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Bike Size For A 5'8' Woman(7 posts)

Bike Size For A 5'8' Womanbrihombre
Oct 13, 2003 5:43 PM
I am looking at a used 52 cm Schwinn Peleton Pro for my wife. It has a 51.5 cm top tube. Is this too small? Thanks for any advise. It is a suprise so she can't test ride.
re: Bike Size For A 5'8' Womanbaylor
Oct 13, 2003 8:46 PM
You'll get all the usual, and accurate, responses about how you can't judge bike size by height. True enough. Sizing is a combination of factors, including inseam and reach, which can vary widely even among folks that are the same size.

That being said, height allows for some reasonably accurate generalizations. I'm about 5'6" and my retro-knock-around bike (and old Bianchi) is a 52. And it feels a little small on me.

Although certain modest size issues can be addressed with stem and saddle adjustments, esp. for the more casual rider, if she aspires to distance riding she'll need a more "spot on" fit. And my general guess is that a 52 cm is PROBABLY too small.

What about getting her a bicycling keychain/picture/x-mas ornament/whatever as a symbol for the surprise, and then go shopping together?
May work, my wife's 5'10" and rides a 54 cm.dzrider
Oct 14, 2003 4:45 AM
People's varying shape make it hard to predict and bike manufacturers varying idea of 52cm make it damned near impossible.
probably too small...C-40
Oct 14, 2003 4:56 AM
Bad idea to buy a surprise bike that doesn't fit. You can't properly fit a bike without taking some accurate body dimensions.

Good fit information is available at

The first thing to do is measure your wife's cycling inseam, which is the distance from the floor to saddle-like crotch contact in bare feet, not pants inseam. Subtracting 28-30cm from the inseam measurement or multiplying the inseam measurement by .67 should produce similar results for the correct frame size, measured from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the top tube.

Note that many frames are not measured to the top of the top tube. Some are measured to the center of the top tube and some (like Trek and Fuji) measure to the top of the seat tube.

Some women have proportionately short legs that requires a relatively small frame to achieve at least 2cm of standover clearance. The tradeoff is a short head tube that could require a high rise stem to get the handlebars up to a comfortable height.

This must be an older Schwinn, since most newer models having sloping top tubes and are sized as "XS", "S", "M", etc. not by a specific size in centimeters. With sloping top tube frames, the top tube length and head tube length (which afffects handlebar height) are the things to measure.
re: Bike Size For A 5'8' WomanJusme
Oct 14, 2003 5:19 AM
My wife is 5'8" and rides a 55 cm Bianchi Brava. But it's a small 55.
re: Bike Size For A 5'8' WomanMShaw
Oct 14, 2003 9:06 AM
MOST women have longer legs and shorter torsos than your average male. The trick is to balance TT length with saddle height.

You're better off with a short ST and the right length TT than the right ST and a long TT. Just ask my -ex...

A rise stem with some spacers under the stem (or raise the quill up) should alleviate some of the fit problems. You're going to have to experiment to get the fit right.

Will the seller to take back the bike if she doesn't like it?

That help?

re: Bike Size For A 5'8' Womanpalewin
Oct 14, 2003 10:23 AM
I suspect the top tube will be too short. While I'm male, I'm 5'8" and have long legs/short torso, and my custom frame (Tom Kellogg/Spectrum did the fitting and specified the frame dimensions) has a 54cm top tube (center-center). I also agree with another post which suggests that fit is such an important consideration on a bike that perhaps this isn't the best "surprise" gift, although it is a very nice thought.