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  1. #1
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    new bike for a short girl

    My sister wants a bike. Together, we can pool about $1,000 which is a pretty decent amount for a 15 year old. She would probably use it as an alternative to a car, just getting around town, to school, to friend's, etc. She would probably also use it for longer distance day rides, as she's athletic and competitively driven. We wouldn't buy it until about Xmas, so I'm just doing some research on her behalf. Options so far include Surly CC, Surly LHT and Salsa Casseroll, in that order of preference. The most important consideration is that she's only 5'2.



    The Casseroll is a little out of our budget and only goes down as long as 51cm whereas the Surlys can get down to 42cm. According to the Salsa fit chart, 51cm would be small enough for someone 5'0-5'3 1/2. That's why it's third on the list, but it's pretty so it has that going in its favor


    The Surly's, though...

    Similarities:
    CC and LHT both have sizes 42,46,50, and 52. Both accomodate racks and fenders. The CC can get a granny gear and front derailleur for about $25 more. (I know because I did it for mine.) The front cogs, then, would be equal at 48-36-26. Very similar.

    Differences:
    Wheel size

    The LHT has a 26" for all sizes whereas the CC only has a 700c wheels on all sizes. Doesn't make sense, but whatever. That could be an issue as far as toe overlap, but otherwise I don't really see a problem. Even I get toe overlap but it isn't that hard to synchronize by pedaling on a sharp turn so that it doesn't happen. Any other reasons why she should go for a small wheel?
    Geometry:
    The LHT's geometry is more relaxed, but it also isn't as fun and snappy to ride. The biggest difference is made by the wheel base, I think. Anyways, she probably wouldn't put a rack on it and if she did, the panniers wouldn't be heavily loaded. That seems to really be the LHT's strength, its ability to shoulder a load with stability. The spare spoke holder and the extra H20 bottle boss also seems unsuited to my sister's needs.
    Having just got back from a town errand on my CC, I can testify that it's really fun to ride, but I probably am biased. Also, the CC's ability to go FG/SS.
    Gearing:
    The tighter 12-25 rear cassette on the CC seems better suited to town riding. The 11-34 would allow her to tackle any hill, but there just might not be enough hills to justify the wide gear jumps.


    I guess the biggest downsides to the CC is that it only comes with 700c wheels and that it's geometry is not as relaxed. Opinions? Also open to any bike suggestions other than the ones mentioned here.

  2. #2
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    in reply to any other reasons why 700c wheels are not ideal for smaller frames, someone said in another thread:

    "the biggest problems are fit and handling. In order to avoid extreme toe overlap on a 700c bike most mass producers give small sizes a slack head tube angle and steep seat tube angle, and often still somewhat too long of a top tube. The result is squirrely handling on a bike where you can choose between (a) riding with all your upper body weight on your wrists, or (b) hunting down an extreme layback seatpost and getting proper weight distribution but too long of a reach to the bars."

    Stock components on a complete bike aside, is there anything fundamentally problematic with smaller frames on 700c wheels? Is this such a significant issue that you would forgo a CC in favor of something else? Does the geometry on a 46cm Cross Check differ in any significant way from a 56cm CC? I'm completely happy with mine and I figure either Surly wouldn't manufacture a size that just isn't practical or they would offer 26" wheels on them. I'm not very familiar with bike geometry terminology, so if someone can educate me on the above quote, that would be great.

  3. #3
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    One other thing to throw into the mix, unless her legs are long in relation to her body, you should consider 165mm cranks or smaller. ( If you can find smaller )

  4. #4
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    As some people here have said, the LHT is pretty overkill unless you plan on fully loaded touring and touring often. I don't think I would've known what to do with myself at age 15 if I had a bike as fun as the cross check...

    Let her try riding both, if you haven't already. The LHT really does feel like a big boat compared to the CC, which I find myself taking dangerously sharp turns on as I ride down the street just because I can...it's so fun! And fast!

    I've been commuting to work with my new rack on the CC and while the front end does get a little finicky if you take weight off it while loaded, if you aren't riding no-hands a lot this really isn't a problem.


    Finally, you have to be the nicest brother ever!
    If it's peace you find in dying, and if dying time is near,
    Just bundle up my coffin 'cause it's cold way down there!

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    My thoughts: ~$1000 is way too much money to spend on a bike for a 15 year old. I doubt she is done growing is the main thing. Other posters are correct 700C is out. I don't know if Georgina Terry is still making women's bikes but the company lives on I believe. Terry uses 24" wheels exclusively to fit women many of whom are taller than the o.p. Even 26" would be better than 700C for a really height challenged rider. They might be harder to find but 28mm and even 25mm tires in 26" exist.

    H

  6. #6
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    I have to agree that 700c wheels are not good on a frame size that small. I ride a 52cm frame, and my Gunnar Sport with fenders is overlap city with it's 700c wheels. My Bridgestone XO-2 with 26 inch wheels is much easier to use. A Terry bike would be a good idea also.

  7. #7
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    Cannondale Quick 4 Feminine, $600, then spend the rest of the $400 on some fenders, a strong lock, a helmet, etc.

  8. #8
    djb
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    albert, I agree with not spending too much. I have a 15 yr old son and would be leary of how he treats a nice bike (not that this is the case with your sister), if he forgets to lock it, or quite simply if it is locked in perhaps not a great spot or left locked for a while and is stolen....this is why he got my wifes old bike when she got a new one.

    you see my point?

    that said, my wife is 5'1" so same situation. She has a Specialized Vita, a light small straight bar alum framed bike that fits her reasonably well after a stem change. It was about $600 canadian new a few years ago, so going the used route is always an option for a bike like this, I know Trek also makes small frames for women, Giant as well, so there are bikes out there, straight and drop bars.

  9. #9
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    She's been 5'2 for a couple of years so I'm reasonably sure she isn't going to sprout up ESP for our ethnicity women are not tall. As for spending 1000 on a teenage bike, this is the alternative she chose over a used car my mom wanted to buy for her and we all know what a money pit cars can be. In this case I think a nice bike is a bargain. Anything more on geometry? And yes her legs are longer than her torso. Can a slightly longer top tube be remedied by a shorter stem if need be? Thnx

  10. #10
    djb
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    a shorter stem will always help, in fact I have gotten shorter stems on all of my bikes in the past except for my cyclocross bike that I got last summer (I am 5'10.5"). Each time I replaced a stem it made all the diff in riding comfort.

    My wifes Vita is a 53.5cm toptube frame (sticker on frame) with a 51cm seattube (but remember with seattubes that diff sloping toptubes makes this number kinda redundant or not easy to compare for standover height)

    I suspect that this 53.5 cm toptube number would be pretty good for your sister (or at least a reference) as she is slightly taller than my wife and the fact that we got a shorter stem. Plus I am sure your sister is more flexible than a 52 yr old for a comfortable reach.

    Btw the Vita is a 700 wheeled bike and there is no toeoverlap (with 28 tires and no fenders) I have ridden it and it is fairly comfortable. It is also geared fairly low, triple crank, mounting pts for racks.

    good luck exploring various brand women sized bikes like Spec, Giant, Cannondale etc

  11. #11
    No one carries the DogBoy
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    Not to pile on the anti-700c wheels, but toe overlap is one thing with no front fender. Add the front fender and it can become a problem where it wasn't before. My biggest gripe with overlap is that it makes it hard to track-stand at lights. Just one more thing to keep in mind.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by DogBoy View Post
    Not to pile on the anti-700c wheels, but toe overlap is one thing with no front fender. Add the front fender and it can become a problem where it wasn't before. My biggest gripe with overlap is that it makes it hard to track-stand at lights. Just one more thing to keep in mind.
    What's a track stand? Excuse my ignorance please

  13. #13
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
    What's a track stand? Excuse my ignorance please
    If you have to ask... . A track stand is usually done by... track cyclists on fixed gear bicycles. Basically balancing in place like someone on a unicycle except you are on a bicycle. It is harder but not exactly impossible to do on regular multi-gear bikes with freewheels if you have a slight incline to supply the 'backward' component of the back and forth rocking that is done to keep the bike in place. Hope that was clear.

    H

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by FKMTB07 View Post
    Cannondale Quick 4 Feminine, $600, then spend the rest of the $400 on some fenders, a strong lock, a helmet, etc.
    The component specs seem kind of weak on this one. She's something of an athlete and she would proably want something more performance oriented, not necessarily race quality but up there. Thanks tho. School me if I'm wrong. I know to expect too much from a 600 dollar bike tho.

  16. #16
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    The novara seems really nice. 105 components, woman specific frame but still 700c wheels. What do you think?http://http://m.rei.com/mt/www.rei.c..._v_product=yes

  17. #17
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by perspiration View Post
    Finally, you have to be the nicest brother ever!
    +1000
    ' agree.

    would she consider a Mini Velo?
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-now-available.

    Or a folding bike?

    I have ridden over 60mi on mine with no problem.

    Definitely no toe overlap.

    If road bike is a must, how's this one? http://2009.feltracing.com/09-catalo...es/09-f24.aspx
    "Cycling is for pleasure not penance"

  18. #18
    djb
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    the penny farthing I would take!

  19. #19
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    I asked. It wasn't for sale.
    "Cycling is for pleasure not penance"

  20. #20
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    Me too, but what's with the gnarly nose up tilt on both bikes? Ouchie!

    H

  21. #21
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    http://http://m.rei.com/mt/www.rei.c..._v_product=yes this team estrogen article on women's bikes sort of sold me on women needing woman specific frames. Anyone care to point out any discrepancies in it's argument? Damn shopping for a girls bike is a lot harder than a mans bike!

  22. #22
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    A folding bike is an interesting option we haven't explored. I think they look cool just cos they're so portable and awesome but she might not. I'll look up some dahon's and run it by her.

  23. #23
    dex
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    Quote Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
    She's something of an athlete and she would proably want something more performance oriented, not necessarily race quality but up there.
    If this is the case, then you should take the Surly LHT off of this list. It's a great bike, but it wasn't built for speed.

    Since you're already looking at Surly, check out the Surly Pacer. It has shorter effective top tube lengths than similarly-sized Cross Checks, which is going to be important for the short-torso/long legs thing you're dealing with. Are you opposed to buying used? It might be worth your time to see if there are any used Terry bikes for sale in your area.

    As far as toe-clip overlap goes, you'll find just as many people who don't consider it a big deal as you will find people who think it's a huge deal. It's something that I find mildly annoying, but unless it's extreme I've just learned how to deal with it. Get your sister on some bikes to test and let her decide how annoying (or not) she finds it.

  24. #24
    dex
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    Quote Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
    http://http://m.rei.com/mt/www.rei.c..._v_product=yes this team estrogen article on women's bikes sort of sold me on women needing woman specific frames. Anyone care to point out any discrepancies in it's argument? Damn shopping for a girls bike is a lot harder than a mans bike!
    I don't think women necessarily *need* women's specific frames. Women who have narrower shoulders and smaller hands may need components that are sized down a bit to accommodate those things. And those things are most likely to come stock on WSD bikes.

    The things that people who have shorter torsos and longer legs tend to need are slack seat tube angles, slightly taller headtube lengths, and shorter effective top tube lengths (while keeping in mind that seat tube angle effects top tube length). A good example here is how well the Cervelo RS works for many women who always thought they required WSD.

    You won't know if your sister needs WSD until she tries out some bikes.

  25. #25
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    Does it have to be new?

    Ask this seller if shipping is an option.
    http://springfieldil.craigslist.org/bik/2407446364.html
    "Cycling is for pleasure not penance"

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