Bike for rider 5'0"

spaciousskies

New Member
Hello and thank you in advance for your help! I am 5’0” and live in a very hilly area. I’m looking for a lowstep bike to ride to work, on paved trails, and hopefully, if I can find a bike that can do all three, on gravel/dirt logging roads in the mountains. My budget is $3000.

Yesterday I rented a Giant LaFree E+ One and took it up the steepest hill in town, and it was fine in the second gear with the highest level of assist. So that’s the level of power I need, but I felt a little too high off the ground on that bike.

Previously I tested a Gazelle EasyFlow and was extremely happy with the 26” wheels and size 44 frame. I like being lower to the ground—it’s easier on my orthopedic issues (bad shoulder, bad foot) when coming to a stop. In fact, I liked everything about it. However, I was only able to ride it in a big parking lot, not on steep hills.

My questions:
  1. Will the EasyFlow be as powerful on hills as the LaFree?
  2. Would I be able to ride the EasyFlow on packed gravel/dirt logging roads? Could the EasyFlow take wider tires?
  3. The Gazelle sizing guide puts me at a size 46 frame, so supposedly I could also fit an Arroyo, which actually is better suited to the kind of riding I want to do. But the Arroyo also has 28” wheels. I’m afraid I don’t understand the relationship between wheel size and frame size. If someone could explain it to me, that would be great. I just want to be closer to the ground so it’s not as hard on my shoulder and ball of my foot when I stop. Note that I will not be able to test ride the Arroyo—nobody has one in stock. Is it possible to put smaller wheels on a bike? If so, is it expensive?
  4. Given my height and my needs, is there another bike I should be looking at? One of the primary uses will be commuting, often wearing narrow skirts, so the step through needs to be low enough for that.
  5. The dealer who carries the Gazelle is 90 minutes away. I live in a rural area and local options are limited to Trek, Giant, and Electra, which don't seem to have anything small enough for me. I feel like the occasional hassle of having it serviced would be outweighed by getting the bike that actually fits me and is comfortable to ride. Am I wrong?
Thanks for your help.
 

Nova Haibike

Well-Known Member
the Arroyo also has 28” wheels. I’m afraid I don’t understand the relationship between wheel size and frame size.

There is no relationship. Wheel size is chosen by the type of bike. 28"/700C is just the standard size for hybrid/trekking bikes, while 26" is what are commonly used on comfort, recreational, and some mountain bikes.

I just want to be closer to the ground so it’s not as hard on my shoulder and ball of my foot when I stop.

To be closer to the ground you can:
1. Adjust the seat lower, although it might be technically too low for optimum efficiency.
2. Choose a bike with a lower bottom bracket where the crank would be closer to the ground, but this can cause pedal strikes if pedaling when cornering.
3. Choose a bike with a "crank forward" design which places the pedals not underneath you but more in front of your body.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Hi, I was able to test ride a Gazelle EasyFlow for a month two summers ago. I’m 5’ 10” and was issued the largest frame size and even that felt small for me. I really appreciated the wide low step through and low stand over height, it’s really ideal for hopping on and off the bike. I towed a child trailer and groceries up hill, I’d rate the power as adequate, I had to stand on the pedals up really steep sections and while I missed the throttle on my Class 2 daily rider I liked the torque pedal assist sensor as it made the bike feel more bicycle-like to ride - a word of warning, don’t rest your feet on one pedal when you are stationary, the torque sensor is sensitive enough it feels the weight of your foot and thinks you want to go, the brake levers have motor cut off sensors but it’s best to just put both feet on the ground when you are stationary.

The LaFree has an excellent Yamaha motor that is slightly more powerful than the Shimano Steps on the EasyFlow so yes it would climb hills easier. Absolutely you should get a bike you feel comfortable to ride. I loved test riding the Arroyo, but you are correct the EasyFlow would better suit your height. Also consider the Pedego Interceptor with 24” wheels or the Electric Bike Company Model Y also available with optional 24” wheels, both are good step through choices for the shorter rider, both have a geared hub motor that would offer similar performance to the EasyFlow.
 

Mistyscot

Active Member
Hi I'm 4"11 and I just brought giant entour e+ 1 disc low step I had to order x-small ,been on a few steep hills and its been great.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Maybe this Giant bike? It might need gearing modification for steep hills. Vida E+ step-thru
Good call, I appreciate this model comes with an internal geared hub like the LaFree E+1 but with a lower step through, a larger rear sprocket would be a cheap quick upgrade for the shop to lower the gearing if desired.
 

PatriciaK

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Pacific Northwest and Piedmont Triad
Did you test ride the small frame on the La Free? The reason I ask is, when I did my test ride, there were no small frames available in the shop to try. That was fine for me because I take the medium, but, if you haven't ridden a small I suggest you try to find one before making a decision. The La Free is a great bike!

Also, because of the more upright geometry, it's going to feel "big", as in "tall". That was something it took a few weeks of riding to adjust to, but now I really like riding more upright 😀.
 

spaciousskies

New Member
Did you test ride the small frame on the La Free? The reason I ask is, when I did my test ride, there were no small frames available in the shop to try. That was fine for me because I take the medium, but, if you haven't ridden a small I suggest you try to find one before making a decision. The La Free is a great bike!

Also, because of the more upright geometry, it's going to feel "big", as in "tall". That was something it took a few weeks of riding to adjust to, but now I really like riding more upright 😀.

Yes, it was the small frame.
 

Nova Haibike

Well-Known Member
The BULLS looks perfect but I am confused by the sizing. The recommend the 41 for riders 5'4" to 5'6". How can that be?

Diving into the specs, the bike is equipped with a dropper seatpost. So the saddle cannot be lowered as much as a rigid seatpost. The "good" new is that you could replace the dropper with a rigid post.
 

Nova Haibike

Well-Known Member
What about using the EasyFlow on logging roads?

Supposition on my part, but Gazelle bikes are designed and manufactured in the Netherlands, primarily for that market. There are no hills to speak of in the Netherlands, and the Easy Flow's Shimano motor does not offer a lot in the way of torque.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
What about using the EasyFlow on logging roads?
The electricbikereview search engine can't find that model so you'll have to look up the specs yourself. IMHO one needs wheels at least as large as 26" on unpaved roads with ruts, and tires at least 2" cross section or 52 mm. A suspension would help but is a pricey addition. I ride theunsuspended bike left with 26x2.1" tires on a rutted gravel drive with grass 30" high, so It is doable, but I only go about 3 mph on my driveway. Fat tires or a suspension could get the speed up.
Whatever the pavement, torque has to be enough to start you on the grades. That model might not have a torque spec, but I can start 330 lb on a 15% grade (7/8" rise in 6" )with about 65 nm torque. That is a pretty steep grade. i measured the grade with a 6" carpenter's level and a tape measure, it is science but not rocket science.
With a geared hub motor as I have, the motor has to produce all that torque by itself. With a mid drive like a shimano a 32:48 lowest gear can multiply the torque at the wheel. Most non-MounTain bikes don't have that sprocket range. I hate the MTB seating position with the flat handlebar, but I bought a bike with a 32:32 lowest range and a cruiser handlebar & seat, because I carry lots of groceries up steep grades out near my summer camp.
 

spaciousskies

New Member
Just wanted to pop back in to say that I ended up buying the Gazelle EasyFlow and I love it. It's plenty powerful even on the really steep hills, the fit is really adjustable, and once I loosened the tension on the seat suspension it became very comfortable to ride. Thanks for your help.
 

Latitude

Well-Known Member
Looks like you chose well with the Gazelle EasyFlow. I too am quite short, (5’2”) and looked for a bike that had a low step-over that could be supported by a local bike shop. I went with the Trek Verve + 3 low step. Similar to yours, but you have even more space to clear your foot through. I am extremely happy with mine, doing 30 to 40 km most days on pavement, gravel and mild forest single track. I might have liked front suspension, but have just ordered a ShockStop stem, which I think will do the job perfectly. Best of luck on your new bike.