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What bike for 5ft 1"?

hoyinhoyin Posts: 4
edited February 2017 in Women's cycling forum
Trying to find a bike for my wife.

Trying to do it the proper way i.e. the way I would do it if I was buying a bike. She has done a test fit at my local bike shop which was great and now trying to find a suitable bike.

Originally at Evans they said a 48cm frame would suit her, but it transpires after the bike fit that she has shorter legs and longer arms and therefore a 44cm frame would actually be better and more flexible as her body geometry is inbetween the two sizes.

Had a look in the shop but restricted to a only women's bikes due to her size and they only stocked Cannondale and Specialised.

Was only looking to spend around the £1k plus mark. But getting suckered into getting a carbon frame.

So if I was to increase the budget the options were Cannondale Synapse Carbon or the Specialised Amira Sport.

Or are these a waste of money? Should I just get the Synapse Tiagra (I think I would prefer 105)? Or Specialised Ruby (but I want a compact). Whilst I would like a lighter bike I am not sure she would see the benefit.

Any other makes I should consider? I had a look at Canyon - but the smallest size they do is 50!



  • suzybsuzyb Posts: 3,449
    Have a look at Cube as well.

    Their frame sizes seem different compared to others, they are larger even though the frame has similar gemoetry to another manufactures smaller frame. I have a 48cm Cube and it's as good a fit (perhaps even better) than my 41cm Giant was.
  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    Bianchi dama worth considering - bargain here 46cm frame which might suit. I wouldn't worry toomuch of 105 vs tiagra vs Sora - it all works pretty much as good as each other with a very minor weight saving and slight bling factor as you move up the range.
    Bianchi Infinito CV
    Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Ultegra
    Brompton S Type
    Carrera Vengeance Ultimate Ltd
    Gary Fisher Aquila '98
    Front half of a Viking Saratoga Tandem
  • hoyinhoyin Posts: 4
    In the end we settled for the Cannondale.

    A lot of it was due to the service we were getting and the pre fit and post fit that we could get. It was difficult to find a shop that stocked Cube.

    Thanks for your suggestions.
  • FrannybobsFrannybobs Posts: 20
    I'd be interested to hear how the Cannondale works out - I'm 5'3" and struggle with bikes too so have to get women's specific due to my short reach and inner leg length. I was between the Giant Avail 1 (XS) and the Cannondale Synapse the end I picked the Giant but part of me wishes I'd gone with the Cannondale as that had a real buzz about it!

    I only went with the Giant over that really because it had bar top levers and as this was my first road bike with drop handlebars I thought it would give me added confidence during the transition and I have to say they're useful for commuting in heavy traffic. I do love it... But still...I think the Cannondale had my heart!!
  • hoyinhoyin Posts: 4
    Picking it up on Sunday ... so will let you know once she has gone out on it.
  • warrerjwarrerj Posts: 665
    At 5'1" she's almost definitely be better off on a 650c wheel bike BUT you'll struggle to find one these days.
    My wife is 4'11" and currently rides a Kinesis K 210L in the smallest size they do (40cm I think). We're in the process of looking for a new summer bike for her. Due to the limited choice it'll probably be custom built. So far all the frame builders we've seen/spoken to have said 650c is the only way to get a proper fit.
    This is quite an informative read for any petite riders ...
  • 650c. Seriously only option for a good fit. And yes one has to go custom -- I couldn't even find a good used frame when my bike broke (that said I know someone in ny who wants way too much money for a 12 year old independent fabrication ti frame) and have had to get wheels built too.

    I spent a sick amount of money on custom but the bike is sized for me-- no toe over lap too!--and it is a joy to ride. I do long long multi day rides with no issues. I also spec-ed it down from cranks to handlebars.

    I was away recently and rented a 48 cm trek lexa. Yes I moved around seat and changed stem so it "fit" but it was basically a squashed frame to have a short top tube but fit 700c wheels.

    It had terrible toe overlap to point it was dangerous & was so heavy and the wheels didn't spin up -- not fun. If that were my bike I would never cycle.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    I also spec-ed it down from cranks to handlebars.

    Did you spec a lower bottom bracket height?
  • Assuming you are serious here is a serious answer. No as trusted the frame builder to spec -- he had my full measurements & my current frame build. But I could have. It may actually be higher than in my prior bike as I can take tighter turns. They also removed all toe overlap (one of my main requests). I use 165 cranks & I assume they took that into account.
  • I'm 5'2" - hard to find really good road bikes for my size. But found the Canondale Synapse and fit at 46. :)
  • My girlfriend has just got a Cannondale synpase disk 105 for under £1000 (£850) and we are really impressed.
    Great bike!

    Got it from Tredz

    Came quick and fits her really well.
  • livblivb Posts: 59
    I'm 5'3'' and ride a 44cm cannondale carbon synapse (2nd hand from here ~£900) after a few years of a 47cm raleigh. I'm pretty sure I'm between sizes too but have made my stem longer and am now fairly happy - it's comfortable changes now are just because I want a more aggressive position for racing. At 5'1'' I would have thought a 44cm cannondale would be perfect.

    I find the cannondale is pretty good even with it's 700c wheels, though obviously there are some issues for smaller frames unless you are getting into racing (particularly TT) I think it's fine to not worry about 650c especially for the first bike. If you can spend a bit of time waiting there can be bargains had at this size second hand.

    For more options though I hear planet x frames go pretty small (650c TT bikes too)
  • menthelmenthel Posts: 2,484
    My wife has had to go for a custom frame. We went to Condor and they tried to fit her to the smallest fratello and they just couldn't do it without a very short stem. They have ended up building her a 650c frame that should be with us very soon!
    RIP commute...
    Sometimes seen bimbling around on a purple Fratello Disc or black and red Aprire Vincenza.
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    I built a Planet X pro carbon for a shorty friend a while ago - small or x small fitted her perfectly and she's tiny.

    Under a grand, 700c wheels, full Rival group set, etc etc.

    Too late to have a look?
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • My wife is 5'2" and the best bike which we found fitted her is a TREK Lexa S.
  • 97th choice97th choice Posts: 2,222
    Decathlon will often do 650b in their smaller sizes, plus they are more likely to be discounted
    Too-ra-loo-ra, too-ra-loo-rye, aye

    Giant Trance
    Radon ZR 27.5 Race
    Btwin Alur700
    Merida CX500
  • animal72animal72 Posts: 251
    My wife has a 44 Bianchi (mens) frame. Bars/Crank/Stem are all downsized to suit.
    Condor Super Acciaio, Record, Deda, Pacentis.
    Curtis 853 Handbuilt MTB, XTR, DT Swiss and lots of Hope.
    Genesis Datum Gravel Bike, Pacentis (again).
    Genesis Equilibrium Disc, 105 & H-Plus-Son.

    Mostly Steel.
  • might be worth a look. I found they were good for shorter sizes.
  • jessandjessand Posts: 45
    I know the OP has made his purchase but for others in the same position (and there are many) I add our experience. 'Traditional' thinking says for such small bike 650 are required - or build the frame with something like a 53cm top tube which is too long for comfort.
    After much research and trying 6 different bikes we bought Synapse - Cannondale and the like don't have hang ups about tradition. The 46cm comes with a 51cm top tube and a 70cm stem as standard, giving a comfortable reach for my wife. In addition we used 150mm cranks from her previous bike which means good toe clearance. The bike looks perfectly proportioned as the shorter cranks necessitate a higher saddle and provides a comfortable riding position for long rides.
    Others in this situation may want to consider shorter cranks (manufacturers rarely supply short cranks for what a really very small frames. The relatively small outlay for a chainset really does make a difference to the fit and is not a compromise, it also saves a lot of money compared to a custom frame.
    I hope this helps someone to a comfortable bike.
  • M&M27M&M27 Posts: 7
    I just started riding and got a Specialized Dolce Elite E5, 44". I'm 5' and i love it!
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