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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 5' tall wife rides a Rockhopper womens 13.5". When she sits on the bike her body is basically in a standing position with her arms angled to the bars. She does not lean forward at all. She complains of the bike feeling squirrely in the front end and that it turns too quickly. She also bangs her knees on the bars when she is turning sharply and pedaling. We moved her seat back and she said it was a bit better. Should we try a longer stem or what? She is a totally novice rider and I don't want her to become discouraged and give it up if there is something that we can do for her. Ladies jump in with any help, too!


TIA for the help...
 

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hate to break it to ya but it sounds like the bike is too small, try a 16" frame, longer stem would just be a bandaid on a bullet wound, if you want her to enjoy riding fit is the most important.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies. I found some info on sizing/fitting and am going to make some changes there to start. The stem is a 60 mm so may try something longer at a LBS.


Thanks again...
 

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Don't worry, be happy!
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Guital2 said:
hate to break it to ya but it sounds like the bike is too small, try a 16" frame, longer stem would just be a bandaid on a bullet wound, if you want her to enjoy riding fit is the most important.
I agree that the bike sounds way too small... but careful on the frame size rec. I'm 5"3 and a 16" giant was way too big for me. (my first bike) Also, moving the seat around to compensate for the incorrect size frame is, as Guital2 says, a bandaid at best. Correct seat postion is one the places you start for a good fit, or so I've been taught.

formica
 

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Domestic Fowl
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formica said:
.... but careful on the frame size rec. I'm 5"3 and a 16" giant was way too big for me. (my first bike) ...
formica
I'll echo Formica's warning here. Be very careful when talking about frame sizes. Different manufacturers use different methods to measure frame size. A brand 'A' 16" may not be anywhere near a brand 'B' 16" frame.
 

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See your local bike shop

RobG said:
My 5' tall wife rides a Rockhopper womens 13.5". When she sits on the bike her body is basically in a standing position with her arms angled to the bars. She does not lean forward at all. She complains of the bike feeling squirrely in the front end and that it turns too quickly. She also bangs her knees on the bars when she is turning sharply and pedaling. We moved her seat back and she said it was a bit better. Should we try a longer stem or what? She is a totally novice rider and I don't want her to become discouraged and give it up if there is something that we can do for her. Ladies jump in with any help, too!

TIA for the help...
Your friendly local bike shop would gladly help her fit the bike properly (and while they have a captive audience suggest add on equipment you don't have to buy immediately - unless it's a helmet).

Normally the seat should be centered right over the seat tube, or rearward by about 1 inch at the most, with the top of the seat .883 of the rider inseam above the center of the bottom bracket, for good pedaling and seated handling.

Handel bar height should be no higher than the seat, and lower by an inch or two if you climb a lot.

- ray
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
well, after further evaluation

We took the bike to our LBS to see what could be done. She tried a few different brands of XS and smalls and they were too tall in the top tube for her, ie. crotch busters. So we went with a longer stem and she fits it much better, less upright and a more forward position. Now we need to mess with the seat adj. again to tie it all in. Thanks for all the help.
 

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For some reason, smaller bikes seem to come set up like hybrids, kind of chopper style. When I first got mine, it was set up kind of chopper style, and every small I have ever test rode had bars way too high. (BTW, I am 5'4" and ride a 15.5 Gary Fisher) But you only have so much space to lower the bars, so here are some suggestions.

If she hasn't already, try flat bars instead of risers. They steer a little different, but you can lower the bars a good 1/2-1 inch depending on what came on the bike. And she will get used to the steering difference. Move any spacers below the stem to above the stem and play with the height. You might need to buy a few sizes so you can change it in small increments and figure out what feels good.

And as you already mentioned, you can change the stem lengh and rise. I have a 70mm, 15 degree rise stem--it is the size that came on the bike, though I have since replaced it with a really nice Race Face Deus stem of the same size, but it is a Gary Fisher, so it has a longer top tube than typical. I test rode a specialized stumpjumper fsr recently that came with a 64 mm stem and it felt really awful--climbed terribly, was really sluggish, could not keep the front wheel down. The fit could probably have been fixed with different seat post, handlebars, stem and spacers, but it was a demo, so I did not have that chance.

I would guess at 5' that an xs is probably the right size frame, since I have taken a small in every bike I have ever tried, though some brands fit better than others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the info. She tried a GF 15.5 but it was really big for her. I flipped the longer stem (100 mm) over so it is now 0 deg. rise and took out two spacers, moved the seat forward and tilted it back one notch and it made a huge difference to her. Just watching her ride her body is in a more "mountain bike" stance. Haven't been able to climb with it yet but hopefully she will be just as pleased. She also hated the toe clips so we went with some Shimanos that are platform on one side and spd on the other. She really likes those as well.
 
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