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  1. #1
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    Women road bikes

    I'm pretty new to the cycling world, as well at this forum. I recently purchased a cannondale about two weeks ago, and I really enjoy it for myself. I would like my wife to join in on this new experience although I really wouldnt know how how to find a "womens" road bike? Is there much of a difference? I went with my brother and his wife a couple of days ago, the guy at the store didn't really give me an indication that it was made specifically for a woman. "other than the frame size" Is there certain type of models I should look for specifically made for women? Just by looking at the bike how would I know its a womens bike? In truth im not even sure I bought a good bike, he said it was a good deal for 800.00$ but I wouldnt be able to tell the difference from a good bike and great bike. Can someone fill me in on this please?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Geometry and fit. That's what you want to know about.

    For some manufacturers, there are more similarities than there are differences between men and women. The differences are in the hand size and the shoulder size. The hand size is about the handlebars and how a woman's smaller hands will need a shorter reach to work the brake levers and for shifting. The shoulder narrowness dictates the width of the handlebars, as handlebars come in different widths.

    Try this and go to geometry and fit.

    http://www.cervelo.com/en_us/enginee...presentations/

    Spacers, stems, and crank arms come in different sizes to adjust for body size and are what some manufacturers consider a similarity with men and women, and not singled out as a woman sizing issue.

    Like most other activities, it takes time for the body to adjust to new physical activity. Take for example bowling. a new person will not know immediately the size and weight of the ball or the size of the holes or the spacing. It takes time for the body to get accustomed to that activity and then the fine tuning begins. Maybe the same for downhill skiing or even surfing.
    Last edited by Garfield Cat; 08-08-11 at 09:32 AM.

  3. #3
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Lots of the big brands offer woman-specific geometry. If you look up their websites you'll find details of their women's ranges. A friend of mine has a Trek1.2 WSD that she likes a lot, especially the short reach for the brake levers. The differences aren't huge but can make a big impact on the rider's comfort.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Thank you both for the quick responses, it helped out my knowledge. Although I am still stuck. I guess what im having issues with is "if I walk into a bike shop how would I know a girls bike from a guys bike?" other than the owner telling me "yea this is a girls bike." I found it odd that he only had one brand in one sized and called it a girls bike, rows and rows of bikes and brands and because this cannodale was a size 48 he said it was a girls bike?

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    All women's models are branded as such, usually with pretty paint jobs and names ending in ..a.
    The geometry of a womens frame is usually shorter in reach then the same "size" man's bike.
    For very small women (under about 5'2" or so) the geometry is improved by designing for smaller wheels such as 650c rather than std size 700c. Many smaller frames use 700c wheels by bodging the geometry.
    Womens bike components may include womens saddle and narrower bars. Smaller sizes may include shorter cranks and short-reach brakes.
    Not all women's bikes include these components.
    Some women are better suited to std men's bikes.
    There is variation from brand to brand in geometry and fit.

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    Thanks, with all the replies, it really gives me more of an idea. For the most part my wife is not a short women "for the average I suppose" shes 5'6 5'7" roughly, about the same size I am which I ride a 51" so im thinking she should be ok on a womens 51". Thanks alot guys! Cycliest are very friendly from what I am noticing. Keep it up!.

  7. #7
    Goodbye Leeroy Jenkins tagaproject6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jmac05r1 View Post
    Thank you both for the quick responses, it helped out my knowledge. Although I am still stuck. I guess what im having issues with is "if I walk into a bike shop how would I know a girls bike from a guys bike?" other than the owner telling me "yea this is a girls bike." I found it odd that he only had one brand in one sized and called it a girls bike, rows and rows of bikes and brands and because this cannodale was a size 48 he said it was a girls bike?
    Do not go into a bike shop with that specific mindset. Go in, ask questions and talk about proper fitting for your wife. A good shop will usually "size-up" the client and make recommendations and start putting them on bikes that they believe will be a good match. It could be a regular bike or one that is specially built for women with "general/average" proportions (whatever that may be). Either way, they should take the time to do a proper fitting.
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  8. #8
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Terry company was founded by a woman, to serve their needs..
    currently she sources frames thru Waterford, a US frame maker.

    should be very nice..


    Trek has a WSD segment..

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jmac05r1 View Post
    Thank you both for the quick responses, it helped out my knowledge. Although I am still stuck. I guess what im having issues with is "if I walk into a bike shop how would I know a girls bike from a guys bike?" other than the owner telling me "yea this is a girls bike." I found it odd that he only had one brand in one sized and called it a girls bike, rows and rows of bikes and brands and because this cannodale was a size 48 he said it was a girls bike?
    If it's a cannondale retailer, look at their website before you go in and check it out. You'll see that they do a women's Synapse (among other models) in both aluminium and carbon versions. Then ask him if they have the women's version in whichever model you are interested in. If he says yes, get him to explain exactly the difference between male and female bikes. He should talk about shorter top tube, narrower bars, the option of a triple, easier reach for the brake levers and be able to show you those differences relative to other bikes he has in stock.

    This is not to say that your wife needs a women-specific bike. But it may be useful to you to know it is an option when she's trying things for size.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  10. #10
    Senior Member demoncyclist's Avatar
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    Generally speaking, for the same height, a woman will have longer legs and a shorter torso. A women's specific frame will have a shorter reach to the bars, narrower bars and shorter reach brake levers than the men's version of the same bike. I know that Trek, Specialized and Cannondale all make women's specific frames- there are others. Terry makes great (and IMO pricey) bikes, generally for very petite women. At one time they were really the only game in town, but not any more. Again, your wife may not need that specific geometry, but it is nice to know that it is an option if she does. The better the bike fits (especially if it fits well without having to swap a lot of parts right out of the box), the happier she will be, and the more she will actually ride it.
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  11. #11
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    From my understanding, most women have different proportions than most men. Women tend to have longer legs and shorter torsos. Also women tend to have small hands so a shorter reach on the brake and shifting levers is good. But usually it is small women (around 5'2" and shorter) who have the problems. Relatively tall women (5'8" and taller) can usually get a bike with a man's geometry and just use a shorter stem. I would think that relaxed geometry bikes which tend to have shorter top tubes would work well for most women.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatW View Post
    But usually it is small women (around 5'2" and shorter) who have the problems. Relatively tall women (5'8" and taller) can usually get a bike with a man's geometry and just use a shorter stem. I would think that relaxed geometry bikes which tend to have shorter top tubes would work well for most women.
    I disagree. My riding buddy with the Trek1.2 WSD is 5'7" or 5'8" and the men's version didn't work for her- too long a reach.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  13. #13
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    My wife and I appreciate the feedback. Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by demoncyclist View Post
    Generally speaking, for the same height, a woman will have longer legs and a shorter torso. A women's specific frame will have a shorter reach to the bars, narrower bars and shorter reach brake levers than the men's version of the same bike. I know that Trek, Specialized and Cannondale all make women's specific frames- there are others. Terry makes great (and IMO pricey) bikes, generally for very petite women. At one time they were really the only game in town, but not any more. Again, your wife may not need that specific geometry, but it is nice to know that it is an option if she does. The better the bike fits (especially if it fits well without having to swap a lot of parts right out of the box), the happier she will be, and the more she will actually ride it.

    Thank you

  15. #15
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    The Womans Specific Bikes (WSD) are mainly built with a shorter top tube than the mens version for the size of the bike. Other components are also fitted that will be more suitable for the Average female. But Some Females cannot get on with the WSD bikes. They may not be average and may require the Mens version.

    I have a few Female neighbours that ride bikes. Nothing special but you mostly find that shorter women will get on with WSD bikes better than tall ones. BUT why is a woman short? If she is lacking in leg length then she would probably get on better with a small Mans frame. Not all women require that WSD bike.

    Problem will be finding a shop that has a good selection of WSD bikes in stock to check out if the sizing is right.
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  16. #16
    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    Have your wife try both regular and WSD styles and see which one she likes best. I'm a 5'5" female and I have a regular Specialized Allez that fits me just fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by CbadRider View Post
    Have your wife try both regular and WSD styles and see which one she likes best. I'm a 5'5" female and I have a regular Specialized Allez that fits me just fine.
    The thing is she has never road before, therefore im not sure she's suppose to know what comfort really is between a WSD and mens 51". I may be wrong, we will just have to head out to the bike shop and see what they can present to us. Now that I know a little bit more about bikes I kinda regret buying the cannondale I purchased, and shoulda got something with shimonal 105 parts and something I actually liked. But thanks again.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jmac05r1 View Post
    The thing is she has never road before, therefore im not sure she's suppose to know what comfort really is between a WSD and mens 51". I may be wrong, we will just have to head out to the bike shop and see what they can present to us. Now that I know a little bit more about bikes I kinda regret buying the cannondale I purchased, and shoulda got something with shimonal 105 parts and something I actually liked. But thanks again.
    What size frame are you sitting on?

  19. #19
    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jmac05r1 View Post
    The thing is she has never road before, therefore im not sure she's suppose to know what comfort really is between a WSD and mens 51". I may be wrong, we will just have to head out to the bike shop and see what they can present to us. Now that I know a little bit more about bikes I kinda regret buying the cannondale I purchased, and shoulda got something with shimonal 105 parts and something I actually liked. But thanks again.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jmac05r1 View Post
    What size frame are you sitting on?

    She will know which one feels more comfortable to her: does she have to stretch forward to reach the handlebar and brakes? Are her knees crowding the handlebars? The LBS should be able to help with sizing, too.

    I am riding a 52 and I am just about at its limit because my seat is all the way back for my knees to be comforable; I could probably ride a bigger frame. The LBS also gave me a shorter stem so I wasn't stretching so far forward.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Here's something interesting on one manufacturer's view of bikes for women.

    http://www.cervelo.com/en_us/bikes/women/

    Small men have similar proportions with similar size women.

  21. #21
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    If you are going in alone shopping for your wife's bike, you should definitely reconsider the whole idea. If she isn't so enthusiastic about it that she is doing her own research and making her own decisions, then it may be something you'll buy now and sell on Craigslist a couple years from now with that sad, sad phrase "only ridden once" in the body of the ad.

    Don't you know anybody, any woman, who has a bike she could try out to see if she likes riding? Maybe she if you can rent her a bike for a day?

    When I sold the bike I bought my wife, she had never ridden it. She just couldn't bring herself to tell me that she just wasn't interested until it was too late, and she felt she had let me down.

    I was just saying a week or two ago that it seems to me that there seems to be an awful lot of small frame bikes on Craiglist and not hat many larger frames. I wonder how many of them are bikes that men have bought for women who just couldn't tell their man, "Sorry, honey, but I just don't want a bike."

    My wife often tells the story that the maddest she ever saw her mother get over something her father did, was on the day he brought her home a bicycle. (Of course, at that time, he didn't ride one himself!)
    All bikes are good bikes, the most remarkable machines. :) Mine are a Dahon Speed TR and a Brodie Once, but I wouldn't mind having "one of everything."

  22. #22
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    By the way, I meant to say about Women and Road Bikes - I am enthusiastically all for both.
    All bikes are good bikes, the most remarkable machines. :) Mine are a Dahon Speed TR and a Brodie Once, but I wouldn't mind having "one of everything."

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by xrayzebra View Post
    If you are going in alone shopping for your wife's bike, you should definitely reconsider the whole idea. If she isn't so enthusiastic about it that she is doing her own research and making her own decisions, then it may be something you'll buy now and sell on Craigslist a couple years from now with that sad, sad phrase "only ridden once" in the body of the ad.

    Don't you know anybody, any woman, who has a bike she could try out to see if she likes riding? Maybe she if you can rent her a bike for a day?

    When I sold the bike I bought my wife, she had never ridden it. She just couldn't bring herself to tell me that she just wasn't interested until it was too late, and she felt she had let me down.

    I was just saying a week or two ago that it seems to me that there seems to be an awful lot of small frame bikes on Craiglist and not hat many larger frames. I wonder how many of them are bikes that men have bought for women who just couldn't tell their man, "Sorry, honey, but I just don't want a bike."

    My wife often tells the story that the maddest she ever saw her mother get over something her father did, was on the day he brought her home a bicycle. (Of course, at that time, he didn't ride one himself!)
    I understand what your saying but I really doubt this will be an issue. She likes staying in shape, she likes running, it was her idea to look into a bike for her. But she wont take the time and understanding or what to look for, therefore I stepped in on it. We are going this weekend to a bike shop, with the quick responses from this fourm, I will be educated on this subject.

  24. #24
    Senior Member bigbadwullf's Avatar
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    Both my daughters have long torsos. I got them men's bikes. The nice thing about that is.....easier to re-sell. Women will buy a men's bike. Men(well most ) won't buy a woman's bike.

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