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Wife Trying to Chose a Bike - Considerations?

Old 03-22-21, 05:01 PM
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m2244
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Wife Trying to Chose a Bike - Considerations?

Hello,

I bought a Felt gravel bike 2 years ago and this year my wife and I are thinking about something for her. But she's not sure what she wants as far as gravel, road, etc. I guess our biggest question is about the gearing. She doesn't need the high gears since she isn't exactly a speed demon. So what should we look at for low-ish gears and maybe not a lot of gears, she's doesn't like shifting a lot either.

She likes how light my gravel bike is, and I doubt we'll ever be on a technical mountain bike trail.

I guess we just need to go try a few out, but any suggestions would be appreciated.

**EDIT** As far as budget, we'll probably go up to about $2,000

Last edited by m2244; 03-23-21 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 03-22-21, 05:02 PM
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Best to Let The Wife do ALL of the Bike Shopping.
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Old 03-22-21, 05:03 PM
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We've seen this question quite a lot. There's only one right answer.

How can she try different bikes out for the purpose of determining an ideal frame fit?
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Old 03-22-21, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
We've seen this question quite a lot. There's only one right answer.

How can she try different bikes out for the purpose of determining an ideal frame fit?
Sure, we'll go to a local bike shop and let them sell us on whatever bikes they have in stock, without doing any research. I like it!
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Old 03-22-21, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Best to Let The Wife do ALL of the Bike Shopping.

Not true! Sometimes it is great to get suggestions on what to look for. My wife would have never known that there were women specific designs that had narrow bars, easy reach brake levers. That is why people ask these questions, get some tips. My wife would know more about shopping for purses but as far as bikes, she would never know what I know from reading cycling forums. Your way risks a big waste of money when she says she doesn't like her bike because it doesn't fit right or not as comfortable as it could have been.

FTR, WSD bikes have shorter cranks. smaller frame sizing, narrow bars, and easy to reach levers. My wife loves her bike. No way would she have known this without advice from others that I have come into contact with.
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Old 03-22-21, 05:52 PM
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go with something similar to what you have that fits her.
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Old 03-22-21, 05:59 PM
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I've tried to shop for my wife and I've been surprised by her feedback at times. She's not much into cycling so I wouldn't say her preferences necessarily match your wife's, but there are some considerations that I hadn't made.

One was around size of the bike, relatively speaking the geometry of the bike (not just the fit) can make a difference in whether it feels large or small. Things like wheelbase, trail, etc. It sounds like if a drop bar is what she wants, a 1x CX or gravel bike are options, with a CX bike going to be nimbler while the gravel bike will be more stable with larger tire clearance. Especially if she needs a smaller frame, differences can be even more pronounced. Some bikes can use smaller wheels for the smaller sizes, like the Jamis Renegade, I think?
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Old 03-22-21, 06:33 PM
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Does your wife know what sort of top tube length, stack, reach, stem length, crank arm length and standover height will work best for her needs? Do YOU know? What is the one way to figure this all out..? Trial and error, right? Trying out different bikes is merely just the beginning. After you get a rough idea, then, you can start doing research about everything else. Things which are merely secondary factors to be considering AFTER you determine an ideal frame fit. Do you know what sort of length stem you can use to compensate according to top tube length and reach? Do you know the difference between effective top tube length and the actual top tube length and which one to be considering? How are the features of the bike more important over any of these factors?
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Old 03-22-21, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by m2244 View Post
Sure, we'll go to a local bike shop and let them sell us on whatever bikes they have in stock, without doing any research. I like it!
Maybe old Drippy is not always our favorite around here but it was a solid point. You don't have to walk in with a bunch of research you can but you should also listen to the professionals. We are there to help you find a bike and try some different bikes on. Research is cool but actually getting on a bike and test riding is even cooler and will likely give your wife more information then a bunch of gibberish on the internet (unless she is knowledgeable about bikes in which case it would not be gibberish)

Having test ridden a lot of bikes I can say it can be quite handy to figuring out what you are looking for and what works best for you. I love geeking out on bikes but to some it can be overwhelming. It can also just be boring text that tells a bit but doesn't give the full story which you will get when riding which is what you are getting the bike to do in the first place.
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Old 03-22-21, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Does your wife know what sort of top tube length, stack, reach, stem length, crank arm length and standover height will work best for her needs? Do YOU know? What is the one way to figure this all out..? Trial and error, right? Trying out different bikes is merely just the beginning. After you get a rough idea, then, you can start doing research about everything else. Things which are merely secondary factors to be considering AFTER you determine an ideal frame fit. Do you know what sort of length stem you can use to compensate according to top tube length and reach? Do you know the difference between effective top tube length and the actual top tube length and which one to be considering? How are the features of the bike more important over any of these factors?
Well, since you put it that way (in your last sentence) - because you don't need to know that to buy a bike at an LBS. That's what the people at the shop are there to help you with.
What he/she DO need to know is what she wants to be able to do/doesn't care about doing on the bike. Intended use and expectation is the key!
[E.g. if you buy a typical hybrid and start riding over some washboard pavement or trails and then she's like whoa, I don't feel comfortable on this bike here, then it may have been better to get something with front suspension, or make sure it can take >32mm tires, etc. Or if she wants to have fenders, or a bag on the front, or rack on back, and it is a pain on that bike, etc. If things are not remotely a concern, then don't worry about it.]

I do agree with Moisture that you gotta know what you want and not be talked into whatever's available, but knowing every dimension of proper fit for her is not the overriding concern in order to get her a bike! If the LBS is good, they'll only recommend things that fit her.
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Old 03-22-21, 10:46 PM
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I recently bought my wife a Surly Bridge Club (the 700c version), and she loves it. Great for gravel, commuting, or pretty much anything other than pure road or hardcore mountain riding. The Deore 1 X 11 drivetrain is simple and reliable, and the hydro disc brakes are very confidence-inspiring. The Surly Terminal bars put her in a comfortable stance that gives her great control on dirt roads and lets her ride longer than she ever used to. This thing has really ignited her passion for riding.
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Old 03-22-21, 11:31 PM
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I bought my wife her first road bike based on the geometry of the bike (available online) and her general proportions. She's small so it's generally the smallest frame offered. I managed to find a good used bike locally. She ended up liking it a lot after I tweaked the fit. If you know how to read a geometry chart and are willing to tweak the saddle, stem and handlebars, it can work fine. That's why I really don't think "testing" a bike at an LBS is the be-all and end-all, unless they will do quite a bit of saddle swapping and stem adjustment. A perfectly fine bike could be rejected because the saddle isn't right or the LBS sends you out with the stem height and reach that is standard for that bike size.

Then, when I built up her next two bikes (a nice CF replacement road bike and a gravel bike) I was able to be a little more focused for frame size and what she liked and disliked about the old one (say what you will about standover not being relevant: it is if it's an inch too tall!) But if you're not into doing that sort of analysis, you should try to find a competent bike shop to work with. In my experience, many LBS employees hardly know anything about bike fit other than standover or know nothing other than the latest and greatest go-fast stuff. But I haven't dealt with them much so ymmv.

My wife also likes really low gears, we live among steep hills and she doesn't really like to stand up to pedal and doesn't (a) have to drive to all her rides and (b) limit herself to only certain rides. So I've built up and/or modified her bikes to triple road cranks and compatible MTB rear derailleurs and cassettes. Her current gravel 9 speed bike has a low gear of 28 front X 34 rear and her nice CF 10 speed road bike has 30X34 (maybe 32?). For 11 and 12 speed, I see that Shimano and Sram are getting wise and offering 2X and even 1X standard gravel and road gearing that is almost that low... with the option of experimenting with mixing MTB and road to get even lower.

And pedals: she tried SPD and Speedplay Frog pedals on the tandem we once had and really didn't like them. The last thing either she or I want to happen is even a little fall due to an unclipping problem. We're in our mid 60s and know that it doesn't take much of an injury to put you off the bike for a season. She lost a season a few years ago falling on her old upright bike and broke her elbow (unexpected road defect). So, she's sticking to knobby flat pedals and is perfectly happy, and I'll be the last person to try to talk her out of that!
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Old 03-23-21, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Does your wife know what sort of top tube length, stack, reach, stem length, crank arm length and standover height will work best for her needs? Do YOU know? What is the one way to figure this all out..? Trial and error, right? Trying out different bikes is merely just the beginning. After you get a rough idea, then, you can start doing research about everything else. Things which are merely secondary factors to be considering AFTER you determine an ideal frame fit. Do you know what sort of length stem you can use to compensate according to top tube length and reach? Do you know the difference between effective top tube length and the actual top tube length and which one to be considering? How are the features of the bike more important over any of these factors?
Are you kidding me? It’s a first bike not a science project.

My wife has 3 bikes and it is just not that hard to do. You should go to a few bike shops and see what they have.

My advice for the OP... it had better be light and be as good as yours; or at least seem as good. If your wife doesn’t ride as well as you, you had better give her every advantage you can. Don’t cheap out. I can tell you first hand that if she thinks her bike is heavier and a lot harder to ride, don’t even bother to buy one.

In 1986 both of us got new bikes. Before we even went on a ride I had already swapped out the Suntour friction drivetrain for this new Shimano system that would index shift. Her bike had Shimano 600EX SIS. Mine had Suntour friction shifting. We still ride together, even if she has always been a lot slower.

John

Last edited by 70sSanO; 03-23-21 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 03-23-21, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by m2244 View Post
Hello,

I bought a Felt gravel bike 2 years ago and this year my wife and I are thinking about something for her. But she's not sure what she wants as far as gravel, road, etc. I guess our biggest question is about the gearing. She doesn't need the high gears since she isn't exactly a speed demon. So what should we look at for low-ish gears and maybe not a lot of gears, she's doesn't like shifting a lot either.

She likes how light my gravel bike is, and I doubt we'll ever be on a technical mountain bike trail.

I guess we just need to go try a few out, but any suggestions would be appreciated.
So lets get back to the original question. I know you are asking about a specific bike but it might be easier to break this down. Your first issue is gearing. Gearing on most bikes for the casual rider is too high but this can always be changed. Any bike you purchase can have a different cassette and or chainrings. Yes, it will cost more but in the end not much more and you will get the gearing you need.

The second issue is "maybe not a lot of gears" and "she doesn't like shifting". This can be accomplished with a 1 x system. She would only shift the rear which would make it simpler. Up or down with one lever. Electronic shifting would be the cats meow but that might be out of the budget.

Why not another Felt if she likes your bike so much but in a one by?

The other questions I would ask does she want drop bars or flat bars? Specialized make the Diverge Evo which is a flat bar 1 by gravel bike which obviously has a market. Some people find that stye more comfortable. For drop bars the sky is the limit when it comes to bikes.

My answer above leans towards a gravel or all rounder bike because it is easy to change tires and have a complete different bike, plus the one by systems are usually found on this bike.

If you had given a budget then it would be easier to pick models. Good luck with choosing a bike and happy riding together.
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Old 03-23-21, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Does your wife know what sort of top tube length, stack, reach, stem length, crank arm length and standover height will work best for her needs? Do YOU know? What is the one way to figure this all out..? Trial and error, right? Trying out different bikes is merely just the beginning. After you get a rough idea, then, you can start doing research about everything else. Things which are merely secondary factors to be considering AFTER you determine an ideal frame fit. Do you know what sort of length stem you can use to compensate according to top tube length and reach? Do you know the difference between effective top tube length and the actual top tube length and which one to be considering? How are the features of the bike more important over any of these factors?
Sometimes I think it's a wonder any of us wound up getting bikes at all.
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Old 03-23-21, 08:26 AM
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Do you have a Trek dealer in your area with any stock on the floor? Seems like a flat bar "fitness" or maybe a "comfort" style bike might work. The Trek FX line and also Trek Verve are just two I've seem discussed on the forum, and which riders seem to like. The final decision will be up to her, of course, but if she could ride both an FX and a Verve, it could at least provide a starting point as to which type of bike she prefers. I'm not affiliated with Trek, just suggested those two styles as examples.
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Old 03-23-21, 08:27 AM
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Don't overthink it. Take her to the shop and let her try some things out. Let her figure out what kind of shifting set up she likes, and find something that fits her comfortably and meets your budget.

And don't get hung up on whether its a "men's" or "women's" bike. A lot of them are the same but for the paint jobs. Just make sure it fits and she's comfortable on it.
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Old 03-23-21, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
I recently bought my wife a Surly Bridge Club (the 700c version), and she loves it. Great for gravel, commuting, or pretty much anything other than pure road or hardcore mountain riding. The Deore 1 X 11 drivetrain is simple and reliable, and the hydro disc brakes are very confidence-inspiring. The Surly Terminal bars put her in a comfortable stance that gives her great control on dirt roads and lets her ride longer than she ever used to. This thing has really ignited her passion for riding.
I was looking at the Surly for my wife who seems drop bar adverse. It's not too heavy? I anticipate some light/credit card touring in our retirement
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Old 03-23-21, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by freeranger View Post
Do you have a Trek dealer in your area with any stock on the floor? Seems like a flat bar "fitness" or maybe a "comfort" style bike might work. The Trek FX line and also Trek Verve are just two I've seem discussed on the forum, and which riders seem to like. The final decision will be up to her, of course, but if she could ride both an FX and a Verve, it could at least provide a starting point as to which type of bike she prefers. I'm not affiliated with Trek, just suggested those two styles as examples.
My wife just got a new Verve 2 step through. One thing to note is that the smallest size is a S, they no longer have an XS size. The S is a little big, I could even get it set up where I could ride it and Im 64. Shes 54, and with the suspension seat post not all the way down can get a decent fit. Were still working on the bars, which seem pretty tall, and the adjustable stem has a fairly long reach. Getting the bars closer in might be tough if she thinks the reach is too great. Well see, but so far she likes it.
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Old 03-23-21, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by feejer View Post
My wife just got a new Verve 2 step through. One thing to note is that the smallest size is a S, they no longer have an XS size. The S is a little big, I could even get it set up where I could ride it and Im 64. Shes 54, and with the suspension seat post not all the way down can get a decent fit. Were still working on the bars, which seem pretty tall, and the adjustable stem has a fairly long reach. Getting the bars closer in might be tough if she thinks the reach is too great. Well see, but so far she likes it.
You could try a shorter stem, or perhaps a bar with more back sweep-ex: Amazon.com : UPANBIKE Urban Road Bike Bicycle Retro Handlebar 31.8mm Moustache Shape Wide 640mm : Sports & Outdoors
, or both.
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Old 03-23-21, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob N. View Post
I was looking at the Surly for my wife who seems drop bar adverse. It's not too heavy? I anticipate some light/credit card touring in our retirement
On an all-road touring bike, weight is pretty far down on my list of priorities, below durability, comfort, and versatility. She's crazy about the bike positioning, especially the bars and the reach/stack geometry, and that's what gets her to ride it at least twice as much as her old bike!
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Old 03-23-21, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Maybe old Drippy is not always our favorite around here but it was a solid point.
I wasn't trying to offend, but I also don't mind pushing back a bit.
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Old 03-23-21, 01:16 PM
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Fit, Fit, Fit, and the bike she wants to be seen riding.
Just like all of us.
Whatever bike she gets, it will have the seeds of its own destruction it.
As she rides it her ideas about what she wants will change, setting the stage for her next bike. Then you can have N+1 bikes, and she can have N+1 bikes.
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Old 03-23-21, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by m2244 View Post
Hello,

I bought a Felt gravel bike 2 years ago and this year my wife and I are thinking about something for her. But she's not sure what she wants as far as gravel, road, etc. I guess our biggest question is about the gearing. She doesn't need the high gears since she isn't exactly a speed demon. So what should we look at for low-ish gears and maybe not a lot of gears, she's doesn't like shifting a lot either.

She likes how light my gravel bike is, and I doubt we'll ever be on a technical mountain bike trail.

I guess we just need to go try a few out, but any suggestions would be appreciated.
Here's what we did when my wife was looking for a new bike:
1. Lightweight road bike frame that can handle moderately wide (32mm) tires.
2. Electronic groupset to make shifting easy.
3. Two-sided pedals (SPD-type) to making clipping in easy.
4. Fairly low gearing (50/34; 12-32 11-spd) for easier climbing.
5. Custom frame, so she could pick whatever color scheme and design she wanted.

Upside: she loves it and can ride it anywhere.
Downside: $$$$ (But, I only have one wife and she only has one bike.)
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Old 03-23-21, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
My advice for the OP... it had better be light and be as good as yours; or at least seem as good. If your wife doesnt ride as well as you, you had better give her every advantage you can. Dont cheap out. I can tell you first hand that if she thinks her bike is heavier and a lot harder to ride, dont even bother to buy one.

John
I had this feeling since I started thinking about getting her a bike, you summed it up nicely!
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