see the moon? it hates us. (solteronita) wrote in pdx_spokes,
see the moon? it hates us.
solteronita
pdx_spokes

Bike Shops for the Less-Than-Tall

I'm looking for recommendations on bike stores that have a lot of smaller bikes on hand to test ride. I'm a 5'3" girl, and I want to find something that will mainly be used for daily commuting, but will also be durable enough for occasional long distance rides and carrying gear for camping trips by bike. So far I've looked at City Bikes and Community Cycling Center, and I've been perusing Craigslist daily. All three places seem great for girly cruisers or tall people bikes. but what I really need is a chance to try out lots of different bikes (sturdy road and touring) to get a sense of the fit and style that works best for me. I'm hoping to buy a used bike, but I might go for an inexpensive new one if I find something great. I don't need anything super fancy that will just be asking to get stolen. Where have you had luck, shorties?
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Some advice from a bike shop professional:

1. [Mass-produced] small road bikes are hard to find in general because there are fewer of them made in the first place. Same with bikes for the very tall (6' 3" and taller). Bikes at opposing ends of the sizing spectrum were not made in the same quantities as bikes in the middle sizes simply because more people fit bikes in the middle, and manufacturers didn't want to be stuck with leftovers in sizes that didn't sell as well.

2. Used petite road bikes are even harder to find because the folks who need them know how hard it is to find them. When a 5' 1" woman finds a road bike that fits even remotely well, chances are she'll hang onto it for dear life because finding its replacement will be even harder.

3. Anyone under 5' 3" or over 6' 4" is going to have a tough time finding a bike that fits WELL unless they go custom. it's possible to "make do", of course -- we've all done it at times -- but when you're ready for a bike that fits really well and you're really short, your choices are extremely limited. So finding a selection of petite bikes to test ride first is simply going to be very, very hard.

You don't say what your price range is but if it's under 500.00 for a multi-speed road bike, you will have a harder time finding something of good quality.

Have you considered going with an older mountain bike and having it converted to a rough-stuff tourer? Simply put better wheels on it, convert to drop handlebars if you want, and now you have a road bike that has room for fenders and can take a rack if you wish. The smaller wheels mean it will be easier for you to find a petite frame that can be made to fit you reasonably well, and you might be able to get away with spending under 400.00 for something really nice and durable.

Good luck!
Thanks. I'm hoping to spend under $400, so I'm definitely going for used. I'm most interested in a road bike. For now I'm just sticking with Craigslist and riding around on a horribly uncomfortable and bulky big box store mountain bike. It makes me hate riding and walk or take the bus instead, but it was free.
I've seen some Surly road bikes that look like they'd fit you. My old housemate got one new, and I reckon she's 5'3"... so, something to look at.