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What mountain bike would you buy?

DHansenTriDHansenTri Member, TRS/Baucco Team Member
I promised the wife I'd buy her a mountain bike for Christmas. Yes I know Christmas is done and gone, but realistically she won't ride the bike for months anyway so who cares.
I also told her if she gets one then I get one too, so looking for two mountain bikes. Anyway, I know absolutely nothing about mountain bikes. Based on some emails here and there word is she'd be best with a 27.5, not sure about me. Based on her likely use, which is nothing hardcore, a hardtail is almost certainly the best option. For me I'm indifferent between a hardtail and full suspension. From the few feelers out there I might have a connection on a Scott or Felt, but certainly open to other options. Connection meaning I can get a little bit of a price break. Probably spending between 2K each, probably a little more for for full suspension. Any thoughts?
Living life in pursuit of triathlon greatness and not pissing off my wife. Also trying to understand Dark Mark and why he's left New York yet again, but this time for Oklahoma. At least it's not Florida.

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    simonsen77simonsen77 Member, TRS/Baucco Team Member
    A friend is a pretty successful xterra racer on a Scott hardtail. The MTB Podcast guys were also pretty complimentary of them in this last episode. Haven’t heard much about the Felts though.

    I’m old and slow so I’ve switched to a full after a year on a hardtail.

    First #BAAW Badge Recipient
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    ellsworth53tellsworth53t Member, TRS/Baucco Team Member
    What kind of riding will she do, primarily? I have a 29er hardtail because I did gravel and bridal trails. Then I started single track trail riding with friends. I could ride everything but was wanting to switch to a full suspension. If it's within the budget, and you'll be riding single track, I'd say go full squish.
    Of course, she's fast as fuck and if she plans on any type of racing, probably best to talk with your lbs since they'll know the local conditions better.
    DHansenTri
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    maggierumaggieru Member, Pro Triathlete
    I did a lot of research on mountain bikes and wanted something that would be good without breaking the bank. I also harassed @idking90, my local bike shop and others for several months (years?) asking for recommendations before I pulled the trigger.

    I got a Specialized Camber 27.5 and it's a good all-around trail bike. Might not be high performance if I wanted to get serious about xterra but on the lower-maintenance end of things while still being fully functional and able to crank it on the trails. I LOVE it.
    AaronWebstey
    insta: @magrusch
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    maggierumaggieru Member, Pro Triathlete
    p.s. my recommendation was more for Jennie - not sure what would work for you.
    insta: @magrusch
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    ellsworth53tellsworth53t Member, TRS/Baucco Team Member
    edited December 2017
    P.p.s.- I like @maggieru 's recommendation too. I was looking to sell my hardtail to get a Camber (per my previous post).
    The only reason I didn't is I took a job and moved to a place with less than ideal mtbing. But I'd suggest a Camber or similar, good all arounder.
    maggieru
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    DHansenTriDHansenTri Member, TRS/Baucco Team Member
    That Camber looks sweet! I would bet a finger that Jennie barely uses the damn thing. When she does it'll be on pretty simple trails, mostly gravel and beginner stuff. Doubtful on single track. Me on the other hand, I'd be willing to bet I'll get more into it.

    Any thoughts on components? I figured middle of the road is the best bet. Anything I should know? What''s the 105 comparable in mountain bike components? XT? Or is that more like Ultegra? There's probably not a comparison and I'm just a dumb ass, but it's the only way I can think of it.

    I'll stop by the LBS who is a specialized dealer and check it out. See what their price is in comparison to a comparable Scott.
    Living life in pursuit of triathlon greatness and not pissing off my wife. Also trying to understand Dark Mark and why he's left New York yet again, but this time for Oklahoma. At least it's not Florida.
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    idking90idking90 Member, Pro Triathlete
    edited December 2017
    So, a few things:
    $2k is right around the point where it is worth considering hardtail/full suspension. Much cheaper than that and you absolutely should go hardtail because $1500 full suspensions are absolute garbage.
    There’s a school of thought that you should learn to ride on a hardtail because it teaches better line choice, carrying speed, etc, but if it’s mostly “for fun” then a FS isn’t going to beat you up as much, plus it will give more confidence on gnarly stuff, so that’s a plus for skill development. (Translation: it’s probably even, maybe leaning toward FS because it doesn’t result in buying another bike in a year). There’s an argument that FS are a bit more maintenance, but that’s negligible IMO if you consider it’s not too different from the fork you have regardless.

    27.5 versus 29 tends mostly to be a fit thing unless you’re doing hella technical stuff where you’re gonna lean towards the smaller wheel (but they even make 29 DH bikes now). I’ve personally never ridden anything other than 29 because I’m 6’5” and didn’t start riding MTB until the major manufacturers had flushed out their geometry issues. For household compatibility, if she’s small and you’re not super-tall, I’d suggest 27.5 so you can reasonably share wheels (especially if you’re like me and break spokes on the reg), tires, tubes, etc.

    Scott and Felt are just fine of brands, though I’m not terribly familiar with their exact offerings in that price point. It’s worth looking at their XC race geometries, but most manufacturers nowadays have something somewhere a bit more relaxed (akin to a Spec Roubaix versus Tarmac/Venge, or a Trek Domane vs Madone, etc). Those tweener-type bikes are probably great if there’s not much intention to race super seriously, but you’re used to your 17 lb road bikes. (Example of this is @maggieru and her Camber)

    Lastly, yes, roughly yes on those component comparisons. XT is probably between 105 and Ultegra, because above it you have XTR and XTR Di2, and I forget/am not totally sure what’s below XT. GX would be your equal for SRAM. I think they make GX Eagle stuff now, too? So that’s cool you can get mid level 12 speed.
    Even if you don’t plan to race, if you’re used to nice stuff on the road, cheap components are gonna really piss you off on a mountain bike where you’re usually shifting under a lot more load and demanding a lot more from your brakes.

    Sorry, this was way too long of an answer. Blame Maggie for tagging me in this thread for drawing my attention to it. But I think I’m going to save it as a note on my phone for future recycling.
    MattdhrDHansenTrimaggieruAaronWebsteysimonsen77KenElPescadoPelado

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