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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    8

    recommendations for frame size for my 5' 1" wife...

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    Hello all,

    In the time that I have been married to my wife, she has always ridden hybrid style bikes with straight bars. Middle range bikes and she hasn't really ridden more than shortish distance commutes.
    This summer however, we participated in a supported 6 day tour that she enjoyed very much, and began to appreciate that a drop bar bike would be more comfortable for long days (we did days of 50, 70, 100k) Before we met, I had done a lot of touring, France a few times, West Coast of the states, around here in Quebec, Vermont, NH, so it was very nice to hear her acknowledge that a proper road or touring bike could be interesting to her now.

    Part of her concerns have always been with "leaning too far forward" with drop bars, and while I have to no end explained that bike fit is the big issue here, it was great on this 6 day tour as we spoke with many women bikers who were able to show my wife the advantages to a road bike and drop bars. We do not have women friends who are really into biking that much, so this was her first exposure to serious women bikers.

    I realize a good bike store could give opinions on sizing, but I figured why not ask similarly sized women who have toured for some examples of frame sizing.
    I ride an old touring bike and a cross-bike (Spec. Tricross Sport) on the road which both have bar levels nearly the same as my seat, and I am fairly certain that this setup would be ideal for my wife. (I mention this just so that an aggresive roadbike stance won't be recommended)

    I realize that stem changes can make a huge diff, but what are some suggestions for top-tube length for my wife, who is pretty much regularly proportioned leg/torso/arm wise?

    Part of this idea is to start looking around for a used touring or a cross bike like mine which can play many roles depending on wheels, tires, racks or not (I love my Tricross, a great "inbetween" of road bike and tourer).

    It was great to see her enthusiasm and I would like to encourage it more.

    thanks in advance
    Last edited by djb; 10-26-2010 at 05:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    2,845
    This is a thread that someone 5'2 started today:
    http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showthread.php?t=40328


    Basically - it depends on your wife. She is probably going to need something in between a 44 and 48 cm seattube - but the top tube is entirely dependent on her build.

    I'm 5'1-2, I like riding about a 48 cm frame, 520-530 cm top tube, 73 degree seat angle if I can find it. I'll run about a 100 mm stem on that - seat about level with the handlebars. I don't ride wsd 'cause my torso is relatively long and my legs relatively short. However, I have a couple 5'2 friends that find my bike just stretches them out and leans them over...

    You might want to consider trying her on a 48 cm jamis aurora, a 44 cm surly long haul trucker, a trek 520, maybe a surly cross check.

    Kalidurga on here is about 5'2 and rides a specialized tricross - probably like a 46-48 cm one, because I fit on it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    8
    thanks for the other link, as well as the size suggestions.
    My old touring bike that I did the numerous month long trips on was always a bit long for me, reach wise, I changed the stem to a shorter one and figured it was alright after.
    In looking at various cross bikes this summer, it helped to compare bikes to my tourer, measuring tape in hand. Sure enough, the 54cm Tricross I got fits me even better than my old bike, even with the stock stem.

    again, your suggestions are a good start, and as you say and which comes up in the other thread, individual proportions are the real kicker.

    good food for thought

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Melbourne Oz
    Posts
    176
    I'm a smidge under 5'2", but with short torso. I run a 500ish ett on both tourer and roadie, and the 42cm Surly LHT fitted (bit high in front though, and heavy as a % of body weight). Another my height, but with short legs, is quite happy with a 510mm ett. If you're looking at cx bikes, keep an eye on the standover, given the BB height.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    8
    ta Oz rider for the numbers, I suspect those tt lengths would be pretty close for my wife. I agree that a LHT would be overkill as I really dont ever see us doing touring with much weight. I tend to take the things we need in my pannier/s so she doesnt need one (makes a real diff if there is lots of climbing as we all know). For this reason I will keep an eye out for a more sport tourer or a cross bike like the Tricross that has similiar geometry to a light tourer, ie not too quick steering and the bb is not too high either (but yes, standover comment well taken)

    cheers, we are just starting to get colder, I guess its the opposite for you...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Melbourne Oz
    Posts
    176
    Quote Originally Posted by djb View Post
    cheers, we are just starting to get colder, I guess its the opposite for you...
    It's been a good year for me; I spent a month of our winter riding through a Canadian summer and it's a beautiful sunny still 24C here today. Roll on summer #2!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    8
    what part of Canada were you in?

    as for temps, I had the poly pro top, thin fleece and a windshell on the other day on a 3C ride (bit cooler than usual) so we are in the last stages of riding over here, alas.

    Always sad to begin riding less...November and Dec are the kinda "blah" months, more rain, colder. Riding in cold and dry is alright, but cold and wet...blah.
    December is too early to have any lasting snow, so cross country skiing hasnt started yet (especially the last few years our winters have been milder than usual, not as much snow by far)

    c'est la vie

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    San Antonio, TX
    Posts
    2,024
    Another suggestion would be a used terry classic/madeline in 17.5". You can get these used for a good price. Try the buy/sell a used terry on the terry web site. They will have small front wheels, but a good solution for a short top tube without toe clip overlap. Get an older steel, 2001-2005 for 9 spd drive train. If you are carrying most of the luggage, a symetry/isis would also work.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    2,048
    I'm 5'1" and ride a 44 cm bike. it's not a touring bike specifically- an aluminum road bike. I'm short-waisted, with proportionally longer legs, if that helps.
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Melbourne Oz
    Posts
    176
    Quote Originally Posted by djb View Post
    what part of Canada were you in?
    Vancouver to Inuvik, via Vancouver Island.

    We have to go looking for snow in winter, so our annual snow ride is a novelty. hehe. It surprises me that you have so few trackies over there, given the weather.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Soquel, CA
    Posts
    193
    I'm 5"3" and I ride a Specialized Ruby Compact 48cm. The handlebars are slightly higher than the seat so there is very little difference between it and my previous straight bar Specialized Vita. It was very easy to get used to.

    I bought a used Bike Friday that was close to my size. It seemed fine at first for short distances, but after a 40 mile ride (with handlebars level with seat) my hands were numb and my privates hurt. Changing the saddle (to one like my road bike) fixed one problem, and getting an adjustable stem that raised up the handlebars fixed the other one. I am thinking that I must have short arms because when I lean over too much, there is too much weight on my wrists. I am not talking about a bolt upright position like on a cruiser, just a more gentle lean.

    Your wife might want to try an adjustable stem on her new bike (it was only about $30) to see if that is why she is leery of dropped bars. When I want to get lower, I can use the drops, but when I am just cruising along the hoods are more comfortable. She could play around with the height and change it at a later date if she wants.
    2007 Ruby Comp/Specialized Dolce
    2004 Bike Friday Crusoe/Specialized Dolce

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    8
    First of all, I dont have this set up so that I get emails when there are responses, so I have to remember to check in.

    Triskelion--thanks for that Terry mention, I have never heard of that company (and its in Vermont, not far from us in Montreal) but just looked at the website. Neat, even just for the basic bike sizing/geometry explanation videos.
    Very good pointer for the used section and your model suggestions too, very much appreciated.

    Az-tks for the size reference, I now have to make a chart with the metric/imperial equilavents to keep track...

    Oz- Wow,neat trip. When we got married we drove across Canada (in car) and took the ferry from Prince Rupert down to Vancouver Island. I'm sure you had to be extra careful of bears, much more than out here in the east.
    My grandparents were Brits, so I am familiar with Britspeak, but I'm afraid you lost me with "trackies"--do you mean people who ride in the winter?

    Feature- you are a good 2 inches taller than my wife, but again, a good comparison, and my wifes present bike is a Vita. The adjustable stem idea is a good one. There are so many factors in what is a good set up for any given individual-ones flexibility, or even early in the riding season our backs and gut muscles arent as strong, and as we bike more, we will pedal a bit harder and consistently, taking weight off our hands a bit more too. The added weight of an adjustable stem could really be outweighed by the quick-changing aspect as you mentioned. And as you say, saddle choice and postion play a big part also.

    again, thanks to all for the real world experiences.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Melbourne Oz
    Posts
    176
    Sorry djb. Trackies is people who ride track, as in velodromes (usually indoor). We seem to have a very strong track tradition for a country with such beautiful weather, as the Comm Games showed. And I was surprised talking to the Canadians that they have few international standard velodromes. Melbourne has two; one is only available for special events but anyone can access the other one and local clubs race there every week. Plus half a dozen shallower outdoor ones.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    8
    ahhh tracks....as I am not into racing at all, this didnt occur to me. You know the 1976 Olympics were held here, and there was a Velodrome (right beside the Olympic Stadium) but ages ago it was converted into a nature center, called the "Biodome" (is really neat, with a number of "climate zones" that one walks through with real and "set-like" environments with birds, animals, fish. A great place to visit with kids)
    Kinda sad that an Olympic level facility was not used enough to warrant the change, but I dont honestly remember the details of when it was taking place.
    I imagine the use was not warranting the upkeep etc.

    cheers

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,956
    Indoor velodromes? Did I read this right? Interesting. We have a velodrome in my city but it is outside. It seems to see a lot of use. During the N.I.T.E Ride this summer, which starts at the velodrome, I saw my first race there before the ride started (well after dark). Interesting, but I was surprised at how steep the track was Fun to watch though!

 

 

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