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WILLDO01's Photo WILLDO01 Posts: 313
9/30/12 10:31 P

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Small world. I'm 5'7 and my husband is 6'1 and our inseams are the same too. Having the LBSbring in a Trek 520 to test ride. Wish me luck.

2Wheeler if you are in the market for paniers. I highly recommend Arkels. They are the best bags we have had so far. Pricey but worth it. Sign up for their email and you will get notices when they go on sale.

Kris


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KJEANNE's Photo KJEANNE SparkPoints: (39,612)
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9/30/12 8:45 P

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I can relate to your challenges in getting a good fit, WILLDO. My road bike never fit me correctly, no matter how many parts I changes out. I am short waisted with very long legs: I'm 5'7" and have the same inseam as my 6'1" husband. I did have lots of problems with numbness in my crotch or my hands or even my neck, depending on the adjustment. My road bike was a mans' model LeMonds.

So I decided to buy a recumbent bike. Problems solved. Then I got a recumbent trike. Loved it! I used the trike for a three week self-contained trip across Maine, NH, Vermont and NY. I am not saying a trike is the answer, but it did work for me.

Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped.
African proverb


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WILLDO01's Photo WILLDO01 Posts: 313
9/28/12 2:48 P

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Yes, Adventure Cycling is a wonderful source for reviews of touring bicycles. To be honest my current bike is a Terry and I love it. Terry's current entry in this market (Terry Valkyrie) is a bit over my price range with two boys in college. Lists for $3,500.

All the bicycles I'm looking at right now are on their list of "true" touring bicycles. I'll have to drive to several locations around the metro but at least I have more than one option but I'm finding at most locations that have one and it is not my size. I can have one shipped from the warehouse but have to put earnest money down.

The nice thing about Bike Fridays is that you'll never be rake over the coals by airline bike box fees. I think Comotion also has an entry in the market that can be broken down but when assembled looks/handles more like a standard bike. It however, is also on the pricey end of the spectrum.

Good luck on your cross country tour, it is on my bucket list but not likely to have enough time off till I retire.

Edited by: WILLDO01 at: 9/28/2012 (14:55)
Kris


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2WHEELER's Photo 2WHEELER SparkPoints: (49,536)
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9/28/12 9:05 A

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I don't have much advice to add other than I wouldn't purchase a touring bike, or any bike for that matter, without trying it out. I am planning a cross-country ride in 2015 and will start seriously searching for a dedicated touring bike next year. I expect to do a lot of traveling to find the perfect bike as I'm in a rural area with a limited no. of LBS and none carry touring bikes. I've been reading the bike reviews from Adventure Cycling for years and any others I can find on-line and have a couple of bikes on my list that I want to sample: Surly Long Haul Trucker, Terry, and Bike Friday. I've talked to 2 people who tour on Bike Fridays and love them. Keep us posted as you search for your perfect bike.

"It is a mistake to regard age as a downhill grade toward dissolution. The reverse is true. As one grows older, one climbs with surprising strides." George Sand
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WILLDO01's Photo WILLDO01 Posts: 313
9/23/12 4:18 P

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Toothful99, I found a Surly dealership locally that has a couple of LHTs. I found that the LHTs run a little tall. 56 was right on the edge of stand over clearance for my liking. Next size down far too short. Did like the gearing and the top tube reach was comfortable. The model I rode had the disc breaks which I did like over my current bike. Surprisingly the stand over clearance was tighter for me than my husband's Trek 520 (57). Gearing similar but the 520 has cantilever breaks rather than disc breaks. No surprise when I stopped by the Trek dealership, they had no 520s in stock. They only order one per season and don't order another unless requested emoticon .

There are a couple of dealerships within driving distance of home that carry a Salsa Vaya 2/3, Jamis Aurora Ellite and Kona Sutra. I may take a road trip to look at them after calling the bike shop to see if they have my size in stock.

Edited by: WILLDO01 at: 9/23/2012 (16:20)
Kris


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GIANT-STEPS SparkPoints: (65,408)
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9/22/12 6:16 P

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Toothful99: 50cm and smaller frames are a real challenge to design with 700c wheels. Some compromises have to be made and as someone who sold bikes I can tell you some manufacturers make some seriously bizarre choices. Most 700c bikes below 20" or 50cm ride poorly. There was a woman on our racing team who rode a Vitus 979 which she loved but was too big. She ordered a smaller frame size and when it came in we were all shocked. The smaller size had the same top tube length and stand over height; the difference was the smaller size had a high bottom bracket to shorten the seat tube seat tube. We were all dumbfounded. I think she ended up riding a Raleigh 753.
Not to beat a dead horse but the smaller wheel size I suggested earlier should help since fewer compromises have to be made for small frame sizes. Some people even tour on Bike Fridays which give extreme flexibility in fit.

SPEEDYDOG's Photo SPEEDYDOG Posts: 2,816
9/22/12 10:21 A

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Hi Kris,

I think you are on the right track. My daughter and wife rode bikes with men's frames for years. For her 14th birthday, I bought my daughter a women's specific bike. Eight years later she rides that bike everywhere. After the success with my daughter's bike, I bought my wife a women's specific bike. She was riding a men's bike and was complaining of back ache and knee pain. The first ride on her new women's bike was just to be "around the block". She was gone for four hours and came back all smiles.

I did a conversion of a recreational mountain bike into a commuter road bike. This conversion worked great, but in my humble opinion, this mountain/commuter bike would not be a good choice as a road touring bike.

I personally own three mountain bikes and one sport road bike. Even though I look at all brands when I am in the market for a new bike, I always seem to end up buy a Specialized brand bike. Since I am a bike techno-geek, I find that Specialized has the best components for a given price point.

My road bike is a Specialized Allez Comp Apex Mid-Comp. This bike is not a touring bike but a pavement burner! When I went to buy a road bike, I tested a Specialized Tricross Elite Disc Apex Compact. This Tricross would be a good touring bike for where I live in the Colorado mountains. The Tricross can handle steep hills and dirt roads. The bike is also misnamed. The Tricross is really a touring bike. I was impressed by the Tricross.

Then I tested the take-no-prisoners, no-compromise, thorough-bred Specialized Allez sport road bike. This bike was fast. This bike could pull some serious g-forces in corners. I was in love.

The point is that whatever bike you choose, you got to try to test ride before you buy. It sounds like your LBS does not offer the type of bike your are looking for.

You are an experienced cyclist and will certainly know when you are on the "right" bike for you. Good luck and have fun in your quest.

Bruce

Edited by: SPEEDYDOG at: 9/22/2012 (10:23)
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WILLDO01's Photo WILLDO01 Posts: 313
9/21/12 9:53 P

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Thanks for the input Giant-Steps and Toothful99. However, my problem with men's frames is real not imagined. My and my husband's first bikes were professionally fitted at the same time by the same bike shop and were the same model. The shop had zero difficulty comfortably fitting my husband with minor modifications. They tried configuration changes six way to Sunday and never could get it right. They let me take long test rides different frames sizes, different stems, different seat and seat posts.

Word the the wise Toothful99, don't let yourself be too stretched out on the top tube or your significant other will for all practical purpose will take a vow of celibacy during cycling season because of where most of your weight will be resting. I can tell you 21 years ago my husband had absolutely zero objections with us shelling out the premium for the "speciality/niche" bike and has zero interest in going back to that same problem again.

Two years ago, my husband upgraded his bike to a Trek 520 so I'll have to pass on the suggestion for a mountain bike configuration as his is more a kin to a road than mountain bike. I've been a strong believer that if you want to ride together it is more enjoyable when riders are comparable bikes of the same type when the riders are of roughly equal strength.

We've always carry spare parts for items most likely to breakdown (spokes, extra chain, tubes, folding spare, well stocked first aid, etc.) and the tools necessary to do road repairs to get us to back on the road. When you go on unsupported mult-day rides, you have to be like a boy scout and always be prepared. I've yet to find a bike shop that was reluctant to use the spoke I carry if they didn't have the appropriate size. It is possible we could run out of parts but knock on wood, that has yet to happen.

Surly is one of the bikes I've seen reviews on. Adventure Cycling Association is a big advocate of touring so tonight I've pulled down their 2012 buyer's guide which only contains true touring bicycles (http://www.adventurecycling.org/resources
/201204_BuyersGuide_Wider.pdf). I'm hopeful that I will find more than one option to consider because skimming through the list Terry caught my eye. Terry manufactures women's gemoetries so they may be others on the list but the list is quite lengthy.

I'm not in a hurry, I don't plan another loaded tour to next season so I have time to do research before making a decision.

Edited by: WILLDO01 at: 9/21/2012 (22:31)
Kris


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BILL60's Photo BILL60 Posts: 612,744
9/21/12 8:28 A

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Giant-steps as usual, a great post with super explanations.

"Excellence is but for the few."


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9/20/12 7:20 P

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When I worked in the bicycle biz' I was convinced that women are proportioned differently from men. I remember several cycling couples where even though the guy was a few inches taller they both rode the same size frame. I know that in figure drawing classes (I used to be an art model) students are taught that on the average a woman's crotch is 50% of their height but an average man's waist is at 50% of their height. Men have longer torsos and women have longer legs right? It turns out that conventional wisdom and what everyone knew wasn't right. On the average legs are 47% of the height of both men and women. There certainly are women who have a hard time finding a frame that fits because they have the combination of being small of stature and proportionally short in the torso. I guess that since short torsoed women are the hardest to fit that this is why women's frames feature shorter top tubes but women should not assume that they need a shorter women's frame because they are as likely to fit a longer men's frame as they are to fit a shorter woman's frame. Yes you may be one of those women who need a "woman's" frame but I just wanted to clear the air.
Getting back to your next touring bike. Consider that you want a bike that is both tough and servicable. For your touring bike consider 26" mountain bike (ERTO 559) wheels. The advantage here is that due to the popularity of mountain bikes they are widely available. There are some very nice road tires in 26" sizes but if you find yourself stuck in a small town with a cut tire and no bike shop you will probably find a 26" tire that will at least get you rolling again at Walmart. Good luck finding a 700x35 tire on the road. As far as spokes go, obviously the more spokes the stronger the wheel. The problem is if you have an accident or break down on the road finding parts. Most touring bikes used to come with 40 spoke rear wheels but even most nice bike shops don't stock 40 hole rims and have to order them. Most tourists I knew went with custom 36 spoke wheels built with sturdy rims. They usually found them strong enough without relying on oddball parts. Today even 36 spoke rims are getting to be obscure with nearly every nice road or mountain bike using 32 spoke wheels. Personally I'd still go with 36 spokes but there is a strong argument to be made for 32 now that it is the most common number of spokes since mountain rims are stronger. Some commercial touring bikes come with 26" wheels like Surly Long Haul Trucker and Rivendel Atlantis. Most people who tour on 26" wheels use converted mountain bikes. One thing I'd suggest would be to replace the suspension fork with a solid one since it is one less thing to break down. There are 26" solid forks that are tall so they will not change the geometry of a bike when replacing a suspension fork. Shimano mountain and road (except Dura Ace) shifters and derailleurs use the same amount of cable pull so they are interchangeable. Using road brifters with mountain derailleurs works great and gives you a great combination for touring. Also, if you need a "women's" geometry frame you can easily find this in a mountain bike but you would probably have to go the very expensive custom route to get an equivalent touring bike.
Whatever you go with good luck and happy trails!

TOOTHFUL99's Photo TOOTHFUL99 Posts: 503
9/20/12 6:03 P

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I'm in the same boat. I'm in the market for a touring bike, but I'm afraid of getting stuck with something that doesn't fit.

I rode a 50 cm mens frame road bike for years. My knees paid the price. I couldn't walk up stairs without pain. The LBS tried to adjust it, but it still wasn't right. When I searched for a new road bike, fit was my priority. Now, I'm on a 51 cm women's frame that fits perfectly (without a professional fit.) My knee pain is gone! When I shopped for this bike, I knew what I wanted. There were many shops who wanted to sell me what they had, but didn't listen to what was important to me.

Recently, I was in a LBS and mentioned wanting a touring bike. The guy there had a 54 cm men's bike that he wanted to 'adjust' to fit me. I'm only 5'3"!! I don't think that's a possibility!! It would be like riding my big brother's bike when I was a kid. It makes me angry when bike shops treat you like your stupid!

Now I'm going to have to order a touring bike. I'm looking at a Surly Long Haul Trucker. They are well made bikes, and no, they don't make a woman's specific model. So, I'm going to have to take good measurements of myself and my current road bike and try to get as close as I can when I order it. My fingers are crossed!

Keep us posted on your search results!

My advice is to stand your ground. Know what you want and don't just settle. You'll be spending a lot of money on something that you'll spend a lot of time on.

...and then in the middle of everything, you realize you're alive right now, and the time to live is right now!


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SELENAJEAN's Photo SELENAJEAN Posts: 57
9/20/12 2:56 P

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I don't have any advice to add but understand your frustration. Touring bikes at LBS are few and far between. I was interested in trying one when I was shopping around but not many places near me had them. Good luck in your search!

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WILLDO01's Photo WILLDO01 Posts: 313
9/20/12 11:28 A

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Most bike manufacturers have obviously looked at the "womens" market and decided there is no profit margin in it. Rather than be honest about their modivation that market that load of crap.

My husband is several inches taller than me yet my legs are same height. The difference is the torso length. The geometry doesn't work with me. I've had all the swapping out the stems and seat post, et. all. I'm not going to throw down serious money on a bike that sorta, kinda fits. I'll keep looking or go the custom bike route.

LBS not a good option at best they will have literally one touring bike in the whole darn shop. True turning bikes are no in vogue and to get a real one you have to order directly from the manufacturer.

Edited by: WILLDO01 at: 9/20/2012 (11:31)
Kris


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BILL60's Photo BILL60 Posts: 612,744
9/19/12 8:28 P

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Most bike manufacturers would disagree with you regarding women-specific bikes. They seem to think that one fits all with some adjustments. I would look at an LBS that really knows what they're doing and they will make the necessary adjustments on the men's bike to suit you. Good luck.

"Excellence is but for the few."


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WILLDO01's Photo WILLDO01 Posts: 313
9/19/12 3:12 P

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I love my current bike, it is the first one I've had that truly fits but it is 21 years old and needs upgrades for the type of riding I'm doing now. My husband and I have done week long state wide supported bicycle rides for years but the last couple of years have dipped our toes into loaded touring (front and back racks with panniers to carry everything we need for the week). I am thinking about upgrading my bike and I see men's touring bikes on the market but not any women's.

When I first started riding, I rode a men's geometry bike and had issues. Yes it was professionaly fitted an no it didn't make a lick of difference -- I'm not built like a man and I could get a men's bike to fit my torso or I could get a men's bike to fit my legs but not both. So I had to to choose between sore knees or issues resulting from being stretched out too far. I couldn't go the distance till I got a woman's geometry bike.

Anyone have recommendations on women's touring bike? I'm not interested in a cross, moutain or race bikes. I'm looking for a solid triple crank with 8-9 on the cartridge on back, drop road bars and minimum of 36-42 spoke/double walled wheels. I really want to continue to do loading touring and nothing holds up to this like a true touring bike. We typically do road touring but we have occassionally done routes that have taken us on chip and seal and/or gravel/dirt roads so it needs to be able to handle a load and take the stress.

Kris


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