First bike for my wife!

j-sworks

Maximum Pace
Feb 5, 2012
1,199
48
68
Tokyo
#1
Hi All,

So I finally got my wife interested in real road biking, this plan has been in the works for about 3 years (basically a few months after met! haha)

I first got her on a mountain bike a long time ago but she was not a fan because the bike was to heavy and living in the city it required travel to get to the riding worth doing, but she was a trooper and never complained;) Then I got her a single speed Specialized Daily for getting around Vancouver, we lived in false creek and her school was downtown so she rode around the seawall two times a day (about 9km each way). Again she was a real trooper, even with the single speed and rain! :D

The time has finally come when I can get her out with me on the road, so what do you suggest?

Stats:153cm, excising shoulder problem (nothing serious), likely will be a weekend warrior, and we are likely heading back to Vancouver in about 3 years. I want to keep within $1000 CDN as thats what I paid for my first roadie. She has tried the Specialized Dolce, Ruby, Anchor something, and it seems that she does not fit the anchor and the Specialized bikes are good in size 480mm. I am also looking at the Louis Garneau CR23 in a 420mm but its a tank at 10.something kg's...
 

Alei

Cruising
Apr 6, 2012
34
0
16
Tokyo
#2
Maybe check out the Felt bike range.

As a female (height about 159cm) - I bought my first road bike this year.I went for the Felt ZW85 (or 75, can't remember). The ZW series are women's-specific bikes. I went the 460mm size. It has Shimano 105 components and was a good buy at about 80,000yen (2011 model). I bought in online in Japan and it arrived fully assembled in a huge-arse box. Weighs about 8kg.
 

j-sworks

Maximum Pace
Feb 5, 2012
1,199
48
68
Tokyo
#3
Maybe check out the Felt bike range.

As a female (height about 159cm) - I bought my first road bike this year.I went for the Felt ZW85 (or 75, can't remember). The ZW series are women's-specific bikes. I went the 460mm size. It has Shimano 105 components and was a good buy at about 80,000yen (2011 model). I bought in online in Japan and it arrived fully assembled in a huge-arse box. Weighs about 8kg.
Cheers, I'll check that out. Looks like good deal
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#4
We've had very good results in fitting <most> smaller riders on a 440/480 sized bike. Here's the scoop:

1) If you get std road bike sized much smaller than 440 (c-c) then the geometry will be wacked out. it becomes 'heavy' to handle just doesn't fit rationally. Smaller frames than 440 should be built with 650 (or smaller) wheels - but, then, you have other issues to deal with.

2) If the rider is about 155cm - 165cm, then a 440c-c bike will fit fine if it's overall geometry is rational and the components correct. The problem with most 'big box' makers is they give you the right frameset, but then everything else is just totally WRONG. For example -

- They provide setback style seatpost instead of straight. WRONG!! Smaller rider needs to be set forward MORE whcih automatically helps with the slightly longer TT allowing for reasonable sized stem length.

- They provide 400+ mm Bars with std drops. WRONG!! Most smaller riders and especially women, should have narrower bars with reach and drop proportional to their shoulder width and hand grasp. Like the Deda 'Big' Piego, for example. (380mm)

- They just slam on any OE grouset which typically come with 170mm cranks. WRONG!! besides giving possible toe clip overlap, the smaller rider is more comfortable (and less mechanical touching issues) with a 160mm or 165mm crankset.

- They usually have a generic 12-25 or 12-27 cassette with std or sometimes compact crankset. WRONG AGAIN!! The biggest complaint I receive from smaller riders and especially novice women is they DON'T LIKE TO RIDE HILLS IN PAIN! So - it's much better to use a CX / MTB gearing like 36/46 with 12-32 cassette. All the difference in the world!

So - generally speaking, there ARE some good bikes out there with correct sizing frames, however 99% of them come out of the box just TOTALLY WRONG, WRONG, WRONG for smaller riders.

WHY? Because the big brands MUST do it this way. They simply build according to OE provided groupsets and never distinguish at this level of build. Especially for smaller riders.

So, whatever you do buy, make sure it follows the points above, regardless of the costs, and it will be fine. I'd venture to say you have nothing to gain by giong 105 vs Tiagra, for example. In fact, Tiagra is easier to maintain and also has wider range cassette available. The cost difference will let you upgrade other parts of the bike which are more important in terms of fit and performance, too. Namely saddle, wheels and bars.

You should have no problem finding this combo in quite a few bikes in the 80,000 yen range. Like the Fuji Finest 3.0, Louis Garneau, Miyata, etc...
 
Sep 2, 2009
5
0
0
#5
I recently built a 44cm Cannondale CAAD10, as a first bike for someone.

Overkill, you may say, but here is why I did it...

All the other bikes we could find in all the shops under the rising sun, within reasonable budget, at this size, were basically entry level, and not worth the money they were asking.

I managed to get the frame for around half-retail, donated my old wheels, got shifters and stem donated (thanks to Eugen, soooo much for those parts!), and traded my way into the rest of the parts. Second hand but in perfect working order.

Only parts we needed to buy new were bars, bar tape, front mech, chain, and the little extras like chain-drop catcher, etc.

Ended up with a really, REALLY good bike for around 110,000yen, which is insanely good for what it is.

Moral of my story, if there even is one, is that when you get down to the really small, often female aimed bike sizes, like Tim says above, you start to get fed junk, even if the frame is good. With all the research I did on this bike, building it from scratch was definitely the right thing for me to do, and we ended up getting a killer bike for around the same price as an entry level road bike.

Way more work than walking into a shop and picking something off the shelf, and took a good few months, but the end result was something wonderful, and it fits absolutely perfectly.
 
Sep 2, 2009
5
0
0
#6
1)The problem with most 'big box' makers is they give you the right frameset, but then everything else is just totally WRONG. For example -

- They provide setback style seatpost instead of straight. WRONG!! Smaller rider needs to be set forward MORE whcih automatically helps with the slightly longer TT allowing for reasonable sized stem length.

- They provide 400+ mm Bars with std drops. WRONG!! Most smaller riders and especially women, should have narrower bars with reach and drop proportional to their shoulder width and hand grasp. Like the Deda 'Big' Piego, for example. (380mm)

- They just slam on any OE grouset which typically come with 170mm cranks. WRONG!! besides giving possible toe clip overlap, the smaller rider is more comfortable (and less mechanical touching issues) with a 160mm or 165mm crankset.
And yeah, totally and utterly agree with all of this;

The parts I specced for her were exactly a set of Deda Piego 38mm, and 165mm 105 compact crankset.

Works absolutely perfectly for someone of her size. Anything bigger would be like those silly birds you see walking around the train stations in Tokyo with shoes 4 sizes too big, in a bid to look cute, but clopping around like Bambi after 6 pints of Stella.
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#8
Any good bike store will swap out Stem, Bars, Cranks for the rider at no additional cost - Stage1 did this for my Pinarello (Had to wait a few weeks for the 130 stem) and also Sagami Cycles have done this at no additional cost for my little brothers SCOTT and the bikes I supply certain companies with.

Basically its all about the store you go to - Also there is absolutely no reason on earth to buy a womens specific frame - any professional bike fitter will tell you exactly the same and to my knowledge there are absolutely no women Pro riders riding female frames!
 
Sep 2, 2009
5
0
0
#9
There is absolutely no reason on earth to buy a womens specific frame - any professional bike fitter will tell you exactly the same and to my knowledge there are absolutely no women Pro riders riding female frames!
Yeah, agreed, but they do exist, which must mean there is a market for them. Not quite sure who is buying them though...

Actually, thinking about it, the only thing I can think that would make a frame aimed at women, would be some sexist idea that a cute paintjob is what the average woman is after. From my experience, like men, most women want a cool looking bike, without any cute rubbish on it, that fits.
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
914
294
83
Tokyo
#13
cool looks, etc

From my experience, like men, most women want a cool looking bike, without any cute rubbish on it, that fits.
Oh? I tentatively infer that what many (most?) men (not me!) want is a bike with a lot of VERY CONSPICUOUS TRADEMARKS on it.

My missus has a "mixte". OK, it's not a "road" machine, but it was a bit sporty back in the day (mid-eighties?). The idea of riding it while wearing a skirt never started to convince either of us, but I think of it as having a de fact slanting top tube from back when actual slanting top tubes were for 12-year-olds. This slanting top tube makes it a lot less scary for a complete beginner. If only its size were right for me, its (original) paint job, a uniform blue, would make me a lot happier than the logorrheic ("BRAND* BRAND BRAND BRAND", etc) and kaleidoscopic look of the gee-whiz [brand] shown to me by its justifiably proud (male) owner just the other day. The manly [brand] is a hugely lighter and superior bike, but as far as coolth is concerned, well, de gustibus non est disputandum.

* (very fancy) brand name omitted in order not to rub up any of its partisans the wrong way!
 

whempy

Cruising
Aug 21, 2012
5
0
11
Kasukabe
#14
I'm from Vancouver! I used to ride there. The bike I rode was cyclocross (Marin) and I really liked it. It was light, but it stood up to the debris littered roads of Vancouver (I never had to change a tire/tube).

I have tried the Specialized "dolce" frames and I don't really like them. I don't quite see the logic of them. Perhaps if they are more comfortable for shorter upper bodies? Not quite sure.

I think it is kind of hard to recommend a bike. She just has to get out and try them. I just got a new bike and it's a Scott. I love it but every body is different. :)

Good luck to your wife in finding a bike.
 

j-sworks

Maximum Pace
Feb 5, 2012
1,199
48
68
Tokyo
#15
Hmm,

I actually was thinking that the Spec Ruby/Dolce is a great bike for my wife, and the comment that Tim made about sizing made me think. It seems that on regular bikes she is a 420/440 but I have schooled about the 420 issues, and when at the Spec concept store she was fitted to a 480 Dolce/Ruby so to me this indicated that with different geometry they were able to avoid the problems that Tim mentioned. I don't believe they make a 420.

My wife is getting distracted by the future transportation issues (taking it back to Canada in a few years), and she is leaning toward a Louis Garneau CR23 (that she would just sell when we leave)which is fine but I feel that at 10.9kg she will not have a good experience. That being said, my first roadie was a Trek 1.2 that weighed 9kg, I think.

Currently the decision is between 80-85,000 or 55,000円, Spec Dolce or many others and the LG CR23 respectively.
 

j-sworks

Maximum Pace
Feb 5, 2012
1,199
48
68
Tokyo
#16
I'm from Vancouver! I used to ride there. The bike I rode was cyclocross (Marin) and I really liked it. It was light, but it stood up to the debris littered roads of Vancouver (I never had to change a tire/tube).

I have tried the Specialized "dolce" frames and I don't really like them. I don't quite see the logic of them. Perhaps if they are more comfortable for shorter upper bodies? Not quite sure.

I think it is kind of hard to recommend a bike. She just has to get out and try them. I just got a new bike and it's a Scott. I love it but every body is different. :)

Good luck to your wife in finding a bike.
A fellow vancouerite;)

Yeah she has a tricky reach, meaning that she needs something that is compact. She has rode a regular small roadie and she was fine but she didn't get along with the seat.
 
Sep 2, 2009
5
0
0
#17
Oh? I tentatively infer that what many (most?) men (not me!) want is a bike with a lot of VERY CONSPICUOUS TRADEMARKS on it.

My missus has a "mixte". OK, it's not a "road" machine, but it was a bit sporty back in the day (mid-eighties?). The idea of riding it while wearing a skirt never started to convince either of us, but I think of it as having a de fact slanting top tube from back when actual slanting top tubes were for 12-year-olds. This slanting top tube makes it a lot less scary for a complete beginner. If only its size were right for me, its (original) paint job, a uniform blue, would make me a lot happier than the logorrheic ("BRAND* BRAND BRAND BRAND", etc) and kaleidoscopic look of the gee-whiz [brand] shown to me by its justifiably proud (male) owner just the other day. The manly [brand] is a hugely lighter and superior bike, but as far as coolth is concerned, well, de gustibus non est disputandum.

* (very fancy) brand name omitted in order not to rub up any of its partisans the wrong way!
I meant the women-aimed stuff seems to be all pink, with purple stripes, for some reason, whereas a uni-sex standard small frame from a decent manufacturer is generally neutral, and not heading to Hello Kitty land.

Anyway, it is all good.
 

j-sworks

Maximum Pace
Feb 5, 2012
1,199
48
68
Tokyo
#18
I meant the women-aimed stuff seems to be all pink, with purple stripes, for some reason, whereas a uni-sex standard small frame from a decent manufacturer is generally neutral, and not heading to Hello Kitty land.

Anyway, it is all good.
Oh Kittychan where did ye go wrong???
 
Sep 2, 2009
5
0
0
#19
Haha, it is more worrying when you see it on the bikes of grown men.

Back on topic, just checked and the 44cm CAAD10 frame is being ridden by a person who is 154cm tall, with dimensionally normal length legs for her frame.

Spec points of interest, perhaps;

Cannondale CAAD10 frame 44cm. Off the shelf, normal geometry for that frame.
Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels normal 700c road bike size. I was worried we would have to go small on the wheels, but with this sized frame, normal works great.
Deda Piego 38cm bars
105 165mm compact crankset (took a while to find that, I will admit)
105 shifters with Specialized rubber insert to bring them closer to the bars.
Deda Zero 100 80mm stem
Cannondale straight seat post

I know everyone has different dimensions, but this bike fits her perfectly, and if she is about the same size as your wife, then that means there are defo bikes out there, without having to resort to something aimed solely at women.

Not sure if this helps at all, but having recently gone through the hassle of finding a decent bike for a person on the smaller side, I thought I would let you know what we went for.

Cheers.
 

j-sworks

Maximum Pace
Feb 5, 2012
1,199
48
68
Tokyo
#20
It does and thanks for the details,

That is the stem and frame size I had in mind, but now I'm thinking about the crank length (kinda forgot about that).

Yeah it's not the same as buying components for a "regular" sized rider, and I do hope she finds something for herself in cycling. You know what I mean, that feeling when your out there and just feel like at this particular time everything is perfect.

So I think we will be looking a little more, now I might look into building something but not as snazzy as you did;)