Thoughts on me riding women specific bikes-
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  1. #1
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    Reputation: chewymilk99's Avatar
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    Nov 2008

    Thoughts on me riding women specific bikes

    I'm not sure if this the correct place for this question. I'm researching hardtails trail bikes right now, I have far too many dancing in my head. But I came across a few articles describing women specific bikes.
    Now most of them talk about short men maybe looking at these frames. I'm not short (5'11") BUT I am mostly legs (33" inseam) Has anyone (male) ever tried a WSB before?
    I like the idea of the low standover height (for obvious reason) And I tend to like my bike to be snappy and easier to toss (basically a big BMX bike)
    Any thoughts?
    In the great Ford vs Chevy debate, I choose Porsche.

  2. #2
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    I think you should go for it.

  3. #3
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    See what the actual differences are between the women's and regular versions of the frame you're considering. Often it's not much. My wife's DB Clutch, women's version of the Release, is identical to the Release other than it comes with slightly narrower bars, a 5 mm shorter stem, and a different paint job.

  4. #4
    Single(Pivot)and Happy
    Reputation: Boulder Pilot's Avatar
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    You don't have to limit yourself to men's or women's, you can try bicycles and see if that's your thing.
    The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.

  5. #5
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    Oh I forgot to mention, I'm not new to biking. Just never sat on or thought of a WSB before. As has been mentioned the differences seem to be more parts (bars, stem, cranks) and a lower standover height. Thanks for the replies though
    In the great Ford vs Chevy debate, I choose Porsche.

  6. #6
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    Especially with longer legs, the lower standover isnt much of a benefit. People rarely stand over a bike anyway, but the general trend for frames is swooping top tubes. Its very rarely an issue unless someone is very short or has disproportionally short legs.

  7. #7
    Not a role model
    Reputation: ninjichor's Avatar
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    You're probably too tall to find anything with women specific geometry, so the women specific bikes you'd likely find merely just have women specific touch points.

    You sound like a candidate to go custom geo, since you can't find a bike that has geo you like.

    I sometimes spend a few hours playing on bikecad when I feel like it:

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Thoughts on me riding women specific bikes-wugm6eu.jpg  

  8. #8
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    If the Manolo Blahnik fits, wear it.

    Many (most, all?) major manufacturers have gotten away from women specif geo. The premise was pretty specious in the first place. What they do tailor are components like saddles, grips, bar width, maybe stem length, ... Some also specify different suspension tunes under the assumption women are lighter.

    When measuring inseam for bike fit, measure in bare feet from the floor firmly up against the crotch. The usual recommendation is to stand against a wall and push a book up firmly up. This results in a inseam measurement that's 3-4" greater than what's used for sartorial purposes. e.g. I'm 5'9" and have a 34" bike inseam...and I'm pretty average proportions, though there are a lot of gorillas out there with significantly less.
    Do the math.

  9. #9
    always licking the glass
    Reputation: stripes's Avatar
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    Why not just go with a smaller size frame? Being a “non standard” size female, I really don’t care for them. The bars tend to be too narrow for my liking and the suspension is too soft for someone of my weight. Usually the components aren’t the equal quality of a unisex frame for the same price. Also the resale on them is a lot more difficult.
    Guerrilla Gravity BAMF, Colorado Front Range

  10. #10
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    This isn't a particularly difficult problem to solve, and I can't think of a good reason to look at "women specific" bikes. You need to start by finding a bike with the correct reach/top-tube length. Just because you have a short torso doesn't mean that you need a short bike, since you may have long arms. Once you have a bike with the correct seat-bar relationship, set up the seat and bars at the correct height. You might need a long dropper post, lots of spacers under the stem, and bars with plenty of rise, but all of those things are common nowadays.

  11. #11
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    Jun 2013
    Honestly, everyone makes good points. Unisex tend to be better. Yeah, womens bikes have lower standover. You're really too tall for the womens bikes, it depends more on arm length.

    I'll add one more. I'm 170 cm, that's 5'6.75". My inseam is 33.3". And I have long arms. So long legs are relative. Women's mountainbike have too low a standover for me. Also. Too short a reach. Too narrow bars. I think the bike fitter said my shoulders were either 42 or 43 cm. Shrug. I"m the smallest person in my family. Sister is 6' tall. Brothers are 6'1" and 6'5. So I'm itty bitty compared to them.

    I need a bike with a steep seat tube because I have difficulty with too much setback. I have a long reach, and that makes the bike's reach shorter. I need a higher stack due to a short torso. I just ride the bikes I want and don't worry much. I know how to adjust them properly. My medium surly karate monkey would be better with a higher head tube. But it's pretty good. It has a steep seat tube, and that is my main requirement for my knee's sake. (According to most mountainbike size charts, I should ride a small. In reality, I could ride a large, though I suppose the handling might be a little wacky).

    When fitting a bike, the first place to start is your position over the bottom bracket. So first question: do you have long femurs in proportion to your overall leg length and so need a slack seat tube and maybe an offset seatpost? Or are you more centered over your bike with a steep seat tube? Do you always want your knees to be farther forward? For example, a Karate monkey has a 73 degree STA, but an All City Electric Queen in size medium has only 71.5 degrees. Probably too slack for me or I'd already have one.

    The rest of the adjustments go from there. I can't imagine any bike that fits you would have a too short seat tube for your leg length. That is definitely a problem for me, though. I do notice the size large bikes tend to have a lot less standover than I am accustomed to, so it's a little hard for me to judge.

    Oh yeah, bike stiffness. I used to be a professional ballet dancer, have been a cyclist since childhood, and have a mesomorph body type. So my legs are strong. Womens bikes have too much flex. Especially as I ride larger bikes than most women. Noodle time. No thanks. The Pinarello in my signature has a bottom bracket that does not flex. And it's perfect for me. The power transfer in the CAADX is prime, too. The bigger the bike, the more it flexes. So a true women specific bike that fit you might be very flexy.

    Big BMX? That is what you want? Plenty of stuff out there like that. Karate MOnkey time. But I'm biased.

    I'd really love one of these All City EQ's, but I'd need to test and see about the slack seat tube. Seems most people actually prefer that. And I know of people who have them. Snappy and light is how they describe them.
    2018 Surly Karate Monkey 'dingle' speed
    2013 CAADX 105
    2012 Pinarello Quattro
    2002 Zurich LeMond

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