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  1. #1
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    Thumbs down Sizing for me and partner, WOW at he list of posts for this type of question.

    Hello all,

    I see so many answers to various questions on sizing and even across the internet there are tons of answers, many different.

    So I will reach out to the people who ride to help me.

    My female partner and I want to ride for fun and health. We both rode as kids but not much since. I will fill in what I think would be the most common questions below.

    1. I am male, 5'9 1/2 " tall. inseam 32.5", medium build, 200lbs, reasonably fit, 52 years old

    2. She is 5'4" tall, 28" inseam. heavy upstairs, muscular legs, 49 years old

    3. Estimate riding will be (for now) 75% road, rest will be mild off road in trails and parks. casual, no racing.

    4. Want to purchase used, preferably under $200 each bike.

    5. Questions I have beyond sizing help, what should I look for on

    A. brakes (since they have changed so much from side and center pull when I was young),
    B. type of handlebars,
    C. type of seat for comfort,
    D. good and bad of shocks both front and back and what to look for
    E. What else should I look for and measure?

    Thanks,

    Ga Phil

  2. #2
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    At under $200 each, I'd go straight to craigslist for used bike. You will get a much better quality bike than any department store bike and better than you can buy from an LBS at that price point.

    Probably the best for your use is a used, vintage mountain bike (one with a rigid fork) and/or a used hybrid. Both have comfy fat tires and they tend to be less expensive than an equivalent quality road bike. Vintage road bikes generally command a premium.

    This pretty much answers most of your questions since you will be riding whatever comes stock on the used bike. You may want to swap out the saddle on the bike you buy. You will want to swap out the knobby tires on an MTB for slick tires. You will need to learn how to do some minor adjustments on the bikes. You will want to buy a pump with a gauge since proper tire pressure is very important.

    Insofar as size is concerned, there are a number of rules of thumb that you can read about online. As long as you can straddle the bike comfortably with 1-3 inches of clearance you should be fine.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Kopsis's Avatar
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    For every sizing rule of thumb, there's at least one rider for whom it doesn't work. But for figuring out where to start your search, I've always found Dave Moulton's guidelines useful:

    "If you are 5’ 3” to 5’ 5” frame size equals Height divide by 3.3. For people 5’ 6” to 5’ 10” frame size = Height divide by 3.2 and if you are 5’ 11” to 6’ 4” frame size = Height divide by 3.1. -- Dave Moulton"

    This gives you frame size in terms of "effective" seat tube (how long the seat tube would be if the bike had a perfectly horizontal top tube). Mountain bikes, hybrids, and some road bikes with sloping top tubes may tell you the "actual" (considerably shorter) seat tube length, so you'll need to adjust accordingly. If you can't easily determine effective seat tube length for a given bike, but they do list effective top tube length (also sometimes listed as reach), add 10cm and use that as the target top tube size.

    Lots of people will now tell you the multitude of ways this is wrong and how they're comfortably riding a frame size much larger/smaller than this suggests But the idea is use this as your starting point. Try a bike in the size this method suggests and see how it feels. If it feels too big or too small then you know you're an outlier and you need to go up or down a size. But chances are that it will get you close enough that you can get a good fit with normal saddle and bar adjustments.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaPhil View Post
    Hello all,
    My female partner and I want to ride for fun and health. We both rode as kids but not much since. I will fill in what I think would be the most common questions below.
    First, welcome back to the fold. There is a pretty vibrant community of cyclists around the State. You don't say where in GA you are, but when you get to that point, there are a few around here who might be able to help you find a group to ride with, especially at the beginning. For example, in the Roswell/Alpharetta area, there is a Harry's Not in a Hurry ride that embraces slower paces and assisting new to riding cyclists that have gone beyond just the '1-2 mile casual ride' phase.

    Quote Originally Posted by GaPhil View Post
    1. I am male, 5'9 1/2 " tall. inseam 32.5", medium build, 200lbs, reasonably fit, 52 years old
    At your size, I would imagine you would fit into the 'Medium' category, but that is going vary pretty wildly based upon the bike style you settle on.

    Quote Originally Posted by GaPhil View Post
    2. She is 5'4" tall, 28" inseam. heavy upstairs, muscular legs, 49 years old
    At her size, it is going to be very dependent upon her own comfort, and again will vary based upon bike type

    Quote Originally Posted by GaPhil View Post
    3. Estimate riding will be (for now) 75% road, rest will be mild off road in trails and parks. casual, no racing.
    Based upon your noted disposition of cycling, I would personally suggest you go with something that is geared more towards road comfort, but can handle light trails. For this usage, I am not actually a huge fan of suspension bikes, as it is just another part to service and fail, one that provides benefit for a fairly low percentage of the riding.

    Quote Originally Posted by GaPhil View Post
    4. Want to purchase used, preferably under $200 each bike.
    Craigslist is always a good start, but depending upon your area, there are shops that specialize in used bikes around the state.

    Quote Originally Posted by GaPhil View Post
    5. Questions I have beyond sizing help, what should I look for on


    Quote Originally Posted by GaPhil View Post
    A. brakes (since they have changed so much from side and center pull when I was young),
    Side pull, or if you get lucky in the budget, discs.

    Quote Originally Posted by GaPhil View Post
    B. type of handlebars,
    Flat. I wouldn't seriously look at anything else for your needs.

    Quote Originally Posted by GaPhil View Post
    C. type of seat for comfort,
    Seats are highly feel oriented, what you want is not what your SO will want. What is on the bike is unlikely to make either of you happy for any extended time so I wouldn't put too much worry into what is on the bike you are buying. You'll probably replace it in fairly short order. My daughter loves the Forte Countour XFC Womens saddle on her hybrid. It is not my cup of tea though (the men's version)

    Quote Originally Posted by GaPhil View Post
    D. good and bad of shocks both front and back and what to look for
    Shocks on the front are nice for softening the ride through your hands and shoulders, but can also present a set of challenges for the inexperienced rider. Situations where you go from flat through a small valley and then uphill, like say entering a multi use path from a roadway through a curb cut, can compress the front suspension and cause the wheel to stutter. Panic ensues and rider lands on the ground afraid to get back in the saddle. As for rear suspension, for the right purposes it is great. For the types of riding you are proposing, it is both more than you need, and inflates your budget.

    Quote Originally Posted by GaPhil View Post
    E. What else should I look for and measure?
    Items not on your list: shifters, tires, pedals, etc. Shifters are a mixed bag, some people like thumb shifters, others like grips. I suggest thumbs, I think they are easier for most to wrap their heads around. Tires on the other hand should be dictated by the type of riding. For road riding, you don't want a knobby dirt tire. For light trails, a lightly knobbed tire is good, but will make the road ride a little rougher.


    So with all of that said, what would *I* look for in your shoes? Probably a middle of the line Road/Fitness hybrid. 700cc wheels, with flat handlebars, at least a double front chainring, preferably a triple.


    Fuji Absolute, Diamondback Insight, Trek FX, Cannondale Quick to name a few. Almost all of these support a wide enough wheel /brake opening that you can run them with true road tires or go up to a cyclocross tire that does great on the trails. I say all of this as someone that uses a Fuji Absolute kitted out with all season road tires, racks, bags and lights as my commuter, and I love it, but the seat was the first thing to be replaced.

  5. #5
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    I cannot really add much to the excellent answers so far. I would question the "inseam" numbers a little. I wonder if the o.p. knows that inseam for cycling purposes is different than for buying jeans. It should be somewhat longer. The conclusions in post #4 jibe with mine but I don't think those bikes are going to be available for $200 even on CL. But that's quibbling. What I'd really like to suggest is that the o.p. and his partner think seriously about getting a tandem for their joint riding adventures. I'm serious! Mixed riding can be stressful for both parties. Trust me on this. Tandems can be rented to test the concept without financial risk. FWIW.

    H

  6. #6
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    Trek FX for $200 - Trek Ladies Hybrid Bike - 7.2 FX as an example

  7. #7
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    Learning what size of bike is appropriate for your body proportions is separate from all that other stuff ..

    some things are easier to do in person .. standing over a bike and seeing if it feels right is one of them.

  8. #8
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    Thank you all for the guidance. I will rummage through CL.

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