When I bought my first 'real' bike, I went to this tiny little shop that was a little lost compared to the other, more well known Portland shops. I went on the recommendation of an aquaintance. They did my first tune up, put SPD's on when I get a little more serious about my riding and answered innumerable newbie questions. It was also through them that I got my first taste of cyclocross. Their business was built upon a Portland passion, racing through the dirt. As a total newbie, the idea of racing my ass off for 45 minutes in muck sounded pretty intimidating. It was, therefore, very exciting to return to Portland five years later, with alot more experience under my belt, and see that the shop had moved to a new, better location. Its one of the best spaces that I've ever seen a bike shop in actually. We're talking skylights. I also had the chance to ask them their opinion of the lines that offer small cross frames (and knew that I could count on a candid answer). Cyclepath, Portland's premier cross shop:
Okay, lots of pictures but the unanimous decision amongst the staff was that the Salsa Chile Con Crosso is the bike to get for the 5'5" and under (waaaay under) crowd. The bike comes in a large range of frame sizes. The 44 apparently fits more more like a 47 and the 47 fits more like a 50. Its only available in red (although older models come in a really gorgeous green and a green/teal) but I think it would look really hot built up with Chris King mango components. Quite frankly, it seems like they couldn't recommend it more highly. I'm sold.