Advice needed on starter road bike for my gf


New Member
My gf has expressed an interested in starting cycling :biggrin: . The biggest barrier to this is that she doesn't have a bike.

So I need advice on getting a road bike that doesn't cost the earth (in case she really doesn't like it),and I could with some good advice and links to places to get one. (She's on the petite side (5'1") which cuts down the options unfortunately.)

So, are there any good sites/places to get 2nd hand bikes?

Or if the options are too low, does anyone have any recommendations for places to get new ones?

Big T

For 2nd hand bikes, try the Classifieds on the Britishcycling website , or the Cycling Plus Classified ads or Ebay.

For new, she might need a WSD (Women Specific Design). Do you have a branch of Evans Cycles nearby? Or try the local bike shop - Fred Williams Cycles. The local club - Wolverhampton Wheelers, has quite a few female members - might be worth getting in touch to see if one is selling a road bike.


SW London
eBay is often a good bet - you frequently see very lightly used women's bikes going for peanuts (some poor guy's gf wasn't so keen on cycling!).

I picked up an excellent condition Raleigh hybrid for under a tenner. Despite it weighing a ton my missus I enjoying herself so I can confidently splash out on something much better fairly soon.

Another benefit of a cheap 'tester' bike was there was no pressure on her to instantly love cycling. She's beginning to crack after a couple of months of longer distances and more varied routes!



Bird Saviour
make sure its light. if you start leaving her behind it will put her off but if she feels like she's flying she'll love it.


Legendary Member
I wouldnt neccessarily worry too much about a womans specific bike straight wifes currently taken my old Raleigh Chimera for longer rides together, and she gets on fine.
I guess anything with a sloping top tube will do...i am 5ft10, shes 5ft fcuk all...sorry :rolleyes: maybe 5ft 5. With the seat well down, she does have to stretch a bit for the levers, but manages ok.

Of course, its not perfect...but as a trial, its working very well.

Now.....what am i gonna do when it gets wet :rolleyes:


New Member
Bury, Lancashire
I think it will be very hard to get anything to fits well and suits her, straight off, on a limited budget. It takes ages to find out what you're comfy with and that suits the type of riding you are going to be doing - which in itself is a work in progress and evolves as you get fitter and more skilled and so necessarily involves expenditure over and above that of the original purchase, over the next few months/years anyway. Therefore I'd go down the cheap route with the expectation of having to get something decent ASAP once she is committed to cycling. Even then you will almost certainly want to upgrade/change various things as you go along, so its always going to be a work in progress anyway. She needs to feel confident and comfortable as well as enjoying it so you'll have to look for something that is a compromise between good fit/lightness etc and your budget. An old, second hand racing bike (ie 1990s) of about the right size (with minor adjustments such as shorter stem, if needed and the saddle of her choice) might be the way to start, before investing later in something more modern, that fits and suits her better once she is committed to cycling.


Senior Member for womens cycling issues (actually it's a good all-round read anyway).

I think people here haven't full taken into account your GF's height. Your best bet maybe the smallest men's size bike that she can stand-over and then change the stem to something shorter for comfortable reach. You will also need a women's saddle.

On the new side Trek do a range of women specific bikes that start from extra small.


New Member
Bury, Lancashire
Hmm hadn't realised she was quite that small. RE: second hand market - You can get small men's road bikes but you don't see them very often and they tend to have smaller wheels than 700cc which can present a problem when you need replacement inner tubes or tyres. You could try a small size hard tail mtb with slicks until she is ready to spend more money on a road bike? A second hand mtb which you could convert for her will be much easier to find. BTW - She may not need a supposedly womens specific saddle either. I don't use one. Although I have tried many I didn't really get on with any of them, and found them all too wide in the mid-section and nose, too short and too soft.


Well-Known Member
i had the same dilemma recently. then i found an abandoned ladies frame. i stripped it right down( it had no wheels) and rebuilt it is a single speed. i flipped and chopped the bars, kept the brakes but put new levers on the tops, changed the saddle, stuck an 18t freewheel on the back and bingo, awesome bike.

nearly all the parts i had lying around.

she totally loves it. i'm going to build more, it costs next to nothing. refurbish everything you can, and the only cost is a rear wheel.



Legendary Member
Done a bit of homework...
My wife is 5ft 1 or 5ft 2.
I am 5ft 10
My old Chimera which has a gently sloping top tube is classed as a 21.1/2 inch frame. I think thats about 54 cm
I rode it fine for a few years.
For SWMBO i moved the seat well forward on the rails, fitted a 80mm stem instead of the 110 standard, and lowered the seat well down.

She rides it fine.
Of course its not ideal, particually from an arm reach point of view. She has to tilt the bike slighty to get on, but most importantly...she rides it quite happily until we sort something more appropriate.

Funnily enough, theres a Chimera on ebay at the mo..
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