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    Alright I know nothing about bicycles so..

    Okay so I know nothing about bicycles other than what I have read online or heard from a few select friends. I am 25 and I have not had a bicycle since I was about 7. From what I have read online the hybrid type of bicycle interests me. I am a very short female, between 4'11 and 5'0. Do they make hybrid bicycles for short women? My friend tells me to get a BMX bike but I do not like those at all for me. I want a comfortable bicycle I can ride around to the grocery store or just out and about in the city. I do not want to go to a bicycle store in my city until I know a little bit because I do not want to get ripped off from someone. What kind of advice do you have? How much is too much for a beginning city rider? How do I go into a place and not let them guilt me into buying things I do not need? I just need all kinds of advice. Whatever you guys can tell me, I will greatly appreciate. Thanks a lot!

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    Grammar Cop Condorita's Avatar
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    Locate all the LBSs in your area. Tell the staff what you're looking for, what you hope to do/accomplish. Test ride every bike they suggest for you. Do this in as many stores as you can, on as great a variety of bikes (types of bikes and manufacturers) as you can. Buy the one that feels right, the one that makes you want to take it out Right Now And Ride Off Into The Sunset. But before you do that, make a list of everything you think you might use the bike for. It sounds like you're going to want at least a rear rack and panniers or a rear basket (I like the rack and panniers because I can leave the panniers off until I need/want them). A handlebar bag is good. Lights front and rear. Computer.
    That which does not kill me has made a massive tactical blunder.
    Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen. Louis L'Amour
    '07 Giant Cypress WSD "Radagast the Beige-and-Black" * '97 (?) Bianchi Premio "Orion" * '09 Trek Allant "The Black Pearl"

  3. #3
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    jenniredsox: There is someone in these forums who I believe can help you. She is your size and has a hybrid. I sent TinyCycler a private-message with the link to your thread here.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

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    Hi jenniredsox,

    I'm 4'11 and 3/4" if that's specific enough for ya! I just bought a 14" 2009 Trek 7000 WSD. It fits pretty well. My aunt is 1/2" shorter than me and she found the bike too big. I saw today on trekbikes.com/ that the 2010 model is a 13" so you might want to ask your LBS about it. The 2009 is swoopy and black with brown flowers. The 2010 has straight lines and is silver I think. No flowers.

    I also tried the smallest hybrids other at LBSs. The Specialized Globe Vienna and Vita made me feel that I had to stretch to reach the handlebars, and I felt the bikes were a little too tall. I was uncomfortable and ruled them out. I tried a Cannondale mountain bike as well. The 'feminine' model petite - as opposed to extra small - was juuuuust this side of okay for me. The clerk said it just fit me. I felt the Trek fit me better so I bought it.

    Be aware that just because we're near the same height doesn't mean our torsos, legs, and arms are the same dimensions. What fit me might not fit you. My aunt and I wear the same clothes but she was afraid on my bike because her feet wouldn't reach the ground at all when she sat on the seat. My feet just reached a bit on my tippy toes, which is where the dealer said they should be.

    I had a mountain bike years ago. I heard on good authority that they may be easier to fit very petite people than other bikes - but I can't promise that!

    Good luck with buying your bike, and don't hesitate to email me or PM me if you have any questions. I'll PM you my email in case you can't reach me on the forum.

    P.S. Note that most WSDs (women specific bikes - girl bikes, haha) don't fit car bike racks without the additional expense of an adapter bar. The bars cost about $20-35 USD depending on the manufacturer.
    Last edited by TinyCycler; 08-26-09 at 07:01 PM. Reason: clarity

  5. #5
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    I will ride my 14" 2009 Trek 7000 for a while, and then if necessary I might have the seat lowered just a smidge when I take it to the LBS for its routine tune up. That's an option for you too. Just make sure it won't alter your stroke on the pedals because your knees will be closer to them (I don't know if I said that right. Experts, correction please!). It's not so much difference that I won't ride my bike until then. I'm taking it out on the bike path tomorrow morning. I would have swapped it out for the 2010 13" but the LBS said they don't do usually do that (I guess it's like a car - once off the lot it's yours) and that they're not ordering that model until Christmas, althought they've already brought in other Trek 2010s. Go figure.
    Last edited by TinyCycler; 08-26-09 at 07:08 PM. Reason: sp

  6. #6
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    Wow thanks for all the help you guys! Thanks Panther for telling Tinycycler about my thread. Tinycycler, I am going to ask about that bicycle just to see how it fits. I am really hesitant to just go into a bike shop and ask questions because I know it will be obvious that I do not know anything about bikes. I am afraid that a sales person will take advantage of that. Tinycycler what do you mean by 13"? Is that the frame size or what is it? Do you think shorter women end up paying more for bicycles?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jenniredsox View Post
    Wow thanks for all the help you guys! Thanks Panther for telling Tinycycler about my thread. Tinycycler, I am going to ask about that bicycle just to see how it fits. I am really hesitant to just go into a bike shop and ask questions because I know it will be obvious that I do not know anything about bikes. I am afraid that a sales person will take advantage of that. Tinycycler what do you mean by 13"? Is that the frame size or what is it? Do you think shorter women end up paying more for bicycles?
    First of all, don't be afraid of going to the bike store! Okay, I hear that some stores are snobby. Of the four I tried, three of them were nice and helpful. At one, the clerk ignored me and I left. No big deal. And ironically, that other store and all the bikes were filthy so I wouldn't have bought there anyway. The nice helpful LBS got my money the very next day. Poor other guy.

    The manager at the store where I bought my bike put me at ease and made it clear to me that the 'ordinary' bikes were their bread and butter. He said most people are like me, not advanced riders. He was very patient and took a lot of time with me. I just tried bikes on for size that day, and let him know I was shopping around first. The next day, I rode three bikes for quite a while when I went back to that LBS to do test rides. They were very patient then too and answered all my questions. Do as Panthers007 told me and use a helmet!

    Sorry, frame size and specs I can't help you with! I'm just returning to bikes after 17 years myself. I think Panthers007 meant that just fit wise, I could help.

    I don't think we shorties end up paying more for bikes. My bike was $349 USD. There was only one 7000 in the store but the 7100 had the same price for the 14" and larger models. The 2010 model is $359. The Men's/Unisex bikes are the same price. The Specialized hybrids I tried were about $400-420 for any size as well.

    As for bike models overall, the bikes I tried were actually the lowest priced hybrids in my LBS! Yippee! The good folks on this forum were very helpful in reassuring me that the Trek 7000 was a well regarded and well liked bike. Terraskye, I think, likes her Specialized, another well regarded bike, a lot.

    I forgot to tell you, the Trek Navigator WSD is also a nice bike. It a comfort bike, not a hybrid. I didn't get it because the wider tires are slower. This might be a great feature for you because the Navigator feels a lot more stable than the 7000. It had been awhile for me since I last rode but I was older than you are now (26, I'm now 43) the last time I rode, and I actually commuted to work for three years on my mountain bike or walked everyday. But I found it's true, you never forget how to ride a bike.

    My aunt (4'11") recently bought a bike from Xmart, and she says mine is a lot better. Hers was half the price of mine but she's kicking herself now after she rode mine. Don't do it. I think $349 was a great buy.

    I will have to buy a carrier adapter bar because I have a WSD, and there's no top tube up high on the bike. But that extra expense is not because the bike is small. These bikes also come in Unisex so you can buy one with a high top tube. I just didn't feel like slinging my leg over a high bar, and I might ride in skirts when I do errands.
    Last edited by TinyCycler; 08-27-09 at 09:18 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddac View Post
    Identical twins who have identical arms/leg/torso lengths can ride different sized bikes with different saddle/handlebar setup. It's all about preference. Depends on flexibility as well.

    I'm middle-aged but pretty flexible. I did gymnastics until I was twenty, and I can still sit in full lotus position (crossed-legged with feet on top) and I can also reach past my toes, if that makes a difference.
    Last edited by TinyCycler; 08-28-09 at 01:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jenniredsox View Post
    Do you think shorter women end up paying more for bicycles?

    Hmm, now that I've thought about it, if small bikes are the same price as the larger ones of the same model, I guess we do subsidize those other buyers. Less materials for the same price. What else is new?

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    Senior Member Timber_8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyCycler View Post
    I'm middle-aged but pretty flexible. I did gymnastics until I was twenty, and I can still sit in full lotus position (crossed-legged with feet on top) and reach past my toes, if that makes a difference.
    <Visual Alert>< Visual Alert>< Visual Alert> Pictures, We need Pictures
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timber_8 View Post
    <Visual Alert>< Visual Alert>< Visual Alert> Pictures, We need Pictures
    When I take them and figure out how to post them they'll be here.

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    Senior Member TheCappucinoKid's Avatar
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    You might consider getting a vintage 3 speed! They're perfect for short women, and just going to the grocery store or out and about in the city (unless you have steep hills, and don't mind walking the bike up those, if necessary). Plus, they're built to last a lifetime and very cheaply had, and you don't have to worry so much about getting them stolen. I had a 26 size woman's CCM Elan I recently sold that fits that description. The only thing I didn't like about the bike is that it was obviously made for someone really short. Raleigh is a typical make for this type of 3 speed woman's city bike, also.

    In any case, you don't need a computer for commuting to grocery stores. But a woman's frame, a "step-in" frame with no top tube, is easier for beginners to get on and off the bike. Trek makes such a model, so does Specialized. In the new commuter style bikes, I like the Giant TransSend. Not heavy, and sweet ride. They make it in small, and it already comes with a nice rack and fenders. Bikes like this you have to lock up well though, in the city.

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    I appreciate you guys telling me all of this. It is SO HELPFUL! I am in the process of saving up the money for the bicycle. I might go to the LBS sometime next week to ask about that Trek bicycle because I saw on their website that they have it. I looked it up on the Trek website and it looks like a really nice bike but I will need to see how it fits. I was a cheerleader and did gymnastics for many years so I am like you on that too. I will also ask up the 3 speed cruising bicycles too. What is a computer for a bicycle? I have never heard of that before?

  14. #14
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    The place for nice, old 3-speeds is Craigslist in your local area.

    A bicycle-computer mounts on your handlebars and takes readings from a magnet & transmitter mounted on the fork - usually. They are connected either by wire to the computer on the handlebars, or they are wireless and send data through radio-frequency from the transmitter. They measure your current speed, maximum speed, average speed, distance, time so forth. This is displayed on a screen on the computer. Here are some examples:

    http://www.cateye.com/en/product_listing/51
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

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    Yeah I have been checking out Craigslist just to see what has been on there. I do not think I need one of those computers.

  16. #16
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    No one truly 'needs' one. But it's fun to know how fast you're going.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  17. #17
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Don't go into a shop without doing your research - many are incompetent or venal and will mis-sell you. Google for "Team Estrogen Forum" and ask for advice there. I suspect that a hybrid with 26 inch wheels will suit you best, but you'd be better talking to people with experience of choosing bikes for women, even if TEF is race oriented.

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    jenniredsox, I have a bike computer. I kept wondering how folks on this forum knew the mileage on their bikes and their speed. I'm geeky enough to like stats. And I'm keeping a cycling journal for at least the next three months to see how cycling outdoors compares fitness-wise with treadmills or stationary bikes. I hate indoor cardio (but I love weight training) so hopefully biking will replace being stuck in a gym doing cardio.

    For some reason, I like keeping track of mileage on my car too. If that's not you then maybe you don't need a bike computer

  19. #19
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Sgn up here. It is free. Very easy to use.
    http://www.mycyclinglog.com/
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Timber_8's Avatar
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    I'm still waiting for gymnastic visuals
    Hybrid) Trek FX 7.2
    Road bike) Specialized Secteur Elite
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    Founding member of the Hybrid Forum
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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  21. #21
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    Take another little purple pill?
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  22. #22
    Come here often? <wink> exile's Avatar
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    If you have any questions that you feel the bike shop did not answer you can always ask here jenniredsox. If you have any friends that are somewhat knowledgeable have them go with you. I like the idea of test riding as many bikes as you can, but at your size that may be few and far between. My suggestion would be to call ahead to a bunch of shops and tell them your height and ask if they might have anything in your size (some may be willing to build something up if they have it in stock). Also a good relationship with a bike shop can be invaluable. But like in any relationship it might take some time.

    For first time buyers I am reluctant to advise Craigslist unless you have someone knowledgable to go with you.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by exile View Post
    I My suggestion would be to call ahead to a bunch of shops and tell them your height and ask if they might have anything in your size (some may be willing to build something up if they have it in stock).

    For first time buyers I am reluctant to advise Craigslist unless you have someone knowledgable to go with you.
    jenniredsox, I did call ahead. All the shops had at least one bike our size but it sure won't hurt to find out before you go.

    + 1 on Craigslist. Also, you'll miss out on the free routine maintenance and repairs, etc. your LBS will likely provide for about six moths to a year. My LBS includes a year. Otherwise they charge $60 USD per visit.
    Last edited by TinyCycler; 08-28-09 at 07:34 PM.

  24. #24
    Senior Member MorganRaider's Avatar
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    Try this link. TREK makes Women Specific Bikes. I am sure other brands make them too. I am just partial to TREKS.

    http://www.trekbikes.com/women/wsd_p...kes/#bike_path

  25. #25
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    I'm 5' 2" and I love my Trek FX 7.2. I think I have a size 13 frame, but I'm not sure. It might be 14. I've made several mistakes buying bikes LOL and after 2 mistakes, this one suits me the most. It almost feels a little small which isn't a problem because I don't get knee problems on long rides and I feel really stable on it. I went on a brutal 31 charity ride and hadn't trained enough and I walked away feeling good.

    One thing about it, if you go to Craig's List (which I don't think I can recommend either) don't buy a Trek FX from a couple of years ago... I think I bought the 06 model and it had more suspension than the current model and the bike was a 14 which was a little too big and wow, I loathed that bike because I felt so unstable riding it. I gave it to a 5'2" friend and she hated it as well. They seem to have made a lot of changes to the FX models and now, I love my 2009 bike.

    Choosing a bike is so hard. I bought a Jamis commuter 3 and thought I loved it... then I realized it was sluggish on hills and there are a lot of hills in this world. (Supposedly the internal hub makes it sluggish.) The salesman didn't tell me that, but heh, I soon figured it out and came here for confirmation. It was confusing to me at first because the bike is really lightweight... so you can get the wrong advice from a salesman because they don't know you and don't know where you'll be riding, how long etc. You just have to try different bikes and keep talking to the salespeople and hopefully you'll get the right bike.

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