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  1. #1
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    Affordable road bike for petite woman

    So, my husband and I have started to get into distance road cycling. We both bike to work, to see friends, to the grocery store, etc. We love the distance cycling--all that space without stoplights, taxis, buses, or diplomats (we live in DC)!

    My husband has a 10 speed fuji del rey--it's not ultra fancy but it's fast and light. I have a raleigh marathon mixte frame, single speed. On a long bike ride, I get really really exhausted trying to keep up. Afraid I have to get gears for distance cycling, even though it is a hard concession (I LOVE my single speed).

    So I was trying to get an affordable road bike. Two problems with this: 1) there aren't many affordable road bikes at all and 2) I'm 5'2" with a 30" inseam (and so very short torso) and I weigh 110 pounds. I tried to get the Sheila Dawes road bike, but everyone seems to be out of the extra small. Any other suggestions?

    Also if anyone in the DC area has an acceptable bike that's affordable, feel free to email me at my personal email rustmyrtle@yahoo.com. Only interested in bikes that are in excellent condition.

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tapeworm21's Avatar
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    Define: Affordable
    2009 Specialized Tarmac Pro SL SRAM
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  3. #3
    Senior Member sfcrossrider's Avatar
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    http://www.gtbicycles.com/usa/eng/Pr...ens/Road/#5609

    A friend of mine got one last week at Performance for $475. She's your size, and the bike fits her great.
    Quote Originally Posted by BikeIndustryGuy View Post
    I guess the feel good aspect of this story is that the perpetrators did this as a couple. It's nice to see people coming together with a common love of cycling and assault.

  4. #4
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    Once again, depends on your definition of affordable. My girlfriend is even more petite than you. She ended up deciding on the Felt FW40 in 650c. She got an 08 for $600. Look for past year models now that the 09's are coming out.

    http://www.feltracing.com/08/product...,1508&pid=8698

  5. #5
    Senior Member AnthonyG's Avatar
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    Seriously I recommend you at least look at one of these,

    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes..._9_12/kdr1000/

    Yes its a juvenile bike with 24" wheels but it will be the closest by far to actually fitting you properly at reasonable price. I ride a custom 650c wheeled bike which in many respects is actually smaller than this but as far as off the shelf affordable bikes go this is the one that comes closest to fitting me and I'm only half an inch shorter than you.

    Please note that I don't think that this bike will fit you perfectly straight out of the box but if you fit a longer high rise stem to bring the handlbars forward and up plus a rear set seatpost to move the saddle rearwards (despite what the specs on the website says it actually has a very steep seat tube angle) then it will be VERY close to being the right fit.

    Here's my custom 650c wheeled bike,



    Fits me better but its quite expensive to custom build. The cranks on my bike are even shorter than the 150mm cranks on the Trek but since you legs are longer than mine that will suit you better than me. Your relatively long legs and short torso will be quite hard to accommodate and that's why I think fiddling around with the Trek KDR 1000 will be your best bet by far.

    Regards, Anthony

  6. #6
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    The entire thing hinges on what you mean by "affordable." For some, that could be $15,000. For others, it's $10.
    -------

    Some sort of pithy irrelevant one-liner should go here.

  7. #7
    CPM M4 BananaTugger's Avatar
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    Ten tenths.

  8. #8
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    So sorry for being inexact about the price.... and thanks for all the replies.

    I'm looking for $500 or under. preferably under.

    I'm pretty ghetto in my bikes. When I first moved to DC, I had the bike I'd grown up with--a non-descript blue mountain bike from Sears. It got stolen outside my boyfriend's apartment one night, 3 weeks after I moved. Then I bought a target magna girls mountain bike--it lasted about 6 months before totally collapsing. I held it together with superglue and had to carry an allan wrench with me to readjust every 3 blocks or so. So then I bought a boys pretend BMX bike from Walmart that was $40 new. I rode that thing in heels and a skirt for about year. The seat kept disappearing though, and I eventually gave it to a friend because it really wasn't safe (I was lower than SUV mirrors and so couldn't be seen). So then I bought a 1970s women's Schwinn of craig's list for $30. It was a 10 speed, but only 1 gear worked. I also road teh hell out of this, but was beginning to want more performance out of my bikes. So I found a guy who was in LOVE with Peugeots (he had 3 Peugeot lions tattooed on himself), and he built me a Peugeot mixte frame bike fro $110. It was my first bike with skinny tires--I was so fast and so thrilled. That frame met with a bad end when a city garbage truck backed into it, so I transferred all the parts over to my Raleigh marathon mixte frame.

    So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've never had a new bike (except for the target and walmart bikes, described above) and never had a bike on which all the parts were working and meant to go together. I would really like to get a decent, sturdy road bike that's $350. I don't care about the carbon fiber stuff. I'd like 700c wheels (yes, I know there's a big debate on this), drop down handle bars, gears, light, and small enough to fit me.

    Does any of this help? (any of you who have made it to the bottom of this post).

  9. #9
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Fit may be a problem.However if the budget is $350-500. I would definitely be looking used. $350 is scraping the bottom of where you'll get a good, serviceable road bike.

    If you can find something that fits that started in the $1,000 range, is 5 years old or so, and still in good shape, I think you'll be much better off.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  10. #10
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    Last year I bought my daughter (5'1") a 2005 or 2006 Specialized Dolce Vita in a 44cm size. The frame is very small but it does use 700c wheels. It was advertised as 'used' on eBay, but when it arrived it was actually brand new, never ridden. I grabbed it as soon as I saw the listing for $560. It has 105 9sp brifters/derailleurs, but generic type brakes. Other parts are a mix. It even has a carbon fiber fork. This is a 'real' road bike from a quality company, a big step up from the entry level bikes, and it didn't cost me that much.

    Shop around, you can sometimes find a really good deal.
    Last edited by zacster; 07-24-08 at 03:44 PM.

  11. #11
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    I'm 5' tall & looking for a small frame bike

    Maybe someone can help me actually FIND a bike small enough for me so that I feel comfortable. I live in SF and this weekend I just missed buying a Trek bicycle (someone grabbed it while I was there) that felt perfect for me. AND, he was only asking $50 for it and it looked brand new. I would have given him $100 at least, but first come, first serve...

    Anyway, been looking at shops, and another reason I think I should be a used one is that my confidence level has gone by the wayside and after practicing on a relatively small bike for a few days, I fell 2X, it really hurt and I used to ride a lot but couldn't figure out why I was falling. I think I was nervous - or something.

    Anyway, I'm determined to first, at last, buy a small used bike - maximum $200 and take a few lessons so I can regain my confidence (I had not ridden in 10 years). I can think about getting a better bike later. I look on Craigslist every day, search the web and here I am - petite women with similar problems. I did think about buying a girls bike that didn't look like it was for a kid...but I don't know. Maybe 24" wheels, 48cm frame, easy to mount/dismount, and able to climb some of the hills of San Francisco.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction? I'd so appreciate it.
    Trudijane

  12. #12
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    A really small lady friend of mine recently picked up a Scott CR1. Think it's a 48 frame, but don't quote me on that! She has trouble finding something "small enough" - but this was great for her.

    So also have a look at some Scotts - if you don't want the CR1, at least you know they do have small frames available...

    Good luck!

  13. #13
    Large Member urodacus's Avatar
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    Giant TCR W in XXS with 650 wheels.
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  14. #14
    So what did YOU do to it?
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    A little more than a month ago I bought a 44cm bike. For a 4'8" girl. The bike is a little to tall for her, but you get what you can get. She has neck problems, so going from her old fuji, with steel fork, and 650c wheels... Well carbon fork and 700c makes a big difference.

    http://www.all-about-the-bike.co.uk/...very-492-p.asp

    We swapped for narrower bars, and a 50mm stem.

    Well... this is probably a foux-pas, but I have a 2002 vintage or so Fuji road bike, in 650c, and 43cm. Make an offer? Keep in mind, this image is from while I was commuting on it. I'm 5'5"...



    Otherwise, Performance does have bikes in stock, under $500 that will fit you. From both Fuji, and GT. So does REI. They're out there. Both bikes are 700c.

  15. #15
    Token Canadian RecceDG's Avatar
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    My wife loves her Devinci Silverstone SL-2. She is 5'1".

    DG
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  16. #16
    Senior Member dingster1's Avatar
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    Another vote for Fuji here.

  17. #17
    One speed: FAST ! fordfasterr's Avatar
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    specialized has a line of road bikes specifically designed for women in small sizes.
    Florida Velodrome Association.
    Big Wheel Cycles.
    CAT-2. Road Bike: 2011 Specialized Allez SRAM Apex. .. and yes, I am vegan.

  18. #18
    Senior Member liquefied's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trudijane View Post
    Maybe someone can help me actually FIND a bike small enough for me so that I feel comfortable. I live in SF and this weekend I just missed buying a Trek bicycle (someone grabbed it while I was there) that felt perfect for me. AND, he was only asking $50 for it and it looked brand new. I would have given him $100 at least, but first come, first serve...

    Anyway, been looking at shops, and another reason I think I should be a used one is that my confidence level has gone by the wayside and after practicing on a relatively small bike for a few days, I fell 2X, it really hurt and I used to ride a lot but couldn't figure out why I was falling. I think I was nervous - or something.

    Anyway, I'm determined to first, at last, buy a small used bike - maximum $200 and take a few lessons so I can regain my confidence (I had not ridden in 10 years). I can think about getting a better bike later. I look on Craigslist every day, search the web and here I am - petite women with similar problems. I did think about buying a girls bike that didn't look like it was for a kid...but I don't know. Maybe 24" wheels, 48cm frame, easy to mount/dismount, and able to climb some of the hills of San Francisco.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction? I'd so appreciate it.
    Trudijane
    You're probably better off saving some dough and buying new in SF. The used bike market here is totally screwed because of recent bike popularity and especially fixies. It's nearly impossible to find a reasonably priced bike as most 80's road bikes are going for $400+. I scouted craigslist every day for a month trying to find a bike for my girlfriend but ended up buying her a new women's Fuji Finest 2.0.

  19. #19
    superArti artifice's Avatar
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    at 5' tall and a slightly smaller inseam than you, I feel like I have a lot of options. have owned bikes with both 650 and 700 wheels both wsd and "men's". haven't seen much difference performance wise, but prefer 700s due to variety of tubes, tires and wheelsets.

    you have plenty of bikes to pick from- you just may not be able to walk into the average store and start test riding. find a shop that will work for you and can bring a few models in for you to test ride.
    i woke up one morning and i stepped out of bed | had to get a bike, had to paint it red
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  20. #20
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    My daughter is 5-2 and I have her fit pretty well on an XS Giant OCR 3. I don't know if they make them any more, but new they were about $600. I saw a "like new" one (really) go for $350 recently. So look for a compact type frame in an XS with Tiagara or Sora components and you might find a fit in both aspects (price and, er, fit).

    The thing about my daughter is that she threw toward her mother's genetic side and they both have short-ish legs for women. Which means they have long-ish torsos. You might be on the other end of the spectrum from what it sounds like. I think their cycling inseam is like 28 inches or so. Which means they have a better chance of fitting a man's frame than you do. You might really need a women's specific design (WSD). But it's worth a try.

    Acually, if I had it to do over, or if I thought it actually made a difference in my daughter's interest in the sport, I'd look for a WSD bike for her because it might be easier to get an excellent fix.
    Last edited by Camilo; 05-12-09 at 01:46 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member orcanova's Avatar
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    If you love road cycling, as you say, I would consider a higher budget. I took a female friend of mine to Bicycle Pro Shop two weekends ago. She tried the Canondale Synapse Feminine and the Giant Alliance TCR W, both frames are women's geometry. She is 5'4."

    They did a quick fitting, let us take both bikes out to Ft. Hunt Park for several hours, and she wound up loving, and buying, the Giant. Although these bikes were in the $1600-$1800 price range, there are lower spec'd bikes in those same lines, so I would think you could get a women's specific road bike that fits you well and will make you happier, than trying to buy a road bike for under a grand.

    They have more of their inventory in the Alexandria store, but if you call ahead they could have some models ready for you to try in the Georgetown location.

    Since you are petite, my guess would be that you would find a better fit on a compact geometry like the Giants. Specialized also has women's specific designed bikes, and I believe Capitol Hill Bikes carries them.
    Last edited by orcanova; 05-12-09 at 04:41 PM.

  22. #22
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    Thanks everyone for your advice. Although it confuses me more, I think. I have been looking for bikes every day on craigslist. I'd buy one new for $300 .... maybe a little more ...but I can't find a store locally (some of the more popular ones here in SF) that has a few that I can choose from. The one that I did actually buy was a Raleigh for $300 and they had one in their selection. I brought it back because I felt it didn't fit after riding around on it, and getting up even a small hill was very difficult. It was a 3 speed. The other one I looked at, now I forgot what brand it was, but I felt better riding it, but still wasn't sure and I didn't like the "looks" of it.

    I saw some Treks on sale that seemed more for me (like the one someone bought at a garage sale which I wanted). I used to have a specialized a long time ago, but didn't pay much attention to fit. I've read a lot about "Huffy" which supposedly specialized in womens bikes. So a big question is where do I go to find these bikes.

    Some of my instinctual requirements. Yes I have shorter legs and a shorter torso. I don't want to lift my leg too high to actually mount the bike, so I would want a bike whose frame is low to the ground such that I can easily mount the bike either from the seat position or straddling the frame. The lower to the ground I am, the better. I probably should have a 21-speed in this city. It's just hard to find what I want.

    Then the other problem is that I really do want to re-learn - which is why I want to buy a used,more inexpensive bike first to actually take lessons for a short term on - I seem to have lost my natural instinct to ride and it does hurt when the bike tips and you fall and don't understand why! I'd like to know what it is that I'm doing wrong! After 10 years, I guess you can forget how to ride a bike or lose confidence, or something! I'll just continue to look, but it seems I'm drawn to the Trek models that I've seen, even on the street.

    Trudijane

  23. #23
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    A friend of mine is your size. She watched Craig's List every day and eventually found a bike her size...it sold new for about $1,500 in 1990 and she got it for $200...still in like-new condition...the original owner had used it for about twenty rides around the neighborhood over the years.

  24. #24
    Swollen Member RoboChrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trudijane View Post
    Thanks everyone for your advice. Although it confuses me more, I think. I have been looking for bikes every day on craigslist. I'd buy one new for $300 .... maybe a little more ...but I can't find a store locally (some of the more popular ones here in SF) that has a few that I can choose from. The one that I did actually buy was a Raleigh for $300 and they had one in their selection. I brought it back because I felt it didn't fit after riding around on it, and getting up even a small hill was very difficult. It was a 3 speed. The other one I looked at, now I forgot what brand it was, but I felt better riding it, but still wasn't sure and I didn't like the "looks" of it.

    I saw some Treks on sale that seemed more for me (like the one someone bought at a garage sale which I wanted). I used to have a specialized a long time ago, but didn't pay much attention to fit. I've read a lot about "Huffy" which supposedly specialized in womens bikes. So a big question is where do I go to find these bikes.

    Some of my instinctual requirements. Yes I have shorter legs and a shorter torso. I don't want to lift my leg too high to actually mount the bike, so I would want a bike whose frame is low to the ground such that I can easily mount the bike either from the seat position or straddling the frame. The lower to the ground I am, the better. I probably should have a 21-speed in this city. It's just hard to find what I want.

    Then the other problem is that I really do want to re-learn - which is why I want to buy a used,more inexpensive bike first to actually take lessons for a short term on - I seem to have lost my natural instinct to ride and it does hurt when the bike tips and you fall and don't understand why! I'd like to know what it is that I'm doing wrong! After 10 years, I guess you can forget how to ride a bike or lose confidence, or something! I'll just continue to look, but it seems I'm drawn to the Trek models that I've seen, even on the street.

    Trudijane
    Find your frame size first and then you scour kijiji for a good used ride. That's the most painless way to get a good fitting used bike.

    There are many formulas to find your frame size but the one I remember is:

    [cycling inseam] x [.67] = frame size (round the number down)


    Have fun!
    Last edited by RoboChrist; 05-18-09 at 07:19 PM.

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