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Help-fitting a women for a roadbike(18 posts)

Help-fitting a women for a roadbikeNuget
May 23, 2003 6:36 AM
Well I come here today looking for some help from the other side of the fence. My girlfriend and I are both avid mtn bikers and its time to expand our horizons and start training on the road.

So I need some advice in fitting my 5'2" girlfriend for a roadbike of some sort. My closest guess would be 47cm but what do I know about road bikes? Not much.

So any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated. She'd probably be looking for the something in the $500 range and used would be key so she could get some better components and get a lighter bike for the $.

Thanks much for all the help everyone
re: Help-fitting a women for a roadbikejtolleson
May 23, 2003 6:44 AM
Your guess is a good start. 47 cm (or sometimes smaller). Best start is to get to a good road oriented bike shop. There isn't much at that price point, but you can usually find a few Sora-equipped sale bikes. The big issue in fitting is not just overall height, but how it is distributed.

A "leggy" rider (many women are) could technically tolerate a larger frame for standover purposes, but the longer top tube will create too long a reach, etc. There are fit guides online that tell you how to take proper cycling-specific leg and torso measurements, but for the new shopper, there's no substitute to get some in-person fit advice.
Thanks-good pointsNuget
May 23, 2003 7:13 AM
thanks for the tips. The more I read into this the more i'm seeing how close it actually is to mtn bike fitting.

I think my local shop would be the best place to start like you said. A bike that doesn't fit correctly isn't going to be any fun for her.

Have a good one
i'm 5'1" and ride a 50cm frame..._rt_
May 23, 2003 7:06 AM
the best suggestion is to go to all your LBS's and try out different bikes & different sizes. fit is key to comfort on a road bike. more so even than on a mtb. the more bikes you try the better idea you'll have of what you want.

things to look for in general (regardless of sex) for fit:
1. you only need about an inch or so of standover (compared to 3-4" on a mtb)
2. when sitting on the bike with your hands on the brake hoods look down. the hub of the front wheel should be obscured by the stem. if you can see the hub in front of the stem (farther away from the saddle) then the toptube is too short. if you see the hub behind the stem (closer to the saddle) the toptube is too long.....this is a very gross estimate but it's a good general rule.
3. $500 isn't going to get you much...even used.

fit is going to depend on how long her legs & torso are (true for you too). eventhough i'm 5'1" and ride a 13" mtb frame i ride a 49-50 cm road bike (a 49 cm Bianchi Giro & a 50 cm Trek 5200 oclv).

good luck!

May 23, 2003 7:18 AM
Excellant info.

I do realize that $500 isn't much but it's all she wants to spend right now and regardless of weight as long as it shifts and is lighter than her mtb bike she'll love it.

And a little extra weight is better for the workout.

Guess i'll be heading to the LBS with the girlfirend soon.

I'm 5'8" and am currently riding a 49cm Surly Cross check. I'll have to do the stem fit check that you descried. It's been working great for me lately, fits fine and it's a single speed so all the more workout. I'm finally getting used to the skinnies.

Take care
just went through the process, and must saydante
May 23, 2003 7:48 AM
most important thing, over all else, is fit. Head to a bike shop, and do a propper fitting, everybody's different esp. girls. rt fits on a 50, and my girlfriend who is 5'1" fits a 47cm (center to top, which is a 45 c-t-c). A fitting is well worth the money, esp. when they'll throw it in for free if you buy the bike there.

As for bikes, no $500 isn't going to get you much. My girlfriend looked FOREVER to find one, and came up short (no pun intended), there just aren't that many 47cm bikes out there, and the ones that are are overpriced. She did try out a 2001 Cannondale female bike (650 wheels, alu frame, size 47) and liked it, but was sold before she got it. Then tried out the 47cm Jamis Ventura and LOVED it. Was steel so a couple pounds heavier than the canny, but she said it rode so much smoother she couldn't believe it. Also had a better ergo bar so that her hands were able to reach the levers easier. (Jamis was $800)

Also, have her try out the different bikes and see if she really wants Tiagra over Sora, and is willing to pay the difference. Shannon HATED Sora, so Tiagra became our primary requisite after sizing. Sora just wasn't that good for small hands, and she has tiny mitts.

So pretty much if she can swing another couple hundred she could get a great deal on a new bike... Have her try out a $500 and then try out an $800 bike and she can make the decision as to whether it's worth it or not.

The good news is that here anyway, there seems to be a lot more interest in women riders and bikes, so 3 of the shops I went to had women's bikes in the 47-48cm range for her to try. Good luck!!

just went through the process, and must sayNuget
May 23, 2003 8:07 AM
Thanks, some excellant info there. Once again looks like a trip to the LBS is in order.

I have seen the femail bikes with the 650 wheels and I think that would be perfect for my girlfriend. She is very petite with medium sized legs for a women.

please explain what Tiagra and Sora are, I have no idea. Brake levers? Components?

As for the steel vs. aluminum. I think i'll have to let her decide that one but personally i'd sway her toward the steel. I own a Surly which is Reynolds 431 and a Jamis Dragon which is Reynolds 853 and both ride very smooth. The jamis you described sounds very nice, i'll look into it at our local Jamis dealer.

And as always dropping a bit more for a bike will get you better parts and in the long run I suppose it'll be worth it but initially it might be hard to come up with. Of course i'm always willing to help out with her bike habit.

One can never have too many bikes.

Thanks for the help and info
the Jamisdante
May 23, 2003 8:23 AM
one thing about the Jamis is that in the smallest version it has a 650 front wheel and a 700 rear. The small front helps with the geometry and the larger rear is useful for the gear ratio (smaller wheels accellerate faster but tend to spin out, or something to that effect). It looks a little bit freak-showish, but not as bad as Terry's. Plus it has a (Kinesis) carbon fork, not something you'll usually see on an $800 bike.

Money is always a concern, but one thing about road biking is that you don't have to constantly pour more money into it. You don't bash chainrings on rocks, snap brake levers in crashes or mash shifters on trees. It's very much a one-time investment with upgrades possible but not mandatory down the line. Plus you already mtb so you've got the shoes/helmet/clothes etc. B/c she spent more than she wanted to initially I bought her shoes/pedals and bought dinners for awhile. Perfect trade.

One thing is, it'll help out her mtb'ing in a big way. Shannon was rather timid on a mtn bike (she started a year ago), but after getting a road bike she's much more used to the speed and leaning the bike into corners, and she's FLYING on her mtb.

Hope this helps, email me if you have any questions

pic of bike in action, front wheel looks smaller in pic than in real life, was doing 15mph at the time so didn't really have time to set up the shot. :)
Sora = Acera, Tiagra = Deore... Well, not quite...BowWow
May 23, 2003 9:03 AM
Tiagra and Sora are Shimano component groups. It goes, from lowest to highest, Sora, Tiagra, 105, Ultegra, Dura Ace.

STI is the Shimano roadie RapidFire index shifting system...

Tiagra shifts like the higher level groups (pushing the brake lever sideways to shift one way, the little lever tucked under the brake lever in the same direction to shift the other), while Sora requires pushing the brake lever one way, thumbs with hands on the hoods to shift the other.

I would go with Tiagra or better, and focus on steel frames and the best/lightest wheelset possible. Ask the LBS if they have access to any last year's models. They may be able to order from the distributor. Last fall I picked up a new in box 2001 Jamis Ventura for $850 Canadian (about $500 US).

Good luck!

Sora = Acera, Tiagra = Deore... Well, not quite...Nuget
May 23, 2003 9:30 AM
There we go, I understand it a little better now. the relation to mtn bike components helps alot.

I got of the Tiagra levers with my Surly cross check but I haven't used them yet as it came set up as a single speed and has stayed that way ever since.

If you know of where I might be able to find a deal on a Jamis Ventura as that please send me a link. $500 would be within the price range i'm looking.

Thanks for the info
also, Sora is 8 sp whereas Tiagra is 9dante
May 23, 2003 8:07 AM
while that doesn't make much difference when riding, it makes it a pain to upgrade anything b/c then you have to upgrade a whole bunch of stuff at once. Just FYI.

Plus Sora looks like Campy. :)fracisco
May 23, 2003 9:36 AM
Thumb shifters?!?! I don't want no stinking thumb shifters.
Starting to go through the process, too.fracisco
May 23, 2003 9:39 AM
Tiagra is the bottom of the line that I'll recommend, and I prefer to find 105. The Specialized "Women's" models have the Ultegra short reach STI shifters.

My girlfriend is most worried about clipless pedals, so when we do get around to buying a bike, we'll spend an afternoon in a big parking lot to get the feel for that.

We'll see....
The clipless pedalsNuget
May 23, 2003 10:10 AM
Same thing here. I've been trying to sway my girlfriend to use clipless pedals on her mtn bike but she's just not comfortable enough yet.

I think a road bike might be an easier step towards using clipless pedals. Being that there aren't any logs, roots, or rocks to ride over than could be fallen upon.

I'll have to look into the specialized bikes, smaller short reach shifters would be perfect for her.

Yes, we'll see
very small sizes are hard to find...._rt_
May 23, 2003 10:52 AM
i'm lucky that i have long legs (31" inseam) & arms & i can ride a bigger frame (as long as the toptube isn't too long). shops don't like to stock the smaller frame sizes because they claim there is no market for them....despite the fact that i seem to constantly be hearing about small women in search of a bike.

I believe the hbar should be blocking view of hub, not stem (nm)jtferraro
May 23, 2003 9:43 AM
actually, where the stem & handlebar join..._rt_
May 23, 2003 10:49 AM
either way, you shouldn't be able to see the hub.

re: Help-fitting a women for a roadbikekgg
May 24, 2003 12:56 AM
Just bought a road bike for my 5'2" wife. She went from a 13" mt bike (the XXS Racer X) to a 51 cm road bike (center-top). MTB has a lot of exposed seatpost; the road bike has little, but I think it's going to work. Gives her about an inch of standover, but seems to fit her very well otherwise. She hasn't ridden it yet, but I have developed a good deal of trust in the shop, based on the fit of my bike purchased from them. Stem length is fitted to her (I think it was 100). That seems about right, so it doesn't look like they're trying to squeeze or stretch her onto a frame that doesn't fit her. Good luck.