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Full suss for £1500

AlibranAlibran Posts: 370
edited September 2012 in Women
I've been riding trails on my really cheap (£200) hardtail for a couple of months now, and the fork is completely wrecked (along with most of the other components which were worn out from several months of on-road use), so it's time to buy a new bike. I originally planned to get a more expensive hardtail, but after some discussion on another forum and reading a thread about hardtail vs full suss on this forum, I'm starting to think full suss is the way to go.

I'm very much a novice, and all the trails I ride on are natural, in the mountains of southern Spain. Difficulty levels vary and, being a novice, I don't know what I'm getting into, so I just give it a go and try not to fall off! Occasionally I get off and push the bike if I can't see a line that looks doable. Most of the trails I ride on are steep, dry and rocky (solid and loose rock), with the occasional dry river bed and a bit of sand. I've described some of the more difficult stuff on another forum and have been told it sounds like rock gardens and babies heads. I want a bike that can handle all this stuff without being pushed to its limits (I think my current bike is past its limits!) and that will hopefully give me the chance to improve as a rider and gain confidence - I'm currently very cautious.

If I end up getting a hardtail, I'm pretty sure it will be a Canyon Grand Canyon AL 7.0 W. I'm totally confused about full suss bikes and what you're getting for your money.

First on my list is the Canyon Nerve AL 7.0 W (replacing the Nerve XC next year). The 2012 model is here:
http://www.canyon.com/_uk/mountainbikes/bike.html?b=2557

I've also had a look on a couple of other sites and seen some that are within my price range.

Ghost Miss AMR:
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=68676
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=65861
Apart from price, how are these 2 models different?

Corratec AirTech Miss C:
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=75516

Radon Slide Diva 125:
http://www.bike-discount.de/shop/k1283/a78530/slide-diva-125.html

Cube AMS WLS:
http://www.bike-discount.de/shop/k1283/a54723/ams-wls-white-fading-grey.html

Univega Alpina SL- SKY XT:
http://www.bike-discount.de/shop/k1283/a64934/alpina-sl-5-sky-xt.html

Are any of the bikes I've listed good/bad/so-so/totally unsuitable? Bear in mind I'm coming at this from the point of view of a complete novice, so any guidance you can give me will be helpful!

I'm 5ft2, 7st 5lb, and my hardtail is a 39cm frame with a shorter stem fitted. I'm also closer to 40 than I like to think about, and my knees are in pretty poor shape from getting knocked off my road bike last winter (and the injury compensation is the reason I now have money to spend on a new MTB, so every cloud has a silver lining). I'm loving riding the trails, but too much of it is making my knees worse, so I need to bear that in mind, and it's one of the reasons why I'm leaning towards a full suss.

Posts

  • Whatever bike you choose, you'll probably find the cranks are too long for you. You'll be lucky to get anything less than 165cm, whereas something like 155cm might suit you better - especially if you have dodgy knees.

    Unfortunately, it's really difficult to find short cranks, even on small bikes :x
  • AlibranAlibran Posts: 370
    Esmerelda wrote:
    Whatever bike you choose, you'll probably find the cranks are too long for you. You'll be lucky to get anything less than 165cm, whereas something like 155cm might suit you better - especially if you have dodgy knees.

    Unfortunately, it's really difficult to find short cranks, even on small bikes :x

    To be honest, I haven't even thought about crank lengths. I've been riding quite a lot for the last few years (7,000km so far this year), and I think my crank lengths have been standard 170 or 175.

    My knees took a battering in the crash, but they were improving until I started riding trails and using them as suspension. (I've done a lot of road riding, and have learned to spin rather than grind the pedals.) I've found if I restrict myself to just one off-road ride a week, they're OK, but I'd really like to do more than that. The trails round here are so fantastic, riding on the road can seem incredibly dull by comparison, even if it is fast!
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    All the bikes are very good value, but lean towards the 'XC' side of the equation. Bikes with more travel may give you the extra you need - heavier, but more stable angles and more 'get out of jail' forgiveness could just be the ticket.

    The Canyon Nerve AM is one such bike.
  • AlibranAlibran Posts: 370
    supersonic wrote:
    All the bikes are very good value, but lean towards the 'XC' side of the equation. Bikes with more travel may give you the extra you need - heavier, but more stable angles and more 'get out of jail' forgiveness could just be the ticket.

    The Canyon Nerve AM is one such bike.

    The Canyon Nerve AM is only available in unisex frames and only goes down to the small size, not the XS, which is definitely what I would need. This seems to be much the same with all the bikes I've looked at with longer travel.

    At the moment, I'm leaning towards the Radon, which has longer travel and a slacker head tube angle than any of the others.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    The Radon could well be too large, even in the 15" - is hard to tell without trying, a problem mail order.

    Sizing varies so much, the listed 'size' is only one measurement (of the seat tube) out of many.
  • AlibranAlibran Posts: 370
    Unfortunately, mail order is often the only option for small women because shops don't stock small sizes and are unwilling to order them in for customers to try. This is even more the case here in Spain.

    The geometry of the Radon actually makes it only marginally bigger than my current bike (5mm more on the seat tube and 5mm on the effective top tube), and I think I can probably live with an extra 5mm.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Ah, that's good, if you know the numbers are in good stead.

    There is a Decathlon in Malaga worth taking a look at too (my parents live just north of Malaga, pass the store when I visit!). Though saying that, having a quick look at the website shows that many of the bikes start in Medium, which is bizarre.
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