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-   -   sexist bias against womens frame style? (http://www.bikeforums.net/general-cycling-discussion/84303-sexist-bias-against-womens-frame-style.html)

KingFoo 01-20-05 10:35 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I was looking for used bikes for my wife at the LBS, when she spotted a Trek Multitrack 730 women's hybrid. She tried it out, and really liked it, but I am apprehensive about the frame. It's a nice Cr-Mo frame, but I'm afraid I have a bias against the specific womens frame style, with the 'skirt' angle of the top tube (see pic) I don't know if the 'womens' frame geometry is for any reason not as good as a standard frame because of the top tube. I tried out the bike too, and I just thought it felt 'wierd', but maybe I was uncomfortable on it.

The bike seems perfect for her size, good for cruising around town, but I don't know if it's a good choice for the more fitness-based riding she likes to do on the weekends. I know this hybrid is a better choice for her style of riding than what she currently rides, a Trek 4500 MTB with knobby tires and a suspension fork (borrowed from her sis), 'cause she only rides on roads and paved trails. I'd rather get her a nice road/touring bike, but since she's a neophyte, maybe she just needs a bike she likes.

specs:
Shimano Acera X Hubs
Matrix Astro Rims
Grip Shift Shifters
Shimano Alevio derailiers, brakes, triple crank
Quick adjust seatpost
$150 at the LBS, white frame, like new

srf 01-20-05 10:47 AM

If she likes it I'd get it. Then maybe you can eventually work her up to a road frame. ;)

joeprim 01-20-05 11:14 AM

I also have a bias against the that extreme frame. If that's what she likes get it, but show here some women designs with a horizontal or almost horizntal top tube. She may just like it cause it fits and one of those may fit better.

Joe

Billy Ray 01-20-05 11:40 AM

For $150, what does it matter? If she likes it, it'll be a good for tooling around town. You aren't out much, so you can still buy a road bike if need be.

BR

Murrays 01-20-05 11:41 AM

My SIL commented on how our tandem didn’t have a step through frame for my wife. We pointed to my wife’s Waterford, noting that it had a horizontal top tube. “So it does”, she said.

No point here, I guess, other than old stereotypes die hard and that a step through frame is inherently weaker/heavier than a frame with a horizontal top tube.

OTOH, if your wife likes the bike, I don’t see any harm in getting it.

-murray

Mueslix 01-20-05 12:47 PM

I don't like the man bar at all, so both my bikes are mixtes. Makes it a lot easier to dismount quickly, too.

Dahon.Steve 01-20-05 01:26 PM

A chromoly frame for $150.00 bucks? Take it.

I doubt she'll feel any difference in the frame and the girls frame means it will less likly get stolen. Remember. Guys don't steal girl bikes.

My folding bike doesn't have a top tube. I get positive comments all the time.

skydive69 01-20-05 01:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KingFoo
I was looking for used bikes for my wife at the LBS, when she spotted a Trek Multitrack 730 women's hybrid. She tried it out, and really liked it, but I am apprehensive about the frame. It's a nice Cr-Mo frame, but I'm afraid I have a bias against the specific womens frame style, with the 'skirt' angle of the top tube (see pic) I don't know if the 'womens' frame geometry is for any reason not as good as a standard frame because of the top tube. I tried out the bike too, and I just thought it felt 'wierd', but maybe I was uncomfortable on it.

The bike seems perfect for her size, good for cruising around town, but I don't know if it's a good choice for the more fitness-based riding she likes to do on the weekends. I know this hybrid is a better choice for her style of riding than what she currently rides, a Trek 4500 MTB with knobby tires and a suspension fork (borrowed from her sis), 'cause she only rides on roads and paved trails. I'd rather get her a nice road/touring bike, but since she's a neophyte, maybe she just needs a bike she likes.

specs:
Shimano Acera X Hubs
Matrix Astro Rims
Grip Shift Shifters
Shimano Alevio derailiers, brakes, triple crank
Quick adjust seatpost
$150 at the LBS, white frame, like new

Check out a Specialized Dolce - ergo design for women without the BS girlie top tube.

powers2b 01-20-05 02:24 PM

Bought the same one for my ex-girlfriend when we were together.
She loved it. It's a great bike for tooling around town.
First long ride was 30 miles with no complaints.
Second long ride was in the back of a moving truck.
Enjoy

tulip 01-20-05 02:31 PM

"Girls'/Ladies'" frameswere originally built that way to accommodate skirts. Some people prefer to step through the frame instead of throwing their leg over the seat. If your wife likes the bike, then she will be more inclined to ride it. The more she rides it, the more interested she may become in bikes, and eventually may decide to get a bike more to YOUR liking.

DanO220 01-20-05 03:06 PM

Funny; I see a lot of ultra-expensive mountain bike frames which are so compact in nature - that is, the top tube drops at a VERY sharp angle - they practically match the angles of a 'girly bike'. Of course then it's considered 'cutting edge' and 'high tech'.

When my wife very suddenly decided she wanted a bike in Sport Chalet one day (some Specialized comfort model) I told her to get it without even looking at it. Sure, she ended up asking me to check it out, but that was SO besides the point... I had been waiting a long time for her to try riding again.

DanO

77Univega 01-20-05 03:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by srf
If she likes it I'd get it. Then maybe you can eventually work her up to a road frame. ;)

-- I have seen lots of classic vintage bicycles with the step-through (girl's) frame; they managed to last 50 years or more. And I have read that in China the step-through is preferred because it is easier to quickly mount and dismount.
She may work HIM up to a step-through frame! Ha ha ha

.

Retro Grouch 01-20-05 06:49 PM

Well, how about the trend toward compact road frames? For years all serious cyclists avoided the "ladies" step through frames because diamond frames were supposed to be stiffer. Today many manufacturers are producing compact frames that are probably cheaper to produce because they use less metal. So how do they convince us to buy them without lowering the price? They tell us the compact frames are stiffer because the triangles are smaller. So what's the difference?

My advice is to get your wife the bike that she says she wants. She's likely to use it more and be happier. When she's happy, she'll find ways to make you happy. Works the other way too.

gruppo 01-20-05 10:11 PM

You're making the classic "guy" mistake. It's your wife's bike so why do you care at all? The best thing you could've done would have been to give her some cash "equal" to what you'd spend on a bike and let "her" go buy what she wants. Well, you've blown that and even after she's found a bike she likes, you're still trying to get her what you think she needs. Trust her and your local LBS and shut up!

Schumius 01-21-05 12:38 AM

it´s chromo.

$150.

she likes it.

what´s the problem?

KingFoo 01-21-05 07:41 AM

My main question was how, whether, and why the extreme angle of the top tube of a classic women's frame is any better, worse, or the same as a frame with a 'man bar'? I am only reluctant to get the bike because I fear that wifey might discover the limitations of the bike sooner, rather than later. I'm probably just making something out of nothing- most likely, it's not a big enough deal to worry about. Thanks for all the good advice/suggestions so far.

p.s. $150 bucks is alot of money for us. We don't lightly toss money around on a whim. My wife and I ride together a lot, and I just want her to be happy. I simply feel we don't have the experience to make an educated judgement about the frame, without the sage advice of the Bike Forums community.

KingFoo 01-21-05 08:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gruppo
You're making the classic "guy" mistake. It's your wife's bike so why do you care at all? The best thing you could've done would have been to give her some cash "equal" to what you'd spend on a bike and let "her" go buy what she wants. Well, you've blown that and even after she's found a bike she likes, you're still trying to get her what you think she needs. Trust her and your local LBS and shut up!

My wife and I are a team. My money is her money, we are making this decision together, and even she isn't totally convinced about the frame. We were 90% ready to purchase it, but we had our doubts. She has never ridden a frame like this, and I am simply ignorant about them, not selfish... sheesh!

MichaelW 01-21-05 08:01 AM

Women's frames are usually heavier and less stiff than an equiv man's style frame. With modern fatter tubing, the stiffness is usually good enough for the riders who chose them. The downside is then the extra weight, which amounts to less than 1lb.
Another disadvantage is the difficulty of carrying the bike up steps. You can't shoulder the bike.
Some women's frames have a massive single tube rather than 2 separate ones. This is probably a better way to go, and was used in the 1990s for aerodynamic time trial bikes like the Pinarellos of Team Banesto

Bolo Grubb 01-21-05 08:20 AM

on a recent trip to Japan. I saw tons of this style of bike. THe step through frame is in the majority there. Commuting by bike is very popular and easily 80% or more of the bikes used are step there frames.

Many of them look like they have been used a very long time.

If she likes it, she is more likely to ride it.

moxfyre 01-21-05 08:59 AM

I don't like the lady's frame design because: generally the top and down tubes are heavier, to provide acceptable stiffness; cable routing for the rear brake is trickier and requires a pully thingy; you can't put water bottles/locks inside the main triangle; resale value is a lot less.

That being said, some people are just more comfortable with a step through frame, I guess. But it doesn't take too much effort to become comfortable getting on and off a diamond frame.

Billy Ray 01-21-05 09:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KingFoo
My main question was how, whether, and why the extreme angle of the top tube of a classic women's frame is any better, worse, or the same as a frame with a 'man bar'? I am only reluctant to get the bike because I fear that wifey might discover the limitations of the bike sooner, rather than later. I'm probably just making something out of nothing- most likely, it's not a big enough deal to worry about. Thanks for all the good advice/suggestions so far.

I don't see this as much of an issue. Other than a little more weight, she probably won't discover much in the way of limitations. I would place her comfort with the bike at the top of the list of concerns. If she likes it, everything else will be much smoother.

Quote:

Originally Posted by KingFoo
p.s. $150 bucks is alot of money for us. We don't lightly toss money around on a whim.

Been there, done that. I understand. Bear in mind, however, that even though $150 is a lot for you, $150 is a bargain for a decent bike. You will be hard-pressed to find something else of comparable quality that your wife likes at that price. In the event that she's tired of the bike in a few months or years, you can probably resell it for at least the $150 you put into it.

BR

Murrays 01-21-05 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
So what's the difference?

Have a look at any competition quality compact frame such as this one http://www.specialized.com/OA_MEDIA/...zElite18_d.jpg

Compare that to the step through frame shown by the OP. Do you see any difference? I do:

-The distance between the top tube and the down tube at the seat tube on the step through frame is much smaller. This will greatly reduce the resistance to twist in the frame.

-The seat stays contact the seat tube at the same location as the top tube, not so on the step through frame. This will cause the seat tube on the step through frame to flex under the load of rider weight and pedaling.

While the differences are probably not a big deal to the OP’s wife, don’t pretend that the differences (in weight and stiffness) are insignificant to a serious rider.

-murray

manboy 01-21-05 02:01 PM

Besides the points that have already been raised, what if your wife should happen to want to ride the bike with a skirt one day? I know a lot of girls that do simply because sometimes they like wearing skirts, and I'm guessing that tube would make it easier.

powers2b 01-21-05 02:46 PM

I say let your wife read this thread and then you two can discuss it sperately.
Again, my ex loved that bike.

Murrays 01-21-05 08:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manboy
Besides the points that have already been raised, what if your wife should happen to want to ride the bike with a skirt one day? I know a lot of girls that do simply because sometimes they like wearing skirts, and I'm guessing that tube would make it easier.

I've seen guys ride bikes with top tubes while wearing a skirt...it wasn't a big deal at all :eek:

-murray (12 time RAGBRAI veteran)


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