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Bikes for Short Guys

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 11:47 am
by bikesnotbombs
Hey people,
I'm interested in buying a road bike, or a commuter. Something simple, but that will survive riding pretty much every day.
The thing is, I'm only 5'3" - on the short end for guys.
I don't particularly want to have to get a womens frame, as the ones I've come across don't seem to suit me very well in terms of colour.
Is there any particular brands that cater for the smaller male rider?
Thanks for the advice.

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 11:58 am
by gururug
I had this problem, and have made some posts about my experiences.

-Shops won't have bikes your size that you can try
-You may have to alter stems / cranksets /saddle even on "small sized" bikes
-IN any respect take your time, most shops will try to suggest something that "they can offer" which in most cases will not be the right thing for you.
-Avanti, merida and a few other brands offer smaller sized bikes.

Find a shop that has a machine that they can alter all proportions and get yourself correctly sized!, this will save yourself a whole lot of hassle.

Also, ring around your city to see if any shops have small sized bikes you can sit on to try.

The biggest problem is that when you are new, you do not know yourself exactly what you need / will feel right so often at his stage KNOWONE will know what is exactly right for you :cry: , that said, you can get pretty close.

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 12:12 pm
by bikesnotbombs
Thanks so much for all the advice!
It seems as though buying a bike wasn't going to be as easy as I first anticipated. Curse my small stature!
Cutting down the frame/stem/etc would cost a fair bit, wouldn't it? I'm a uni student, wanting to use this bike as my main form of transportation and as a fitness tool when I'm not studying. But money is certainly a concern.

I do believe I'll be going to many a bicycle store, test riding many a bike before I find one that is even close to being what I like.

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 1:20 pm
by Bnej
At 5'3" you should be in the middle of the bracket for a Giant XS sized frame.

One of the CRX bikes might suit you if you want flat bars, if you can get it in the XS size. After that it's just a matter of fiddling with it until it fits.

The OCR 3 might suit you if you want drop bars, but will cost you more.

Equivalent bikes come in most brands, your best bet is to look around, talk to bike shop people. If it's a good bike shop, they will be interested in getting you a bike that fits you properly.

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 2:22 pm
by bikesnotbombs
Excellent! Thats the kind of information I was looking for, brand name specifics. I went to the Giant website, and you're right - I am in the middle range for an XS frame. Now I know that there's actually a frame which can fit me, I can work on finding a type of bike I like.

Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 9:46 pm
by europa
Don't fuss about brands. Any shop that stocks a brand is stocking a brand that is 'well known' (ie, not some obsure product from the outer fringes of mainstream cycling). Sadly, that's the state of things in good old Oz. Sad, isn't it.

At 5'3", you will experience 'fit' problems, mainly because you aren't what is considered 'normal'. Gawd knows what that actually is, but I'm 6' and am currently ordering an expensive neck to fix a fit problem on my Trek520. Mate, you aren't alone.

While ladies frames might offer colour challenges, also remember that the 'ladies' bikes are designed for someone who is longer in the leg and shorter in the torso than a bloke of the same size. Hell, they don't even suit all women (ask Matagi). Still, a can of spray paint will fix that, and if you're in Adelaide, I've got a pretty good spray paint set up (for me boats :D).

However, I doubt that at 5'3" you'll be outside the normal range of bikes for any of the major brands ... but agree with your thought that you're unlikely to find one to suit actually on the floor in a shop. Good bike shops can and will organise a bike for you to try without any agreement to buy. Sadly, good bike shops are rare BUT, ask and those that offer to look after you, will probably look after you in other areas as well. It's worth going to a lot of shops to find the shop that looks after you, not only in the initial purchase, but further down the track (as I'm experiencing with my Black Beast).

If you can afford a custom bike, they are a good way to go, but I would be surprised if you can't be fitted properly within any of the main brands - Trek, Giant, Avanti, etc. The issue will be the shop, not the manufacturer.


Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:48 am
by bikesnotbombs
You guys are so helpful and friendly, thanks heaps!
The girlfriend and I are going to all the bike shops in Newcastle we can think of today, getting a feel for some bikes, different brands, have a chat to the sales people and feel the shop out for helpfullness. If that's a word.
I've already got a reccomendation for a shop here call Civic Bikes, so I think that's the first port of call.

Once again, your advice has been well apreciated!

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:41 am
by kslim
Hi. I'm a 5'4 male. (Note - women tend to be longer in the legs, shorter in the torso - requiring slightly different geometry)

Road bikes that seem to fit me are the Raceline bikes - in their smallest size (46"), the Giant XS OCR and CRX. The Avanti small size and Azzuri small seemed pretty good as well, but I haven't spent as much time on these to be able to say. I've got a Raceline Ultra.

A guy in a bunch I ride with is a bit shorter than me, and has a very nice Carrera frame, which fits him very nicely (but not sure if this is the sort of price range you want to look at).

You should be able to find something without too much trouble, but as has been previously noted, it may be hard to find one to try out. Just make sure the bike shop spends some time on fitting it, not just the old : "hop on, that looks about right... off you go".

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:52 am
by bikesnotbombs
Thanks again people.
So I went to Hadley Cycles and looked at thier Giant range, the only bike they were able to get in my size was the Giant Elwood, and they quoted me $430 - a bit out of my price range.

I generally don't want to spend more than say, $350 - i'm looking to get into the sport, and want a bike for commuting to uni on weekdays, but riding recreationally to increase my fitness on weekends.
Is it even possible to get such a cheap bike that wont fall apart on me?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:28 am
by Bnej
$350 you can get decent (but not great) low end mountain/hybrid type bike. E.g, Giant Upland I think is under $350. I think from Giant you'll have to hunt for floor stock at the moment since the distributor is running down their stock.

It really is the bottom end of the price scale for good brands, but you ought to be able to find something decent.

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:38 am
by Mulger bill
My daughter has an Upland SE, it's a pretty good ride at that pricepoint, 21 speed megarange and not bad brakes (it'll get Koolstop Thinline pads when these ones wear out) IMO a midspec upgrade as parts wear out would not be a waste of money, just remember it's not for racing or heavy offroad use.