Hi all! I’m in the market for my first mountain bike and I am overwhelmed by the process. Obviously beggars can’t be choosers in the current market, but I am hoping to get lucky and find a quality rig for the right price. So here are some details to help provide relevant context:
I’m a 5’4" woman and I’ve been kindly lent a size small Trek Lush SL 27.5 FS to ride for the past year to figure out if I like mountain biking (I do) and to give a reference point for what to look for in bikes. I’ve had a blast on this bike, but think that 29" wheels are the way to go. Hoping to stay in the 120-130mm travel range as the trails in my area don’t require much more than that. I’m ballin’ on a budget of <$3k. I don’t have any plans to get super into MTB racing but might occasionally get talked into signing up for a race here and there, and I also like to try to keep up with my fast friends.
I’m hoping to crowdsource opinions on (1) the best way to approach buying a bike in these times (e.g. lurk on PinkBike and try to snag something used or try to order something new and hope it arrives in the next decade?), (2) how to determine the best value for your dollar when comparing different makes/models (there are SO many things to compare on a MTB!), (3) are any of my criteria unreasonable (i.e. should I remain open to bikes with greater travel and/or 27.5 wheels?)
Thank you so much in advance for your thoughts! I appreciate it!