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Bikes are unisex, why the focus on WSD?

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Bikes are unisex, why the focus on WSD?

Old 05-04-17, 03:43 PM
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Bikes are unisex, why the focus on WSD?

I recently watched this video from GCN about a new range of women's specific bikes. Basically, they made smaller bikes with a tiny bit less reach, and I think some of the super small bikes even had 650 wheels. (Like the old Terrys)


I don't get it. We make bikes fit ourselves. Even in the video they said that women's reach is often 3 cm shorter than men's. I mean, would it not be prudent to simply use a smaller stem? A handlebar with a bit less reach? Not to mention that some bikes simply have shorter reach than other bikes.

I understand that it can be hard for small women to find bikes (I have a friend who is 4'11"), but it's not like the average small women of the world is going to be able to afford one of these top of the line CF bikes.

To me, it seems like a solution in search of a problem. Is it just to get more women into cycling?
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Old 05-04-17, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33
I understand that it can be hard for small women to find bikes (I have a friend who is 4'11"), but it's not like the average small women of the world is going to be able to afford one of these top of the line CF bikes.
Didn't know the $500 Trek 7100WSD was a top of the line CF bike. I feel ripped off since the men's version is aluminum.
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Old 05-04-17, 04:27 PM
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Bikes are "unisex." Women's physical proportions, however, are different.

My wife and I are essentially the same height. She rides a Trek WSD bike. I cannot comfortably ride her bike ans she cannot comfortably ride mine.
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Old 05-04-17, 04:30 PM
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It's been stressed over and over on this very board that good fit is of utmost importance. Many women can get a comfortable fit on a men's frame, but some cannot. I've even seen men with long legs and short upper body (like myself) consider a WSD bike for a better fit. It's a real market.
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Old 05-04-17, 04:48 PM
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I currently ride both a unisex bicycle (fixed gear, in between road and track geometry, set up for road use) and a women's specific road bike. I've also owned, and used, a men's (unisex?) road bike.

My WSD is the only one that fit nicely with mostly stock components. On the men's road bike, the reach was always a bit too long, and had I kept it, I would have needed to shorten the stem (perhaps introducing handling issues) and swap out the handlebars for narrower ones. With the fixed gear, I was between sizes and sized down to achieve reasonable standover height; this resulted in the need for a longer stem (and the inevitable narrower handlebars).

So: WSD makes it easier for some women to have a decent, pain-reducing fit without changing much from stock. Some of the ladies I ride with are new to cycling, or have family members who wrench for them, or generally are more interested in riding than playing around with shiny new parts. There is definitely a market! FWIW, the Trek Lexa line (starting at $780) is popular where I live, for a number of reasons, and gives ladies an easy entry into road cycling before catching upgraditis.

Last edited by wipekitty; 05-04-17 at 04:49 PM. Reason: Made a claim that was too general.
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Old 05-04-17, 04:53 PM
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Terry Bicycles have been around and making WSD bikes for 30+ years. This is not some new thing.
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Old 05-04-17, 05:04 PM
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Women are not Small Men, in many ways.

Having fit many female racers over the years I applaud female proportioned machine options from the mfgs which are totally necessary.
Chapeau to Ms. Terry for being a pioneer.

Any guy who thinks that a specific woman's fit is not necessary knows nothing about bike fitting, or women.

-Bandera
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Old 05-04-17, 05:05 PM
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marketing gimmick
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Old 05-04-17, 05:08 PM
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What about women-specific clothing? Shoes? Are they redundant as well?
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Old 05-04-17, 05:09 PM
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I can assure the OP women are a different shape to men
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Old 05-04-17, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict
marketing gimmick
NOT! Women are not men
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Old 05-04-17, 05:38 PM
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More choices are more good.

No two people are the same.
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Old 05-04-17, 05:54 PM
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More options > Less options

Not sure why it would bother anyone.
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Old 05-04-17, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33
I don't get it. We make bikes fit ourselves. Even in the video they said that women's reach is often 3 cm shorter than men's. I mean, would it not be prudent to simply use a smaller stem? A handlebar with a bit less reach? Not to mention that some bikes simply have shorter reach than other bikes.
The smaller the bike, the more compromises you must make to use "standard" components. Using a shorter stem can make for better "fit," but also affects the steering properties. Using 700C wheels on small frames increases shoe overlap with the front wheel and also requires a short head tube, which provides less support for the fork. And so on.

There is a market for woman-specific designs, and if enough women appreciate these bikes to support that market, what's the problem? Not everyone can afford a custom frame, after all.
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Old 05-04-17, 06:34 PM
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As the proud owner of both testes and a WSD bike i can say that no one is forced to ride any sort of bike .... but nothing sucks like trying to ride an ill-fitting bike.
Originally Posted by corrado33
Even in the video they said that women's reach is often 3 cm shorter than men's. I mean, would it not be prudent to simply use a smaller stem? A handlebar with a bit less reach? Not to mention that some bikes simply have shorter reach than other bikes.
So if a person with a long torso and arms on a pretty small frame uses a 90-mm stem ... hen for someone with the more characteristic long-femur short-torso woman's build should just just go to 60 or 45? Yeah ... that wouldn't change anything.

or ... don't buy the bike you want ... go find one with a shorter top tube. Maybe you really want a CAAD 12 to do crits ... but since you are only a female, go buy some endurance-geometry frame. Guys can demand a perfect fit and bikes which meet most common male proportions, but women ... i mean,...they're just women, after all.

Let me guess---you're single? maybe never had a second date?

Or let me make another guess .... you are really smart and subtle and live under a bridge?

Anyway ... yeah, I think the bike industry should go to one-size-fits all. No reason a six-footer can't use a 200-mm stem.
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Old 05-04-17, 07:33 PM
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I understand that different people have bodies that are proportionally different - long legs, short torso or short legs long torso. Are these differences totally "gender' related? Aren't there differences between people of the same gender? What should a male with long legs and short torso do? Or a female with short legs and long torso? Is stereotyping these differences as "gender" really just marketing?
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Old 05-04-17, 08:57 PM
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Are Women's Body Proportions Different From Men's? -

Georgena Terry spoke a little bit about it there ^. Its actually the opposite of what I thought and have read here sometimes.
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Old 05-04-17, 09:14 PM
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The bike doesn't know your gender. From a bike-fitter's perspective, having a wide range of frame shapes and sizes in the same color would make it easier to get a good fit on any rider. But when you toss marketing into the mix, you often end up with colors or categories that the marketing gurus assign to either women or men, and that takes a vast number of bikes out of the potential pool for a lot of riders. Generally (but not always), a women's specific frame is going to fit a woman better - it's not a gimmick. I'd almost venture to say that more men would benefit from the women's frame geometry than the converse.
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Old 05-04-17, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Hardrock23
Are Women's Body Proportions Different From Men's? -

Georgena Terry spoke a little bit about it there ^. Its actually the opposite of what I thought and have read here sometimes.
Thanks for the link. I've been a fan of hers for 30 years. Trained with a woman who rode a man's bike when Georgena was racing. (I was in New England, Georgena in New Jersey and we never crossed paths.) Later I used to commute on a ferry with a woman who rode a man's bike, then one day a Terry. What a difference!

Ben
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Old 05-04-17, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
Thanks for the link. I've been a fan of hers for 30 years. Trained with a woman who rode a man's bike when Georgena was racing. (I was in New England, Georgena in New Jersey and we never crossed paths.) Later I used to commute on a ferry with a woman who rode a man's bike, then one day a Terry. What a difference!

Ben

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I would love to try out/own one of her bikes...So far I haven't come across one that would fit though. Maybe one day!
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Old 05-04-17, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ddeand
The bike doesn't know your gender. From a bike-fitter's perspective, having a wide range of frame shapes and sizes in the same color would make it easier to get a good fit on any rider. But when you toss marketing into the mix, you often end up with colors or categories that the marketing gurus assign to either women or men, and that takes a vast number of bikes out of the potential pool for a lot of riders. Companies are stuck with Generally (but not always), a women's specific frame is going to fit a woman better - it's not a gimmick. I'd almost venture to say that more men would benefit from the women's frame geometry than the converse.
And finally, somebody that doesn't assume I'm a woman hater. Congratulations.

Why are they "women's specific" and not just "small bikes?" Was the question. In this ever gender... charged... society, why not just say "hey, we build small bikes now with parts that make sense for small people..."

Most women I know who bike are trying to get AWAY from the whole "men's bike" "women's bike (mixte)" thing, not creating another argument about it.

The next question is, if small WSBs exist, why don't extra large male specific bikes exist? I could turn every argument around and say the same thing about very tall men (or women.) Often forced to use extremely long stems unless they have the money to build custom.

For the record, I adore Terry bikes and think they're designed beautifully, and wish more (affordable) versions were still made today. You have no idea how hard it was to find both of my very short female friends bikes to even try to RIDE, let alone buy. LBS don't carry XS bikes. At least not in my town. And the one girl wasn't even that short! We were looking for a 48 cm bike. The other needed something significantly smaller so essentially she just buys every bike she can fit on.

Last edited by corrado33; 05-04-17 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 05-05-17, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by corrado33
Why are they "women's specific" and not just "small bikes?" Was the question. In this ever gender... charged... society, why not just say "hey, we build small bikes now with parts that make sense for small people...".
because it is not “small” and “large.” It is s a matter of differing proportion.

Originally Posted by corrado33
The next question is, if small WSBs exist, why don't extra large male specific bikes exist?
Partially, they do. I can buy a 62-cm frame which will fit a rider about 6’4” and a little more.

The other thing is reality of making money while doing business.

There are a Lot of women between 5’ and 5’8”. Most men are between 5’8” and 6’2”. So ... it makes sense to make frames that fit the mainstream of society. Nobody makes frames for people seven feet tall because so few people are that tall ...

So ... it is done by ranges.

Just as when a clothing company makes clothes ... they don’t make clothes for people who are three feet tall, or 13 feet tall. They make a small number of extra-small, a good number of small, an huge number of medium, and a smaller number of large, and pretty small number of extra large.

WSB bikes are Not for small people, either. I am over six feet tall and ride a WSB. It says it was only good for people for up to 5’8’, but I find that with my tiny torso and inflexible spine, I can run a 120-mm stem and it fits Really well. It has a very short top tube, which I need.

The label “WSB” is pure marketing. The same frames could have been labeled “Alt-Fit” or “Tiny-Torso.” But ... the fact is the average proportions for women and men vary, and there are a lot of women who ride, so it made sense to combine all that and call them WSB.

Also, for a company like Terry .... which actually existed specifically to serve women who were not being well served by simply smaller frames, or could not buy frames that fit at all (something your two friends know too well ... ) How can there be Any problem calling them “women-specific”?

Another thing I find amusing ... I used to object to so much “women-specific” stuff being painted shades of pink. Then I started paying attention and noticed, for whatever reason it seems a number of women do like pink as a color. I have no idea why. I don’t think it can All be conditioning ... but it seems a fair number of women choose pink even when there is a wide range of color options.

Naturally marketers played on this and started the “pink/blue” divide, and especially started using shades of pink heavily on women-specific products ....

Originally Posted by corrado33
You have no idea how hard it was to find both of my very short female friends bikes to even try to RIDE, let alone buy. LBS don't carry XS bikes.
Because they carry what sells in greatest numbers. It is called “business.” Outliers like your friends and myself find it hard because we are far outside the norm. No one’s fault---you cannot expect businesses to lose money on the off chance that you might buy a product that no one else will.

Originally Posted by corrado33
And the one girl wasn't even that short! We were looking for a 48 cm bike. The other needed something significantly smaller so essentially she just buys every bike she can fit on.
Seems to me that this is an argument For more WSBs.

Last edited by Maelochs; 05-05-17 at 05:42 AM.
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Old 05-05-17, 06:21 AM
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Live with a 5' tall, female cyclist for 6 years and you will understand. She went custom IF with 700c. Odd looking geometry necessary even with a short stem, but it works for her.
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Old 05-05-17, 07:17 AM
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everyone is different. I find that I like the fit of the Fuji Finest even though I'm a (short) guy.
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Old 05-05-17, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Live with a 5' tall, female cyclist for 6 years and you will understand. She went custom IF with 700c. Odd looking geometry necessary even with a short stem, but it works for her.
Similar experience here. I'm 5' and when I went custom I was set on 700 wheels. According to my frame builder, it was possible because of my long inseam, my bike has an odd geometry, but it works for me and doesn't handle like a truck (:
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