I've been researching and looking for over a month now. My biggest problem is finding the correct fit for my small size. It seems that all of the smaller frames are NOT scaled down versions but rather contain subtle differences in their frames when compared to frames for average or taller folks. The seat tube angle is one such spec that suffers with smaller frames. Average frames tend to have a slacked seat tube angle of about 73 degrees. The smaller frames tend to make their angles around 74 or 75 degrees. There are benefits and drawbacks to both, having to do with an increased pitch through the trunk with more pressure through the arms and wrists (with the higher angles) and differences with the leg muscles used, like the smaller angle favors quad use and the larger angle favors hamstring use. The smaller angles also favor climbing for much of the same reason.
I understand that there are many arguments for and against subtleties like this. Believe me, I've heard it all! I'm no slacker myself when it comes to doing my homework. And some of the apparent "best" out there cannot even answer what seem to me to be the most basic questions. In any case, yes, I'm familiar with the fact that you can "just move the seat forward or back" and that you can "just raise the handlebars" or "just change out the handlebar stem," etc. etc. That's not what I'm talking about. Rather, it's more fundamental than that. Like buying "petite" clothing....they're made to look "childish" in all pinks and florals and laces. There are only a few stores that actually make REAL average sized clothes for below average sized women...only a few. It's the same with the bikes.
I've been spying this one bike and keep going back to the shop to see if it still likes me. :)
Here it is:
Here are its specs:
FRAMESET: C-10 SuperLite High Modulus carbon w/3K weave, Continuous Fiber Technology, integrated aluminum cupped head tube, shaped ride-tuned Energy Transfer Chainstay, replaceable hanger
FORK: FC-330 Fuji Carbon Monocoque Integrated 1 1/8" Carbon steerer , 350g
DRIVETRAIN: FSA SLK Carbon MegaExo w/integrated spindle, 7075 CNC 39/53T, Shimano Dura Ace STI, 20-speed Flight Deck compatible
WHEELS Mavic Ksyrium SL
FEATURES: NEW Ritchey WCS EVO Carbon 31.8mm Road, San Marco Aspide Glamour womens saddle
SIZES: XS (44), S (47), M (50), L (53)
COLOR: Carbon finish with fused purple
WEIGHT: 15 lbs / 6.3kg
So, today I hopped on it and took it for a little test ride. The Centennial Trail was right there, so I got right into a groove and road for 10 miles. Now, it's been a LONG time since I've been on a bike. I have an old Cannondale mountain bike that I road during a few century rides in times past (!) but it's even been a long time since I've been on that. It's been so long that I, in fact, was a little hesitant about getting on the bike for fear of crashing.
Once I hit that Centennial Trail.....WHOO HOO!! I was off and riding! And HO-LY-MAC-A-RO-NI did I ever have a BLAST! Granted, I only had time for 10 miles until the bike shopped closed but I reveled in every mile. Earlier today I ran 15 hilly miles so my legs were somewhat fatigued and this was good; I felt it would give me a more accurate feel of the fit of the bike if I were already a bit fatigued. And well, it felt GREAT! I felt great.
So, I returned the bike and promised to check on her again by the end of the week. Then, I promptly purchased some bike shorts (ouch!). I've got a couple more bikes to try, but this one's tugging at my heart strings. So, I should make a decision by the end of the week. If she's still there, I'll take her home. I've got a trainer for now...but those hilly country roads are calling.
And oh, my next bike (I don't do ANYTHING that I like in MODERATION!) is going to be a custom Rivendell. You gotta check out these steel beauties. I gotta have one. ..One at a time though. I'll see how the first one treats me.
I can't wait to go, go, GO! on the roads and the beautiful 37 miles of paved Centennial Trail that hugs the Spokane River and goes from Nine Mile Falls in western Spokane to the Idaho State line. Of course, it then continues on into Idaho for a total of 60 miles.
Then, if I have an inkling of a chance at finishing it, I will do the Furnace Creek 508 to complete the Death Valley Cup. The 508 will be my FIRST official bike event. Now, how's THAT for compulsive??? :)