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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    10

    Bicycle sizing for my girlfriend..

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    My girlfriend came to my cross race last weekend and mentioned she really would like to try it since it looks so fun. Before investing into a nice cx bike, I thought maybe she will fit OK or even pretty well on one of my bikes.

    She's 5'5" and fairly proportionate. I am also the same height. I have two bikes, and it'd be really nice for me, financially, if she could use one of my bikes, and maybe, if needed, change things up to have it fit better. I was just curious what everyone that is about the same height (5'5") as her rides?

    The bike I was hoping she could use is my 52cm Surly Cross Check.

    The thing is, when I had just gotten into cycling, I bought her a pretty small bicycle that she had gotten fairly used to. I was also riding the same size, but soon realized it was way too small for me. That frameset has a 49cm TT. When she gets on my bike, she says it feels huge. I'm not sure if it really is, or if she's just used to her smaller bike. She also noticed how close the top tube was when standing over my bike. How much clearance should their be down there?

    Of course, I know I could get this all solved by getting fitted, but I thought I'd try checking with you guys first.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Vermont
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    1,414
    It's hard to say. Depends on the bike, the setup, and her proportions. You can get a rough idea of whether her torso is much shorter than yours or not by comparing inseams. If her inseam is much longer than yours, she probably needs a smaller frame. (Because her torso is relatively smaller for the same height).

    As to bike frame size --
    I'm 5'6".

    I have a 52cm Bianchi Axis that fits me perfectly. It has a 53.9 cm virtual top tube. I'm running a 90mm stem with a substantial positive rise, maybe 10 degrees.

    I also have a 49cm Scott Contessa CR1 pro that fits me beautifully. It has a 51.5 cm virtual top tube. I'm running a 120mm -6 degree stem on it.

    The Scott is a much more aggressive position with much more saddle-bar drop, but both bikes fit me well and they are very different frame sizes and setups.

    So it's just hard to say . But it's worth a try. It seems at least plausible that your bikes could fit her.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,409
    I'm 5'5". I have a 54cm Rivendell which is 'about' the right size, though I could probably be comfy on their 52cm as well (never tried one though).
    No one needs more than a 1/2" of standover, technically speaking. That's about what I have on my Riv.
    You ought to measure and compare your two heights from floor to pubic bone however- that's more accurate and will tell you more than overall body height.
    Here's how:
    http://www.rivbike.com/article/bike_..._to_measure_it
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    2,617
    Quote Originally Posted by BleeckerSt_Girl View Post
    No one needs more than a 1/2" of standover, technically speaking.
    Even on a cross bike?
    For 3 days, I get to part of a thousand other journeys.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    10
    Unfortunately, the Surly has a 54cm TT..

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    It might be OK. As I said, my Axis (which is a CX bike) has a 53.9 tt -- I don't think that 0.1 cm would make that much difference . What kind of stem do you have on it?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,409
    Quote Originally Posted by Pedal Wench View Post
    Even on a cross bike?
    What i mean is, lots of people get nervous when they have less than one or two inches of clearance- but you can get as close as 1/2" standover clearance and still be just fine. I'm talking bikes in general, not cross bike geometry specifically.
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by liza View Post
    It might be OK. As I said, my Axis (which is a CX bike) has a 53.9 tt -- I don't think that 0.1 cm would make that much difference . What kind of stem do you have on it?
    A 120 at the moment.. I'll put the 90 from my current bike onto that one to see how she likes it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by Pedal Wench View Post
    Even on a cross bike?
    I think that's what makes her uncomfortable the most.. There's not much room down there.

    Though, I was concerned about that myself at first, I can probably lift up my front wheel about an inch when standing over it. It was kind of scary knowing how close it was at first, but it's not really a problem.. yet.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    2,845
    I think you want a bit more than half an inch for a cross bike and definitely more for a mountain bike.

    Hower, road bikes I think standover height is somewhat overrated - as long as I don't feel like I'm racking myself, I'm fine with whatever on road bikes.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Beautiful NW or Left Coast
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    the bike feels too big for her. The top tube is 54cm. That might just be too long for her reach!
    what's wrong with the smaller bike you bought her?
    I like Bikes - Mimi
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    511
    I'm 5'4.5" and normally proportioned, although I have long arms.

    My road (Merlin Atreus) and cross (LeMond Poprad) bikes are both 49cm, with ca. 52cm TT and I use short (80 and 90 mm) stems and short-reach handlebars.

    My sister is a tad taller and rides and Airborne 54cm, which I don't get, but she likes.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by Biciclista View Post
    the bike feels too big for her. The top tube is 54cm. That might just be too long for her reach!
    what's wrong with the smaller bike you bought her?
    It has track ends and not enough clearance to run knobby tires.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    996
    I'm 5'6" w/a 30" inseam and I ride a 46cm crosscheck. I was trying to decide between that and the 50cm, but went with the 46 because the standover on the 50cm is 30.3" (yeah, I'm mixing my metric & imperial units ) The reach on it is definitely shorter than my road bike (surly TT: 52.8cm Blue Rc7 TT: 54cm), but it doesn't bother me for CX racing.

    In other words, the Surly's 50cm standover was barely too big for me, but the TT was OK, and I'm a little bigger than your GF, so the 50cm is likely going to be too large for her.
    Because not every fast cyclist is a toothpick...

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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    2,024
    Height is only one paramater. I am 5'4.5" tall, and have long femurs and a short upper body. My best fitting bike is a 19" terry road bike with a 49cm TT. I also need a slack STA (73 degree or less) to fit my long femurs, and even then my saddle is all the way back on a very laid back seat post. This is another reason I need such a short top tube, I sitting further back than most, increasing my reach.

    I could never ride a bike with a 54 cm top tube!
    Last edited by Triskeliongirl; 11-11-2008 at 03:58 PM.

 

 

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