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Getting a men's bike for a woman

Old 02-12-16, 03:01 PM
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neverquit
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Getting a men's bike for a woman

So, my wife REALLY likes the color of my new Roubaix. She's in need of an upgrade/new bike too. Unfortunately, the Ruby (female version) isn't available in that color. And, as we all know, there are some things ( color in this situation ) that is very important to a woman, that to a guy, is a non issue. So, my question is: if she got fitted for a Roubaix and made a few modification changes such as handlebars, crankset(?) Saddle, would the Roubaix be same as the Ruby?

Thanks
Lloyd
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Old 02-12-16, 03:09 PM
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There are only a few small differences in bike geometry between the two. Nothing that a proper fit wouldn't overcome for most women.
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Old 02-12-16, 03:12 PM
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It really depends on how picky she is about the top tube. My wife hated the straight top tube of her trek, but just loves how easily she can dismount the ruby.
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Old 02-12-16, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by pressed001 View Post
It really depends on how picky she is about the top tube. My wife hated the straight top tube of her trek, but just loves how easily she can dismount the ruby.
And the ladies top tube is about a "size" shorter compared to the men's bikes. That is that men's 54 has a 543 TT while a woman's 54 has a 536 TT. So you would probably want to go a size smaller in the men's frame and pull up the seat post 2cm.

Cranks probably don't matter much. You might want a narrow handle bars. 38 are becoming more common and fit many women better. Depends on how wide her shoulders are though.
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Old 02-12-16, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by demoncyclist View Post
There are only a few small differences in bike geometry between the two. Nothing that a proper fit wouldn't overcome for most women.
You've made too broad a statement. It depends on the woman and the frame. For my very petite wife, she simply can't fit on a men's frame of any size. First, no one makes a frame small enough for her in a "men's" frame. Kids frames with 24" wheels, maybe, but not with a more "normal" wheel size. She currently has a Terry Symmetry...well, 3 actually. Two of them are the same frame with 650C wheels and the other is the classic Symmetry with the small wheel in the front and 700C wheel in the back. She has been through all kinds of other bikes over the course of 30 years trying to find one that is the "right" size. She also has a Trek WSD mountain bike that fits better than any mountain bike she's tried before.

The fit for a small woman is very difficult and the women's design bikes make a very large difference for her. Taller women may not see as much of a difference but it could still be enough to make the bike more comfortable.
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Old 02-12-16, 04:22 PM
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If she fits she fits.
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Old 02-12-16, 05:16 PM
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It won't be the same as the Ruby, but if she can get a Roubaix to fit her, then what's the problem?

Also, have her look at other brands (e.g. Trek, Fuji, Felt, Giant, Cannondale, etc) to see if there are other bikes, both men's and women's where she likes the color and the fit.

GH
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Old 02-12-16, 05:26 PM
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My wife rides a "men's" bike, but she's 5'7", a bit taller than average for women. It seems like height and probably leg length as a proportion of height will matter more than if a bike is labeled men's or women's.
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Old 02-12-16, 06:12 PM
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I am a 5'6" woman, and the last time I rode a "women's bicycle" was when I was about 10 years old.

The key thing is to make sure the reach is short enough for her. Most women have somewhat longer legs so the height of a small or medium sized bicycle should be fine, but the top tube length can be somewhat problematic. So that's the measurement to focus on.
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Old 02-12-16, 07:39 PM
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Thanks everyone for your input. I thought it was going to be a "no way Jose" situation. I feel better about going to the bike shop and having her measured and such....I think the top tube may be an issue, she's only 5'2" so we'll see.
Thanks again, it's GREAT to have experienced bikers to talk to.
Have a great weekend
Lloyd
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Old 02-13-16, 09:09 PM
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Tell her to look past the color if the Ruby fits better.
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Old 02-13-16, 09:55 PM
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This is one of those instances where a professional fitting might be very beneficial. Spend the few bucks to get her fitted, and if she's too small for the smallest men's frame, then the Ruby it is. Roubaix goes down to a 49 frame, so unless she's really T-Rex'ing it, the reach shouldn't be too long.
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Old 02-13-16, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Tell her to look past the color if the Ruby fits better.
you're single aren't you?
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Old 02-14-16, 01:06 AM
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When I shopped in 2003 I could not find a men's frame that wasn't waaaay too long for me and I ended up with a good fit with the Trek WSD frame. That bike has a horizontal top tube. When I went shopping in 2012 for a new bike, *all* the men's frames with sloping top tubes fit me well. I'm 5'7" tall. The only noticeable difference was the wider handlebars and after a short time, I decided I liked the 40 cm better than the 38s. Seat might be another issue. I'm OK with the one on the Synapse, but then I can't stand going through the process of trying to decide what might be better. My knees are happy and I am reluctant to make changes that might change that.
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Old 02-14-16, 03:28 AM
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Originally Posted by 3gun View Post
you're single aren't you?
Married almost 29 years - honesty is the best policy in marriage and bike fitting. But it's my 2nd so maybe that philosophy didn't work the first time around.
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Old 02-14-16, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by neverquit View Post
Thanks everyone for your input. I thought it was going to be a "no way Jose" situation. I feel better about going to the bike shop and having her measured and such....I think the top tube may be an issue, she's only 5'2" so we'll see.
Thanks again, it's GREAT to have experienced bikers to talk to.
Have a great weekend
Lloyd
Even after a professional fitting, have her try a variety of frame styles. After much trial and error, I learned that my wife's ideal bike has the following features, in order of importance:

1. Candy-apple red paint.

2. Step-through ("women's") frame.

3. 3-speed IGH with grip shift (derailleurs are out).

4. Handlebars higher than saddle (drop bars are out).

5. Weight kept to a minimum.

6. Hybrid tires.

7. A nostalgic connection to her first bike.

No amount of discussion could change this list, so I built a bike around it, using the frame from her first "adult" bike. Her parents gave it to her when she was seventeen.

-

Last edited by habilis; 02-14-16 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 02-14-16, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by PepeM View Post
If she fits she fits.
This. Just like every male, every female has a unique build with unique proportions. Either a given bike fits that individual or it does not. A bicycle frame cannot discern rider gender.
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Old 02-14-16, 04:13 PM
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Fit
Fit
Fit

Fit=success

No fit = waste of time and money.
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Old 02-14-16, 04:24 PM
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Or ... get the perfect bike fit-wise and have it painted. Best of both worlds. (I know nothing of painting carbon fiber but I am sure there are plenty of painters who do and can.) If this means a no-compromise ride your wife likes forever, that several hundred dollar paint job will be money very well spent!

(Of my 5 bikes, the only ones with their original paint jobs are customs. So all of my bikes have paint jobs I chose.)

Ben
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Old 02-14-16, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
This is one of those instances where a professional fitting might be very beneficial. Spend the few bucks to get her fitted, and if she's too small for the smallest men's frame, then the Ruby it is. Roubaix goes down to a 49 frame, so unless she's really T-Rex'ing it, the reach shouldn't be too long.
I agree. Some pro fittings are done without the bike shop pressure.

At 5' -2" it would be like a fitting for Emma Pooley, a pro rider back a few years ago.

Here's an article on slowtwitch and it has a reference to women the size of Emma

The Problem with Women - Slowtwitch.com
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Old 02-14-16, 06:24 PM
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Who cares if it a woman-specific bicycle. You already have a bicycle-specific woman. You win the race.
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Old 02-14-16, 07:05 PM
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My partner, also is "untall". A couple years ago, when she was shopping for a new carbon wonder road bike, I was surprised how many "women specific" bikes actually had identical frame measurements to the same size "male" version. Only differences were color and saddle, plus the cost was usually a little more. As already indicated, an unbiased fitting is an optimal approach.
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Old 02-15-16, 07:21 PM
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No, been married 47 years...
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Old 02-15-16, 07:22 PM
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Thanks, that was pretty interesting!
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Old 02-15-16, 07:26 PM
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Yep, you're exactly right, my wife's #1 is COLOR.....Thank God I'm a guy
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