The Specialized Myka Elite Disc is the least expensive of the four women-specific bikes on test here, with an entry-level frameset, 80mm travel Suntour fork and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes that lack reach adjustment. While Specialized has specced the shorter reach Tektro levers so they are ideal for smaller hands, the ergo grips with the additional palm support are a little odd, suggesting just one hand position.
All of this begs the question: at up to £100 less than the other 29ers on test, can the Myka still make the grade? First impressions were good. The saddle (size 17in Myka, the middle of three available sizes) was a good fit and the reach felt right, with the 670mm bars a reasonable width. However, once up and riding, the frame revealed itself to have very little give, making for a pretty harsh ride — and this was not tempered by the Suntour fork, from which I could get very little movement.
The 29in wheels turned out to be the Specialized Myka’s saving grace, keeping things rolling and taking some of the sting out of the smaller hits. But the unforgiving frame and minimal fork movement had me skittering down the trail in a way that just wasn’t pleasant. For a cheap price, the Specialized offers a taste of 29er hardtail riding, and the position on the bike is good. But, as the heaviest bike on test, with the least compliant frame and lower spec kit, it’s not a hardtail that’ll inspire you to get out on the trails — whether you’re a newbie or otherwise. You may have spent less money, but it will probably spend more time in the shed.
MBR rating: 6
Frame A1 premium aluminium
Fork Suntour XCM LO 29 80mm
Wheels Specialized hubs and rims, Fast Trak Sport 2.0in tyres
Drivetrain Suntour XCR chainset, Shimano Acera 3×9 shifters and f-mech, Alivio r-mech
Brakes Tektro HDC 300
Weight 14.14kg (37.17lb)
Sizes 15in, 17in, 19in
Size tested 17in
On test in our Hardtail of the Year competition: