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Those are the usual suggestions and they are great. As a riding trail I think White Mesa is a little overrated, however it is a very unique experience which is why I think it always makes lists. As far as some other ones besides the ones you already mentioned:
Windsor – Great descent! Although you have to really watch out for hikers. It is the only trail in the state that I feel like we have Colorado front range levels of trail conflict on.
Challenge Trail in the Sandias. – Another great descent. It is a shuttle. I prefer to start at the top of Sandia Peak. Take it down to the start of 10k, take 10k for about 100 yards then hang a left. It drops you out at the bottom of Ski Sandia. It isn’t ridden a lot because it is pretty technically demanding, and because of that it is raw. But that is part of the reason I love it.
1oK>Tree Spring>Oso Corridor – Another great descent in the Sandias that is also a shuttle, unless you just really want to pedal up the road. There tends to be quite a bit of hikers on Tree Spring since that trail is used as an entrance into the wilderness area. Tree Spring is also super rocky with tons of basket ball size rocks stuck in the ground. If you want to continue the fun, from Oso take South Faulty to Armijo trail.
Quemazon Trail – Such a great descent. This was a regular stage at the Los Alamos Endurofest and I looked forward to it every year. It is basically an out and back, although you can make it only a descent if you ride up the dirt road (Pipeline Road).
East Fork>Lost Lake – The trails we were “allowed” to keep during the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness fiasco. I myself haven’t ridden this trail yet, however friend whom I respect said it is a great high alpine trail with great views and great riding. I am hoping to tick this off my to-do list either this year or next.
Those are the other trails that I suggest besides Boundary and Otero. Also, my suggestions tend to be more gravity oriented, so keep that in mind. I have heard that the Zuni Mountains trails are great for more XC minded people. I will find out when I race the 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest next month.
Hope this helps.January 10, 2017 at 13:59 in reply to: Narrow wide chainring: Do you still run a chain guide? #204578
I run a chainguide with my narrow/wide. This is only because I do enduro races. For instance, last year I was racing the Los Alamos Endurofest when my chain came off on one of the stages because the clutch on my derailleur decided to die mid-run. Realized it was off when I finished the stage. The guide caught my chain and held it till I finished the stage. I also still had 2 more stages so I was happy to have the guide.
I don’t think a guide is necessary if you aren’t racing. However, if you throw down money to do a race it sucks to have your race ruined by a potentially dropped chain. Better safe than sorry.
While suspension is important, it isn’t as important as you may think. If you are going to be hucking off 5′ drops then yes, but if you are going to be trail riding then the suspension isn’t super important. A lot of bikes do a lot with less suspension that what you would think. The bike that comes to mind is the Yeti SB95. It only has 127mm of rear travel and 120mm of front travel but since it has a good suspension design and a slack head tube angle it is know as a burly trail/all mountain bike. It is important to remember that the more suspension you have, typically the less efficient the bike pedals uphill which could become an issue if you plan on some all day epic rides with lots of climbing to go along with the downhills. This isn’t always true and can very from bike to bike, but it is something to keep in mind. Just as a reference, I ride a Stumpjumper FSR 29 with 140mm of front travel and 130mm of rear travel and my friend has a Niner RIP 9 RDO with 140mm of front travel and 125mm or rear travel. Neither of us have any trouble riding trails in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, NM, etc.
I understand the drive to go women specific. In fact, the two bikes you selected are good ones. They tend to have a much better standover height than "men’s" bikes. However, you may also fit on a small "men’s" bike. You should at least do youself the favor of trying a small mens because that opens the door to more bike options.
Everyone is different, but my personal rule of thumb is to buy the highest model you can afford for the simple reason that you will typically get a better bang for your buck on components than if you buy a lesser model and then try to upgrade components separately. With my bike, I bought the most I could afford and then have upgraded the parts as I have broken them or as they have worn out.
Every bike manufacturer has their own twist on suspension and each one will ride a little different. I could go into why but it really doesn’t matter. The good thing is that as long as you stick with quality companies like Specialized, Juliana (basically a women’s Santa Cruz), Trek, Niner, etc. you will be fine. It is best to ride the ones you are interested to see which one you are most comfortable with, however if you can’t do that that is fine. To be honest, right now is a great time to be a mountain biker because it is hard to buy a bad bike. Bikes have just gotten really good over the last 10 years.
I don’t blame you for looking at the 27.5 wheel size. With you height that seems like the best size for you if you want a "bigger" wheel. Also, I saw your comment about switching between 27.5" and 26" wheels. That isn’t a good thing to do because bikes are designed around a specific wheel size. If you put a 26" wheel on a 27.5" bike, it will work but it won’t "feel" good.
So, Backcountry.com is basically an online REI where CompetitiveCyclist.com is basically an online bike shop. Competitive Cyclist only deals with bike related things and they have staff dedicated to bikes where as Backcountry’s staff deals with bikes, climbing gear, hiking gear, etc. My friend bought his Niner through Competitive Cyclist and they spent a lot of time on the phone with him getting the size right. The other option is to go to your LBS. I personally go to my LBS for pretty much everything. Also, the LBS’s typically have a little room to negotiate with price (I got 15% off my bike) especially if you buy a higher end bike where they have more margin to play with.
Lastly, MTRB.com is doing an Enduro Compare-O right now and they have a lot of good information. They are reviewing a lot of bikes and they also have articles on "What wheel size fits me?", "How much suspension do I need?", "What components should I invest my money in?", etc. I have read their reviews and articles and they talk a lot about the questions you are proposing. I will put the link below and their articles are organized on the right side of the page.
I hope this helps and good luck with everything. Feel free to keep asking questions as they come up!
(excuse any grammer/spelling errors, I didn’t want to go back and proof read my posting, haha)
You will have some options since $4k is you max budget. You can assume about $75 for pedals and somewhere in the same price range for a set of mountain shoes. You don’t really need a "mountain" helmet (I rode with a road helmet for a long time) but if you do decide to get one it will also run you about $70 and up. Lets say you find a few deals and get a jersey and shorts for $50.
That puts you at $200 for your shoes, clothes, and pedals. So you have about $3800 to spend on a bike.
From there I would suggest you ride a few different bikes to determine what wheel size suits you and how much travel you like. Since you are 5’2", standover height will be an important factor when looking for a bike. So I would suggest going to a bike shop and makeing sure that the bike fits you before purchasing online. If you can’t find a dealer for the Furtado, I would suggest going to CompetitiveCyclist,com. They are owned by Backcountry.com (the link you provided) so they carry the same cycling gear and they have a good fitting service for people looking to purchase a bike from them.
Also, you don’t necessariy have to limit yourself to "women specific" bikes. My wife rides a Specialized Epic with no problems. If you do want a women’s specific bike, most all of the major brands offer them. Also, why did you select the two you did? That would help people suggest bikes if they knew why you liked those or what exactly you were looking for.
I realize that this is a lot of "go try it out" advice, but that is honestly the best thing to do. Bikes are a very personal thing and you need to make sure you comfortable and fit it.
Hope this helps.
Just glad I had some free time to show you around! I had a great time and hope we can ride together again. Also, if anyone else is heading down here for any reason feel free to PM me and I would be happy to show you around. It is always more fun when you have someone to ride with.
No problem. We are planning on riding Sunday afternoon before the Superbowl so if you are in town shoot me a PM and I will give you my contact info.
I just sent you a PM. Check you messages and we can go from there.
What are the dates you will be here? I could show you around if it is a Saturday or Sunday.
For the most part the trails that are open this time of year are the foothills and White Mesa. I am a little fond of the foothills since I live about a half mile form them and White Mesa is about a 40minute drive.
Below is a link to a map of all the trailheads for the foothills. The South Foothills are a little more ‘all mountain’ than the North Foothills depending on the trails you take.