Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northern VT
Bikes: recumbent & upright
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Due to my gender I'm not really qualified to comment on this.
However- at the end of last summer my wife wanted a new touring bike, she is about 5'3" with arm/leg/torso proportions within normal limits for her height. WE live in a rural area, no LBS stocking touring bikes; closest was a Trek dealer. So everywhere we went that had a possible bike store we looked at bikes (not suggesting this was a bad thing). She was eventually able to look at and ride the Trek 520, a Surly LHT and CrossCheck. She thought the LHT was a tank and the CrossCheck just didn't suit, the 520 was ok but she was not taken with it (her current bike at the time was a Trek so
some brand favor), then we got to a shop that carried Cannondale T2000, they actually had a couple sizes for her to try. They fit her to a small, she rode it around a little. She has smaller hands with slightly decreased range of motion. She just couldn't quite reach the combined shifter/brakes, they made the various adjustments to get a fit (the wedge thing etc). She just said she wanted to think about it- about half way home she just sort of blurted out- "I want that bike", "because it is comfortable". An email held the bike till following weekend. We probably put 500 miles on the car going back and forth to this shop for a month till she got the components and fit just right. She ended up swapping out the brifters for grip shifts and a on one mary handlebar, plus different brake levers, stem, ergon grips. Plus new shoes, pedals, helmet, etc. She is the happiest i've seen her with a bike in 25 years, has next summer's tour or perhaps summers' tours planned.
ps. sorry about this post's wandering.