First, the easier to explain bike (tomorrow I’ll talk about the “Ultimate Warrior”) – I built Sarah a new FS plus bike (her first plus bike, and her first FS bike in probably 10 years!) as she’s off to do a 2-day DH class and learn about getting big air and such.
She’s an XC rider at heart, though, so the bike couldn’t be too over the top. To whit:
-120mm travel in the front and 125mm in the rear.
-67.5 head angle, 70cm front center, 13″ BB height (ie, low, long, and slack)
-41cm (yes, that’s right) chainstays and room for a true 27.5 x 3″ tire. Currently she’s got 2.8 Chupacabras on and I think that’s probably what she’ll stick with for a while, though.
-100mm dropper post (a 125 would also work but Fox kindly provided me with a 100mm to try, so we’re sticking with that for now).
-Around 100% antisquat with a 28t chainring, pretty progressive spring curve, CS mounted brake mount for a pretty neutral rear brake.
15 years ago, this bike would be close to a full-on freeride bike or even with another 25mm of travel, a light DH rig. Now it’s basically an XC bike. But it’s a huge upgrade in capability from her fairly old-school hardtail (which can’t fit anything bigger than a 2.2, has no dropper, and is running a 69.5 head tube angle). And it should be enough to let he go hit the jumps and drops with the rest of her classmates in a week.
On her insistence, I actually weighed the bike, and it’s about 27.5 pounds without pedals. Not bad for a medium travel/aggro bike with decent but not fancy (GX, Cane Creek, Stan’s Flow wheels) stuff.
First few rides out have been a big success, too, with all sorts of her own records being shattered on all sorts of trails, even as she’s getting used to the dropper and only actually using it maybe 10% of the time where it would be appropriate. I don’t think I have a tougher customer and she’s pretty psyched!