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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 04-04-10, 12:11 PM   #1
Crawling_key
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Athena bike

A friend of mine is looking to buy her first bike to train for and then ride a 25 mile charity ride. I've given her advice on different styles - road, flat bar, mtn etc.. But I don't have a clue about the difference between a male and a female bike. Bikes advertise a "geometry for females". What does that mean?

Also, she's a tall gal at about 6'1". Thin as a rail, but I'm wondering if she'll have problems getting a bike to fit her. I've recommended the local REI - they seem to have a wide selection and I've made a few good purchases there - plus they have a 20% sale until April 18th. Does anyone knows of a good flat bar bike that would fit her around or under $1000?
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Old 04-05-10, 10:00 AM   #2
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If she's 6'1", she should probably avoid the women specific bikes - there probably won't be any that fit her well. If you have a Trek dealer near by, the FX series bikes would probably fit the bill and they go up to a 25" frame (I'm guessing she has pretty long legs).
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Old 04-05-10, 07:42 PM   #3
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From what I understand, the major difference in women specific frames is a shorter top tube. I guess statistically, women generally have shorter torsos relative to overall height. Sometimes they also have narrower handlebars and smaller (easier to reach) controls. I don't ride one as I have a longer torso. I did have them switch out the handlebars for me for a narrower version. If she's 6'1" she would probably have trouble finding a women specific tall enough for her anyway.
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Old 04-05-10, 08:52 PM   #4
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WSD frames seem to be for women who are shorter than about 5'3". After that, it just doesn't scale up, since the short torso effect seems to be more pronounced in shorter women. At 6'1" I seriously doubt there are wsd bikes that would fit her as I don't think I've seen over a 54cm wsd frame, and that would be ridiculously small on her. A non-wsd bike could fit her just fine. She might have to swap out handlebars since even at that height a woman is going to have narrower shoulders than a man of the same height. I ride a 56cm trek pilot 2.1 at 5'8" (funky leg geometry demands it), and the bike came with 44cm handlebars(note: I have drop bars, not flat bars, as I find flat bars give you no options to shift your hands around and lead to numbness and pain as a result). Had a lot of neck and hand pain, which disappeared when I swapped to a 40cm handlebar. Those issues will probably be exacerbated by her height, so make sure she hits a reputable LBS who will fit her properly and do what it takes to make the bike comfortable for her to ride whether its 2.5, 25, or 250 miles. REI is fine for people who don't have any special requirements, but at her height, your friend should definitely visit a real bike shop, as they will generally be a lot more able to outfit her with the bike that will really work for her.
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Old 04-10-10, 08:12 PM   #5
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She ended up getting a man's bike. Novara Express. I have one too, its a great bike. I don't know the size yet. I'm wondering if she should swap out the saddle, tho.
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Old 04-10-10, 10:16 PM   #6
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To be honest, if she already picked up a bike from REI with little to no concern as to proper fit, she probably won't know enough or care if the saddle isn't right. 25 miles (unless it is extremely hilly) is just not that much distance to train for, and unless she ends up serious about biking, she will probably ride it a dozen times or so, do the event, and then let it sit in storage.
At 6'1" she should be looking at a 58 or more likely a 60cm frame, depending on leg and torso lengths. 62 would seem too large, and at 5'8" I ride a 56, and riding a too small bike is just asking for pain. I wouldn't expect the people cruising the floor of REI to know how to fit her properly, but I'm just coming at it from the perspective that if you get the wrong bike, you won't ride it, and you just wasted a great deal of money on something you won't ride because it isn't comfortable. If you are going to spend money buying a bike, do it right and find out what size and geometry you need before spending the money.
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