The biggest thing is that this is fun.
 

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Tiggerr said:
They should be talking to *her* not you.
Huzzah! By jove, I think they've got it! Could you mass email all the shops in North America? Thanks...
Definately going to "ditto" on measures to eliminate butt-rutt. Good shorts are key. If she's not already comfortable wearing spandex, get her baggies. And chamois cream might be a little too creepy for a newbie... nobody uses it until "hey, it would be great if someone made..." crosses their mind. Let her come to that conclusion on her own.
I'm also going to say HT over FS, definately. She already knows how to ride a bike, so a hardtail is going to feel more familiar. And if you're topping out at $1000 you're going to sacrifice a lot by getting a dualie.
Best of luck!
 

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Agree with rt* regarding the saddle issue. I'm still riding the stock Specialized saddle that came with my first bike. It's starting to fall apart and I'm hoping that my LBS will take another stock saddle off a bike that's been sitting and let me have it instead of going another route. Any saddle is going to feel funky if she hasn't been on a bike for a while. Your butt has to get reacquainted with that feeling. That being said if she's in agony every time she rides, she'll want to test out somet others. Everybody's butt like's something different! ;)
 

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If she is kind of girlie, get her a biking skort! I only use mine for commuting, but it is awfully cute. Terry, Pearl Izumi and Adidas make them, as well as others, probably.

As for bikes--another vote for a hardtail. Try both womens specific design and mens. I found WSD to be much more comfortable with the narrower handlebars, shorter stem, etc. But not everyone will. Just have her try the saddle it comes with, unless she can tell in the test ride that it will absolutely not work, and she knows of one that feels better from her other test rides. Personally, I went through painful experiences a Titec Ithys Amore, Terry Butterfly and Fizik Pave and finally found the WTB Speed She, which is now on all 3 of my bikes. An old cheap Specialized womens body geometry was also comfy, but was stolen along with the bike it was on.

If she is worried about scrapes and bruises (some see them as badges of honor, some see them as unsightly), you might also suggest some lightweight armor--knee, shin and elbow.
 

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my girl rides also
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you ladies all very much......we went out yesterday and did some shopping, and she got some really good ideas. It's funny that Tiggerr mentioned the whole "make sure they're talking to *her* and not you" thing. Some of the guys at the shop yesterday started asking me things, but I knew that the bike wasn't going to be for me, so I asked them to "ask her, she's going to be the one riding it" direct thier questions to her. My LBS guys have always been great, and this time was no exception. She rode a couple of bikes around the lot, sat on a few, tried some seats, and they even kept the store open a little late to accomodate us. Good guys.

Anyway, if it comes up, here's the bike she decided on, but not SS, geared. I just gave her some slight suggestions, but she was gung-ho on getting this one.

I went to sleep last night thinking about riding with her.
 

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MallieD said:
Agree with rt* regarding the saddle issue...Everybody's butt like's something different! ;)
I don't think I was clear enough in my first post...

Beginning with a nice women's saddle just increases the potential immediate success rate of the "How to Build a Bike-Riding Girlfriend" project. Eventually, after a few rides or after many rides, she will form an opinion regarding saddles - usually not the first one she tries, which is why the Terry is a nice option:

Terry saddles are available at several price points - you can get a pretty nice one for $50 or so. If after a few real rides (parking lot rides may not be long enough to reveal saddle problems), your GF hates this saddle, then sell it and buy something else. Terry has a recognizable enough name and is pretty popular with the charity ride set. You should be able get a little cash pretty easily - this will help you to keep the saddle expenditures down, important if budget is an issue.

I agree with Mallie D and rt* - the face is not the only unique thing on the human body. In the end, your GF may not even like women's saddles - I ride an Aliante, and in the past have really liked Flite saddles, but it took a lot of buying, selling and borrowing to find out.

Cheers,
C
 

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Yes

chuky said:
I don't think I was clear enough in my first post...

Beginning with a nice women's saddle just increases the potential immediate success rate of the "How to Build a Bike-Riding Girlfriend" project. Eventually, after a few rides or after many rides, she will form an opinion regarding saddles - usually not the first one she tries, which is why the Terry is a nice option:

snip
Wow I can't believe I forgot about the saddle. All the sales guy stuff and I went off the deep end. That is (IMO) a very important part of the fit. I've tried several but right now I am using a Terry. It just seems to fit for now.

VA2SLOride, thats a nice looking bike. Let her have fun.
 

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I wouldn't make a decision on much of anything until she's test ridden a whole bunch of bikes. Including FS or HT, unless price is dictating that - and even then, if she finds what she really wants is a FS bike, maybe you can find something used to start on (I don't mean pick something off of e-bay, I mean if she can test ride it first and it really fits, not just a great deal, etc..). Get what she can afford that she thinks she will actually ride the most. The fastest way to learn is to ride a lot, and then to work on skills, which you can do on any bike.

I learned on a FS bike. I went and shopped and shopped - went to every MTB dealer within several hundred miles of where I lived at the time and test rode TONS of bikes. And I bought a Jekyll for my first bike because it fit well and I liked the feel. And it lasted a few years until I decided I wanted something with more suspension, better disc brakes, etc. And unless in all of her test riding she finds a saddle she's in love with, I'd start with the stock saddle and then change it as necessary. I tried a women's saddle but don't like the extra width that they usually have (remember that you need to easily move behind it, and not just have an extra wide cushy seat), and have been much happier with the men's WTB saddle that came on my Yeti.
 

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Sorry I didn't have a chance to get back to you on this. Seems it doesn't matter .... you took the best route possible (having your GF test drive alot of bikes)!!!

Glad she found one that's just "right" :)

Happy riding!

Susan

VA2SLOride said:
Thank you ladies all very much......we went out yesterday and did some shopping, and she got some really good ideas. It's funny that Tiggerr mentioned the whole "make sure they're talking to *her* and not you" thing. Some of the guys at the shop yesterday started asking me things, but I knew that the bike wasn't going to be for me, so I asked them to "ask her, she's going to be the one riding it" direct thier questions to her. My LBS guys have always been great, and this time was no exception. She rode a couple of bikes around the lot, sat on a few, tried some seats, and they even kept the store open a little late to accomodate us. Good guys.

Anyway, if it comes up, here's the bike she decided on, but not SS, geared. I just gave her some slight suggestions, but she was gung-ho on getting this one.

I went to sleep last night thinking about riding with her.
 

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My Two Cents...

As a newbie rider, I just moved from my Trek hardtail to a Yeti 575. I saw the error of the HT ways when I demoed a Turner 5 Spot (FS, 5 inches of travel) for a week riding the same trails that I had been riding on my HT. I typically ride up Pillar Mountain on the road and then ride the ridge a couple of times and then pop back down to town. While on my HT I focused more on not bouncing off the bike and not so much on picking lines or enjoying the ride itself. The first time on the 5 Spot I immediately felt waaayy more confident riding down the steeper sections, found it easier to climb and focus on picking lines, and smoothing out my pedal stroke. I began aiming for the little jumps, and rocky bits for the pure fun of the ride which I had been completely missing out on on my HT.

So I ordered the Yeti 575. It should be here in the mail today. I'm going to build it up myself with a friend guiding me through it. My advice would have been to start her off on a FS because as a total newbie she should just start developing the love and enjoyment side of MTBing. I play around on the trails so much more now because of FS. You have to look at what you're really after here...and it seems to be enjoyment not developing "skills" at the expense of ease.

Just out of curiousity, why did you buy a stiff, heavy dirt jump bike with stiff, minimal travel fork?
 

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my girl rides also
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Bendette said:
My Two Cents...

So I ordered the Yeti 575. It should be here in the mail today. I'm going to build it up myself with a friend guiding me through it. My advice would have been to start her off on a FS because as a total newbie she should just start developing the love and enjoyment side of MTBing. I play around on the trails so much more now because of FS. You have to look at what you're really after here...and it seems to be enjoyment not developing "skills" at the expense of ease.

Just out of curiousity, why did you buy a stiff, heavy dirt jump bike with stiff, minimal travel fork?
Well, hon....first of all, the bike pictured was just snagged off of CBO's website. Yes, that's the frame that SHE WANTS, and it has yet to be built. Second of all, being the self-proclaimed "Newb" yourself, yes, there's something to be said for enjoyment, but by the same token, there's something to be said for becoming a better bike handler and not relying on suspension as a crutch. Besides, it's her first bike. She know's she's a beginnger, and is looking forward to the challenge of really learning how to develop mastery of the bike. And finally, a FS was out of my price range.
 

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VA2SLOride said:
Well, hon....first of all, the bike pictured was just snagged off of CBO's website. Yes, that's the frame that SHE WANTS, and it has yet to be built. Second of all, being the self-proclaimed "Newb" yourself, yes, there's something to be said for enjoyment, but by the same token, there's something to be said for becoming a better bike handler and not relying on suspension as a crutch. Besides, it's her first bike. She know's she's a beginnger, and is looking forward to the challenge of really learning how to develop mastery of the bike. And finally, a FS was out of my price range.
Dang, dude. 10 yard penalty for unnecessary roughness. :rolleyes:

Maybe I'm misinterpreting your tone, but it comes off a bit condescending. Bendette was just offering up some advice based on her experience and professed her newb status from the beginning. No need to steam roll her. Relax a bit.

Bendette, saw the pics of your new bike. SWEEET! ;)
 

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my girl rides also
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
FreeRangeChicken said:
Dang, dude. 10 yard penalty for unnecessary roughness. :rolleyes:

Maybe I'm misinterpreting your tone, but it comes off a bit condescending. Bendette was just offering up some advice based on her experience and professed her newb status from the beginning. No need to steam roll her. Relax a bit.

Bendette, saw the pics of your new bike. SWEEET! ;)
Yes, FRC, you're right, after reading that again, I suppose that I did come across like an a$$. My bad, and apologies to all. Rough morning.
 
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