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Questions about Women's Road Bike Frames

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Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

Questions about Women's Road Bike Frames

Old 09-22-11, 02:07 PM
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rdewire
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Questions about Women's Road Bike Frames

I am in the process of getting all my spare parts together to build my fiance a road bike. I ride and race and she wants to try it. I am having trouble finding a frame for her. Any ideas on websites that sell women's specific road bike frames?

If that isn't an option, could she be ok with a men's frame? She has ridden a 54 women's frame before and it was a good fit. She definately has the leg length for a 54, but im worried about the reach in a standard frame. I know I can go with s short stem, but will it be uncomfortable for her?

Any input is appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 09-22-11, 02:39 PM
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Orbea Diva -

specialized Amira

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Old 09-22-11, 02:58 PM
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You might want to check out Cervelo's take on the whole women-specific design thing. They believe that there is no need for a "female" frame. Even if you end up disagreeing, it might give you some insight into how to select a frame.

https://www.cervelo.com/en_us/bikes/w...video_headline

i think the bottom line is that she's gotta try a bunch of bikes and find one that fits her proportions. any bike will need to have the right crank length, stem length, bar width, bar reach, saddle fore/aft, and saddle height to match her body.
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Old 09-22-11, 02:58 PM
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I don't know about others, but Cannondale makes women's frames in in the caad and synapse. I just bought my wife a synapse 44 and she's loving it so far!
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Old 09-22-11, 03:16 PM
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Everyone seems to be suggesting complete bikes, whereas the OP is asking for a frame to build up...

My suggestions are based on the fiance not having ever ridden a road bike. I think that she will probably want to start in a relaxed position, torso between 45 and 70 degrees.

Step 1: see what online fit calculators say for her sizing.

Step 2: Look at the geometry of the inexpensive frames you can find and start with TT length. I would go on the shorter side of what the calculators say and plan to run a tall steerer tube and/or 17-20 deg positive stem.
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Old 09-22-11, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
Everyone seems to be suggesting complete bikes, whereas the OP is asking for a frame to build up...

My suggestions are based on the fiance not having ever ridden a road bike. I think that she will probably want to start in a relaxed position, torso between 45 and 70 degrees.

Step 1: see what online fit calculators say for her sizing.

Step 2: Look at the geometry of the inexpensive frames you can find and start with TT length. I would go on the shorter side of what the calculators say and plan to run a tall steerer tube and/or 17-20 deg positive stem.
I wasn't suggesting a complete bike - I was suggesting that she try complete bikes (both mens and womens) to get a feel, then select a frame that has similar geometry.
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Old 09-22-11, 04:33 PM
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you're not giving much info on her.

frame or bike, the Women's Specific Design is always a 'mebbe'.

since there are soooo many different frame designs, it would be hard to not find a model that wouldn;t work for her

WSD, depending on bike maker, can be very different. For example Spec takes a 54 and slacks the HT angle some more, steepens the ST angle and shortens the TT a full cm.
Basically shortening the overall reach.
The down side of this is if the woman rider has longer legs and proportional femur length, the steeper ST makes it harder to get the seat back. So the seat goes higher to compensate and the torso gets rotated forward... the drop to bar increases,,, yadda, yadda, yadda - what it means is it gets more complicated.

Run her measurements thru some fit calcs, and then find bikes/frames which fall into general specs.
Don't get too complicated.
Usually for newbie female riders, getting the seat set so it's not too far forward and thereby not having too much weight on the arms/shoulders will get a positive response.
but this is all speculation, since we don;t know much of anything.

use the fit calcs, they do a pretty good job.
be ready for saddle swaps...
if she's a complete noob, be ready for the inevitable 2 week burn-in period for her rear...
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Old 09-22-11, 07:23 PM
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I was in a similar situation. Searched on line but was leary to pull the trigger without a good idea of fit. Ended up going to a LBS who took apart a bike that fit well, and sold us the frame only.
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Old 09-22-11, 07:46 PM
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Check out the SOMA - Buena Vista ( Mixte ) frame. It's beautiful!

- Slim

PS.

Have you seen the Jamis Coda Femme bike yet?
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Old 09-22-11, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by chaulky61 View Post
I was in a similar situation. Searched on line but was leary to pull the trigger without a good idea of fit. Ended up going to a LBS who took apart a bike that fit well, and sold us the frame only.

I looked into this once for my wife, but found that it was only around $150 difference for a frame and fork only vs the full bike. Didn't make sense to buy frame only at this price, so we went ahead and got the full bike. Figured that if we wanted to, sometime down the road, we could sell the parts on it and replace them with something better if she wanted.
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Old 09-22-11, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by rdewire View Post
I am in the process of getting all my spare parts together to build my fiance a road bike. I ride and race and she wants to try it. I am having trouble finding a frame for her. Any ideas on websites that sell women's specific road bike frames?

If that isn't an option, could she be ok with a men's frame? She has ridden a 54 women's frame before and it was a good fit. She definately has the leg length for a 54, but im worried about the reach in a standard frame. I know I can go with s short stem, but will it be uncomfortable for her?

Any input is appreciated. Thanks.
Sure she wouldn't just appreciate the fact that you bought her a beautiful bike and put the nicest components on it?

Most women I think, wouldn't really care if was an authentic road bike or not. Just as long as its pretty and you built it exclusively for her, only. Additionally, you built it with some of the best components that money can buy, and she can ride it with you, whenever you ride.

That's what most women want....

Most wouldn't care about the authenticity of the bike-type!

Of course, you do have your Shanaze Reade's out there...

PS.

If you do end up getting an authentic bonafide road bike..Just remember, that the extra financial investment in the bike does not necessarily translate into an automatic investment in your wife...

Last edited by SlimRider; 09-23-11 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 09-23-11, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Cpt.America View Post
I don't know about others, but Cannondale makes women's frames in in the caad and synapse. I just bought my wife a synapse 44 and she's loving it so far!
I just ordered a 2012 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 4 Rival for my wife in the 44 size as well. How light is her bike given the small frame size? Any tips she could offer?
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Old 09-23-11, 09:27 AM
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Thanks for the help so far. She has ridden a 54 both my old bike and a new women's specific specialized. The reach was the only issue. I am going to try a fit calculator and then go from there. From what I've found so far, a regular frame may be alright since many of them have less than 1 cm of difference in the top tube length between a men's and women's frame.
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Old 09-23-11, 09:29 AM
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My wife just got a new bike last weekend. We tried the women's versions from Specialized, Giant, and Cannondale. She ended up liking the supersix the best which is not women's specific. She also has a Kona Jake the snake which is a men's bike as well. As has been stated I think she will need to ride some bikes before a decision is made on frame geo.
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Old 09-23-11, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Peiper1 View Post
I just ordered a 2012 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 4 Rival for my wife in the 44 size as well. How light is her bike given the small frame size? Any tips she could offer?
Well, her bike isn't any lighter than my 58cm super six. Both frames are super light carbon... the majority of the weight on both bikes are the wheels/tires/bars/components, etc.... not the frame itself. It might be a TINY bit lighter, but it's hard to tell by just picking them up.

The bike is great and the only issues we have had, have been with her apex drive train. It required a ton of fine tuning to get it shifting properly, without rubbing, without dropping the chain.... etc. The LBS where it was purchased didn't put much time into the derailers.

That of course has nothing to do with Cannondale... the bike itself is great and the mrs. loves it!
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Old 09-23-11, 10:28 AM
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It might be a worthwhile investment to go to a pro bike fitter. One who is not connected with a bike shop.
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Old 09-24-11, 12:12 AM
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i just put together a bike for my daughter...I still need to get a shorter stem. I think a frame with a sloping top tube, a stem and short reach handlebars is helpful...but the key is the seat. specialized make women specific seats in 3 size widths.
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