Project: Wife's Bike

Dec 5, 2008 at 21:56
by sean tracy  
I took advantage of an "out of use" frame, my spare parts bin, and winter season bike shop madness to put together a nice little trail bike for my significant other. This is the first of a series of 3 project rebuilds I'll report on this winter, as I juggle around the fleet a little.

Click on any of the photos below for a little more detailed view.
I used to ride this bike.

I used to ride this bike.

It used to look like this

It used to look like this

And this

And this


It was set up with a very different parts kit, and it was intended to go on gnarlier trails than it will probably ever see now. A few months ago, I unexpectedly picked up a new Intense 6.6 frame, and frankly the parts I had on this Gary Fisher better suited the Intense, and the Intense better suited me.

So, with my woman's new found interest in all terrain cycling starting to take root at the end of this past season, I thought that putting a little nicer "sled" together for her would be a good way of keeping her keen on looking forward to next season, and keep her interested in developing the skills she started gaining in 2008. Her previous bike was a noble little hard tail that while not totally crappy, it was pretty useless on anything other than paths in the park.

I had intended to try and keep the price down on this project and for the most part I think I picked parts wisely and used what I had on hand pretty well. I did pick up some new pieces however, but my awesome pals Barry and Jay at HARDCORE BIKES in Edmonton hooked me up with some "friend deals". As well,"wrench to the stars" and all around good mensch Jay (PB user: toooldschool) handling the assembly for me. The guy puts together a really clean drive train and he routes cable like a NASA tech. His pride shows in his work.

So here's a rundown of what's on the bike and maybe a little insight why I selected what I did:

First was the 2007 Gary Fisher Fat Possum XT frame (6" travel) with a brand new 2008 Fox RP23 air shock. The shock was what actually came on the Intense, but I run a coil...leaving this left over. I've had no experience with this shock but it looks like typically awesome FOX product. Saddle and post are Bontrager, also from the garage pile, the saddle is a woman's edition from her old bike.


It's a medium, which was almost too small for me and will be just about right for her, as Betty's a little taller than some girls, at around 5'8" which is within the recommended sizing guidelines.

Then I dug around the garage and pulled together a combination of spares as well as some salvage from her hard tail:

This bar was cut down to 26" wide, which is an INCREASE from the average width spec'd on most "woman's specific" bikes. Betty used to always say she thought my bars looked "too wide" , then she tried a wider bar....an lo and behold "Oh my gawd....you have way more stable steering!" The stem is a Bontrager XC piece with 5deg rise and only 70mm of reach, shortening the control-pit to better suit a shorter upper body.


This was a virtually new Deore derailleur and a slightly pre-enjoyed SRAM 970 cogset (ignore the 990 on the box.) These were from my "mad science" box, as was the front derailleur too. The bar and stem/spacers came off her old bike. Brakes are Avid BB7 mechanicals from her last ride but the crankset/bb is new in the box Deore as were the ODI lock-ons (plush and comfy Rogue grip pattern). Shifter pods are Shimano LX, and I don't remember where they came from, but they were still in the package...probably grabbed up off a clearance sale table sometime or another.


Now when this bike was mine, it had Iron Cross decals and racer boy sponsor style logos. That was not going to go over well with Betty the boss. So when I ordered some vanity decals for the 6.6, I picked up the "Bad Betty" and hibiscus flower stickers to "ghurl-i-tize this machine. Also, pink shift cable housing and white brake lines from Jagwire.

And some spinnage

And some spinnage


Deore these days is an inexpensive and very consistent performing group-set of components. Shimano's policy of trickling down technology from the more upmarket gear means that this crankset with BB and Hollowtech 2 design lists at an MSRP of $129.00 CDN. Can't beat that. I picked 170mm crank arms, to better match her shorter inseam.

These will pull on the Avid BB7's. These levers are slender and have a good angle that will better suit a woman's hands.

These will pull on the Avid BB7's. These levers are slender and have a good angle that will better suit a woman's hands.


Looking sharp!
The white DMR's were on hand at Hardcore Bikes, they were around 40$, not stupidly heavy and they tied into the white brake cables and the wheel graphics nicely. A note on the wheel choice, I had a really nice set of Bontrager wheels on her hard tail that were going to migrate over to this frame...but these were in the shop yesterday...really reduced to clear...and you just can't beat Mavic for all around use. They are Mavic's entry level trail wheel, the Crossride Disc. 1905 grams for the pair. I know an animal of a bike mechanic who has whipped a set of these for months, and they are holding up nicely. More trickle down technology at work. They did have really heavy, ugly QR skewers that were swapped out in favor of lighter and prettier Bontrager items off her old wheelset. Kenda Nevegal DTC rubbers in size 2.10 round out the rolling bits. The Nevegal is my new fave trail tire, and I'm running the 2.35 version on my Intense.

The last bit is the best in a way...the 2009 edition of maybe the most venerable and tested and versatile trail fork ever. The Fox Vanilla R. Coil, oil and rebound. 140mm of plush travel. Reliable and confidence inspiring. Betty doesn't like to endlessly "tune" her bike. The less buttons and knobs the better. It's the cheapest fork in Fox's catalog...but not the least useful in my opinion. It weighs a mere 4.16 (yes, really) lbs. My how time brings changes.


So...drum roll please...it weighs 31.20 lbs...which is not exceptional these days,...but think for a moment...This is a 6x6 AM bike with a steel sprung fork, Deore cranks, Mechanical disc brakes, a cheap mid-grade chain, a comfort saddle and completely sturdy ENTRY level wheels, and utility market inner-tubes. I thought 32.5 was an optimistic number.

So...I'd say 31.20 is pretty dang good. Shows you that shopping around can pay off, and that sometimes advertising hype on upmarket gear is just that...hype.

I rode it home from the shop...It's fast. Real fast. Again, mad props to my homestars at Hardcore Bikes. (www.hardcorebikes.ca)

The Whiskey Faerie will be coming for Xmas this year I'm sure.


-http://shondo.pinkbike.com


65 Comments

  • + 2
 Nice build. I like it. I wish I had never sold my Fat Possum. I love to see women getting a quality full suspension bike and the joy that comes from them enjoying their ride that much more.
  • + 0
 Hey Shondo - Nice build... I would only suggest 1 change that can make a huge difference - thinner grips. My wife and I (and all our friends) used to ride the ODI Ruffians (plush & comfy)... By chance we got my wife some new grips up at whistler and they were a slimmer low profile ODI lock on grip - she noticed right away that she suffered less hand cramp... So I made the switch to slimmer grips and found the same thing - so did all of my friends... I know it seems counter intuitive but lower profile grips actually are more comfortable than thick ones - try it and see (it's a $15 investment and you will be convinced - so will the wife).
  • + 0
 Totally agree with you too. Since making the switch to thinner ODI lock ons, my hands have thanked me a lot. Great Article SHondo!
  • + 0
 interesting.... I'm actually switching her from a very slim WTB grip to these ODI Rogues because she liked them on my bike. She has issues with pain in the ulnar nerve, and the wider profile seems to relieve that a little. Besides, I don't think she'll be doing long, brake dragger descents yet....
Anyways, I'll keep your advice in mind for the future. Perhaps I'll test that theory out on my 7" resort bike. I plan to freshen her up this winter too.
  • + 0
 i dont mean to be rude
its a mint build and youre wife is lucky
but why build such a knarly speck...eg the forks/rims/bars etc but put cable disks on there
i run cables myself but maybe a low range hydro ??
sorry
  • + 0
 well, if you really think about it...the spec isn't so "knarly" after all.....quite entry level in some ways.

Avid bb7's are better brakes than most lo-end hydros i can think of, and the idea was to use a fair bit of what was already in the garage.
  • + 0
 yea but still the fork is far from being not knarly, U could put the new 140mm Recon or Manitou Nixon or Minute which are almost half price of Fox and still a decent forks for an aspiring amateur. And Avids BB7 are not better than for example hydro Shimano Deores, in fact they are more even more expensive than Deores.
  • + 0
 I like Fox more, the fork was a good reduced price, the bike is designed to be built with a 140mm fork. As far as the brakes...I already owned the brakes...they were free. And I'd take BB7s over Deore hydraulics every time. hope that settles that.
  • + 0
 .....and I don't like nixons or minutes or recons.......
  • + 0
 everyone that likes and affords fox would never like them Wink It is also a matter how serious is one's wife into biking... because of that I wouldn't buy mine a fox Smile and it's not because i don't love her Wink cheers!
  • + 0
 see, I'm thinking ahead..if she doesn't stick with mtb'ing.....I own another fox fork.
  • - 1
 Nice write-up. There's a build project that a girlfriend can't get upset about. Now time to get her out to pop some wheelies. My dad and I did a similar project last winter to my girlfriends Kona Stab by putting a Fox 36 and a DHX Air with a slightly smaller i2i to make it low and slack. She's been super happy with it.
  • + 1
 Why is everyone giving a sensible answer (especially Shondo or a Mod) getting negative props so easily?
  • + 1
 That is sweet. Now i would like to read how a woman would do all this for her man lol
  • + 0
 i wish my 'spare parts bin' looked like that... nice stuff, i love those Jagwire kits, they make such a difference for mechs.
  • - 2
 You got to get out for a snow ride. Its so fun and good for the soul just poor some bailys down that girl and bundle her up. Its way safer than toboggoning for adults. Putting your tire prints down on fresh powder on trails is so much damn fun fox suspension works fine in the cold just open up the rebound and compression most or all the way.
  • - 2
 wintor suxxor
  • + 0
 Lucky wife! I wish my bf did stuff like that for me! Shit...I wish he would ride as much as I do too! He won't even ride in the rain... ...getting bitter here!!!!!!
  • + 0
 use guilt and then cast subtle doubts about his machismo....see if that'll get him off the couch.
  • + 0
 nope. He rather do yoga...
  • + 0
 thats so pimp man props to you for taking care of what matters most. and the hell with any one whos says they have a better bike big deal!!!!
  • - 3
 really nice! All the frame,fork and component selection seems really wise and good. Some might say that Heckler or Prophet might be better but non of these bike have such a low standover which I personally don't mind but my 162cm high wife do mind! Another thing that is really good is that it is a realiable single pivot bike capable of being transformed into any kind of a bike, whether it is a trail bike or heavier duty park bike. just change the wheels and tires, perhaps some old buffy fork adn here you go! I do not see any point in making heavy duty, multi pivot bikes like transition syren or norco vixa - I'm sure that 99,999999% of women want a light, reliable bike! Would they care about the axle path?! Lately hot topic the leverage ratio?! I believe the good womens mtb is the one bike they can use for offroad riding with their husband but also the one they can use to go for a simple ride to the park or lock outside the bakery. THE ONE LIKE YOU BUILT. CHEERS!
  • - 2
 and that's why this bike is good - because it can be used often, very often, for many different purposes - FLEXIBILITY! U don't need to pack it up on a car and drive to the woods so U can push the bike up or pay for a lift. IF someone is really keen on seeing his GF or wife on a downhill bike... isn't it just cheaper to rent the bike like that in the bike park? why most companies make or 160+ travel bike or 120 for women?! Are the women really into hardcore DH ultimate FR experience or XC pain in the back and wrists?! eeeh i got emotional cuz i want to build the same bike for my wife Wink
  • + 0
 nice bike i and by the sounds of it u have alot of bikes,just exactly how many?
  • + 1
 sum of your spare parts are better than stuff on my bike
  • + 0
 haha k, just wouldnt want her to eat shit Razz its all good if you like to just go out for a nice relaxing ride.
  • + 0
 Cool Shondo... very nice build/// your wife must really love you. I wish someone loved me enough to build me a bike///HaHa.
  • + 0
 you be careful giving you're woman leftovers or that'll be all you'll be eating all winter.
  • + 0
 I rode a fat possum for a while and it was a nice ride. Nice build for a versatile bike.
  • + 0
 all i'd say is get her some cheaper juicy 5's or somthing, i wouldnt trust those brakes.
  • + 0
 i mean riding rails with mechanical may not be the best idea.
  • + 0
 bb7's outperform juicy 5's by a long way! just because theyre mechanical doesnt mean they lack power or grip. aslong as theyre set up right, and have a decent linear pull you're sorted. juicy 5's also need alot of maintenance and tend to lose oil meaning you need to regularly bleed them, if you own some or have owned some you may know what i'm talking about, if not, dont recommend brakes you havn't used.
  • + 0
 yep i rode them for a full season on my six 2 and they never needed a bleed. and i never changed pads. they are juicy 7's with no adjustments... dont even try to tell me they are worse than a bb7
  • + 0
 that frame coulf become a sick dirtjumper
  • + 0
 not really the correct geometry for that kind of bike at all.
  • - 2
 31.2? Wow that is resptable. I can't believe the weight of the fork. I am trying to put my Khyber on a diet... maybe I ought to look at Fox's line-up.
  • - 2
 nice work shondo. get the ladies shredding. ok so NEXT season yall come down to k country and the two of you ride with our crew.
  • + 0
 done.
  • + 0
 Very nice! Hope it keeps her loving to ride! Big Grin
  • + 0
 Love those fat possums. Wonderful build!
  • + 0
 trails*
  • + 0
 I used to ride on those brakes, they're fine. It's not like she's going to start a DH career next season. We're 40 years old, and we like to putter around the mountain. Sometimes I like to putter a little faster that's all.
  • - 1
 my wifes! no! i would be taking it out most its lush
  • + 0
 looks nice man
  • + 0
 are you from nottingham?
  • + 0
 hang on im being stupid, you're from canada lol, theres an unused fat possom frame in a lbs near me!
  • + 0
 Hmmm, let me clarify for a few people that have commented: As I wrote in the article, I didn't pick up the frame at a bike shop, it was in my basement.
I bought the whole, stock,Fat Possum in 2007, rebuilt it as a LIGHT FR rig, and rode it for the first half of 2008. Like I said in the article, I parted out my version of this bike to build my new frame. So my woman got the leftovers.
  • - 3
 good ole' gary fisher!
  • - 3
 you made it a xc bike???
  • - 2
 which it was already in some ways.............
  • - 3
 Rad, but will you be in next years no shave november?
  • - 1
 I will!
  • + 0
 I boycott the 2009 edition.......just because.
  • - 3
 your wife will be stunned! crazy bike!
  • - 2
 Sweet write-up Shondo.
  • - 3
 Very nice. Sweet project.
  • - 3
 Wicked my g/f is jealous!
  • - 3
 that's how you keep a good girl getting better
  • - 2
 nice build job for using what was laying around
  • - 3
 f'n awesome dude.. my favorite: the pink cable housing. I must get some of that for my giant.. Razz
  • - 2
 what a good man, just in time for xmas Big Grin
good stuff
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