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An entry-level hybrid (under £500) for a 5' tall woman

SpiderJSpiderJ Posts: 14
edited November 2014 in Women's cycling forum
I recently got into cycling as part of my training for my first triathlon this year (after being shamed into it when my 69-year old mother did her first!), and found that it is my favourite discipline of the three. I have been encouraging my 2 kids (9 and 6 year old boys) to cycle more and just took the eldest for a 15km SkyRide around the local area (can't recommend the SkyRide service highly enough!).

With winter approaching, I have entered a duathlon in November, and my wife, who is actually far fitter than me, has said she'd like to have a go - but up until recently has never really cycled that much (mainly for fear of having to take her hands off the bars when indicating). We went to the New Forest over the August Bank Holiday and had fun with some rented MTBs bouncing over some gravel trails and she is now ready to get a bit more serious about it all.

To that end, I have been looking to get her an entry-level hybrid (she has no interest in getting lycra'd up and crouching low over drop bars) with the following criteria:
  1. Lightweight (I have an old steel Trek FX and while it's great for training, it's a bit of a beast)
  2. Appropriate for her size (she is 5' and oddly enough the Boardman Hybrid Fi is only suitable for women who are 5'4" and above, which given that the AVERAGE height of women is 5'4" makes you wonder what they think those who are under it are meant to ride?)
  3. Enough gears to not make hills too much of a chore, but not too many to make it overwhelming.
  4. I was thinking that disc brakes might make her feel more confident - but never tried them myself, so just going on what I have heard/read.
  5. Comfortable - I realise that there are female-specific geometry, seats, etc. - but don't know how much of a difference that actually makes?

To that end, I have drawn up a short-list, and would love some feedback on whether there are any great/awful bikes to look at/avoid:

Trek 7.2FX Hybrid (£340)
Cannondale Quick 6 Women's Hybrid (£380)
Pinnacle Lithium 2 Women's Hybrid (£400)
Specialized Vita Women's Hybrid (£400)
Specialized Sirrus Hybrid (£400)
Trek 7.2FX WSD Hybrid (£425)
HOY Shizuoka .000 Hybrid (£475)
Trek 7.2FX Disc (£475)
Pinnacle Lithium 4 Women's Hybrid (£550)

I haven't put the Boardman Hybrid Fi (which I could get for under £400 with my BC discount), because of the sizing - but if anyone knows that it would still be suitable, I'd certainly want to add it to the list.

thanks in advance



  • I've never had a hybrid myself but my friend has a specialized Vita and says its good. What your wife is best off doing is trying the ones she fancies at somewhere like Evans and then making up her own mind on what is suitable.
    Womens specific models tend to be shorter in the top tube and have different seats and bars as well also the frame angles can be slightly different to mens models. Its not always just a case of they have shorter stems and a different seat. The frame is usually different but not always, it depends on the brand.
    How much of a difference it makes depends on the woman and her proportions, what works for one may not for another, thats why get her to try both womens and unisex bikes.
  • SpiderJSpiderJ Posts: 14

    For what it's worth, the Halfords web-site now shows that they stock 15"/40cm frames for the Boardman Fi bikes - which makes much more sense.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    700c wheels are too large for riders of 5'. If you bodge the frame to "fit", the handling sucks.
    The only decent 26"models seem to be
    Boardman Sport-e
    Islabikes Beinn 26 large
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