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Bikes for shorter people - ideas?

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Bikes for shorter people - ideas?

Old 10-10-21, 06:09 PM
  #26  
Pearson100
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Consider a Surly Bridge Club in extra small: https://surlybikes.com/bikes/bridge_club
I'm 5'2" and find this bike fits well.
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Old 10-30-21, 05:08 AM
  #27  
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My issue is closely related so I figured I'd post it here - I don't mean to hijack this thread but add to the conversation

Anyways, I'm 160 cm / 5'3" -ish in height with a <70 cm / 27 & 9/16" inseam (from ground, no shoes). Now to the important stuff that's body proportions: according to my signifigant other, I've got a "confusingly long" torso, and I think my arms are a bit long too in relation to my legs and my height.

Bikes I've ridden (extensively/recently):
Kona Bike -10, 15,5": frame felt too long and too low.
Late 80's Schwinn Impact, seat tube something like 48 cm / 19", standover (have to check) could not be any higher or I'd risk crushing my groin.
Mercier mixte (late 70's): something like 52 cm seat tube, 53 cm effective top tube, about an inch of saddle post showing. It's a step-through so things are a bit different.


Bike size calculators give me wildly varying estimates ranging from 46cm to 51 cm so go figure.

---

Right now I'm considering building a new bike once again (because it's fun, like Legos for adults!). I'm looking into this beautiful Jourde in size 49 cm




or a cheap Bianchi Spillo Viola (women's hybrid from the nineties) similar to the one in the pic below. According to the seller the seat tube is around 46 cm. This one's got a bit of rust damage (non-driveside seatstay split due to water freezing inside, also possible rusted through??) so I'm not sure if it can be made safe within reasonable costs.




I'm also building the wheels for a 650B conversion, but I'm not sure if either of the prospective candidates would allow for that. What I DO know is that the Mercier mixte mentioned above has too much BB drop and the 26" Schwinn wouldn't have space for 40mm 650B tires (while also being obnoxiously heavy lowtier 4130 MTB).

Guess I have to admit I kinda lost the point halfway through this post ;D Being the procrastinator that I am, I'm writing this manic rant to postpone writing some VERY urgent schoolwork.
Anyway,if you bothered reading this far, it would be interesting to hear what some of you have to say about these hesitant considerations
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Old 10-30-21, 06:39 AM
  #28  
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My two cents

It maybe very difficult to find a touring bike that can reconcile both size and the frame style your seeking.
Putting some variation of flat bars (ie. sweeps, risers,or mustache bars) on road bikes can put the rider in a more upright position but won't address the more forward bb issue. And, as one or two others have noted, cruisers tend to be less comfortable for longer rides. I would suggest trying riser bars (2 to 3 inches) with a mild sweep on either a Terry ( or a Fuji 450 SE), or any mixte style frame (if she is intent on a step through) to address the size issue. There are even some mixte style city bikes, like Retrospec's Kinney, that might come closer to addressing most of you're wants.

Last edited by RustySpokeTech; 10-30-21 at 06:43 AM.
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Old 11-14-21, 11:22 PM
  #29  
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A bike frame size of 17 or 18 inches is suitable for ladies between the heights of 5 ft. 5 inches and 5 ft. 7 inches, in my opinion.
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Old 11-18-21, 07:55 PM
  #30  
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I could be wrong but I don't think 5'2" is especially short' for a woman. It isn't tall. Of course. But women come MUCH shorter than 5'2". I know three. The shortest is 4'11" and her road bike has 700C wheels. I know another that is 5'0" and I just set up her 49cm Trek with a Terry Falcon XX saddle and it was about bottomed. But not having sufficient leg extension means the saddle should be higher. I'm sure other posts are saying this. Crank forward design allows flat footing stops. An earlier post mentioned tandems. I skimmed. I don't think a tandem is a bad idea but since the o.p. GF 'can' ride a bike, she should at least have a bike that works even if a tandem is considered. My DW (blind) cannot ride except on a tandem. Incidentally, I set her saddle 25.5" above the centerline of the bottom bracket. She is just over 5'5". I saw a poster around that height refer to themselves as short. I don't think my wife considers herself especially short. She towers over her mother and sister. Maybe it's a relative thing?
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Old 11-21-21, 10:11 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
What I am trying to weed through is this:
- She wants to have the comfort and stability of being able to plant her feet on the ground while sitting on the saddle
- She needs to get her leg extension out more
Women are "risk averse" by nature. There's actually a way to have regular road bike geometry, be able to plant both feet on the ground and have optimal knee extension angle ALL at the same time.

Having the maximum saddle setback possible is a given, shorter stem or a frame with shorter reach to compensate for the large setback, and finally some adaptation to the pedaling technique.

Particularly, you need to learn how to pedal heels down (or toes up) to have optimal knee angles in low saddle setup. It is not a handicap at all since the Eddie Merckx is a heels down pedaler himself. An important consideration to this pedaling technique is you need to actively recruit the glutes and hamstrings in the downstroke. Avoid pulling in the upstroke any more than you do when pulling your legs when running. Excessive pulling will increase pressure on the perineum causing reduced bloodflow to the legs, discomfort, or even numbness.

I've done centuries with lots of climbs including 15 to 20% climbs with saddle height considered too low by many cyclists because I can easily put both my feet down. I have compact crankset with 32-11t cassette.

Do learn how to pedal out of the saddle and do it in short intervals. It helps a lot.
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Old 11-23-21, 12:16 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
Women are "risk averse" by nature.
I'd say stick to what you know, but based on your history here, that's not obvious...because your bike fit recommendations are, to put it politely, unique.

OP, and anyone else reading this, the ideal position of your saddle has NOTHING to do with the reach of your arms/hands to the bars or your feet to ground. Look up saddle setback and saddle height...there are a few different opinions of these, but no actual fitter recommends toying with the saddle position to get your arms int he right position or your feet to the ground.
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Old 11-23-21, 12:31 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Krov9 View Post
My issue is closely related so I figured I'd post it here - I don't mean to hijack this thread but add to the conversation

Anyways, I'm 160 cm / 5'3" -ish in height with a <70 cm / 27 & 9/16" inseam (from ground, no shoes). Now to the important stuff that's body proportions: according to my signifigant other, I've got a "confusingly long" torso, and I think my arms are a bit long too in relation to my legs and my height.

Bikes I've ridden (extensively/recently):
Kona Bike -10, 15,5": frame felt too long and too low.
Late 80's Schwinn Impact, seat tube something like 48 cm / 19", standover (have to check) could not be any higher or I'd risk crushing my groin.
Mercier mixte (late 70's): something like 52 cm seat tube, 53 cm effective top tube, about an inch of saddle post showing. It's a step-through so things are a bit different.


Bike size calculators give me wildly varying estimates ranging from 46cm to 51 cm so go figure.

...

Anyway,if you bothered reading this far, it would be interesting to hear what some of you have to say about these hesitant considerations
Not a pro fitter, not even close, but I've built a few bikes in my life...for others, and for me. 3 of those on the left, that I currently ride, were purchased as frames and then built up. What I personally discovered many moons ago was that finding the right frame size from my inseam was the best starting point. The stem gets a little trickier because on a "modern" threadless headset, you have to account for stem height (with spacers or not), stem angle (achieved by how it is installed), and of course stem length. These 3 in combination place the bar tops (and drops) at a certain position in relationship the seat both in terms of height and distance and changing any one of those doesn't necessarily translate to a linear change of the bar position.

I will assume that you already have a decent working knowledge of bikes and a decent sense of "right" when it comes to the fit you like, based on your descriptions above. Perhaps going to Geometry Geeks and plugging in one or more of the bikes you listed, and then comparing them to the bile you want to build will help guide you to a good starting point. The site has an extensive database of bikes, and if the bike you want to compare isn't there, but you can get the geometry for it, you can add it.
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Old 11-23-21, 10:03 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Badger6 View Post
I'd say stick to what you know, but based on your history here, that's not obvious...because your bike fit recommendations are, to put it politely, unique.
OP's case is unique that's why I'm here. But he's no longer looking at this thread so things are pointless now.
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Old 11-24-21, 09:37 AM
  #35  
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The OP’s case is unique? Yet you implied by generalization that it is widespread and perhaps universal to all women. Which is it?

Like I said stick to whatever it is you know, leave the fitting advice to people who either have been trained to do it, or have spent enough time to actually understand biomechanics…as opposed to finding bikes that don’t fit and trying to make them fit.
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Old 11-24-21, 10:12 AM
  #36  
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Question

Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
I am researching bike geometry here. My girlfriend is pretty short ... I'd like to come up with some better bike options for her.
KC8QVO -- Wondering whether you both decided on a route to go, with the new bike. Custom, a step-thru, one of the pedal-forward models, ...?
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Old 11-28-21, 03:15 PM
  #37  
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This is a treasure trove of great information. My wife is 5"2! lol
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