New Mountain Bikes to Consider

Mountain Bikes to consider

New model year – new mountain bikes…Well, it happens every year, so it does this Fall – the 2016 bikes are out (they have been for a while) and there are plenty of new machines that have great specks and certainly can be good for most amateur and enthusiast bikers alike.   In this posting I want to highlight the new models that I have seen browsing across the web sites of a number of manufacturers.  Some observations:

  • 29ers and 27.5″ wheel size rule!   I can attest judging by both the configuration of most good range bikes as well as the inputs of friends and family who ride
  • dropper posts are coming into the affordable bike range (i.e. in bikes with sub-$3K price tag);
  • SRAM-GX-LineNew drivetrain options are also entering the affordable bike models.  1×10, 1×11. 2×11 are being used on increasing number of bikes – I am still a bit standoffish on this one.  Yes, the 1x frees up real estate on the front handlebars as many of the articles report (and so do the sales associates in the pro-bike shops) but what are we giving up?   I think using these new drive train options are forcing you to give up useful low gears in your riding program… So this one you will have to judge for yourself

In this and may be one more posting I will cover the bikes I have come across and consider good options for you too

  1. Rocky-Mountain-ThuderboltRocky Mountain Thunderbolt 710 – Retails for $1999;    This is a mountain bike model family – the Thunderbolt – that includes 6 models and range from $11.5K to $1999 in pricing. This bike includes a large number of up-market components which you can usually find on higher price rigs.    The fork for the bike is Manitou Marvell with 120mm travel – I forgot to mention, the wheels are 27.5″ ones – I would have preferred a 29″ ones but the claims Rocky Mountain designers would make I am sure, is that they gave higher maneuverability to this model
  2. trekTrek Stache-7 — this is another excellent bike with surprising to me also one that uses the Manitou fork but a shorter 110mm travel.  The cassette is a single chainring setup which I am still not completely sold on – I continue to like my 3 chain rings with tons of variability  in my gear ratios.  The Stache-7 uses also the G2 geometry as in my Trek X-Caliber Gary Fisher model – I like it as it does appear to provide for increased maneuverability at low speeds.
  3. Specialized-Mountain-BikeSpecialized Camber 29er – Retail $1900 (you can jump to the Camber Comp 29er for $2500):  These are great bikes – I have owned 2 Specialized Rockhopper bikes, the later one being Specialized Rockhopper Comp SL 29 – which was my first 29-inch bike and I really liked it.  The Camber is its next version – and the $2500 version is adding some upgraded components – the front shock is with 120mm travel and much higher end design.   You will like both – the $1900 and the $2500 – which one you should buy depends entirely on how hard of riding you intend to do

Trek X-Caliber Test Ride

Earlier today I wrote about the fact that our daughter is test riding a bunch of new bikes as we are getting her ready to hit the trails.  It is about time to get her truly into mountain biking.  She has been testing a bunch of new bikes:

  • Giant Talon
  • Giant Temp
  • REI Novara Ponderosa 27.5" and 29er both
  • Specialized Jett Comp

The Giant and Specialized were nice bikes according to her and her mother.  But more about that in a future post.  As we went to the last of the bike shops – I came across a great find.  TREK X-CALIBER 29er;   The bike was heavily discounted as it is the 2013 model.  I rode it as I am planning now to trade in my current bike.  The ride was very smooth – due to the good shifters and the higher-end RockShox Reba with Solo Air.  The remote lockout for the fork was an interesting and somewhat useful feature – it takes adjustment to — but I think it is cool and convenient. 

                                                        Trek X-Caliber

The wheels for the bike support a great new feature for mountain bikes — tubeless tires – which can offer a very nice / comfortable ride.

Bike Specifications

Trek Fuel EX 7 29
Trek Stache 8
Trek X-Caliber



Shopping for a Ladies’ Mountain Bike

Well, today one of my front shifters broke, and I decided to take it as a sign that it was time to upgrade to a new bike.  It had been six years since I last bought a bike–a Giant ATX 750 in Beijing, China–and I was excited to see what kinds of exciting new bikes were available.  After looking at some bike reviews online, my husband and I headed off to our local bike shop to check things out.  First, I wasn't quite sure whether I should opt for a ladies mountain bike, or just go with a men's bike.  I had always purchased men's bikes in the past (a Giant Iguana in 1993 and the aforementioned Giant ATX 750 in 2006)–in fact, I don't even remember ladies mountain bikes being an option back then.  But they are clearly quite popular now, to judge from the number of models available in stores and online.  With great excitement, I gave the first bike a try–a Trek 4300 Disc:

It was certainly a step up from my current bike, but the bike felt a little stiff, and the model that they had available wasn't the right size for me.  It was a shame, because it was on sale, and it was the cheapest mountain bike there.

The next bike I tried was the Trek Cobia:


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