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  1. #1
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    Serotta Fierte Ti with 650 wheels for short person

    I'm a 5'1" woman with a short torso. I've had a couple of bikes but still don't feel right on them. We've shortened the stems, etc... I am at a 80mm stem on a 49cm Roubaix now and still a little long. Talked with my LBS and we are looking at a Serotta Fierte Ti (46P) with a top tube length of 48.5. All the other specs we looked at for other brands the shortest was 49.5 (Trek, Specialized, Bianchi).
    Here's my question - is there really a big difference between 650cc wheels and 700cc wheels? With the size frame I'm looking at 650 wheels are on it. I'm sure I can stock my bag with enough tubes to cover me because I know on some longer organized rides 650 tubes are hard to find. What about performance?
    I appreciate your feedback.

  2. #2
    You're Not the Boss of Me
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    I know several women riders who have the 650 setup and have never had an issue. Moreover, they've avoided the toe overlap and/or funky geometry that can come with insisting on keeping 700cc wheels. I've never heard anyone say they regretted the decision. It is true that you won't be able to bum a tube and need to be prepared for your own flats (and heck, you can always patch most flats if you had to).
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  3. #3
    titanium junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by ntx1axc
    I'm a 5'1" woman with a short torso. I've had a couple of bikes but still don't feel right on them. We've shortened the stems, etc... I am at a 80mm stem on a 49cm Roubaix now and still a little long. Talked with my LBS and we are looking at a Serotta Fierte Ti (46P) with a top tube length of 48.5. All the other specs we looked at for other brands the shortest was 49.5 (Trek, Specialized, Bianchi).
    Here's my question - is there really a big difference between 650cc wheels and 700cc wheels? With the size frame I'm looking at 650 wheels are on it. I'm sure I can stock my bag with enough tubes to cover me because I know on some longer organized rides 650 tubes are hard to find. What about performance?
    I appreciate your feedback.
    You have to be careful when comparing a frame from one maker to another in regards to top tube length. In other words, the top tube length may not be meaningful if the seat tube angle is different between frames. You need to look at the REACH of each frame instead of top tube length but sometimes it is very hard to do unless you have all the info available.

  4. #4
    MB1
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    My wife rides 650C, I use 700C. No problems interchanging tubes.

    We ride a bunch and each carry 2 spare tubes and a patch kit. Since I don't like to spend the time patching on the road we have as needed used the others tubes. You have to stretch the 650C tubes to get them into a 700C wheel but once inflated they work fine. When I have to put my 700C tubes in her 650C tires I fold them over slightly opposite the valve stem and inflate them about 10psi less than normal.

    We have ridden quite far this way.

    BTW I am a big fan of 650C wheels for folks your size. IMHO Everything about the bike works better when the wheels are proportional to the size of the rider.

    Go for it.

    BTW2 My wife rides steel Waterfords and Rivendells, we gave up on Ti frames a long time ago.
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  5. #5
    Spicy Dumpling
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    My wife runs a 650C bike right now and likes it. Gearing isn't quite as tall, she ran a compact for a while and with a compact a 12 cog in the rear wasn't quite tall of a big gear for her. I think it was fine but I don't argue with momma. We have a friend who just had a custom 650C calfee done for her. She loves it. Around here we have as many women on 650's as 700's. Lots of small riders in our area.

    BUT, my wife rode a 700C bike for a while when hers was getting painted. She liked the 700 wheels. In fact I've found her a 47CM Basso with 700C wheels I'm building up for her right now. We're going to see which she likes best. IMHO go with what fits best, 650 or 700. I really think that 650's are better for geometry reasons but again, I don't argue with the missus.

    As for the tubes. I've heard (but never tried) a trick for using 700c tubes in a pinch. You take a 700 and sortof push part of it inside itself to make it the right size. I've heard from a few folks that it will work.
    If I were to beat you senseless with a tire iron, what color would you bleed?..The Missus

  6. #6
    Steaming piles of opinion
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    My wife is your height, and currently rides a 47cm Trek 5000 WSD. Has a crazy-short 70mm stem to make it work out. It has 650 wheels, and she likes it fine.

    We went on a touring vacation with Trek Travel, and the bike was a WSD Madone 5.2, in 47 that they found a short stem for. Basically, same geometry but with 700C wheels. It created some additional toe overlap, but didn't cause problems. It did make the standover tight for her, but she managed OK.

    On the open road, she thought the differences (related to wheelsize) were trivial. The biggest issue was that the gearing was different than what she was accustomed to.

    Bottom line: It doesn't matter too much at all. The 650's look a little more proportional on a bike that size, if aesthetics matter to you. Toe strike and standover concerns aren't a big deal, but the 650's eliminate the issue. As others have mentioned, tubes can be worked out in a pinch. A downside to 650's is that there is a more limited selection of wheelsets and tires available, and those that do exist can be harder to find for sale. Not necessarily a big deal, but something worth spending a few minutes thinking about.

    In terms of rolling or aero efficiency, the differences are small enough to not matter, relative to the importance of proper fit.
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