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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 07-26-11, 02:12 PM   #1
antimike
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Athena wife wants to ride

So I was out and about with the wife up in Tucson this past weekend looking at mountain bikes for me. I'm eyeing a 29er, but I digress....

While I was test riding and checking out the bikes, I noticed that she had this sad expression on her face and that piqued my interest. She told me that she'd tell me about it when we left, and all thoughts of me putting the deposit down on the bike had left my mind. So we get in the car, and she tells me that she feels left out. I'm like...ummm why left out? Well apparently since I started road biking and mountain biking more, she feels like I'm not making time for us to enjoy the sport together.

She also expressed to me that she wants a road bike. Currently she has a mountain bike and has reservations that she won't be able to keep up with me while I am on the road bike as well as on the mountain bike since I have been riding longer than she has. I'm definitely excited that she wants to ride, but I have the same hold ups that she did when I purchased my road bike. She thought that I wasn't going to ride it at all. It turns out that I try to ride 3+ days a week on group rides, and solo rides whenever it fancies me.

We got through the fact that I was shocked that she wanted a road bike and, I expressed my concerns. I want to do this with her and nothing more could make me happy to have my wife enjoy and spend time cycling with me.

Now comes the hard part, she has set a budget ($700) that I will be helping her with and I am somewhat clueless about the world of bikes for women. Last year she test rode a Giant Avail 3 (I believe) and she said that she liked it. I was looking at pricing for those bikes and they are just outside of her budget.

There are three important aspects of a road bike that the cares about:
1. Fit
2. Cost
3. Color (she doesn't want an extremely girly looking bike so pastels and pinks are a no no)

For me wanting a bike for her I value the following:
1. Fit
2. Quality components (wheels, shifting...etc)
3. Cost

Can anyone help me with trying to find a women's specific road bike that can fit HER wants? I am not opposed to buying offline or even purchasing a men's bike for her to try and satisfy the color requirements.

She is about 190 and losing weight it seems like daily, 5'7", and could use some additional flexibility. I think a more relaxed geometry bike would be for the best at least at this point in time.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old 07-26-11, 02:33 PM   #2
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She has a $700 budget ? How much is your budget for the new MTB that you really don't need?

My wife's bike is 3 times the price of mine and it was a very worth while investment. She used to sit home while I rode with my friends as well. Then I asked myself, "what am I doing?" My friends don't do the things for me that she does. Make cycling good and fun for her, you won't be sorry! We have lots of good times together.
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Old 07-26-11, 02:39 PM   #3
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At 5'7", she likely doesn't need a women's specific bike - that adds a lot more options to the mix. Do what you did when you bought a bike - head to a good shop(s) and test ride, test ride, test ride.
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Old 07-26-11, 03:05 PM   #4
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Just trust me on this... she has a bike, just put on road slicks on it and the two of you get out and ride. See if she is really really committed to riding before investing in something else. What she really wants to do is spend time with you... you get that right? She doesn't want to become a racer or fast chick on bike, she just wants an activity with you.

If you have an old bike turn it into a singlespeed or put the knobby tires on your bike to slow you down. Plan short, easy outings to a coffee shop or park and just enjoy the time with your wife (and ride slow....really slow - let her set the pace not vice versa). If she really gets into it, and commits to riding, then buy her something better.

I tell my friends not to buy nice bikes for their wives... check the classifies... plenty of garages have bikes sitting in them that husbands bought with the best intentions! Better t get a good used bikes then a cheap bike that only does so much. I bought a secondary bike that originally costs $2300 (its full Ultegra) for $150. It was practically brand new and had just been sitting in a garage for 4 years. I added new tires and tuned it - good to go. Sold it to a friend getting into cycling for $500! Still a great deal!

You also need to explain to your wife just because she gets a road bike doesn't mean she will keep up. You made a commitment to cycling and are more advanced. She needs to get to the same place... hopefully she will with your patience and understanding.

If you go the new bike route the only really meaningful consideration should be fit. Unless she has very long legs, a short torso and long arms, she doesn't need a WSD bike. But she does need to be satisfied with geometry - there is a big different from a mountain bike, comfort style bike and a classic road bike. Which one will she feel comfortable on and keep riding with? Test riding bikes is only good if you are going to buy that specific bike as different brands and models fit differently. I am 5'8" and ride anything from a 51 " (my Lemond) to a 55" (the Landshark).

Again best bet - buy some good wheels for the MTBike and put on slicks...
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Old 07-26-11, 03:09 PM   #5
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I'd be more inclined than edbikebabe to recommend a WSD. In the experience of female riders I have talked to, it isn't just a question of size but of altered geometry and ergonomics. Something like a Trek 1.2 WSD is probably just outside the budget you have specified, but we're approaching the time of year when lots of this year's models will be in clearance sales...
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Old 07-26-11, 03:15 PM   #6
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I'd be more inclined than edbikebabe to recommend a WSD. In the experience of female riders I have talked to, it isn't just a question of size but of altered geometry and ergonomics. Something like a Trek 1.2 WSD is probably just outside the budget you have specified, but we're approaching the time of year when lots of this year's models will be in clearance sales...

+1...Gina loves her WSD because of the seriously sloping toptube, narrow handlebars, and easy reach brake levers. She also has a traditional frame bike that she likes but is not as comfy as the WSD for obvious reasons.

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Old 07-26-11, 03:23 PM   #7
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I second the recommendation for WSD. We really do have different proportions.

I'd be inclined to put the ball in her court -- let her go to bike shops and test-ride and talk to the staff. Make sure she's choosing what she wants, because it's easy for the more enthusiastic/experienced partner to steamroll the other, and then the whole thing becomes enthusiastic partner's project and other partner feels left-out and resentful and doesn't wany to play any more.
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Old 07-26-11, 03:27 PM   #8
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+1...Gina loves her WSD because of the seriously sloping toptube, narrow handlebars, and easy reach brake levers. She also has a traditional frame bike that she likes but is not as comfy as the WSD for obvious reasons.

Beanz isn't Gina short(er)? I need wider handlebars (I have broad shoulders) and a WSD bike is very uncomfortable for me (since I am taller). I don't think one can assume just because the rider is female a WSD works best. I like the option of WSD bikes but they don't work for every female rider. None of my buddies ride a WSD bike. I used to ride a Lemond Zurich. It has a very agressive top tube length. I rode that way for years. My new bike is less agressive and my reach to the handlebars more comfortable but its hardly a WSD bike as I feel really bunched up on those bikes. Just FYI for antimike.

And i think Thalia hit the nail on the head when she says "...because it's easy for the more enthusiastic/experienced partner to steamroll the other, and then the whole thing becomes enthusiastic partner's project and other partner feels left-out and resentful and doesn't want to play any more"
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Old 07-26-11, 04:14 PM   #9
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Beanz isn't Gina short(er)? I need wider handlebars (I have broad shoulders) and a WSD bike is very uncomfortable for me (since I am taller).
5'4 with narrow shoulders.

5'7 (OP's) wife, you'd think she's tall but not all 5'7 women have long legs or can swing their leg up and over straddle a traditional top tubes so she just may love the WSD. And not all 5'7 women have broad shoulders so narrow bars "may" work. Brake levers are good too. I'm not saying go that direction, I'm saying don't discount the WSD designs for reasons mentioned.
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Old 07-26-11, 04:29 PM   #10
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I am 5' 8" and my legs aren't long; neither are my arms which is why the WSD (made for women with long legs and arms but a short torso - top tubes are short but bikes are tall) bikes don't work for me. I am more evenly proportioned like a guy.

Frankly thats why the OP needs to just stay with the MTBike for awhile... fit is not as important on a MTBike and by adding road slicks, the bike will move along faster. By the time his wife is getting better, they can better assess riding style and type of bike. Even if the budget is only $700 that is still alot of money to spend on a bike that will not get ridden.
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Old 07-26-11, 04:39 PM   #11
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Frankly thats why the OP needs to just stay with the MTBike for awhile... fit is not as important on a MTBike and by adding road slicks, the bike will move along faster. .


That is a very good idea, even better if the guy rides the same set up. When I train and drop weight for a ride, there are times it makes it hard for Gina to keep up with cruising speed if she's lacking in any way. Those times I will ride my MTB with knobbies 40 miles on the trail in order to get a good workout but yet allowing her to keep up on her road bike.

It is kind of weird how many guys won't give a gal the advantage to even things out though. I've done it many times and it pays off in the long run. Taking your wife out on an MTB with slicks and kicking her butt on a roadie won't make it enjoyable for her. I have friends that ride their roadies but their wives ride MTB's, cheap saddles and shorts struggling to keep up then wonder why their wives don't enjoy the activity.
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Old 07-26-11, 06:11 PM   #12
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Btw, I recently got my wife a WSD Cannondale Synapse and she loves that thing... with Tiagra it ended up about 1k. She says she's 5'6, one bike shop lady said she was only 5'4 and we've never been back to that bike shop again. LOL Interestingly, REI carries them, might make it easier to get tweaked after you buy it.

I'm going to have to side with Beanz on this issue of getting your wife a nice bike, if you start short-speccing it you'll be sending an unintentional message. That's not to say you should buy a 10k racing bike but get her something nice that she'll enjoy riding.

And only a dirtbag drops his wife when they're riding together.
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Old 07-26-11, 06:50 PM   #13
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And only a dirtbag drops his wife when they're riding together.
I won't argue, my friends are dirtbags! (non forum members that I used to ride with )
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Old 07-26-11, 11:39 PM   #14
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+1 for letting her take the lead and buy something nice, something that's her own. easier to get excited about something that feels like a ferrari than a volkwagon with racing tires...
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Old 07-27-11, 02:51 AM   #15
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Going to have to also disagree with Pam. MTB is quite a bit more upright. That's more wind resistance. I have to try very hard not to drop my wife on her Trek Navigator; it fits her well, but she's upright and might as well be wearing a parachute. She notices it, too, and I think it's a bit awkward and contributes to us going on fewer rides. I have a lot more leg strength than her from other things I do and it's hard for me to not feel a bit odd when my cadence gets up into the 120+ range in first gear because if I shift, i'll drop her like a hot plate of cookies.

When she had her road bike available to her, rides were much more enjoyable, I could hit a comfortable cadence on the cargo bike and work a bit, and she was right up there with me having fun; we'd end up miles from home somehow and get home in a good mood.

Later this year when I have money, i'm contemplating getting it shipped if I can find room - but i'd want to change out some things (brakes, mainly, and maybe brake handles/hoods, if they even make non-brifter hoods anymore) and put bigger tires on.. unfortunately, I don't know if it would accept them. Sadly, if I can't find the clearance for the tires, the bike would be nigh unrideable here.

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Old 07-27-11, 05:17 AM   #16
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Here is a radical suggestion:

Combine your new mountain bike budget plus her road bike budget and buy a tandem. You'll be spending time together, plus you won't have to worry about dropping her. They also look like a metric butt-load of fun. 700 for a new WSD road bike that meets your specs is going to be tough to find unless you buy used or online. I agree with what Pam said, she wants to be out there with you. If she doesn't like the tandem idea, be sure that you let her pick out the bike she wants. If that breaks the budget, so be it.
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Old 07-27-11, 06:03 AM   #17
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Here is a radical suggestion:

Combine your new mountain bike budget plus her road bike budget and buy a tandem. You'll be spending time together, plus you won't have to worry about dropping her. They also look like a metric butt-load of fun. 700 for a new WSD road bike that meets your specs is going to be tough to find unless you buy used or online. I agree with what Pam said, she wants to be out there with you. If she doesn't like the tandem idea, be sure that you let her pick out the bike she wants. If that breaks the budget, so be it.
+1 that is why we have the T50. In addition, my wife has balance issues, and cannot ride solo, but she wants to spend time with me.

You can find good used tandems in your budget. The first generation Trek tandems (T50, T100, T200) all used the same frame (most important part of a tandem). The are very rigid, the stoker is not cramped; and came with nice sealed bearing wheels. And they are fast on the level.
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Old 07-27-11, 07:22 AM   #18
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Is she willing to go vintage? There are lots of lovely 531 Reynolds frames out there that are lovely.

I currently have a Gazelle Champion Mondial 531 Reynolds mixte with mavic rims, 25mm tires and cinelli drops, Brooks saddle. Got it all under 150 dollars. I've been using it for the last 6 months to really get an idea of who I am as a rider while saving money for the next bike.
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Old 07-27-11, 07:39 AM   #19
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Just trust me on this... she has a bike, just put on road slicks on it and the two of you get out and ride. See if she is really really committed to riding before investing in something else. What she really wants to do is spend time with you... you get that right? She doesn't want to become a racer or fast chick on bike, she just wants an activity with you.

If you have an old bike turn it into a singlespeed or put the knobby tires on your bike to slow you down. Plan short, easy outings to a coffee shop or park and just enjoy the time with your wife (and ride slow....really slow - let her set the pace not vice versa). If she really gets into it, and commits to riding, then buy her something better.

I tell my friends not to buy nice bikes for their wives... check the classifies... plenty of garages have bikes sitting in them that husbands bought with the best intentions! Better t get a good used bikes then a cheap bike that only does so much. I bought a secondary bike that originally costs $2300 (its full Ultegra) for $150. It was practically brand new and had just been sitting in a garage for 4 years. I added new tires and tuned it - good to go. Sold it to a friend getting into cycling for $500! Still a great deal!

You also need to explain to your wife just because she gets a road bike doesn't mean she will keep up. You made a commitment to cycling and are more advanced. She needs to get to the same place... hopefully she will with your patience and understanding.

If you go the new bike route the only really meaningful consideration should be fit. Unless she has very long legs, a short torso and long arms, she doesn't need a WSD bike. But she does need to be satisfied with geometry - there is a big different from a mountain bike, comfort style bike and a classic road bike. Which one will she feel comfortable on and keep riding with? Test riding bikes is only good if you are going to buy that specific bike as different brands and models fit differently. I am 5'8" and ride anything from a 51 " (my Lemond) to a 55" (the Landshark).

Again best bet - buy some good wheels for the MTBike and put on slicks...
~swoon~

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Old 07-27-11, 09:48 AM   #20
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She has a $700 budget ? How much is your budget for the new MTB that you really don't need?

My wife's bike is 3 times the price of mine and it was a very worth while investment. She used to sit home while I rode with my friends as well. Then I asked myself, "what am I doing?" My friends don't do the things for me that she does. Make cycling good and fun for her, you won't be sorry! We have lots of good times together.
The mountain bike that I want was on sale for $599.

We're looking at various models and we're going to get her to test ride some more bikes. Yesterday she test road a Trek 1.2 alpha (men's) 54cm because the other shop didn't have anything in her size and she said it felt great.
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Old 07-27-11, 09:50 AM   #21
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Just trust me on this... she has a bike, just put on road slicks on it and the two of you get out and ride. See if she is really really committed to riding before investing in something else. What she really wants to do is spend time with you... you get that right? She doesn't want to become a racer or fast chick on bike, she just wants an activity with you.

If you have an old bike turn it into a singlespeed or put the knobby tires on your bike to slow you down. Plan short, easy outings to a coffee shop or park and just enjoy the time with your wife (and ride slow....really slow - let her set the pace not vice versa). If she really gets into it, and commits to riding, then buy her something better.

I tell my friends not to buy nice bikes for their wives... check the classifies... plenty of garages have bikes sitting in them that husbands bought with the best intentions! Better t get a good used bikes then a cheap bike that only does so much. I bought a secondary bike that originally costs $2300 (its full Ultegra) for $150. It was practically brand new and had just been sitting in a garage for 4 years. I added new tires and tuned it - good to go. Sold it to a friend getting into cycling for $500! Still a great deal!

You also need to explain to your wife just because she gets a road bike doesn't mean she will keep up. You made a commitment to cycling and are more advanced. She needs to get to the same place... hopefully she will with your patience and understanding.

If you go the new bike route the only really meaningful consideration should be fit. Unless she has very long legs, a short torso and long arms, she doesn't need a WSD bike. But she does need to be satisfied with geometry - there is a big different from a mountain bike, comfort style bike and a classic road bike. Which one will she feel comfortable on and keep riding with? Test riding bikes is only good if you are going to buy that specific bike as different brands and models fit differently. I am 5'8" and ride anything from a 51 " (my Lemond) to a 55" (the Landshark).

Again best bet - buy some good wheels for the MTBike and put on slicks...
we're going to go the route of buying her a road bike. she did express the want to actually spend time with me, but she is also trying to get more fit as well as commute to work (22 miles round trip). she seems really excited. we went to the shops and stuff yesterday and she rode what she could and is excited to actually get a rental for an extended evaluation.
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Old 07-27-11, 09:52 AM   #22
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The mountain bike that I want was on sale for $599.

We're looking at various models and we're going to get her to test ride some more bikes. Yesterday she test road a Trek 1.2 alpha (men's) 54cm because the other shop didn't have anything in her size and she said it felt great.
the 1.2 is a great bike ... it's what I ride
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Old 07-27-11, 09:53 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Thalia View Post
I second the recommendation for WSD. We really do have different proportions.

I'd be inclined to put the ball in her court -- let her go to bike shops and test-ride and talk to the staff. Make sure she's choosing what she wants, because it's easy for the more enthusiastic/experienced partner to steamroll the other, and then the whole thing becomes enthusiastic partner's project and other partner feels left-out and resentful and doesn't wany to play any more.
I've been trying to let her do her thing in the shops. she seems a little timid at first, but the people at the local shops are really nice and pretty knowledgeable as well. I let her do the talking and the walking and testing, I just kind of sit back and scope out bikes for me at the same time .

I don't want her to be a project because it is something that she expressed to me. I am down for her using the bike to get fit as well as spend some time with me. I was looking at a tandem, but it is cost prohibitive at the moment, but maybe in the future.
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Old 07-27-11, 09:55 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by nfmisso View Post
+1 that is why we have the T50. In addition, my wife has balance issues, and cannot ride solo, but she wants to spend time with me.

You can find good used tandems in your budget. The first generation Trek tandems (T50, T100, T200) all used the same frame (most important part of a tandem). The are very rigid, the stoker is not cramped; and came with nice sealed bearing wheels. And they are fast on the level.
That may be an option, but we will have to look. It will be a bit before a tandem is on the budget. I was going to get my bike this month and hers next just on how our pay cycles work, but it will happen in reverse, her bike first and my bike second.
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Old 07-27-11, 10:25 AM   #25
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The most important part is to have fun and I do agree with letting her find her own bike. My DH was feeling very left out and bought a Townie. He loves it, but it wasn't meant for keeping up with a street bike. While we were in a LBS he came to me and said he wanted a faster bike as he felt he was holding me back. He can't ride the street bikes as they are uncomfortable and he found a Trek Navigator 3.0.

To my surprise, last week he came to me and said he wanted a MTB to ride with me. He said he's always wanted one but they aren't comfortable at 42. We went back to the LBS and he found a dual suspension MTB. As we were out riding, he shot past me, went down the gravel hill at full speed leaving me in the dust. He stopped with a huge grin on his face and I knew that he'd finally found "his" bike.

Take your time and try out different styles of bikes. She might find something totally different than she was expecting to pick out.
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