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  1. #1
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    My 5th custom frame- a endurance bike for a 5'0 lady

    I'm a novice/amateur/hobbyist frame builder, and wanted to share my first experience building for someone else.

    Here's the plan--
    My 5th custom frame- a endurance bike for a 5'0 lady-jessicacustom.jpg


    Here's how it came out--
    My 5th custom frame- a endurance bike for a 5'0 lady-jessicacustompic.jpg

    It's built around 650c wheels and designed to handle pretty slowly/safely/predictably, and be comfortable. In the design i was somewhat uncomfortable with how far the fit and geometry deviated from what's commercially available to smaller riders... but now that the bike has some miles on it i worry i didn't go far enough. I'll never really know, i guess.

    I'd love to hear from those of you who have experience with small wheel'ed bikes, i've learned so much from this exercise and wish i could experience them firsthand.

  2. #2
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    I don't have any personal experience, but I remember in the no longer published Bicycle Guide magazine one of the editors built a 650c wheeled road bike. He didn't need special sizing so his experience may be different than yours. Perhaps you can find a reprint on the internet.

  3. #3
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    That looks really interesting. Nice work.

    I have a friend who is 4' 11" and has disproportionately long torso and short legs/arms. As you can imagine, this is a serious fit challenge.

    She own's a 42cm Long Haul Trucker with 26" wheels, and 152mm cranks, which is rideable, but she mainly just uses it for errands and such. It's not a lot of fun to ride on fast pace group rides.

    She's tried the smallest off the shelf 700c frames we can find, and they are all just too tall at the front end - the 700c wheel only allows you to get so low there...

    I'm intrigued by Canyons new women's specific line, and especially the 3XXS sizes with 27.5" wheels. Unfortunately, she'd have to purchase it blindly without trying it out, as they are not available to test ride. The lower priced models are at the top end of her budget, especially considering she'll have to add the extra cost of the custom 150mm cranks.

    https://www.canyon.com/en/road/ultim...m-csr-wmn.html

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter P. View Post
    I don't have any personal experience, but I remember in the no longer published Bicycle Guide magazine one of the editors built a 650c wheeled road bike. He didn't need special sizing so his experience may be different than yours. Perhaps you can find a reprint on the internet.
    I read that article; i read everything i could get my hands on about 650c/26" road bikes. Unfortunately that guy was tall enough that his fit wasn't constrained by managing toe overlap, so his observations only related to wheel size and BB drop. Still a good article, and it's always cool when people are testing ideas with an open mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Migen21 View Post
    That looks really interesting. Nice work.

    I have a friend who is 4' 11" and has disproportionately long torso and short legs/arms. As you can imagine, this is a serious fit challenge.

    She own's a 42cm Long Haul Trucker with 26" wheels, and 152mm cranks, which is rideable, but she mainly just uses it for errands and such. It's not a lot of fun to ride on fast pace group rides.

    She's tried the smallest off the shelf 700c frames we can find, and they are all just too tall at the front end - the 700c wheel only allows you to get so low there...

    I'm intrigued by Canyons new women's specific line, and especially the 3XXS sizes with 27.5" wheels. Unfortunately, she'd have to purchase it blindly without trying it out, as they are not available to test ride. The lower priced models are at the top end of her budget, especially considering she'll have to add the extra cost of the custom 150mm cranks.

    https://www.canyon.com/en/road/ultim...m-csr-wmn.html
    Yeah, it was a similar deal for her. I did her fitting (i did maybe 30 professional fittings back in the day?), she has relatively short arms and relatively long femurs, which i informally gather isn't uncommon for smaller women, but it makes her effectively 'shorter' than her already diminutive stature would suggest.


    It feels like production frames are designed around fitting production parts, and custom builders are disinclined to publish how they do geometry. I'm 6'3, so all i can do is crunch numbers and observe. I'm happy to have a friend who will let me experiment on her.



    That canyon is really cool!!! It's not quite as small as what i built, but it's the best design i've seen from a major manufacturer since Terry stopped mass production (in my tall, amateur opinion).

  5. #5
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    What crank length did you use? They look prett long for someone 5'.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Migen21 View Post
    What crank length did you use? They look prett long for someone 5'.
    Those are 165s. They're hers and they don't seem to cause any problems and shorter cranks of inferior quality are expensive!

    ...they're the longest cranks i would feel comfortable putting on that frame.


    ________________________________________________

    Below is a snip comparing this bike (right) to my own road bike (left) with its conservative 70mm bb drop/267mm bb height. I am a top 5% descender and have clipped my pedal maybe twice on that bike in the ~10k i've ridden it- pedaling through crowned corners on shallow descents. I haven't explored what the minimum lean angle is for universally confident no-pedal-strike riding, i only wish to show i was able to lower the BB height fairly dramatically thanks to short cranks and narrow Q.
    My 5th custom frame- a endurance bike for a 5'0 lady-leanangle.jpg
    Last edited by bubble; 05-12-2017 at 08:57 PM.

  7. #7
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    The probablem isn't just pedal clearance.

    With 165's her heel was coming right up to her butt. The leg compression was just way too extreme and her pedal stroke was far too long and exaggerated.

    We ended up with a set of shortened SRAM cranks from BikeSmithDesign.com

    SRAM Apex GXP Cranksets

    The short cranks really improved her comfort and pedaling efficiency. Her natural cadence went up from ~95 to ~105. No more sore knees after rides, and zero chance of skipping a pedal.

    $220 and worth every penny.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Migen21 View Post
    The probablem isn't just pedal clearance.

    With 165's her heel was coming right up to her butt. The leg compression was just way too extreme and her pedal stroke was far too long and exaggerated.

    We ended up with a set of shortened SRAM cranks from BikeSmithDesign.com

    SRAM Apex GXP Cranksets

    The short cranks really improved her comfort and pedaling efficiency. Her natural cadence went up from ~95 to ~105. No more sore knees after rides, and zero chance of skipping a pedal.

    $220 and worth every penny.
    I'm at the tall end of the spectrum and bought some 200mm mtb cranks a long time ago. They were expensive and i suffered more pedal strikes and noticed no tangible performance benefit. My conclusion was that like many bike fit details... crank length doesn't matter until it does. If she isn't complaining or obviously suffering from cranks than i don't see a need to bring it up... and with a 28" inseam 165s are fairly appropriate, if erring on the long side.

    My natural cadence is ~75 though... so again... what do i know...?
    Last edited by bubble; 05-12-2017 at 09:57 PM.

  9. #9
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    Were in similar situations. I'm 6' 5" and ride 175's on my road bike. I used 180s on my MTB before I sold it.

    All I can say about my height challenged friend is that she was so happy and relieved the day she got to ride with those 150mm cranks. It was like letting a bird out of a cage.

  10. #10
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    .....
    Last edited by bubble; 05-13-2017 at 10:25 AM.

  11. #11
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    I'm late to this thread but from what I've seen, a woman under 5'4" usually runs into challenges when finding a proper fitting bike. Reason? Companies are too busy trying to squeeze 700c wheels onto smaller frame designs.

    Most women are just fitted as close as possible on those smaller framed, off the shelf bikes because the geometries are just messed up. The bikes don't handle as well as the taller ones, so performance suffers. Usually, I recommend shorter women (and men) to go custom, just as I recommend extremely tall people go custom. They can get the proper fit; not a close to. They will be completely dialed in. That usually means a road bike with 650c wheels. Nothing wrong with that. 650s generally accelerate faster than 700c wheels anyway.

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