need help choosing a new bike!

molly1 Posts: 8
edited March 2010 in Women
hi, i'm new to this site and i need some expert advice!

i need a bike mainly for cycling with the kids in the forest, and to take on camping holidays. originally i was looking at getting a hybrid, but was told by some of the bike shops that i spoke to that a hybrid wouldn't be good enough for cycling in the forest. so now i suppose i am looking at getting a mountain bike! though i'm pretty sure my son's islabikes aren't mountain bikes and they cope fine.

my local bike shops sell ridgeback, specialized, scott, dawes and giant. I also have halfords nearby which i can get 15% off (full price only), but i am a bit unsure if halfords are ok or not.

i am looking to spend roughly between £250-£350 on a bike, but don't really know what i am looking for! i haven't bought a bike since i was a child, but i think i might prefer the riding position of a women's specific bike.

does anyone have any suggestions for a mountain or even a hybrid bike in this price range?

i was originally looking at a dawes discovery, but don't know if it would be any good in the forest. the specialized myka ht sport has good reviews, but one bike shop also suggested the crosstrail (though it's not a women's bike). another suggested the ridgeback mx3, but then a different shop said that it was no good! i have also looked at scott contessa or sportster (the cheaper ones!). i originally looked at hybrids as i thought they may be lighter and easy to ride than a MTB.

i am very confused, please help!



  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    It depends what the forest riding involves - if just smooth paths then certain hybrids will be fine.

    Trying a few out for size is a good idea.

    I would avoid the MX3 - some lowly parts on there and very high gearing.

    Halfords have some very good deals.

    Try and find a bike with at least 8 gears at the back and a 'compact' chainset up front ie 44/32/22 teeth chainrings.

    Also have a look at the beginners guide I wrote in the Beginners section on what parts to look for.
  • Ginjafro
    Ginjafro Posts: 572
    You mention your local bike shop sells Specialized, Scott and Giant. For your budget the Specialized have the Hardrock, Giant offer the Yukon and Scott the Aspect, all pretty good mountain bikes for what they are. Some of these are also produced as woman specific or if not come in many sizes including XS.

    Personally, I would avoid Halfords, hybrids and Dawes if you want fun and good looks. Today's MTBs are very easy to ride and very versatile and you'll have a blast on the trail or road with or without your kids. If you're not sure about the gears ask the bike shop about twist grip gears. Also, find a friend who might know a bit about bikes and take them with you. A good bike shop should not railroad you into the wrong decision, try before you buy and take your time.

    Good luck and welcome to the world of bikes!
    Giant XTC Pro-Carbon
    Cove Hustler
    Planet X Pro-Carbon
  • molly1
    molly1 Posts: 8
    thanks, i'll stick to looking at the bike shops who have scott and specialized, one of them sells trek too. i didn't find the lady at the bike shop which sells giant particularly helpful, and i need a lot of help!
    is there much difference between the specialized myka bikes and scott contessa?
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    I would not avoid Halfords - their bikes at this price are about the best value you can get - the Kraken and Vulcan MTBs are superb.
  • molly1
    molly1 Posts: 8
    thanks, i'me now looking at the ridgeback mxk:

    is this bike any good? i think i'll like the riding position of it better than a normal mountain bike. do you think it would cope with cycling in the forest (not proper mountain biking!)?
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Not really for that money - again, really high gears at the front.

    Can you stretch to this? ... ber_770685

    So much better value.
  • molly1
    molly1 Posts: 8
    thanks, i liked the riding position of the mxk, think it will be more comfortable than a normal mountain bike.
    what is wrong with high gears? my last bike only had 3 gears (though that was bought when i was a child)!
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    You simply won't use them, and a smaller crankset is more viable. It is not a biggie, but can be noticable (the 48-11 gear will give you 40mph when spinning out!!!). They are for touring and XC racers.

    If you like how it feels then it is the one to get, but I wouldn't do any real off road biking on it, just paths and light tracks. It is set more for comfort than performance.