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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    2

    Recommendations for a small touring bike

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    I'm 5'2 and have determined that the 48" in many touring bike brands is too big. I'm wondering if I should be looking at a different style of bike which is not strickly touring as I'll be credit card touring and the load will be light.

    My next option to try is the Surly LHT in a 46, which one of the bike stores is going to assemble for me.

    Looking for suggestions,
    Thanks...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    Would a size 47 in the Jamis Aurora fit you?
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    74
    Here's a 4'11" woman's review of the Surly Long Haul Trucker
    http://forums.teamestrogen.com/showt...g+haul+trucker
    Existence is empty, but I am full of myself.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
    194
    Surly! Surly! Surly! I am not the least bit bias. PS - I'm 5'2" and that size fits me too.
    Savra

    2006 Specialized Dolce Elite/Specialized Stock Saddle
    2011 Surly LHT/Brooks S Flyer

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Lakewood, Co
    Posts
    1,068
    I'm 5'2" (almost) and do touring with organizations that sag my gear. I built a custom road bike and use it for all my riding, including tours. Unless you're planning on sagging your own gear a good fitting road bike will work. I really appreciate the lightness of my frame on a 70 mile day.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by Kathi View Post
    I'm 5'2" (almost) and do touring with organizations that sag my gear. I built a custom road bike and use it for all my riding, including tours. Unless you're planning on sagging your own gear a good fitting road bike will work. I really appreciate the lightness of my frame on a 70 mile day.
    Kathi, what are you riding and what is it made of. I've been told that for long rides that I'm going to want steel.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Lakewood, Co
    Posts
    1,068
    I ride a carbon/ti Serotta. Yes, steel or carbon especially if your lightweight. A handbuilt wheelset over the stock wheels is an invaluable option for a lightweight rider. The builder can tune the wheels to your weight instead of a 180 lb rider yet they will still be strong enough to handle the rigors of touring.

    My wheelset is 650c with 23 width tires. I use Michelin Pro Race tires.

    I've been told that aluminum frames have changed but my mid 90's aluminum Cannondale beat me to death even with a carbon fork.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,099
    I built a custom ti road bike with couplers that will be used for travel and touring where I do not carry my gear... although I can put 2 panniers on this bike. I've ridden it with one pannier for shopping and it would do fine for a credit card tour.
    I am 5' 1" and I also have a carbon road bike. Both bikes are awesome, but the ti feels very smooth and plush. The bike is almost as light as my carbon bike. I don't have super light wheels and they are 700s, not 650s. I've been riding this bike quite a bit, so I am used to it for my trip in August. Anything I haven't liked about this bike was more related to things I chose myself, i.e. the bars, pedals.
    I looked at real touring bikes and it didn't take long for me to figure out that I could never use bar end shifters. The bikes were heavy and kind of ugly to me. I'm never going to do loaded touring, and since I'm used to riding a very light bike, this was a great compromise. I use the bike for regular riding and, it can be broken down for travel.
    That, and the fact that when I went to Harris Cycles, of Sheldon Brown fame, they were kind of condescending and were back in the Dark Ages, when it came to fit. I left there rather quickly.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,192
    Littlerider, You can not beat a surly LHT in the price range it falls into. Even Grant Petersen of Bridgestone now Rivendell fame touts Surly as the best bike for the price. Hope you enjoy test riding.
    Sky King
    ____________________
    Gilles Berthoud "Bernard"
    Surly ECR "Eazi"
    Empowering the Bicycle Traveler
    biketouringnews.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Lakewood, Co
    Posts
    1,068
    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    I built a custom ti road bike with couplers that will be used for travel and touring where I do not carry my gear... although I can put 2 panniers on this bike. I've ridden it with one pannier for shopping and it would do fine for a credit card tour.
    I am 5' 1" and I also have a carbon road bike. Both bikes are awesome, but the ti feels very smooth and plush. The bike is almost as light as my carbon bike. I don't have super light wheels and they are 700s, not 650s. I've been riding this bike quite a bit, so I am used to it for my trip in August. Anything I haven't liked about this bike was more related to things I chose myself, i.e. the bars, pedals.
    I looked at real touring bikes and it didn't take long for me to figure out that I could never use bar end shifters. The bikes were heavy and kind of ugly to me. I'm never going to do loaded touring, and since I'm used to riding a very light bike, this was a great compromise. I use the bike for regular riding and, it can be broken down for travel.
    That, and the fact that when I went to Harris Cycles, of Sheldon Brown fame, they were kind of condescending and were back in the Dark Ages, when it came to fit. I left there rather quickly.
    Besides the looks and weight of touring bikes I too was concerned about the fit. I don't know how Surly's fit but at one time I looked at the geometry of touring bikes and realized that because of my size I'd never get the fit I need.

    If you need to take weight off a bike the recommendation is to lighten your rotating weight with a lighter wheelset. Plus, a wheelset built for a 180lb rider will feel stiffer to a lighter weight rider.

    I had my bike built for 650's because I didn't want any compromises on the fit of the frame. My fitter said he would not have put 700c's on that small of a frame. Besides, the 650's look proportionally nicer on the small frame.

    People ride all kinds of bikes on the tours I do. My best advice is to buy a bike you can afford and be sure it fits very well. A good fitter will help you with this. If your bike doesn't fit well you will feel it on back to back days.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Lakewood, Co
    Posts
    1,068
    One point about the Surly is that you can run wide tires on it. That's great if it's something you think you will need but on the tours I have done I've had no need for wide tires. Occasionally you'll run into road construction or a detour that could be gravel for a short distance but not enough to require wide tires. On tours that need wide tires, like the Mickelsen trail in S. Dakota, I use my mountain bike with light trail tires.

    Also, I have no desire to add weight to my bike so I don't load it down with unnecessary stuff. When I do need extras I use my Camelback which holds everything I need.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    50
    I just bought a Surly LHT in anticipation for my first big tour this summer. I love it. It's technically a little big for me -- I'm 5'5", and the bike is 52" -- I can just clear the topbar when I'm standing. However, I like the fit for my reach, and I don't even notice the height because I'm almost never standing straight up over the bar with both feet on the ground. I'm almost always at an angle with one foot on the pedal.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Lakewood, Co
    Posts
    1,068
    I don't know if this fits your price range but if you want a nice light weight steel frame take a look at Independent Fabrication bicycles or Serotta. Both make nice stock steel frames in small sizes.

    My SO has the IF Crown Jewel and loves it.

    I was looking at the wrong Surly when I made my comments but the small LHT has 26" wheels (wider tires) and is not the same as a 650C wheel.

    If you're not going to be using panniers or a trailer you don't need the extra frame weight and heavier wheels of a touring bike.
    Last edited by Kathi; 06-08-2012 at 10:13 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,099
    I have nothing against 650 wheels, I had them on my Trek. But Guru (the company that built my ti bike) didn't seem to think I needed them. The wheels don't look too big for my bike. Only once did I notice toe overlap, when I was making the very sharp turn, uphill into my driveway. It scared me to death, but now I just approach the turn differently. I have 700 wheels on my carbon bike (48 cm unisex frame, with a lot of short reach things on it) and didn't notice any difference when I switched to that bike from my Trek 5200 with the smaller wheels. I do have 25cm tires on the ti bike, which makes it a bit smoother and I could put 28s on there, if I wanted to. The geometry on my ti bike is much more relaxed than the carbon one, so the bike looks bigger, even though the measurements are smaller, if that makes sense. I actually don't like being quite so upright, but I just need to switch the position of the bars a bit.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Lakewood, Co
    Posts
    1,068
    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    I have nothing against 650 wheels, I had them on my Trek. But Guru (the company that built my ti bike) didn't seem to think I needed them. The wheels don't look too big for my bike. Only once did I notice toe overlap, when I was making the very sharp turn, uphill into my driveway. It scared me to death, but now I just approach the turn differently. I have 700 wheels on my carbon bike (48 cm unisex frame, with a lot of short reach things on it) and didn't notice any difference when I switched to that bike from my Trek 5200 with the smaller wheels. I do have 25cm tires on the ti bike, which makes it a bit smoother and I could put 28s on there, if I wanted to. The geometry on my ti bike is much more relaxed than the carbon one, so the bike looks bigger, even though the measurements are smaller, if that makes sense. I actually don't like being quite so upright, but I just need to switch the position of the bars a bit.
    I'm curious, how does one do relaxed geometry on a small frame? I have the impression that relaxed geometry has a slack sta. but when I was out riding today I noticed a woman riding with a more upright position. Is that what you consider relaxed in spite of the position of the sta. My neighbor rides a hybred so he's in a very upright position.

    For example, back in the old days the shop would put my handlebars in a very low position. They were so low that when I rode in my drops my thigh hit my boobs. I almost never rode in my drops. I would consider that an aggressive position. But it wasn't a good position for me. With my custom frame I have a longer ht than you would find on a stock frame but I'm in a neutral position, not high, not low. So is that a relaxed geometry or aggressive geometry? My front end is designed so I can raise or lower my handlebars by switching the spacers or stem. I will not, however, be able to go as high as a hybred.

    I once tried a small touring bike that was custom designed for a woman my size. It had a slack sta but it was terrible for me. I felt like I was riding a recumbent because I wasn't centered over the pedals. Of course the bike wasn't fitted to me but I doubt the saddle could have been moved forward enough.

    My saddle is as far forward as it can go, even with a 74.8 degree sta and a zero degree seat post so I'm pretty sure I can't go slacker, like 72.5 degree sta.

    So based on the fact that certain aspects of geometry cannot change for me I'm confused as to what you did to get a relaxed geometry on your bike.
    Last edited by Kathi; 06-08-2012 at 03:10 PM.

 

 

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