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Old 08-26-10, 06:04 PM   #1
Dee_Ann
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Hi! I need help picking a ladies bike

Hello!

I'm trying to figure out what bike to get. First off I want a big, comfy ladies bike.

I just want to ride around for the exercise on the street and will not ever ride trails or stuff like that.
I want a big, big, big, comfy, cushy seat especially!

I have an old 26" 'mountain bike' that a neighbor gave me but I don't like it. It's too small because my legs are always bent a lot even at the bottom of pedaling. I have long legs I guess. All I get is cramped legs and I am afraid of getting "man legs" on the thing. I haven't ridden it in a few years because it's just too uncomfortable and quirky.

So I need a larger bike but I don't know where to look. ALL ladies bikes are either 26" or some thing that I have never heard of, "700c". What the heck is that?

Is 700c bigger? I'm guessing that's some metric stuff. I guess I'm behind the times, a lot.

I'm on a budget so I can't afford to buy some $400 bike from some fancy bike store. I'm pretty much limited to Walmart. This is Hickville and options are very limited. I suppose I could drive to Houston but I wouldn't have a clue there. I would guess the options there are either Walmart or an expensive bike store.

I was looking online at the walmart site but it was pretty much not helpful.

There was like one ladies bike there that said it's a 700c but you can't even select what color to order!

I may be wrong but I'm assuming that bigger wheels means more leg room on the pedals???
Please someone what do I do?

Thank you!

Last edited by Dee_Ann; 08-26-10 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 08-26-10, 11:23 PM   #2
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700c vs 26" simply describes the wheel size---you can still get a bike either too large or too small with either one of those wheel sizes, since *frame* size generally determines whether or not the bike fits.

First off, 700c = roughly 27.5", so about 1.5" larger than a 26". However, different tires can change this too, so it shouldn't be much of a concern for you.

Second, $400 isn't much, but you still have a lot of options. Big changes can be made in small, less expensive ways. 1) try raising the seatpost. 2) buy a bigger cushier seat that appeals to you -- you don't need a new bike to have a new seat. 3) buy a taller stem for the bicycle -- it's like the front version of your seatpost and can make a difference in ride geometry; in case the bike is too small, but only slightly so, this may be an adequate stop-gap measure. 4) take your bike to your preferred local bicycle store (LBS) and have them replace the bicycle's cables, relube the drive train, and otherwise check things over.

For #1: free, #2: $30-100, #3: $20-40, #4: $50-100. As you can see, even in an unlikely scenario where you spend at the max, you can probably refit your current bicycle for a max of $240. Throw in new tires and tubes and you might make it $280 total. Not bad, *and* better than a new bike at Walmart.

Why better than a Walmart bike? Because those bikes are generally so poorly constructed that you will A) not enjoy riding it so that it will have been a complete waste of money (spending $400 on something you never use as it rusts in the garage!); and B) the bike will need maintenance quickly, and that will mean your initial cost will also require money to fix its problem, which probably means you won't ride the bike... so see (A).

Another option if you do need a new-to-you bike, is to find a used bike locally that does fit, and then have it tuned-up. Try craigslit.org or your local newspaper's classifieds. Enlist the help of your LBS, or someone who knows something about bicycles to help you feel confident about fit and function.

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Old 08-27-10, 08:15 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dee_Ann View Post
Hello!

I'm trying to figure out what bike to get. First off I want a big, comfy ladies bike.
Look at the Townies and Cruiser bikes at www.electrabike.com.
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Old 08-27-10, 06:59 PM   #4
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Hi again..

Well, I dug the old bike out today. The tires were flat but a neighbor aired them up for me.

The bike is an Ozone 500 Cliffrunner and it's very obviously a mountain bike for starters and secondly it's a man's bike.

I had back surgery some years ago and they botched it up leaving me in severe pain for life and with little agility. Getting on and off this thing is troublesome.



My friend's son gave me a new seat, well it's a used seat, that has a taller pole on it and that lets me extend my leg better, closer to being straight than the old one. That helps a little. But...

I also hate the handlebars. This thing is designed for you to ride hunched over like you're in a race. For me, that's very uncomfortable. I am not in a race and never will be. I just want to ride leisurely around town at a lazy pace and in as much comfort as possible.

The tires are wide and grippy like. Like for off road. I will never ride a bike off road or even through the grass, anywhere. I just want to ride on concrete streets and sometimes maybe asphalt roads.

The gears are wonky, they are hard to shift and often jump gears while riding without me touching them. I have no clue how to fix that.

I just want to burn calories, I don't want to get all muscled up.

Spending $400 on a bike is way too expensive for me. I really don't want to spend more than $150 if I can help it.

I need a larger bike, I'm 5' 7" and have long legs. A 26" bike is just too small. I've looked at all the ladies bikes and almost all of them are 26" with a few saying 700c which is a totally new thing to me, I never heard of it before. And of course I really do not like riding a man's bike.

Oh, I checked craigslist and no ladie's bikes for sale.

I guess what I'm looking for is an old timey type of bike, plain and simple, no weird handle bars or weird frames or square tires or plastic parts or Batman features or other stupid high tech "improvements".

I dunno. Maybe "simple" is bad now. Everyone wants fancy-schmancy space age nonsense and everyone thinks paying $400 for a bike is a good thing.
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Old 08-27-10, 07:38 PM   #5
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Hi, Dee Ann!
That is one nasty looking bike. I completely understand your desire for a cushy ride, and that ain't it!
"Maybe "simple" is bad now. Everyone wants fancy-schmancy space age nonsense and everyone thinks paying $400 for a bike is a good thing."
Now, don't go there. The thing of it is, when it comes to quality, you truly do get what you pay for, as far as new bicycles go. That's why I suggest you look around at yard sales. You'll find a variety of nice women's frames, with upright bars and seats that resemble a third of a pie. Take a bicycle pump with you; yard sales finds are almost certain to need air in the tires. Once they're pumped up, give the bike a good test ride....the best way to determine if it will fit you, with the usual adjustments.

Oh, and keep your eye on Craigslist on a daily basis; the turnover is usually fast. Just because you didn't find anything to your liking today doesn't mean you never will.

Hope this helps...good luck in your quest!
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Old 08-27-10, 08:13 PM   #6
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It sounds you want a comfort bike one of the subclasses of the hybrids. They have shorter top tubes for a more up-right sitting position, wide padded seats, shock absorbing forks to smooth the ride, and a lower bottom brackets for easier mounting. At your budget you'll want a used one. Measure your inseam to find your frame size or go to a bike shop to make sure.
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Old 08-27-10, 08:23 PM   #7
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I do think a used bike would be best for you. I once bought a quite decent bike for $25.00 from someone's garage. The problem is, you need some experience to determine what's worthwhile and sized right for you. Could you ask around and try to find someone you know with some experience, who might be willing to look at used bikes?
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Old 08-27-10, 11:08 PM   #8
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It sounds you want a comfort bike one of the subclasses of the hybrids. They have shorter top tubes for a more up-right sitting position, wide padded seats, shock absorbing forks to smooth the ride, and a lower bottom brackets for easier mounting. At your budget you'll want a used one. Measure your inseam to find your frame size or go to a bike shop to make sure.

See, that frame size thing is what I don't understand. I thought bigger tires meant a bigger bike. Now I'm finding out there is this frame size thing. I thought there were just kids bikes and adult bikes and then men's and women's models.

Oh yes, comfort! I like that. That's what I want. To sit upright and just pedal around all lazy like. :-)

Is there like a "Bicycles for dummies" book?

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Old 08-27-10, 11:51 PM   #9
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Well by golly there is a Bicycling for dummies book! I was just kidding but I really found one!
I dug around and found a nice used one on ebay and it comes with another bike book!
Two books for like $13. Can't beat that!



I guess for now I will work with what I have and maybe this book will help me learn how to buy the right bike. It also apparently teaches you how to do basic repairs. I have no idea how to work on bikes so this will also be good.

I also see another book, bike repair for dummies. I think I'll wait on that but I'm bookmarking it for later. Let's see what these books have first.

Yep. Comfort bike. I like the sound of that a lot. I want one.


But in all seriousness, I need to be doing some of this --->
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Old 08-27-10, 11:58 PM   #10
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See, that frame size thing is what I don't understand. I thought bigger tires meant a bigger bike. Now I'm finding out there is this frame size thing.
no. wheel size is not the same as bicycle size. there are 26" bicycles that are too big for you, and 700c bicycles that are too small for you. bicycle size, for all intents and purposes, is determined by frame size. period.

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I thought there were just kids bikes and adult bikes and then men's and women's models.
close. there are kid bicycles, and they are adult bicycles, more or less (even this can be vague). plenty of women ride "mens" bicycles (i cringe even typing this in quotes), and "womens" bicycles have found plenty of uses beyond just marketing to a shrinking subset of women (thinking here of the popularity in indy-rocker circles with the Mixte frame). if you want a step-through bicycle (i.e., a "womens" frame), especially for health reasons, then try finding an used frame. $150 is in pray-for-a-miracle range for a new bicycle. for an used bicycle---with some careful consideration----you should be able to do fine.

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Oh yes, comfort! I like that. That's what I want. To sit upright and just pedal around all lazy like. :-)

Is there like a "Bicycles for dummies" book?
really: go to your local bicycle store and have a look around. you don't have to buy in order to become a more informed consumer. and when you eventually do buy, you'll have a good relationship with the people who will likely be fixing your bicycle. otherwise, for books, check out your library---for both books and periodicals!
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Old 08-28-10, 12:04 AM   #11
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Bigger tires don't mean a bigger bike. The same tires can fit on a 47cm frame and a 62cm frame or whatever size.

Choosing a bike
http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/bicycle.html

Just keep tires inflated, maintain chain, and get a tune-up once a while.
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Old 08-28-10, 12:34 AM   #12
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Bigger tires don't mean a bigger bike. The same tires can fit on a 47cm frame and a 62cm frame or whatever size.

Choosing a bike
http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/bicycle.html

Just keep tires inflated, maintain chain, and get a tune-up once a while.
OMG!! Perfect! Thank you so much!!
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Old 08-28-10, 12:56 PM   #13
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Looking at books is a good idea. And yes, you should be able to find some at the library. You might also check out the late Sheldon Brown's website (www.sheldonbrown.com), which has an enormous and possibly overwhelming amount of information on bicycles.
I hope things aren't too overwhelming already.
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Old 08-28-10, 01:07 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Hasty View Post
Bigger tires don't mean a bigger bike. The same tires can fit on a 47cm frame and a 62cm frame or whatever size.

Choosing a bike
http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/bicycle.html

Just keep tires inflated, maintain chain, and get a tune-up once a while.
clarification: the same tires won't necessarily fit the same frame. e.g., a 47cm frame with 700c wheels (and therefore 700c tires) will not be able to use the tires from a 62cm frame that uses 26" wheels. The wheel size (and therefore tires size) of 26" or 700c refers to the wheel's diameter, and different wheel sizes are not interchangeable even if the frame sizes are identical.

so just be sure that if you want to mix-and-match tires that your wheel sizes are the same. for more information, see: http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html

for more information in general by one of bicycling's favorite mechanics, see: http://sheldonbrown.com/articles.html
this is one of bikeforum's former gurus, and still the go-to site for clear explanations on nearly everything bicycle. But don't just take my word for it, visit the forum Mechanical section yourself: http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...ycle-Mechanics
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Old 08-28-10, 01:15 PM   #15
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I had back surgery some years ago and they botched it up leaving me in severe pain for life and with little agility. Getting on and off this thing is troublesome.
You probably should look for something without a top tube, for example http://www.biria.com/bicycles/eb/eb_easy_7.jsp
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Old 08-28-10, 01:33 PM   #16
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Well by golly there is a Bicycling for dummies book! I was just kidding but I really found one! I dug around and found a nice used one on ebay and it comes with another bike book! Two books for like $13. Can't beat that!

I guess for now I will work with what I have and maybe this book will help me learn how to buy the right bike. It also apparently teaches you how to do basic repairs. I have no idea how to work on bikes so this will also be good.

I also see another book, bike repair for dummies. I think I'll wait on that but I'm bookmarking it for later. Let's see what these books have first. Yep. Comfort bike. I like the sound of that a lot. I want one.
But in all seriousness, I need to be doing some of this --->
Dee Ann, congratulations on your getting into cycling and learning about the sport.
Also take a look online for comfort bike options - no tax and free shipping

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/comfort_bikes.htm

21 Speed Comfort/Hybrid Gravity $269
Suspension Seatpost, Comfy Front Shock Adjustable Stem, Light Aluminum Frame
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...grav_dutch.htm




3 speed Motobecane Cafe Express $349
Lightweight Aluminum Flat Bar Road bike = Speed+Comfort
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...e_express3.htm

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Old 08-28-10, 02:13 PM   #17
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clarification: the same tires won't necessarily fit the same frame. e.g., a 47cm frame with 700c wheels (and therefore 700c tires) will not be able to use the tires from a 62cm frame that uses 26" wheels. The wheel size (and therefore tires size) of 26" or 700c refers to the wheel's diameter, and different wheel sizes are not interchangeable even if the frame sizes are identical.

so just be sure that if you want to mix-and-match tires that your wheel sizes are the same. for more information, see: http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html
I didn't say that but I guess it wasn't clear.
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Old 08-28-10, 03:35 PM   #18
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I didn't say that but I guess it wasn't clear.
true true. i was just adding to your helpful post with regard to the OP's knowledge on the subject, given the initial confusion.
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Old 08-28-10, 09:51 PM   #19
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omg........

So much stuff!

Thank you for the links guys! I'll start checking them out. I'm going to be stuck on that fonky clunker for awhile but all this stuff you've listed and the books I bought will give me plenty to study up on.. WOW!!!
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Old 08-30-10, 07:43 AM   #20
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If you have a problem with pain and movement, you definitely want a ladies bike as it is much easier to get on and off. I suggest that your next trip to town you go around to some bike shops and try some bikes. Don't just sit on them, take them for test drives. This is not the best time of year to do that as most of them have little in stock right now and are waiting for the 2011 bikes to come in.

When you find a bike you like - look for a used one online. This is a great site to use - jaxed - as it gives you craigslist, ebay and other site listings all in one spot.

You might want to try an Electra Townie. I just got one on Craigslist for $100. They are easy to get onto and then the pedaling is really easy because they use "flat foot technology". You also sit upright.

If you are just going to pedal around the neighborhood - a beach cruiser is a good idea. Easy to ride with coaster brakes (foot). I have a Dellacruz 1.0 which is a stretch beach cruiser and really comfy for slow rides. This is the one I have but it also comes in a ladies version. As you can see with a beach cruiser you sit in an upright position which is the most comfortable.

If you need something a little bit more with some gears look at a beach cruiser, comfort bike or hybrid with 6 or 7 gears. I love my Jamis Boss Cruisers and I got them on Craiglsist for great prices.

And remember, if you don't ride the bike a lot the tires go flat. All they need is to be pumped up - there is nothing wrong with the tires.
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Old 08-31-10, 01:36 PM   #21
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After the "back to school"rush, the end of summer/beginning of fall is a good time of year to visit a local bike shop for unsold leftover stock at good discounts. $400 isn't out of line.
A significant problem with department-store bikes, is there are very limited frame sizes/heights, which is an attempt to accommodate as many "average-sized" customers as possible (whatever that means), explaining why we see a lot of people riding around with their knees/hips too 'folded', like the extreme case of a tall kid on a 20" bmx.
That, along with poor/inconsistent assembly "techniques" by untrained staff, and flimsy components, contributes to an overall dissatisfying cycling experience. Sometimes, you get exactly what you pay for.
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Old 08-31-10, 01:49 PM   #22
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Smaller wheels do not mean a smaller bike...



My back got messed up with a work injury and bad rehabilitation and there are times I don't want or can't to swing a leg over a full size frame and don't have to compromise anything when I ride my vintage folders.

The Raleigh 20 fits a lot of your requirements in that it is a simple and bombproof bicycle with a low step over, agile handling, and a very nice ride.... for $400.00 you could buy a nice 20 and afford to upgrade the wheels and brakes as this really makes them much nicer.

My better half rides a Breezer Uptown 8 and an R20 folder... she loves them both.
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Old 08-31-10, 01:52 PM   #23
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Dee - I would avoid x-mart... life is too short to ride a poorly made bike.

If you have a bike co-op or friends who are more bike knowledgable they can help you find a nicely made bike at a good price.
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Old 08-31-10, 10:59 PM   #24
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Hmmm... I'm beginning to see the big picture. I really, really almost went and bought a Walmart bike last weekend.
But I fought the urge and stayed home.

I guess I'll need to go to Houston for a bike shop (200 mile trip) because there just aren't any around here. We have one grocery store if you exclude the one inside Walmart. I guess I'll save up, do a lot of research, a lot of reading then take a trip over and see what I can find.


Thank you so much everyone! You have been so very helpful!
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Old 09-02-10, 03:59 PM   #25
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I'm usually a fan of X-Mart bikes because they are cheap ways to get into the hobby. In your case I think it might be helpful for the first bike to come from a shop that can help make sure everything is up and running/fitting as it should. That said it will be helpful no matter what you use it for to learn basic bike maintenance.

As for your current ride. Getting some road specific tires instead of knobbies will make a world of differnce. I know. I did. Also the bars can be changed to more cruiser style. This maybe somewhat complicated but it can be done. If you buy bars and do at home its could be done probably around $30.00. The shifters, grips, and all will come off. I expect they could all be put on bars that come back and put you more up right. I did this with my hybrid Huffy from X-Mart. I have wrist problems and flat bars just don't work for me. Oh and even if you don't buy an electra bike check out their seats.

Last edited by tornado60; 09-02-10 at 04:05 PM.
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