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Girlfriend Bike first road bike

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Girlfriend Bike first road bike

Old 09-07-15, 02:16 PM
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Girlfriend Bike first road bike

My girlfriend is a beginner rider who hasn't ever done road biking but wants to move from marathon to triathalon training (though doesn't want a strictly triathalon bike). We'd like to get her a bike at reasonable cost- looking to spend in the range of $400 but are having trouble finding a bike that would fit her dimensions because she is somewhat tall with long legs and we can't seem to find a women's bike that is the right size. Her dimensions and competitive cyclist fit are here:

Inseam 31.25 in
height 5'7"

Bike store recommended 52 or 54cm bike in trek womens but was above budget at 700
Competitive cyclist website recommends 54cm seat tube and 52cm top tube

We really like this bike (medium size): Giordano Libero Women's Bike - Giordano Bikes
but the seat tube seems really small at 40cm but weird sloped geometry is hard to compare the top tube seems correct at 52.5

Any thoughts would be appreciated
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Old 09-07-15, 03:18 PM
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Your girlfriend measures right in between my wife and myself (wife - 5' 6", 31" inseam, me - 5' 8.5", 32" inseam). My wife rides a 51cm and I ride a 53cm (though I had a 54cm which fit fine), assuming level top tube. Your girlfriend would likely be fine on either with the smaller size offering a more aggressive fit and the larger size being more relaxed in general. Stem lengths can be adjusted to get the correct reach and within reason, saddle to bar drop can be adjusted similarly.

As you've noted, sloping top tubes make seat tube lengths a meaningless way to evaluate frames. Top tube lengths can become misleading as well unless the manufacturer specs an 'effective' top tube length (what it would be if it were level back to the seat tube). So make sure you are reading the correct dimensions if buying online.

Again, because she is in the middle of sizes, I wouldn't worry too much about which you pick unless she wants a particular fit. Get the reach to the bar right (top tube length plus stem) and the bars at a height where she feels comfortable and evaluate after she gets some miles on the bike. I also wouldn't worry too much about getting a women's bike. Not every woman will like the wider saddle and short reach handlebars that are typical of those bikes. Ideally, she gets a chance to try them out before buying but keep in mind that new riders will gravitate towards what feels comfortable immediately (which tends to be higher handelbars with less reach and a softer saddle) but that might not necessarily be the best long term choice.
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Old 09-07-15, 03:22 PM
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Women specific bikes are marketing gimmicks.
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Old 09-07-15, 06:36 PM
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With sloping top tube frames, WSD bikes are largely moot. They generally offer narrower bars, shorter cranks, different seat and perhaps brakes that accommodate smaller hands. My older Trek with traditional geometry is WSD (the men's were all way to much of a reach) but the newer bike geometries fit me well without WSD.
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Old 09-07-15, 07:58 PM
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You need to shop Craigslist for a used bike for your girlfriend. You will not get a decent new road bike for $400. You will be able to get a real nice used road bike for her for $300 to $400 that originally sold for $1000 or more when new that has hardly been ridden.

You guys are going to have to go test ride bikes, because Craigslist Sellers often mis-state bike frame sizes. You should not eliminate any bike for contention without reading the ads (not just the titles) and taking a look at the photo/s to determine what the frame size really is. And don't pick out a bike for her, based on what the Seller claims. Take her with you, and get her to test ride the bikes to make up her own mind.

Last edited by RoadGuy; 09-08-15 at 02:32 AM.
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Old 09-07-15, 08:02 PM
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No need to limit her to women specific bikes. It's marketing BS, mostly.

My wife rides a (men's) Allez.
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Old 09-08-15, 04:29 AM
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I disagree that women's specific frames are bs, my gf had tried a whole bunch of men's bikes and cos she's rather short most fit her badly even in the smallest sizes. A lot of my lady friends also needed to swap out certain components like stems when using men's specific frames.

Regardless, it is best that she tries the bikes in person, getting fitted online can be a bit iffy.
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Old 09-08-15, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by mawashi
I disagree that women's specific frames are bs, my gf had tried a whole bunch of men's bikes and cos she's rather short most fit her badly even in the smallest sizes. A lot of my lady friends also needed to swap out certain components like stems when using men's specific frames.

Regardless, it is best that she tries the bikes in person, getting fitted online can be a bit iffy.
If a woman is really small there might be smaller sizes available in a woman specific model. Bars, stems and saddles are fit specific items that most people swap out to fit their body regardless of whether they are male or female. Wheels and groupets are all the same. Most gender neutral frames have sloping top tubes now but there is certainly no reason a woman can't ride a level top tube

For a woman's bike you are paying for women's saddle and bars (which you may still need to swap) and pink/purple colors. I've never heard of women specific stems
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Old 09-08-15, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13
If a woman is really small there might be smaller sizes available in a woman specific model. Bars, stems and saddles are fit specific items that most people swap out to fit their body regardless of whether they are male or female. Wheels and groupets are all the same. Most gender neutral frames have sloping top tubes now but there is certainly no reason a woman can't ride a level top tube

For a woman's bike you are paying for women's saddle and bars (which you may still need to swap) and pink/purple colors. I've never heard of women specific stems
I have found that I have to be careful because WSD bikes have easier gearing than men's/unisex bikes. It is more common in mountain bikes where they put completely different crank sets, but sometimes manufacturers will call two bikes equivalent but put a 12-32t cassette on the women's and a 11-28t on the men's.

Anyway, I agree that WSD is generally a gimmick. I am a woman with three men's bikes and one WSD, and the top tube on the women's bike is too short. She should buy what fits, not what the sales people try to push her into.
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Old 09-08-15, 02:05 PM
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If $400 is the max budget you will have to go used. If you can come up with another $150 or so you can get a Giant Defy 5. What area do you live in? Have you looked at craigslist at all?
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Old 09-08-15, 02:12 PM
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Used or Bikes Direct such as: Road Bikes - Dawes Lightning DLX
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Old 09-08-15, 02:14 PM
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My wife rides a 54cm felt f85. We swapped the stem for an 80mm and She is still a little stretched out. I would go for a 51-52cm and switch stems accordingly.
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Old 09-08-15, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by lsberrios1
My wife rides a 54cm felt f85. We swapped the stem for an 80mm and She is still a little stretched out. I would go for a 51-52cm and switch stems accordingly.
You can get a 60mm stem and maybe shorter reach bars to see if that helps her. Cheaper than buying another frame.
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Old 09-08-15, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Highjumpharry
My girlfriend is a beginner rider who hasn't ever done road biking but wants to move from marathon to triathalon training (though doesn't want a strictly triathalon bike). We'd like to get her a bike at reasonable cost- looking to spend in the range of $400 but are having trouble finding a bike that would fit her dimensions because she is somewhat tall with long legs and we can't seem to find a women's bike that is the right size. Her dimensions and competitive cyclist fit are here:

Inseam 31.25 in
height 5'7"

Bike store recommended 52 or 54cm bike in trek womens but was above budget at 700
Competitive cyclist website recommends 54cm seat tube and 52cm top tube

We really like this bike (medium size): Giordano Libero Women's Bike - Giordano Bikes
but the seat tube seems really small at 40cm but weird sloped geometry is hard to compare the top tube seems correct at 52.5

Any thoughts would be appreciated
What to measure and why:

Correct frame size
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Old 09-08-15, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by joejack951
Used or Bikes Direct such as: Road Bikes - Dawes Lightning DLX
This is a nice bike with your price range and size.
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Old 09-10-15, 08:22 PM
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Thanks for all the replies, they have been very helpful.
I think we are settling on this bike in 50cm - Save Up to 60% Off Womens Road and Fitness Bikes - Dawes Sheila Women Specific Road Bike
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Old 09-10-15, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Highjumpharry
Thanks for all the replies, they have been very helpful.
I think we are settling on this bike in 50cm - Save Up to 60% Off Womens Road and Fitness Bikes - Dawes Sheila Women Specific Road Bike
Not that it's a bad deal but you can probably do better in the used market. If you are willing to spend a bit more you could maybe get into a Giant Liv with the new Claris. If you let me know where you are at I can help you find something on CL that may be worth your money. Assuming $400-500 is a good budget.
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