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Beginner's bike for a small lady

angrymeerkatangrymeerkat Posts: 134
edited May 2009 in Women
Hello all...

my missus needs a new bike. Basically she's so sick of me talking about bicycling and leaving with the boys she wants in! Problem is she's 5'4" and I have no idea what to recommend. I'd like to nudge her toward more 'real' MTBs rather than pretend 'uns, if you see what I mean.

Now we've done some riding previously, (canal towpaths of course), and we attempted Rutland water a month ago. Unfortunately she's got a terribly heavy, incorrectly sized Raleigh piece of junk from childhood and found it very hard going.

She tried on a 14" Giant Yukon at Rutland cycles and liked it - but not enough to justify the £400 on a whim. I'm also thinking the spec looks a bit dodgy for that money. Halfords have a Carrera Vulcan with a very good spec for £270, but it only goes down to 16", which I suspect will be a touch large?

Can any less tall ladies recommend alternatives?

Posts

  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    You are best visiting a few shops and trying them out - is the only way to get the correct size.

    Also check the What Size thread that is stickied in the buying section.
  • Mrs ToastMrs Toast Posts: 636
    As Supersonic said, the only way to be sure is to nuke the site from orbit. No, wait, I mean trying out some bikes...

    I'm 5ft 2. My first bike was a 14" Trek 4500 WSD. Great bike for the price, but I eventually realised it was a bit short for me. However, I did fit a lot better on 14" version of the bloke's Trek 4500, and the 14" Kona Fire Mountain/Cindercone (hire bikes from various centres).

    Most of the women specific designs are designed with short top tubes, for those women with longer leg to torso ratios, and after demoing a lot of women specific bikes, I realised I didn't fit into that category! :lol: However, your girlfriend might, so keep an open mind and try out as many bikes, both blokes' and women's specific.

    For me, the best option was to stick with the blokes bikes, or look at women's versions of bikes that are known for being long. There were some where even the small/14"/15" bikes were too big - reach was fine, but standover was bad to non-existant.

    If you do get a bloke's bike with a coil spring fork, be prepared to replace it/get a new spring put in if your girlfriend is reasonably light.

    So yeah, get her to try different bikes! Both Specialized and Trek are pretty good at the price bracket you're looking at, and have small frame sizes in both standard and women's specific versions. They're also pretty easy to demo, as they've got a sizable demo fleet - just go into your local dealer and ask, if they don't have a particular size or model to hand, they can normally get one from the manufacturer's demo fleet.
  • Ditch WitchDitch Witch Posts: 837
    Thirded for the trying different bikes.

    I'm 5'11" so can't help you on that front, but what I do know is that "women's specific" is pretty limited in it's range as there are many women like me that have a more "mannish" frame (tall, long body, shorter legs).

    The only way to be completely sure is to just try out a bunch of bikes.

    Glad to hear she's up for giving it a go.

    Just remember, she's NOT one of your super fit bike buddies (no matter how fit she already is) so let her take it at her pace and you'll have a riding partner for life ;)
    I ride like a girl
    Start: 16.5.x Now: 14.10.8 Goal: 11.7.x
    www.ditchwitch.me.uk
    www.darksnow.co.uk
    Specialized HardRock Pro Disc 04
  • angrymeerkatangrymeerkat Posts: 134
    Thirded for the trying different bikes.

    I'm 5'11" so can't help you on that front, but what I do know is that "women's specific" is pretty limited in it's range as there are many women like me that have a more "mannish" frame (tall, long body, shorter legs).

    The only way to be completely sure is to just try out a bunch of bikes.

    Glad to hear she's up for giving it a go.

    Just remember, she's NOT one of your super fit bike buddies (no matter how fit she already is) so let her take it at her pace and you'll have a riding partner for life ;)

    Thanks for the replies all.

    We were planning on going on an excursion to test some out this Saturday anyway, we're definitely not spending that much without testing first!

    I've since found that the Carrera isn't in stock anywhere (darn), but I do have an Evans just up the road and hopefully they'll have the Spesh in stock. Of course then there's the sticking point of this year's model being 'poo brown' in colour...

    Really good point made about the spring rates of standard and wsd shocks - I'd not thought of that! I've a feeling she'd also be better on a standard bike actually, given she's not a leggy shape either, so might have to look at some alternatives.

    Sensible words of caution there too. Gentle trails first, I promise ;)
  • Mrs ToastMrs Toast Posts: 636
    I've since found that the Carrera isn't in stock anywhere (darn), but I do have an Evans just up the road and hopefully they'll have the Spesh in stock. Of course then there's the sticking point of this year's model being 'poo brown' in colour...

    Don't get me started on brown bikes. Just...don't!

    :lol:
  • Ditch WitchDitch Witch Posts: 837
    Not keen, then?
















    *ignites touch paper, retreats to safe distance*
    I ride like a girl
    Start: 16.5.x Now: 14.10.8 Goal: 11.7.x
    www.ditchwitch.me.uk
    www.darksnow.co.uk
    Specialized HardRock Pro Disc 04
  • Mrs ToastMrs Toast Posts: 636
    Not keen, then?
















    *ignites touch paper, retreats to safe distance*

    I mean, brown bikes, seriously. The only brown that should be on a bike is the mud! Of all the colours that had to come into fashion....brown?
  • Ditch WitchDitch Witch Posts: 837
    :lol: Maybe it's targetted at chocolate lovers?
    I ride like a girl
    Start: 16.5.x Now: 14.10.8 Goal: 11.7.x
    www.ditchwitch.me.uk
    www.darksnow.co.uk
    Specialized HardRock Pro Disc 04
  • miss notaxmiss notax Posts: 2,823
    :lol::lol::lol:

    My other halfs road bike is metallic poo brown - it's really quite :shock:
    Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away....

    Riding a gorgeous ano orange Turner Burner!

    Sponsor the CC2CC at http://www.justgiving.com/cc2cc
  • Ditch WitchDitch Witch Posts: 837
    Eurgh :shock:
    I ride like a girl
    Start: 16.5.x Now: 14.10.8 Goal: 11.7.x
    www.ditchwitch.me.uk
    www.darksnow.co.uk
    Specialized HardRock Pro Disc 04
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