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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wanted to know what your opinions were. Wife hasn’t ridden in a loooong time. She’s wanted to get a bike and with the birthday coming up, that’s what I’ll get her. Road bikes, IMO, are a bit tougher to control than mountain bikes for someone just starting out. My thought was, start her with a mountain bike, and get an extra set of slicks for on-road travels. If she decides that she’s going to ride more on the road than trails, later on, we’ll get her a proper road bike. Thoughts?

I just figured that the mountain bike would be more versatile and safer. I also have a mtn bike and we’ll probably do some easy trails.

Thanks for any input.
 

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I started my wife (then GF) on a mountain bike. We ride on MUTs together and have done a few trails. I talked her into clipless pedals last year and I may even get her a roadie soon. The versatility of a MTB has been much better for her because she's not stuck on the road and the shock/comfy seat make her enjoy it more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, ahaid, that's my thinking, too. I think there will be less chance of a fall or a big spill on a mountain bike.

jsedlak - You mean one of those hybrids? Not really a road bike, but not a mtn bike, either? Meh, I'd rather get her a mtn or road bike so that she will at least take on one or the other.
 

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Be brutally honest about her & your desire for her when choosing. I let my aspirations for my wife dictate our(my) choice, a road bike. I'll go out on a limb and say that most SO's ultimately aren't interested in road or mountain bikes and never will be. A hybrid or the previously mentioned fitness/MUT bike is likely more appropriate. Usually not a huge expenditure, allowing you to choose something more specific down the road if she takes to it.
 

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Some people are leery of skinny tires, but road bikes are hard to control? Maybe if you have a lot of ingrained habits from riding MTBs. . .

Easy answer: let her decide. You are going to have her test ride any bikes that you would ultimately buy her anyway, right?
 

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I started my wife on a mountain bike with slicks. Worked out fairly well; as she liked a more upright position.
BUT, she preferred to walk on the treadmill watching reality TV shows, so I just purchased our first tandem. So far, in the week's time that we've had it she's multiplied her mileage over the mountain bike (that I got early last year). Yes, I'm full of information; and I just like to share.
 

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Unless you really think she will go MTbing, get her a hybrid. You don't want her on knobby tires on the road. And there is no sense making her carry around a heavy shock if she is not going off road much. The hybrid will handle a gravel road or smooth trail. You can get a nice one for around $400.00 and not be over invested if she doesn't take to it. If she does then she'll have a better idea of what kind of bike she wants. Buy one from your LBS and they will take it back trade in on a better one.
 

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started my wife on a brand new '09 fuji roubaix pro. She loves it, just has been working long hours. Had about 100 miles on it in a month and ahalf.
 

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+1 on catskills suggestion

Last year I got my wife a specialized crossroads elite (about the highest zoot) "comfort bike" you can get from the company and still only about $500. I let her pick it out from any bike in the shop (within price range) even though I knew .. as you do .. that its not really "good" at anything. What it was good at it turns out .. is getting her into the hobby without back, arm, or wrist pain. Within three months she was scouring shops and catalogues for a "real" road bike. wich she purchased for herself and is now looking for a mtn bike. Am I upset that she "outgrew her gift" so quickly? Not at all.. it turns out what that bike was good for .. is getting her to fall in love with the hobby. something she's have never done on a less comphy bike.
 

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I think you're going about this idea all wrong. Can she ride a bike? I'm guessing so. Does it matter then if it's a road bike or a mountain bike? In my opinion, not at all. If she's interested in riding road with you, then don't limit her purchase because you think a mountain bike would be "easier".

I think what does matter is how you start her off on it. If she ends up on a road bike, find some bike paths (not a shoulder on a road) to take her out on for the first couple of times. Let her become familiar with the bike. The bike isn't going to be the "hard part" to learn, her ability to act and react with her surroundings is going to be the the new part. Once she feels comfortable on the bike, then you could move to public roads with sufficient shoulders and low volumes of traffic. From there, she can move up to the "not so great road conditions with heavy traffic" when she feels the need to.

She may not have been on a bike in a "loooong time", but it shouldn't take long to dust the cobwebs off and be right back in the saddle again.
 

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EurotrashGLi said:
I think you're going about this idea all wrong. Can she ride a bike? I'm guessing so. Does it matter then if it's a road bike or a mountain bike? In my opinion, not at all. If she's interested in riding road with you, then don't limit her purchase because you think a mountain bike would be "easier".
Agreed. It's not clear from your post if by "trails" you mean paved bike paths or dirt roads/single track. Paved paths wouldn't require a big, heavy mountain bike. I'm not sure I'd agree that mountain bike handling on single track is easier than handling a road bike. Also, did I miss her opinion about the type of riding she's interested in doing? If it's city errand riding, then I'd get a bike for that rather than a mountain bike - or whatever other type of riding she plans to be doing. A bike suited for its intended use will be much more useful than deciding on a mountain bike because it might be "easier to handle," unless of course she really doesn't know how to ride a bike or is an absolutely uncoordinated klutz.
 

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What is she going to ride?

If she's never going to touch dirt the mountain bike is pointless. If she does want to try dirt then it is essential.

Sounds like it's the former though. I don't think relaxed geometry road bikes are THAT hard to handle (but then I did ride a mountain bike for 3 years before I got one, so maybe you have a point). But she may be more happy starting on a hybrid type depending on what her riding style and goals are.

In the end I'd let her pick. Print up a nice "gift certificate" for the bike and wrap stuff like a helmet, gloves, shorts, etc (that are relatively inexpensive and/or can be exchanged if they don't fit). Then take her to your LBS(s) and let her choose (with guidance from you and the shop). Too many surprise bikes just end up going horribly wrong.

Coming from a woman cyclist I would not be happy getting a "surprise" bike unless he had REALLY taken a bunch of time to NAIL my fit and handling preferences down to an art; even then I'd rather the hypothetical "him" say "honey, let's go pick you out a bike".

PS: What YOU want should be irrelevant. If you get her what YOU want for her, she'll never ride it. Then you are out $$$ and your chance to have a great riding partner in time.
 

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I say mountain bike unless she has expressed a preference for road biking or has a lot of friends who are roadies, or you really don't think you would have much opportunity to go out to trails with her.

Personnally, i think everybody ought to start on a mtb to learn some handling skills before they get on a road bike, maybe there wouldn't be so many people freaking out when they see a little gravel on the road ;-)

Hybrid means you get to be sh!tty at two different sports. Either get a mtb or a road bike.
 

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CougarTrek said:
What is she going to ride?

If she's never going to touch dirt the mountain bike is pointless. If she does want to try dirt then it is essential.

Sounds like it's the former though. I don't think relaxed geometry road bikes are THAT hard to handle (but then I did ride a mountain bike for 3 years before I got one, so maybe you have a point). But she may be more happy starting on a hybrid type depending on what her riding style and goals are.

In the end I'd let her pick. Print up a nice "gift certificate" for the bike and wrap stuff like a helmet, gloves, shorts, etc (that are relatively inexpensive and/or can be exchanged if they don't fit). Then take her to your LBS(s) and let her choose (with guidance from you and the shop). Too many surprise bikes just end up going horribly wrong.

Coming from a woman cyclist I would not be happy getting a "surprise" bike unless he had REALLY taken a bunch of time to NAIL my fit and handling preferences down to an art; even then I'd rather the hypothetical "him" say "honey, let's go pick you out a bike".

PS: What YOU want should be irrelevant. If you get her what YOU want for her, she'll never ride it. Then you are out $$$ and your chance to have a great riding partner in time.
What Cougar said.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks so much for all the input. I have a lot of thinking to do. Good thing her birthday is not for another month.

Just to add, we will be doing some trails together, so I think we'd eventually add the mountain bike to the stable anyway. She started out riding mountain bikes several years ago and after a couple of years, had a mishap (30 stitches on her knee. I was not with her at that time, so not responsible :D), and has not been on a bike since. Sorry I had forgotten to mention this. I think she'd be more comfortable getting on a mountain bike than a road bike. Maybe it's just my messed up logics, but to me, it would seem like a more upright position would feel more comfortable than a more aggressive one? I know when I started riding, mountain bikes seemed way more comfortable and I felt more in control.
 

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litespeedchick said:
Personnally, i think everybody ought to start on a mtb to learn some handling skills before they get on a road bike, maybe there wouldn't be so many people freaking out when they see a little gravel on the road ;-)
I'd have to disagree here. What would you be teaching a rider on a MTN bike about gravel on the road, that the MTN bike has more stability to travel through gravel? How is that going to translate over to a road bike in the same situation? Now they'd have to unlearn those tendencies and have a different approach & reaction to gravel.

litespeedchick said:
Hybrid means you get to be sh!tty at two different sports. Either get a mtb or a road bike.
I do, however, agree here. I'm not a fan of any product that is a hybrid of multiple functions. If you want a great printer, buy a great printer. Don't buy the All-in-One Printer/Fax/Copier. It's going to be multiple functions that only perform half-ass. Same goes with bikes. Buy the bike for your intentions of use.
 

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Tricycle...

...just kidding! Wouldn't the best idea be to give her a gift certificate at your friendly LBS and let her make the choice?
 

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EurotrashGLi said:
I do, however, agree here. I'm not a fan of any product that is a hybrid of multiple functions. If you want a great printer, buy a great printer. Don't buy the All-in-One Printer/Fax/Copier. It's going to be multiple functions that only perform half-ass. Same goes with bikes. Buy the bike for your intentions of use.
I tend to disagree. Ok, some hybrid bikes do fit your description to a T, and for those I completely agree. However, there are now "hybrid", "comfort", "city" style bikes that are designed really for one thing, to ride bike paths/streets/etc in a more upright (comfortable) position and more relaxed pace with a slightly more stable platform (wider tires) than the traditional road bike. They "bridge the gap" so to speak between a mountain bike that really is not suited for the road and a road bike which is really too aggressive for many riders. They serve that purpose very well, and *could* be exactly what the OP's wife is looking for in a bike. Most aren't, and don't market themselves, as a jack of multiple trades that can be a road bike one day and a mountain bike the next; they are just in between as far as setup is concerned. They market themselves to people that want to ride casually on the road, or try out riding, or whatever that don't want the aggressiveness/positioning/drop bars of a road bike.

And, less than ideal analogy that it is, my printer/scanner/copier/photo printer works darn good and does exactly everything I want it to do at the level I want to do it...
 
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