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  1. #1
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    Road Bike for my 5 foot tall sister

    So, i want to get my little sister a road bike for christmas, but she is vertically challenged... only 5' tall. And i am not sure about frame size... is a 48 cm frame small enough? I know all frames are different and whatnot... but would this be an average good size? whatever i get, it will most likely be a CL / Ebay purchase so i would be buying sight unseen. can anyone lend any info on this subject?

    thanks!

  2. #2
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    I'm 5'4 and use a 50 cm road bike, but I have short legs and a long torso. I think my bike is considered "medium" size for women. It really depends on her inseam and build. Does she have long legs/short torso or the opposite? Women with long legs/short torso can benefit from WSD (women specific design) bikes. Women with short legs/long torso may be fine on men's bikes. Arm length is also an important factor for women's bikes - some women require shorter handlebar length or narrower handlebars. I would recommend asking someone in your family who would know what her inseam is, and then describe that and her build to someone at your local bike shop to get an idea on size.

    Are you sure you don't want to buy from a local bike shop? If you do, then you can take her and the bike down there and they can adjust everything so it fits properly - that makes it more comfortable and less likely that she'll injure herself. And they can give you good hints on components.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    My gf's 5 foot and she rides a size small specialized allez, I think that's 47cm, fits her well.

  4. #4
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    A bike with 26" (mtb-size) or 650b (classic French touring-size) wheels will be much more likely to fit her well. I'd go with 26" because they're easier to find tires for. Lots of companies make small road bikes for small women, that have downsized wheels.

  5. #5
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    Many of the better smaller bikes use small, small wheels, short cranks and narrower bars.

    There are a number of different small wheels sizes :
    650C is the std small racing wheel with tyres up to a thin 28mm.
    26" MTB with a narrow rim is suitable for tyres of 1" and wider, ideal for touring/ commuting and Just Riding Along applications. You can build this rim on road or MTB hubs.
    650B is a nearly obscelete, museum piece, touring tyre that is making a small comeback in cult circles because it's a nice size.

    Note that each wheel size is a different diamter so the brake for one size will not line up with other wheel sizes. Generally, bikes are built for one size of wheel only.
    Most manufacturers make WSD style bikes but see also Terry and Luna cycles. Fuji used to be the best value in small bikes.
    Dont buy unseen, your sister will definately need the help of a decent bike shop to get a good fit.
    Last edited by MichaelW; 11-02-05 at 09:26 AM.

  6. #6
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    Serotta 46P (steel or Ti) - It's a compact geometry frame designed for 650 wheels. My wife is about 5'2" and she absolutely loves the bike.

  7. #7
    Cycle for life... woodcycl's Avatar
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    Schwinn Fastback ... XS or S should do it. I'd lean toward a XS. But, heading to your LBS who carries Schwinn with your sister is the best bet to find a good fitting frame. I know ... Xmas gift means you want to "surprise" her. Well, then get one that "should" fit ... and work it out with the LBS owner to return it for one that fits better if needed.
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  8. #8
    eager to learn
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    Quote Originally Posted by cusack
    So, i want to get my little sister a road bike for christmas, but she is vertically challenged... only 5' tall. And i am not sure about frame size... is a 48 cm frame small enough? I know all frames are different and whatnot... but would this be an average good size? whatever i get, it will most likely be a CL / Ebay purchase so i would be buying sight unseen. can anyone lend any info on this subject?

    thanks!

    i'm 5' 3/4" & just bought an extra small frame which fits me perfectly. i have a short torso & long legs. i'm new to the road bike thang (i'm an xc rider by trade) but the way i understand it, you don't want to be over-extended when reaching for the handlebars. giant bicycles has a convenient sizing chart on their website. hope this helps!
    enjoy!
    "time is an abstract concept invented by carbon-based life forms to measure their own decay" - zorax

  9. #9
    106 kg of Pure Power zakk's Avatar
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    my fiancee is 4'9" and rides a 40CM Cannondale
    -zakk

    Director of Global Expansion
    Death Squad Cycling Club

  10. #10
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Silver Eagle Pilot

  11. #11
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    Don't get one sight-unseen. She should try a few out. Otherwise, if you get her one that does not fit (highly likely sight-unseen), she'll end up not riding.

  12. #12
    Body by Guinness cjbruin's Avatar
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    This thread is worthless without pics...

    Sorry...love the petite girls
    Fredo, you're my older brother and I love you...but don't ever take sides, with anyone, against the family again...ever.

  13. #13
    Enthusiasm on Wheels As You Like It's Avatar
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    I'm 5'5" and ride a 50cm WSD Burley road bike. Crazy, huh? You should take her shopping. The Bianchi Eros Donna seems to have been specifically engineered for small women. Plus, it's a seriously cool bike.
    Wheeeee!

  14. #14
    Junior Member colette's Avatar
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    I'm 5'2" and I love my Specialized Dolce. They even upgraded it for free when the stem cracked after a year. Hmm. But apparently they are re-doing the specs. Maybe wait a year on that model =) But yes, women's bikes rock for us vertically challenged. It's a big plus to be able to reach the brakes.

  15. #15
    TREK 2300 owner rickkko's Avatar
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    My 5' tall GF rides a Specialized Dolce Comp WSD. Fits her well. I'm not sure of frame sized but I think its a 48cm.

    ..rickko..

  16. #16
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    My wife is 5'0" and rides a XS Giant OCR Elite.
    Everyone has a right to an opinion. However, this does not mean that one's opinion is right.

  17. #17
    scofflaw
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    I love the idea that you want to get her a bike for XMAS! Why not give her the gift of
    the bike,a card with a bicycle picture, and then you can shop for a bike together
    and get her a bike that fits her. (just a thought)

    ps I'm 5" 2' and ride a Stellar Rodriguez
    "...we're half awake in a Fake Empire.." (The National)

  18. #18
    Cycle for life... woodcycl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cusack
    So, i want to get my little sister a road bike for christmas, but she is vertically challenged... only 5' tall. And i am not sure about frame size... is a 48 cm frame small enough? I know all frames are different and whatnot... but would this be an average good size? whatever i get, it will most likely be a CL / Ebay purchase so i would be buying sight unseen. can anyone lend any info on this subject?

    thanks!
    Cusack -- I'm selling the 2005 Schwinn Fastback Sport XS (Cobalt Blue) that I had bought for my GF this summer. If you are interested, please PM me. I have all the info for it listed in the For Sale forum here.

    Here's a link also: Clicky to Schwinn Fastback Road Bike
    -\Brian
    06' Cannondale Six13 TeamOne
    06' Cannondale Prophet 3 "Lefty"
    92' Trek 5200
    05' Cannondale Road Tandem

  19. #19
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timcupery
    A bike with 26" (mtb-size) or 650b (classic French touring-size) wheels will be much more likely to fit her well. I'd go with 26" because they're easier to find tires for.
    Yeah, and try and find that in a road bike. A small bike with 650c wheels is easier to find and available from severaal makers.

  20. #20
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    Many of the better smaller bikes use small, small wheels, short cranks and narrower bars.

    There are a number of different small wheels sizes :
    650C is the std small racing wheel with tyres up to a thin 28mm.
    26" MTB with a narrow rim is suitable for tyres of 1" and wider, ideal for touring/ commuting and Just Riding Along applications. You can build this rim on road or MTB hubs.
    650B is a nearly obscelete, museum piece, touring tyre that is making a small comeback in cult circles because it's a nice size.

    Note that each wheel size is a different diamter so the brake for one size will not line up with other wheel sizes. Generally, bikes are built for one size of wheel only.
    Most manufacturers make WSD style bikes but see also Terry and Luna cycles. Fuji used to be the best value in small bikes.
    Dont buy unseen, your sister will definately need the help of a decent bike shop to get a good fit.
    The reference to 26" MTB and 650B stuff is just worthless unless one is having a bike built specifically to use them...650c is what's used on many frames built specifically to small sizes.

  21. #21
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    Thanks, everyone for the advice... one thing about this, though... she would be getting in to this as a super-novice. I doubt she has even ridden a bike in years. That's why I was interested in getting her one for cheap online. At least that way, if she didn't take to it, I wouldn't really be out anything. (Plus I could get to futz around and work on it before giving it to her...)

  22. #22
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cusack
    Thanks, everyone for the advice... one thing about this, though... she would be getting in to this as a super-novice. I doubt she has even ridden a bike in years. That's why I was interested in getting her one for cheap online. At least that way, if she didn't take to it, I wouldn't really be out anything. (Plus I could get to futz around and work on it before giving it to her...)
    Yeah, and if it doesn't fit her, you have just thrown money away and possibly turned her of to road riding.

  23. #23
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    My wife is 5' 1" and rides a 47 cm WSD with 650c wheels with 23mm tires. Her previous bike was a 50 with 700 wheels which was TOO BIG. Frame fit is very important expecially for smaller women.

    Al

  24. #24
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Yeah, and very few seem to grasp the 650c concept, in addition to how many companies actually measure frame size. One example being a small Giant with a '44' inch seattube but with a 53.6TT....LOL.

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