Numpty IM Bike Thread



  • Err - OK I'm a physics numpty as well....

    Shall I start a new thread? ¦-D

    I have it on good authority that Pearsons are a good shop in South London; not that I've used them yet:

  • Thanks Andy W and Gumps! Will try some more before I decide, trouble is being only 5'2" most shops don't seem to have the small frames in to try out.
  • Pearson's (my local shop) will let you do a trial ride, as will Evans, if you take along a passport or similar
  • 5'2" isn't that small - have a ring around.

    Re women's fit : really cheap bikes would just have a woman on a smaller bike, more expensive manufacturers make 'women-specific' bikes.
    Confusingly, other manufacturers make their small sizes in women's fit and bigger ones for men, but don't say so !

    'Women's fit' works (roughly!) on the idea that women have shorter bodies and longer legs than a man of the same height, so a woman would need a bike which was shorter from back-to-front, not just 'smaller' than a man's bike.
    It's more complicated than that of course, as a woman would also have different length arms, shoulder width, leg strength, etc, etc than a man the same size.

    So all the proportions of a 'women's fit' bike are a little bit different - not just a shorter toptube (aka 'crossbar') for the same height seattube (from saddle to pedals), but also the height of the headtube (the tube at the front of the frame that the forks fit in the bottom of), the length of the stem (horizontal bit connecting handlebars to frame), the width of the bars themselves, the angle of the forks, the length of pedal cranks, etc, etc.
    The wheels, brakes and gears are the same, but the geometry of the frame is all slightly different (those measurements they always quote in the blurb at the back of the brochure)

    However, of course this all assumes there's a 'typical woman' just as much as a 'typical man', but no-one is quite typical and depending on your particular shape/size a woman might be better on a smaller 'mens' bike than a 'womens', or neither might fit quite right.

    But that's not a problem, as so long as the basic bike frame is right, then bits like stems, saddles, pedals, etc can be swapped to make it fit you, and a good bike shop will do that for you.

    To complicate further, different bike manufacturers measure their bikes from different places too, so the 'same size' frame from different makes may be a lot different in size.

    And different bikes can be different styles - fast racing geometry or more comfy but slower touring geometry.
    This matters if you want it for racing or long rides, commuting, cross-training, etc ?

    What you need is a good bike shop where they'll ask what you want the bike for, show you alternatives, let you try them, work-out what size you need, and then fit the bike to you by making adjustments or even swapping some of the bits.

    Not easy, not quick, but this is what you pay for by buying from a bike shop rather than paying less by mail order or internet.

    However if you feel that a bike shop isn't willing to spend this time on you and wants to make a quick sale, or just plain doesn't know what they're doing, then try somewhere else.
  • Thanks Andy, that's really helpful, will try some 'mens' and 'womens' and see what fits best. I'd like a road bike to take up triathlon but would need to be able to ride it to work too. Will make sure the shop is willing to spend time getting it right, although could still easily get ripped off as no clue really!
  • haile - 28mm armadillos or gator skins seem good. and maybe stick a "slime" tyre liner inside them too.

    i've got those on my winter bike, a hybrid with old tribars on (i don't use a turbo as i have no interest in dale winton's used thongs), and i never skidded off or got a puncture once.
  • RHG, I'm 5'4" and very happy with a 50cm "men's" version of the Trek 1000. As Andy W says, there are different shaped women and different shaped men, and only trying out the bikes will tell you whether one suits you. slugster, FYI, the Treks go down to 43cm frame size, in women's & men's. But I think they go straight from 43 to 50cm, whereas the Dolce (and possibly its men's counterpart, the Allez) has a couple more interim sizes.
  • Thanks, are Trek and Specialized the 2 main contenders or should I also consider any other brands?
  • 'ta Quimby, might have a little to spend in September, currently riding my MTB which is cool but slow...
  • slugster, try any that have a good price and that your trusted LBS recommends. Trek and Specialised are like Vauxhall and Ford - perfectly good, very popular and common... but you wouldn't be insane to buy a different make!

    if you see one, start a thread on here and i'm sure that some bike ponce will give you an objective view. but really, if it fits, its great.

    as its an "IM Bike" thread, i would say that for an IM i'd insist on carbon forks and seat pin (although you can get the seat pin separately as an aftermarket accessory... but they do cost £50-£100). this is because carbon fibre absorbs road vibrations, that can cauuse discomfort after 5 hours in the saddle.

    (a seat pin is the little tube that your saddle bolts to, that then sits in the frame and is adjustable to get the saddle to the right height)
  • Is a seat pin the same as a seat post?
  • Yup
  • Ditto what candy says, but if the LBS recommends something you've never heard of, it might be good to use the spec for a Trek or Specialized as a benchmark, eg print it out from their web site, and ask the LBS which bits are different, better, etc, on the bike they show you.
  • i got some clip on ones that i think were designed for mountain bikes. one fastens to the seat pin and covers the back wheel, the other fastens by rubber band things to the downtube and covers the front.

    winter kit is something you need to find too. i use motorcycling gloves, neoprene over shoes, some "ron hill bikesters" that are a bit thicker than normal tights and surprisingly warm, a motorcycling balaclava under my helmet when its very cold, or alternatively a Buff, and a dayglo reflective waterproof coat. its great! i can't wait for the winter....
  • I've got a bike for winter as well as my race bikes.

    It's got full mudguards, so long wet rides aren't much of a problem. Helps you keep a bit more comfy than you'd be otherwise.
  • has it got a roof?
  • Bike ettiquette also says you should fit mudguards to your bike over winter so that if you go out with someone else training you don't cover them in shite !

    Clip on ones are fine.
  • A roof would be a good idea Jj - I'll get busy with my meccano.

    Bike etiquette also says that dark coloured shorts are the best to wear. Anything else goes transparent.

  • Was thinking I could start out on my trusty 20 year old Dawes Galaxy. It's not like I am going to be fast anyway.

    Would be handy with the panniers anyway.

    Is there a cycle-touring version of IM ? You know, gotta do a brass rubbing on the way round and stop for a swift cream tea ?
  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭
    the other thing you can also take into account with frames - male or female - is that you can adjust stem length, stem height, seat post (some are bent so reversiable), seat placing on the rails etc...........all this will also give you additional positions to suit...........but the best way to go if you want to pay the dosh is getting a custom made frame which is based on a whole load of measurements including inner leg measurement, arm lenght, shoulder width, riding style etc etc...............

    ultimately it's the frame that counts - the kit can be specced to suit preference and wallet

    Custon Ti. Pics of mine in a few weeks :-)))))
  • Alex - I'd start off with that no problem. At the moment you want to build miles in the legs and get used to handling a bike again and stuff. No need to jump in with a carbon lo pro this week.

    Get some miles in and enjoy.
  • don't tri and run (I think) make Tri bikes to measure for 500 notes?
  • "carbon lo pro"???

    cough *graham norton*
  • Yeah - you know - like Binky ?


  • Gotta get back in to it really. Up to about 15 years ago I used to cycle a lot and was in to strenuous touring. Sort of 1200 miles per 14 days stuff.

    Since then work etc etc. Only the odd 5 or 10 miles.
  • i'm sure she'd be offended to be described like that though, not to say bewildered.

    she's "a black one"
  • oo'er. In that case I've currently got "a black one" from Planet X telling me it wants a home
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