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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 04-20-17, 07:46 AM   #26
Craptacular8
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Originally Posted by thetiniestbike View Post
Hey all,

After years of riding 60-year-old department store children's step-throughs, I'm finally looking to build my first new, adult commuter.

One problem: I'm 4'11", with a 27" inseam. After a whole lot of research regarding what I want and need (ED-coated double-butted CroMo, 700c for accessibility, wide tire clearance for winter tires with fenders, single speed/fixed gear capabilities, the ability to survive cobblestones, city traffic, and salted roads, a $700 to $1000 price range, and something that looks boring enough to be ignored by Montreal bike thieves while still making my own heart pitter-patter), I test rode a 42cm Surly Cross Check at my LBS. I found the ride comfortable and much faster than what I'm used to, and am seriously considering buying one, but I'm worried about the fact that I can't stand flat-footed over the top tube.

In your experience, how important is standover height for a city commute? Particularly in wintry conditions? Should I consider the Straggler 650b in 38cm, and just suck it up when it comes to tire variety? Are there other frames on the market now that I should be considering, that meet the needs stated above? Thanks!
Many others have made some awesome suggestions. I'm building up an 80's Raleigh mixte frame hoping to be able to accommodate my MIL that is your height. The step over height is no issue, but I'm planning on fitting it with Soma Mustache bars to help shorten the reach. So, that is also an option if you were to find and fit up an older 26" mtb. Soma, and others make mustache bars that will accept the bikes standard flatbar brakes and shifters, but bring the effective reach back to something much more reasonable. You might not end up having to do a whole lot else other than upgrading tires.
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Old 04-20-17, 11:30 AM   #27
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There is an old Centurion Ironman model with the Terry design, i.e. 24" front wheel and 700c (~27") rear wheel. A family member who is 5'0" tall has one, and it fits well.

I attended a talk that Terry gave at Bike Expo about three years ago. She's a mechanical engineer. It was really interesting. She said that the design works but not for the reasons she expected. The thinking had been that the ratio of torso to leg length is smaller with women than with men, and the small front wheel allowed the top tube to be shorter. This reduces the distance that the rider reaches forward. That's fine, but it turns out that women, in general, need to reach forward less than men do not because of short torsos but because of low body mass in the upper body. It can be too much work to hold yourself up if your shoulders and back are doing too much work.

New road bikes with 700c wheels made for women achieve a shorter reach by making the head tube angle more shallow. This allows a short top tube and prevents the front wheel from hitting the down tube. Some might argue that a shallow head angle makes a bike ride badly, but this doesn't seem to be a problem.
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Old 04-21-17, 03:41 AM   #28
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I was looking at E-Bay today. These two Cyclocross bikes showed up.

Giant TCX 26 CX junior youth kids cyclocross gravel road bicycle bike | eBay

Custom Novara Pulse 26'' Kids' Road/CX/Cyclocross Bike | eBay

Actually, it looks like the little Giant is $710 new, so I'd offer quite a bit less for the abused one, or buy direct new.
https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/tcx-espoir-26

Anyway, I think they both use stock 26" tires, so you could mount different tires depending on riding conditions. And 26" tires should be easy to find.

The Giant has disc brakes, so if you could match the hub, you could probably fit a pair of 650c wheels on it for "road" riding in the summer.
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Old 04-21-17, 09:48 AM   #29
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Surly Straggler is a 650b bike with frames as small as 38cm. Nice bike, too.
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Old 04-21-17, 09:57 AM   #30
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I never stand flat-footed over the top-tube; if I need to, I tilt the bike over.
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Old 04-23-17, 12:05 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thetiniestbike View Post
Hey all,

After years of riding 60-year-old department store children's step-throughs, I'm finally looking to build my first new, adult commuter.
Look, there is a bicycle for you in the Classic subforum.
1989-ish Peugeot Jubilee Mixte

1989-ish Peugeot Jubilee Mixte

Last edited by Barabaika; 04-23-17 at 12:18 AM.
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Old 04-23-17, 05:30 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by thetiniestbike View Post
Hey all,

After years of riding 60-year-old department store children's step-throughs, I'm finally looking to build my first new, adult commuter.
Hey friend! The person above (Barabaika) turned me on to this conversation, I did just acquired a near-mint adult steel mixte frame with 24" tires that might be just what you're looking for. It was really just a purchase of curiosity for me, so if you're interested in buying it I'd give it to you for a really good price.

I don't know if it's cool to do deals in the Commuting forum, but if you're interested you can send me a private message.

You can see photos here: College 3.0 Gallery
I've got new tires and tubes on the way in the mail, so it'll be back to practically brand new condition in a week.

EDIT: After reading your thread more closely, I should caution you that I had a hard time finding the correct tires for this bike (24" x 1-3/8). It seems to be a standard wheelchair tire size, so a lot of the offerings were wheelchair tires. So if you're looking for something with a lot of tire options, the Peugeot might not leave you very happy.

Also, I wanted to mention that I'm 5'4" and I do a lot of city/commute riding... and I don't stand flat footed on my blue bike there in the pictures, I always step forward and straddle the bar if I need to stop and stand. I didn't think I'd like that but I've adapted and now I barely give it a second thought. (barely)

Also also, the Terry designs are way cool and being on the shorter side myself, I'd love to get one if I could afford it! I hope you can find one.

Last edited by College3.0; 04-23-17 at 05:59 AM.
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Old 04-23-17, 10:59 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by College3.0 View Post
EDIT: After reading your thread more closely, I should caution you that I had a hard time finding the correct tires for this bike (24" x 1-3/8). It seems to be a standard wheelchair tire size, so a lot of the offerings were wheelchair tires. So if you're looking for something with a lot of tire options, the Peugeot might not leave you very happy.

Also, I wanted to mention that I'm 5'4" and I do a lot of city/commute riding... and I don't stand flat footed on my blue bike there in the pictures, I always step forward and straddle the bar if I need to stop and stand. I didn't think I'd like that but I've adapted and now I barely give it a second thought. (barely)
I see quite a few 24" tires: https://www.niagaracycle.com/categor...tubes/tires/24
This Michelin tire should be made for such a bike https://www.niagaracycle.com/categor...1-75-wire-bead

You should be happy because almost each older mixte frame was offered in the 49-51cm size range that should fit you wonderfully.

Last edited by Barabaika; 04-23-17 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 04-23-17, 02:12 PM   #34
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I see quite a few 24" tires: https://www.niagaracycle.com/categor...tubes/tires/24
This Michelin tire should be made for such a bike https://www.niagaracycle.com/categor...1-75-wire-bead

You should be happy because almost each older mixte frame was offered in the 49-51cm size range that should fit you wonderfully.

Yeah, there is an adequate selection of 24" tires, but this bike requires 24x1-3/8, which based on three days of online shopping doesn't seem to be as common. I guess maybe you could get a slightly larger wheel that uses a more commonly available tire size, but I don't know much about bikes to comment on how feasible that is.
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Old 04-23-17, 11:19 PM   #35
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ETRTO 540 is the wheelchair one and 507 is the kid's mountain bike one
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Old 04-24-17, 12:39 AM   #36
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Yeah, there is an adequate selection of 24" tires, but this bike requires 24x1-3/8, which based on three days of online shopping doesn't seem to be as common. I guess maybe you could get a slightly larger wheel that uses a more commonly available tire size, but I don't know much about bikes to comment on how feasible that is.
Michelin Country J is 24"x1.75" = 24x1 3/8
A French tire on a French bike, one good and cheap tire should be enough.



24" tires are used for BMX bicycles too:
https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...?category=3307

Last edited by Barabaika; 04-24-17 at 12:46 AM.
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Old 04-24-17, 07:25 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by thetiniestbike View Post
Are there other frames on the market now that I should be considering, that meet the needs stated above? Thanks!

Hey OP,

Sorry for derailing your thread. I hope you find something that's exactly what you're looking for. I'm sure I speak for everyone here when I say we'd love for you to get a comfortable ride soon and we'd love to see pictures!

Regards,
Jessica
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Old 04-24-17, 07:41 AM   #38
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Just another suggestion. This might be out of your price range but the dollar is in your favor and no GST. Here in Australia this company "Vivente" has been around for a time and specialize in touring/commuting bikes. I cannot give enough praise to the company owner Noel who goes out of his way to ensure his bikes are well suited and well made. I can say they are beautiful and likely to attract some attention which was one of the OP's requirements not to. But they do make these in an XS size.

https://viventebikes.com/our-bikes/
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Old 04-24-17, 05:07 PM   #39
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Your height does provide some challenges when looking for a commuting bike. My recommendation is the Soma Buena Vista 42 cm. because it comes with 26" wheels. That is the largest wheel that I would recommend for your height. Others have suggested the Surly series with 26" wheels and if you can straddle the top tube they might be a contender.

Someone else suggested a folding bike and I have to concur on this one. A Bike Friday or Brompton would work quite nicely and the theft issue can become moot. My wife owns a Brompton, though a little taller than you but it is easy to accommodate different heights.

I am a big fan of Rivendell and again my wife owns a Betty Foy but they are pricey and with the 25% currency difference doesn't add to the appeal. Even their bikes say from 5' and up so you don't quite hit the mark. They did make one model, Betty Foy 47 cm, that used 26" wheels but they are rare as hen's teeth. I don't think they would last long on the streets of Montreal.

Good luck on what ever you chose.
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