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Sub 20lb bike with upright riding position for 110lb, 5'3 (160cm) person

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Sub 20lb bike with upright riding position for 110lb, 5'3 (160cm) person

Old 06-02-12, 07:28 AM
  #1  
flashpacker
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Sub 20lb bike with upright riding position for 110lb, 5'3 (160cm) person

I am going to be visiting the US next month and I want to use the opportunity to pick up a bike at lower cost than at home. My budget is up to 700USD. I have ultra light camping gear (e.g., a tarptent) and would like to do some bike camping.

I am only 110lbs and 5'3/160cm, and would like a bike that is under 20lbs that will I will be able to easily haul up and down stairs. I also like a very upright riding position as I have weak wrists and I don't like craning my neck to look up. I don't anticipate doing any off road riding.

Any suggestions? Where I live has a very limited range of bikes that are able to be tried at LBSs. I want to do as much research as I can before my trip to the US so that I am not spending time on the computer on vacation. Is there a way of telling from the geometry specs, which bikes will allow for the most upright riding position. I notice that bikesdirect lists some bikes as upright ride but should I be able to figure out how upright the ride will be from the geometry?

What are the right questions to ask in terms of whether a bike is going to be able to take panniers? I know it's something to do with eyelets, right? And that I'm not going to hit the panniers with my foot?

I'm trying to narrow down to a few options and then try things out when I get there.

Cheers of any assistance I hope none of my questions are too stupid sounding.
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Old 06-02-12, 08:21 AM
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Back angle is a function of reach (top tube length + stem length) and saddle-to-bar drop. Without having a good baseline for what fits you personally, it will be difficult to make a specific recommendation. Look for bikes with a shorter top tube relative to seat tube, or with taller head tubes.

If all that sounds like greek, go to a local bike shop.
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Old 06-02-12, 08:26 AM
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How set are you on the under 20lbs thing> If you are, you probably need to up your budget or hopefully get lucky finding something used.

Bikes with upright riding positions tend to be a little heavier, you can get a bike that is basically a road bike with mountain handlebars and just put a very high rise stem to make it more upright and it would suit your needs but you are still probably over 20lbs, most of them seem to be 25ish lbs. Some money can certainly bring its weight down but I would not say it is worth it.
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Old 06-02-12, 10:34 AM
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Your best bet is probably a Specialized Vita.
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Old 06-02-12, 11:37 AM
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Giant Dash will be around 20lbs. CAAD X is even lighter.

But you need to stretch your budget.
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Old 06-02-12, 11:43 AM
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I should say that I'm open to 2nd hand. I will be in NYC for over a month. Ideally I want to use the bike while I'm there but if I can narrow down what I'm looking for to a few specific options, I am also prepared to look 2nd hand. Craigslist I guess?
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Old 06-02-12, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by flashpacker View Post
I am going to be visiting the US next month and I want to use the opportunity to pick up a bike at lower cost than at home. My budget is up to 700USD. I have ultra light camping gear (e.g., a tarptent) and would like to do some bike camping.

I am only 110lbs and 5'3/160cm, and would like a bike that is under 20lbs that will I will be able to easily haul up and down stairs. I also like a very upright riding position as I have weak wrists and I don't like craning my neck to look up. I don't anticipate doing any off road riding.

Any suggestions? Where I live has a very limited range of bikes that are able to be tried at LBSs. I want to do as much research as I can before my trip to the US so that I am not spending time on the computer on vacation. Is there a way of telling from the geometry specs, which bikes will allow for the most upright riding position. I notice that bikesdirect lists some bikes as upright ride but should I be able to figure out how upright the ride will be from the geometry?

What are the right questions to ask in terms of whether a bike is going to be able to take panniers? I know it's something to do with eyelets, right? And that I'm not going to hit the panniers with my foot?

I'm trying to narrow down to a few options and then try things out when I get there.

Cheers of any assistance I hope none of my questions are too stupid sounding.
It's certainly challenging to get a sub 20lbs bike for 700 USD, even on a used market. People who sell at Craigslist or PinkBike these days are not only opportunistic, but they are not dumb either! They know their stuff, especially if they are selling a light bike. Also, you're not just looking at the bike itself you know as you do have to add pedals and a rack unless you are willing to take off the rack and pedals every day so you can climb up and down stairs easily. To get a realistic sub 20lbs bike, you need to go above 1000 USD. A light frame like CAAD x with low end components will NOT make a light bike and it is those expensive light weight components that are driving the bike prices up.

Most bike companies like to publish bike weight with a small frame and with no pedals, water bottle holders, a rack! How likely that would be to meet your specs? I trust the weight scale in the bike shop to be the real deal. To be realistically thinking, a sub 20lbs touring bike with pedals cost more than your current budget would allow, because the bike itself has to be sub 18lbs to begin with. But coming back to reality, at 25lbs or 27lbs real weight, you can still portage that bike up and down stairs. You can get an upright light bike and usually falls under the high performance hybrid category with light weight wheels, carbon fork and light alloy frame and usually runs around $1199 to $1399 from Devinci, Cannondale and or Trek. If you're willing to settle for less, you can get the Bikesdirect.com Motobecane Cafe Noir which is a 21.5lbs hybrid for like $699 US and you can add a stem extender if you need even more upright riding.
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Old 06-02-12, 06:03 PM
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I know there are lots of 25lb+ options but that is not what I'm interested in. Budget can go up if it has to but under 20lbs without racks & very upright ride is what I'm looking for. & that has the option for panniers.
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Old 06-02-12, 06:32 PM
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[any off road riding.

Any suggestions? Where I live has a very limited range of bikes that are able to be tried at LBSs. I want to do as much research as I can before my trip to the US so that I am not spending time on the computer on vacation. Is there a way of telling from the geometry specs, which bikes will allow for the most upright riding position. I notice that bikesdirect lists some bikes as upright ride but should I be able to figure out how upright the ride will be from the geometry?

What are the right questions to ask in terms of whether a bike is going to be able to take panniers? I know it's something to do with eyelets, right? And that I'm not going to hit the panniers with my foot?

I'm trying to narrow down to a few options and then try things out when I get there.

Cheers of any assistance I hope none of my questions are too stupid sounding.[/QUOTE]

Cyclone driving at the crank ----outperforms all
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Old 06-02-12, 11:58 PM
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To provide some more info, the the bike I've been able to find locally that is closest to what I'm looking for is the Giant Avail http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-au/....3/9675/50861/. My LBS has the Avail 3 on sale for equiv of $680 USD. It has the holes for front and back racks, 42cm chainstay length. The geometry seems about right for me (size small). It also has dual brakes on the drops and on the flat piece which I really like. The negatives are that it is only sora level and feels clunky even though it's light.
Does it seem like a similar bike would work for light touring?
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Old 06-03-12, 01:15 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by flashpacker View Post
To provide some more info, the the bike I've been able to find locally that is closest to what I'm looking for is the Giant Avail http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-au/....3/9675/50861/. ...
1. You need to find out if this same bike is sold in NYC area. Not all bikes are sold everywhere (USA/Aust/UK etc). If not then find the nearest similar bike, then find a dealer in NYC with actual stock of the bike you want. Good models (desirable features at good price point) sell out pretty quick, especially in popular sizes, then they are out of stock till next year.

2. If you intend to fit a rear rack and panniers, you need a bike with long chainstays (the lower horizontal member of the rear triangle) so your heels don't strike the panniers as you pedal. Also, rack length, pannier size and shape, and position of pannier on rack are factors which determine whether a given bicyclist will have heel strike. You're better off if you can get a dedicated touring frame with 45-47cm chainstays. Regular road bikes have 40-42cm CSs, and MTBs have 42-43cm CSs.

3. The Avail 3 has a 12-25 cassette and 30-39-50 crank with 28" wheels, low gear is 34 gear-inches, high is 117. Tourists often use very low gearing, down to 17-18 gear inch, and find high gearing not as useful. You may find the Avail hard to pedal up hills with loaded panniers. Taking a walk is not so bad but pushing a loaded bike is kind of a PITA - you tend to whack the bags as you walk, and it doesn't steer straight with front panniers.

4. The Avail 3 fork has no way to directly, easily attach a rack to support panniers. Many people shy away from loading a carbon fork, even with rack attachment workarounds. The concern is that the "carbon" fork is not tough enough for the job, which may not be true. You mention in the OP that you have ultralight gear, if this is the case then perhaps you can carry everything without front panniers - some folks get by with even less.

5. As an alternative, consider using a trailer for touring duty. There are several nice ones costing 300-450 USD that will attach to nearly any bike you choose. This lets you pick a bike for everyday use that is not necessarily suited for touring, then attach trailer for touring, then remove when done. If you decide touring is not fun later on, then you can sell the trailer, often for 50% or more of your purchase price. Take a look at Burley Nomad, Bob Yak, Extrawheel, etc.

6. I'm wondering how the economics of your plan are favorable, in that many airlines nowadays charge $100 or more to fly a bike as checked luggage.
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Old 06-03-12, 01:23 AM
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Initially I was wondering if you had a bike in mind because most new sub 20-lb bikes won't have upright sitting positions. One of the simplest and inexpensive methods to create an upright position is to replace the handlebar. The Bontrager Satellite aluminum M-shaped bars are $16 (most Trek LBS should be able to order one, but takes 1-2 weeks to arrive at the store). For about $25 (handlebar + grips + tax), you can get an upright position. The On-One Mary bars are more expensive.

I believe the clamps of both handlebars are 25.4, but should work okay with 26.0 road stems. If using STI, The brakes will feel as though they have some play, but that's because of the lateral movement of the shifters. I got accustomed to it very quickly, and all I need is my index fingers on each brake handle. The change could be made in 30-60 minutes.

If you're going ultralight and the Giant Avail 3 has the proper mount points for your needs, then that bike should be fine except the lowest gear may not be low enough for steep climbs.



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Old 06-03-12, 01:29 AM
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ps

sora is actually pretty good value road group

something else to think about:

http://www.bikefriday.com/bicycles/touring
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Old 06-03-12, 07:19 PM
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Have you thought about a singlespeed bike? They're cheap and have fewer components to weigh you down and get stolen in NYC. If you slap an easy enough gear on your bike and don't mind going slowly on the flats and grinding/walking up hills, you'd be able to meet your otherwise difficult goal of $700 and under 20lbs.
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Old 06-03-12, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by flashpacker View Post
I am going to be visiting the US next month and I want to use the opportunity to pick up a bike at lower cost than at home. My budget is up to 700USD. I have ultra light camping gear (e.g., a tarptent) and would like to do some bike camping.

I am only 110lbs and 5'3/160cm, and would like a bike that is under 20lbs that will I will be able to easily haul up and down stairs. I also like a very upright riding position as I have weak wrists and I don't like craning my neck to look up. I don't anticipate doing any off road riding.

Any suggestions? Where I live has a very limited range of bikes that are able to be tried at LBSs. I want to do as much research as I can before my trip to the US so that I am not spending time on the computer on vacation. Is there a way of telling from the geometry specs, which bikes will allow for the most upright riding position. I notice that bikesdirect lists some bikes as upright ride but should I be able to figure out how upright the ride will be from the geometry?

What are the right questions to ask in terms of whether a bike is going to be able to take panniers? I know it's something to do with eyelets, right? And that I'm not going to hit the panniers with my foot?

I'm trying to narrow down to a few options and then try things out when I get there.

Cheers of any assistance I hope none of my questions are too stupid sounding.
I wouldn't be too fixated about weight. Most bikes with an aluminum frame and a carbon fork and/or a carbon bike should be pretty light. You have a lot of other requirements and a budget and I would make sure that the bike does what you want it to. Plus you are talking about a small frame bike so it will not weigh much for that reason as well.

Bike Direct has the best prices but it may not be the best option for you. Perhaps instead of fixating on the right bike, figure out which LBS stores you want to visit. A good store will guide you through the choices and get you set up right on the bike.
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Old 06-04-12, 12:41 AM
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Riding a noodly flexing bike for months, just to save a pound..
is something I want to skip.


only a bare bike will be sub 20# anyhow, add racks and mudguards
and it wont be 20# anymore.

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-05-12 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 06-04-12, 02:18 AM
  #17  
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Since you're posting in a touring forum, I'm assuming you're interested in a touring bike, correct? Harsh reality: finding a sub-20 pound touring bike of any flavor prior to racks and pedals is a nearly impossible task, finding a sub-20 pound, upright touring bike, even used, for under $700 is an impossible task.

You may have better luck asking the commuting forum. There are a lot of companies making lighter weight commuter hybrids that accept racks/fenders and are made of aluminum/carbon fiber aimed at people like you (taking them up stairs, light weight, comfortable riding, etc)...though I still don't think you'll find anything meeting your requirements within your price range.
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Old 06-04-12, 06:35 AM
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Your best bet is a used cannondale CADD, and then you'll have to buy parts to set upmforman upright position. No way your finding a new anything bike sub 20lb for $700USD. A new CADD with tiagra/sora is about $850 new at a bike shop. If I remember correctly, as my friend bought one, it weighed 19.7 lbs on the scale at the shop. That might have been the 105 equipped bike though.....

Fuji Acr series are $700-1000 new, carbon fork, carbon triangle and under 20. More relaxed geometry.
Fuji makes several carbon bikes in the $1200-$1800 range that can be had under great sales both online and in stores, many have relaxed geometry.

H3 Madones (including women's specific) are fairly relaxed and the colors aren't too girly.

Another option is a cyclocross bike, but again for sub 20lbs, there is no way you're sticking to a $700 budget. Scott, Fuji, Kona all make some cyclocross bikes around 20lbs, to get well under 20 you're going to spend a lot more, but the cyclocross bikes generally have a more upright position.

All these bikes that I mention are not going to have all the mounting hardware you may want depending on what kind of touring your after. I'm sure they make them, but finding a sub 20lb bike that is a true touring bike is probably going to be a height end Ti framed beautiy well over $2000 with high end components.
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Old 06-04-12, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
ps

sora is actually pretty good value road group

something else to think about:

http://www.bikefriday.com/bicycles/touring

I was thinking of suggesting the same thing, but a bit more specific if the OP can come to terms with the extra weight.

http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/bid/3040415986.html

Of course the price should be negotiated and the suitcase does not seem to be the one that converts to a trailer. You would also be able to bring it back with you when you go home which is a nice feature.
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Old 06-04-12, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by flashpacker View Post
To provide some more info, the the bike I've been able to find locally that is closest to what I'm looking for is the Giant Avail http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-au/....3/9675/50861/. My LBS has the Avail 3 on sale for equiv of $680 USD. It has the holes for front and back racks, 42cm chainstay length. The geometry seems about right for me (size small). It also has dual brakes on the drops and on the flat piece which I really like. The negatives are that it is only sora level and feels clunky even though it's light.
Does it seem like a similar bike would work for light touring?
Most of these bikes probably have a rear rack braze on and fender mount. The front holes are only for fenders. For light touring, you need not concern yourself with a front rack. Don't need to. If you're into this kind of bikes, then you're probably be happy touring with a cyclocross. They are an ideal platform for light touring, can go off-road and the double crankset with a Tiagra 10 speed 12-30 can put you down to a low 30" gear. If you're strong and fit and have light camping gear, you can make up a 22% grade with a 30" gear. Want to take a lot at the Raleigh RX 1.0 w? If you want smooth shifting, look at least a Shimano 105 grouppo or the SRAM grouppo. Sora is ok; but it is low end.
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Old 06-04-12, 10:50 PM
  #21  
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You probably do not need to worry about heel strike if you are only 5'3" and have women feet because small frames have pretty much the same chain stay length as large frames meant for taller people with bigger feet.

You should really consider a folding bike. Perhaps something like this http://www.amazon.com/Giordano-Foldi...7871815&sr=1-6. While cheap ones are probably not sub-20, it's probably more the bulkiness instead of weight that makes carrying a regular bike up flights of stairs difficult. Because they have smaller wheels and less frame material, you can find 25 lbs folding bikes for under $300. Have someone swap out the bottom bracket and rear derailleur for as high of a quality as you want and tension the wheels and you're good to go. They are also very upright.
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Old 06-05-12, 12:11 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Riding a noodly flexing bike for months, just to save a pound..
is something I want to skip.
Not likely to be a problem for this rider. I'm of similar build and most bikes are stiff as a church to me, as I don't have the mass or muscle to flex the frames.
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Old 06-05-12, 12:56 AM
  #23  
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Perhaps if you pull a trailer..
rear racks are a lever with weight in the bags, it is that mass that
sends light steel frames swaying sideways, with every pedal stroke..

fully supported rides, are not putting the weight on the racks .

so .. if riding weight matters a lot , do fully supported rides.

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-05-12 at 10:26 AM.
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Old 06-05-12, 08:10 AM
  #24  
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Out of the cyclocross options people are suggesting, does anyone know of options that have the capacity for a front rack? Or could a freeload rack be used http://www.freeload.co.nz/pages/9/products ?

Since there are lots of posts in this thread now (thanks all), I just wanted to reiterate that I mostly want this for fast city biking with occasional bike camping (on road but with some hills and I'm not especially fit). I have access to a decent 1 year old MTB around 25lbs that I don't ever use because it's slow and heavy from my perspective. Whereas when I've tried road bikes at the LBS, they feel soooo much quicker and nicer. I just need something that will do occasional double duty.

Definitely won't be pulling a trailer!

I don't have any opportunity to try the Bike Fridays till I get to the US, but I have been checking out their preloved page, so that is an option I'm looking forward to checking out when I can see how they feel to ride for myself since they have an NYC distributor.
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Old 06-05-12, 08:30 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Perhaps if you pull a trailer.. rear racks are a lever with weight in the bags,
sends light steel frames swaying with every pedal stroke
I'd agree that very light steel frames can be noodly, but light aluminium or carbon frames can be quite stiff. Since the OP weighs 110 pounds and says they own ultralight backpacking gear it is quite possible that a very light bike might work out fine for them, maybe even a pretty noodly one. 110 pounds of rider and 15-20 pounds of gear isn't going to tax most frames even very light ones.
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