My wife's 5 yr old Marin Kentfield has been stolen, and we're looking for a bike that would be good for her to commute on and for us to tour on.
She's 168 cm tall - that's 5''6?
The Marin was a 15cm frame, which she loved. Now we're looking for a better suited frame for touring as well, so no front suspension and no women's cruising bikes. No drop bars, because she doesn't like STI.
We tried a size M KHS UrbanX - she said it was too stretched out.
Tried a size M KHS Urban Xpress(really great bike) - she said it feels weirdly cramped and hurts her back.
And the kicker - a size 17(the old one was 15) Marin San Rafael, which she absulutely loved from the first moment she got on it. Although, I couldn't help thinking that it looked way too small for her, and her knees were awfully close to the handlebar every time she had to turn around. I believe it has the same geometry as the Kentfield model
So, how can that be?
Fitting the couples-who-bike-together stereotype fairly well, I'm the one who knows more about bikes than her, and who does all the fitting and fixing and researching, etc.
So I need an answer - How can I compare bikes if there seems to be no basis for comparison? She loves a 17cm bike when she used to ride a 15cm, even though it LOOKS smaller than it should. She feels a bike with a 570mm TT is too stretched out, I understand that, but a bike, from the same manufacturer, with a 565mm TT feels cramped?
How is that possible?
I would like to order a Jamis Coda, but no one imports them on a regular basis, so I'd have to pay up front. I thought I could do it based on her height and proportions, but now I see that I can't.
What kind of sizing and fitting tips can you give, dear experts?
Hope I didn't wear you guys out with this long post.