Please help me choose a bike! (Womens Specific)

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
Hudson
Posts: 4
Joined: 2 May 2009, 6:19pm

Please help me choose a bike! (Womens Specific)

Postby Hudson » 2 May 2009, 6:38pm

Hi all,

After having my mountain bike stolen recently I have decided that I was primarily not using it for off road use and so am therefore looking into getting a more road-type bike. I have so far test cycled a few womens specific and mens hybrid bikes and have decided that the womens design certainly feels more comfortable for me despite being 5"7ish. In particular I have tested the Trek 7.2 fx which was a nice ride but I really didn't like the look of it (http://www.bicycledoctor.co.uk/graphics/trek72fxwsd.jpg) I know that might sound stupid but I do want a bike to be proud of! I then came across the Giant FCR 2 W (http://www.giant-bicycles.com/_upload_u ... 0Wzoom.jpg) which is very nice looking but it is £575, so not sure if it is worth the extra(the Trek is £370).

I would therefore like some opinions as to which bike may be the best for my money. I am going to the use the bike for day rides primarily but also going to do some touring so the bike needs to be able to take panniers. I had originally set my budget at around £400 because I thought I could get a decent bike for that (and I am a student!) however, I could go to £600 really but I would need to feel that I was really getting more for my money.

I would really appreciate any opinions on which brand/ type etc bike to go for as I am quite new to this and despite doing lots of online research am still finding it difficult to know which is my best option.

Thanks very much for any help :D
Last edited by Hudson on 2 May 2009, 10:21pm, edited 1 time in total.

thirdcrank
Posts: 28855
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Please help me choose a bike!

Postby thirdcrank » 2 May 2009, 8:01pm

A general point about the comparative pricing of bikes, is that it's common these days for manufacturers to fit components from a particular 'group' matched to the price level. Sometimes, to keep prices down the attention-catching parts such as the gears will be from an identifiable group, the more mundane stuff will be cheaper. This means that bike prices tend to be arranged in steps to attract different sections of the market. Although there is a lot of debate about whether there is much added value at the top end, I think a couple of hundred quid extra at this price level means a substantially better bike; hardly surprising because you would be spending around 50% more. (I don't know much about bikes for women so I'll leave that to those who do.)

If you intend to fit panniers, it's an excellent idea to give it some consideration at this stage, rather than as an afterthought. At a pinch you can fix luggage racks to any bike, and some places such as St John St Cycles, sell all sorts of Meccano-type kits for the purpose. On the other hand, if you definitely want a rack or racks, getting something with them fitted as original equipment might save all sorts of hassle and expense. Incidentally, decent panniers are not particularly cheap so it would be wise to budget for them, even if you buy them later. The other point about carrying luggage, especially a lot of it, is that it all adds to the weight and it's better to have a bike intended to carry the extra. Obviously, that's not really an issue if you do not plan taking the kitchen sink.

Finally, there are different opinions on the value of mudguards. I favour them myself, and as they often share their mounting points with luggage racks, this is the time to think about a bike with them fitted. Most bike shops will be a lot keener to fit these items of extra equipment if they are selling you a complete bike, rather than if you want it doing later.

Big T
Posts: 2105
Joined: 16 Jul 2007, 1:44pm
Location: Nottingham
Contact:

Re: Please help me choose a bike!

Postby Big T » 2 May 2009, 8:19pm

The Trek is essentially a Mountainbike with road tyres on and the Giant is a road bike with straight bars. The Trek looks as though it has cheap plastic v brakes and the Giant has quality dual pivot brakes. The Giant is a better bike, but then it's more money.

Are you insistent on having straight bars?

My wife, who's 5' 6", recently bought a 48cm Dawes Horizon and is very please with it. It comes with a rack and mudguards, but it does have drop handlebars. It cost £460 from Spa Cycles.

http://www.dawescycles.com/p-105-horizon.aspx

The Dawes Kara-Kum is similar but has "butterfly" bars and costs slightly more.

http://www.dawescycles.com/p-106-kara-kum.aspx
My JOGLE blog:
http://www.jogler2009.blogspot.com
twitter: @bikingtrev

Hudson
Posts: 4
Joined: 2 May 2009, 6:19pm

Re: Please help me choose a bike!

Postby Hudson » 2 May 2009, 8:33pm

Thanks very much for both responses. Thirdcrank, thats certainly given me a few more things to think about, I think i'll try and get a deal when I go into the shop as there's quite a lot of things I need.

Big.T, thank you very much for your opinions on the bikes. I have got to say I have shyed away from the dropped handle bars, I think having always cycled mountain bikes I find them a bit intimidating :? I was thinking of a hybrid as more of an introduction to road cycling and also giving me a bit more flexibility as to what surfaces I could cycle on. I thought perhaps it best not to dive stright in? also I sat on one with dropped handlebars and did find it pretty uncomfortable, but I suppose it is just about getting used to it?

TwoWheelsGood
Posts: 189
Joined: 6 Feb 2007, 8:32pm

Re: Please help me choose a bike!

Postby TwoWheelsGood » 2 May 2009, 9:58pm

At this stage, the only way to ensure that you find the best bike for you is to try out as many bikes as possible (either with straight or drop bars) to see whether you like them; ideally riding each bike for more than ten minutes (if possible).

If you feel most comfortable riding a bike with with straight(ish) bars, you can have bar ends fitted (if not supplied as standard) which permit more hand positions to be adopted on longer journeys. Likewise it may be possible to have extra brake levers fitted to drop bars enabling the brakes to be easily activated when riding in an upright position, although this will be more costly to achieve.

thirdcrank
Posts: 28855
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Please help me choose a bike!

Postby thirdcrank » 2 May 2009, 10:11pm

As an afterthought, we do have quite a number of women who contribute to this forum. I could well imagine their attention might not be caught by your subject line. They're the people whose brains you need to pick - some are obviously very experienced. You could try editing your subject line

User avatar
dima
Posts: 18
Joined: 2 Jun 2008, 2:18pm

Re: Please help me choose a bike!

Postby dima » 2 May 2009, 10:14pm

Hudson wrote:I have got to say I have shyed away from the dropped handle bars, I think having always cycled mountain bikes I find them a bit intimidating :? I was thinking of a hybrid as more of an introduction to road cycling and also giving me a bit more flexibility as to what surfaces I could cycle on. I thought perhaps it best not to dive stright in? also I sat on one with dropped handlebars and did find it pretty uncomfortable, but I suppose it is just about getting used to it?


Re dropped bars - on most modern road bikes the bars are set up way too low to be comfortable, especially in the drops. Unless the bike is going to be raced, such low position usually does not make sense. If drop bars are set up correctly for a recreational rider, they are very comfortable and unlike straight bars provide many different hand positions, hence making especially long rides much less tiring. Try to find and test ride a bike with drop bars that are set up more or less at the same level as the saddle (or even a bit higher than the saddle) - you may like them.

SarahK
Posts: 23
Joined: 27 Apr 2009, 10:44pm
Location: Deepest, darkest Northumberland

Re: Please help me choose a bike! (Womens Specific)

Postby SarahK » 4 May 2009, 11:34pm

Hi,

my first post so be nice. :D

I got a road bike last year after years of riding mountain type bikes. Yes, drop handle bars are scary to begin with but I wouldn't swap them now. When I was thinking of getting a new bike I was initially thinking of a hybrid and tried a few out. My problem is that I need quite a small frame (about 17") so my choice is quite limited.

I went for a Giant SCR 3 W, think it was £475 at the time but I think they've gone up in price since. Took a bit of getting used to- still have the odd wobble now and again.

I like the drops for the variety of positions I can put my hands in- especially on longer trips or on bumpy roads. My bike is set up with the seat level with the handle bars. It has the right bits for fitting panniers if needed (thats what I was told by my LBS anyway).

Something else that I'm thinking about now is getting something a bit more robust for the autumn/winter as the roads where I live aren't great. Was in my LBS the other day buying another innertube and had a look at some bikes. Was chatting to the owner who suggested maybe trying a cyclocross or a tourer. Fortunately they are a demonstration centre for a few manufacturers and will let you borrow a bike for the weekend to see if it's suitable for you.

I never thought I'd get used to my bike, but after riding for a few miles everything seemed like second nature. Agree with whats been posted above- I don't see many road bikes with the bars set lower than the saddles.

Sarah

Tonyf33
Posts: 3926
Joined: 17 Nov 2007, 3:31pm
Location: Letchworth N.Herts

Re: Please help me choose a bike! (Womens Specific)

Postby Tonyf33 » 5 May 2009, 12:20am

I bought my missus a Specialized globe pro with all the bells & whistles on it. Carbon fibre everywhere. it fitted her like a glove & is superbly light and really easy to ride fast. I've been in her good books ever since :D I realise that that particular model is no longer available(& had a £900 price tag orig) but the Globe City 6.1 variant is and is on special offer at Evans cycles for £450 in limited sizes (reduced from £600). This model has mudguards/rack/dynamo hub lights already fitted. Deore trigger shifters and flat bar. The specialized bar grips are very nice too & a woman specific Body gemetry saddle.
http://www.evanscycles.com/products/spe ... pecialized globe

glueman
Posts: 4354
Joined: 16 Mar 2007, 1:22pm

Re: Please help me choose a bike! (Womens Specific)

Postby glueman » 5 May 2009, 8:13am

The most versatile bike would be a tourer. Some come with brake levers on the tops and drops, giving a safe upright and sporty position. The main reason people don't like drop bars is they are too low as a previous poster noted. If the top of the bars and the saddle are about level and the drop of the bars isn't too deep the bars are rarely a problem and offer real advantages over flats, even with extra bar ends positions.

Something like this?

keyhavenpotterer
Posts: 94
Joined: 18 Jan 2007, 4:20pm

Re: Please help me choose a bike! (Womens Specific)

Postby keyhavenpotterer » 5 May 2009, 11:59am

how about this Mercian on the for sale board
viewtopic.php?f=32&t=24439

User avatar
frank9755
Posts: 873
Joined: 11 Oct 2008, 10:38am
Location: London

Re: Please help me choose a bike! (Womens Specific)

Postby frank9755 » 5 May 2009, 5:41pm

My current project is building up a bike for my wife.

Her main criteria were:

Drop handlebars, high enough to be comfortable
Step-through frame
Reasonably light
Mudguards and rack
Broad range of gears including some low ones
STIs
Secondary brake levers on the tops

Nobody seems to make bikes with drop bars on a step-through frame any more, so I knew it would be a project. They used to though, and I managed to find a nice mid-80's Raleigh Royal Lady step-through tourer as a starting point. It's made of 531 and is very light - noticeably lighter than say my new Super Galaxy. I am going to stretch the rear forks to 135mm to take a 9-speed. I'm putting an 11-34 cassette on it. It has good mudguards, but needs a new rack.
Phase 2 will be to change the chainset. It currently has a double with (I think) 36/50. I plan to swap that for a triple, with something like 24/36/46.

If she didn't insist on the step-through frame, a tourer such as a Dawes Horizon or Ridgeback Voyage (which comes with top levers) would have been a good starting point, with a gearing tweak and a stem-raiser.

keyhavenpotterer
Posts: 94
Joined: 18 Jan 2007, 4:20pm

Re: Please help me choose a bike! (Womens Specific)

Postby keyhavenpotterer » 5 May 2009, 8:48pm

Very good info on women specific bike fitting
http://www.myra-simon.com/bike/womens-fit.html

woollee23
Posts: 48
Joined: 8 May 2008, 5:19pm

Re: Please help me choose a bike! (Womens Specific)

Postby woollee23 » 7 May 2009, 8:13pm

Hi there

This (http://tinyurl.com/d2ggwg) looks like it's exceptional value at the moment for a women's specific road bike, but may not have the touring potential you're after (unless you'd consider a saddlebag system rather than panniers)

Hudson
Posts: 4
Joined: 2 May 2009, 6:19pm

Re: Please help me choose a bike! (Womens Specific)

Postby Hudson » 7 May 2009, 8:21pm

Hi everyone,

Thanks very much for all your responses. I have to say in the end I went with the Giant FCR 2 W as posted previously. I went out on it for the first time today and it was quite an experience! Having never ridden a road- type bike before I can't believe the difference in speed, was actually a bit frightening at first! I have just a few technical difficulties that I hope some of the more experienced folk may be able to help me with.
1.) My bike now has the grips for your feet to go in (sorry don't know the technical name) is there a way of getting your feet in quickly or is it literally just a case of getting used to it?
2.) The road surfaces here aren't anything special but my hand grips although comfortable, aren't particuarly padded, is it worth investing in more padded handlebar grips or will a pair of gloves do the the same job?
Thanks again!