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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, this if my first post on this forum and I signed up specifically to post this.

My wife and I are thinking about getting mountain bikes this year and I need some guidance on which approach to take.

SOME BACKGROUND FIRST:
Last year I got her into road biking and she loves it. I use to mountain bike back in my teenage years. Started on a crappy Schwinn Moab until I saved up enough to buy a full suspension element race by rocky mountain. (still have the frame, but the paint is chipped and it always squeeked which annoyed me). I eventually started racing it when I found out about Dirt Rag magazine.

Bla bla bla I liked mountain biking but got really tired of all the local trails I could drive to so I eventually bought a Cannondale road bike (which i still have and love). I also got sick of replacing parts on the rocky mountain. (Teenager with limited income)

Now i'm 30, haven't mountain biked since I was 18 and REALLY want to get back into it. My wife has never mountain biked but she loves hiking and she really wants to go biking trips.

WHAT APPROACH SHOULD I TAKE:

1) Been looking at getting 2 2011 or 2010 29er Specialized Rockhoppers (hardtail) from the LBS (maybe they can give credit on some of the crappy components and let me upgrade)

2) Buy frames and components and build our bikes from the ground up (I'm a mechanical engineer by trade and worked as a bicycle mechanic in my college years, have lots of park tools and stand)

3) Buy her a cheap rockhopper and build mine from scratch? I'm not sure I really want a hardtail, I really liked having a full suspension other than the "pogo stick effect". BUT don't want wife to be jealous of my awesome bike.

Also is there any reason why we shouldn't go for 29ers? We're both really use to our road bike sizes. I'm also a big guy, 6'1" and 230 lb. Wife fits better on mens bikes than bikes specifically made for women, she has long legs:)

Total looking to spend on 2 bikes $2500 to $3000 But if we wait a season, we'll have more next year.

Thanks in advance for any wisdom you can provide!!
 

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AVGZ3R0mph said:
Wife fits better on mens bikes than bikes specifically made for women, she has long legs:)
Women's specific bikes are constructed considering the general female proportions. In general, women have longer legs and shorter torsos and arms when compared to men of similar height. Your point would make more sense if you said your wife had short legs.;)

http://www.teamestrogen.com/content/wsdBikes
 

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Welcome to MTBR!

I see in your profile your in PA. I"ll be the first to say. I'm biased towards steal HT's, preferably with 29" wheels. Times have changed since your Element. Suspension is much better, however rear shocks still need serviced and bearings/bushing replaced. IMO, if your not wearing out front or rear suspension. You either are'nt riding enough or have to many bikes.

With a budget of $2.5-3K for two bikes. Maybe consider a coule of used 29" HT's. I've seen lots of nice custum build/ nice parts specs on the clasified and auction every week. You dont get the warrenyt, but alot of frames are only warrented two years anyway.

If you do get biten by the bug. You could always convert the bike you purchase soon into a commuter or SS and build a custum dream bike in a couple of years as you learn and progress.

Ignore the idiot thats going to reply " Get a $6000 Tall Boy, I love mine". Clearly they didnt read the original post. You dont have to own a $6,000 bike to put a smile on you and your wifes face and feel eighteen again.

Welccome back to mtn biking. I hope the two of you enjoy it.:thumbsup:
 

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Captain_America1976 said:
It would be very difficult to build two bikes from the ground up for $2500 - $3000.
:confused: $1200 - $1500 per bike build isn't feasible? Granted not WI or DT stuff, but should be able to build a decent bike. Especially from some of the great deals I've seen in the classifieds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
jpick915: Yeah that's what I meant (duh!). They measured her up at the LBS and said that she'd be better on a mens road bike. And she loves her Specialized Allez elite <sp?>

twoheadsbrewing: well it probably won't be technical, she has no skills and it will be a while till mine come back to me. Unfortunately the nearest trails to our house are extremely technical/challenging. So we'll be making many weekend excursions to other trails. Most likely fast single trek. She told me the other night she's concerned that she might not like mountain biking if she can't go as fast as she does with her road bike. She's a speed freak.

mojo: Thanks man. Yeah I'm not feeling steel. Wan't a good aluminum frame, will that be expensive as a 29er? I'd love to get two full suspensions with lockouts, something similar to my element but less noisy. My issue buying used is that we won't be able to see how it feels. Had the same problem when I was looking at road bikes for her. If suspension has come a long way, is it still noisy? My element was like a bed at a cheap motel during sex.

pnut and captain: Everytime I venture down the path of building I find I have a habit to pick out every top end component. I know I should pick out the important top end stuff first like brakes, drivetrain, suspension, and then cheap out on nearly everything else only to be upgraded later. This path scares me cause I'll go overboard.

Is there any good buys out there that I should look into? My LBS has quite the selection but the most affordable for us are the Rockhoppers. I've read that the '09 are better than the '10, but not sure about the '11. Wifey wants to get 2010 to save some cash.
 

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I am extremely biased towards steel because is rides much better over bumpy mountainous conditions and is more forgiving all around. Go with two 29er steel HT. Specialized and most other corporate bike companies will try and tell you aluminum is better because it's lighter and "stiffer" for better power transfer. But that's bs made up to go along with misinformed consumers who see racers on fast and stiff bikes and want to be like them. And the only reason those racers are on aluminum or carbon fiber anyways is because they get bikes for free from corporate bike sponsors. Don't listen to anyone who says otherwise. And do a ton of research by yourself - some great archived threads at mtbr. Soma, Vassago, On-One, Surly, all make quality steel that could be had at a reasonable price.
Here are some threads to get you started:

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?p=6551717#poststop
http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?p=5557839#poststop
http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?p=7672404
 

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p nut said:
:confused: $1200 - $1500 per bike build isn't feasible? Granted not WI or DT stuff, but should be able to build a decent bike. Especially from some of the great deals I've seen in the classifieds.
I was going with new. Even with used bits it would be hard. Decent frame, fork, and wheel put you right around 1200 - 1500. I didn't say it was impossible, but it would be hard.
 

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I have a 2008 Kona Dawg Supreme with Chris king hubs on Stans rims, x9 drive train with Xt crank, Chris king bottom bracket and headset, carbon seat post and handlebars, fox rp23, and fox float 32 140mm that I am going to sale. ITs not 29er but its smooth and sweet. All parts are 2009 except the frame, I bought the frame in 2009 as a left over stock at a bike shop. It has frame scratches from riding but is perfectly functional and beautiful. If you are interested let me know. I will probably sale 2300 OBO, which is a good price for a 5000 dollar bike.
 

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Personally, I'd first look around and see if anywhere rents MTBs and rent a couple for a weekend and take your wife to some trails and see if she really likes it. If that goes well then go from there ;) If she likes it I'd say buy 2 complete HTs and maybe keep an eye out for any deals of the more important stuff and upgrade as funds allow. For $3k you can get a lot of HT for your $$, check out Performance and see if they don't still have any deal on their Access 29ers.

As to her not thinking she'll like it unless she can go as fast as on her road bike :rolleyes: Seriously, you're worried about this? Once you add in the fact that traction isn't almost always constant like on a road bike, the rocks, roots and other trail obstacles and the failure for not making a corner etc. you don't need to be goin near as fast to get your adrenalin pumpin.
 

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if you go with option 2, will you be able to complete the bikes by when you want them? do you need to be picky and build from scratch or are you okay with buying from the LBS. you can get decent HTs for 2500-3000.

regarding the 29er piece, i love them. you might too but also think about your wife. have her ride a couple 29ers and then 26" bikes, too. see which feels better for her. it's critical she likes how the bike feels and fits- the last thing you want is to her have a bad experience and not enjoy it. sounds like she will since she enjoys other outdoor activities but just in case.

personally, i would go with buying 2 bikes from a LBS and make a couple upgrades here or there if needed.

also, definitely don't wait until next season. life's too short and enjoy it now.

enjoy!
ez
 

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A few people have made good points. Maybe the two of you could rent 26" bikes one day, then 29's another. Maybe try riding them on the same trail for a comparison. Try and find a some what easy trail so she doesnt get discouraged or intemidated. Theres nothing worse than seeing a nice bike in the garage not being used.

Plus if the wife does'nt feel like its something she's interested in. You can always buy her a piece of furniture. Maybe an ottoman, a sofa table, hat rack. I dunno. Then you'd have $2500 left over for you a bike.

I'm a big fan of steal. Thats one thing that is kinda exciting about 29er's. Your seeing a lot of great steal HT's being built. As some others have mentioned. Alum will save you 1 or 2 lb's, but it jars fillings out of your skull. I'll take the weight penalty of a more forgiving steal frame and shave weight on rotating mass where its more important. My wheelset actually cost more than my frame and couldnt be happier.

Take your time and research. Theres a wealth of knowledge right here on mtbr. The search feature is your friend. You still have some time before the weather gets better. Plus the two of you have road bikes you can ride in the meen time. No need to rush and make a bad decision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
max5480 and mojo: Thanks! Before posting on this forum I was leaning towards aluminum.

nurseman: Sorry, not interested in a 26er for right now, unless something goes terribly wrong on some rented 29ers.

LYNX: Yeah, def going to rent some somewhere before we buy. Thanks

Eric Z: The most important piece of advice probably has been yours. "life is too short, enjoy it now" and yeah, I always check out my LBS first
 

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I'm primarily a road biker (about 1,200 miles per year) and after demoing a 29er have gotten back into Mtn biking. Bought a 29er, then built up another 29er cannibalizing my old 26 that rarely got much mileage. I think you'll really like the 29ers and they transition great if you will keep up with both mtn and road riding.

No need to build up a bike until you figure out what you really want. Buy some stock bikes with decent components and after 500-1,000 miles think about what you need to upgrade.

Plenty of great Hard Tail 29ers under $1,500 each. Cobia or Mamba would work but consider a Sette Razzo or even a Performance Access when they have a big sale. Any of these are in the $1,000 to $1,500 range and will provide plenty of bike for you and the wife to get back into mtb riding and have a blast.

In that price range you will be getting Aluminum frames and they will climb great which you will like for getting back into riding. After a few hundred miles on my 29er Access I decided to get a Niner MCR steel frame and love it, but the Aluminum frames with 29ers ride great too.
 

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+1 for the Razzo & Access. I really like the Razzo's spec list, but I would not buy online If you don't know how to fit a bike or know what Geo numbers fit you best. I personally would not rule out 26er's. There more versitle, can find better top quality used parts and would be able to get better bikes for your budget in the used or closeout market. No one is going to say it in this forum, but most 29er's are a one trick pony. That would be the reason not to get a 29er, and the reason the 29er vs 26er argument only exists, for the most part, on the 29er forum. By the way I do ride 29er.
Good luck with finding a good deal and remeber, when it comes to bike fit in a LBS superstore your only going to get fitted to what comes in the box.
 

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Drth Vadr said:
No one is going to say it in this forum, but most 29er's are a one trick pony. That would be the reason not to get a 29er, and the reason the 29er vs 26er argument only exists, for the most part, on the 29er forum. By the way I do ride 29er.
Why do you think this? I think you are exaggerating. 29ers have more "tricks" than 26ers for sure.
 
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