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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 09-19-06, 04:56 PM   #1
infernobutterfl
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bike size for someone who is 5'2"

what frame size should a 5'2" female get as a commuter bike.
does the wheel size matter?
thanks ^_^
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Old 09-19-06, 05:04 PM   #2
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What's your commute like?

Distance?

Road Conditions/Traffic/Speed/Stoplights?

Off- or On-Road?

Security at home and at work?

Multi-mode commuting, or just on bike?

Whatcha lookin' to spend?

I'm biased towards folding bikes, so take this with a grain of salt... but check into the Folding Bikes forum.

You can definitely get away with smaller wheels, depending on what you're trying to accomplish. Even 20" or 16" wheels can be done. The smaller wheels will feel fidgety at first until you get used to them.
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Old 09-19-06, 05:17 PM   #3
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I am looking for one of those big bikes... road, hybird, mtb

commute distant: 5 miles, 10 round trip

traffic: road, a little sidewalk, not much hill, a handfull of traffic light.

security: community bike rack at work and home.

spend: $300 (about)

I know this price is low for road and hybrid bikes, but i am not looking for the good kind, just the ones that wont kill me when i am riding it to work, home, beach, etc. wieght doesnt matter too much (just dont make it wiegh more than my car ) I heard bigger wheels will help me ride it more easily, so I am looking for bigger wheels too. hmm..
so... yea.. maybe a hybird.

oooo yea... i was looking on the nashbar.com and saw the iron horse hybird... is that any good.. its in my range..
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Old 09-19-06, 05:38 PM   #4
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Seeing how the orginal question was about frame size My bride is 5'-2" and rides either a 15" or 17" frame. She prefers the drop frames. Her hybrid is a GT Slipstream with a 17" ladies frame, her MTB is a Schwinn Sidewinder with a 15" frame. She also has a Raleigh Colt ladies frame in 17". One thing that may make a difference is your build; short waisted, long legs? will take a slightly larger frame than someone that is longer torso, short legs. Best bet is to go and try out a bunch of bikes until you find one you feel comfortable on. We went thru about 7-8 different bikes before she found one she was comfortable on. I would suggest the hybrid for a start.

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Old 09-19-06, 05:40 PM   #5
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My feeling, based on experience with fitting bikes for numerous females (and some males) around your height... opt for an MTB with road tyres fitted by the LBS before you take delivery of it.

The stand-over height, top-tube length and toe overlap issues are all faults on bikes that have small frames but the bigger 700C wheels as found on roadbikes and hybrids.

It is likely, too, that the MTB frame will be durable for a very long time. I know it's almost impossible to get MTBs without front suspension forks, but if you can... get one! Suspension forks are a liability in terms of longevity and repairability, especially on cheaper bikes.

Be extremely careful of mail-order. A friend ordered a bike for Christmas for his partner. My friend was an experience bicycle advocate. The bike arrived and to everyone's dismay, it was way oversize. The bike was eventually replaced with a smaller one... but by then the moment had gone.

I'd advise you to go to a bike shop, but many are notorious for trying to nab the commission rather than ensure you're happy with fit. Shop around a little. Before committing yourself, keep asking questions here, specifically about bike fit and in particular look out for standover height and reach to handlebars. And if you let people know where you live, they may have a recommendation on a good bike shop.
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Old 09-19-06, 06:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan

The stand-over height, top-tube length and toe overlap issues are all faults on bikes that have small frames but the bigger 700C wheels as found on roadbikes and hybrids.
huh?.. that didnt make sense... sorry.. can you repharse that?
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Old 09-19-06, 06:16 PM   #7
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Standover height: Stand with the bike between your legs. Lift the front wheel until the tube touches your crotch. If the front wheel lifts half an inch off the ground = not good. Lifts an inch or more (maybe even four inches) = good.

Top tube length: Combined with stem length will determine how far you have to lean or stretch to grasp the handlebars. Women are generally made differently from men in that they have longer legs and shorter torsos (and therefore shorter reach). Most bikes are still designed for men, so women have trouble finding bikes that fit lengthwise.

Toe overlap: With your feet on the pedals and riding, turn the front wheel. If you toe contacts the front wheel, you have toe overlap. Some people say that this is something you can get used to. I say it is not good.

These are all problems that are compounded by bicycles such as road bikes and hybrids that use the 700C wheels that are a larger diameter than the MTB wheel.

My experience related directly to assisting professionally in a bike-to-work project involving courses and free bicycles for those riders who stuck at commuting for a year. About five people measured your height or shorter, and while we used hybrids for the taller riders, these shorter riders had to be fitted with MTBs (and in the end, I think the MTBs were a better bet anyway as far as durability was concerned).

In addition, MTBs can be used offroad on gravel trails and single-track, whereas hybrids are less capable.
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Old 09-19-06, 08:01 PM   #8
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Only one real way to find out. Go to all the LBS' and try a bunch of bikes on for size. It's fun and you can see what the differences are bet. road, mtb and hybrids.
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Old 09-19-06, 08:23 PM   #9
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my wife is 5'2' and she took and extra small frame from Raleigh its a 48 cm fits her well,but the Cadent has a bit of an downward angle from the stem to the seat tube so if she really needs to get a good fit at a competent shop but that 48cm would be a good place to start.
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Old 09-19-06, 08:46 PM   #10
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Also, try bikes with sloping tubes, or u frames. Some comfort model have these types of frames and the seatposts are also a bit lower. One major setback is that most of them are tanks and might not be appropriate for 5-10 mile commutes.
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Old 09-19-06, 11:25 PM   #11
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I have been asked a few times from friends and family to be the bike guy and I always recommended either a MTB or hybrid bike.

MTB is solid and will last a long time. also it is the most versatile of all the bikes IMHO if you needed to make your own path through a forest shortcut or something. Full all terrain bike. Tho you can always change the tires and get a smoother ride and go a little faster.

Hybrid bikes are the best of both worlds. Half MTB and half road. Also some people and females opted for the hybrid bike because if allows you to have a straighter back and eases some of the back pain. Because the tires are thinner you can pump the tire pressure to a higher PSI thus allowing you to go faster. Like the MTB you can change the tires to get more grip for light offroad riding. Tho the most I would take the hybrid on is hard packed dry dirt road.

For a first time bike I would saw go with a MTB as the itres are wider and allows you to bike with little worry about the cracks and such on the road. After a while riding and you've gained confidance or just want a faster bike then go with a hybrid or road bike. If you're a 4 seasons gal then a MTB with studded tires IMHO is king/queen of the road as you have lots of tire to road contact and the wide tires help.


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Old 09-20-06, 02:46 AM   #12
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I agree with Rowan, smaller riders need smaller frames which work best with smaller wheels. Ther difference in efficiency between large 700c and small 26" (MTB) is pretty small if using similar style tyres. Many professional cycle couriers use MTB size wheels and they need to be quick.
The ideal style would be a lightweight non-suspension frame using a high pressure road tyre (1.5" wide slick).
Light bikes are easier to handle and ride.

There is one "hybrid" bike for smaller people which uses the MTB wheel: the Terry Susan B. This is just about perfect for everyday use but slightly higher than your budget. It comes with smaller components as well, a factor often overlooked by major manufacturers. I'm not aware of any other reasonably lightweight hybrid taking MTB wheels.
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Old 09-20-06, 09:52 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infernobutterfl
I am looking for one of those big bikes... road, hybird, mtb

commute distant: 5 miles, 10 round trip

traffic: road, a little sidewalk, not much hill, a handfull of traffic light.

security: community bike rack at work and home.

spend: $300 (about)
There are a number of bikes out there in the $300 price range. They are all going to be pretty much the same in terms of what they are made of and what kind of parts are hanging on them so you don't have to worry too much about quality. Be aware that a $300 bike is on the low end of the bicycle market so you will end up with a rather heavy bike. As the price goes up, the weight of the bike goes down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by infernobutterfl
I know this price is low for road and hybrid bikes, but i am not looking for the good kind, just the ones that wont kill me when i am riding it to work, home, beach, etc. wieght doesnt matter too much (just dont make it wiegh more than my car ) I heard bigger wheels will help me ride it more easily, so I am looking for bigger wheels too. hmm..
so... yea.. maybe a hybird.
5'2" isn't that short for a woman so your choices aren't that limited. Sizewise, you should be looking at a bike that is around 15" if you plan on riding mostly road, and 13" to 15" if you want to mountain bike. You will also find some models in centimeters. A 15" is equivalent to a 38 cm while a 13" is equivalent to a 33cm. You want to test ride all kinds of bikes and if they don't feel comfy right off, look at another one.

Things to look for:

Top tube length (reach to the handlebars) needs to be short enough for you to reach the bars. My wife always tests bikes by doing the 'cubit' measurement. She puts here elbow at the nose of the saddle and extends here are to the stem (the part that the handlebars connects to). If her fingers are at or over the middle of the stem, she looks at another bike. It's a rough measurement but it works.

Smaller wheels: There is nothing wrong with 26" wheels! They are stronger than 700C and, more importantly, they are nearly 2 inches shorter! You do not want to be trying to ride a bike that is too big for you. 26" wheels helps a lot! There's nothing wrong with bikes with 700C wheels and there are even some shorter bikes out there with 700C that are rideable for small people but 26" is the way to go if you can. It solves all kinds of problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by infernobutterfl
oooo yea... i was looking on the nashbar.com and saw the iron horse hybird... is that any good.. its in my range..
Do not buy a bike on-line! If you don't know diddly squat about bikes, you don't want to be trying to put one together! If you don't know what size you need, you don't want to be paying freight - both ways - to avoid paying bike shop prices! And you don't want to be buying a bike on-line and then taking it to your local shop to have them put it together...it's rude... and prior to banning you from entering their store ever again, they are likely to laugh at you!

Bikes to look at would be the low end Trek mountain bikes and hybrids, Specialized especially the Sirrus, Giant, Jamis (I have a Dakota SX I got for my daughter who is about your size that I am very impressed with), and Kona. Go on line and look at these guy's websites and learn about the bikes first. Then go to a shop. Most of these people are more than willing to take your money. Those that aren't don't stick around for too long
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Old 09-20-06, 03:03 PM   #14
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Don't totally discount hybrids if you like them. I ride a 17 step through hybrid with 700mm tyres no problem and I am only 5 ft tall - and my legs are short. Also try specialized bikes- they do a great range and come in lots of sizes. As people have said you do need to try the bikes out though. I am looking to replace my old hybrid and have been trying out various bikes. With the specialized sirrus I was more comfortable on the men's medium than on the extra small - which per the catalogue should have been perfect for me. Good luck - I know it is difficult when you are below average height but you will find the right bike if you keep looking - honest !!
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Old 09-21-06, 11:47 AM   #15
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I am a short male, 5'4". The Trek 7300FX with the 15" frame fits me good but there is the problem with overlap of my feet and the front wheel. I recently purchased a Haro Backtrail 24" BMX bike. To me it is a great bike for up to 20 mile trips. The tires are good for 65 PSI which makes for a good ride on roads and is great for urban commuting. Fast steering,handles curbs and good for offroad too. Extremely well built. It may be worth considering.

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Old 09-21-06, 01:03 PM   #16
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I am 5'2" tall and have a 26" inseam. I ride a Fuji WSD Finest 1.0 road bike that is 44cm with a 90cm stem. It fits well. My MTB is 37cm and is perhaps a bit too small. If I were to get a custom bike, I would actually need a 46cm. Your inseam makes the most difference in what bike to get.

There is a tiny amount of toe overlap, but I really don't see how it is a real issue for anyone. The only time you notice toe overlap is if you are doing really sharp turns(like 90 degree angles) at a low speed. It is very easy to just put your feet at 12 and 6 o' clock for those rare occasions where you are turning that sharp. It is essentially a nonissue. Having the limited selection of 650c tires is a much bigger issue. Go with the 700 tires if you can.
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Old 09-21-06, 01:24 PM   #17
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thx guys.. i ended up with a mtb that has a frame of 15" or so... It is a tiny tiny bit high, but I was able to adjust that by moving the seat down a bit.

but now I have another question ^_^
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