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Old 05-04-08, 04:01 PM   #1
CACycling
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Suggestions on New Bike for My Wife

I am looking to get a new road bike for my wife. Should we limit the search to women-specific models? She is 5' 9" and most women's bikes (at least the few we've found in LBSs around here - selection is nowhere near that of men's) tend to be 50cm or smaller.

She is currently riding a '78 Schwinn Le Tour III that is far from light with steel rims. It is a women's bike and is a 57cm (based on distance from center of BB to where a level TT would intersect the ST) and seems to fit her well.

What are most ladies here riding? Women's models or men's? And suggestions on models in the $500 - $750 range would be great. Thanks.
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Old 05-04-08, 04:39 PM   #2
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If her body geometry is typical for a woman, then a WSD bike would likely be a better fit. Many WSD bikes go up to 56cm.

But as many women ride men's bikes, it isn't a given that a WSD is required. Best to test ride, test ride, test ride and find what fits best.

You could try a Trek 1.2 WSD, which is available as a 56cm or 54cm, for $770 list. Or a Specialized Dolce or Vita Sport which are in the low $800's list. Or Giant OCR 3W for $750. Amongst others.
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Old 05-04-08, 11:10 PM   #3
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I am looking to get a new road bike for my wife. Should we limit the search to women-specific models?
What are most ladies here riding? Women's models or men's?
No, you definitely should NOT limit the search.

It doesn't matter what others are riding. She should ride whatever fits her, whether it's a men's bike or a women's bike.
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Old 05-05-08, 12:42 AM   #4
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It is many years since my wife bought a bike- but she knew what she wanted- just hadn't seen it. Then we walked into what has turned out to be my LBS- and there it was. Or at least the bike that caught her eye. Shop owner took one look at her and sorted the size immediately. She still has that bike- Bought in 1990 but it doesn't get many miles on it nowadays.

This was a mans bike- but the shop owner just put her on the next size down that should have fitted her- and Raised the stem and saddle. It still fits her perfectly.

So -Take the wife to an LBS you trust and give her the Cheque book. Let the LBS and her sort her own bike out.
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Old 05-05-08, 10:48 AM   #5
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So -Take the wife to an LBS you trust and give her the Cheque book. Let the LBS and her sort her own bike out.
The problem with that is that my wife is quite frugal. If left on her own, she'd stay with her old Schwinn.

I've got a few basic problems:
First, she was stuck in a doctor's waiting room Friday (my youngest broke his thumb) and picked up a bicycling magazine that had an article on women's bikes stating women should ride women's bike. (it was in the magazine so it must be true)

Second, she has a tough time with the idea of spending even $500 on a bike. I took her "window shopping" yesterday at Performance Bike Shop (about the only one open on Sundays) and they had an Ultegra equipped women's bike for almost 50% off which brought it down to $900. She liked the big discount but not the big price.

Third, there aren't many women's road bikes stocked at the LBSs (for example, Performance Bike Shop had 4 women's road bikes vs. 80 + men's) and as her height puts her at the top end of typical women's bike sizing, there seems to be even less selection (not one women's near her size at PBS).

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll just have to push her to open her mind to looking at the fit not the color and take it from there.
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Old 05-05-08, 11:03 AM   #6
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I am looking to get a new road bike for my wife.
I did that with my first wife. It was a good trade. I still have the bike.
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Old 05-05-08, 11:09 AM   #7
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One suggestion for getting her past the price tags: Let her ride that Ultegra equipped bike (or a similar fairly high end bike that fits her decently). Make sure she spends a decent amount of time in the saddle on the street using the shifters, etc. Then put her on the cheapest bike of the same type (road, hybrid, whatever) that the shop has and send her back out. She'll probably come back ready to buy the better bike, but if not at least she'll know what she's giving up by going the frugal route.
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Old 05-05-08, 04:31 PM   #8
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My road bike is a Scott Contessa, so WSD and I love it. I also ride a Specialized TriCross, and there is nothing feminine about it, but it also fits me very well. Got them both at the same bike shop, and I just trust in their judgement alot.
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Old 05-05-08, 08:52 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by CACycling View Post
I am looking to get a new road bike for my wife. Should we limit the search to women-specific models? She is 5' 9" and most women's bikes (at least the few we've found in LBSs around here - selection is nowhere near that of men's) tend to be 50cm or smaller.

She is currently riding a '78 Schwinn Le Tour III that is far from light with steel rims. It is a women's bike and is a 57cm (based on distance from center of BB to where a level TT would intersect the ST) and seems to fit her well.

What are most ladies here riding? Women's models or men's? And suggestions on models in the $500 - $750 range would be great. Thanks.
I'm 5'8" and I do not ride a WSD bike. My bike is 54cm. Let her ride a lot of bikes to give her a feel for what feels best, instead of steering her toward WSD. Leave it as one of the options to ask about and try among the others. Since she has a bike that feels good, then she should know when she gets on a bike that doesn't fit as well. I hope she has fun shopping and enjoys whatever she chooses!
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Old 05-05-08, 09:00 PM   #10
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WSD = 90% Excellent Marketing & 10% Substance
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Old 05-05-08, 09:20 PM   #11
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My daughter has short legs and a long torso. A womens' specific would be a disaster for her, as they have long seat tubes and short top tubes. Ride what fits, don't worry about it being a mens' or womens'.
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Old 05-05-08, 09:33 PM   #12
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I think WSD designs are an excellent trend in today's bicycle industry. Why make all bikes to better fit a man's geometry?

A true WSD bike (and not just one with a WSD moniker attached to it) will alter the geometry. A pseudo WSD bike will simply be a man's bike with different labeling and with a different "size" assigned to it.

There are some other tweaks than can be applied too, such as using narrower handlebars and using wider saddles (wider sit bones).

Consider the Trek 1.2 I mentioned earlier.

The Men's 54cm has a seat tube of 50.6cm, a top tube of 53.8cm and head tube of 15.0cm
The Men's 56cm has a seat tube of 53.5cm, a top tube of 55.7cm, and a head tube of 17.0cm

The WSD 56cm has a seat tube of 50.9cm, a top tube of 54.7cm, and head tube of 17.0cm

It is clear that the WSD is not simply a repackaged men's bike. It has been tweaked.

The same is true in the Madone line.

All of this said, they are built, as are men's bikes, to typical proportions and will not fit all.
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Old 05-06-08, 10:56 AM   #13
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Thanks for all of the replies. Fortunately, (at least in this instance) she is a patient shopper. My guess is that she will be trying the patience of many LBS staffers during her search. My bottom line is to get her on a bike that fits her, makes her happy and helps her increase her average speed. She already has a women's saddle that she loves, we just need a lighter bike to put under it.
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