Looking for a bike to buy

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11 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

Looking to buy my first road bike for club rides. I am 5' 4 1/2 and currently in C-Sig.As I am a neophyte any info will be helpful. Please call Kristi at 718-941-2906 or e-mail: [email protected].

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)
"reach is as important as ""frame size"""

"The problem I've seen with small frames is that often when they make the stand-over height smaller, they don't make them shorter front to back.

This is because they are trying to fit regular 700c wheels in a small frame and also trying to avoid ""toe overlap"". The result is a bike you can straddle, but who's handlebars are a mile away, even with a short stem.

You might consider a bike with 650c wheels or a smaller front wheel. Whatever you do, don't just go by standover height."

Anonymous's picture
Maggie Schwarz (not verified)
650 wheels

If you do decide to go with 650 wheels, I know a few people who are looking to sell theirs. I have 650 wheels but then I'm only 5 feet tall. You may not need 650s if your legs are long enough for 700s.

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Donato (not verified)
Is this the Kristi I met @ Phoenicia ????

Hey Kristi,

Is it you ???....

If so...then I know that you can ride a wheel set (700x23c) w/ your frame size .

E-mail me & I'll give you more specifics regarding this deatil.


Anonymous's picture
Robert Gray (not verified)
Women Specific Bikes

To take Bill's remarks another step, you should consider a women specific bike such as made by Trek and others. They address the fit problems he is talking about and usually have 650 wheels in smaller size bikes. Will not be the cheapest bike but will probably yield long term satisfaction.

Anonymous's picture
Andrea (not verified)
Get the bike professionally fitted

"Make sure that the bike fits your frame. In Manhattan Toga, Bicycle Habitat and Gotham all measure and fit you properly. Metro bikes, for example, does not do that. You don't have to compromise fit for tube size and there are practical reasons why you might want the standard, larger wheel size. A friend of mine is 5'4"" and just got a Specialized in a size 48 which does have the larger wheels and standard tube size. The big advantage to this is that if you are in a group and don't have a spare tube and get a flat, there is much more likely to be someone in your group who can lend you a tube.


Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)
some other points

"Hi- I posted a response to what Robert added to my initial post, but it's not up on the board. They had some technical difficulties, so I assume that's the cause, and not censorship.

What I said was that ""women specific frames"" tend to have proportionately shorter top tubes because in general women have longer legs, (and therefore shorter torsos), than men of similar height. However, this is not always the case. From what I've observed, both men and women under about 5'6"" tend to have proportionatly shorter legs. Obviously this is not always the case.

As for what Andrea said about smaller wheels being inconvenient, think of it this way: I ride a lot, using skinny tires. In 2 years I've gotten 2 flats. I've probably given at least 3 tubes to people who needed them. Carry a tube or two and a patch kit. Almost nobody will be borrowing your tubes! I'd rather ride with smaller wheels on a frame that fits than with ""standard"" wheels on a frame who's geometry has been compromised to fit them.

I regret not getting my Waterford touring bike built with 650c wheels- I wanted to be able to use fenders, but with the toe-overlap problem, that is not possible, and I'm 5' 10"". 700c wheels are not a problem on my Seven- I did not want to have fenders on that bike.

I recomended checking out Seven's website. It has some good info on bike fit. You may not be ready to buy a Seven, but what you learn can be applied to any bike. You might also check out Rivendell's website. I saw some good article on handlebars for small hands in their newsletter. I think mine has been recycled, but you might be able to get your hands on a copy.

I've had some bad experience with one ""Pro"" shop that Andea mentioned, but that was over 10 years ago and the old owner is gone, so I will not get into the details here.

I know of quite a few women who swear by the fittings they've gotten at Sid's Bikes. There was a woman who worked at Toga, (Stella), who opened her own shop in Brooklyn, but she closed it and moved to California.

One trick I suggest is to go with a guy friend who knows something about bikes. Make it clear that YOU are buying a bike for YOU. If the shop keeper talks to your friend instead of you, walk away, they're not used to dealing with women and may not know about fitting you.


Anonymous's picture
Bigfoot (not verified)

Why is toe (clip) overlap a problem? People seem to fear this for no valid reason.

I've got size 12.5 feet, and on every bike I own my feet overlap the wheels. The ONLY time you EVER turn the wheel that far is at walking speed, like going around the switchbacks on the GWB ramp. All you gotta do is remember to ratchet. Even on the very rare occasion that my shoe does scrub the wheel, it's not even remotely dangerous at that speed.

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)
no fear

I don't fear toe overlap. I've had some on several road bikes. Once in a while my toe will graze the front wheel when making low speed turns- no big deal. If I had a fender on the bike it would probably break or at least get annoyingly misaligned- that's a problem. I'd prefer not to focus on where my pedal is in relation to my front wheel while turning, there are enough distractions.

Also, bike manufactures tend to try to avoid overlap. In the age of sueing when you spill hot coffee in your lap, it's a concern for manufacturers, even if it's no problem for experienced cyclists. As a result, they often make smaller bikes with longer top tubes, resulting in poor fit for some riders.

If it takes smaller wheels to get a bike that fits right, then that's the way to go.

Anonymous's picture
Mr. Smatypants (not verified)
Ohhhhhhh....PLEASE !!!!!! No Fear my [email protected]#$....


Let's stick w/ the subject here.
And the subject is NOT about your FENDER.
We could care less about spilled coffee at your crotch.

What you said about:

""they often make smaller bikes with longer top tubes, resulting in poor fit for some riders.
If it takes smaller wheels to get a bike that fits right, then that's the way to go""

is purely low tide fumes that can be traced from the Lower East River or from your experience that can be traced from Elizabeth NJ. Wake up. This is not the 80's anymore.

Because of the tight market between bike manufacturers and market segment competition, wholesalers and dealers are well aware about what the buyer wants. If the buyer wants *this*, *that*, and *those*... then the customer is always right. Just to let you know that the dealers can only give advice… and it's up to the buyers to DECIDE.

Anonymous's picture
Bigfoot (not verified)
Smashing Fenders!

I've got fenders on my commuter, lots of TCO, especially with my big ol' hiking boots on, and I've kicked the (plastic) fender several times, usually while snaking through gridlocked traffic. Haven't broken one yet, not a problem.

You're right about the fear of litigation, though. Many Big Brand bikes now come with a 2 paragraph warning label, permanently affixed to the frame.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
more fit articles




Lots of overlapping ideas here, but some differences too. The more you know, the more likely you'll be to get a bike that fits right ... the first time.

(Hey, we could collect this kind of stuff as a FAQ for the resources section, hint hint.)

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