A little while back we introduced “Sweet Bike” on singletracks which allows you to spec out your dream bike. After speaking with Mudhunny it dawned on me: not only can you use Sweet Bike to figure out what your dream bike will cost you but you can also use it to make a stock bike work for you. For example, if you’re a woman looking for a DH bike, you’re probably not just going to get an off-the-shelf bike. For starters off the shelf DH bikes are generally too heavy for smaller riders. Mudhunny mentioned how heavy even the womens-specific DH rental bikes at Trestle Bike Park felt – a fairly common complaint for many female riders.
I recently came across one bike shop that goes the distance when it comes to building up a custom bike for their customers. This custom assembled Morewood Makulu by Fanatik Bike Co. (pictured below) is a great example of assembling a bike for a customer with their specific needs in mind. In this case, the customer was a petite woman looking for a bombing DH mountain bike.
Fanatik offers a “blank canvas” online form that allows you to specify every detail down to cable housing and tire tubes. After you submit the form one of the shop techs will look over your build, make suggestions, and even let you know about compatibility issues that might arise. Once everything looks good they’ll build your dream bike the way you want it!
If you’re really serious about your ride or if you have specific needs that stock bikes don’t address then this may be the way to go. Judging by the female-specific bikes I’ve seen from various manufactures, there’s definitely room for improvement in terms of component weight and performance (bars, stems, saddles, and even wheels). After all, women are, on average, lighter than men of the same height. Knowing that, a woman can get away with carbon bars and lighter cranks or wheels that might not hold up for a male rider. I have heard from a few component manufacturers that they are going to start offering female specific DH components beyond just bars and seat posts. Rumor has it MTB forks are being developed with women in mind – and we’re not just talking pretty pink graphics!
Computer manufacturers like Dell have offered custom builds for years and it’s only a matter of time before mountain bike manufacturers start to do more of the same. The internet makes it possible to send bike specs directly to the factory, so why not customize?