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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a fairly short female, ALMOST 5'3" and I have a 31" inseam so therefore my torso is very short and I've been searching for a road bike and finding it very difficult to find something where I'm not completely stretched out and miserable. Any recommendations?

I need to stick to a budget of $1200 or less so I've tried the following;

Trek 2.1 (WSD)
Specialized Dolce Elite
Scott Contessa Speedster
Novarra Carema Pro

So far the Scott felt the best bet but if anyone has thoughts on others to try for my asymmetrical build I'm all ears!
 

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haole from the mainland
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I'm only about an inch and a half taller than you and have the same inseam length. I ride the smallest size available in my (unisex) bike. So I can see how you kind of bottom out.

One of the problems with many women's bikes is that they have poor geometry. Steep seat tube angles, which means you end up putting more weight on your hands and can lead to a stretched out feeling. With slacker STAs, you have more wieght on your bum and less on your hands so you don't feel like you have to stretch out.

73 is a pretty ideal STA, and that's what you'll see in most mid-sized men's bikes. 75 and up (almost 76 on the Dolce!) is pretty darn steep for a road bike, but that's what you tend to see on women's bikes.

Most of the well-designed (i.e., good geometry) women's bikes are expensive and come with 650 wheels in your size. Some examples are the Merlin Camena, Litespeed Bella and Terry's Fast Woman & Isis. Not a women's bike, but Cervelo's RS (in the smallest size) would also be a good choice for you. Compare the geometry of these bikes to the ones you tested. Try and ride one of them if you can, just to get a feel for what they're like.

See if the Trek dealer can bring in a LeMond Tourmalet Women's in a 49. It has a STA that's a bit slacker than the Contessa and a top tube that's half a cm shorter. Have your dealer put an 80mm stem (looks like it comes with an 85mm stem) on there and some short and shallow bars to further reduce reach.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, I'll have to look into the ones you've mentioned, I think I may have tried the Lemond 49cm and it turned out to be too big but I'll check my notes! I figured my budget would end up increasing the more research I've done on getting one to actually fit!

Thanks!
 

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waterproof*
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madge said:
I'm a fairly short female, ALMOST 5'3" and I have a 31" inseam so therefore my torso is very short and I've been searching for a road bike and finding it very difficult to find something where I'm not completely stretched out and miserable. Any recommendations?

I need to stick to a budget of $1200 or less so I've tried the following;

Trek 2.1 (WSD)
Specialized Dolce Elite
Scott Contessa Speedster
Novarra Carema Pro

So far the Scott felt the best bet but if anyone has thoughts on others to try for my asymmetrical build I'm all ears!
So, has the bike shop changed the stems on any of these to try and fit you better? And/or the seatpost to get your seat-to-pedals relationship in the right spot? It wouldn't be a fair test ride without that; sometimes it'll work out ok and other times it'll mess up the handling by moving your center of gravity too far back or forward. OTOH, you might not care or be able to tell the difference.
 

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Hi Madge, I'm only about an inch taller than you and I had a similar problem as you. I ended up getting a 49 cm Lemond Buenos Aires on craigslist. I haven't had the bike fitted by a bike store or anything, but I take it on frequent 20-30 mile rides and it's very comfortable. Good luck!
 

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Same Boat

I'm in the same boat - I'm a solid 5'3 with a 32" inseam. I really liked the OCR 3W (Giant) women's specific road bike. I highly recommend giving it a test spin, although possibly you might want to upgrade to the OCR 2W/OCR1W for better parts/ more gears (That was my only regret). Had it for a year (until it was stolen) and was quite happy with this bike - after trying several and having the same problem reaching for the bars.
 

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Lemond? Strange. Lemonds had a longer top tube, to fit a guy with a longer torso and shorter legs.

For a bike with a shorter top tube and longer seat tube look at bikes with Italian geometry. E.g., Wilier.

Or, better, find out your desired geometry using a fit calculator. Competitivecyclist.com has one. And then see which bikes match it.
 

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I'm a similar size, with short torso and long legs, and I also have the women's specific Giant OCR3, size XS with the seat let way up. It's a great starter bike, but if your budget allows, I agree with the previous poster about getting the OCR2 or OCR1 if your budget allows because the components are better than the OCR3's Sora.
My bike fits me like a charm, and I commute on it to work.
 

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I'm in the same boat, but sort of scaled up. Female, 6'7 and a 40" inseam with long arms too. My current bike is a generic men's bike with a 25" frame, but it is too short for me and it kills my back riding it.

I don't have a lot of money, but everyone tells me I need to go with a custom frame and one from someone who has done tall bikes before. I'd love a european city bike with an upright riding position and lots of carrying racks and baskets.

any ideas?
 
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