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Thread: Bicycle sizing

  1. #1
    SuzieQ
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    Bicycle sizing

    I'm looking at bicycles for both me and my husband. Both are Peugeots. My husband is 5' 10" and I am 5' 0". The men's Peugeot is 58 cm with 27 1 1/4 " tires. The women's is 51 cm with 27 1 1/4" tires. Do these sound like good combinations considering our heights?

    Thanks,

    SuzieQ

  2. #2
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    There's no real way to tell using the info you've given, SuzieQ. If the Peugeots you're looking at are new, then the shop selling them should help you get the right sizes. If the bikes are used, you'll have to decide on your own. The tire sizes make me think that these are not only used but also 1970's vintage.

    In simplest terms, you must at least be able to safely stand over the top tubes of the bikes with feet on the ground and nothing touching the crotches too tightly. If you can't stand over the bikes, then you're likely to receive injury if you have to stop suddenly & end up sliding forward.

    A second test is to just try riding the bikes. Do they feel right? If your arms feel too close or too stretched, sometimes replacing the part that holds the handlebars (called the "stem") can compensate.

    There is much more nuance to fitting the bike to your body for maximum efficiency, but the two suggestions above can serve as preliminary tests as to whether these bikes are way out of line for you or not.

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuzieQ
    I'm looking at bicycles for both me and my husband. Both are Peugeots. My husband is 5' 10" and I am 5' 0". The men's Peugeot is 58 cm with 27 1 1/4 " tires. The women's is 51 cm with 27 1 1/4" tires. Do these sound like good combinations considering our heights?

    Thanks,

    SuzieQ
    I'm 5'8" and ride a 58 cm bike with 27 1 1/4" tires, so it's likely that your husband will be fine with that size bike. I can't really answer regarding the other one. What you need to know is your leg inseam length. You and your husband can measure your inseams as shown here. Once you know your inseam measurement, you'll know what standover height to look for in a bike. The link I just gave you will also give you a formula for determining the correct frame size. However, I've found you can actually ride frames larger than what is recommended, particularly when the bike is a vintage bike. So for example, that chart recommends a 21" frame for me, although my bike, which was fit to me when new, is a 23" (58 cm) frame.

    That's why you should know your leg inseam and the standover height. As long as you have at least an inch of clearance (i.e., standover height is 1" less than your inseam) you'll be OK.

  4. #4
    Jet Jockey Banzai's Avatar
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    Ditto what FarHorizon said. You must at least be able to safely stand over the bike. Approximately 1" of stand-over should set you up well. (I prefer close to 2")

    However, I'll hazard a guess. 5'10" on a 58cm frame may work, but may be a little tight. I would guess a person of that height to be on a 56cm frame.

    5'0" on a 51 cm frame...I have serious doubts. I'm 5'6" and 50 cm is about the outside edge of what can work comfortably. Now, allowing that I'm built like an ape (short legs, long torso), and that women generally have longer legs proportionally...is why I'm saying "serious doubts" as opposed to "no way".

    If you can't see the bikes (internet purchase?), measure your inseam from floor to semi-firm crotch contact, in riding shoes. Then obtain a measurement for the "stand-over height" of the bikes, and then make sure your measurement clears that by 1" or 2.54 cm.
    Good night...and good luck

  5. #5
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    The best way to "fit" a bike is to ride it. Can't do that on an internet forum. "Standover" is a misunderstood concept. People buy bikes to ride, not to "stand over". Today, many bike shops are fitting folks so that there is two or three inches of space between the rider's crotch and the highest part of the top bar (just behind the stem). That results in having the hands positioned too low for a non-racing cyclist to be comfortable.

    If you are not planning to race, look for the tallest frame you can stand over without the top bar pressing against your crotch when you are standing just behind the stem. A taller frame makes it easier to get the hands as high as the saddle, the position that is most comfortable for touring, commuting, and recreational and fitness riding.

    On a test ride, make sure that the distance from the saddle to the bars is comfortable. Many road bikes are too stretched out for a female rider's shorter torso and arms, so a test ride is essential.

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    I would be surprised if the smaller bike fits. Your husband will be okay, maybe needing a longer stem at most, but I cannot imagine a 50-52 cm frame fitting a 5'0" woman. I am 5'8" and usually take 54-58 cm road bikes. My girlfriend is 5'1" and usually takes 44-48 cm road bikes. Old french bikes are usually more accomodating to smaller riders, but even there, you probably need a 47-48 at the largest. You will be hard to fit.

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    I'm 5'9" and a pinch and I bought a 58cm just because I kinda had to for the price. I have a 31 1/2 cycling inseam. My crotch bottoms out on the top tube. I still get about an inch+ of seat post but no more -The cranks are 175mm and I have large feet, though. Fits me fine. I don't plan on smashing my crotch on the TT anytime soon and the longer top tube is great since I have long arms. I'm actually glad I didn't end up buying a 54cm ..Don't know where my knees would have went.
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  8. #8
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    I am 6' and ride 56 cm (used to ride 58 when I was a youth)

    I have a female friend who is 5' 2" who I think rides a 54 cm frame on her road bike. It might be a 52, but the bottom line is when I stand over it, it gives me about 1.5 inch of clearance instead of my usual 1/2 inch.

    I don't present this as standard fitting rule, but just point out that the fitting varies... I can imagione a 50/52 fitting a 5' 0" woman... but would not make this a blanket assumption.
    Last edited by Little Darwin; 07-06-06 at 06:25 AM.
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  9. #9
    broke cyclist zebano's Avatar
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    I;ll copy everyone else and say that tests are essential. I am 5'10" and ride a 56cm because it was used at a great price. I would prefer a 54 cm frame, but I'll take what I can get.
    I know just enough to make some serious mistakes =)

  10. #10
    Senior Member Pedal Wench's Avatar
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    I'm 5'4" and I ride a 50 WSD, 51 compact geometry, and an older 48 standard geometry. It all depends on the specific geometry of the bike you're looking at.

  11. #11
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    Your husband will have no problem finding a M size bike that fits.
    At 5'0" you should discount any bike with large wheels (27" or 700c). Whilst some designers manage to squeeze these into small frames, the resultant bodged geometry makes a bike which is ungainly and generally too long. You need a smaller wheel size for a smaller frame.

    There are 2 smaller standard wheels, the 650c which is for high performance road racing and the the MTB 26" which can be fitted with a variety of tyres for different applications. Fit 1" slicks for a fast endurance race, 1.5" for daily commuting and fitness or fatter knobblies for trail riding.
    Check out Terry cycles for some smaller options

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