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  1. #1
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    standard issue versus women's specific

    story:
    the wife wants a full suspension. i contacted the lbs to setup a demo rental of an 07 stump fsr expert. they have a standard issue medium ready to go. i mentioned that she feels like the suggested psi settings on other bikes she has ridden felt very harsh. she's a "light" 125 pounds. the guy mentioned that the women's specific bikes are "sprung lighter" and may be an option.

    question:
    is this true? the specs of the 2 bikes are the same shock. am i incorrect in assuming that an air spring is an air spring and the "softness" is only controlled by the air pressure?

    regardless of all this mumbojumbo, she's excited to try out the bike, can't ask for much more

    thanks.

  2. #2
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    Yes he is absolutely wrong. The shocks are the same and as you pointed out are adjusted by air pressure. The differences in women's bikes are going to be the fit. A shorter top tube/stem to accommodate a shorter torso. Smaller diameter bars/grips for smaller hands, and usually smaller rotors because not as much weight to stop, but that depends on the model/size. Also a more women's specific seat. If you are concerned with the fit you can measure the top tube and stem length of the men's bike and then compare with the length on the women's bike. Some women do not benefit with a women's bike depending on their torso/leg length.
    Either way good luck and just make sure there is less pressure in the shock!
    Any other questions lemme know!

  3. #3
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    thanks for the response, MTBFreerideCT.
    we picked up the test bike ( purty purple ) tonight. we have the rear shock set at 120 psi to start. we'll bring the pump on the ride tomorrow and adjust as needed.

    as far as fit goes, the she is pretty tall so the shorter top tubes of the WSD aren't really a necessity. she seems to fit well on regular mediums. she will however benefit from a WSD seat.

    i am so far impressed with the test ride program. it costs $25 per day to rent the bike. if we end up buying one we get the rental price knocked off the sale price of the bike.

    i'll let ya know what she thinks tomorrow.

    thanks again.

  4. #4
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    The only time "WSD" applies to...

    shocks or forks are with the coil sprung versions. Usually coil forks are included as most shocks have gone to air anymore. Another aspect is in compression dampers. A WSD fork or shock with an adjustable compression damping system usually has a less agressive profile than the same fork or shock found on a non-womens specific design. Just a little extra info there!

    But you are definately correct. There's nothing womens specific about an air shock or fork for the most part. Air is the medium and pressure is the adjustment, and that's the beauty of air. Adjust it to suit and ride!

    Hope she likes the bike, and have fun with the demo!

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  5. #5
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    Theoretically, couldn't a women's rear air shock have a lighter propedal setting on a fox shock?

    Ant
    Knows Very Little About Shocks

  6. #6
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    Ant-
    Interesting point but with the Epic/SJ I would have to say no.
    The "brian" on both the epic and the SJ is regulated by a brass float that stays in place and as upward forces come it displaces it which allows oil to flow and the shock to compress. While the AFR is a little different, it is the same general idea. The shocks are activated not by weight, but my "g's" of upward force on the shock. The idea behind this is that you can set the shock to ride extremely supple and "cushy" without giving up pedaling performance. On older shocks you had to choose because if you set the pressure too soft, then yes it would bob a lot but be soft on rough terrain, and if you set the pressure too hard then it would pedal well but be harsh on rough terrain.

    That was the idea of the brain was to be a totally separate adjustment. That is why no matter how much pressure is in the shock if you simply push down on the seat, the rear end will move very little if any. If you then pick up the rear end and slam it into the ground, the shock will move, and either be plush (if there is not a lot of air in it) or harsh (if there is a lot of air in it). The brain regulates between keeping the shop active from upward force (ground) and not active from downward force (pedaling).

    Make sense? Sorry for the ramble..

  7. #7
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    If you find that the men's bike fits her well (even if you have to put a slightly shorter stem on it) then you should consider buying it and having the shop switch it out for a women's seat for you.

    Food for thought.. the men's bike top tube (the one you have) is 585mm (or about 23 in), the women's is 560mm... so a whole inch less, not including the difference in stem length.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBFreerideCT
    Ant-
    Interesting point but with the Epic/SJ I would have to say no.
    The "brian" on both the epic and the SJ is regulated by a brass float that stays in place and as upward forces come it displaces it which allows oil to flow and the shock to compress. While the AFR is a little different, it is the same general idea. The shocks are activated not by weight, but my "g's" of upward force on the shock. The idea behind this is that you can set the shock to ride extremely supple and "cushy" without giving up pedaling performance. On older shocks you had to choose because if you set the pressure too soft, then yes it would bob a lot but be soft on rough terrain, and if you set the pressure too hard then it would pedal well but be harsh on rough terrain.

    That was the idea of the brain was to be a totally separate adjustment. That is why no matter how much pressure is in the shock if you simply push down on the seat, the rear end will move very little if any. If you then pick up the rear end and slam it into the ground, the shock will move, and either be plush (if there is not a lot of air in it) or harsh (if there is a lot of air in it). The brain regulates between keeping the shop active from upward force (ground) and not active from downward force (pedaling).

    Make sense? Sorry for the ramble..
    Makes perfect sense.

    Ant

  9. #9
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    thanks for the feedback guys. sorry for the longwinded post here. i hope someone can benefit from our research.

    the womens version differences are:
    shorter TT (1" for Medium)
    smaller brake rotors
    170mm crank instead of 175mm
    narrower handlebar ( that we would still probably cut down )
    womens seat

    the stems are both 90mm.

    rider height: 5'8"
    rider weight: ~130
    rider build: skinny, long arms and legs.
    rider issues: herniated L5S1 disc. PT/yoga over the winter has helped a lot, but still has some pain and stiffness. Fs will be an added level of protection to help minimize impact on the back.

    the demo rental went really well. we picked up a standard Stump FSR Expert, in purty demo bike purple. We did a few test laps on a short trail and adjusted the fork settings, she thought the suggested psi was too soft. the rear shock was just right and we left it alone.
    we rode for about an hour on a relatively flat, twisty, technical trail. there are several short steep climbs and log piles and a few small rock gardens. I was trailing and watching the shock motion when she would stand up to climb. very impressive. it was neat how the suspension would switch from hardly moving while pedaling to full movement when rolling over an obstacle or uneven terrain.

    her overall impression:
    it rode a lot better than she expected. most of the climbs around here are short and steep, she likes to stand up on them and she didn't feel like this bike penalized her by bouncing. she's very happy with that. the stock bike with time alium pedals weighed in at 28 pounds. she said that it didn't feel like she thought it would.. it wasn't slow or sluggish.

    her other thoughts:
    bars are way too wide, probably have to take at least an inch off each side.
    fork seemed too soft, easily fixed with some more air
    brakes were a little squishy, the levers traveled too far and she kept pinching her other fingers.. shouldn't be too hard to adjust.

    we also went to the LBS and spun around on a womens specific medium. she didn't like the body positioning at all. she felt like she needed to push herself back off the seat. we're going to stick with the standard bike with the longer TT.

    the next test will be next weekend. we are going to take the bike on 2 very different trails. one is wide open with a couple medium climbs. not much for technical terrain, a lot of seated riding. the other is a technical trail with a lot of log piles, rock gardens and steep short/medium climbs. there are several fast downhill flowy sections with technical features. last time we rode this trail ( thursday ) on her hardtail she felt very beat up afterwards. hopefully she'll feel much better after an identical ride on the FSR.

  10. #10
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    Gender Bender

    The other side of the fence story:
    What? A woman on a mens frame?! thats crazy. Ok so i'm being sarcastic because i'm guy and specifically bought a womens L specialized FSR 120. I'm 5'10" with long legs and short torso making my perfect fit on the womens size. I've raced pro for half the years I was alive so I know how to ride and know how to ride hard. The shock valving is the same on either gender, the only difference besides the shorter frame was a big seat and a different frame color. My bike came stock with 175mm cranks, the same size I always ride and a slightly shorter stem. Bottom line, get what fit regardless what the marketing department says. A shop might look at you funny when you order it but you'll be the one riding it.

    Cheers,
    If you believe that I've got some magic beans to sell ya.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakomonster
    The other side of the fence story:
    What? A woman on a mens frame?! thats crazy. Ok so i'm being sarcastic because i'm guy and specifically bought a womens L specialized FSR 120. I'm 5'10" with long legs and short torso making my perfect fit on the womens size. I've raced pro for half the years I was alive so I know how to ride and know how to ride hard. The shock valving is the same on either gender, the only difference besides the shorter frame was a big seat and a different frame color. My bike came stock with 175mm cranks, the same size I always ride and a slightly shorter stem. Bottom line, get what fit regardless what the marketing department says. A shop might look at you funny when you order it but you'll be the one riding it.

    Cheers,
    hehe. you ride a girls bike
    totally kidding.

    that is just more to reinforce my thought that whatever fits is the best. "mens" or "womens".

    thanks for the input guys. i have a feeling that she'll end up on the mens after this weekend. i'll post some pron of the first ride.

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