More mountain bike shopping excitement! I went back to the bike shop a few days ago to see if I could try out the bikes that they had been holding for me since last Sunday, when i was prevented from doing a test ride due to soggy conditions. This time, I felt a bit more educated due to my previous week's test rides, and I had a bit better idea of what i was looking for. The first bike I tried was the well-rated Trek Mamba. I had been very excited about trying this bike out, due to the excellent online reviews I read. However, to my dismay, I found it just wasn't very comfortable. I attribute that to the fact that it was a men's model I was trying out. Not having a single ladies' Trek Mamba in any of their Austin stores, this was the best they could do. I'm sure it was a great bike, but it didn't work out for me. Disappointed, I asked again which ladies' bikes they had available in my size, and I was encouraged to try a Specialized Myka Elite Disc 29. At a MSRP of $880, this was one of the less expensive bikes that I tried, and according to the bike shop guy, its cheaper price was due to its lower end components. However, the fit of the bike was great, and I found it quite comfortable to ride. It was perhaps a little lower end than what I had been planning to get, but its great fit to my body proportions made it a contender.
So, at this point, my two favorite bikes were both Specialized ladies bikes, but their prices and specs were quite divergent. You might remember from my previous post on this subject that I had tried out a Specialized Jet Comp and had been very impressed. However, at $1449, it was a bit steep for my tastes. And I really liked the Myka Elite Disc 29, but it seemed a bit on the low end for me. Luckily, it turns out that there was a midpoint bike between the two: The baseline Specialized Jett. Running a more palatable $1099, it had the same great frame fit as the other two Specialized bikes, but it also handled better than Myka Elite without the steep price tag of the Jett Comp.
On the baseline model Jett, everything felt right. On the men's bikes, I felt too far off the ground when the seat post was at a appropriate height, and my arms felt like they were straining ever so slightly to reach the handlebars. On both models of the Specialized Jett that I tried, everything seemed to fit my body better, from the comfortable ladies saddle to the specially shaped handlebar grips. The Jett Comp, at $1449, felt a little better than the baseline Jett, but to me, the difference was not worth the extra money, especially for the more modest gentle trails and roads that I was likely to use it on. So I am happy to say that I finally made a decision and went with the baseline Specialized Jett 17 inch, and I'm glad I did. After an exhaustive and careful fitting at the bike shop, I brought the Specialized Jett home today and I went for my first ride. The difference from my old Giant ATX 750 was quite stark. The 29 inch wheels of the Jett powered me up the hills and the bike felt marvelously responsive. At least on Day One, I couldn't be happier.