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Old 03-12-06, 05:29 AM   #1
tansc
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Hiya

A bunch of my friends are thinking of fixing up a cheap, low cost 2nd hand (think <$100 - we're putting stuff together from all the parts we have/can find) ladies bike for a girl's birthday.

She's hasn't cycled for years, and is likely to only do recreational cycling (probably a 30 min to 1 hr ride every week?). She's average height (~1.7m tall).

I'm reading around and there seems to be a LOT to consider for a female bike. Is all this all seriously important for a first/casual bike, or is it only for the pro riders? Can't I just use a smaller frame raise the seats/handlebars a little?

Is it good to get someone a bike as a surprise bday gift? There seems to be a lot on "DON"T BUY UNLESS YOU TRY"...

Cheers
Sing

Last edited by tansc; 03-12-06 at 05:34 AM.
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Old 03-12-06, 06:00 AM   #2
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You need to ensure that the frame is in the right ballpark. A woman style hybrid bike should be fine. When it comes to bike size, too big is worse than too small and right size is better than both. As long as yopu have adaquate standover clearance, the length is more critical. Most M size women's hybrid frames will put the legth about right for easy riding.
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Old 03-12-06, 06:09 AM   #3
tansc
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how about things i read about handlebar height and stuff - they say that standard frames tend to require a long reach that leads to greater strain etc etc. Is that something only serious riders should worry over?
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Old 03-13-06, 10:44 AM   #4
ken cummings
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Having been married for 35 years and raised two foster daughters I may see this from a different perspective. If the girl, as you put it, is a child what you are doing is excellent. Been there, done that twice. If the girl is an adult woman, be careful. If <$100.00 is what you can afford and the rest of you ride bikes in the same class make sure it at least looks good. Remove every speck of rust and use good touchup paint. Of course the bike has to be in full working order, no frayed cables, and NEW brake pads. New riders I know are often more nervous about being able to stop than to go. If some of you ride better bikes she may see the lower grade bike as a lack of respect, as an insult. At this point I would get a couple of her best female friends in on it. Given all that I praise what you are doing, I just do not want any back fires.
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Old 03-13-06, 10:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tansc
how about things i read about handlebar height and stuff - they say that standard frames tend to require a long reach that leads to greater strain etc etc. Is that something only serious riders should worry over?
No, beginners could get back strain even faster. Consider a more upright position even "flat" handlebars where the grips are higher then the stem. Hit the "fit" threads to see how to set up her bike. And be ready to readjust it in the first few weeks.
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Old 03-13-06, 11:40 AM   #6
Nightshade
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tansc
Hiya

A bunch of my friends are thinking of fixing up a cheap, low cost 2nd hand (think <$100 - we're putting stuff together from all the parts we have/can find) ladies bike for a girl's birthday.

She's hasn't cycled for years, and is likely to only do recreational cycling (probably a 30 min to 1 hr ride every week?). She's average height (~1.7m tall).

I'm reading around and there seems to be a LOT to consider for a female bike. Is all this all seriously important for a first/casual bike, or is it only for the pro riders? Can't I just use a smaller frame raise the seats/handlebars a little?

Is it good to get someone a bike as a surprise bday gift? There seems to be a lot on "DON"T BUY UNLESS YOU TRY"...

Cheers
Sing
If you follow this plan you are sure to miss the meaning of the gift as well has hurt the girls feelings.
Isn't she worth more than second hand junk parts bike????

There are lots of factors to consider in buying a proper "fitted" bicycle. Yes, fitted just like shoes or other
clothing items. That said a much better "gift" is to pool your money and buy a gift certificate at a bike
shop to get a decent bike as the junk the big box stores sell isn't worth your time. The bike shop will
fit the bike to the girl to ensure that she is comfortable and safe when she rides.

One more thing.......
You will NOT buy a decent bike for <$100. It takes a price range of at least $200 > $300 to get a
safe bike.
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Old 03-13-06, 04:29 PM   #7
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My very first thought about this is: Has she expressed an interest in starting to ride a bicycle? Has she mentioned to you, or to her other friends, that she wants to . . . commute to work? Start exercising to lose a few pounds? Ride with you? Or some other reason for her to have a bicycle?

If not, and if you present her with a bicycle of any sort, she could have a very negative reaction, the first part of which would probably be: "Do you all think I'm fat (and need to exercise)?" ... followed by something along the lines of: "Only children ride bicycles! (do you all think I'm that immature)"

Sadly, bicycles are still viewed as tools of exercise torture, or children's toys by the majority of the population.


However, if she has expressed an interest in cycling, I agree with what ken cummings has said. Make sure it looks great, and is in excellent working condition. Make sure it is not something you would be embarrassed to be seen in public with. As a new rider, if she is going to be motivated to ride the bicycle, she has to feel comfortable on it ... and comfort goes beyond a good fit, it also encompasses her perception of how the bicycle looks and works.

As for fit, are their any of her friends who are roughly her size? Is there any way you can get her inseam measurement? If it is a road bicycle, she should be able to straddle it (standing flat footed over the bar) with at least an inch to spare. If it is a mountain bike, there should be a couple inches. Do not give her a bicycle she cannot straddle ... a bicycle that is too big makes new cyclists very nervous.

She should also be able to reach the handlebars comfortably without too much of a stretch. It is a good idea to have the handlebars about even with the saddle, or maybe even a touch higher than the saddle.

And you might mention that you would be willing to change the saddle for her if it is painful. To start though, make sure it is not the narrowest saddle on the market, and also make sure it is not one of those wide tractor-seat-like saddles. Think ... mid-sized! And then work from there.

I hope some of this helps.
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