I've been looking to purchase a comfort bike for my 60 yr old dad. His measurements are 5'10" tall, 30" inseam, 245 lbs. He's been looking to get back into cycling, and even bought a cheap 16" dept. store mountain bike. But its frustrating/uncomfortable for him to ride and obviously limiting his motivation for biking.
I've researched most of the comfort class models from Fuji, Cannodale, Giant and Trek, and so far settled on Trek Shift 4. Seems to have the most features and best bang for buck. I haven't been down to any of my LBS yet, heading there this weekend. But spoke to the two closest by phone, neither has a Shift in stock but would order if I leave a refundable deposit. They both gave different recommendations on the frame size based on his measurements. One says to go with 16.5" frame mainly because that's what he has now, other recommends to move him up to the 18.5" frame. Not sure which one to go with.
Does anyone here ride a Shift? What is your opinion on the frame size for this type of bike? Most of the dimensions between the two frames seems so close that I am leaning towards the larger 18.5", but don't want to end up buying him another bike that is uncomfortable for him. Wish I could get him there to take a test ride, but I can't convince him to get over there (frugal stubborn guy, hates to see me spend my money on him). Any advice would be much appreciated.
Tell your dad that you'd like to spend more time with him. Perhaps grab a pizza, or a beer together in private. Tell him that you'd like to make a day of it!
So after a fun day, somewhere around 3pm, tell him that you're thinking about getting yourself a bike and you'd like to stop by a certain shop to take a look at a specific model in which you are interested. Call the LBS ahead of time to let them know about your expected visit and your actual intended goal.
Once there, carefully observe your dad. Let the salespeople know that you'd like to have free uninterrupted range for about the first fifteen minutes, or so, after they've initially greeted you. Observe your dad intently. Watch his eyes fixate on particular models. You will mount bicycles, both with and without suspended forks. See which ones he seems the most interested. Tell him that you really value his opinion and that you're buying one of those bikes upon that very same day for yourself. Then say, "Hey dad! Let's go test ride these bikes together!" Ask one of the salespeople to set you both up for test rides, and go!
Make certain that you keep your dad talking about the bicycle is on and the ones he saw back in the shop when you were there, while on the test ride. Ask about the level of comfort and ease or smoothness of shifting. You tell him how you feel, and then you ask him about how he feels. Once you have all the info you need, then admit that you'd really just like a day or two to actually think about it.
Next, thank the salespeople for their time. Then wink, smile, and wave goodbye...
Return upon the following day to make the purchase.
Your dad has to be the one to mount the bicycle. Otherwise, you will be gambling and playing a game of chance that could potentially ruin the entire experience.
Bicycle companies have their own standards by which to size their frames. A size 56 cm made by Trek could very well be a size 54 cm made by Surly. These bicycle frame sizes can also change from model to model, just like they can change from bicycle company to bicycle company.
Bicycle frame sizes do NOT directly translate from bicycle company to bicycle company.
Take your bike to your dad's house along with the new bicycle and go on a short ride with your dad, just to make certain that things are alright with both your dad and his new bicycle.