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  1. #1
    Member pmhlb's Avatar
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    Small bike for big (but not tall) girl

    I have posted on 50+, recumbent, and now have been steered to you.

    I am 5'2" and heavy -- mostly through the middle. My height is in my body (not in my legs) and so getting on a 26" bike (usually what folks my height ride) is a bit of a feat.

    Yesterday I went to a shop of re-vamped bikes; no luck. The fellow there suggested I try a small bike (20" or 24") -- as it is easier getting on and off, or a folding bike.

    I am concerned about
    • stability
    • the thought of a bike collapsing under me


    A folding bike may just be the solution for me. What do you think?


    pmhlb

  2. #2
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    Dahon glide is a nice step through folding bike. What is your budget. Welcome to the fold.http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/2009/glide.htm
    Speed Uno
    Dawes Kingpin 2speed

  3. #3
    Senior Member badrad's Avatar
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    my wife is also 5'2". she always had a fear of falling over on the bike when she is getting on and off the bike. we had a pair of jacks, and she was using the small frame, and was never comfortable with the height of the bar.

    she tried the Ciao and she fell in love with the bike. the easy step over design eliminates all her fears of falling over and tripping on the bike. another nice feature of the bike is the internal hub gear, making it much easier to change gears - switching to low gear - when she is at a stop.

    also the adjustable height of the handlebar post and the handlebar angle allows her to fully customize the ride position to suit her mood.

    http://www.dahon.com/bikes/2010/ciao-p7
    Last edited by badrad; 08-17-10 at 04:30 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    Have to ask, though: How much do you weigh?

    Many folders have a max rider weight of 230 lbs. If you are below that, no problem.

    If you are above that, the proper solution might be a bit more expensive.

    I am assuming that because you are looking to ride a bicycle that you might be at a high-point weight-wise, too.

    Lou

  5. #5
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    What's great about a folding bike is that the seat post is easily adjustable so you can ride with the seat post as low as you like. Some bikes come with adjustable handle posts as well so you can find a comfortable riding position. As long as you ride the bike like it is suppose to be ridden (not do jumps!) then you won't have a problem with the frame folding on you at all. Folding bikes are just as safe as a regular non-folding bike.
    Why buy 10 cheap bikes when one nice one will last longer!

  6. #6
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    The bike won't fold under you, handling is a little different, but I got used to it in no time. I think that at your height, the folder will feel great.

  7. #7
    Member pmhlb's Avatar
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    Hello Lou (Foldable Two),
    Quote Originally Posted by Foldable Two View Post
    Many folders have a max rider weight of 230 lbs. If you are below that, no problem.
    I am probably okay there, but all my weight is around the middle, and so the distribution is probably different from others.

    If you are above that, the proper solution might be a bit more expensive.
    If I did exceed the limit, what is the 'proper [-- albeit expensive --] solution' to which you refer?

    I am assuming that because you are looking to ride a bicycle that you might be at a high-point weight-wise, too.
    I want to ride a bicycle for the sheer love of it; sheddding some weight in the process would just be a bonus.
    pmhlb

  8. #8
    Senior Member SunnyFlorida's Avatar
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    I don't know about keeping the seat as "low as you like". You still need proper leg extension to pedal efficiently. Beyond that, a folder is a pretty compact bike. I'm about 5 ft. 1 1/2 inches and I find a folder easier to handle in general.

    Whatever bike you consider, look at the distance between the saddle and the handlebar besides the weight requirement.

    You want to be able to comfortable reach the handlebars without straining. if you're more comfortable in an upright cruiser style postion (like me) than you would want those handlebars closer.

    Dahon has some pretty good specs on the above. Downtube has a frame diagram portion in their FAQ's that could help you determine the above besides the weight requirement.

    The Ciao has a nice step through frame. If my budget wasn't so tight, I would have gotten the Ciao. However, I'm happy with the Speed D7 I did get.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    Thanks for the additional info.

    The proper, but more suitable folder solution for folks over about 230 lbs - men and women - is a custom built Bike Friday (Llama or New World Tourist - aka:NWT). They can build folders with up to say 275 lbs capacity (highest I've seen, anyway). The downside is you're looking at $1500 to $2,000.

    Since you are under that magic number, a stock Dahon (or similar quality bike) would likely do just fine. (Note we own both a Dahon and some Fridays and we , owned a couple of Dahon Boardwalk D7's in the past - good starter level bikes and now called as Speed D7's).

    Not sure where you live, but are there any folder dealers nearby so you can test ride and compare bikes? That would likely be the next step.

    Lou

  10. #10
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    You could try a mini velo. The Cannondale Hooligan sounds like what you're looking for in a compact bike.

  11. #11
    Member pmhlb's Avatar
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    Looked at the Hooligan, but the bar is too high for my short legs. I guess I need a bike with a very low step thru.

    Any advice on low step thru types? I have been looking at folding bikes, but wonder if I should perhaps have the maximum in stability instead.


    pmhlb

  12. #12
    Senior Member ro-monster's Avatar
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    Are you trying to mount the bike by stepping over the top tube? If so, it's no wonder you're having trouble. A better way to do it is to tilt the bike toward you (so that it becomes lower) and swing your leg across over the seat. I'm also 5'2" and have no trouble getting on any bike doing it this way.

  13. #13
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    The other poster gave good advice. Most people who have difficulty mounting a bike do it the hard way. Lower the bike towards you, swing your leg over it and gradually pull it upright and hit the the pedals and go ride! Reverse it when you want to get off. Do it until it becomes second nature.

    You say you have short legs to mount the Hooligan. You may be better off with a Giant Revive, which has folder-like properties but isn't a folder and its easy step on step off. You can find one on eBay.

  14. #14
    Member pmhlb's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice! I used part of it today (though I don't expect to be able to swing my leg over the seat anytime soon). The 'tilt' was good, however (and I also remembered that from the olden days when I rode a bike without a care in the world).

    Quote Originally Posted by ro-monster View Post
    Are you trying to mount the bike by stepping over the top tube? If so, it's no wonder you're having trouble. A better way to do it is to tilt the bike toward you (so that it becomes lower) and swing your leg across over the seat.
    Decided against a folding bike after all, but thought you might like to know that I did finally find a bike! I chose: Globe Carmel Low Entry in orange, as suggested by BluesDawg:
    Specialized has the Globe Carmel Low Entry models.
    orangebike2..jpg

    Thanks, everyone
    , for taking this great journey with me! All the advice was so helpful! If I don't post for a while, it will be because I am out riding!


    pmhlb
    Ontario, Canada

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    Perfect! I was catching up with this thread and I thought "she needs a Copenhagen style bike" Good choice.

    http://www.copenhagencyclechic.com/

    have fun!

    joan
    2008 Mezzo D9
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  16. #16
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    You could also work on your flexibility as if the bike fits, you should be able, (all things being equal ), to mount a conventional bike. Work on hip extension and lower back extension exercises. Good luck with finding a bike regardless.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

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