when my wife got into mtb last year, we chose the trek roscoe 7. entry level bike, 3" tires, hardtail. it would satisfy her skill level and commitment level at that point. we live in an area with very technical, rocky trails with high risk, low reward downhills so a hardtail + bike would cover her (in the sense that she wouldn't want to tackle anything too rowdy regardless of what bike she had).
fast forward a year and she's enjoyed it a lot, improved, and wants to move on to a better bike. a friend of hers runs the CZ racing team, so she got a deal on a Scott Spark RC.
the point of my story is simply that you cannot possibly pick your lifetime bike at this moment when you've never even ridden a mountain bike.
I was pretty excited about this one but have heard quite a few negative things... the biggest being foot strike, which surprised me. Sure I do it, but I'm an idiot. Some of my friends demoed it last year with the intention of buying one and were shocked at how often their pedals hit, and they are experienced mountain bikers.
I am not sure why more mountain bikers don't use crank length as a solution to this problem. I switched from175s to 170s and it was the greatest thing in the world.
Also, this is a typically a "user error" problem.
One question that just popped into my head... does weight factor in? I'm a bigger guy (in terms of weight, not height unfortunately), at 200 - 220#. Are some types of rear suspension better for heavier riders than other? Is more travel better?
weight doesn't factor in. you adjust your suspension to suit your terrain, weight, and preferred riding characteristics.
That brings up another question... types of rear suspension. I believe the pivot is a DW link and I've heard nothing but good things in terms of it's ability to act as a suspension but also allowing solid transfer efficiency while pedaling on the flat or uphill. Salsa uses the split pivot and I'm not sure about Cannondale.
this is something i can virtually guarantee you that you won't notice.
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