Frames for a small girl

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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Posts: 188
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:47 am

by welkman

Hi all,

I am just starting a project to build up a nice quick/light bike for my wife and need some advice on which frames to look at. She currently rides a surly cross check in 42cm guise and finds the top tube length long with a short stem and compact bars. She has got quite quick over the summer and wants to be a bit more comfy on longer rides. She is 5ft2in.

I quite like the idea of building up a Chinese carbon frame and adding some feminine details but she is more keen on a womens specific frame. Any pointers for frames to look at would be most welcome.

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by audiojan

The obvious answer would be to get a frame that fits... and that she's 5'2" doesn't mean much. You can take two people of exactly the same height but they fit on two different brands/models and two different sizes within those brands, they may fit the same brand/model but two different sizes, etc.

Womens specific may or may not be exactly what you think it is either... you can divide the manufacturers in 3 camps; ground up design where the geometry and the carbon layup are both changed to accommodate the different needs of a woman (changes in reach and in how stiff the frame is... you simply do not need the same stiffness for a woman weighing in at 120 lbs as you would for a 150 lbs man of the same height); those manufacturers that change the components to fit a woman but uses a unisex frame (usually narrower handlebars, womens saddle, and for some reason, gearing); and finally those manufacturers that slap some pink bartape and pink paint on the bike and calls it a women's model although it is exactly the same as their unisex model just "pinked".

If you want her to love cycling, get a bike fit first and then buy her the best possible geometry according to that fit.
"Suddenly the thought struck me; my floor is someone elses ceiling" - Nils Ferlin

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by fivethirtyonepm

i built this for my missus earlier this year:-




the frame was an ambrosio rapide compact i picked up on ebay. it was actually being used as a TT-frame, but having run through the frame geometry and carefully choosing the right stem, handlebar and crank-length combos, it fits the missus like a glove. she is 5'1" btw.

all the parts were new (except for the frame/fork and the wheels which came off another bike), but in terms of cost, it was about GBP750 all in... (not bad for a genuine 1kgs polished-welds alloy frame, carbon fork, carbon seat post etc etc)

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by welkman

Like the bike you built there. What was the geo on that frame? I would love to get a fit but it means a big trip for us as there are no places offering a proper bike fit near me. So what frames are female specific geo? I have found the Specialized offerings but that is it so far.

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by jasjas

i got my daughter a ex demo Thomson R7200 Alloy/Carbon frame in a 48cm.
she is 5ft 3" inseam 75cm, use a 80cm stem - very pleased with the fit :D

They do more up market Carbon frames as well, with semi custom paint for some models." onclick=";return false;

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by Rush

I have a friend in almost an identical situation. One bike we are looking at is the Felt ZW series which come with 650c wheels.

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by NWSAlpine

My GF is petite and I bought her a Felt ZW series bike with 650c wheels. Felt has some very nice frames for petite women. Many companies don't anymore.

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by cyclenutnz

650 wheels don't necessarily mean better for petite riders. There are a number of 700c bikes that have less reach than a 650C Felt. A size 48 Cervelo R3/S5 will in fact have 3mm less reach for the same stem length and equal bar height. 650 has less toe overlap but from a purely fit perspective the Felt 650s are not compelling.

If you're looking at chinese frames - the FM015 size 49 has the same reach as the Surly. Get a pretty paint job on it and it will be WSD. - 3D Motion Capture and Frame Finder Software

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by BeeSeeBee

Handling on smaller size 700c frames is also something to consider carefully. Some shorter women I've ridden with have eventually switched over to 650c wheels to quicken up the steering a bit, but I suppose the importance of that depends on what she's looking to do.

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by welkman

Thanks for all the input. I quite like the idea of staying with 700c wheels as all our other bikes ride these. She is not wanting to race but she wants to do club runs/sportives next year. I will have a look at the felt. She does want shorter reach than the surly but i'm not sure how much of this is just getting familiar with the position on a road bike.

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by virenque

specialized makes women's bikes that comes in a size 44cm with 700c

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by bikedoc

650c wheels are the way to go, ok its a pain if you have 700c but what are you after, getting the right bike or the bike that makes life easy

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