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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    brand new and need a bike. suggestions?

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    i was fortunate enough to land a spot on my tri teams off road squad. this is the first year they are offering it and i was the only woman to apply.

    so, i need a bike. we get massive discounts with both trek and specialized.

    any feedback on the following items:

    1.) i am drawn to the idea of a womens specific bike, but unsure whether it actually makes a difference.
    2.) I am drawn to the idea of a 29er, but i've heard that for a smaller frame size, it might not be the best idea
    3.) if it were me, and you could pick either trek or specialized, what would you pick? any specific bikes?

    my parameters:
    i can justify a price limit of around $2,500 msrp
    i'm 5'3'' with an inseam of 28 inches
    bike will be used mostly in xterra style triathlons and training

    again, to reiterate, i have close to NO mountain biking experience, but come from a successful road tri background.

    any help would be appreciated. i'm a little overwhelmed with the decision because i really know nothing and need to make a relative swift order.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    You will find some limitations in bike choice because of your height and inseam. I like as much standover as possible. MTB's don't have to be as precisely fitted as a road/tri bike because you move around on your bike more. But the better the fit, the happier you will be.
    I ride a Specialized on the road, but my MTB brand is not on your list. Can't help you with brand choice for MTB.
    Time to test ride.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Test ride, test ride, test ride That really is going to be your best option if at all possible.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southeast Nebraska
    My LBS carries Trek and Specialized. I have a WSD Mamba 29er but I'm really tall. You would have to try a 29er to see if you like it. They may be a little big for you though.

    My understanding is the WSD works better in the smaller sizes.

    My only experience with Trek are the Mamba and the Fuel EX's. Fuel EX's are full suspension and I'm not sure they have a WSD model, but DH's is a 17.5 and I think they run smaller. Trek carries the Lexa which looks really nice online but my LBS doesn't carry one.

    Check out stores that carry Treks and Specialized and test them out.

    I was on Specialized website and they have some really sweet looking WSD mountain bikes.

    Have fun!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    somewhere between the Red & Rio Grande
    I am 5'2.5", 28.5 inseam so VERY close to you.

    WSD is in theory a shorter top tube to accomodate our shorter torsos. They usually do things like smaller bars, shorter cranks, women's saddle. Here is my answers.

    1.) i am drawn to the idea of a womens specific bike, but unsure whether it actually makes a difference. Depends some companies don't do alot of changes, some people who are the picture of WSD (me) don't like them. I rode a Safire (Specialized WSD) and I felt squished, I felt like I was headed to endo everytime. I used to have Gary Fisher WSD and loved it. I personally like Specialized's "unisex design.
    2.) I am drawn to the idea of a 29er, but i've heard that for a smaller frame size, it might not be the best idea They have drastically improved their building of small 29ers. Two years ago I would have agreed, now I completely disagree with anyone saying us short riders can't have big wheels. I LOVE my Epic 29er, all 15.5 inches of her. I do like how fast 29ers feel, they make things smoother, anything technical they really make me more confident on. I do not believe your height limits you from trying one.
    3.) if it were me, and you could pick either trek or specialized, what would you pick? any specific bikes? I have found Specialized backs their products better, it may be we have an awesome local rep but my husband had a few warranty issues on his new bike and they replaced parts no questions asked. They even warranteed his two year old shoes (technically out of warranty) because they felt the peeling sole was still a warranty issue. Plus I LOVE my Epic 29er but it is a little at the top of your price. I have ridden the Stumpjumper Hardtail and it is really fun. Full suspension will have more parts to maintain but be a more comfortable ride. Hardtail on a 29er if you don't have overly rock or huge roots may be just as comfortable. I have never riden any current Trek models so I can't speak for them.

    Standover height was a huge worry for me until I tested (on trail) a couple small 29ers. I was told time and again standover was not a huge factor in mountain biking but I never believed it. I would advocate test riding on a trail if possible to see what you like.

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"

    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Central Indiana
    For some Treks, WSD doesn't make any difference. The geometry is nearly identical to the unisex version of the same bike. They did release a new FS WSD bike for 2011 called "Lush," however, that does have a 27-inch standover. I'm not sure if you're looking at FS bikes though. Specialized, in my experience, offers a wider range of bikes with lower standovers. Whether they're low enough for you, I don't know. I have a 29-inch inseam
    and while I know it's not as a big of a deal for some, I like to have at least a little clearance. It was a struggle to find a FS bike that fit the bill and I ultimately went with a Santa Cruz Juliana. The 29ers that might have otherwise worked for me didn't offer what I wanted component wise in the price range I was looking at.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    these thoughts have been fantastically helpful. thanks!!

    i am so excited to get this started.

    emailed LBS about seeing what they have in inventory for me to try.

    i'll keep you posted.

    any other info is appreciated if anyone has it, though.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    I also went with the Small Santa Cruz Juliana. I love it. It's a perfect fit for me. I had to special order it sight unseen, but the Juliana was worth the wait.
    2012 Santa Cruz Juliana R xc (blue)
    Vintage Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo 24 speed (red)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    ....so, i think i've made up my mind.

    there is limited availability in the actual bike i was interested in, but i was able to try a unisex 15.5 trek, a 15.5 trek wsd and a 15 wsd specialized.

    i was drowning on the 15.5 trek. as much as i wanted it to work, i wasn't postive about it. tried the 15.5 wsd and that was really nice. the 15 wsd specialized was too small.

    so, i think i'm going with the trek x-caliber wsd. http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes..._caliber_wsd/#

    anyone have any experience with this one?

    i'll probably upgrade components along the way, but for just getting started, i think it will do nicely.

    i'm stoked!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    I don't have a lot of experience with Trek bikes, but I do hear good things about them.

    I had a look at the components and I will say this: decent frame, great fork (I love my Reba), I'm also a big fan of Bontrager (the stem, handlebars, seatpost, etc).
    For this amount of money, I would have loved to see a drivetrain that was a little better (SRAM X7 will do just fine, but the Deore derailleur is a little cheap) and I think Trek should have opted for the Avid Elixir 5's, at least. In other words: the brakes would be first on my list to upgrade, drivetrain second.

    All in all, not too shabby! Have fun

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    i would HIGHLY suggest really riding that bike and then a bit smaller one (cannon dale lexi xs, santa cruz juliana xs, or trek lush s) before you do anything. I have a fs cannondale lexi and its an xs...forgive me, i do not have proper punctuation cause i had a bit of spill where i hit a root from picking a bad line on a climb, and the bike fell to the right and i fell to the left. the bike ended up leaning against the side straight up, and me back down the climb about 8 ft! I am in a cast cause the stand over caused me to either get off and shatter my pelvis or fall off. the stand over on my xs canoodle lexi 3 is 27" and it was too big for me and i couldn't emergency get off the bike. and also, ill be selling my bike to get a lush xs...lemme know if you are interested!



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