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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 03-14-08, 10:33 PM   #1
Blindrage
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Womens Bikes

Well it seems my enjoyment has rubbed off on the better half of this dating relationship. The lady in question is considering replacing he hand me down beater bike for something newer. Because of the current deals and her yearly rebate she is looking at one of REI's branded bikes. So that brings me to two questions....

1) There seems to be some bike designed specifically for women in multiple brands, can any one explain what features differ from a "man's bike," and how those features actually help a female rider? The answer can be very general since I am not going to really understand why a 1 degree change in head angle affects the ride at this point in my research.

2) Has anyone had much experience with the Novara Carema bike produced by REI?
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Old 03-14-08, 10:45 PM   #2
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I've got to assume more proportional for a womans body. Hopefully you will get some women to let you know.
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Old 03-14-08, 10:54 PM   #3
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well things like narrow handlebars and close levers on the brakes. Easier to grip and squeeze. My wife had the problem till she got the womens specific design.

Honestly, I've browsed at REI a few times. My opinion is the bikes are high in price when you can get a big name brand at an LBS for the same money. I've looked at the components, nothing special about the package or price on a not so popular bike company.
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Old 03-14-08, 10:57 PM   #4
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Her Trek Pilot also has a very low sloping top tube for ease when standing over the bike.
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Old 03-14-08, 11:06 PM   #5
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My bike on the left, hers on the right. My bike has a sloiping top tube. You can see her bar slopes more than mine so that the bar is really low near the seat. Gotta protect the goods!

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Old 03-14-08, 11:40 PM   #6
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I know Specialized and Fuji makes a bunch of women specific bikes, The handle bars are closer to the seat the frame is lighter and smaller, like it was mentioned before, narrower handle bars, and also a shorter crank arm. The Specialized Ruby elite that I've been eyeing at my LBS has 700 tires. Which is nice, cause I when I took it for a ride it felt like a regular bike, just more my size.
I'm not sure about other brands, I know trek has a pretty decent line of women bikes, I just have my favorites you know
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Old 03-15-08, 01:56 AM   #7
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Thanks for the info so far. While I would rather see her get a bike that works for her instead of looking at one specific brand of bike... she has a different opinion. Her reasons are sound, but they relay on financial considerations instead of what will work best.

Bottom line is that REI issues a rebate check each year, so she has money there. Her brother is a big REI fan and gave her a big gift card for Christmas, so she has money there. And REI sent all it's members a 20% a single item coupon, but our current understanding is that it is only good for the Novara brand of bike (we will be verifying this for sure when we go to the store). All said for a bike in the 700-1000 range that knocks about $400 off her out of pocket expenses.

I figure it can't hurt to go down and look at what they have to offer, but I will be checking back here for more ammo to convince her to get what works even if it means I have to pay the difference.
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Old 03-15-08, 05:31 AM   #8
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The REI on-line store shows they have women specific in the Novara line, in road and mountain bikes. The lower end uses Sora/Tiagra and that has worked find for me in the first 2000 miles of my riding without any problems. Others will say you need higher end components, but I have not had any problems. There may be better pricing and components at other LBS', but if this is a place that works for her, go for it and let her have fun with her first bike purchase. Get a bike that is female specific and fits her body.
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Old 03-15-08, 07:44 AM   #9
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I've got to assume more proportional for a womans body. Hopefully you will get some women to let you know.
Yes. Women generally have longer legs and shorter torsos and arms. WSD bikes accomodate those features with shorter top tubes and stem lengths. We also tend to have slightly narrower shoulders and wider sit bones than men, so WSD bikes come with narrower handlebars and saddles which are wider than saddles for men. A lot of WSD bikes run 650c wheels, so as to avoid toe overlap in the smaller size bikes. The bikes usually have smaller brake levers, and the levers are set up with a shorter travel distance.

However, not all women need WSD bicycles. Have her do a test ride, always.

Was she looking at the Carema Pro?

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Old 03-15-08, 08:47 AM   #10
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The lower end uses Sora/Tiagra and that has worked find for me in the first 2000 miles of my riding without any problems. Others will say you need higher end components, but I have not had any problems.
I've used lower end components and have had really good luck with them as long as one keeps them finely tuned. I just don't understand why a person would buy an REI bike when the prices are about the same as a Trek, Giant or other brand with great warranties and reputations.

If you're goint to go Tiagra/Sora, why not go with the components on a big name? I've seen bikes at REI for $1600 Ultegra/105, not bad. But Have purchased bikes at the LBS on sale for a hundred bucks more, FULLL Ultegra 10 speed, full carbon womens specific. Have seen full carbon Giants 105 on sale for $1200. I bought my Cannondale on sale for $1000, full Ultegra. You're not going to find deals like that at REI. Just need to shop around.
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