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  1. #1
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    Girls on boys bikes....

    My g/f has a cheap mtn bike but wants to try to get a little more serious. I have most if not all the components off my old 26" bike that are in good shape. I was thinking about buying her a new frame in her size, but the only frames I can find that are in price range are guys. So, I was just wondering, how many of you ladies ride or have ridden a guys bike and does it present any issues?

    The frames I was looking at:

    Sette Reken Alloy Hardtail Frame at Price Point

    Ascent Aluminum Mountain Bike Frame - Mountain Bike Frames

    Budget's pretty tight at the moment but I'd like to get her on a better bike, at least this year until I can afford a nicer more appropriate bike maybe next year.
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  2. #2
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    So long as geometry fits, there's no difference.

  3. #3
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    My wife rides a SC Nickel w/out any issues. As long as you are buying the proper size for her, the difference between women specific geometry and standard is slight. More marketing in my opinion.

  4. #4
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    Thanks. I just remember how as a kid, the girl bikes had the top tube that swept down and the boy bikes were straight, and even now, the higher end bikes seem to still do that sometimes. So I wasn't sure if there was something to that or not. But that's good that the difference is negligible so hopefully I can get her hooked up soon.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    Thanks. I just remember how as a kid, the girl bikes had the top tube that swept down and the boy bikes were straight, and even now, the higher end bikes seem to still do that sometimes. So I wasn't sure if there was something to that or not. But that's good that the difference is negligible so hopefully I can get her hooked up soon.
    Lol. As long as you don't have her riding around in a dress, should be good to go.

  6. #6
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    my g/f never rides a girls bike, she rides either her NEXT (mens frame) with suspension or recently she started riding my old Diamondback outlook solid frame that was designed for men with the upright bars.

  7. #7
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    Just make sure she likes the frame and it fits her. Has she seen the ones you've picked out? That's all that matters. I've ridden both and there's no true difference. It's awesome that you are building her one.

  8. #8
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    Yeah, she's seen the pics and likes the looks of both. Question...her current bike is a 15" and she says it fits well. The only options for the two frames I'm looking at are 14" and 16". If I don't find a new 15" frame to build, should I go up or down in size?

    Next time we are in town we are going to hit up a couple shops and see if they have any bikes in those sizes so that she can get a better idea on the size.
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  9. #9
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    I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination because I just started out...but...I am short, real short, 5 foot nothing...I ride a 15 and I am on a Jett. The Myka by Specialized is a few mm smaller than my Jett and I can feel that slight difference in stand over when I am on my Jett, but I love the bike so I don't care. I can't really toe touch standing up but then again, I can't do that on any bike that fits all of me. When I tried a 14, I felt cramped and I could not even hope to ride a 15.5...but that is just me...so make sure she tries the frame sizes. I bet if she has a few more inches than me, she would be okay but it is really about how she feels on it (I learned that from reading and then testing it out and it is true, it is about what she is comfortable on.)

    Hope that helped some what :/
    Last edited by ksovich; 05-06-2012 at 05:46 PM. Reason: I need to proof read, somethings just didn't make sense.

  10. #10
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    It does. She's 5 foot nothing as well so maybe the 14" would be too tight. Hopefully we can find a shop that has some or a 14" bike to try. Thanks!
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  11. #11
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    hi, just got a 2011 trek ex 5 two weeks ago in 17.5 inch at $1490. but Im thinking of upgrading it to 2011 top fuel 9.8 with 15.5 frame. LBS is offering it at $2100. Im 5'5" tall. Is it a good upgrade? thanks

  12. #12
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    If its any help I got a Trek Remedy 8 2011 size M 17,5(actual 16,5). I`m about 167cm tall. Apparently im right in the middle of size S and M. I recently tried a S(15,5) frame specialized stumpy and loved the frame size. So playfull and easier to lift of the ground. I liked that the distance from the seat to the handlebar was abit shorter.

    So what I did was ending up changing the stem on my M Bike from 80mm to 60mm. Made a huge difference. Now I prefere a M frame bike with shorter stem then a S frame bike. Looking at pictures of me on my bike the bike actually looks pretty small, especially with the new stem.

  13. #13
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    I ended up getting an ex 8 15.5 inch frame. I love the fit and its way better than the ex 5.

  14. #14
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    I haven't ever ridden a girl's bike so I really can't compare. I had an old Gary Fisher, an old Trek, and I just got a new Wahoo and they worked just fine. The old Gary Fisher was not the right size for me even with a shorter stem, but the Trek and the new bike are much better fit wise.

    A better seat helped too.

  15. #15
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    My friend purchased her first 29er this weekend. Months of shopping around trying all the WSD bikes from several mfg's, stem swaps, bar swaps, alu vs carbon, everything I could think of. The bike she absolutely fell in love with with the least changes was a "man's" size Large 2012 GT Zaskar Carbon 9R Comp Mountain Bike -- Performance Exclusive -

    Narrowed the bars a bit, 10mm shorter stem, correct seat and positioning. I have not seen her that happy in a long time!!!

    I think women's specific bikes are a lot of marketing and a band-aid fix for newer riders who have been afraid of riding a guy's bike because of bad riding adventures on temporary let's-try-it mountain bikes.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by westin View Post

    I think women's specific bikes are a lot of marketing and a band-aid fix for newer riders who have been afraid of riding a guy's bike because of bad riding adventures on temporary let's-try-it mountain bikes.
    There can be significant geometry differences in the wsd frames. For some women, especially women that fall into the wsd range of proportions, ( long legs, short torso) these bikes can make a real difference.

  17. #17
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    Indeed. It is about getting a bike that fits.

    I'm saying it's a lot of marketing, and that marketing is working by putting women on bikes who may have been fitted improperly on a man's bike and had a bad experience. They walk into a shop, ask for a WSD and get pointed to a few options instead of walking over to a bike that a guy may be standing next to considering taking home. It can be daunting and add to the memory of riding a poor fitting bike years ago that some guy tossed her on. A Bicycling magazine article said the testosterone aesthetic and even the name can make some women less likely to ride.

    I'm guilty of it: my college GF was put on my bike with a long TT and long stem, she crashed her brains out and never wanted to ride that bike again. If only I knew then about stack height, and to put a different stem length and angle on....

    In that March 2012 Bicycling feature "The Truth About Women's Bikes", Heather Henderson, product manager for Trek's Women's Specific Design line, says "it's total bunk" that women need a shorter top tube due to the long leg/short torso makeup.

    Henderson theorized that many women tend to roll their hips back to relive soft-tissue pressure from the saddle, which causes them to arch their backs, and, effectively, need to reach farther to the handlebar.

    The Bicycling article went on to say the short-torso explanation is simple to explain and it works for about 80% of women.

    The two female friend I helped buy bikes in the past six months had 36" inseam and were both 5'9". Talk about long legs and short torso!!! Both are riding men's large 29ers and have the most perfect comfortable visually "normal" fit, and their riding shows they are having fun and putting the power to the ground. I also believe both would like the marketed "plush" road bikes for men: taller head tube, more relaxed upright position.

    It is a good read. March 2012, Bicycling magazine.

    Quote Originally Posted by formica View Post
    There can be significant geometry differences in the wsd frames. For some women, especially women that fall into the wsd range of proportions, ( long legs, short torso) these bikes can make a real difference.

  18. #18
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    Thanks for all the input. Still looking for a frame but this will help.
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  19. #19
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    you're right to start on a less expenisive frame.bike/build to start. I'm 5'3, relatively proportionate (neither my torso or my legs seem "too long" for the other) and i started out on a Gary Fischer Marlin GS HT. It was a women specific bike, and when i initially started on it it felt great. But after two seasons of riding it I started getting intense pain in my back, especially when climbing. I also kept feeling like the seat was too low. The frame was 13", and to start it was a great fit, but the more I rode the more "flexible" I became and needed a farther reach. I now ride an ellsworth epiphany, size small with a 15.5" seat tube. The bike fits me like a glove, yet it's not a womens bike. So, just because you're a woman, doesn't mean you need WS geometry. Best bet is to demo a few bikes and learn the geometry to figure out what specifics work and what don't, and take it from there. Also, over time she may realize what "fits" now, may not "fit" later, judging on the type of rider she wants to be. It's best to blow the big bucks on something you know you'll have and love for awhile.

  20. #20
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    I'm not sure that the geometry makes as much of a difference in a mtn bike than in a road bike due to the different riding positions.I am one of those women with the long legs short torso thing going on. I resisted buying a WSD road bike for a long time, because I don't really like pink, frilly things. But I have had so much shoulder pain on all different sizes (53, 51, and yes 44, which is the best even though I am not really short at 5'6) of M's bikes I decided to give it a try recently (and some of the manufacturer's are getting better) Bike comes in in a week. So we''ll see once I get out for a longish ride.

    Anyway....I have a 15" Men's 29er mountain bike, but no pain from that. So I wonder it it is the different riding position.

    Just make sure she gets fit well.

  21. #21
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    My wife is kinda tall (5'10") and rides a large frame 12 Giant Yukon FX and loves it. She was on a women's medium framed Giant before this and hated it. Her legs and back hurt after every ride. As others have said as long as the fit is good it'll be fine. And make sure this fit is good by her standards, not just the numbers. We test rode a few different bikes by different makers all with slightly diff geometry and she ended up liking the Giant the best.
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    I'm looking at a Trek Y frame bike, but it's medium and I can't figure out if it's men's or unisex sizes, a 2 inch difference according a Y frame fanatic fanpage. Lol. I'd try it first, but driving 45 minutes to go pick it up would probably be bad if we got there and it didn't fit.

  23. #23
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    @Nubster

    Women tend to have longer legs and shorter torsos then men so the drop from the saddle to the bars on a menís frame can be too low. To alleviate this issue many women specific frames have slightly longer headtubes (or are sold with taller stems).

    Honestly, the most important thing is having good standover clearance and a finding the right size stem. Too short compromises peddling, too long compromises handling.

    Personally, I would look around for a used Santa Cruz Chameleon (before they switched over to the new geometry). It's a really fun versatile compact frame with a very low standover. It's a perfect first bike. It's extremely versatile. You could probably pick up a used frame with a seatpost, headset, and derailler for 150-200 if you looked carefully.

    I would also consider a Transition Transam.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heartlostangel View Post
    I'm looking at a Trek Y frame bike, but it's medium and I can't figure out if it's men's or unisex sizes, a 2 inch difference according a Y frame fanatic fanpage. Lol. I'd try it first, but driving 45 minutes to go pick it up would probably be bad if we got there and it didn't fit.
    I had one of those in my shop the other day, and I sent a photo to my area Trek rep, just for fun. He replied back, "I'm sorry."
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  25. #25
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    When my boyfriend and I went into his bike shop we asked about a women's bike but the guy working there said they didn't really have any specifically for women for what I was looking for. He showed me a few men's/unisex bikes and I thought it felt just fine. I guess maybe the only thing that might be hard to get for a men's or unisex bike is if you wanted it pink or something. I ended up with a Trek 3700, I'm just learning to ride

  26. #26
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    Both my MTB and roadie are women specific... only for the reason I wanted pink and at first I was really turned off by having a bike that "looked like a boy's bike" with the straight across tube. I know I know, buying into the pink thing, but I like pink, what can I say. My roadie fits extremely well, though, which I have to owe to the shop spending an hour fitting me. My MTB I'm a bit weary of now that I have my roadie for comparison. When I bought my MTB I was pretty much thrown out the door with it with no fitting, so I had to learn how to adjust my own seat and stuff, and I have suspicions its not exactly fitted like it should be. I don't think that would really be any different if it wasn't a WSD bike, however.

    Just comes down to what is comfortable, and your own particular likes and dislikes, in all reality.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by sooshee View Post
    Both my MTB and roadie are women specific... only for the reason I wanted pink and at first I was really turned off by having a bike that "looked like a boy's bike" with the straight across tube. I know I know, buying into the pink thing, but I like pink, what can I say. My roadie fits extremely well, though, which I have to owe to the shop spending an hour fitting me. My MTB I'm a bit weary of now that I have my roadie for comparison. When I bought my MTB I was pretty much thrown out the door with it with no fitting, so I had to learn how to adjust my own seat and stuff, and I have suspicions its not exactly fitted like it should be. I don't think that would really be any different if it wasn't a WSD bike, however.

    Just comes down to what is comfortable, and your own particular likes and dislikes, in all reality.
    Unfortunately it's just as easy for lazy salespeople to throw you on a WSD bike and take your money as it is for them to put you on a unisex bike and take your money without bothering to really fit you. And they probably shouldn't be called "women's specific" bikes, but more often they are "short torso" bikes, because not all women are built like that. Therefore not all women would benefit from a WSD frame and some men would but are scared off by the label...

    Anyway, there are differences between WSD and unisex bikes/frames, but they are not standardized differences (some focus on component differences vs. frame geometry difference), so you have to know what you're looking for and what you're looking at or really go to a place that has staff who really know how to do a bike fit. I do believe that like someone else mentioned, it's not quite as crucial on a MTB as on a road bike, as we at least tend to move around more on the MTB, but it's still important and trying to get started on something that is a very poor fit can turn them off of the sport.

  28. #28
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    duplicate
    Last edited by connie; 07-17-2012 at 05:03 AM. Reason: duplicate

  29. #29
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    Nowadays, even some race bikes have disproportionally short top tubes thinking that women have longer legs and shorter torsos than men. I don't think that that theory has any weight behind it.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by bee View Post
    Nowadays, even some race bikes have disproportionally short top tubes thinking that women have longer legs and shorter torsos than men. I don't think that that theory has any weight behind it.
    The theory that some "people" have shorter torsos and longer legs is true, because I am one of them, but like Connie said above some men would do well on WSD too.

    I was talking to my LBS a few weeks ago and we agreed that they should just cut the marketing hype and sell WSD as a different geometry for those that need it. Relabel it. Then men and women would feel free to by the bike that fits them best without worrying about it being a "girl's" bike or not wanting to have to buy a pink bike because they're a girl (like me).

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kernyl View Post
    I was talking to my LBS a few weeks ago and we agreed that they should just cut the marketing hype and sell WSD as a different geometry for those that need it. Relabel it. Then men and women would feel free to by the bike that fits them best without worrying about it being a "girl's" bike or not wanting to have to buy a pink bike because they're a girl (like me).
    But then people would be complaining that there aren't any women's bikes being made!
    Trust me, they would complain.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by bee View Post
    Nowadays, even some race bikes have disproportionally short top tubes thinking that women have longer legs and shorter torsos than men. I don't think that that theory has any weight behind it.
    That's pretty much what I was trying to say- but I do see the value/purpose of these frames. It's just how they are defined. They're not women specific, they are proportionally shorter torso person specific. There is definitely a need out there for them to exist, it's just that you can't generalize and say "you're a woman, you need this, you're a man, you need that..."

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by connie View Post
    That's pretty much what I was trying to say- but I do see the value/purpose of these frames. It's just how they are defined. They're not women specific, they are proportionally shorter torso person specific. There is definitely a need out there for them to exist, it's just that you can't generalize and say "you're a woman, you need this, you're a man, you need that..."


    I agree that there needs to be a "shorter top tube" geometry out there, but I don't think the bike industry should call these women specific designs. What happens is that women get forced into thinking they need an ultra-short top tube bike just because they are a woman. It isn't good science.

    There actually is no scientific evidence to show that women have longer legs and shorter torsos on average than men. In fact, there was a university study that took the leg measurements of men and women for a specific heights to determine if leg lengths were statistically more for women than men. And the study found that there actually wasn't a statistical difference. What I am trying to say is that for a given height (ex: 5' 6), the person's gender had no difference in leg length.

    Surely, there are people that have shorter or longer legs/torsos than others, but that would be more due to genetics, and not to gender.

  34. #34
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    Just look at the geometry side by side. I couldn't decided between a men's bike that was cheaper and a WSD, until I eventually realized the ONLY difference was the saddle, and I already have a saddle I love, so glad I researched the specs!

  35. #35
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    We just bought a 2012 Specialized Carve Pro for my wife. The "boy" bike just felt better to her. She was comparing it against the Jett and the Rainier.

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    I've always ridden "boys/men's" bikes (when I was younger and rode, and now that I'm older and riding again) and I actually did try riding "women's" style bikes since I started riding again---and they are not as comfy for me at 14 or 15" as the "men's" 15.5" bike I'm riding now (Gary Fischer Tarpon).

    What everyone else said--try a few bikes of varying styles out, men's, women's, or unisex, and really see what is most comfortable. Even the men's seat on the GF doesn't really bother me, but I ride standing up a lot anyway.


    Good luck!

  37. #37
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    I say get a bike fit and demo as many bikes as possible. This two things should get you the answer she is looking for.

    I am 5'4 and currently ride a Giant Anthem X W 26er. I absolutely love it! I am looking into getting a 29er but trying to make sure of the fit as well.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    It does. She's 5 foot nothing as well so maybe the 14" would be too tight. Hopefully we can find a shop that has some or a 14" bike to try. Thanks!
    I think it must really depend upon the bike. I have a Salsa El Mariachi on order in an XS/14. I am just under 5'4". That sounds like it could be too small a frame, but Salsa's sizing chart puts me smack dab in the middle of the height range for that bike and our LBS friend agrees that the XS would be a better fit for me than the S.

    My legs might be slightly short for a female, proportionately, but not greatly so. My CX bike is a 44 and fits like a dream (I think the top tube is 50.5cm or so). My road bike is a 48 with a 51.5cm top tube. Sometimes I wish I'd gone WSD with that bike (it's a hair stretched-out...if I'm diligent with my core work it doesn't bother me so much), but I really wanted SRAM and Cannondale doesn't do SRAM on their WSD models.
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