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  1. #1
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Anyone here 5' 6" and under care to talk about their road bike shopping experience? I'm having difficulty even finding stores which carry my size, let alone stores where the sales people don't look at me funny.

  2. #2
    Beauty Everywhere snowy's Avatar
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    I'm 5'3 but I'm a girl and have a girl specific bike. I can't believe that your getting a hardtime from the bike stores. That sucks and I'm sorry. Maybe try calling around before you waste your time by stopping by the store. I called around and got a great response on the phone and when I did go in they were awesome to me. But then again I'm a girl, so I don't know if my suggestions will help.

  3. #3
    Hills, more hills please! SadieKate's Avatar
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    You know, twenty years ago this was a problem but it shouldn't be any longer. There is a much wider range of sizes in stock bikes. Call around. You might post where you live and maybe people can give you recommendations for shops. Our LBS' attempt to keep multiple sizes in stock at all times and if you give them a couple days notice make sure to have them built up for you when you come in.
    Embrace your inner tortoise

  4. #4
    Senior Member Urban Shooter's Avatar
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    I am 5' 7" and a guy and I have a terrible time when it comes to finding road bikes that will fit me. It's not impossible but in general I have always had to wait for something to be ordered special.

  5. #5
    Newbie Stoller's Avatar
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    I'm 5'6" and haven't really noticed a problem. I spent the past month or so test riding bikes around my area (northern Vermont) and most of the LBS' had something they thought might fit. It was not always what I was looking for but I did get to try quite a few different rides. This time of year is also not the best when it comes to selection. I ended up with a 52 cm Specialized Roubaix....hills are becoming my friends again. Keep in mind also I was not looking at the higher end of the spectrum.

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    You can choose Mountain Bike (26") instead of Road Bike (700C). As for Mountain Bike, you can choose 24" instead of 26". As for Road Bike, you can chhose 650C instead of 700C.

  7. #7
    No Rocket Surgeon eubi's Avatar
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    Does Georgianna Terry still build bikes?

    Sorry, I'm too lazy to look her up right now.

    I believe she used a slightly smaller wheel so the frame geometry would stay correct for a smaller bike.

    edit:

    Here ya go...I got unlazyfied

    http://www.terrybicycles.com/

  8. #8
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    My inseam is 29.5". I got measured with a fitstick once and they said I'd fit a 52 cm bike. Well I got on one and I didn't feel very comfortable. Maybe I'm not forward enough with what I want, but it seems like most stores don't have more than one or two bikes in my size. Most of the time they tell me about components and such.

    I ride my MTB like a road bike, 26" wheels with Nimbus tires. I've actually been "training" on it with a HRM and dragging my kid around in a Burley for a few months now. It's time for a road bike. I just wanna cut through all the salestalk and get someone to really explain to me the nuances of fit the way I read it here on the forums. You know, crank length, frame size, seat angle, stem length, etc.

    I'm in Minneapolis in case anyone wants to direct me to a good guy.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuan
    My inseam is 29.5". I got measured with a fitstick once and they said I'd fit a 52 cm bike. Well I got on one and I didn't feel very comfortable. Maybe I'm not forward enough with what I want, but it seems like most stores don't have more than one or two bikes in my size. Most of the time they tell me about components and such.

    I ride my MTB like a road bike, 26" wheels with Nimbus tires. I've actually been "training" on it with a HRM and dragging my kid around in a Burley for a few months now. It's time for a road bike. I just wanna cut through all the salestalk and get someone to really explain to me the nuances of fit the way I read it here on the forums. You know, crank length, frame size, seat angle, stem length, etc.

    I'm in Minneapolis in case anyone wants to direct me to a good guy.
    my inseam is the same. i'm always somewhere between a 49 and 53.5, depending on make of the bike, and most of the time, i dont even have toe overlap. i would think you'd be ok too -- not sure why you are experiencing problems. is this your first road bike? keep in mind that your riding position will be different than on your mtb, so it might feel strange at first and it might take some getting used to. are you used to riding with drop bars? if not, they can feel awkward at first. have you had a fit kit done? you say that a 52 didn't feel very comfortable...but what exactly do you mean by that? did it feel too long? did you not have enough standover? did it have a sloping TT or a traditional geometry? don't base your decision on just one or 2 bikes...try out as many as you can. you might find that bikes with compact geometry work better for you than traditional geometry.

    that said, when it came time for me to get a 'cross frame, i went custom. if its in your budget, that's always an option as well.

  10. #10
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by islenska
    my inseam is the same. i'm always somewhere between a 49 and 53.5, depending on make of the bike, and most of the time, i dont even have toe overlap. i would think you'd be ok too -- not sure why you are experiencing problems. is this your first road bike? keep in mind that your riding position will be different than on your mtb, so it might feel strange at first and it might take some getting used to. are you used to riding with drop bars? if not, they can feel awkward at first. have you had a fit kit done? you say that a 52 didn't feel very comfortable...but what exactly do you mean by that? did it feel too long? did you not have enough standover? did it have a sloping TT or a traditional geometry? don't base your decision on just one or 2 bikes...try out as many as you can. you might find that bikes with compact geometry work better for you than traditional geometry.

    that said, when it came time for me to get a 'cross frame, i went custom. if its in your budget, that's always an option as well.
    Yep, trying to get my first roadbike. I have my MTB setup quite aggresive, I put on flat bars and I sit about the same height as my hands. Anyway, the 52 did have enough standover, but I felt like I was sitting right on the top tube. All I can say is it seemed like I was doing pushups. A lot of weight was on my hands which I don't think is very good is it? Anyway it just didn't feel right, the salesguy kept telling me that it "should" feel right. Oh well. It was an old Specialized Allez and the top tube was pretty straight.

    I'm gonna have to try a few more bikes this week, and maybe I'll get myself a fit kit done. I found this store which has it for $75. I don't know if that's just to purchase the kit or what. Guess I'll call them when they open up tomorrow. One guy I talked to told me a fitting was $300. I thought that was odd and I thought fitting was free, just like buying a suit.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuan
    Yep, trying to get my first roadbike. I have my MTB setup quite aggresive, I put on flat bars and I sit about the same height as my hands. Anyway, the 52 did have enough standover, but I felt like I was sitting right on the top tube. All I can say is it seemed like I was doing pushups. A lot of weight was on my hands which I don't think is very good is it? Anyway it just didn't feel right, the salesguy kept telling me that it "should" feel right. Oh well. It was an old Specialized Allez and the top tube was pretty straight.

    I'm gonna have to try a few more bikes this week, and maybe I'll get myself a fit kit done. I found this store which has it for $75. I don't know if that's just to purchase the kit or what. Guess I'll call them when they open up tomorrow. One guy I talked to told me a fitting was $300. I thought that was odd and I thought fitting was free, just like buying a suit.
    ok, lets get a few things straight...

    1. a fit kit isn't a tangible object that you take home with you. its something that you have done...like a haircut. what you will walk away with, however, are the numbers that, in the theoretical world, would work for you for road geometry.

    the charge for the fit kit is for the service of getting measured. often this cost will be credited toward the purchase of a bike, if you end up purchasing a bike from them.

    2. a "fitting" can mean a few different things. for $300 i'm guessing that you will get either a very detailed analysis on a serotta fit bike, or a similarly detailed analysis with the bike you plan to buy on rollers. sometimes, not always, the cost of the fitting is waived if you buy a bike from the shop.

    if the 52 felt ok except for the position of the bars, the next logical step would be to play with the stem. what was the rise and length of the stem? a good shop will swap out stems and play with a few different variables to see if that helps you.

    also, what kind of levers did the bike have? if it happened to have older campy levers there is a chance that the position of the hoods was too "aggressive" for your liking. newer shimano levers have a more upright position, so on the same exact bike you may very well feel fine.

    3. buying a road bike is not like buying a suit. how flexible are you? do you have a few extra ponds in the midsection? do you have any aches or pains when you ride? what is your foot length? what is your thigh length? arm length? shoulder width? do you have different leg lengths? these are all things that a good fitting will take into consideration. buying a new bike makes buying a suit seem like a breeze.

    4. no matter how "aggressive" your mtb is, its not going to feel similar to a road bike. in many cases the seat is higher than the bars on a road bike.

  12. #12
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by islenska

    3. buying a road bike is not like buying a suit. how flexible are you? do you have a few extra ponds in the midsection? do you have any aches or pains when you ride? what is your foot length? what is your thigh length? arm length? shoulder width? do you have different leg lengths? these are all things that a good fitting will take into consideration. buying a new bike makes buying a suit seem like a breeze.
    See none of the bike stores told me about that. A few pounds around the midsection! Yep, that's me. I could stand to lose 10-15. I actually have different arm lengths, I know that from wearing suits.

    I'm gonna look into all that tomorrow. You know when you walk in people always ask you if you have any questions? Now I have questions. Thanks.

  13. #13
    One Hep Cat Joe Dog's Avatar
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    I've had a hard time finding bikes in my size - especially road bikes. I am 5'4" and have a 28.5 inch in-seam. My first road bike was a 50 cm Basso that fit well enough, but I probably should have been a 48cm frame, which no one had available, so I rode a 50. I now have a 50cm (equivalent) Specialized Allez Sport. The compact geometry offends some, but that frame fits me better than my Basso ever did. Plenty of clearance, top tube reach is perfect and it's all right where I want it. I recently bought a Surly Cross Check and had a h_ll of a time finding anything smaller than a 54 cm frame . Finally, after two weeks of looking, the LBS lined up a 50cm frame for me and ordered it while I waited because they were not sure when they would see another one that small. I think it is the same deal with bikes as with men's clothes - if you in the middle of bell-shaped curve you have a lot of choices, but once you get to either end of the curve (short in-seam, short stature, etc.) fewer manufacturers make products in that size, and those that do make fewer of them so the competition for the little frames can be fierce.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Find a LBS where there are women sales people. (they don't know how to handle big people)

    Joe
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    Specialized Rockhopper 05

  15. #15
    Jet Jockey Banzai's Avatar
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    Standover, standover, standover. Headsets, saddles, everything else can be changed, except the size of the frame itself. So beyond that, I'm not a big believer in expensive "fit kits". Simply see if you can get the required groin clearance. EVERYTHING else is tinkerable.
    By the by, I'm 5'6", and I commute on a Sm (17") Fuji Absolute. Perfect fit. (For reasons that escape me, their "forza" line of bikes are measured in inches, whilst all their other road bikes are measured in cm. Who'da thunk it?)

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by banzai_f16
    Standover, standover, standover. Headsets, saddles, everything else can be changed, except the size of the frame itself. So beyond that, I'm not a big believer in expensive "fit kits". Simply see if you can get the required groin clearance. EVERYTHING else is tinkerable.
    By the by, I'm 5'6", and I commute on a Sm (17") Fuji Absolute. Perfect fit. (For reasons that escape me, their "forza" line of bikes are measured in inches, whilst all their other road bikes are measured in cm. Who'da thunk it?)
    if you follow this method you could very well end up with a bike thats too small for you.

  17. #17
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    I'm surprised you're having a hard time. I'm 5'3 and have ride a Specialized Allez which I love. I'm a woman but it is not a woman's specific design bike. Specialized and Giant both make compact frame bikes which helps if you're shorter than average.

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    Joe Dog I'm also 5'4" and a 50cm works well for me, I agree with the rest, you gotta have standover. The rest can be tuned in. A 48 could be even better for me, but as a rule 50 works for me. You can always order a 48 or 50 cm bike, the manufacturers make them for a reason :-)

  19. #19
    998
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    Kuan, you might consider a Specialized Tarmac. Comes in 49cm. I'm 5'6 and it works well for me. Standover wise 52s in most bikes are fine but the reach is too much since I have a short torso, with the Tarmac the 49cm works well. Something to consider.

  20. #20
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Thank you all for replying. Late last night I chanced upon what I consider one of the best deals of my lifetime!

    49cm Bianchi Alorro, '03, Ultegra 9 speed. On super clearance at $1,300.

    The lousy cameraphone doesn't do it justice. It's so sweet I brought it in the bedroom with me last night.


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