Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

fergy1987
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Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby fergy1987 » Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:42 am

Saw a cheap Avanti Vitale 4.0 on gumtree but noticed its a women's specific bike.

Whats the actual difference between a bike and a women's specific bike?

Is it in the saddle? or in the geometry?

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RonK
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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby RonK » Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:49 am

Geometry, handle bar width, lever span, saddle are the usually differences.

Oh, and the pretty pastel colours.
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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby Derny Driver » Thu Nov 03, 2016 12:11 pm

I cant see anything on that bike that makes it 'women specific' apart from the saddle. Levers, crankset, handlebars are all standard (Unlesss compacts are for girls haha). It wasn't even made with pretty colours. "Women specific geometry" can mean either nothing, or possibly a few millimetres shorter top tube which is really of no consequence as people can choose a stem ranging from 60 to 140mm.

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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby RobertL » Thu Nov 03, 2016 5:20 pm

In theory, the average woman has a slightly different leg to torso ratio to men, with women having longer legs and shorter torsos. This leads to "proper" women's bikes having a slightly shorter top tube (for the same sized frame) in order for them to be able to reach the handlebars.

I say "proper" because there is a tendency for bike manufacturers to take a man's bike and "shrink it and pink it" and call it a women's bike.

Also, all physical differences between the sexes are based on averages, and don't necessarily apply to any given person.

Finally, some of the differences can be altered by different components. For example you can make up for a too-short top tube with a longer stem - but that may lead to handling issues.

But if the bike fits you, and you are comfortable on it, there is nothing stopping you from riding a women's bike.

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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby Marx » Thu Nov 03, 2016 6:59 pm

Women are freaks of nature which is why bicycles need to be re-designed for them.
Most of the work goes into the graphics and the supporting manufacturer promotional material. As bicycles for either men or women come in different sizes and configurations is it important you get the right sized male or female specific bike. This is important because you'll find a greater variation in different bikes built specifically for men then between the equivalent male <> female specific bike of the same type and size.
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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby Zippy7 » Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:55 pm

Depends on the bike. Seem some womens bikes that have a more angular top tube.
Was looking at the Focus Paralane, and was told the only difference between the mens bike vs womens bike was 1. Saddle and 2. Colour of bar tape. The rest was the same.
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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby hedgehog » Tue Nov 15, 2016 9:28 pm

agree with robertl!

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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby nickobec » Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:05 pm

As Robert said it is based on average measurement

Case in point lining up at a local race, got talking shoes with fellow competitor.

Me size 42, narrow ankles and I am wearing women specific shoes.
She size 43 and in the male version of the same shoe, because they did not do anything above 42.5 in women specific shoes.
ps we both agreed these were the best shoes we ever ridden in.

As others have said it is graphics (which you will have to live with) bartape, easily changed when dirty, women specific saddle (probably need to swap that out), shorter top tube, as long as the top tube is the right length and your legs ain't to stubby, shorter stem (easily swapped out), narrower bars (not really an issue, racing fashion is narrower bars).

If the bike is the right size, ie the top tube is the right length and your legs ain't to stubby, I would grab it, just have a little aside for a new saddle, and maybe new bars if you find out by riding lots, they don't work for you.

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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby Duck! » Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:52 am

All off-the-shelf bikes, for both men and women are designed around averages; women's bikes are designed to a slightly different set of averages. WSD bikes generally have a slightly shorter top tube than the men's equivalent, but it's not simply a matter of shortening the frame. Wheels still need to be fitted in with some level of safety, so usually the seat tube angle is a bit steeper and sometimes the head angle a bit slacker to achieve the desired length without excessive toe overlap, although it can't be entirely eliminated on smaller frames purely because of the proportionally larger wheels.

The geometric differences are usually more pronounced at the smaller end of the size range.
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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby MattyK » Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:53 pm

Which begs the question why noone makes 650c road bikes... (been a search topic of mine lately). There are a few TT/tri bikes, and some kids road bikes, but apart from a couple of custom makers they just don't seem to exist...

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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby stoogey » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:01 am

RobertL wrote:In theory, the average woman has a slightly different leg to torso ratio to men, with women having longer legs and shorter torsos. This leads to "proper" women's bikes having a slightly shorter top tube (for the same sized frame) in order for them to be able to reach the handlebars.


I'm a guy and bought 2 women's specific bikes, on small frame size the top tube for both were about 10mm shorter than the men's version. Fits my shorter torso and longer legs better.

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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby owly » Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:34 pm

MattyK wrote:Which begs the question why noone makes 650c road bikes... (been a search topic of mine lately). There are a few TT/tri bikes, and some kids road bikes, but apart from a couple of custom makers they just don't seem to exist...


I have seen some of the cheaper UK bike sites with 650c road bikes.

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MattyK
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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby MattyK » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:26 pm

Out of interest, which ones?

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Ivanerrol
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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby Ivanerrol » Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:50 pm

Image

That's my Specialized 2009 model Crossroads Elite Hybrid fitness bike. Marketed as a unisex bike.
Specialized only did a couple of years of this design and then went back to male/female versions

The bike above is an XL 60cm model but can be ridden comfortably by anyone over 5ft 9in (176)
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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby cj7hawk » Tue Dec 06, 2016 3:57 pm

According to my wife, two things need to be present for a bicycle to be a "Woman's" bicycle -

The first is the low step, so that she can ride while wearing a long skirt...

The second is she must be able to remain fully seated when putting a leg down at a stop ( and while wearing a long skirt ).

The second is harder to match, since it usually means her feet are too close to the seat - but both features together are why she will not ride a "Man's" bike.

A man can ride a woman's bicycle, just like he can wear women's clothing. Technically, there's no problem with either. Technically. Society sometimes takes a different view of both activities however, and as a man, you probably wouldn't want your mates to know you ride a woman's bicycle. No matter how comfy the seats may be.

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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby stoogey » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:40 am

GCN recently did a video on men vs womens bikes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olTs4oR3Kh8

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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby princessbumblebee » Thu Dec 08, 2016 8:56 pm

MattyK wrote:Which begs the question why noone makes 650c road bikes... (been a search topic of mine lately). There are a few TT/tri bikes, and some kids road bikes, but apart from a couple of custom makers they just don't seem to exist...



I know Felt had some, but I just checked and it seems they are no longer made. Same with the Cervelos, although they still have them on some TTs.

I think they went away in popularity because it's easier to standardise things! I find it frustrating, as 700s look odd and don't always work well on a tiny bike frame.

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MattyK
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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby MattyK » Fri Dec 09, 2016 9:34 am

Exactly, geometry and toe overlap are turned to poop when trying to fit 700c wheels onto a small frame. Good 650c wheels exist from the TT/Tri market, so it's not like a nice bike couldn't be made...

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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby Mulger bill » Fri Dec 09, 2016 7:04 pm

650c roadies here if anyone is interested
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MattyK
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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby MattyK » Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:24 am

16 speed, 10 kg... not very appealing to the serious small rider

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Re: Can men ride women's specific bikes? whats the difference

Postby Thoglette » Sat Dec 10, 2016 10:38 am

MattyK wrote:16 speed, 10 kg... not very appealing to the serious small rider
T

Welcome to not buying off the rack. There are other frames around but you might have to import them. (see here) Apparently part of the problem is a lack of 650C crabon forks. Can't just shorten the blades like you do with CroMo.

If you want a hi-po 650c bike look for late eighties / early ninties triathlon bikes - 650C "was faster" so for a short period of time small bikes came with suitable tyres.

By changing brakes to long reach calipers you can also get 650C wheels to work with 700C frames. (same trick the 650B crowd use just a bit more so ). Frankly 650B is a little easier to do and to find tyres for, but that's another story all together.

Finally, there's the custom frame route.
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