Frame size for wife

ADIHEAD Posts: 575
edited December 2013 in Road buying advice
Hi guys

My 5ft 4inch wife chose a discounted 2013 Cannondale Synapse in a 48cm. In the shop the guy asked her if she felt she had an inch of clearance from crotch to top tube, which she assumed she had! I picked it up for her Saturday and as soon as I looked at her on it, just looked too big - 2inch seat post showing, bars higher than saddle. She barely had 1cm of crotch clearance. I got her on the turbo and she couldn't even get her heels on the ground as she stood over the frame! She's never ridden a road bike and I don't consider that safe as she's pretty nervous getting on and off.

I returned to the shop and they were more than happy to replace with the smaller size, 44cm, which was duly ordered (higher price). This however is the 2014 model. I've now checked the geometry of the 44cm and see they've changed the geometry so the top tube is now much more sloped. Indeed the 2014 48cm, now has 2.6cm more standover height than the 2013 model. Question is, should I be worried that the 2014 44cm framed bike which I've now ordered, will be too small? Headtube is 1cm lower than the 48cm 2013 model that we tried, on which I felt I could have droped the bars down the steerer by at least 2cm so I guess not? Just a 44cm frame sounds small for a 5ft 4 female! Anyone else of this height ride a 44cm frame?



  • stannie
    stannie Posts: 167
    edited December 2013
    I am 5'4 " with 29" inside leg and I have a 51cm Trek WSD, and I have fitted a slightly longer stem.
    I found the 48cm Cannondale was the right size for me, with enough leg clearance and seat slightly higher than bars, but again the stem was a bit short on the ladies model. On a small frame you often find that there is not a huge difference between saddle height and bar height.
    I am surprised she needs a 44cm but I guess it depends on her inside leg measurement and torso length and what's he feels comfortable with.
    Can you not get a proper "Bikefit".they are definitely worth the money and you will be sure she has the right size.
    Waterford RS-14
    Trek Domane SL6
    Ridley Noah SL

    A woman can never have too many bikes!
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    The key dimension for bike fit is reach - standover clearance has nothing to do about riding the bike, just mounting and dismounting. A decent shop should set the bike up properly, including adjusting, swapping the stem where needed. A 44cm sloping toptube frame isn't untypical for someone of your wife's stature.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
    ADIHEAD Posts: 575
    Cheers Monty. Indeed and I've got a spare stem or two. It's just the mounting and dismounting I'm concerned about for her to start with. For an experienced rider I don't feel standover would be such an issue. She wants to ride with the kids at low speeds as well as proper rides so I think manoeuvrability is more important than it would be for someone like myself.

    She's around 28 inch inside leg and indeed my sister in law is an inch shorter and rides a 51cm Spesh. We live in the middle of nowhere and there's not many places to try small framed, female specific bikes! Of course the shop should have advised her better but there was a £400 discount and think they were keen to do a deal, the shopkeeper actually said she could 'just' get away with it. There wasn't enough seatpost showing to even mount a light so the 2013 48cm was definitely too big. It's just I'm now confused when I see the geometry for the 2014 model 48cm gives her an extra 2.6cm clearance, and I've told the shop to order a 44cm, not realising the geometry had changed! Guess she'll get away with it and I'll just have to use one of my spare stems if she needs more cockpit length.

    I've just had a Retul fit myself so I know the benefits, it took me 5 hours including travelling and we just haven't got that time just before Christmas.
  • kajjal
    kajjal Posts: 3,380
    My wife was the same buying an XC mountain bike and not confident with too little stand over height. A test ride will confirm the sizing.
    ADIHEAD Posts: 575
    Cheers Kajjal. Well the test ride confirmed the 2013 48 was too big! I think we'll be ok I guess. It's just I'm thrown now as hadn't clicked the newer model had lower stand over height until we'd placed the order for the smaller frame. I'll have to get her to try it when she picks it up!
  • StillGoing
    StillGoing Posts: 5,211
    Surely it depends where the 44cm is measured from? Are you sure it's the top tube length and not the seat tube for instance? Basso measure by the seat tube rather than top tube so although my Astra is a 48 sloping, it is the equivalent of a 51 top tube length. My Dolan Ares winter trainer is a 44 sloping which again has a top tube length of 51. Unless your wife has a seriously long torso and arms, I'd think anything over the Cannondale 44 would be too big. I reckon you made the right decision.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
    ADIHEAD Posts: 575
    Cheers Philthy3, the 2013 is measured just in front of BB to top tube, the 2014 is measured to a virtual point and is actually 38cm to the top tube, due to the sloping nature of the frame. Thanks for the confidence vote, just got confused by the change in geometry on the newer model! Reach on the new 44cm is 1cm less than old 48cm so worst case then it's a new stem!

    Thanks again:)