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  1. #1
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    Woman’s bikes and rider weight?

    Is there still a benefit to a woman’s bike vs a unisex or men’s bike if you are not smaller and lighter? What would you recommend for someone that is 5’7” but has a dense body type and weighs around 180? I am in the market for a new bike but trying to narrow down some options to try to demo them.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by abaughman View Post
    Is there still a benefit to a woman’s bike vs a unisex or men’s bike if you are not smaller and lighter? What would you recommend for someone that is 5’7” but has a dense body type and weighs around 180? I am in the market for a new bike but trying to narrow down some options to try to demo them.

    Thanks
    As a 185 lb rider at 5’4” who struggles to lose weight, I have zero benefit to riding anything women’s specific since the suspension is sprung for lower weight riders. I also have wider shoulders, so the handlebars are too narrow for me too.

    Even if I hit my ideal (145 lbs), most of them are going to require a lot of reconfigurations for them to work for me.

    YMMV but my experience is I stay away from them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by abaughman View Post
    Is there still a benefit to a woman’s bike vs a unisex or men’s bike if you are not smaller and lighter? What would you recommend for someone that is 5’7” but has a dense body type and weighs around 180? I am in the market for a new bike but trying to narrow down some options to try to demo them.

    Thanks
    Specialized says for their EPIC full suspension bikes their "women's" models have the same frame, but a different shock tune for lower weights. There are some component changes presumably to account for fit. I know several Women who simply ride men's frames. If you are 5'7" and 180 then you are right in the size range for men's frames anyway and I bet your proportions are close enough to fit just fine. You may want a detailed bike fit just to dial everything in. You can always swap parts if you need to.

    I am a man at 5'7" (or maybe 5'8") and 175lbs and fit on a medium 29 just fine. I also fit on a small 29er and Large 27.5. Every bike manufacture can have a slightly different fit so best to sit on one (riding it is best) to determine.

    The way I see it Women's bikes are best suited to either smaller women at 5'4"and below since most men are not that short. And/or for women who are very light lets say under 125lbs. In these case shocks may not work as well without valving for less weight. If you are taller or heavier then Women's bikes may not do any thing for you other than different color combo if that is your thing. Again do your research on the bike mfg to learn how they adjust for Women riders (if at all).

    The best bike is the one that fits you allows you to enjoy the ride.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", 19' Vassago Optimus Ti SS 29", '19 Ibis Ripmo, XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  4. #4
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    I'm 5'4"... although when I was younger I was 5'5" I have lost weight over that last few years and currently weigh 123 lbs. I always ride men's size small all-mountain, dh or hard tail bikes. It has always been true to size and fit for a variety of manufacturers (Santa Cruz, Transition, Kona, Trek) over the years. The weight of the bike didn't make much difference to me.

    I have a Canfield Balance (27) and Chromag steel ht (26) and always platforms. Suspension is always set according to weight.

    Many women (like myself) typically have shorter waists and may have a shorter reach but that hasn't affected my bike size.

    Seems like a medium would be the right size
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    My first bike was a Specialized HardRock large and I am now ridding a large Specialized Camber. I also have a Kona Concept that my boyfriend mainly rides I take it out sometimes. I like the softer ride of the Kona (suspension set to the same on both) but not the narrower tires in the sand. Idealy I would like somthing lighter then my Camber. Thought about trying a medium frame but have gotten mixed feedback about that.


    Body demention wise I am proportionate to someone 5'7. I wear between size 6-8, I just weight alot. I ride quite a bit have put in 560 miles since August. I can do 12 miles of trail without a problem.

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    I'm 5'8" and.... weigh a lot, lol. I'm just built big even when I've cut down as far as I dare, and I recently discovered keeping up with the weight lifting this summer wound up putting me still fitting into 'good' pants at easily the heaviest weight ever. Oops!

    Anyway, my fingers are long so no need for short travel levers. My shoulders are wide so no need for narrow bars. Certainly weight wise I'm batting right in "mid-dude" so no need for lightweight suspension bits. I have something like a ~34" inseam with a lot of that in my femur so sometimes I have to get a setback post to keep my knees from griping, but my arms being long also the handlebar height doesn't seem to be an issue even with a lot of post showing.

    JMO: let her demo the crap out of everything she can on terrain she's most likely to encounter locally, and buy the one that 'sings'. The good thing about fitting a dude's medium bike (which is where I'm at and she very well might be also) is that there are a ton of choices and a ton of available demos, including just grabbing one for a spin from a friend.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

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    The Juliana is a 5010 frame (Santa Cruz) but is equipped with suspension valving for a lighter rider. I think it is still fairly stiff for a really light rider though.
    It comes with a smaller chain ring. And a womens saddle (which is personal preference anyway.

    I think that is all.

    I think it may depend on budget, and for what type of riding you plan to do. The Juliana is an expensive option to have as a bike that is just a bike. If you can use it to the tull potential then fantastic.

    Otherwise, I personally see no reason why a woman can't ride a mans bike just the same, as most of the bikes (in my limited experience) have shared geometry/dimensions between the gender specific models.

    With that said, some of the womens bikes have some pretty great color options.

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    According to Liv, women use their muscles differently and the geometry of their designed from the ground up women specific bikes takes that into consideration. Would you actually feel a difference? Who knows... It could be worth riding a few to see. I am 5'2 and was 190 lbs, I'm now 145 lbs. I love my Liv. It's a size small, but I think I will go to an XS on my next bike. I will definitely go with a WSD, but I am in the height range where I think it is more beneficial. My winter bike is a Norco Bigfoot in a size small and even with the seat slid forward and a shorter stem, that thing still feels like a gigantic beast.
    Last edited by mLeier; 12-23-2018 at 11:05 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mLeier View Post
    According to Liv, women use their muscles differently and the geometry of their designed from the ground up women specific bikes takes that into consideration. Would you actually feel a difference? Who knows... It could be worth riding a few to see. I am 5'2 and was 190 lbs, I'm now 145 lbs. I love my Liv. It's a size small, but I think I will go to an XS on my next bike. I will definitely go with a WSD, but I am in the height range where I think it is more beneficial. My winter bike is a Norco Bigfoot in a size small and even with the seat slid forward and a shorter headset, that thing still feels like a gigantic beast.
    Norco and Giant/Liv size very differently. I never liked the feel and sizing of Norcos, so I can see why you don’t like them.

    Other people might really like them but they feel weird to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mLeier View Post
    ... I am 5'2... I will definitely go with a WSD, but I am in the height range where I think it is more beneficial...
    For anyone 5'2 I'd say yeah, try a WSD and see if it feels OK. But for those of us in the tall category I think the odds start to slide in favor of 'regular' bike.

    Some bike manufacturers tend to run a longer top tube, longer wheel base, etc and that might make a difference in how it all winds up feeling as well. For me, long wheel base bikes feel like trying to wrestle a semi on our local singletrack, and if the BB is too low it's gonna suck in the extended moto trenches that we wind up dealing with.
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  11. #11
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    Woman’s bikes and rider weight?

    Quote Originally Posted by verslowrdr View Post
    For anyone 5'2 I'd say yeah, try a WSD and see if it feels OK. But for those of us in the tall category I think the odds start to slide in favor of 'regular' bike.

    Some bike manufacturers tend to run a longer top tube, longer wheel base, etc and that might make a difference in how it all winds up feeling as well. For me, long wheel base bikes feel like trying to wrestle a semi on our local singletrack, and if the BB is too low it's gonna suck in the extended moto trenches that we wind up dealing with.
    I think the problem she’s running into is the short heights also mean that the suspension is tuned for lighter weight riders. That has a lot to do with why I’ll never ride a women’s specific bike: I’ll never have been or be the “ideal” riding weight for those bikes.

    Even the “unisex” bikes now are getting accommodating for shorter riders, so why stick with women’s specific? Men are created with different proportions too.

    For me, I love the long/low/slack bikes even at 5’4” but I can see why they’re not for everyone. But I also don’t ride tight and twisty forests all the time either.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by verslowrdr View Post
    I'm 5'8" and.... weigh a lot, lol. I'm just built big even when I've cut down as far as I dare, and I recently discovered keeping up with the weight lifting this summer wound up putting me still fitting into 'good' pants at easily the heaviest weight ever. Oops!

    Anyway, my fingers are long so no need for short travel levers. My shoulders are wide so no need for narrow bars. Certainly weight wise I'm batting right in "mid-dude" so no need for lightweight suspension bits. I have something like a ~34" inseam with a lot of that in my femur so sometimes I have to get a setback post to keep my knees from griping, but my arms being long also the handlebar height doesn't seem to be an issue even with a lot of post showing.

    JMO: let her demo the crap out of everything she can on terrain she's most likely to encounter locally, and buy the one that 'sings'. The good thing about fitting a dude's medium bike (which is where I'm at and she very well might be also) is that there are a ton of choices and a ton of available demos, including just grabbing one for a spin from a friend.
    Your body type sound just like mine. If I work out I get heavier but skinnier. I am around airplanes where weight matters and Pilots argue with me that I really weigh as much as I do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    Specialized says for their EPIC full suspension bikes their "women's" models have the same frame, but a different shock tune for lower weights. There are some component changes presumably to account for fit. I know several Women who simply ride men's frames. If you are 5'7" and 180 then you are right in the size range for men's frames anyway and I bet your proportions are close enough to fit just fine. You may want a detailed bike fit just to dial everything in. You can always swap parts if you need to.

    I am a man at 5'7" (or maybe 5'8") and 175lbs and fit on a medium 29 just fine. I also fit on a small 29er and Large 27.5. Every bike manufacture can have a slightly different fit so best to sit on one (riding it is best) to determine.

    The way I see it Women's bikes are best suited to either smaller women at 5'4"and below since most men are not that short. And/or for women who are very light lets say under 125lbs. In these case shocks may not work as well without valving for less weight. If you are taller or heavier then Women's bikes may not do any thing for you other than different color combo if that is your thing. Again do your research on the bike mfg to learn how they adjust for Women riders (if at all).

    The best bike is the one that fits you allows you to enjoy the ride.
    I went and demoed all 7 brands and sizes the shop I go to carries in the parking lot and took my favorite out for demo on a all day shop ride that was really technical. Fell in love with it and brought it home. Just happened that one was on sale from the rental fleet. Ended up being a Evil Calling. Might not ever use the bike up to it’s full potential but loved how it rode. Then wouldn’t you know it a big snow store moved through Arizona (we never get snow) and I have only be able to ride it once.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by abaughman View Post
    Your body type sound just like mine. If I work out I get heavier but skinnier. I am around airplanes where weight matters and Pilots argue with me that I really weigh as much as I do.
    Ha! Back just after HS a guy watching me handle the hot blooded horses on the farm I worked at BEGGED me to go work colts for him down at the Portland track. I had to turn it down because I knew I had no business running young horses at my size. His jaw literally dropped when I told him how much I weighed, lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by abaughman View Post
    ... Ended up being a Evil Calling...
    Oooh, now that sounds delicious! ENJOY!
    "...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by abaughman View Post
    I went and demoed all 7 brands and sizes the shop I go to carries in the parking lot and took my favorite out for demo on a all day shop ride that was really technical. Fell in love with it and brought it home. Just happened that one was on sale from the rental fleet. Ended up being a Evil Calling. Might not ever use the bike up to it’s full potential but loved how it rode. Then wouldn’t you know it a big snow store moved through Arizona (we never get snow) and I have only be able to ride it once.
    That's a fantastic bike. Congrats. Enjoy it!

  17. #17
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    When I got my Liv Lust, I weighed 190 lbs. I just added air to my suspension, set the sag and tweaked the settings until I was happy with how the bike felt. Now I weigh 140 (thanks to a lot of biking!!!) and I can still tune the suspension on my bike to how I like it to feel. My women’s bike may have come tuned for lighter weight riders but it was easy to adjust. Don’t most bikes have this same sort of tunability? I see this as an argument against WSD bikes quite often but I just don’t understand it.

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