|Reviewer: Tiffany Allmandinger
Weight: 135 lbs
Two months ago I was given the opportunity to test ride and review two new women’s specific freeride bikes; the Norco Vixa – MSRP = $2875 and the Kona Minxy – MSRP = $2299. Since then I’ve tried to ride them as much as possible on every type of trail I can find here in SoCal. I’ve pedaled them up hills, I’ve shuttled to the top of descents and I’ve played at the local jump parks. To give you an idea of where this review is coming from I’ll very briefly describe my riding style. I’m not a hucker, I’m also not into getting huge air. I’m more of an all-mountain, Super-D, long technical, fast descent sort of rider. I’ve typically ridden 5 – 5.5″ travel single ring bikes along with a lot of single-speeding on my hardtail. I’ve done my fair share of racing, both in college and out and still absolutely hands down, love to ride. I’ve done my best in the review that follows to channel 13 years of mountain biking experience into, I hope, a helpful guide for women thinking of getting a free ride bike. If you have questions I’ll do my best to answer them, and if I can’t I’ll research it until I can. Happy reading.
First glance –
At first glance the bikes couldn’t appear more different. The Kona, subtle and serious, looks like Darth Vader’s weapon of choice. The Norco, cheeky and puckish, tempts you with its gold and white bling. Both are a far and refreshing cry from the stereo-typical women’s bike (a million ‘thank yous’ to the designers). No flowers, pastel pinks or blues, silver hearts or gauche attire, just legitimate design punctuated by the occasional flare of well placed fun and charm. Their slack head tubes, stout linkages and big juicy suspension advertise that they’re real assault bikes to be respected and taken seriously. There’s nothing that appears cheap or compromised with these machines. The welds aren’t pitted or sloppy, and the components are legit. They’re purpose built and they look like it. It’s clear that a lot of work went into making these bikes as sturdy and effective as their male counter parts. They look perfectly delicious…