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  #1  
Old 03-24-2009, 01:30 PM
pdxgal307 pdxgal307 is offline
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Default What to look for in a first bike?

hey all-so i'm looking for my first bike and hoping to find something used. ive been checking out craigslist but have no idea what to look for. im a 5'0" woman and im not sure what size frame would be a good fit for me. i plan to bike around town, so id like something lightweight that would be well suited for road biking...any suggestions? any other good places to look for used bikes in portland?
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Old 03-24-2009, 07:13 PM
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lynnef lynnef is offline
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You are shorter than me. This could be challenging. It isn't likely you'll find something small enough on craigslist, or at the Community Cycling Center or the Wash Co BTC.

700C wheels (standard size) will make the frame want to be bigger than you will want, both in terms of standover and reach (top tube length).

26" wheels would work; you could try to find a 26" wheel frame - there are 26" road bikes. Talk to CityBikes.

650B (between 26" and 700C) will also work, but that is an obscure wheelsize; you won't find it in Portland unless you are determined.

650C wheels would also work, but they only seem to come in expen$ive.

You are going to want a small frame. My hot little road bike is 46cm, with 700C wheels, which is probably too big for you.

Talk to CityBikes.
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Old 03-24-2009, 09:40 PM
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jr98664 jr98664 is offline
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So far as sizing is concerned, you might as well try and go to a local bike shop of you have the time. Look at some bikes similar to what you would like to get and ask if they have one in your size. If they ask you what that is, just say you don't know, and I'm sure they would be glad to quickly size you.

Then you can take those dimensions and go onto Craigslist.
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Old 03-25-2009, 03:12 PM
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lynnef lynnef is offline
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For bicycle frames, you are a tiny person (join the club). On a 700C bike, I can't go any bigger than 49cm/19" frame. As you are 3 inches shorter, downsize accordingly. Any bike you find on Craigslist will be a guy's bike, with a much longer upper body reach than you will be comfortable with. Women, in general (although not always in specific) are have a shorter torso and longer thigh length than men, for the same height. I got on a friend's bike (he's a petite guy) and the handlebars were somewhere in Hawaii.

Don't let anyone talk you into "you'll get used to it". You won't. It is challenging finding a women's bike that fits the female and vertically-challenged individual. I know. Boy, do I know.

A mixte might work for you. I would say, again, talk to City Bikes - they've got reasonable used bikes coming in all the time, plus they have a decent city-type bikes.
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:40 PM
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sgtiger sgtiger is offline
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What type of riding are you wanting to do? Budget? What is your standover?

BTW I'm 5' 1 1/2" with a standover of 27" - long torso with short stumpy legs, so WSD didn't work for me. I felt cramped on my Terry Classic and felt like I was about to flip a$$ over teakettle at any moment. But I know people around my height whose standover heights are around 31 inches. For them the shorter top tube on WSD bike is perfect. In fact, Terry has a very loyal following of people for whom they work. Just not me.
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Old 04-17-2009, 08:32 AM
boneshaker boneshaker is offline
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pdxgal you are in an un-enviable position. On the one hand you would like to try cycling, but you are probably not sure if it works for you or fits your lifestyle so you want to try it without a big investment. If this doesn't pin you, sorry, but it does a lot of folks. At least it did me when I started. The undesputably most important aspect of a bicycle is fit and getting properly fit is something you either know because you are experienced or you have someone experienced help you with. This is why bike-shops are in business... to help people find bikes that fit their bodies, intended use and lifestyle.

Used bikes are great... I'm all for re-using and recycling, but if you find something nice that's you can afford, but doesn't fit you will probably never enjoy riding. Bike shops also give you some place to go when something is out of whack or making strange noises. "My seat is uncomfortable" or "my brakes squeek" or "the chain keeps clicking". You can't take it back to the person you bought it off Craigslist from and get a free adjustment. Working and buying through a bike shop helps you build a relationship and that is an important part of cycling.

I ride 7-8k miles / year and have done so for a few years now. I do all my own mechanical work, but still rely on River City and Revolver from time to time. When I go in to either shop they know me and what I'm about and that's worth something.

Understand that buying a cheap used bike is like buying a cheap used car. You never know what you'll get. Good luck, whatever you decide.
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