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Girl's bikes/boy's bikes

Old 05-10-08, 08:02 PM
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dwood
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Girl's bikes/boy's bikes

When I was growing-up in the '40's and 50's . . . you rode a bike designed for your gender. The boy's bikes had a top tube. The girl's bikes frequently had a double/parallel downtube, no top tube. This was presumably the arrangement so girls, when properly attired in skirts, could ride without doing a Britney.

During the '60's thru recently I was away from bicycling. But as I recall during the '60's I heard that some bold women were actually riding men's bikes.

Now when I wander around the LBS, I can't detect any gender-based designs. If this is correct, when did the manufacturers finally begin making only bikes without a gender bias?
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Old 05-10-08, 08:29 PM
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You need to look at compact framesets. Now they're making boys ride girl's frames

but for realsies: WSD frames = women's specific design = same "look" but different ratios of top tubes to seat tubes, brake lever reach, etc.
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Old 05-10-08, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by dwood View Post
Now when I wander around the LBS, I can't detect any gender-based designs. If this is correct, when did the manufacturers finally begin making only bikes without a gender bias?
Depends on the bike you are looking at. Traditionally, all higher-end roadbike frames were built with diamond frames, a few quality machines as mixtes - no real difference except for the disappearance of the mixte design due to the fact that such a design would likely last five seconds in aluminum or CF.

As for the leisure bike market though, gender-specific machines are still out there, indeed - and may I interject, most of them more hideous then ever. All 2008 models:

Giant Sedona:


Trek Navigator WSD:


Specialized Expedition Sport (Radial lacing in front? Talk about asking for trouble when paired with a leisure cyclist):


Electra Townie 7D (possibly an '07):




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Old 05-11-08, 06:00 AM
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Unless you prefer the crank-forward design of hybrids, I'd go with something like the Trek FX or Giant FCR. Other companies have similar bikes. Or, get something like the Trek Lime. For a retro ride, the Bianchi Milano or Masi Soulville.

Checking at the LBS's in town, hybrids sell like hotcakes, especially if they come with the useless front suspension.

Back in the 40's and 50's, "lightweights" were not common in the U.S.; everyone rode middleweights or balloon tire bikes. They still sell these bikes but today's cruisers are lighter and don't steer like barges.
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Old 05-11-08, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by dwood View Post
When I was growing-up in the '40's and 50's . . . you rode a bike designed for your gender. The boy's bikes had a top tube. The girl's bikes frequently had a double/parallel downtube, no top tube. This was presumably the arrangement so girls, when properly attired in skirts, could ride without doing a Britney.

During the '60's thru recently I was away from bicycling. But as I recall during the '60's I heard that some bold women were actually riding men's bikes.

Now when I wander around the LBS, I can't detect any gender-based designs. If this is correct, when did the manufacturers finally begin making only bikes without a gender bias?
Step-through (girls) frames are still very common in Europe for utility bikes used by either gender.
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Old 05-11-08, 08:33 AM
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I can see where the "girls frame" would have been useful back in the day, but I scratch my head a little as to why it was and still is carried on, atleast on road bikes. Thats one thing I've noticed on Craigs List and the bike spot I go to, the parallel downtube frames are dime a dozen. Come to think of it, I cant remember the last time I saw a girls frame road bike being employed by either gender. I'd imaging they would have horrible frame mechanics, not to mention they just look kinda goofy.
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Old 05-11-08, 10:19 AM
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You won't see them in the U.S., but the 'unisex' frames are still widely used in Europe.

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