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Women specific bikes?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 8:10 pm
by nikb
I currently have a Trek 1200 flat bar road bike and have happily travelled around 3000km on it.

Am interested in upgrading to a true road bike. Any suggestions - and what is the difference with a so called 'women specific' frame?

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:07 pm
by europa
A woman specific bike is based on the premise that most women have longer legs and a shorter torso than a man of the same height. The result is subtle changes to the components to make it fit. Like all generalisations, it works for some and not others.

However, women do generally have a wider pelvis and different requirements to men and so saddles have been designed for women.

Some companies go to the extent of more 'feminine' colours and accessories.

Like everything in bikes, it's worth looking around.


Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:13 pm
by mikesbytes
Hi Nikb,

Welcome to the forum. To provide some opinions to you on what bike, we first need to know a bit about you, such as the type of riding you do or plan to do, whether you are tall, have a bad hand etc.

And we get a bit bored at times, so tell us whats the nicest thing thats happened to you this month.

'Womans specific' frame
Typically a female of the same height as a male will have longer legs, shorter body, shorter arms, wider hips, smaller hands and narrower shoulders. Manufacturers have recognised this and are making a range of bikes that is better suited to this different body shape. Generally the frame will have a shorter top tube to reduce the reach to the handlebars.

Most are best off with a frame specific to their gender, however there are some woman who prefer a 'male' frame and some men that prefer a 'female' frame.

Burn plenty of Glycogen
training log

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 11:28 am
by moosterbounce
There is also the option of getting a "men's" frame and then changing some of the components on it such as saddle and stem. If you do this when you buy the bike, they don't usually charge you. I have read somewhere (can't remember where - sorry) that the geometry changes on a WSF can adversely affect the handing of the bike. Might be worth investigating.

I just had my bike adjusted to fit "perfectly" and was pleasantly surprised at the result. I bought mine sight unseen - I tried the next size up and it was a bit big so we made an educated guess. My "fitter" said I had very long arms and wide shoulders so there was no need to change any of that stuff. I ride a men's frame and it fits me perfectly. I tried a WSF and felt like I was towering over it.

So my advice is to try frames (including WSF) from different manufacturers and find the most comfy. Don't discount swapping the stem though as it may be cheaper.


Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:16 pm
by mikesbytes
moosterbounce wrote:I have read somewhere (can't remember where - sorry) that the geometry changes on a WSF can adversely affect the handing of the bike. Might be worth investigating.

I have been told that too, that if you put a really short stem on, that shortens the reach from male to female. However I'm also aware of a female rider who has done this on a racer and is happy with it.

Burn plenty of Glycogen
training log

Posted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 10:35 am
by purplegolden
Hi Nikb

if you are looking for a WSB you could look at Giant, SUB, Specialized, to name a few. Like you I am in the market for a new bike and was also considering WSB. I currently have a Giant OCR2 which is a men's bike and it suits me fine, though if I got another Giant I'd move down a notch to a XS. My previous bike was a flat bar and I found moving to the Giant an easy one.

As with the other advice you received - go out and try as many as you can. One problem I have found with the LBS is that they want to sell you a bike, and don't seem to be too concerned about bike fit. You can get your bike personally fitted (or so I am told).

Good luck!