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Help w/ converting a bike for my wife(14 posts)

Help w/ converting a bike for my wife853
Jan 21, 2003 10:44 AM
Well this all started about a year ago. My wife was beginning to notice that cycling was actually getting me in shape, I was losing weight, my legs were getting more defined and I was having to much fun on the bike.
She wanted in, she wanted to start right away and she wanted a rode bike just like me.
I wanted to set her up right, with a nice bike that had all the bells and whistles. Well on the advise from a lot of my friends I decided to hold of on the expensive bike and on her birthday I showed up to the house with a brand new entry level tourer Bianchi Brava. She was excited, the next day we went out on a ride and she realized that it was harder than she had realized but was still excited. The next ride is when all the excitement was gone, we went to the Rosebowl were I could train in the group ride and she could just ride around in the bike lane ( my mistake) well a huge group of 70 riders on a 3mile circuit going 30mph was way to scary for her to see blasting by her on every lap, even though she was in the bike lane with all the other runners ,rollerbladers, and recreational cyclist. And on one of those encounters she got yelled at by some ahole in the group. That's when she said screw it and hung up the bike for good.
Fast-forward to now, She has decided to give it a try once again but only for Sunday strolls down the beach bike path. She does not want the Bianchi anymore because she hates the position, the seat, and basically doesn't feel comfortable in the road bike position. She wants me to buy her a mtb /comfort bike/ hybrid type bike that would be much more comfy and safer feeling than the roadie.

I don't want to spend money again for another bike, I was thinking of up-grading the Brava and making it more comfortable for her. Riser bars, riser stem, comfier seat, wider tires and platform pedals.

1. I know I can do the bar and stem – But what brake levers do I use that work w/ the Sora calipers?
2. What shifters can I use that work w/ Sora 8speed and riser bars?
3. What seat is the best out of the women specific designs?
4. What are the fattest tires I could fit between the Sora calipers?
5. Should I do away with the gears and make it a SS? It will only be used for flat easy rides down the bike path.

The spec's for the bike are here

Thanks for the responses
I don't yell 'Brooks!' every time someoneOldEdScott
Jan 21, 2003 10:56 AM
has a saddle question, but my wife tried a ton of foamy 'comfort' saddles before I bought her a B-67 in despair. She looked at the hard leather thing and said: 'That looks like the most uncomfortable torture rack I've ever seen! Where's the padding?'

I said, Do me a favor and just ride it once. She rode it and never complained. Within three or four rides, she was commenting how she couldn't believe such a harsh-looking thing could be so comfortable.

Someone once said, If you can't get comfortable on a B-67, it's really time for a recumbent. Try this link:

Rivendell has them too.
Why not?MB1
Jan 21, 2003 12:02 PM
Miss M finally agreed to try a Brooks after hearing me go on and on about how comfortable they are.

Now although she is still amazed by how hard the thing feels to the touch she has them on all her long distance bikes and her SS too. Wouldn't ride anything else.
Get her back on the bike. This time [you] dont scare her.. (nm)onespeed
Jan 21, 2003 10:58 AM
re: Help w/ converting a bike for my wifePMC
Jan 21, 2003 11:57 AM
My wife has been using a Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow and loves it. Most of the miles on it are trainer miles but she still claims it's far more comfortable than the stock Bontrager ladies saddle her bike came with.
re: Help w/ converting a bike for my wifeRusty Coggs
Jan 21, 2003 12:25 PM
You will probably need a mtb stem with 25.4 clamp with flat or riser bars. 8 speed mtb shifters will work in the rear,but maybe not so good with the road derailer in front.Current mtb shifters ae setup for v brakes and have different pull rrequirements. Best bet might be separate shifters/brake levers,that are compatible with sidepull calpers/cantis. Consider just using a single ring in front,with maybe the derailer left in place to keep the chain in place.Gears in the rear are still handy.I've built several like that for less demanding rides.28mm tires should work.
I've noticed that the new Hybrids in the shop have....853
Jan 21, 2003 12:57 PM
Grip shift, I wonder if these are available seperately and would work. I don't know what mtb levers would work with road calipers. Will a 32mm tire work?

Thanks for all the great advise!
I've noticed that the new Hybrids in the shop have....Rusty Coggs
Jan 21, 2003 2:32 PM
Sram grip shift 8 speed models rocket, attack,centera,and mrx are shimano 8 compatible.Shimano 8 speed rapidfire without levers will also work.A shop should have levers that have alternate mounts for v or canti brakes, and the canti position will work with sidepull calipers.
re: Help w/ converting a bike for my wifeJowan
Jan 21, 2003 2:30 PM
Shimano sell a set of flat-bar shifters specially made for road gruppo's (type ST-R220). New for 2003, introduced for what's called the trend for 'fittnessbikes'. Its 8 speed, so perfect for your Bianchi.
re: Help w/ converting a bike for my wifedave_w
Jan 21, 2003 2:46 PM
Only gotcha to watch for is the mtb stem. You need an older one as the mtb world has had 1 1/8" steerers for several years and I imagine your Bianchi is 1". Should be able to find it(or go with something like a threadless steerer adaptor), just have to be specific in what you ask for.
ps. Be sure to post the final ride and more importantly the wife's impressions.
psps. Kudos to her for being willing to give it another go.
re: Help w/ converting a bike for my wifemsmootsiemartin
Jan 21, 2003 3:08 PM
I have been riding the Terry Butterfly saddle for approx. a couple years now and really like it. If you did decide to go the new bike route, you may want to check out a cyclocross bike. Little longer wheel base and fatter tires but still have the drop bars. I saw some small size Surlys on sale for about $650 built up with tiagra. Good luck!
re: Help w/ converting a bike for my wifeTrek Racer X
Jan 21, 2003 4:32 PM
If you still want to save some money, but make the bike comfortable:

1) Profile Design adj. riser stem (one that's shorter.)
2) 28c tires. with 200+ TPI
3) 3 or 4 head tube spacers, to raise the bar.
4) lower the seatpost.

If your wife can't get comfortable on that set up, then look at a recumbant.

-Hope this helps any.
re: Head tube spacers........Rusty Coggs
Jan 21, 2003 5:09 PM raise the bar.with a quill stem???Lower the seatpost??
re: Help w/ converting a bike for my wifejtolleson
Jan 21, 2003 7:38 PM
Well, it seems to me that you are taking a $700 bike and needing to dump $300 into it... after which it's market value will be... ummm... close to zero.

Better to sell the Brava and get a decent sporty hybrid (like a Specialized Sirrus for example).

Best of all of course would be to see if your wife can enjoy the Brava with MINOR modifications. Get a better saddle, get the bars up, and put some 28 tires on there. But if you really want new bars and shifters, then I say it is time to just buy a new bike.