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  1. #1
    Brand Newbian BishopLord's Avatar
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    What size bike should I buy?

    I'm going to buy a bicycle for my girlfriend. She's a shorty - only 4' 10" (I think she's 4'9", but she says 4'10" - okay). I'm looking at getting her a mountain bike - nothing extravagent or elaborate, just something nice for under $100 for now (as I don't even know how often she'll use it as she said she hasn't ridden one since she was around 13 - she's 33 now, but said she would if I got her one). This is going to be a surprise gift (early Christmas present), but I don't want it to be a surprise that it's either a) too small or b) too big.

    I found a few on the internet that caught my eye (some Walmart, Sears, and Target bikes - I know.. but I'm on a budget right now, and besides, I don't want to shell out $200+ for a bike that may not be used), but I'm not sure what size should I get, 20" or 24"? Kids or womens? Anyone have any ideas?

    I'm currently using public transportation, so stopping by a department store at this time (after work), is really hard for me.

    Thanks for any help.
    Last edited by BishopLord; 10-10-07 at 06:50 PM.

  2. #2
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    this size might work for her http://www.zannel.com/viewupdate.htm?id=64A7D3KDSH

    only kidding.

    the best thing to do is have her go with you. You don't know if its the right size until she's on it. And if she doesn't really want a bike to begin with she might want to pick out the style/color too.

    That being said, if it's something she really isn't going to ride a lot, you might want to check craigslist.org or there are yahoo groups called Freecycle where you can get a cheep or free bike.

    good luck

  3. #3
    Sometimes knows stuff. rmfnla's Avatar
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    Not to sound like a snob, but getting her a cheapo bike is probably the best way to guarantee that she will not use it.

    Also, why do you want to get her a mountain bike? Are you really going to go off-road?

    Check this out: http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=3060

    and there are lots of similar bikes out there that will encourage her to ride and the step-thru frame will eliminate those sizing issues

    Yes, I know this is a little more than your $100 but better to spend a little more than simply throw away that $100 in the first place.
    Today, I believe my jurisdiction ends here...

  4. #4
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BishopLord View Post
    I'm going to buy a bicycle for my girlfriend. She's a shorty - only 4' 10" (I think she's 4'9", but she says 4'10" - okay). I'm looking at getting her a mountain bike - nothing extravagent or elaborate, just something nice for under $100 for now (as I don't even know how often she'll use it as she said she hasn't ridden one since she was around 13 - she's 33 now, but said she would if I got her one). This is going to be a surprise gift (early Christmas present), but I don't want it to be a surprise that it's either a) too small or b) too big.

    I found a few on the internet that caught my eye (some Walmart, Sears, and Target bikes - I know.. but I'm on a budget right now, and besides, I don't want to shell out $200+ for a bike that may not be used), but I'm not sure what size should I get, 20" or 24"? Kids or womens? Anyone have any ideas?

    I'm currently using public transportation, so stopping by a department store at this time (after work), is really hard for me.

    Thanks for any help.
    Oh, I feel sorry for you. I've fought this battle for 30 years and I'm not sure we've won it yet.

    1. Don't buy her a bike without her trying it first. Tiny women have more of a fit problem than any one on the planet when it comes to bikes, pants, dresses, cars, etc. Everything is made to fit the middle of that Gaussian distribution and your girl friend is hanging out on the very outer edges. It's probably easier for an 8' tall man to find things that fit then for a sub 5' tall woman.

    2. Go to a BIKE SHOP! Preferably one that has women in the sales force.

    3. Do not...I repeat...DO NOT go cheap! A cheap bike is a heavy bike. If your girl friend weighs 90 lbs a 30 lb bike is 1/3 her weight. Would you want to ride around on a bike that weighs 1/3 what you do? I mean when was the last time you took a fun ride on a 66 pound bike? (Assuming around 200 lb) And you, buster, have more muscles then she does! You'd better make that a 75 lb bike to get the same effect. Go put some pedals on a motorcycle and take it for a spin. Spend some green or look for something used that is higher dollar.

    4. If you want to surprise here, take her to a Bed and Breakfast. Or get a gift certificate at the bike shop. Then go with her and be patient. Let her try everything but don't let her think about the cost...she will anyway.

    5. There are lots more choices today then there was 30 years ago. Trek, Specialized, Cannondale and a whole bunch of other companies make bikes for women. They aren't perfect but the are closer. You might even want to consider a Terry Bicycle. The bikes are a little more expensive but Terry has been building bikes for women for longer than anyone else. They understand women...especially really tiny women.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    something nice for under $100
    Which do you really want? Something nice? Or something under $100?

  6. #6
    Brand Newbian BishopLord's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies.

  7. #7
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Good luck! There's nothing worse than pain and chronic injury from a bike that doesn't quite fit right. Believe me, I know.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  8. #8
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    I would just add a confirmation that the best way to make sure she doesn't continue riding is to buy her junk.

    Even if you don't buy from a specific shop right away, go to a few, and get her to realize that the right bike makes a difference, and then either work at tweaking the bike you get until it is right, or save for the right bike.
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  9. #9
    pj7
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    It's not the size that matters, but how you use it.
    I am a sig Virus. Please put me in your sig so that I can continue to replicate.

  10. #10
    Sometimes knows stuff. rmfnla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pj7 View Post
    It's not the size that matters, but how you use it.
    Cute but wrong.
    Today, I believe my jurisdiction ends here...

  11. #11
    Zebra Treker's Avatar
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    ditto on the advice already given.
    - Check out the classifieds to score a better bike at an affordable price. A better bike increases the
    liklihood on a successful cycling experience.
    - Solicit her advice on the type of bike, mtb/hybrid/road that she might like. Browse LBSs.

    Good luck.

  12. #12
    Cries on hills supton's Avatar
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    IMO, this is a bit like buying some shoes. If you know their size and tastes, great; if not, then it's a big risk. Me, I bought a used bike to see if I wanted to get into bike; the fact that it might not be the right size or has ancient components didn't bother me. My wife, OTOH, stated up front that if it didn't fit her, she just wasn't going to ride it much. [I guess she doesn't like discomfort--this from a women who has had two kids?]

    This is a hard call; without trying one out, you'll never know if it will work. Buying used really limits the choices (and some people tend to take offense on given "used" gifts); yet you have indicated that new LBS is probably out of your price range. I'm afraid that she will have to try the bikes out period, unless if you find a screaming deal on a size that you think will fit her (and the gift comes with a card that promises a better bike if this one doesn't work out).
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  13. #13
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pj7 View Post
    It's not the size that matters, but how you use it.
    Apples and oranges, dear pj.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  14. #14
    pj7
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnamb View Post
    Apples and oranges, dear pj.
    Silly me, I forgot we were talking about "bicycles".
    Ever since watching The 40 Year Old Virgin and hearing the line "I hope you've got a big trunk cuz I'm about to put my bike in it" my mind has been in the gutter.

    Now, how about one of them apples? I could go for a nice fresh honeycrisp right now.
    I am a sig Virus. Please put me in your sig so that I can continue to replicate.

  15. #15
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    This is probably a good time of the year to be buying. You can get a good deal on leftover 2007 models...if you can find one the right size. I saw a 2007 Trek 3700 for $260.

  16. #16
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    Check out an excellent guide to buying a woman's bike.
    A small mountain bike is not a bad choice for a 4'10" novice rider considering the dearth of other sensible styles for small people. Beware bikes which have low standover but are meant to be ridden with long exposed seat-posts, these are built proportionately longer for their height. Your GF would most likely need a bike with a short reach from saddle to bars.
    The Terry Susan-B is an excellent model, a standard, lightweight, general-purpose hybrid style bike built with 26" MTb wheels. These are highly valued in the used market but you may get lucky.
    Many womens road bikes use a different 26" wheel (650c) suitable for very narrow tyres only. Avoid these for general purpose riding.
    Some small bikes use large 700c wheels, Designers have to bodge the geometry and they are a real handful for small riders so avoid.
    You can get smaller frames in 26" MTG wheel in the "comfort" style such as Raleigh Venture (every brand does them), these are OK for general riding around.

  17. #17
    Brand Newbian BishopLord's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice.

    I have talked to my girlfriend and decided that when she's ready for a bike, I'll purchase one for her - but she'll have to pick it out and the choice is hers. I'll have enough money by the time she's ready to buy her something she wants and not worry about the price. It just won't be a surprise.

    I tried surprising her with an engagement ring and that got messed up - but I won't get into that here, just throwing that out there as I would like to do something nice and have it be a surprise.

  18. #18
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Just to give you an idea of frame sizes to look for...my wife is a bit taller, but rides a 14" MTB Schwinn Sidewinder (the old LBS one not the current WalMart one) with 26" wheels and has a GT Slipstream with a 15" frame. She also has a Raleigh Colt with a 17" frame that is her favorite bike. I highly reccomend letting her choose the bike that fits...as well as the color

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