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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    2

    Gravel grinder - short

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    Any suggestions on best bike for dirt roads and such (e.g., C&O Canal) for a short woman? Maybe occasional, sweet singletrack (e.g, McDowell in AZ), but no tech stuff, no rock gardens, no DH.

    My wife wants more comfort than a 23c tire on her hybrid, but does not want something heavy (like my Rumblefish). This seems to leave taking a flyer on a bike that no one keeps in stock (e.g, Vaya, ), which means paying for something before knowing if it fits, or feels right (ugh).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,034
    FWIW, of all the bikes I have (one hybrid, two road, one touring and two mountain), I've only been able to test ride two of them. Of the remaining bikes, only one of them--the most expensive, a custom bike--didn't work out. In my opinion, if you have some sense of what kind of geometry your wife needs--and a good bike shop should be able to get a good ballpark for that--and the type of bike that best suits her, I wouldn't rule bikes that aren't normally in stock. Since your wife is short, even with the bigger brands, you might find it challenging to find bikes in stock for her to test.

    But to your original question, I do think you're onto something with the Vaya. Of all the brands out there, I think Salsa offers the most variety of off-road bikes that might serve the variety of purposes she's looking for. The Warbird and Fargo would be especially attractive to me as a gravel bike. Velo, another member here, has the Warbird. She's given it high marks. If you work with a reputable shop, they should be able to address any sizing questions you might have. Kona is another company that has some interesting off road offerings.
    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
    May 2006
    Location
    Md suburbs of Wash. DC
    Posts
    2,131
    I'm 5'3" and ride my 46cm Specialized Tricross on the C&O Canal, easy singletrack, gravel, city roads, country roads, you name it. My old Tricross was a 49cm and I had to have fit modifications done to make it comfortable. The new 46cm size is a perfect fit and the bike is damned tough and flexible.
    "How about if we all just try to follow these very simple rules of the road? Drive like the person ahead on the bike is your son/daughter. Ride like the cars are ambulances carrying your loved ones to the emergency room. This should cover everything, unless you are a complete sociopath."
    David Desautels, in a letter to velonews.com

    Random babblings and some stuff to look at.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West MI
    Posts
    4,259
    You didn't say how short, but I'm just <5'4" and love my 44cm Redline Conquest.

    I've yet to test ride a bike before buying. Shops just don't really carry my size. Actually, the shop we bought my Redline from did keep it in stock (and had a hard time selling it -- we bought it when it was already on clearance), but it was bought sort of as a surprise and fits like a dream. Our LBS guy and my DH could tell just looking at the geometry chart that it would work, and it does.
    Kirsten
    run/bike log
    zoomylicious


    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
    '12 Salsa Mukluk 3
    '14 Seven Mudhoney S Ti/disc/Di2

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    2
    Good advice all, thanks. We'll start looking in earnest. I so enjoy test rides myself - I would find that a bummer to miss out on that. Like not seeing a movie trailer (altho perhaps equally unreliable).

 

 

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